Rob and I first started working together in July 2021 after we met for the first time in Portugal. We knew of each other through the competition circuit as I’d won my pro card the previous year on 2020 and I was aware of certain athletes that he was currently prepping.
Portugal was my pro debut and at the time I wasn’t receiving the best guidance. What first struck me about Rob was the attention that he paid to his athletes that were also competing at this show, both in the amateur and pro divisions. After a brief chat and explaining the position that I found myself in, Rob offered his advice and offered to help me the best he could for the show that was in 48 hours’ time. With such a short time frame we were realistic about what could really be done at this stage but messaged me every couple of hours asking for a check in video and then gave me clear instructions on what to eat as my next meal which continued all the way up to going to bed the night before the show. At 5:30am on the morning of the show I received a text message from Rob – ‘I’m downstairs bud, let me take a look at you’. He was outside of my apartment at 5:30 in the morning! This is something that I had never experienced from a coach before. This not only impressed me but made me realise that this guy was serious about his athletes and getting results. The show came and went and as expected my placing was disappointing which reflected the way I had prepared for this show. Rob was in the audience and gave me honest feedback about what he felt we needed to do to improve for the future and to start making our way up the placings so I came on board as a full time client of Rob’s and the plan was put in place for Europa Pro show in Spain in 4 weeks’ time.
After a couple of days relaxing in Portugal after the show it was time to get down to business with the new plan. When I received it there were some striking differences to what I had done to most of my competitive career. The first was that all cheat meals were removed. This was a shock to me as it’s something that I had always had in all of my routines and previous preps but I noticed a difference in my physique almost immediately after the first week of not having one. And being honest with myself, looking back when I had cheat meals, my weight would always stick for 2-3 days following which meant I really only had about 3 days of the week to make any real progress again. The choice was clear, do you want that pizza every Saturday night or do you want to win! In terms of cardio, my approach had always been what most would consider ‘old school’. I was doing a fasted walk each morning for a set length of time which increased week on week as the show came closer and by the time of the Portugal show I was doing 90 minutes daily which in all honesty was soul destroying! This changed with Rob. We still hit a fasted cardio target but of 45 minutes each day but at a much higher intensity because it was done on either a stair master or a cross trainer. This helped both with fat burning but also mentally as I wasn’t doing such long drawn-out cardio. The next difference was step counting. Something that I had previously been very sceptical about in the past because I thought how could this possibly contribute towards my fat loss but once explained it’s very easy to understand. Previously when I was just hitting a fasted cardio target I felt I had done my job first thing in the morning and found that my movement throughout the rest of the day was very little and when the show became closer it became even less. By setting a daily target of steps (mine were 14,000 on a training day and 12,000 on a rest day) this not only kept me moving throughout the whole day contributing towards my fat loss but also kept me motivated to hit the target each and every day. The next big change to my previous routines was to move the timings of my carbs within my diet and place them all around training meaning that the majority of my carbs for the day were in my pre and post workout meals. I train mid afternoon so it meant that in meals 1 and 2 I had only protein and fats and my first carbs of the day came in meal 3, my pre workout meal. This change didn’t actually bother me as throughout the rest of the day I didn’t really need the carbs but had them when it mattered. The post workout meal was the most carb rich meal of the day and then the meal that followed this had a very small amount of carbs leaving the last meal (meal 6) to be proteins and fats again.
We had 3 weeks to get ready Spain and within that time I managed to drop 8lbs from my stage weight at Portugal, something that I didn’t believe was achievable until we did it!
When the time came for the Europa Show, it was one of my best looks to date and considering Rob and myself had only had just over 3 weeks to work together, this was extremely satisfying. During these 3 weeks I checked in every single day with Rob via a video of me presenting my mandatory poses so that he could gauge the level of my condition and make any changes necessary. I flew out to Spin with clear instructions of the food to either take with me or to buy out there and the protocol followed with me sending a check in video before every meal so that I could be told what to eat followed by a little pump up with some bands to get the carbs moving.
Show day came which provided us with another stacked class of around 30 athletes to compete against. We’d carbed up perfectly and timed our pump up back stage just right too but unfortunately we’d not quite had enough time to work together to make an impact against Europe’s elite just yet. But, I was extremely happy with the way that we’d approached the show and with the improvements we’d made in such a short space of time but it was now time to head home and focus on the big one, The Arnold Classic UK!
The pressure was on! One of the biggest shows in the world on home soil. Having had great results in a short space of time with Rob in between the two European shows we now had 7 weeks to prepare for the Arnolds which was great to see what we could do now that we had greater length of time to prepare. So it was back to business, morning cardio was increased to 50 minutes and the daily steps were set at 14-15k
The food was back to baseline but at no point during the prep did I ever feel that hungry to the point that I ever wanted to give in to any cravings. I continued to check in every other day as the show approached and we dug in harder than ever before. The aim was to be as lean as possible in order to achieve a great response from the carbs so that we created something different and we did just that! I was the leanest I have ever been going into the Arnold’s. Rob’s daily check-in protocol was the same leading into this with changes being made where they were needed and on show day he was there with me back stage guiding me through my pump up routine and keeping me calm. I went on stage and displayed the best look I have ever brought and it was thanks to all of the methods that had been laid out for me. I placed 8th, my first top 10 placing as pro and many said that this could have easily been higher but that’s bodybuilding! We received some great feedback from the judges and know what is needed going into 2022. If I could achieve this with Rob in 10 weeks, what could I do in 10 months!?
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