Transformation: Fabio Martins

It's a question that I get asked almost weekly..."I just want to get in shape, what do you recommend?"...

Funnily enough, it's a conversation usually held whilst the individual in question is having a couple of beers or cocktails at the local bar! All good, everything in moderation, right? The thing is, when Fabio asked me this question, we were training in the gym in Shanghai (we worked together for 12 months) and it was more of a specific question. Fabio knew how to train, but felt he could improve the specifics of his planning and exercise selection to put on more size and shape. I'm sure there are many more of you out there who are in the same thought process, which is where the online GCP Fitness programming works best in my opinion.

Anyway, as Fabio had approached me with right determination and commitment, I was more than keen to help out. From the first photo you can see his body type is one of ectomorphic proportions, that is, tall and lean with body fat not really an issue, but adding lean muscle can often be challenging. That's the first thing I'll look for. Body type, and if the goals of the client actually meet the reality of possibility. In Fabio's case, it was a no-brainer. We just needed to focus on resistance training and the rest would take care of itself. 

The major components when planning this type of training looks at 2 major areas:

1) HYPERTROPHY (muscle size) 

AIM: Increase the cross sectional area of the muscle 

HOW: Various methods, such as;

+Time Under Tension (Tempo's-particularly Eccentric focus, lower rest periods)

+Increase Anabolic metabolites via metabolic stress ie: Testosterone, Growth Hormone, IGF-1 (This is the 'burning' feeling you get during certain exercises!)

+Higher volume prescription (sets x reps)

+Moderate Loads ie: 6-12RM


AIM: Enhance the maximal loads you lift

HOW: Increase number of fibres, motor unit recruitment & co-ordination

+Lift heavy loads (>80% RM)
+Motor Recruitment: The heavier you lift, the more help your muscles need, so they recruit more larger motor units to help this.
+Lower volume prescription (sets x reps)
+Higher Rest periods (You want to lift more, not fatigue more!)
+Heavy Loads ie: 1-6RM

The way to program this is to then cycle between the two, performing a 4-6 week plan on Hypertrophy, immediately followed by a 4-6 week plan based around improving strength values. The idea is that Hypertrophy gives you more lean muscle mass to be able to help you recruit more motor units when it comes to strength training, and then the strength training phase will allow you to lift greater 6-12RM loads during the next hypertrophy phase. Simple!

Then we just add a sprinkle of variety into the training program for a few reasons:

1) Decrease chance of boredom, increase desire for higher levels of work

2) Keep challenging the body to promote growth & positive hormonal changes

3) Constant changes to weak areas or muscles that are 'left behind'

The specific prescriptions can be complex or simple, but ultimately it comes down to having a coach you trust so you believe in the process. That's what Fabio did. He trusted me and the process and just went about putting in the hard work and consistency. Which are 2 parts of the equation when it comes to succeeding in getting the results you want. From a training and nutrition perspective, there are 3 things you require:

a) Work hard (& smart)

b) Be Consistent

c) Be Disciplined

There it is. Fabio's magic solution. He did the work and he continued to do it with vigour and enthusiasm, even when working a ridiculous amount of hours as an elite level physiotherapist for Chinese athletes. There's no reason you can't do it if you put your mind to it like he did. 

If you want to get results like Fabio, then a customised program is the direction you should be heading, as it will be tailored to any goals you have and any issues surrounding your training routine, such as time availability, equipment or injuries. 

Start it now and get Reward for Effort! Well done mate, I;m so stoked for you!!

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