“If I can change then so can you,” writes Kurtis Stacey, who this month shares his story about how he changed his physique and life through working out and eating healthy.
My transformation began in 2012. I have always had the knowledge of fitness and nutrition from my college days, but knowing stuff and physically doing something are two completely different things. Having any knowledge of health and fitness is a great tool, but there are things you can’t learn in a classroom, like how it feels to do hours of training, heavy lifting, cardiovascular exercise, low carbohydrate diets, high protein diets, eating 4-5 times a day, no chocolate… and so on. I’m already tired just thinking about it! I decided to start training properly in 2012 when I joined a local bodybuilding gym (Doug’s Gym). I remember the first time I went, I was terrified to even walk through the door. The sign on the door said: “Doug’s gym, the school of Gladiators” and I knew I was no Spartacus. But I also knew that if I wanted to change my body then I had to step in that gym and, to this day, I can honestly say it was the best decision I have ever made.
I have always been body conscious. I used to hate my body so much I couldn’t even explain it to you. I was too embarrassed to take my top off and participate in sports like swimming.
Even now, there are still parts of my body I hate to look at but I don’t think anyone is ever completely satisfied with their physique. The most important piece of advice I can give you is trial and error. No matter how many forums, columns and magazines you read or YouTube videos you watch, 90% of the time you will not get the same results as someone else. Your body is unique to you and your body will react differently to certain exercises and supplements than others will. I’m not saying don’t read or watch training videos because there will be exercises and supplements that are perfect for you, but it is all about trying different exercises, testing out different supplements and eating a certain way to suit your body type. For instance, over the past four years, I must have tried hundreds of different exercise routines, spent an absolute fortune on supplements and for the first two years my body barely changed! Until I found what works for me. Now, my workouts tend to be moderate to heavy, with 8-10 slow repetitions, 5 sets for each exercise, 4-6 exercises for the larger muscle groups and 3 for smaller muscle groups and with a 3-5k run every other day. I alter my workouts every two months by super setting or training on different days (this shocks the muscles) and it also depends if I’m training for a specific fitness event. I train 5 days a week with Saturday and Sunday off.
When it comes to healthy eating, it has always been a huge challenge for me as food is my only enjoyment. I don’t drink or smoke, so my guilty pleasure has always been food… and lots of it! Don’t get me wrong, I knew exactly what to eat, but I just never did it. Everything changed for me when I came across a company called Pro Gains – they basically make all the food for you based on your individual needs and deliver it to your door ready to eat (you can find their recipe’s via there website in my other column). Now my diet consists of four meals a day for five days a week with balanced protein, carbohydrates and vegetables, and then I tend to eat what I want at the weekend. Especially Sundays! I found this keeps my cravings at bay and motivates me to be healthier in the week.
Everyone has bought something from Holland & Barrett at one point, feeling like that magic tub of protein and tablets are going to solve all our problems, yet we all found out the expensive way that it didn’t! After years of testing different supplements I have found the ones that definitely work for me include:
• Creatine Monohydrate & Maximuscle weigh protein isolate from Maxi Nutrition for strength and faster recovery.
• Maxi Nutrition Max ZMA (zinc to maintain normal testosterone levels, magnesium to increase protein synthesis and vitamin b6 to support protein metabolism). They also aid in a better night’s sleep.
• A pre-workout supplement I like to use regularly is Performance Cherry from Health Span Elite. They also have a great range of vitamins.
It has only been the last year and a half that I’ve noticed some real changes in my physique, it may be because I’m now 26 and fully matured but I strongly believe it is all down to trial and error, testing out my workouts, finding a diet that works for me and taking supplements that actually work.
So take that first step and get in the gym! With Christmas fast approaching, now is the perfect time to get a head start on 2017. Scrap New Years resolutions and begin to learn about your body now – change your health, your life and your physique.
For free help and advice don’t hesitate to get in touch on twitter @KurtisStaceyKS