How I Lost 20 Pounds and Got Ripped in 6 Months

·3-min read
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Ramie, a 31-year-old software engineer from Amsterdam, shares with Men's Health how getting serious about his diet and becoming more efficient in his workouts led to some big changes.

After going to the gym three times a week for three months and not noticing any change, I began to think I was wasting my time. I knew I wouldn't get anywhere unless I took more care in doing things right, so I started paying much closer attention to my diet. At the same time, I signed up to the LiveUP program with Ultimate Performance, which includes a nutrition plan with specific amounts of proteins, carbs and fats which you adjust based on progress.

Prior to this, I wasn't really thinking too hard about the quantities of food I was consuming; I tried to eat relatively healthily, but was making lots of exceptions, which all add up.

The program consists of three full-body workouts per week, with a focus on compound movements at the beginning of the session, and then complementary isolation exercises towards the end. When lockdown began, I had to work out from home. I only had a barbell, a pair of dumbbells, and a pull-up bar, so I wasn't able to perform as much of a variety of movements, and I didn't have enough plates to really progress on my weight training, so instead I had to find other ways to challenge myself. My coach Elliot gave me some really useful advice on how to make the most of the limited equipment I had, like slowing down my reps, and adding quarter reps to my sets. I also started joining the live Zoom workouts. This all helped keep me motivated, and I learned how to maximise the efficiency of each exercise.

In general, I have learned a lot about the movements, rather than just going through the motions, focusing on tempo and not resting at the top of the movement. I've also been able to create more of a mind-muscle connection, ensuring that I can feel the right muscles being activated during a specific exercise, and getting better at pushing myself beyond what I initially think I can do.

I lost about 10 kgs (22 pounds) in total and toned my body. I feel more confident in my appearance; I've shared my progress pictures with friends and family, and they've been shocked by the changes. I would also say that as a result of my new routine, I have been sleeping better and generally feel more rested. I feel like food energises me more, rather than making me feel tired or bloated. Now that I've got quite lean, I intend to start increasing my calories again, so I can build some more muscle over the course of the next year or so.

If you want to lose weight or get fit, I would recommend finding a good program to start with, because there is so much conflicting information out there. Beside that, it's all pretty simple: keep track of what you're eating, and of your progress, so you can easily identify what is and isn't working for you. In the gym, focus on the muscles you want to work with a movement, and control the whole movement rather than just throwing around the biggest weight that you can. From here, you can start to progress gradually.

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