Let’s get something clear from the off—I’m pretty used to training. I’ve grown up going to the gym and learned a few tricks along the way: cut carbs, eat extra protein, lift often, do more of the above before summer holidays.
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I had always followed a strict diet of regular workouts with a side of rather flabby "bro science." But with some proper guidance, I was able to see more impressive gains.
Your coach: Rich Tidmarsh’s high-octane workouts get UFC and rugby athletes punching above their weight. Now, it’s your turn
I know a lot of guys who, like me, are guessing most of the time. I wanted to see what being spot-on would do.
Rich Tidmarsh at the UK's Reach Fitness took out all the guesswork. Within a few minutes of our first workout, I was performing (or attempting) handstand press-ups, animal crawls and sled pushes.
For a bench press and bicep curl kind of guy, it was a big shock. I wasn’t convinced bodyweight moves were going to give me the results I was after, or that having so many rest days was a good idea.
But after a few weeks, I was losing it. Once I’d got to grips with the new moves, every session was of such intensity that I always ended them in a sweaty mess. It’s an easy way to be sure you’re pushing yourself hard enough.
Fortunately, I had plenty to eat. In fact, chewing through all the food became as big a challenge as the workouts themselves, with meals scheduled every three-to-four hours. Huge loads of carbs at 7.30 am took some getting used to, though having meals delivered to my doorstep from freshfitnessfood.com in the UK made a palpable and palatable difference.
If you look after yourself but aren’t seeing the results you want, or fancy finding out if you can be more than just your regular gym-goer, then 10 weeks isn’t too much to give.
Use Rich’s workouts, below, follow a healthy diet and try to stick with it. Stop guessing and start getting it right. Be patient along the way, too. Good luck, lads.
Want arms like James’? Step up to the bar
Workout #1, 'Functional Leg Primer': Lower-Body Strength
Mondays | 30 Minutes | Level: Hard
Start your transformation from the bottom up. Your first workout fuses two single lifts for strength with a tough superset finisher. “Once you have the technique down, up the weight. It should be an extreme challenge,” says Tidmarsh. A cover model body doesn’t come easy.
Workout #2, 'Push Your Own Limits': Upper-Body Strength
Tuesdays | 35 Minutes | Level: Hard
Sure, this session is going to get your chest and arms pumped. But the mixture of gymnastics, primal movements and barbell work gives you better shape and strength than just another day on the bench. Warm-up with some light dumbbell snatches to get yourself prepped.
Workout #3, 'Pulling for Perfection': Upper-Body Strength
Thursdays | 40 Minutes | Level: Medium
This workout is all about quality over quantity. And there’s not a bicep curl in sight. “James used to spend more time on curls than deadlifts,” says Tidmarsh. “It’s a gym crime.” Start with another animal movement to warm up. Then get ready to lift big.
Workout #4, 'The Final Frontier': Full-Body Workout
Saturdays | 40 Minutes | Level: Hard
Tidmarsh put James through the same full-body conditioning as the UFC fighters he trains. After a three-minute blast on the rower and a foam roll, do the moves in a circuit; resting 60 seconds. Repeat for eight total rounds. “If you’re not on the floor, you’re doing it wrong,” he says. Deep breath...
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