Written by Nic Peterson
Since the Relentless MANSformation was such a success, we are running MANSformation 2.0 soon and are expecting bigger, better, transformations! How do we design out program(s) and produce the RESULTS like below?
The ultimate goals of MANsformaing yourself are, in this order:
1. More Confident
4. Better Lifestyle
We are able to achieve these RESULTS with EVERY single one of our MANsformation clients and Team Relentless members by perfecting the following aspect of their lives (also in order of importance)
3. Daily Habits
Each aspect has different levels, generally beginner, intermediate and advanced, based on clients current metabolic state, current training habits, goals, budget etc. Each level has various levels below it as well, again depending on what is BEST for the client at hand. While the specifics are developed with a specific client and their specific goals in mind; the principles remain the same.
Ideas and Principles Behind a MANsformation:
Diet is, without a doubt, the single most important aspect of transforming your body. Your nutritional habits will ultimately, and directly, determine how much size you gain or lose and the quality of those gains. Whether your goal is aesthetic or performance related extra body fat is ALWAYS going to have a negative effect.
It is not realistic to take every client and have them on an IDEAL diet overnight; instead we have a system to ease them into their ideal diet based on their current metabolic state and overall goals. We have developed a multi level program where the client must master one level before moving on to the next – Depending on current metabolic state and diet habits a client may be on their ideal diet in 6 weeks, it may take longer for some. Most clients need to start at level one, we have had some that start at level 2-3 and master all phases much quicker.
Level 1: Food Sources – Overhaul the type of food(s) client has been eating. Generally we require client to drop sugars, most grains, most processed foods and encourage them to increase their fat intake (animal fats, coconut oil, keep yolks in their breakfast). Clients at level one are usually instructed to eat balanced meals throughout the day. We’ve has the most success taking a clients current diet and simply changing the foods they eat, this is an easy step for most. Often times we do not have to manipulate macros much.
Level 2: Macro/Micro Manipulation: Once the client has mastered level 1 and is consuming acceptable food source 90% of the time or more we sit down and manipulate his macro intake/ratios. This often consists of increasing fat intake, especially saturated (animal) fats. Some of our most successful MANsformation clients stay at level 2. The quality food sources in the proper amount get them very, very lean and improve their strength/energy/recovery dramatically.
Level 3 Nutrient Timing: When a client wants to take the program a little further (generally looking to get shredded or insanely strong) we time their nutrients. Fats and Carbs are timed around workouts, sleep and designed to work with your bodies natural hormone production. Our guys looking to get lean as their priority time their nutrients differently than those prioritizing maximum strength. Since clients have already mastered level 1 and 2 both our aesthetic- seeking clients and max-strength seeking clients experience a drop in body fat, the latter at a slower rate.
Level 4 Source of Food: Not to be confused with level 1, level 4 is generally the last step for our ALL of our clients. It should be the second level, or even tied in with the first but the reality is that most people are not willing to participate at this level. Level 4 is where we switch out the massive amounts of animal products we have taught our clients to consume for their grass-fed , free range, organic, free range counterparts. This is often a very expensive level, as grass fed beef is much more expensive than grain fed. However, this step will produce the most drastic HEALTH benefits and can be implemented at any time if client is willing and finances allow.
Level 5 Everything Else: At this level we just check in and monitor progress.We will adjust macros as goals change and make sure clients supplement protocol is on point. Anyone who makes it to level 5 and decides to remain there is virtually cheat meal free and does NOT miss meals.
While diet is the most important aspect of transforming our body, a solid training program is a necessity as well. A training program must provide enough stimulus to elicit the desired effects (hypertrophy , neural efficiency, etc) without overtraining. A proper MANsformation program will provide enough volume to grow, enough CNS stimulus to get stronger, compound movements that improve hormone function and gym economy and be orthopedically sound.
A training session starts with a dynamic warm up and mobility work. Each person has the same dynamic warm up, but their mobility and extra work is designed for their specific weakness. For example, my lack of mobility from my recent hamstring tear makes it impossible for me to get into an ideal deadlift position so my mobility work, whether it be before or after my session, is focused primarily on my hamstrings and getting myself into a position with more of a mechanical advantage. My smaller guys often have some volume work built into their warm ups.
Other important aspect of the training program:
- We do NOT miss reps. On the occasional new 1rm it happens, but that is going to be once every 3-4 months. We still don’t like it.
- All movements are done properly and under control
- All movements are taken through full range of motion. No half squats.
- We no longer box squat, it develops bad habits that are very difficult to kick when it is time to free squat
- We rest. Plenty of rest between sets on the main lifts, especially. This allows us to perform at a higher level and people that perform at a high level usually look better.
- Single joint movements are always done with rep schemes over 15, usually close to 25 (tricep extensions, hamstring curls, etc)
- The most important part of this, or any, program is to do what you need to do and then go home and recover. I do not get pumped up for lifts or yell or scream I simply know what I have to lift that day and I do it. If you scream and act stupid that’s fine but you better get your shit done and get on top of your recovery.
- A 4 week block of our training would be considered conjugate. A 12 week block would be considered periodized. You do not have to choose one or the other, a solid program for long ter results will be both.
3. Daily Habits
I do not want to turn anyone into hyper-dedicated strength athletes unless they want it for themselves so I do not aim to change someones social life outside the gym. The daily habits we attack are the ones that directly effect the program (ie sleep, missing meals, prepping food, foam rolling). The whole point of a transformation is to be happy, so we keep as much as their out-of-the-gym time intact as possible. There are 3 levels of habits we attack, one being necessary and the other an advanced level for more dedicated transformation clients:
Level 1: Recovery Related
- Sleep: No more all nighters. Consistent sleeping patterns are important for proper recovery and hormone function
- Foam Roll/Deep Tissue: I have a full time massage therapist here and always force my transformation clients to get worked on at least one a month. I also push a ton of foam rolling to keep them loose and injury free.
- Hydration: Being dehydrated is dangerous. Living in Florida, training outside dehydrated is even more-so. Power output and metabolism go down, injury risk goes up when dehydrated. DRINK WATER!
Level 2: Lifestyle Related
- Alcohol Consumption: It is not realistic for most to give up alcohol but limiting it is important. this could go in level 1 because of alcohols effect on sleep patterns, hormones, hydration and recovery. However, since it’s impossible for most to kick completely, it becomes a strong recommendation instead of requirement.
- Sex: Have more of it. There are not many activities healthier than sex. Improved sleep, less stress, additional exercise.
- Meal Prep: Pre cook your meals so you NEVER miss one! Prepping your meals will relieve a ton of stress throughout the rest of the week and give you a chance to relax instead of cook
Confident, Strong, Lean, Happy.
Changing just these three aspects of your life (Diet, Training, Habits) will leave you looking better, feeling stronger and more confident. Even at the lowest level outlined above of each aspect, adherence will result in a dramatic transformation of your body and mindset. Implementing Level 1 is easy and take only a little effort and time, once it becomes habit implementing level 2 becomes a breeze. Once the transformation is apparent to you and everyone around you, you will be ITCHING to master it and get to level 3…
At that point you haven’t just changed the way you look, you have transformed yourself into a new person. By using solid principles, introducing and implementing new systems slowly incredible transformation are made!
If YOU want to MANsform yourself, get up and get going! It doesn’t take much, just start at step one….Nic Peterson is a top amateur strongman based out of Florida, with PRs of 705 deadlift, 429 bench and 342 axle clean and press, in addition to training athletes of all types from his facility, Relentless Performance. Website, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter