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Eight weeks to get ripped, week 1

 Eight weeks to get ripped, week 1
(Image credit: Unknown)

A lot of people spend years training hard in the gym without any real results but if you follow a well-structured programme and nutrition plan, you can expect to get an impressively ripped physique in as little as two months. To demonstrate this, I’ve enlisted one of London's leading personal training and fat loss experts, Dave Fletcher, and top nutritionist Sharmain Davis

Over the next eight weeks I (Nick Hutchings (opens in new tab)) am going to follow Fletcher's innovative function fitness programme designed to strip fat and improve power, strength and agility, as well as Davis's muscle-boosting eating tips. 

This isn't going to be the kind of transformation that ends up with me looking like a Men’s Fitness cover model. I'm hoping to come away from this with the kind of lean, muscular frame you'd see on a UFC middleweight or light heavyweight fighter, and a similar level of athleticism.

How the programme works

'Having assessed your body, it's clear that you're a mesomorph [has a large bone structure, large muscles and a naturally athletic physique] so I've tailored the reps, sets, rest periods and weight vs cardio element of the workouts to suit your body shape as well as your goals,’ Fletcher tells me in the assessment before our first workout.

'This eight-week programme has been split into two phases of four weeks. The first phase is volume-based, so it’s all about lots of sets and reps and minimal rest to help shift body fat. The second phase will be focused on intensity, which means the weights will be heavier but there will be fewer reps and sets and the rest periods will be longer. The focus here will be on strength and power while maintaining the endurance gains and leanness achieved in phase one.’

'All the routines chosen have been designed not only to improve your body composition, ie reduce body fat levels and increase lean muscle mass, but also to help you make significant gains in functional strength and endurance. This means you’ll end up a stronger, leaner, fitter, more supple athlete.'

Dave’s description left me keen to get started, which we did with a full-on chest workout (which you can see in the video above). Every week during this challenge, I'm going to post a video of one of my workouts so you can follow it and come on this fitness journey with me. I hope at the end of all this we'll look great and work like well-oiled machines. 

Weeks 1-4 workouts

In each superset, do six reps of the first move, then 12 of the next. Repeat this three times with no rest, then rest for two minutes before repeating. 

Move on to the next superset until you've got through the workout. If the move requires you to work each side independently, do half the reps on one side and half on the other.

Tempo - 3010 (the eccentric contractions should take three seconds so they recruit more fast twitch muscle fibres)

Day 1 - Chest and back

Superset 1

Barbell bench press, gym ball press-up push

Superset 2

Jumping chin-up knee raise, dumbbell lateral shoulder raise

Superset 3

Power press-up, dumbbell explosive turn and press

Superset 4

Dumbbell press-up row, inverted row

Day 2 - Interval training

10x10sec hill sprints (10sec rest between sets)

5x30sec runs (60sec rest between sets)

3x60sec runs (90sec rest between sets)

Day 3 - Rest day

Day 4 - legs and abs

Superset 1

Barbell deadlift, explosive lunge chop

Superset 2

Bodyweight roll-out, explosive oblique twist (band)

Superset 3

One-leg assisted squat jump, dumbbell lunge jump

Superset 4

Hanging straight leg raise, gym ball forearm roll-out

Day 5 - kickboxing*

2x3min rounds (90sec rest between sets)

3x2 minute rounds (60sec rest between sets)

4x1 minute rounds (30sec rest between sets)

5x30sec rounds (15sec rest between sets)

6x15sec rounds (10sec rest between sets)

*If you can't do this for whatever reason do treadmill or rowing intervals

Treadmill - adjust the incline to 5˚

3min run, 1min walk

2min run, 1min walk

1min run, 1min walk

Rest for 3 minutes and then repeat

Rower

10x50m sprint, aiming to complete each in under 10sec, with a 20sec rest between sprints.

Day 6 - Rest day

Day 7 - Legs and arms

Superset 1

Barbell stiff-leg deadlift, gym ball hamstring curl

Superset 2

Explosive dip, dumbbell biceps curl

Superset 3

Dumbbell lateral lunge jump, box jump

Superset 4

Dumbbell shoulder turn and press, dyna-band biceps curl

What I’ll be eating

After after asking me a barrage of questions about what I usually eat, Davis came up with a perfectly structured eating plan for this programme. Here, she explains how it works. 

‘Your nutritional intake should mirror your training programme over the eight-week period, so it will change from phase one to phase two. In the first four weeks the dietary goal will be to meet the energy demands of the volume sessions, while providing a calorie surplus to facilitate muscle mass gain. Your diet should be high protein (2g per kg of bodyweight), high-carb (complex, low to medium-GI) and low-to-moderate-fat.

'It was great to see that you were already having regular meals and snacks each day, eating every two to three hours with plenty of protein, fruit and veg, although carbohydrates were less consistent in your meals. Some of your meals, such as pie and chorizo, are too high in fat. Due to the explosive nature of your training, you’d be better off taking in more of your calories from healthy complex carbs, so add them to as many meals and snacks as possible.’

'I'd also suggest some supplements. Have a Maximuscle Progain (opens in new tab) or Cyclone bar (opens in new tab) mid-morning as a high-protein, high-energy snack. The Cyclone bar also contains creatine to help improve explosive/fast energy regeneration and HMB (a metabolite of leucine) to help reduce the muscle catabolism effects of intense training. A Cyclone (opens in new tab) shake should be taken immediately after training and in mid-afternoon on non -training days.

'Take Maxipower (opens in new tab) 20-30 minutes before training. This all-in-one pre-workout drink provides beta-alanine to increase muscle carnosine, which is responsible for buffering the acidic effects of exercise, caffeine to provide an extra focus and boost to your nervous system, and alpha-ketogluterate, which can help increase blood flow to the small capillaries within muscle, optimising nutrient delivery when you need it most.'

Check out week two of Nick's mission to get ripped here. And in case you're wondering, the gym Nick's training in is The Vault (opens in new tab).

For more on Sharmain Davis, go to maxitone.com/asktheexperts (opens in new tab)

For more on Dave Fletcher, go to theodysseyway.co.uk (opens in new tab)

For more training and nutrition plans, subscribe to Men's Fitness (opens in new tab). We'll give you five issues for £5.

Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.