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Fitness & Health

01st Jul 2015

8 tips to getting in fitness magazine shape from world class physique models


If you’ve ever looked at the front of a fitness magazine and thought ‘how the hell do I get in shape like that?’ then wonder no more.

JOE has all the answers…well, not exactly, but we know someone who does.

Cover models Ryan Terry, Nina Ross and pro bodybuilder Anth Bailes have shared their secrets to getting shredded in Ultimate Photoshoot Prep Guide along with top coaches Mark Coles, Phil Learney and photographer Christopher Bailey.

We’re not quite ready to be on the cover of Men’s Health yet, but we thought we’d delve into the eBook to pick out the best tips to help us shape up real good.

You can download the full guide for free here. 


1 No ‘one size fits all’ diet

The magic question for fat loss experts is ‘how long is it going to take to get me in shape?’

Some people need 20 weeks and other people might need 15. Some people might only need three to four weeks.

But the problem there is they put themselves on a standard 12-week diet when they don’t need to.

They will say ‘start a 12-week diet’, but you’ve got people at 15% body fat and people at 20%. Their end product is obviously going to be different.

2. Crank up the training

The key is to slowly increase your training intensity and volume as your preparation goes along.

This means increase how often you train rather than just lowering your calories from the outset.

You want to keep your muscles as full and as fed as possible during training – so increase the frequency and intensity of your training first and don’t immediately drop your calories.


3. Training up, calories down

People underestimate how quickly the body will get into shape.

First increase training work volume, intensity and the amount of weekly sessions, which should chip away fat – then later you can boost the fat loss process by dropping your calories incrementally.

Don’t drop your calories too early on into your preparation.

You should be growing into a photoshoot  – not wasting away from a training volume that is too high, while living off a diet where the carbs and calories are too low.

4. Refeed your muscles

If you are really tired, you’re losing muscle tissue or your muscles look flat, or you’re not recovering well from your workouts, then this is a sign you’re over-dieting.

All your thyroid and metabolic hormones get down-regulated. These are your hunger and satiety hormones and they require food to increase your metabolism.

When this happens people will find they struggle to lose any more body fat.

They don’t need more training or less food – they need an influx of calories.

This shows that you need a refeed day where you add in excess carbs.

The whole point of putting more calories in is to slow down any dramatic weight loss, or to stimulate your metabolism to kick-start stalled fat loss.


5. No drastic measures

Don’t change anything dramatic – whether it’s training, eating or water.

If you’re training for 12 weeks and every day you get leaner, all you have to do is just do that for longer.

People get to a point and think they have got to change a load of things and that’s when it goes wrong.

People drop water, they drop salt, they change their training around, they start going into saunas – they are desperation attempts.

It’s the worst thing you can do when you know every day you have consistently got leaner.

6. Final week deplete

You’ve trained your ass off and you’ve dieted right down – it’s time to start depleting.

This is when you squeeze every last drop of glycogen out of your muscles ready for a massive carb load which will make you look thick and full.

The magic number is 50% of your highest daily carb intake. So, if you’ve dieted down and you’re on 200g of carbs per day – then half that to 100g per day when depleting.

But if you’re still carrying a fair amount of fat then don’t deplete and load – it will make your muscles soft. You really need to be lean enough to warrant it.


7. Carbing up

After three days of rinsing every last drop of glycogen out of your muscles, you’re ready for a carb up.

The idea is that when your muscles are empty of glycogen, they will absorb a larger amount of carbohydrate and water directly into the muscle (and not between the cells and skin) to replenish glycogen stores.

This should leave you looking jacked.

Carb loading should take two days, depending on how your body reacts to the carbohydrates.

8. Trial and error

Practice doing a depletion and a carb up well in advance of doing a photoshoot.

People will react to different methods and different diets, so it’s important to know what works for your body.

Some people react to higher carbs and less fats in their diets, but a lot of others have now moved towards higher fats and less carbs.

It all depends on how your body reacts to certain things. It’s always good to have a trial run before you’re going in because there’s nothing worse than booking a shoot in and then in peak week you mess it all up by packing too many carbs in and spilling over.


Photography by Christopher Bailey