This Burnley man got absolutely shredded by changing his dangerous junk food habit
We've all had that epiphany where we need to make a big change in our lives.
For Sebastian David it was when his dad died from motor neurone disease.
The 28-year-old Burnley man weighed 14st 6lbs and spent £140 on takeaways every week.
He had not cooked a meal for more than nine months during his dad's illness and ate a daily 5,000-calorie diet of KFC, Greggs and takeaways.
But it was this moment that spurred him into action to undergo an astonishing body transformation to lose 4 stone, something which has now propelled him into a career in modelling and competitive natural bodybuilding.
Sebastian's transformation came in two phases and he talks to JOE how he planned his training and diet to get back into shape and then how he took it to the next level to get absolutely shredded.
When did you start getting in shape?
My dad got diagnosed with motor neurone disease and that’s when I got fat. After he had died I said to myself ‘get your head in gear’. So I just cracked on. I set a date and then put pictures of myself on Facebook at my fattest just to shock everyone and said ‘this is the day I’m going to change’. I couldn’t go back on my word then.
How did you start getting in shape? Did you make your own training and diet plan?
I just completely changed my diet. I was just eating crap all the time and drinking. So I stopped drinking, I wrote myself a diet and just stuck to it every single day.
I just kept reassessing it and reassessing it, so every time I found myself standing still a bit I just had to get some extra motivation and change things.
Then I got to the point when I decided it was time to train for a bodybuilding competition which I did last August.
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The last year has been tough and I found my self lose my self-worth and all control. I put on lots of weight and became sick of feeling crappy. Anyway exactly 1 month after my Dad died (pictures on the left) I flicked a switch in my head and told my self I was going to sort my self out. I feel like I'm back to what I was before it all happened now and couldn't be more chuffed! Although it doesn't stop here, we're moving the goal posts and I'll be working hard to achieve my next goals. The last 14 weeks I've had help from Margaret Duckworth at Intershape which has really helped and if you're interested in doing something similar I'd get down there and see her. YOU CAN DO IT! You may have seen the pictures that the gym put on yesterday but here are some of my own 👍 thanks for all your support ❤️
So what was your diet like before?
I just ate whatever, whenever. I didn’t cook a meal in nine months. The only thing I ever ate was takeaways, KFC, Greggs and then takeaways again in the evening.
My mum's friends would come round with food when we were looking after my dad, so I would eat whatever they brought. I would have some beers at night too. There was no regime to my life.
I was doing just whatever I wanted.
What does it do to your physique?
I do count my calories now and its bang on – but that’s one extreme. When I first started changing myself I didn’t count calories, I just changed my life in a way that went from an average guy going to a pub and just eats whatever who is slowly getting fatter and fatter, to the guy who knew what was good for him and ate healthy meals all the time.
I just ate healthy meals rather than counting calories.
When I first started it was fairly easy to lose weight, because I had gone from just eating crap to eating really healthy stuff.
I was just eating a lot of green vegetables and salad and just nice clean meats like chicken breasts and steaks and a lot of fish.
I might have a fish salad for lunch and then chicken and veg in the evening with fruit or nuts as a snack.
As things went further along I kept having to change things up.
I didn’t have a clue about calories and macronutrients back then, I just knew my body was used to eating 5,000 or 6,000 calories of crap.
I knew putting the stuff in that I was eating meant a lot less calories.
Did you see good results doing that?
I lost two-and-a-half stone in three months. After that my weight stayed similar because then I was starting to put muscle on. I began eating a lot more, but healthy stuff, and sorting my calories out and I was putting muscle on.
In total I lost four-and-a-half stone but I reckon I must have put a stone and a half of muscle on.
The first three months put me in a position where it kind of looked like I went to the gym, but I wasn’t shredded or anything like that.
That’s when I started upping it and changing things which is when I went from just looking okay to looking like I did spend a lot of time in the gym.
What training were you doing?
It was really tough at first. I was throwing up or heaving a little at the start because I wasn’t used to it. I started going five times a week and spending two hours a session on weights.
The training stayed the same but I started adding in cardio – 45 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening
What changes did you bring in to take your physique to the next level?
It’s just a balance of getting your calories and macros bang on, just figuring that out, and then introducing more cardio. Then it’s just a case of reassessing thing all the time – because you can stick to it bang on and make all the plans and everything from studies and proven science. Then you stick to it but after a few weeks you think it’s not working, but you carry on anyway because it’s proven but at some point you have got to reassess yourself and change something if it’s not working.
How do you assess your calories and macros?
My calories I would figure out – it’s all based on how old you are, how tall you are and how much muscle mass you have and then how much exercise you’re doing as well and then you can figure out how many calories you need in a day. Then after that you need to figure out your macros – there’s loads of different formulas depending on what type of exercise you’re doing and how much.
Then I put that into food. Just basically from research I’ve done over the years and I went to uni and studied sport. So then it was just a case of putting the right macronutrients in me at the right times of day.
What macronutrient balance did you find worked for you?
I started off very low carb and very high protein initially. Then I went onto a Paleo-type diet where I was eating a lot of fat and very low carb.
Then I went onto very high carb with lower protein and lower fat – and they all worked. This season for the full bulk and cut I have been on high carbs, average protein and fairly low fat and that’s what I like best to be honest.
That’s the main thing to be honest. When you’re cutting for so long and trying to lose fat for like 20 weeks, it was months. You’re going to run out of carbs to keep taking out of your diet if you’re starting at a moderate level.
All the latest evidence for natural bodybuilders is that higher carbohydrate is the way to go and just eat as many as your body can get away with to start with.
How important is doing cardio in getting you leaner?
You don’t have to do cardio at all if you have enough time. If you wanted to compete in bodybuilding next year and you wanted to do a full six month cut, then you would not have to touch any cardio.
You could structure your diet for you to slowly lose fat for six months just by having a diet that’s spot on and a weights regime.
But most people don’t want to spend six months. If you want to do it quicker you just have to start burning more calories and get the fat off quicker if you do do cardio.
At the moment all I do, three weeks out from competition, is just 15 minutes of interval training on an evening and 20 minutes walking in the morning.
I do steady state cardio (walking) in the morning when I’m fasted. That’s just to get my metabolism going and if I want to get it going even more I might just throw a few sprints in too.
Then I just get some more calories off in the evening after training by doing 15 minutes of high intensity intervals. I mix it up – I might do it on a stepper or sprinting on a treadmill.
How do you keep the weight and fat off once you’re in shape?
You can have three types of diet and it’s all about figuring your calories out. Some people say ‘you don’t need to count, calories are rubbish and macros are stupid blah, blah, blah’ but I find that people who say that are people who take steroids, because they don’t have to worry as much about calories.
Being natural – if your calories are 200 calories out for a period – you’re going to put fat on. But if it’s 200 calories lower than it needs to be then you’re not going to put muscle on.
So you can have a cutting diet, a bulking diet or you can have a maintenance diet.
If you want to maintain something and keep looking as good as you are then just figure out your calories and macros to maintain where you are and then stick to it.
You can figure it out where you might have a couple of days off a week where you can do whatever you want. So five days where you’re in a calorie deficit and then two days where you overeat on calories to balance it out.
What are your main sources of food now?
Right now because I’m very close to competition, my calories are the lowest they’ve been in a long time.
I am on 2,100 calories right now and I’m burning around 3,500 to 3,600 every day. So I’m on a big calorie deficit because my prep didn’t go bang on as I wanted it to.
At the moment I’m on a lot of chicken and white fish as well as eggs. My carbs are a mix – so white potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats and rice.
What’s your training split?
I did a 5:2 split at the moment, so I train five days on and two days off. It’s my preference with weekends, although I do cardio now on those off days.
So I do five body parts: arms, legs, chest, back and shoulders. Bodybuilding is really specific and everything is quite isolated. People say do your deadlifts, squats and bench press and things. With your compound movements you will burn more calories but at the end of the day, you’re not going to put more muscle on that by isolating it.
If you want to burn more calories do deadlifts and squats because they use a lot of different muscles.
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My first BNBF natural(Drug Free) bodybuilding competition. finally narrowed my pictures down from 250 😃 I'll put the rest on later. Here are a few that I like, I've obviously got some shortcoming and I didn't place unfortunately but the experience was amazing! Stepping out on stage in front of hundreds of people was so scary but exciting at the same time. Thanks Sarah Tauson , Georgia Thompson and Tina Hadfield for getting the whole crowd cheering for me, it really did help. I was lucky to have such an amazing dressing room where i learnt a lot from some great lads 😊 James Poyner Opio TheHulk Tia-Okwee Mairtin Gillen unfortunately it's left me with a clear view of what I need to do and hungry for more... #bnbf