It’s amazing where a bit of hard work, dedication and perseverance can get you.
Robert Horgan is proof of this after undergoing an incredible body transformation on the Titan Force Project.
The 21-year-old, who is a keen footballer, had never touched a set of weights before starting on the charity fitness programme which raises money for the Teenager Cancer Trust.
But in just six short months he had packed on an incredible stone and a half of lean muscle and kept himself absolutely shredded.
Despite only even having done cardio training and thinking he could never put on weight, he managed to completely change his physique with a few simple and straight forward tweaks.
Fizzy drinks and sweets were swapped for sweet potatoes, chicken and vegetables and he made sure he was consistent in his training and giving every session 100 per cent.
It was Hull personal trainer and former Royal Marine Rich McKeating and ex-bodybuilding champion Dan Norman who guided Robert and eight other guys through the TF body transformation challenge.
Robert explains just how he got such incredible shape on the programme which is now open and ready to take on a new set of guys for January 2017.
Tell us about yourself and why you started the Titan Force project?
I’m currently a third year student at The University of Hull studying Sport Rehabilitation and I’m also a keen footballer. I was notified of this opportunity via my university email and instantly wanted to get involved as it seemed ideal for me.
Over the years I’ve always enjoyed raising money for charity and making a difference to people’s lives and to take part in a six month fitness program would’ve hands down been my hardest challenge yet and this encouraged me to participate.
Why did you want to change your physique and fitness?
Since coming to university my lifestyle regarding health and fitness had decreased quite significantly and I wanted to get back on track hence why this was ideal.
Also, I had never really done weightlifting before – it was mainly cardio in the gym so I was interested in a new challenge.
I also used to look at myself in the mirror and think how tall and lanky I was and I always really struggled to gain weight.
What were your ideas about fitness and how to get in shape before you started?
I was aware of the importance of fitness when getting in to shape but I thought getting in to the gym and lifting a few weights would be useful but it’s a lot more to it than just going the gym.
It’s understanding the intensity of each session and always giving it 100 per cent. I also, completely underestimated the importance of nutrition.
What was your training and diet like before?
I used to play football two or three times a week so in relation to cardio and endurance I was quite fit. However, my diet was awful, with being a student all I was focused on was getting cheap meals and at times completely ignored fruit and veg.
Why did you struggle to gain weight before?
Mainly down to a lack of consistency with eating regular meals on a regular basis. I also completely underestimated how much I actually had to eat and the how the split of certain macros (macronutrients: protein, carbs and fats) should be the main focus to bulk rather than just ‘eating as much as I can’.
What changes did you make to your diet when you first started Titan Force?
I stopped having fizzy drinks and sweets or anything that had sugar content and high calories. I would eat a lot of good carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, cous cous, which I never used to eat previously.
I also never got takeaway food and avoided red meat as it had a high fat content. I also started to eat three times as much food on a daily basis as I was eating five meals a day.
How did you find this and what have you learned about nutrition and how your body reacts to different foods?
At first I struggled to stop eating fizzy drinks and sweets as I used to get cravings for them but I soon got used to not having them.
Previously I used to eat takeaways and fatty meals and would always feel very sick and bloated. However, even after eating five meals a day on Titan Force I always had a great deal of energy and I would generally feel really good about myself.
Talk us through the training side of Titan Force. What was your programme was like and what were the exercises and training intensity like?
I would do four full body workouts a week. A lot of different muscle groups would be worked in each session with a great intensity.
We had to superset certain exercises so have no break between different exercises which at first was very difficult and tiring.
After six weeks or so the programme would change and when I started to cut fat, cardio sessions were introduced every day on top of weight training which again was challenging, but results became noticeable quite quickly.
What does your meal plan for the day look like?
I would eat five meals a day. So for example, in the morning I would have a bowl of porridge with fruit such as raspberries and blueberries on top and a protein shake.
I would then have usually tuna pasta (brown) for lunch with peppers and spring onions. For the third meal I would have an omelette (four eggs) with bacon rashers and sliced tomatoes with wholemeal bread.
Fourth meal I would usually have chicken so for example: chicken breasts with sweet potatoes and salad.
The final meal would usually be a protein shake so I would have two scoops mixed with frozen fruit, spinach and milk.
What are the key things you have learned about nutrition and how has your lifestyle changed now?
I have learnt the importance of managing the amount of macros in each meal to suit a specific goal whether it may be weight gain or weight loss and the importance of staying consistent. I have also learnt that it is just as important as what you do in the gym in terms of progress.
Although I don’t eat as much now as I did on the project I’m aware of the what types of food are healthy and I’m able to measure each meal accordingly to ensure I’m getting the right balance of foods.
What are the key things you have learned about training and how to get in shape?
The most important thing I learned was staying consistent day in and day out.
Once you remain consistent with attending the gym ensuring the technique is correct and controlled and the intensity is high alongside eating the right foods and avoiding temptation of having cheat meals results will start to show quite quickly.
Perseverance is also vital as progress doesn’t happen overnight it’s a long process but well worth the wait when you get it right.
What results have you seen and what are your goals now?
I managed to gain about 15kg during my bulking phase and in the past I had always struggled to gain weight which was an enormous improvement for me.
My strength also increased massively and I’m able to lift 42.5kg dumbbells on bench press when previously I struggled lifting 15kg dumbbells. My goals now are to ensure I still attend the gym three or four times a week and maintain my level of health and fitness.
You can sign up to do the Titan Force challenge and raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust while getting in the shape of your life – whether you want to bulk up or lean out. You can find out more about how to get involved in January right here.