Here’s your new interview with one of the winners from the 9th Adonis Golden Ratio Transformation Contest.
Today John talks to James Sanders who placed 4th in our last 12-Week Transformation contest.
James comes to AGR from a very physically demanding sports background including Rugby and Mountain Climbing. However, he was still looking for other ways to challenge himself and got some awesome results after tackling our AGR Systems.
Read on to find out how “Pain & Gain” has shaped his amazing physique.
Check out James’s transformation pictures:
How old are you? 26 (25 when I took part in the contest.)
When did you first start working out? If it was before finding Adonis Golden Ratio Systems (AGR) can you briefly explain the types of programs/workouts you did before finding AGR?
I’ve been training in one form or another since I started playing rugby when I was 13. Initially this involved training once a week (2-3 hours) and playing a game once a week. When I was 15 I started playing at a higher level and trained twice a week at the training ground, 2 sessions a week in the gym (pretty unstructured with no real goal or way of tracking progress).
After breaking my leg at 17, I stopped playing rugby and worked out sporadically at the gym. At 18 I went to University and started going to the gym 3-4 times a week. This was more structured although I tended to do whole body workouts.
After 2 years of inconsistent training I started rock climbing. At about 21 I had the bug for climbing and started training/climbing heavily (5-6 times a week). After 4 years of beating up my body I had to stop as I was in a significant amount of pain and I’d come to have a very odd looking physique. It was at this point, being totally unhappy with the way I looked, that I decided I wanted to make a change.
Did you follow any sort of diet programs before finding Adonis Golden Ratio Systems? If so what were they and how did they work for you?
Other than having a healthy outlook towards my diet I had never really followed any specific protocol.
How did you find Adonis Golden Ratio Systems?
I had known about AGR for some time after Andrew Peters (another AI user and former contest winner) had been following the program and made an awesome transformation. This was when I first heard of AGR, however, the concept of ideal proportions are something of which I have come across during my education.
What made you decide to enter the contest?
Andy had mentioned that there was a contest just about to start and it might be a good idea to enter, as it would be great motivation and get things off to a running start. After considering it I thought ‘why not?’ I wanted to see just what was possible in 12 weeks and if could make an as impressive transformation as previous winners. I also knew that it would keep me accountable to myself. Having to put in the work in order to know I’d given it my best was certainly a big driving force for me!
What did you expect from yourself during this contest?
Initially, I tried not to put any expectation on what I wanted from myself. I find that placing expectations can be a route to self-sabotage. It can give you the opportunity to think of reasons why you can’t achieve that expectation, e.g. I’m a hard gainer, I don’t have what it takes to train that hard, I’ve never achieved what I truly felt capable of etc. The list of reasons why you can’t do something are usually easier to come by (for me at least) than reasons you can do something. All I knew was that I was going to give it my all and do whatever it required to have a look that was what I wanted.
How did you fit the workouts into your daily routine?
As I was used to training on a regular basis, usually for longer than the AI workouts take, it wasn’t difficult to train, although it certainly wasn’t the type of training I was used to. I had initially planned to integrate both AI and rock climbing but I decided this wasn’t a good idea. The AI workouts are intense and I thought it would have a negative effect on my training, both rock climbing and AI, so just stuck to AI. It’s probably only now that I can start to think about cross training. This also meant I was less likely to have any excuses for not going and achieving what I wanted. I then trained 4 days a week and did something else, which wasn’t AI, over the weekends. I stuck to 2 days on/1 off/2 days on/2 days off split. I found this worked well both physically and mentally.
What did you do from a diet standpoint?
I followed an intermittent fasting (IF) protocol of 16 hour fast and 8 hour eating window 5 days a week and relaxed this over the weekend, having no set fasting/eating times. Again this worked well as I tended to do more social things over the weekend. Towards the end of the contest I kept my calories at the same level as I had throughout the contest but cut carbs down and increased the fasting window to 18hrs a day.
What did you find most challenging along the way and did you have any setbacks?
There were a number of areas which I found challenging. Firstly when I first started the program I was skinny fat! Although lots of people said I was in great shape, I just wasn’t happy, I knew I didn’t look the way I wanted. I remember my first session in the gym, I looked in the mirror and man did I think I looked bad! I’d even being kidding myself saying that I had a good physique but it was in the harsh light of the gym mirror that I truly realized what I looked like.
I thought about giving up there and then; there was no way I was going to be able to make any serious gains in 12 weeks, let alone place in the contest. But I continued on and allowed myself the chance to succeed; if we don’t start from somewhere then we never start at all! Second, the whole lifting light issue. You have all these ‘shirt on’ big guys who are lifting super heavy dumbbells and I’m there with my tinny 12lbs, getting all kinds of looks – he won’t gain nothing lift those pathetic weights; “go heavy or go home” right?
Again I gave myself the permission to lift light and focused on the contraction; the mind muscle connection plays a big part in my training and I think it can make a huge difference to your results. I think the last thing I really found difficult was actually realizing that at the end of the contest I looked dramatically different during my photo-shoot. Although my body had responded to the training my mind was still in the same place it was 12 weeks prior, thinking I was skinny fat and that I looked terrible. It’s perhaps only now I’m starting to realize that I look OK and have a body that I can be happy with, for me!
How did people in your life react as your body started to change?
Most people had little idea that I was trying to transform the way I look. I kept it under wraps really. I’d rationalized this in two ways; (1) I didn’t want people to know what I was doing in case I didn’t make a transformation (2) It reduced the stress and general requirement to try and convince people that what I was doing is a good thing. It’s all to easy to be feeling like things aren’t going great and if someone then adds that what you’re doing isn’t working you can use this as an excuse to stop.
Also people can become very negative about what your doing as it makes them realize that they aren’t happy with their appearance and rather than congratulating you for your efforts, they want you to feel bad, by saying things like, “What your doing is crazy, not eating at all and doing all this exercise” or “you look ill, I think what you’re doing is not having a positive effect on you”, etc.
For these reasons I didn’t tell too many people and even those I did I underplayed what I was doing. The real reactions came after the photo shoot once people saw the transformation I had made.
When did you realize things were really starting to change?
I think I felt like I had made a change in the last 2 weeks as I started to cut down, do more walking and saw those last few pounds start to drop off. Even then though I really didn’t think I’d make the cut! The night before my shoot I was certain that I still didn’t look great and that things had gone wrong somewhere; that I hadn’t pushed hard enough! Even though a few people had said they couldn’t believe how lean and ripped I looked I was sure that it hadn’t been enough, it’s only now I understand what I’d done, so I’d say it’s now that I’ve realized I’ve changed and that I have a body to be happy with.
How did you feel when you looked at your before and after pictures side by side?
I couldn’t believe the difference, I looked so pathetic in my before photos. But that was exactly how I felt. I was really unhappy with the way I was. I could see the difference in my physique and it was great to see I’d achieved something. I always want more though and I was looking at my after shots and picking fault with my physique, what I needed to work on, what I could have done in the 12 weeks to make it more impressive. But after it had finally set in, I was very pleased with what I achieved. I set out to make a transformation and that’s what I did, I achieved a goal that I’d set for myself. Sometimes you have to congratulate yourself before moving onto the next thing, otherwise you forget that you’ve actually achieved something.
What advice would you give to other guys who are sitting on the fence not sure about entering a contest?
Get yourself entered, it provides great motivation. It makes you commit to the program fully, you have a clear deadline and you know how much time you have. It really does provide you with that driving force that you perhaps don’t get when you’re not in a contest. They are certainly intense and require complete commitment but you won’t regret it, it’s the reason I’m still lean and in great shape. It’s given that start and stepping stone to keep progressing and getting better with each day that passes. The contest allows you the opportunity to prove to yourself what you are capable of and if you have what it takes to be one of those guys with a great body and his life in order.
What’s next for you?
For now I’m finishing off the AI 3.1, I’ve got a few areas that I need to focus on with respect to having a fully proportioned physique so I keep chipping away with that. I stopped climbing while doing the contest but I’m slowly integrating climbing with AGR protocols as they fit really well together. It not only provides me with a great look, but it’s very functional. One problem I had from training purely from climbing were muscle imbalances. AGR has gone along way to even my body out and I feel a lot stronger now. Once I’m finished with a full 3.1 cycle then I’ll think about training using one of the other protocols.
I’d finally like to give a big thanks to all the guys out there for their support and advice along the way; it was instrumental in my transformation. For those guys who aren’t sure about the forums, it’s time for you to log-on. They provide you with all the tools to make your own transformation. A big thanks for all the congratulations and respect I received from the AI forum as well, I hope I’ve provided you guys with information and motivation to start your AI journey! Anyone that wants to know anything please don’t hesitate to contact me. Finally big props to the Adonis Lifestyle Staff for designing a great program which has allowed me to get to where I am today – which is a lot happier! Cheers Guys!!
You can catch up with James in our community. Here’s his profile: http://community.adonisindex.com/members/9140-Jay_S
Summary of James’s Best Tips:
- Get yourself entered in a transformation contest, it provides great motivation. It makes you commit to the program fully, you have a clear deadline and you know how much time you have.
- Most people had little idea that I was trying to transform the way I look. I kept it under wraps really. I’d rationalized this in two ways; (1) I didn’t want people to know what I was doing in case I didn’t make a transformation (2) It reduced the stress and general requirement to try and convince people that what I was doing is a good thing.
- I followed an intermittent fasting (IF) protocol of 16 hour fast and 8 hour eating window 5 days a week and relaxed this over the weekend, having no set fasting/eating times. Again this worked well as I tended to do more social things over the weekend.
- I gave myself the permission to lift light and focused on the contraction; the mind muscle connection plays a big part in my training and I think it can make a huge difference to your results.