A few weeks ago, I won a session with Chris Heron of Shaping Change in London (thank you, Twitter!) Part of the prize was a biosignature assessment. I wasn’t sure how meaningful a biosig (body fat/skin fold) test would be at this stage of the season (ie, not started prepping for competitions yet) but I thought if nothing else it would give me some interesting data points: where I’ve gained fat this off-season, and how much lean tissue the test reckons I have. I don’t need anyone to tell me I am “not-lean” (I have mirrors!) but what I would like to know is my lean mass – and how much of it I can hang on to when I do start dieting down.
When Chris did the test, I was about 30 weeks away from competing. The furthest out I’ve had a biosig in previous years is 8 weeks.
The results I found most interesting:
lean mass estimated to be 54.2kgs (safe to say I probably won’t be a Lightweight competitor on stage…)
The umbilical (belly!) skinfold was my “least-lean” area (I could have told you that!) but, looking on the bright side, at least I will be able to watch those numbers tumble during prep!
However, my quadricep skinfold was the same now (months away from competing, and not yet dieting at all) as it was with 8 weeks to go from my first comp last year. How strange!
“At this level of body fat and so far out from competing, I would give the following general advice:
1. Start eating cleaner, cut out all the bad stuff.
2. Start the day with a meat & nut breakfast, no veggies.
3. Eat 6 small meals per day.
4. Take a cocktail of NAC 2-Plex, Glycine & Vit C to help with your hamstring measurement.
5. Eliminate sugars.
6. Hydrate… drink 3 litres of water per day.
7. Keep your cardio HIIT style.
8. Try some insulin sensitising protocols. I like a fenugreek cleanse using fenugreek seeds, linseeds & liquid chlorophyl with 500mls of water or waking. Freshly grind the seeds.”
As for the training – ay caramba! Chris asked what would be most useful (since the Twitter prize could have been won by anybody) and I asked him to really put my shoulders through hell. They’re a focus for me this year and I often feel a bit uninspired about training them. Well, after this little beauty of a session I felt… numb 😉 And motivated, inspired and full of ideas for my own training!
Shaping Change shoulder training session
6,12,25 for shoulders plus assistance work
5 sets/circuits of 6, 12, 25 reps as follows:
[numbers after the exercise are reps, and tempo. Minimal rest between exercises (just enough time to get the equipment) but 2 minutes rest between sets/circuits]
A1: Seated overhead military press 4-6, 40X0
A2: Seated dumbbell Arnold press 10-12, 30X0
A3: Seated barbell behind the neck press 20-25, 2020
(bar must touch the traps and up to full lockout)
B1: 10kg plate front raises – only go up and down on my commend – to failure and beyond!
4 sets of 8-10 reps at 2020 tempo as follows:
C1: Seated cable reverse flys
C2: Bent-over multi-grip single arm reverse flys
C3: first set was “teapot” laterals with dumbells (slight tilt at the top) – 15+ reps followed by “partner-assisted” lateral raises
second set was “down the rack” side laterals (10 reps with each pair of DBs – 50 reps total) followed by partner-resisted lateral raises to failure third set was seated dumbbell “L” type laterals, followed by “partner-assisted” lateral raises
Hope you followed all of that?! If you need the short version: OUCH!
Thanks so much Chris for your time, advice and ideas. Training at Shaping Change was a great boost and has given me lots to think about.
Next up: a report from my first (last? only?) Strongwoman comp!
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.