How this 21-year-old's incredible transformation can help you get in shape
It's always inspiring to see someone transform their physique, their fitness and their health.
But when you look at a body transformation, all you see is the incredible 'before' and 'after' shots and not the months of hard work and pain that went in to make it happen.
Yet there is always so much we can take from each transformation to help motivate us and help us learn how to get in shape ourselves.
Alex Short is a fine example of this. The 21-year-old Wolverhampton man lost two and a half stone in just four months and, as you can see from his 'before' and 'after' shots, he got in pretty awesome shape.
But it's how he did it that we can learn so much from and utilise it in our own fitness journeys.
First of all Alex set himself a goal. It's so important to set goals in fitness to have something to aim for, something to work towards and an 'end point' to keep us motivated.
Alex's goal was he wanted to get in shape for a holiday with his mates in Ibiza. That gave him a 'deadline' to work to and a clear focus to keep him going hard in training. Without defined goals it's easy to just drift.
Once your goal is set, it's all down to planning how to achieve that goal and for Alex it was a case of joining a gym and recruiting a personal trainer to help put some structure into his training and help achieve his goal - which was getting a shredded physique for his holiday.
"I became a member of Xercise4Less in October last year with the motivation that I wanted to get in shape for my holiday, and also continue a healthy lifestyle with the body I always wanted," he explains.
If you're new to training or you really want excellent results - fast, it's always well worth hiring a professional to do the job.
You can spend years reading and learning while you train - or you can invest a bit of money on working with a PT who already has that experience and expertise to get you in the shape of your life far quicker.
After all, if you wanted your dream house building, you'd employ an architect and a builder. So why wouldn't you employ a fitness professional to help you build your ideal body?
Alex set a goal, then he made a plan to help him get there alongside his PT, Ste Jarrett.
"Ste was a constant mentor throughout my transformation in and also out the gym," he says. "With his workouts, nutrition plan and the encouragement he gave me I achieved my goal with time to spare."
Training and nutrition were at the heart of Alex's plan - they're crucial to every body transformation if the goal is to lose fat and build muscle to get that 'ripped' look.
But if there's one thing that's more important that making a plan, it's sticking to it. Consistency is key.
Half-arsed training and dieting will produce half-arsed results - and this is something Alex clearly grasped immediately.
Alex was training six days a week - three sessions with PT Ste and then another three sessions on his own based around weight training, cardio and abs exercises.
His diet was completely overhauled too and things like sandwiches and crisps were swapped for lean meats, healthy fats and lots of green vegetables.
Xercise4Less PT Ste said he had Alex on what's called a 'ketogenic' diet - which is based on high fats and low carbs, to keep the body in fat burning mode.
"With Alex I got him on a ketosis diet." Ste says. "That meant just fresh vegetables, meat, eggs, peanut butter and whey protein shakes, calculating his macros for him. He followed it all really well."
Calculating your daily calorie needs - and then the macronutrient (macro) balance of your daily meals including protein, fat, carbs and fibre - is key if you want an exceptional transformation.
Knowing exactly how many calories and from which sources you're eating every day is key - just 100 or 200 extra calories daily can add up to a some serious fat storage over the weeks and months.
This is how his diet changed during his programme...
It wasn't just his diet that changed - it was his lifestyle that changed too. Things like consistent meal prep and not going out on a Friday and downing 10 pints of beer are pretty important lifestyle changes during a transformation.
His PT said: "Being 21 though, he enjoys going out clubbing with his mates, so I made a compromise, allowing him to still go out but cutting out beer, cider, wines and soft fizzy drinks/juices.
"Alex's dedication to his training has been very impressive – his commitment has not wavered and he has the results to back it up."
One thing that Alex also did consistently was monitor his progress. There is no better way of seeing how well your efforts are working that by looking in the mirror.
Also taking photos regularly is a good marker of progress week to week and provides a brilliant source of motivation to keep going towards that end goal.
"During every workout Ibiza was always in my mind and I knew I had to make every session count," Alex says.
"Once I was seeing weekly pictures of my progress and how drastically my body was changing, I became even more addicted to the gym lifestyle.
"People at work noticed and kept telling me how different my face looked. When I showed them a before and after picture they couldn’t believe the transformation in such a short space of time."
The results of his transformation speak for themselves. Now with his holiday over it's back to the gym with a new goal set - bulking up and getting bigger.
"I dropped from just over 14 stone to 11 ½ stone after my transformation, but I'm already back over the 12 stone mark looking to complete my next goal of bulking," he added.