Watching our waistline isn’t just about losing weight, it’s about getting fit and knowing that you are in or working towards the best shape you can be in. This week I spoke to Harry who is a powerlifter who, despite being plagued by injury, has been improving his fitness over the course of 10 months. He has become broader, lost body fat and he is seeing his body change, and while his changes are not drastic, he is looking towards keeping a trim physique and ensuring he fuels his body with the right foods to help him towards his goals. Find out about Harry and his approach to powerlifting below
Programme: It’s my own little variation of Wendler’s 5/3/1!
How long have I been powerlifting: I’ve been in the gym siiiince.. May 2014 I think? It was a little bit of a “peaks and troughs” scenario between then and February this year, mainly because I got bored of the other programmes, but I got myself onto my variation of 5/3/1, and it feels pretty much perfect. So, I’d like to think that I’ve been attempting since February ‘15!
You took up powerlifting this year, what was your motivation to do this?
Initially it was for self-confidence and vanity. Now it’s just to see the numbers get bigger and bigger, with a teeny bit of vanity on the side.
How has this new fitness programme changed your lifestyle?
Eating has changed a lot – I’m currently aiming for about 2700 calories a day, so I’m constantly trying to think of foods that will fit into my macro/caloric needs. Plus, I’m spending four nights a week at the gym. Not too long ago, those four days would have been spent in t’pub, so I guess that’s a considerable change!
Some people can sometimes confuse powerlifting and bodybuilding, how do the two differ?
This is unlikely to be the strict definitions of them, but in my opinion, bodybuilding is purely trying to make yourself look like Adonis. It’s about trying to be ripped – having lots of muscle mass, but low body fat. Powerlifting is the complete opposite. It’s about eating a metric tonne of food and trying to lift as much weight as possible. I guess I kinda sit somewhere between that spectrum – I love eating way too much to restrict myself calorically. I guess for a more visual representation of the differences you could compare a photo of Steve Cook and Ed Coan?
What will you achieve through powerlifting?
My current programming encompasses both strength training in the main, and hypertrophy training as accessory work – so whilst I am primarily concerned with lifting more weight, I am getting a good balance of aesthetic work in (I think!)
Have you had to change your diet to accommodate the change in your fitness? What do you eat now if so?
I try to behave really, really well for the week. I’ll have scrambled egg on toast for breakfast, and have chicken, veg and rice for lunch at work with a bunch of random snacks thrown in to make up for any lacking macronutrient targets. I’ll try to save my splurges on burgers and beers for Friday and Saturday, and then it’ll be back to being disciplined. It’s all about balance!
Do you think that this is a sustainable lifestyle change, or do you believe that you will find a point where you may want to switch it up and perhaps take on something else, such as bodybuilding?
Very sustainable. Sometimes it’s hard to think of meals to cook up, because as you can imagine, egg on toast every day can get a little boring – but the five day on, two day off mentality I’ve got going on has kept me sane and consistent since February.
How has your body changed since you began?
I’m definitely broader and I’ve definitely lost a load of body fat. You have to bear in mind that before lifting I did zero exercise (bar skateboarding) and I ate so so much. Biggest difference in my opinion is gonna be my legs and ass. I’m pretty stoked on the body changes all in all, but who knows, it could still be on the up and up!
You were hit with an unfortunate injury not that long ago, how did this impact your fitness programme?
I’m pretty sure that I’m destined to not lift – I’m always injured. I recently messed my lower back up pretty badly during squats – probably from butt-wink. The end result was I had to have about three weeks off the gym. It was frustrating knowing that the work I’ve put in was slowly wilting away, and that it ultimately meant my numbers were going to drop. I came back to find myself weaker but I guess that’s the nature of the beast. I could have gone in to do some light work, or to do some rehabilitation work, but I was busy playing video games and eating pizza. I’m totally okay with that though, because it happens.
Looking back to where you started to where you are now, and considering your injury, are you where you want to be physically at this stage?
To a certain degree, yes. I’m eating well, my lower back is healed and more importantly, I’m enjoying my time in the gym and watching my progression. I feel like my form when doing lifts like squats and deadlifts could definitely be improved, but it’s all a gradual process! Nothing happens overnight.
What is your aim heading into 2016?
My aim for 2016 is to get close as I can to 1/2/3/4 plates on all the main lifts. In laymen’s terms, this would mean I’d be going for 60kg overhead press, 100kg bench press, 140kg squat and 160kg deadlift. It’s definitely attainable, I’m just gonna have to pull my finger out and graft for it! Fingers crossed for no injuries, ‘eh!
Would you like to be featured in WOW Wednesday (watching our waistline) and share your journey of to date with My Boyfriend|Gym just like Natalie did? Send Lauren an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with a little bit about your weight loss, fitness or health journey and a before and after (or during) photo. We feature one inspirational person a week, and it could easily be you!