Personal Trainer, Liverpool Street




The birth of my first child and a long Christmas break led to me putting on a little bit of extra festive timber. This was the catalyst, along with a holiday in Australia, for a new 12 Week Shred.


This is me before the start of my 12 Week Shred. 2 weeks in hospital with the birth of my first son and all the delights of hospital food quickly bled into the festive period and a December full of eating and drinking. It meant that I came back to work on January 2nd feeling out of shape and not looking forward to my upcoming beach holiday in Australia. I decided it was time to commit to a 12 Week program and try to get myself back into shape.


My starting point was 88kg and one of the heaviest points in my life. This was not surprising as I had spent a month completing Deliveroo and neglecting training to spend time with my newborn son and wife. A big family Christmas and all the trimmings continued to add to the ‘problem’. But, this stage in my life was for this, and exercise and nutrition had to take a back seat so I could enjoy this time with my family.

For the first 4 weeks I set myself some simple goals to commit too to get myself back into training and eating properly. They were:

  • a minimum 12.5 thousand steps on my apple watch everyday.
  • track all my food on My Fitness Pal and to hit 2700 kcal daily.
  • 5 resistance sessions a week.


I think tracking your daily calories intake with an application like My Fitness pal is one of the most important and sometimes most overlooked part of making a change to your physical appearance. If you can’t measure something how can you expect to analyse, change and monitor, to then change and progress. As I said my starting weight was 88kg and aiming for a sustainable 0.5kg weight loss every week meant I needed to hit 2700kcal every day on my food allowance. Using My Fitness Pal can feel a little tricky sometimes and long winded. But once you start to track a couple of days, generally, your regular eating patterns dictate that you can copy and paste day to day. Having a goal and target as well to work towards works really well for me.

Personal Training, Liverpool Street


To start my transformation I needed to do two things to record my progress. Firstly I took progress photos, front, side and back view and then also weighed myself. To ensure that the results were consistent with the changes going on I made sure to do this on the same day at the same time each week. So Saturday morning became my weigh in and photo day.


So my training for the first 4 weeks focused on two main areas. LISS and Compound resistance training.

LISS– Low Intensity Steady State cardio training is an easy way to burn calories without pushing your body too hard, allowing you to recover for your resistance training. For me, for the first 4 weeks this involved me hitting my daily step goal of 12,500 steps. My journey to and from the tube each day allowed me to hit half of this daily goal. The rest would involve trying to get outside for a brisk 30 minute walk or getting on a stop later on the tube to make up the difference. The one caveat, is that through my job as a PT I am always on my feet and moving around which is a big advantage I have over an office worker. My top tip would be to invest in step tracker and to set yourself a daily target. It’s amazing how addictive this can be to beat and how in next to no time you can quickly push this up.

Personal Training, Liverpool Street

Compound resistance training– What I mean by this is big compound exercises (moves that involve more than one joint therefore more than one muscle) using resistance. For example my 5 sessions would revolve around a core compound move to start trying to move more weight each week through 3 sets of 8 repetitions. So for example my week would look like the following:

Monday Squat 3×8, Tuesday Flat bench 3×8, Thursday Deadlift 3×8, Friday Incline Bench 3×8, Saturday 3×8 Standing Military press.

The rest of each session would be made up of accessory work to compliment the muscle group I had been working. So for example Tuesday’s bench press session would be followed up with Incline DB press, Flat DB flyes, Cable tricep pushdowns and lying DB skull crushers. I would try to work everything in the 8-12 rep range trying to lift as heavy as I could with good form. I would then look to add a little more weight each week. I was trying to build a good base level of resistance training and trying to build a little muscle whilst my calories were still relatively high. My rest periods were 90 seconds between each set to allow myself adequate time to recover.


By the end of the first 4 weeks of training my weight was down to 83.8kg and I had been hitting my 3 goals consistently over the first period. To continue my good progress I knew I would need to continue with the consistency but also to add a couple extra tools to my belt. 

For the second 4 weeks I set myself some goals to continue my excellent progress. They were:

  • a minimum 16 thousand steps on my apple watch everyday.
  • track all my food on My Fitness Pal and to hit 2450 kcal daily.
  • 5 resistance sessions a week and 2 thirty minute sessions on the exercise bike. 

As you can see from the above goals I have taken the already established habits and added a little more emphasis to each one to continue my good fat loss progress. Nothing is too drastic or quick which is the common mistake people make when looking to make a substantial body composition change. 12 Weeks is a long time to make a change to your physique. It is more important to be constant and clever over those 12 weeks then to have 3 really good weeks and 9 below average weeks. I was still enjoying my weekends with my wife and son but ensuring that my calories matched the target across that week. I was now adding in 2 steady state bike sessions a week as my body had now become used to the amount of exercise I was doing.

Personal Training, Liverpool Street

In terms of my training sessions not a lot had changed in terms of the structure of the sessions. my main lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench press etc) were becoming a little harder and the numbers I was managing to lift were not as impressive but again this is to be expected when you are placing your body in a calorie deficit. 

WEEKS 9-12

The last 4 weeks are were the real hard work starts and also were you can achieve the most in terms of how dramatic a transformation you can make to your physique. By the point I was 79.9kg and had been steadily in a calorie deficit for 8 weeks. I purposefully hadn’t set myself a weight target when I started this journey and it was just about making a sustainable change to my body that I felt didn’t have too big an impact on my personal life but left me feeling fit and healthy.

Again I had the same set of base goals but it was making them a little more demanding that would lead to continued fat loss. They were:

  • a minimum 20 thousand steps on my apple watch everyday.
  • track all my food on My Fitness Pal and to hit 2200 kcal daily.
  • 6 resistance sessions a week and 4 twenty minute sessions on the exercise bike. 

As you can see, what started out as 3 simple and very achievable goals 8 weeks ago have now become a bit more challenging. By gradually dropping my calories to 2200kcal a day was very achievable. However, if I had come straight back in January and dropped my calories to 2200kcal this would have been very hard to maintain as it would have been too big a drop for my body to cope with. This is a big reason why many peoples post New Year Resolutions start to fail after 3 weeks. 

In terms of training this had now become much more demanding especially on lower calories. Therefore each resistance session was now only 45 minutes however I was training 6 times a week instead of 5. Normally as well I would add in 15 minutes walking on a treadmill at the end of each session to help me hit my 20 thousand step goal. I would also do 4 independent bike sessions on the 2 days when I wasn’t training lower body. Again this would just help me chip away at the last little bits of body fat. 

In terms of the structure of the resistance sessions, now that my calories were quite low, performance was no longer the focus. Therefore, my sessions would revolve around putting multiple exercises together. For example the first set of exercises on a Monday would be the following:

Back Squat 3×8 reps, Standing shoulder press 3×8, Static Split squat 3×10 reps, Lateral Raise 3×10 reps. 90 seconds rest. 

As you can see one set has multiple exercises in it and for this I was utilising upper and lower body moves. The idea was to get as much volume into one session as I could and to allow my body very limited time to recover. Naturally as a result of this my weight on each exercise were significantly lower than normal. 

Personal Training, Liverpool Street


So following 12 weeks of this program it was time to see the results of my hard work. My final weigh in was 75.9kg a total weight loss of 12.1kg over 12 Weeks. Of course it was hard work but having three very clear mini goals each 4 week cycle gave me something to aim towards. I was very pleased with my results and felt even better when I finally got to step on the beach in Australia. Now time to focus on getting back some strength!

Personal Training, Liverpool Street

author: Matt Williams


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