Dad Bod to Greek God : Tony's 12 Week Body Transformation

Josiah Novak - Author of Diets Suck

Meet Tony, a 39 year old Medical Professional who’s married with 2 awesome kids.

When Tony reached out to me this past spring he was pretty frustrated.  He’d tried a few different programs to lose bellyfat, but nothing had seemed to work.  He’d start a plan, realize it wasn’t going to work, and then revert back to “eating like an A-hole” (his words, not mine).

He wrote me saying “Recently my diet has been a huge struggle.  I tried a diet that was extremely strict, but at the end of the day I reverted back to old eating habits.  I’ve tried crossfit for 3 years and really never got to the point where I was lean and strong at the same time”.

As a busy dad who worked long hours, Tony wasn’t looking for a plan that would require him to be a fitness robot, eat perfect 24/7, and workout for 2 hours each day.  He needed something that would fit perfectly into his lifestyle and give him the flexibility to eat with his family, workout early in the morning for 45 minutes MAX, and still enjoy trips and vacations during the summer months.

If you want to get in the best shape of your life by summertime so you can walk around feeling lean, full of energy, and the most confident you’ve ever been…

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We kicked off the 12 Week program with a 4 week phase focused on building strength using heavier weight along with some moderate rep muscle building sets.  The goal of Phase 1 was to set a baseline of strength on the compound lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench) while continuing to shape and build Tony’s physique. Most people look at strength training as a way to “bulk up”, but in reality strength training can do wonders for losing bodyfat.  Plus, it’s important to build strength so that your body not only looks better, but performs better too.  Of course it’s not a bad idea to throw in some moderate reps (8-10) for small bodyparts like arms, shoulders, and calves to mix things up a bit and help stubborn body parts to grow.

The Nutrition focus during Phase 1 was on getting Tony comfortable with tracking his food intake.  Tracking your food is an excellent and very useful skill to have when it comes to getting in better shape.  Knowing how much you’re eating is very important if you want to achieve a ripped and muscular body or just get healthier in general.  Controlling your calories allows you to make adjustments to your nutrition intake without having to guess or make assumptions about why you’re getting or not getting results.

We kicked off Tony’s diet with a very moderate approach.  Moderate protein, moderate carbs and a good amount of healthy fats to support testosterone and overall health.  Tony started tracking his intake in My Fitness Pal to ensure he was nailing his calorie and macronutrient goals each week.  This allowed him to be flexible with his food choices and not be stuck eating boring chicken, rice and veggies at every meal.  He would often enjoy an occasional treat with his kids or a dinner out with his wife while still nailing his nutrition goals each day.

We also focused on lowering stress and getting great sleep each night.  We really didn’t utilize any supplements besides Whey Protein and a Multi-Vitamin.  Tony just stuck to the plan and quickly started dropping bodyfat.


The second phase was all about building muscle and improving his overall appearance.  Reps were kept between 8-12 and we started incorporating super-sets and some Metabolic Conditioning to ramp up his metabolism and crank up his fat loss.  We also cut down on rest times between sets to help him finish his workouts faster and increase overall intensity .

Tony was quickly leaning out so we actually kept carbs pretty high during this phase while adjusting our fat intake down just a bit.  Protein was kept moderate in order to allow more room for carbs and fats.  Tony’s mood was constantly upbeat and his energy was very high due to not having any major dietary restrictions.  He followed an 80/20 split with focusing the majority of his intake on healthy foods while allowing about 20% of the time for “treats” that fit his calories.  This was especially important for when he went on vacation with his family and didn’t want to go completely off track.  He was able to drink some beers and enjoy some “bad” food while having a blast at the beach.

As you can see from the pic below…the vacation was a massive success!


After Phases 1 and 2 it was time to set our sights on a fun, yet challenging goal.  Tony had seen some really amazing changes his body after 8 weeks and his wife encouraged him to schedule a photoshoot to document his progress.  Phase 3 came at the perfect time.

The workouts in Phase 3 were all geared around torching bodyfat and ramping up calorie burn.  We continued to build muscle, but with higher reps (12-20) and short rest periods between sets.  The plan also called for more Metabolic conditioning to save time and burn tons of calories, while having fun and challenging workouts.

We did lower carbs a bit this phase knowing that Tony wanted to look his absolute best for the photoshoot.  Tony’s appetite, while high, wasn’t crazy out of control.  He was able to fit in things like a little bit of ice cream, burgers, and pizza here and there.  Of course most of his food was healthy proteins, veggies and carbs.  Tony’s bodyfat continued to drop and we were thrilled with the end result!


After Phase 3 was completed we began working on a reverse diet strategy.  We slowly ramped up his food intake to eating almost 400g of carbs a day (double what he was eating for the shoot) and 70-80g of fat per day!  Tony was worried that his abs would disappear, but he trusted the process and actually stayed VERY lean all summer eating tons of food.  This is is what happens when you follow a proper “Get Lean” Strategy.

After the summer was over Tony said he wanted to set his sights on a new goal: getting on stage and doing a Physique Competition.  We quickly got to work and began leaning down again.  Stay tuned for part 2 of Tony’s Dad Bod to Greek God Story!

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