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Fortified Transformations: Graham Hurst

Posted on Fri 29th April 2016 in Workout Plans

We love to hear a success story here at Fortified and we were delighted to hear from one of our ambassadors who wanted to share his story with you all.

Move over Optimus Prime, we have a new favorite transformer. He goes by the name of Graham Hurst. Graham shares his 20-week transformation story in his own inspiring words…


Why I decided to transform.

I have always played sports and been into fitness, but my lifestyle and dietary choices were not beneficial in helping me achieve the look that I wanted.

I was training hard in the gym, but with my nutrition not being up to scratch, I felt as if I was just spinning the wheels and not getting anywhere. I said to myself that I wasn't getting any younger, and didn't want to turn into one of those blokes who simply “lets go” and just doesn't care anymore.

I was due to get married. So I decided that for the wedding, I would challenge myself and try to shift a few pounds. I wanted to look as good as I could for the big day. My fiancée, Leanne and myself decided to hire a coach and take a 6-week transformation program.

We were really pleased, and we learned a lot about nutrition and fitness and it changed the way we trained. Slowly but surely an addiction started to form.

After our overindulging honeymoon, I was itching for a new goal, a new path to follow! I decided to get back on track with the coach and came up with a new plan of action. A plan was developed and came in the form of a 16-week transformation program. I smashed those 16 weeks, doing my meal preparation every single night and did not miss a session. After the 16-weeks we went on holiday with some of our friends and I decided that I needed another goal. This time something more ambitious and challenging that my previous goals.

I decided to get in touch with a very well respected coach, and see if he could coach me to be in the best shape of my life, this was my new goal. He took me on board, and I have never looked back.

We came up with a plan of attack and got to work on a 20-week transformation with a photo-shoot at the end. Not only was this something for me to aim for, it was a great way of having some accountability for my actions. This is where my fitness really took off. I stuck to the plan, prepping meals, training my hardest to get the results I wanted. I developed a better relationship with food, I learned that energy balance was the most important factor andconsistency is what gives you results!

How I made my transformation.

My 20-week transformation consisted of a combination of fitness and nutrition, supported by supplements and vitamins.

Fitness: I trained 5 days a week: 3 days focusing on my upper body, and then 2 days working on my legs. I would also include 4 HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions when I could fit them in. I made sure that I had two full days off a week, which for me were Wednesday's and Sunday's. These were essential for recovery, as my training was intensive especially with the added HIIT in the mornings. For the last four weeks when my calories were much lower, I replaced the HIIT with an hour’s brisk walk in the morning, which was less impactful and just helped me to keep my performances up in the gym.

Nutrition: I started the 20-week transformation eating around 3,300 kcals a day. I finished up on 2,200 Kcal for the last few weeks, but had a 4000 Kcal refeed once a week. My diet consisted of mainly whole foods like chicken, turkey, eggs, lean beef, tuna, Greek yoghurt, sweet potatoes, oats, and basmati rice. I was eating 6 meals a day and I made sure I had plenty of green vegetables with each meal. On training days, I had more high carbs and minimal carbs on rest days. I replaced them with healthy fats like avocado, salmon, nuts etc.

Extra Fuel: My main supplements were Premium Whey ProteinCreatine Monohydrate and Glutamine. I would mix the protein into my Weetabix in the morning, or with my oats at night before bed, and I'd have my creatine around my training either pre or post workout. The timing of this wasn't crucial, but I'd ensure I'd take 5g per day. I would also take 10g glutamine pre-bed.

I also took a range of vitamins daily to support my training, which included the following:

5-HTP was a daily lifesaver as it helps to relax your mood and improve your sleep (which of course is when all of our recovery and healing happens).

Multi-vitamins were also a great aid to my work-out and increased my overall performance. The human body is a very powerful machine, but to complete all the tasks it has in a normal day, it must be given a wide and complex variety of vital nutrients. Becoming deficient in any one of these essential vitamins or minerals causes breakdown of the metabolic pathway. The metabolic pathway produces optimum efficiency and performance goes down quick without these essential vitamins and minerals. 

Glucosamine is vital for building cartilage. Cartilage is a flexible, tough connective tissue found in several areas of the body. This fine, rubbery tissue functions as padding, a cushion for bones and joints. When weight lifting and exercising this cartilage and tissue takes a bit of a pounding. I highly recommend using glucosamine to ensure the maintenance of healthy joints.

Reflecting on my transformation.

The process took 20 weeks, and although the last 2-3 weeks were mentally tough, I can't say that at any point that I didn't enjoy it. I was eating plenty of food, which was varied and tasty, and non-typical of what people expect you to eat. I also learned that you don't need to eat chicken rice and broccoli 5 times aday and live out of a Tupperware

After the 20-week transformation, I was really happy with the results and I was really happy with the photo-shoot. I got some really good images back. I now have bigger and better ambitions for 2016 and beyond. I aim to keep on track and smash them.