Sometimes getting in shape can mean perfect timing. In order to make a 2 week body transformation, science can play a big part especially when all you have is 2 weeks. This is what happened to me when I was called to play the role of a Minotaur in a Greek mythology film called Labyrinth.
Normally, a diet on average is anywhere from 8-12 weeks depending on how lean you are in the off season. So there's a gradual progression that takes place while dieting. However, in the movie industry, you're not given that luxury. So when the opportunity arises, you have to act fast.
This is exactly what happened to me when Blake Simon, the director, contacted me and offered the role with a specific request in mind. He wanted me to be a big as possible while hardening up a little before my shoot date. My plan of attack would be to utilize supplementation, cardio, weight training and last but most importantly, diet and nutrition in order to dial my physique in at the right time.
Because I know how my body responds when I begin to train and diet, I was able to make the most of my time. Immediately, I cleaned my diet up eliminating all sugars, fats and dairies. This tends to cause the body to eat off of residual body fat because you're no longer in-taking these foods that normally would store.
Another change was my cardiovascular activity. Immediately I started running which sped up my metabolism and got the fat burning process rolling.
My weight training was an important factor because I had to train heavy like a powerlifter in order to stimulate muscle growth as much as possible. I made sure to concentrate mainly on my upper body because the role required a lot of size and width. I mainly trained with barbells and dumbbells in the first week to keep the muscle bellies full while I cleaned up my diet.
As I went into the second week of training I still trained heavy but I implemented a lot of lower risk movements like cables and machines because I didn't want to risk injury due to my drop in body weight. I tried to keep my workout dynamic - constantly moving from one station to another. Not only was I able to hit multiple body parts, but this also was like a cardio workout especially since I stopped doing cardio the last couple days out from the shoot.
My supplementation was also amped up, making sure I got my essential vitamins in. This included multivitamins, branch chain aminos, fat burners, omegas, and muscle building supplements. Creatine was a key supplement used to keep the muscle bellies full while coming down.
The last week was really important when it came to drying my physique out while trying to stay full. I had to monitor my body on a daily basis, sometimes eating extremely heavy with ground beef and spaghetti noodles in order to stay full. I would do this maybe every other day or two just to make sure my body could absorb the food and not totally flatten out. In between eating like this, I would drop carbs pretty much the whole day to allow my body to absorb any excess sodium from the meat.
The cardio during my last week was non-existent because I didn't want to have my muscles elongated or stretched which cardiovascular training tends to do. By not doing any other than weight training, the muscle stays tight causing it to appear harder and fuller.
The last 2 days before the show, I stopped training altogether and concentrated on eating a lot of heavy protein, complex carbs and drinking excessive amounts of water to keep the muscles full. L-carnitine was one of my main fat burners that aided in keeping the thermogenic process going for the 2 weeks along with a pro-hormone that helped synthesize the protein intake. My body was able to continuously get harder and it was easy to get a pump by simply flexing. The last 2 days I made sure to stop taking creatine in order to have more vascularity. It was just a matter of filling out from an over abundance of food and water throughout the day.
On the set, I made sure to continuously eat throughout the day and sip water and coffee which help push the food into my muscles before each scene.
This diet was similar in someways to getting ready for a competition but because of the time constraint it had to be altered to make the most out of a bigger, fuller physique. Usually over a long period - say 12 weeks, you're able to come all the way down with extreme low body fat. But with only 2 weeks, it would sort of appear like an unfinished project. So this was a way to sort of make the best of what you're working with and have a presentable appearance on camera.
Curtis Fisher is a personal trainer, diet consultant and body builder. You can download his FREE ebook Competitive Fitness Secrets at his blog Diet What Nots | Training, Eating, Science.