I'm Ben L. and this is my story
What has happened so far on the program?
At my worst I was 216, 20% body fat. Now I’m 180, roughly 7% body fat. The main thing people notice about me in the gym is that I’m very strong now. For my size I can lift some heavy weights:
310 Bench X 5
90 Chin-ups X 5
420 Deadlift X 5
I used to train my biceps/back and chest/triceps on alternate days, and I’d do tons and tons of sets on each. By dropping my frequency significantly I was amazed at how much my strength shot up.
What, if anything, almost kept you from buying the book or starting the program?
I’m an ex rugby player and thought (to an extent) I knew it all already with regards to strength training (I was incredibly mistaken). I’d never made a conscious effort to diet before so getting started certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone.
What do you like most about the program?
The results happened pretty quickly for me. I lost 22 pounds within 3 months whilst making strength gains. When I was travelling and became fat and out of shape, I cut down from around 192 and 14% body fat to 175 and around 8% body fat in one month (WHILE TRAVELLING!).
What I love most about the program is how it teaches you discipline and long-termism. What I love most isn’t what’s in it – it’s the tons of crap that’s not e.g. supersets, excess cardio, ridiculously restrictive dieting.
In terms of diet what I’ve loved is how it taught me to enjoy dieting. My Bigger Leaner Stronger inspired approach in terms of diet is this: What is the most enjoyable way I can reach my goals? Previously I thought of dieting as a method of punishment, but now I feel exhilarated being able to tuck into some ice cream and pancakes late at night because I’ve worked it into my numbers.
At first I found tracking everything a bit difficult, and I over complicated things for myself. Now I can honestly say that I enjoy my diet more than ever despite maintaining a very low body fat percentage.
How does this program compare with others you’ve tried?
It’s much less all consuming, restrictive and generally painful than other plans. I enjoy the workouts much more as I’m tracking everything and the frequency and volume allows for maximum progression, which nicely massages my ego!
The diet is wonderful. I get people all the time asking how I’m in such great shape and not obese due to the treats I work into my diet!
How has what you’ve achieved with your body changed other areas of your life?
This is the main part for me. I’ve genuinely transformed as a person. Before I was shy and had a generally negative view of the world. Since going on the program I’ve been on a virtuous circle. The habits BLS has instilled in me led me to delve into personal development, which has got me into meditation and yoga.
I’ve generally learned to understand my body and how I feel and respond to it so much better. I am so much more aware of what makes me feel good, so it’s led me to cut down on binge drinking, sleep WAY more, spend more time outside etc. My productivity and focus has also increased massively. I managed to get a 1st class degree from a top university in Classics and a job as a lawyer at a top international law firm.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Don’t think of tracking as a restriction and a daunting process! Once you get used to it, you’ll see it’s a way of not only optimizing your diet, but also allowing you to have some guilt-free fun every few days. It’s such a huge psychological boost to eat the foods you love, knowing that doing so will move you towards your goals.
With regard to travelling, I found that intermittent fasting was my tool of choice to get me lean again. When you’re eating out a lot and don’t have much control over your intake, it can be difficult to plan 5 meals a day. I cut down to 2 or 3 and had big, satiating meals which made my diet pretty effortless.