We’ve been mates since primary school and for us, fitness has been a journey in every sense of the word. We started our journey as one small and one tall teenager, playing rugby, going out drinking, not knowing a kettlebell from a treadmill.

.

Our Story

 Rob after qualification at a beefcake competition
Rob and Ben in their youth

It starts with Ben. It’s 2009, and at 18, 5 feet 10 and 16 stone and fresh into university life. Ben had peaked in terms of his fulk (fat bulk). He’d struggled with is weight since childhood and suffered a lack of confidence and belief in himself because of this.

He decided that enough was enough, as the only thing that was closer to him having to buy another pair of 38 waist jeans was his impending risk of type 2 diabetes.

He had to change.

So he started his journey into the fitness world by joining an online health and fitness forum. Here, Ben found what he was looking for:

A community of like minded people who gave him the help, advice and support for him to start losing weight. Ben started going to the gym with some of his friends at first preceding to lift so much volume with their biceps you couldn’t even extend your arm without pain. Ben then decided to take things a little bit more seriously.

He started following some training protocols that advocated training muscle groups 1 time per week to the point where you can’t do any more, eating more protein and less calories, following more and more extreme workout and meal plans.

This included going to the gym 5-6 times a week, slow steady state cardio, raw eggs, no booze, out of control cheat days, and 200-300 reps on the leg press in a single session.

Overall this was a success, but not sustainable as it required the lifestyle of a Tibetan monk and the willpower and endurance of someone sprinting a marathon.

 Ben at peak fulk (fat bulk) in Magaluf 2009, then after having performed several “clean” keto based cuts in 2013
Ben at peak fulk (fat bulk) in Magaluf 2009, then after having performed several “clean” keto based cuts in 2013

Then after seeing Ben’s amazing results and desire to change, Rob got interested in this fitness thing as he thought that maybe, if he could get bigger he would stand a better chance of getting in the university rugby team and also be able to have those abs he had dreamed of.

At 6 foot 2, Rob was naturally taller ticking that typical skinny fat mould; small-medium beer belly, very small muscle mass and bad haircut which meant room for improvement.

Rob proceeded to eat (a lot) and then cut (a lot) using the same type of keto based, clean eating style his mate Ben had used before.

Rob and Ben also spent money on countless supplements that promised to enhance results in quicker timeframes – think expensive fat burning pills and “proprietry blend” pre-workout formulas…

This was also a success, but definitely not sustainable! There were struggles along the way and we made a lot of mistakes, so that you don’t have to!

 95kg to 83kg, “clean” bulk and “clean cut”, training body parts once a week, hours of slow state cardio, following a restrictive keto or low carb diet plan and then binging on a cheat day.
95kg to 83kg, “clean” bulk and “clean cut”, training body parts once a week, hours of slow state cardio, following a restrictive keto or low carb diet plan and then binging on a cheat day.

University came and went for these two guys, who began to get increasingly frustrated with the fitness industry, particularly with the too often dogmatic approach taken to losing weight and gaining muscle, things like:

  • Clean eating and restrictive diet approaches, saying what you can and cannot eat. Only Siths deal in absolutes..
  • Useless (often expensive) supplements that give no additional benefit
  • The requirement for cardio to be fasted
  • It’s ok to eat 400g of cashew nuts and 4 avocados for breakfast – they have healthy fat in them
  • Thou must not eat carbohydrates after 7pm
  • That you must eat 30 mins after working out otherwise your physique will regress to Golumm
  • Lack of progress with weight training through training body parts once a week to absolute failure
  • Confusing and often conflicting messages about what actually works when trying to transform you’re physique (if you Google this, you get 7.8 million results…… just saying)

The Epiphany

..

They opened their eyes and ears to the dark side of fitness…. If It Fits Your Macros, tracking calories and macro nutrients using MyFitnesspal and progressive overload.

Initially inspired by people like Layne Norton and Matt Ogus, these principles that have enabled them to move away from the gym being their life, to the gym being part of their life.

We learned to avoid mistakes that we had previously been making so that you don’t have to make these either. These are things like:

  • Spending hundreds of pounds spent on supplements that had no effect on performance and no evidence base to boot
  • “Bro” splits of chest Mondays, back Tuesdays, arms Wednesdays
  • Thinking of individual foods as healthy vs unhealthy
  • Training to failure ALL THE TIME
  • Eating super low calorie diets because we thought extreme = better
  • Doing lots of fasted and boring, steady state cardio

Over the next couple of years, sustainable gains were made with both Ben and Rob using flexible dieting and simpler, more effective training methods.

 Rob’s progress from lean bulk on left (89kg) to cut (85kg) and Ben’s lean bulk progress (85kg). This was achieved through flexible dieting, and progressive overload training that hit body parts multiple times per week.
Rob’s progress from lean bulk on left (89kg) to cut (85kg) and Ben’s lean bulk progress (85kg). This was achieved through flexible dieting, and progressive overload training that hit body parts multiple times per week.

Since leaving university, Ben and Rob have continued their passion for health and fitness in different ways. Rob competed in natural bodybuilding at National level, whilst Ben continued to get strong shifting some big weights.

Powerlifting is the next aim for both Ben & Rob.

They started offering this advice to friends and family for free, helping other people avoid the mistakes that we’ve made in the past.

But the challenges they faced now were very different.

These two unassuming macro counting kings were moving into the world of work where time is scarce, not everyone wants to go to the gym, or reminisce about that personal best deadlift that almost was, or panics at the thought of visiting Pizza Express without pre-knowledge of the calorie content of their pizza menu.

The task was to apply their balanced experience to the new world of work, whilst achieving their fitness goals in the process, which they did in a sustainable way.

Rob and Ben have managed to do this pretty consistently over the last couple of year, so that we are now in a position to share this with you!

 Rob competing in Natural Physique (above on the far left placing 4th) and Bodybuilding shows (below, winning the BNBF regional qualifier).
Rob competing in Natural Physique Competition and Bodybuilding shows (below, winning the BNBF regional qualifier).

Over the last 7 years, Ben and Rob have been progressing with busy professional careers in London, (Rob is currently a Management Consultant with a Big 4 firm, and Ben is a Marketing Director at a Digital Advertising company).

They both live hectic lives which means making time for training, eating and being productive can be difficult… but not impossible you’ll be pleased to read!

The tools and techniques that they have learned have allowed them to make progress both in and out of the gym.

The Next Step

..

We have started GramFitness to help coach you on the tools, tips and techniques we’ve learned to get strong and stay lean whilst working 60+ hours a week full time, often away from home.

We have to warn you that this isn’t for everyone, people who will enjoy working with us are:

  • motivated to make a change in themselves for the better
  • believe in the application of scientific principles to diet and training
  • are prepared to test and learn
  • like to get results without compromising the things that are important to them like socialising, favourite foods or binge watching Netflix series

We want to help you if you’re struggling with where to turn, feel frustrated at the lack of progress you are making or are simply tired and fed up of wading through the mud of misinformation that is the fitness industry.

Join the team today!