Poliquin Body Composition Course Results
What results are actually possible within a short period of time?
There are many different factors which will affect someone's ability to lose body fat and build muscle tissue in a short time period. These include:
- Training age
- Sleep quality
- Muscle fibre dominance
- Tecnhnical proficiency
- Motivation and determination
- Optimal Training program
- Quality of supplementation
Some people say that adding muscle and losing fat simultaneously is difficult. Many old school lifters may claim you should aim to 'bulk' - a process of building muscle (where fat mass gains are inevitable) and then 'cut' - a process of losing body fat (where losing some muscle mass is inevitable).
I knew that this was an outdated concept from my own experience. I have personally seen clients add lean muscle and lose fat tissue at the same time.
But just how much lean mass can you build in a short time period and how much body fat can you lose too?
Enrolling on the Poliquin Body Composition Course allowed me to put this question to the test.
No need to look at what the evidence says, this was simply an experiment on myself.
So before starting I had my body fat measured and before photos taken. To measure body fat we used:
- InBody 770: This £14,000 Body Composition machine claims to be 99.2% in-line with DEXA scans. Fortunately we have one at SOS Athletic Excellence. This gave me tons of data on my starting point including weight, Skeletal Muscle Mass, Body Fat Mass, Body Mass Index, Body Fat %, Segmental Lean Muscle Mass, Visceral Body Fat and Basal Metabolic Rate.
- BioSignature: This measured by body fat on the calipers and provided data on Lean Mass, Fat Mass and Total Body Fat %. I had this conduced by Gavin Attorre who is a fellow director at SOS Athletic Excellence and a Poliquin course practitioner.
Pre-Body Composition Course Results
InBody Results (before)
Main Data: Body Weight - 88kg / Skeletal Muscle Mass - 46.1kg / Body Fat Mass - 9.1kg / Body Fat % - 10.3%
BioSignature Results (before)
Main Data: Lean Mass - 80.9 kg / Body Fat Mass - 7.1kg / Body Fat % - 8.1% (photos will be attached at end)
Once the measurements were done it was time for 5 days of 'hell on earth'.
So the course involved 10 workouts designed to transform your body composition and was fortunately held in Cardiff at our facility.
All the sessions were written by Poliquin Head of Education, Jess Banda who has a wealth of experience training elite athletes, phyique competitors and general population.
To say they were tough is an understatement and would do the sessions an injustice.
We had 10 trainers and strength coaches on the course from the UK, Dubai, Saudi and Egypt. Training and learning with fellow fitness professionals certainly created an environment where slacking and taking the easy option were forbidden. The weights we lifted were always challenging and aggressive and my fellow training partners made sure that every single set count.
The 10 training sessions all used a variety of training systems. These included:
- Relative Strength training with incomplete rest periods
- Strongman conditioning
- 6-12-25 system
- Ascending Velocity training system
- Incomplete Rest for Arms
- Milos Sacev Giant sets
- 2-3 variations of German Body Composition Training
- Focused body part split sessions
Explaining what each workout entailed would make this blog post a novel, but each session was extemely focussed with an end goal in mind. This laser focus approach ensured each session was challenging. As Jess explained, 'A muscle that isn't fatigued isn't trained'. So every session we aimed to maximally fatigue as many muscle fibres as possible.
Training twice a day is very stressful (as I found). Smart and effective nutrition interventions and supplements were needed.
I tweaked my nutrition through the 5 day period slightly, but basically for 5 days I ate as much food as I could. Each meal consisted of good quality protein, moderate fats, moderate carbs and some vegetables. We had 5 meals provided by us by SOS Athletic Excellence and each meal for the week averaged out as, 415 calories, 32g protein, 12g fats and 18g carbs.
On top of the 5 meals I ate a large meal at home each evening which consisted of a minimum of 65g of protein, 100g carbs and 25g fats.
All of these meals do not include the PERI Workout nutrition which consisted of Poliquin Performance range supplements Incite (Pre Workout) and Rise (Intra Workout). These two supplements alone provided in excess of another 100 calories with the majority of those calories coming from carbs. The incite has 21g of carbs of which 15g are sugars. Taking these supplments with the pre workout stack of; Reward x 2 caspules and L'Carnitine x 4 capsules really helped increase my focus, determination and ability to get more work done in each session. These supplements are incredible and looking at the ingredients and how they work synergistically inside the body has given me a greater respect for their importance.
Post workout for the first 3 days I used whey protein, but it didn't sit well with me. I have never really got on well with whey and after not using it for two years I'm still the same. I swapped the whey for Poliquin BCAA Excellence capsules x 6-8 post workout.
Stress / cortisol was obviously high post training and with 2 x a day training and the high training frequency managing cortisol would be key to my progress. So it was recommended we take Serenity x 2 capsules, Bliss x 2 capsules and Vitamin C x 2 capsules post workouts. This combination was incredible in allowing us to relax and calm down following the workouts. I also noticed enhanced sleep quality.
So what happened after the course?
I'm writing this 2 days post course and have only measured my body fat this morning.
Yesterday I measured and body fat was down, but not as much as I expected. So I rested 24 hours and continured to eat. I measured again this morning and dropped further. I plan to rest again today and continue to eat lots. I predict my body fat will continue to drop as my body super-compensates. Remember your body loses body fat and builds muscle in periods of recovery and rest. That is why rest and recovery are key if you want to drop body fat.
Post Body Composition Course Results
InBody Results (after)
Weight: 88.6 kg (an increase of 0.6kg) / Skeletal Muscle Mass - 47.7kg (an increase of 1.6kg)/ Body Fat Mass - 7.3kg (a decrease of 1.7kg) / Body Fat % - 8.2% (a decrease of 2.1%)
BioSignature Results (before / After)
Body Fat Before: 8.1% / Body Fat After: 7.5%
Lean Mass Before: 80.9kg / Lean Mass After: 81.9 kg
Fat Mass Before: 7.1kg / Fat Mass After: 6.7kg
So both measurements prove that adding muscle and losing body fat is possible simultaneously.
This resulted in the following body shape changes with the before photos on the left and after photos on the right of each.
The before photos were taken on the morning of the course and the after photos were taken after the final workout on day 5 - YES I have a crazy pump following the torso session.
Could These Results Be Improved?
Remember this was an educational course and not a personal transformation week. Education was the priority. I 100% know that if I did other things for the 5 day period results would have improved.
So how Could We Have Enhanced Results?
- I worked every morning befoe the course squeezing in 2-3 clients before the 9.00 am starting time. Having a few extra hours of sleep each day would have undoubtedly enhanced results.
- Squeezing in some rest / sleep between sessions would have boosted growth hormone levels considerably. Unfortunately with lots of learning material to get through taking afternoon naps was not an option. This is something I personally know would have enhanced my results of the camp.
- I used whey for the first 3 days post workout and felt awful. My joints ached, my stomach felt bloated and energy was sub standard. Removing whey helped facilitate my results for the final 2 days. Next time, I'll skip the whey and opt for BCAA capsules post workout.
- The program design template was not individualised to me. I'm very fast twitch and know that I would have benefitted further from the course if the sessions were designed specifically for me. I don't respond very well to high repetitions. The Milos Sarcev shoulder routine was an example of this. The session involved 8 x shoulder exercises in a row (A1-A8) with 10 seconds rest between each. With my fibre type I fatigued super fast. This meant by the end of the giantset the weights I was lifting was just burning up energy substrates with minimal benefit. I would have benefitted more from breaking the workout up in to 2-3 parts (A series, B series or an A,B and C series).
- Tracking my calories and macros may have also enhanced my results. I just aimed to eat as much good food as possible. Who knows if hitting a certain ammount of calories daily would have helped or hindered. I guess we will never know for sure.
- We didn't use the Poliquin post workout 'Thrive' after sessions due to shipping errors. This shake would really have enhanced results and it works very well with Incite and Thrive.
What is Next?
I will continue to rest for a further 1-2 days. Following such a stressful week inducing a lot of muscle trauma, a period of rest and recovery is needed. During this time, I will continue to eat a high protein, moderate carb and moderate fat diet and ensure I facilitate recovery as much as possible with effective supplementation and high quality sleep.
I expect my body fat to continue to drop and muscle mass to continue to improve slightly over the next 3-4 days as my body fully recovers.
So the results prove:
1) You can add lean mass in a short time period.
2) You can lose body fat mass and increase lean mass simultaneously
3) You can drop considerable body fat in short time periods
Remember these results were achieved without the full super-compensation effects taking place and while on an educational course without specific / bespoke program design. I have no doubt that I could have accelerated my results with minor adjustments and I'm sure that I will continue to drop body fat and my lean mass will continue to increase over the coming days.
If anyone has any questions about the body composition camp then don't hesitate to get in touch.