If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try AGR : Interview w/ AT-13 Winner Noel Cibaian [Prevasticus]

Here’s your latest interview with 9th place winner Noel Cibaian from the 13th Adonis Golden Ratio Transformation Contest.

 Noel Sibayan - AT-14 9tth Place - Front Before/After Photos

Noel Cibaian – AT-13 9th Place – Front Before/After Photos

 Noel Sibayan - AT-14 - 9tth Place - Side Before/After Photos

Noel Cibaian – AT-13 – 9th Place – Side Before/After Photos

Noel Sibayan - AT-14 - 9th Place - Back - Before/After Photos

Noel Cibaian – AT-13 – 9th Place – Back – Before/After Photos


Noel’s Transformation Interview:


1- What workout or nutrition routine did you do before Adonis Golden Ratio (AGR) System? What kind of results did you get?

In a nutshell, I didn’t follow any nutrition or workout routine and just ate whatever I wanted when I wanted. My fitness and health journey started back in 2008 when I visited my doctor for an annual checkup and found out I had hypertension. I always thought I was healthy and the possibility of having high blood pressure had not occurred to me. It was the time when my weight reached 147 pounds, which in 2008, the BMI regarded as “obese” for my height. My all-time high weight was 157 pounds, just two years earlier. Upon using a BMI calculator today, I noticed BMI is now calibrated to regard 150 pounds as “normal” for a 5’ 5” male with 32 inch and half waist circumference. How times have changed. Despite my weight and a mildly protruding belly, I didn’t think I was fat. At least I didn’t look fat when I had my shirt on. My significant other suggested doing some exercises to bring the blood pressure down. I really didn’t know where to start. I just knew I didn’t want to do running just to get in shape. It seemed it was what I always defaulted to doing when I was younger. Unfortunately, surfing the internet for hours didn’t generate any satisfactory result. I was looking for a resistance/weight lifting training program with free weights, but couldn’t find any. At some point, I found a popular DVD based, 90-day, seven days a week functional training program. It was not what I was looking for, but did it anyway because I naively thought it was the only exercise program available. So I worked out 90 days straight with only one day missed and even working out while sick with a cold. I did manage to lose weight down to 135 pounds on the 90th day and my blood pressure did drop down to normal. However, I couldn’t do the program again because quite frankly, exhaustive exercises of 1-1.5 hour sessions for six days a week and with only one day reserved for recovery or stretching for me was not sustainable.

2- How did you find out about AGR?

This part is going to be long winded, so please just bear with me. Fast forward to 2013 and I was back to 147 pounds and being “skinny fat”. I hurt my back earlier in the year by just bending over to pick up some bags of groceries. This is when I knew I had to do something. Again, I had no luck finding the workout program I wanted, just layers upon layers of online advertisements. Eventually, I bumped into a popular bodybuilding/supplement website but, it seemed it was filled with immature meatheads constantly calling each other names in forum postings. Surely, there is a better way to get in shape. At some point, I did kettlebells and then elliptical machines, but followed no real program. Both turned out to be incredibly monotonous, so I stopped working out altogether. Eventually, in June 2013, I found the newer, faster, better, stronger version of the DVD based 90-day functional program I have done previously. Not knowing any better, I followed the program through, got mildly in shape but still had a gut at the end. Even more depressing was I could not lose as much as weight as before and I was stuck at 147 pounds. I asked myself surely, the ripped trainer in the DVD knew something I didn’t and blamed myself for the lack of progress. Out of curiosity, I did a little bit of research on the program and found that many people have been doing the program many times over with very little or no visible results. The program’s workout mantra was to just keep watching the same DVD workout over and over again until results came. I was not happy at all. Then, I found the bodybuilding version from the same company. I was so excited at the prospect of finally perhaps having a muscular body. It was a 6-day body part split training program. I didn’t mind the hectic workout schedule because I thought I finally found what I was looking for.

Noel Sibayan - AT-14 - 9th Place - Transformation Image

Noel Cibaian – AT-13 – 9th Place – Transformation Image

However, it was not to be. Since it was a traditional bodybuilding program, there was the strict insistence on eating six meals a day and eating in excess of 3000 calories daily, all in the name of building muscle. Predictably, I got fat at the end of the program. So once again, I was back where I started, only feeling a little worse for having wasted so much time. While still doing the bodybuilding program, I found a beginner full body strength training program that focused on adding weight on subsequent workouts as a way to build muscle. The program’s founder looked “muscular” enough, although not in the way the Adonis Index would define what a proportionate, muscular body should look like. He didn’t look like a meathead which was a plus, but he didn’t have that pronounced v-taper look either. He spoke of the glory of getting strong over having the look of a muscular body. The basic premise of his program was, getting stronger eventually translated into bigger muscles. I started the program with some reservations, especially when I saw the “graduates”. Most of them looked pretty ordinary. Some were skinny, some were average looking and few were even looking downright overweight. The muscular ones were fewer still and seem to have uneven muscle development. But they were supposed to be very, very strong. According to this guy, strength is what counts. Then, I looked down at my protruding belly fat, which never went down throughout the program. This is when I knew for sure something was missing in my training. Not knowing any better, I scoured the strength training website for some clues and found a cross-promotion article on Eat Stop Eat. I was only few pages into reading Brad Pilon’s e-book when I decided to fast twice that same week. Within four weeks, my waist circumference shrank into what the Adonis Index refers to as my “golden waist”. During this time, I was still doing the workouts in the strength training program when Brad P. casually mentioned Adonis Golden Ratio in his Eat Stop Eat Optimized e-book. Of course I had my doubts. I got burned several times already and I didn’t want to waste any more time on another program preaching more of the same. But eventually, I visited the AGR website anyway.

3- What was most appealing to you about AGR?

For me, it was the podcasts. John Barban, Brad Howard and Brad Pilon’s science and research based discussions on fitness is what really sets AGR apart from everyone else. At this point, I was still skeptical about getting a ripped body, so I set my expectations low until proven otherwise. I also liked the fact that AGR also has metrics for the ideal body and perhaps the most intuitive online nutrition software that actually made sense. 

4- Were the any concepts or approaches you were skeptical about?

I didn’t really have any problem with AGR concepts or approaches as far as muscle building or nutrition guidance once I started reading the program materials. However, my first impression of the AGR website was that it was somewhat commercial. Prominent display of third party products and supplements just seemed too similar to every popular bodybuilding/supplement websites I preferred to avoid. It was this initial impression of AGR that made me press the “cancel” button over half a dozen times when purchasing the program. I know it sounds very silly to pick a program based on website impressions, but I’ve been burned several times with false promises from other programs, so I needed a little more convincing that AGR is not one of them.

5- When did you decide to jump on board full-fledge with AGR?

Despite my reservations on AGR’s marketing approach, Brad Pilon’s e-books were so good and informative I just had to give Adonis a go. My thought was, If Brad recommended the Adonis Index, surely it can’t be that bad. My only regret was that, as many AI members have stated before, was not finding Adonis sooner.


Noel Cibaian – AT-13 – 9th Place – Transformation Image

6- When did you first decide to enter an Adonis Transformation (AT) contest?

At first, I was hesitant of joining a contest. About a month before AT13, I was just under two thirds of finishing a full body strength training program. I tend to follow through anything I start with, even if I was feeling very dissatisfied with my results from the program. Eventually, I finished the full body strength training program. I focused on moving on with my training with Category 3 and never looked back. I finally joined Adonis Transformation Contest 13 on January 22, 2014 to get my significant other’s support, rather than just looking overly obsessive compulsive about working out.

7- What was your experience going through the AT contest? Challenges that came up? Things you didn’t expect?

My experience was that the workouts are awesome. The nutrition portion wasn’t too bad since I already lost most of the fat on my waist, although my abdominal muscles were still not visible. My biggest challenge came from weaning myself out of the caloric deficit mentality. According to the AGR Nutrition Software calculator (aka Reverse Taper Diet calculator or just “RTD”), I needed to eat surplus calories. This is not the 3000 plus “bulking” style, but rather a sensible 200-300 calories above my resting metabolic rate. As far as unexpected, a month into the contest and two months overall in the Adonis Index, my progress seems to have stalled. Worse, when I increased my calories, my waist circumference increased as well, which typically means fat gain. My initial reaction was to cut calories, but another AGR member convinced me to stick to the Reverse Taper Diet recommendation and only lower my calories by a few hundred calories if I wanted to. It was this level of support from the AGR Community that kept me going. Any questions I had, someone in the community knew the answer, or at least point where to look for more information.

8- How did people react to your transformation?

The reaction from my family was mostly positive. My two sisters are both into fitness, so they could appreciate the results from the Adonis program. My coworkers on the other hand, hardly noticed the change. My missus has been back and forth worried about me getting to skinny, or being too bulky with muscles. To this day I explain to her that such bulkiness can only come from using drugs.

Noel Sibayan - AT-13 - 9th Place - Transformation Image

Noel Cibaian – AT-13 – 9th Place – Transformation Image

 9- How do you react to the “Brand New” you? Have you noticed changes in your outlook and attitude in general.

Today, I feel very light and “free”. Free to be finally rid of the fat that was slowly eating away my health. It is hard for me to think of my body other than what it looks like now. The credit goes to Eat Stop Eat, AGR, as well as my resolve to make the change. Also, I thought I made a good decision as far as investing in the AGR system. The free podcasts are great, but the Immersion podcasts and the coaching calls made the AGR experience much, much better as far as staying informed. It was definitely a dream come true, to have at my fingertips research information based on actual science rather than just made up “bro” science the fitness industry loves to misinform the masses with. The AGR folks are constantly posting blogs regarding new developments, to ensure its members have the most up-to-date information available, whether it’s on muscle building, nutrition, industry-related information or simply to motivate. I sincerely believe that my physical transformation also translates into positive mental and emotional well-being. I know that my body feels great and I have a more positive about my outlook on life. I feel that there are definitely still a lot more work to do, but I have clearly made progress towards building the body I wanted using AGR in the past months.

Editor’s Note:

Hey Noel,

Or should I say Prevasticus AKA “Prev.”   Congratulations on a stunning transformation.  You are a champion in our community forum. Always willing to go the extra mile to help others along their AGR journey.  Thanks for helping make the AGR system a true testament to others by not only paying it forward; but also by going out and getting personal results! We look forward to seeing more transformation updates from you in the future.

your brother in Iron,

Let the Music Do the Talking: Interview w/ AT-13 Winner Ibrahiym Gladney

Here’s your latest interview with 4th place winner Ibrahiym Gladney from the 13th Adonis Golden Ratio Transformation Contest.

Ibrahiym Gladney - 4th Place - Front Before/After Photos

Ibrahiym Gladney AT13- 4th Place – Front Before/After Photos

Ibrahiym Gladney AT13- 4th Place - Side Before/After Photos

Ibrahiym Gladney AT13- 4th Place – Side Before/After Photos

Ibrahiym Gladney AT13- 4th Place - Back Before/After Photos

Ibrahiym Gladney AT13- 4th Place – Back Before/After Photos


Ibrahiym’s Transformation Interview:

1- What workout or nutrition routine did you do before Adonis Golden Ratio (AGR) System? What kind of results did you get?

To be honest I followed the crowd as far as workout routines are concerned. I would go to the gym and do three sets of chest, three sets of legs, and maybe a set or two of shoulders or back followed by 45 minutes of cardio. At the time I weighted 240 and I was able to lose 15 pounds and walk around at 225. With the addition of adding squats to my routine I was able to lose another 5 pounds and drop down to 220. Unfortunately I was only able to maintain that weight for about six months before I started slowly packing on weight until I shout back to around 239-240 pounds.

Adonis Origins

Adonis Origins: Ibrahiym’s Adonis Lifestyle Transformation (Left: 240lbs | Right: 180lbs)

2- How did you find out about AGR?

I was sitting in the service area of my Hyundai dealership while checking my email and Kyle Leon recommended that I check out a short presentation and that presentation was the AGR system.

3- What was most appealing to you about AGR?

The fact the AGR focused on a leaner look and muscular symmetry while at the same time gaining strength and losing weight.

4- Were the any concepts or approaches you were skeptical about?

I was skeptical about counting my calories, the workout starting point categories, and the whole program. I had a hard time accepting what was different between bodybuilding.com and the Adonis Golden Ratio System.

5- When did you decide to jump on board full-fledge with AGR?

Lol the minute I saw the video and heard the presentation.

6- When did you first decide to enter an Adonis Transformation (AT) contest?

I believe a year or two after joining the program.  I realized that I was in the best shape of my life but I was lagging in certain muscle groups. So I decided to join the contest to see how far I could push myself physically and mentally.

7- What was your experience going through the AT contest? Challenges that came up? Things you didn’t expect?

The biggest challenge for me was building up my intensity without a workout partner. I often felt that I wasn’t improving my physique because of the non-workout partner limitation. So I often put on my head phones and turned the anger and frustration into a constant challenge and it seems as if I came out on top. I absolutely did not expect to be so tired after my workouts.  They took everything out of me. I also did not expect to see my body transforming in front of my eyes.

8- How did people react to your transformation?

Positives and negatives (if any). A lot of negative comments came my way as far as “you are getting super skinny” (normally by people who were not in shape) “don’t fade away on me”, or even from body builders in my gym calling me “weak” or to “small”. On the other end, I also received some positive comments as far as “you look great” and even some “keep up the good work”.

 9- How do you react to the “Brand New” you? Have you noticed changes in your outlook and attitude in general.

Yes everything changed for me. I started performing poetry. I went out and threw away all of my old clothing and bought new ones. I am a much healthier eater than I was before the AGR System.

Editor’s Note:

Hey Ibrahiym, Wow! What an awesome transformation you have had overall with the AGR system.  It was great to hear about your struggles as well as  your victories while working towards your “Golden Ratio.”  I understand you may have felt like the “Lone Eagle” while on your journey.  It can be tough when you don’t have a training partner.  However, it was more refreshing to learn that your listening to music during your workout channeled your motivation and enabled you to push harder than before. Ibrahiym, congrats again on amazing transformation and keep pushing to inspire others! your brother in Iron,


The Grass Truly Is Greener on the Adonis Side: Interview w/ AT-13 Winner John Macris

Here’s your latest interview with 8th place winner John Macris from the 13th Adonis Golden Ratio Transformation Contest.


John Macris AT13- 8th Place - Front Before/After Photos

John Macris AT13- 8th Place – Front Before/After Photos


John’s Transformation Interview:

1- What workout or nutrition routine did you do before Adonis Golden Ratio (AGR) System? What kind of results did you get?

There’s quite a saga to this, so readers are welcome to scroll forward!

You know when you’re looking through your old CD or album collection (well for those people old enough to have owned music in an actual physical medium)… you find some artist or band that you once followed a long time ago and now when you revisit their music you’re like dumbfounded and saying “jeez what was I thinking?! That’s just embarrassing”. Well, my back-story of attempts at shaping a decent physique kind of evokes the same reaction from me now.

I’d say even though I now feel kind of like I was an Adonis Golden Ratio (AGR) Systems user waiting to happen, the journey here was pretty random and meandering.

Growing up, fitness-wise I was either completely average or maybe a little behind the average. I certainly never rated as lean in that I carried a little paunch around the waist and softness in the chest, and I didn’t have any sporting talents to speak of. That same physique basically persisted into my early 20s along with the usual filling-out associated with reaching adulthood.

I did have a fairly physical job during almost a decade from age 19 to 28 and I’d estimate I probably acquired a bit of muscle mass through the core and legs associated with that job’s lifting duties. But I did minimal actual purposeful resistance training until I was nearly 30.

My first taste of taking on a routine of exercising and some degree of food…discipline (I wouldn’t call it dieting)…was when I was around 26-27, I started doing a late evening jog and reappraised a couple of my typical snack choices. That was important, in that it showed me I could make an appreciable difference to how I looked just through being in the habit of exercising and thinking about what I ate. I was also dabbling in vegetarianism, which in hindsight probably helped weed out a few calorie-dense snack foods from my weekly menu.

Then I became an undergrad and then postgrad student for a good number of years at one of the universities here in Sydney. With that, my living location changed and I lost the knack of regular exercise for a while. But ultimately I gravitated back into a routine and joined my university’s gym in about 2000. Since then, I estimate I’ve only had maybe one gap of a few months of not exercising. Otherwise I’ve been going to the gym 4-7 times a week.

Gyms are good for getting you access to a large range of training options at the one locality.  However, as has been described by several past transformation finalists, I also pretty easily became distracted by that thing where you tell yourself there must be greener pastures from what you’ve got. It usually happens just from observing a quirky routine that some really fit-looking dude is doing over in one corner of the weight room. Thus, the decade of my 30s was like a series of those ‘Greener Pasture’ quests in different ways of training.  A few selected highlights of mindsets I got stuck in:

For a while I was seduced by what the mainstream male fitness magazines of that time were continually preaching to their readers about using weight training and muscle hypertrophy as a secret weapon to make you metabolize all your surplus fat. I arrived at a skeptical view on that after seeing how ineffectual it was as a strategy for getting leaner. Or maybe I still took it on faith, but I thought my own body was malfunctioning.

Then right in the middle of my 30s I turned back to cardio, this time having caught the intervals craze, and used a treadmill every morning before breakfast. I did tighten up on my snacking at the same time without really thinking too hard about it. Six months of that approach got me to the leanest I’d been up to that point. I know that because I was taking weekly waist measurements and weighing myself, and I got down from a 38 plus to a 34.5 inch waist, and landed at around 175 pounds.

John Macris AT13- 8th Place - Side Before/After Photos

John Macris AT13- 8th Place – Side Before/After Photos

I subsequently found a regular gym buddy who was naturally lean with no effort involved, and who was keen to do weight training with me every day. To fit with his habits, I just stopped worrying about my waistline and we both went on a “Get Strong or Die Trying” campaign.

It became like the only metric I was thinking about was how many plates I could put on the bar, and I came to believe some spiel that one of the supplement companies promoted in their magazine about all the effective muscle growth coming from lifting in the 4-6 rep range. In that little realm of broscience, anything of higher reps supposedly offered you nothing besides a warm-up.

That’s one of my big cringe episodes now. I think I found my absolute worst look ever on that regime. My goals had been soundly hijacked, not to mention I was wasting my meager student income on an array of supplements. I’d liken the physique results to looking like a barrel all through the torso and core, coupled with underdeveloped arms and shoulders. I weighed about 200 pounds and had a 39 inch waist.

So I got dissatisfied or bored with that after three or so years and various inflamed tendons and joints. Since I had no new hypertrophy bandwagon to jump on, I just started experimenting with new ways to lose weight. I took up swimming multiple times a week, added back in some treadmill and stair machines, once again at the fairly high intensity settings, and got maybe two weight training sessions a week where I trained pretty much only back and shoulders. As I had almost no dieting discipline over that period, most of the workout routines didn’t really show up as visible results on my body shape. I was just kind of spinning my wheels really.

2- How did you find out about AGR?

In 2011, I had one of my wishful, greener-pasture moments that actually set me on the path ultimately to here. And amusingly, it was really just as ill-informed as any of the earlier ones, but happenstance made it work out.

What occurred was I saw someone using a skipping rope at the gym and thought “hey, everyone I’ve ever seen who was really proficient with one of those things was also ripped and well proportioned”. It didn’t occur to me that maybe it was the fact they were ripped and agile that made skipping a skill they were good at, rather than my assumption of the activity itself having transformed them.

So I ran off to buy a cheap skipping rope and googled a few terms pertaining to it. And like quite a few of your early contest winners, my web search took me to that Fitness Black Book blog that seemed to have a big following, I assume because he was a) filling a niche that the bodybuilding websites were ignoring, and b) he probably had optimized it to come up on lots of people’s web searches. I caught some of Brad Pilon’s and Adonis’s material via that blog.

3- What was most appealing to you about AGR?

I think I’d always had some intuition that there would a sweet spot that captured both leanness and some degree of muscle mass, but this was one of the first programs that seemed to start with that as the basis for everything else that follows.

The first thing I did to dip a toe in the water of this lifestyle as it were and have it grow in appeal, is experiment with fasting. I totally surprised myself that I could even make it from dinner to lunch on my first attempt. And I was hitting 24 hours regularly within a month.

That was June 2011. 4 months later I’d equalled my previous leanest waistline of 34 inches (I even gave fasting the actual credit, ahead of my seldom-used skipping rope).

4- Were the any concepts or approaches you were skeptical about?

At the time I initially got into fasting, I did look at Adonis programs and offers. But I think because I’d never actually been on a fully structured program before, I didn’t really appreciate what I might get out of it.

Also, when your online calculator told me that at around six feet tall I needed about a 32 inch waist and almost 52 inch shoulders, I remember seriously doubting that I was made of the right stuff to get into that kind of shape. So I actually went on doing my own thing for another year, with ups and downs in the waist line and small changes elsewhere on the body. Fasting certainly helped curb things from ever getting too disastrous.

5- When did you decide to jump on board full fledge with AGR?

I at last came to Adonis in mid 2012 after having bought Brad Pilon’s two original books and listened to his supplementary podcasts. I also caught a couple of your free podcasts, and that excerpt from the Starvation Mode one that was floating around. I was definitely getting intrigued about the systems here by that point.

Brad sent around an email to his ESE customers with some links to workout programs he recommended, one of them being Adonis. And that almost resulted in another fail because after hitting purchase I discovered I’d only bought the Ideal Proportions eBook rather than the program. But I got past that once I saw the impressive tone of discussions in the forums – kudos to the members and moderators on that by the way. I then bought an actual program and jumped on to what was the current (AT9) contest. And ever since then, I’ve been slowly but surely developing my physique using your systems, and quietly doing contests to spur me forwards.

6- When did you first decide to enter an Adonis Transformation (AT) contest?

I joined the contest that began a month or so after I first signed up. The contests seem like a lens to put things into sharper focus for what you need to be doing, and how consistently you need to be doing it. I think it would only be lingering self doubt that might turn someone off trying out a contest of this kind, as it’s really just yourself you’re making a commitment to.

John Macris AT13- 8th Place - Back Before/After Photos

John Macris AT13- 8th Place – Back Before/After Photos

7- What was your experience going through the AT contest? Challenges that came up? Things you didn’t expect?  

I was working to a weekly calorie target based on the AGR nutrition calculator, in effect a modest reverse taper across the 12 weeks. Increased meal spacing was probably my most versatile and frequent tool. There’s a point at which fasting just becomes calorie back-loading – i.e. you break your fast and eat most of the way back up to maintenance calories.  But if you make that into a regular routine, then whether or not you score a big deficit for the day, you’re still on a trajectory to win the week.

On top of the calorie back-loading approach, once a week I did a more disciplined type of fast, where I ensured that day would yield a solid dent in my weekly energy intake.

The week of the photo shoot I did just 2 days in total of carbohydrate and water manipulation. There weren’t really any completely off-limits foods during the contest, though I skipped a couple of social eating opportunities at critical times.

I aimed to get at least six full Adonis workouts completed each week, i.e. run a little ahead of the program schedule. As it happened, I was coming to the end of my second time through the Category 3 program in the first couple of weeks of this contest. I then worked my way through the advanced growth modules, but with emphasis on the upper body routines. In place of some of the leg routines from those programs, I used the advanced shoulder modules, and also added in a bit more direct arm work courtesy of some of the superset weeks from the Adonis Gauntlet program.

That’s a mixed bag of training modules I realise! But I can’t knock the progress, as this was the first period of training where my shoulder circumference would creep right up towards the magic golden AI threshold from time to time.

As I still have quite a soft spot for cardio, and I find that when done at the right time of day it actually adds to my diet discipline, I did up to three sessions of treadmill running per week. If you believe the machine readouts, they were in somewhere the 400-600 calorie expenditure range typically. And I went out for walks quite frequently in the evenings as it was nice Summer weather down here in the southern hemisphere during the contest.

There was only one case of over-doing something: I had a careless descent while doing reverse grip chin ups mid way through the contest and that resulted in recurring tendon pain in one forearm right up near the elbow during certain movements for a few weeks afterwards. There was usually a work-around if it seriously impinged on a particular exercise.

8- How did people react to your transformation? Positives and negatives (if any).

I’ll reflect here based on the longer period that I’ve been getting results with your systems, rather than just the 12 week transformation contest.

It can be a gap of several weeks between each catch-up with my family. So they did have some startled/borderline concern moments early in the period where I’d dropped some serious inches around the waist and gotten leaner in the face.

What’s interesting as an experiment in social attitudes, is that right as my waist circumference first crossed into territory regarded in health stats publications as indicating optimal low risk category for ‘western lifestyle’ diseases (a measurement of sub 50% of my height), that same level of leanness started generating comments along the lines of ‘is your health ok? You seem to have lost too much weight’. I’m thinking, based on this observation, that social norms have gotten regrettably out of sync with health indicators somewhere along the line.


9- How do you react to the “Brand New” you? Have you noticed changes in your outlook and attitude in general.

On photo shoot weekend I was kind of distracted by the circumstances. I’d tried to line up a shoot with a photographer who seemed like he knew how to do male physique shots, but he was moving studios at the time and our Plan B of taking them outdoors got rained out.

So I reverted to taking my own pics at home. At least this meant I could time it ensure a decent balance between a dry/tight look and some degree of pump. But yes – I thought from the pics submitted that I had made a pleasing change, which is what the tape measure had already been indicating  slowly across the prior weeks.

In these last series of reflections, I’ll specifically reach out here to those who are like I was on arrival in 2012. In other words you’re not new to resistance training, with past episodes of goal-hijacking under your belt, and a bit unsure if you could really use this system to achieve something significantly better than you’ve managed before.

John Macris AT13- 8th Place - Transformation Image

John Macris AT13- 8th Place – Transformation Image

Firstly, although faith is a popular term in describing how to apply yourself to a training regime, I’m going to avoid it as it’s not where my headspace was ever really at during my own transformations. You want to rely on types of motivation that won’t fall over just because you’ve experienced a lapse in that faith.

Therefore I think it’s down to probably equal parts:

a)    Following the program

b)    Consistency of effort, and

c)     Patience

So having heard similar advice to that numerous times over in past transformation interviews, many of you probably want to know what are some ‘life-hacks’ that keep you on-program, consistent and patient?

Be sure to keep track of, and give yourself credit for where you’ve already made it to. Doing this is your springboard for where you want to get to next. Especially once your AI ratio is climbing through 1.4s and upward, remind yourself that you are already wearing really quite an impressive and fit-looking physique – think of this as akin to trying an outfit on, and enjoy each phase of your evolving look.

Remember where you started from. With me as an example, although my tracker feature only goes back through about half the period that I’ve been doing Adonis programs, the trend is pretty clear.  I’ve got that whole ‘decreasing sine wave’ thing going on, with shifting waist measurements gradually coming to float right around my ideal.

The biggest compliment I can pay to this system is that my new ‘sine wave’ doesn’t even overlap with the range that it used to move within across the previous almost dozen years of continuous gym attendance. In simpler language, that means the biggest my waistline reaches these days – when my little internal alarm is going off to tell me to intervene – is still below what used to be a personal best in getting lean on anything else I’d previously tried.

So that’s seismic and I really wish I could send a message back in time to the me that looked at Adonis’s online calculator teaser and doubted he could ever get close to a 32 inch waist and give him an empowering slap and say “Enough with the equivocating, just get on with it!” .

Similarly with the workouts, I’ve added mass where I actually wanted to, often within a weekly calorie deficit regime. Two years of cycling through the workouts here with few breaks has acquired me with a couple of extra inches of lean mass on the arms and around the shoulders. I should also mention I’m lifting at never more than 75% of the max weights I used to heave up in the air during that misguided training period in my late 30s.

We’ll still always get those ‘greener pastures’ twinges of glancing over at the somewhat more fit person at our gym and wanting what they have. I’ve found you can counterbalance that to a decent extent by also reflecting on what you *don’t* want from what you see around the gym floor.

Adonis Origins: John Prior To Following AGR Systems (Circa 1998-2012)

Adonis Origins: John Prior To Following AGR Systems (Circa 1998-2012)

As examples, there are some physique traits aspired to inside the little bubble-world of a gym that I’m now completely comfortable with feeling indifferent towards:  Sure, I’d like a bit more arm mass, but not at the cost of expanding my waistline; I’d rather be able to wear my slim-leg jeans than have gym rat-approved quads; I’d rather be able to button a normal collared shirt all the way up than have gym rat-approved traps and neck; And I don’t need the sort of core thickness required to be that guy who can deadlift amazing multiples of his body weight.

As a closing note of thanks to John and co – honestly, in my situation of having been a 5-7 day a week to the gym person anyway, and well accustomed to making all my own meals, the time and effort invested on this Adonis transformation mission over these however many months, and being a finalist in AT13, has already been paid back a dozen times over. Good luck to all the contestants in AT15 and beyond!

Editor’s Note:

Hey John,

Congrats on your placement in contest AT-13.  I have seen you participate in our previous contests and I’m happy to see you have stuck to the Adonis Lifestyle journey.  A Top 10 finish is a tremendous accomplishment and we look forward to your continued inspiration in the Adonis Community as well as future transformations from yourself.

your brother in Iron,