Bob’s Transformation – Week 8

Bob's Transformation

Week 8 – Day 1


Chest and Triceps part of a new tri-set session I though I was an equipment hoarder before!

Haha! You don’t need to hoard it. I worked in with someone today. Just a case of making it work with others as you would like them to with you.

Started the day with 15 mins Liss training. So I decided as it was dark cold and wet at 0600 in the morning. I would go to the gym and use the treadmill. I started rather optimistically at 6mph or 9.65kph and to my surprise I kept this for 13 mins without slowing down… although I wanted to of course; it wasn’t easy. I say 13 minutes because that’s when my water bottle fell out of the holder took my towel with it and I had to jump over them. I pressed stop, picked them up and started again from where I left off. I felt amazing after that. Then onto work for poached eggs on granary bread.

Well done Bob. Great start to a new cycle. Very pleased with this to start with. Good places to go from here.

So it’s been a busy week. I’m writing this on Sunday night.

Monday’s session had to be changed. I had to leave work later than normal and it didn’t leave me enough time for a full session before I started my volunteering. So I did the HIIT training instead to fit the workout in. With the LISS training in the morning this was a bit rough on the legs!

I bet. Not ideal, but, well done for working something in. Good effort Bob.

10 x 60m sprints

With the LISS training in the morning this was a bit rough. But I persevered and got through it.

Tuesday and Wednesday were taken up with some wedding things, visits to the venue and paying bills etc. Not getting home until half 11 meaning Thursday to Sunday were all going to be training days. But did the LISS run and Tabata situps in the morning Tuesday.

This can be a pain, especially when doing a 12 week programme. One thing it says in the book you are following is to make sure you don’t have anything that might derail you. It basically says to get all your admin sorted before you start. The reality is, most people aren’t blogging for a site, so if they stop; so what? Who really knows. Yours is different. But still, its worth mentioning. The idea is to clear anything that might be a hinderance before you start. Because you can guarantee something will come along to cause problems anyway!

Good effort on getting the LISS in Tuesday.

Day 4 – Chest and Triceps


15 Min L.I.S.S swim in the morning followed by 10 minutes in the sauna.

Bench Press 12 – 15 Reps
Bench Dips 12-15 Reps
Kettlebell Swings 15-20 Reps

I kept the weight for the bench press as I would for this rep range. Starting off feeling quite fresh. Although as mentioned I had a few late nights. I finished the first set okay. But with the bench dips straight after then the kettlebell swings this caused me to fail on the second set at 10 and third set at 8.

Failure is good, and these are supposed to be tough! Really kicking in the CV system now.

Body weight dips of the bench the first set was finished fine. But the second and third set were a bit tougher. I finished all the sets; I may use weight next time.

Good man. Well done.

Kettlebell swings were horrendous; I went a bit heavy on the kettlebell and I paid the price for it. In the lifting part of the exercise it was pulling my chest causing my chest and arms to tire.

It’s all about hip drive. Arms are just momentum. Drive the hips forward squeezing the glutes.

Dumbell Press 12 – 15 Reps
Pec Flyes 12 – 15 Reps
Kettle Bell Swings 15 – 20 Reps

As my chest was fatigued slightly the db press was interesting. Finishing the first set but failing second at 12 and third at 8. I blame the kettlebells. I found a good weight for the flyes although it was a real struggle to finish, failing second at 14 and third at 12. I was really tiring with the swings inbetween the sets and the 60 second rest wasn’t enough. Arms, legs and lungs burning. But not failing.

Failure is good as we know. It means the muscles are tired so the weight and tempo are just right. The heart and lungs should be feeling the KB swings, hence they are in there. Sounds like a good set to me. Keep it up.

Dips 12 – 15 Reps
Standing Tricep Rope Extensions 12 – 15 Reps
Kettlebell Swings 15 – 20 Reps

Using the supported dips (I tried some unsupported ones but didn’t get past 2). I just finished first set, failing at 12 second and 10 third. Rope extensions were good. Finished all the reps which surprised me considering the fatigue. Kettlebell swings again really struggling to start the exercise on the first set. Failing second set at 12 and third at 8. I think I may have gone too heavy.

Well done on trying the unsupported dips. Really impressed Bob. Very good. And the rest of the set sounds like great work. If you think the KB was too heavy, it may have been. You’ll know for next time. As long as it’s just the heart and lungs you are feeling it in and not the lower back, then it probably just FEELS heavy! But is actually fine.

Incline Dumbell Press 12 – 15 Reps
Incline Pec Flyes 12 – 15 Reps
Kettlebell Swings 15 – 20 Reps

Failed every set. I used the same weight for the rep range forearms burning and chest nearly giving in. 14 first set, 12 second set and third set. Incline flyes I was concerned about having the bench too high. I went with a reasonable weight failing second set at 14 and third 13. Failing the swings at 10, 8 and 8.

Great numbers considering you found it so tough and felt so fatigued. I would say your mental strength has probably doubled since starting this. Well done Bob.

Reverse Grip Incline Bench Press 12 – 15 Reps
EZ bar incline Skull Crusher 12 – 15 Reps
and you guessed it more kettlebell swings 15 – 20 Reps

For an exercise I haven’t done before I wasn’t too sure what weight to go for. I found a good weight to work with failing second both on 12. I love the skull crushers, it was a favourite of mine. I finished the first failing second on 10 and third at 9. Concentrating on not moving my arms to isolate the tricep. Swings again, only getting to 4 before failing first set. Dripping with sweat I only managed 4  on the second and third.

Dripping with sweat is a good sign. Glad to see an old favourite exercise raised the spirits and was well placed after a new one. Sounds like a very good effort overall Bob. I’m impressed.

Day 5 – Legs and Abs


15 min L.I.S.S run. These are getting a bit easier. I wondered how much it’ll affect my leg session that night.

Shouldn’t be too much, although you are fitting session in on top of each other, so it may be overall tiredness!

Deadlifts 12 – 15 Reps
Back Extensions 12 – 15 Reps
Push Press 15 – 20 Reps

I have looked at my form on the deadlifts and it feels more comfortable when I am in a higher position. I felt like a may have been going a bit fast. I will work on the timings. Finishing my first and second but failing third at 10. Back extensions felt like a rest to be honest. Finishing all sets. Push Press I found a great weight for this not too heavy but enough to leave me blowing. Finishing all sets.

Good job Bob. Sounds like you nailed all of these. Deadlifts sound better and push press can be relatively enjoyable when the weight is right. Well done.

Back Squats 12 – 15 Reps
Sissy Squats 12 – 15 Reps
Push Press 15 – 20 Reps

I upped the weight for the back squats by 5 kg, Finishing the first set but failing at 12 for the second and 10 third. Sissy squats are new to me; it didn’t feel entirely comfortable, it seemed a bit too complicated. I may look for an alternative for it. Finished all sets. Push presses were gradually getting tougher and tougher. Failing third set at 16.

If you get sissy squats right, you know it. It hurts! It’s essentially squatting on your tiptoes but not bending the hip – keeping it straight. Have a google. Well do e with the squats. Good work going up. Pushes will get tougher as the legs get more tired. Keep at it.

Front Squats 12 – 15 Reps
Split Squats 12 – 15 Reps
Push Press 15 – 20 Reps

I kept the weights for the front squats the same. The bar sat heavy on my chest and shoulders so I adapted my hold after the first set. Using my arms in a folded way. All these compound exercises left my legs a bit shaky. Failing third set at 12 and just fishing second. Split squats of a bench. Used a good weight for this. I really struggled with this exercise. I couldn’t keep to the timings and it involved a lot of grunting. Failing 13 on the third set. I failed all the push presses this time at 10, 9 and 6. I was losing my balance a bit falling backwards slightly aswell.

Well done on the fronts. Tough exercise at the best of times. Very impressed you kept the same weight. The chest was feeling it from yesterday I expect, hence the need to change grip. Splits are horrendous, always. They are never nice. Great effort for getting through them. They will start to feel more natural.

If you feel that way on the pushes, you need to lower the weight. If the shoulders get too tired you’ll lean back and that can damage the back as you get tired. Be careful. Lower the weight.

Leg Extensions 12- 15 Reps
Leg Curls 12 – 15 Reps
Push Press 15 – 20 Reps

Thankful to be sat down. Kept the same weight but may have been too light because I finished all reps for both exercises. Although it was tough! Push press I failed at 14 second set and 10 third.

Good set. Perhaps good you didn’t go too heavy. Gives you somewhere to progress to next time.

Tabata Plank

These were a relief. Using a Tabata timer app on my phone I tried planking. Finished thankfully I slowly stood up.

Well done again Bob! Solid performance. You are really smashing these. The fitness we built up on the previous microcycles obviously playing into your hands.

Day 6 – Back and Biceps


Wide Grip Pull Down 12 – 15 Reps
Bicep Barbell Curls 12 – 15 Reps
Kettlebell Swings 15 – 20 Reps

I used a bosu ball today and concentrated on keeping a straight back for this exercise. I upped the weight slightly but not by much. Finishing the first set I upped the weight again. Finishing all sets. Losing form on the third set. Barbell curls using the same weight I kept my elbows tight isolating my biceps. Making it hard to get through the first set. Failing third at 12. Kettlebell swings, ugghhh. Same kettlebell. Finished all reps.

Sounds liker a good set overall. Well done for concentrating on keeping a straight back for the pulldowns and keeping the elbows in on the curls. It certainly sounds like you have the hang of keeping strict form now. Good effort Bob.

Close Grip Chin Ups 12 – 15 Reps
Hammer Curls 12 – 15 Reps
Kettlebell Swings 15 – 20 Reps

Supported I did the close grip chin ups I had to do this in a bicep curl position after the first tri set the hammer curls made this hard. Failing first set at 12 second at 12 and third set at 8. Hammer curls I upped the weight, completing the first set failing the second at 14 and third set at 11. Kettle bell swings failing at 12 third set.

Overall not bad Bob. The idea is that the muscles used for the first exercise pre-fatigue for the second, so the hammers are intentionally supposed to follow the close grip to hit the long head of the biceps. Taking it to a different grip lessens this slightly… it’s still hard though as you found out!

Bent over row 12 – 15 Reps
Straight arm pull down 12 – 15  reps
Kettlebell swings 15 – 20 Reps

Bent over row I kept the same weight my arms were heavily fatigued failing second at 14 and third at 10. I used the pulley machine instead of the bar. Straight arm pull down failing at 12 first set and pushing to get 15 reps second and failing at 10 last set. A real struggle to finish. Kettlebell swings failing second at 14 and 10 for the third.

It makes sense to use the cables for both to save using multiple bits of kit. Just make sure you aren’t being pulled off balance by the cable machine, it can be awkward especially when going heavier.

Prone incline dumbell row 12 – 15 Reps
incline bicep curl 12 – 15 Reps
kettlebell swings 15 – 20 Reps

The rows were fun. I was hanging by now. Gritting my teeth I finished the first set fine and failing second and third at 10. I tried lifting the same weight I have done the incline bicep curl with but I couldn’t lift it. So I lowered it slightly. I could feel the difference immediately. I finished the first and second but failed the third on 13. Failed second set 12 and third set at 8.

Good decision. It’s sometimes hard to make the decision to go lighter; feeling a bit weak and wondering what others will think. But as you showed here; it was the right decision. Well done.

Pull Ups Failure
Inverted Row 12 – 15 Reps
Kettlebell Swings 15 – 20 Reps

Got to 2 pull ups and failed every set. Failed rows every set 12 second at 8 and third at 8. Not faring better with the swings and failing all sets!

Pull-ups are intentionally hard here Bob, with the aim of helping you do them when fresh. Inverted rows are never fun, so again, well done for just pushing through it.

I suspect the days are catching up now. My advice if you have a week where you can’t train for a few days again is NOT to tag all the days together. The rest days are in place for a reason. Overtraining like this, especially on a Calorie deficit is a recipe for injury. Hopefully not the case this time!

Day 7 – Legs and Shoulders


Plyometric box jumps  4 – 8 Reps
Dumbell Walking Lunges 16 – 20 Reps
Single Arm Snatches 8 – 10 Reps

I used 2 boxes on top of each other to do the jumps. Just over half my height so had a good jump on. Wow I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise and with the walking lunges and then the Snatches. I had a good sweat on after the first set. I used the same weight for the snatches but upped the dumbbell weight for the lunges. Did all the jumps bar the last rep of third set didn’t quite make the jump. All the lunges were horrendous after the first tri-set. Lost form towards the end but made all reps. The snatches were okay. Finished the reps.

Glad you enjoyed it. I often find plyo exercises can put the “fun” back into training again. Almost child like and a bit of a mental challenge in a different way to weights. Always best to do them at the start of a session as well; that way the energy and confidence is there.

Overhead press 12 – 15 Reps
Upright Row 12 – 15 Reps
Single Arm Snatches 8 – 10 Reps

Overhead press was difficult again. But the work I have put in showed a bit as I was able to lift the same weight throughout all sets. Failing massively on the third set at 8. The rows are an exercise I have not done in a very long time. With the weight of the overhead press I was a bit fatigued, but mostly due to the snatches. I lowered my initial starting weight as I failed on 5! But repeated with a slightly lighter weight. Failing third set. Snatches were gradually getting worse just about finishing sets. Sweating. I have found I judge how I am doing by my sweating before failure anyway. Squeezing out every last rep even if it is out of the timings.

The snatches (like the KB swings and push press) are meant to be a cardio acceleration exercise, simply keeping the heart rate up and yes, making you sweat. So well done. Good choice to lower the upright row. I can sometimes use the same weight for the overhead press, but often it needs to be lighter, especially if the overheads are heavy. Sounds like a good set over all

Front Squats 12 – 15 Reps
Push Press 12 – 15 Reps
Single Arm Snatches 8 – 10 Reps

Upping the weight by 5kg for the front squats a bit of a gamble really. Was okay for the first set. I felt the difference though failing third set at 13. I had to adapt how I held the bar again just from my arms feeling absolutely knackered, folding my arms and supporting with my chest ad forearms. Push press was too much to bear. The session was starting to feel a bit long! I finished the first two sets just but failed third at a dismal 4. Single arm snatches now feeling rough. Failing all sets. Barely making 8. I refuse to lower the weight though.

Don’t be afraid to lower the weight. It’s an exercise to keep the heart rate up – even a light weight will do that. I suspect the session feels long for three reasons, as you have only had a few sets before hand, compared to some other long ones this week:

  1. You have trained 3 days in a row before this, making this the 4th!
  2. These are all compound moves making this session feel really draining.
  3. Plyometrics may be fun, but they are 100% effort, and hence very draining.

Seated D.Bell Shoulder Press 12 – 15 Reps
Incline Lateral Raise 12 – 15 Reps
Single Arm Snatches 8 – 10 Reps

The shoulder presses have not come easy to me. It shows when I attempt this exercise. Failing second at 12 and third at 9. I haven’t progressed a lot in this exercise. But there is definite muscle growth. Incline Lateral raise. Still light. Too light until I start the exercise. This isn’t about the biggest weight it’s about the muscle working. Finishing all sets but still difficult I can up the weight next time. Snatches surprisingly okay for the first 2 sets reaching 12 both. Failing third at 5.

As you say, lat raises aren’t about the weight; so well done on not going too heavy! In terms of muscle growth in the shoulders, don’t forget you are on a Calorie deficit to lose bodyfat, so although we will hopefully get some muscle growth (as I showed with Ped from Men’s Fitness on his 10 week transformation where he lost 6kg of fat and gained 1kg of muscle – it can be done simultaneously). However, I also don’t want you to have the image of a WBFF competitors’ shoulders in your mind. In general that’s not a good representation of what is achievable naturally, especially in terms of shoulders. That level of size and fulness in the shoulders gives us all an unnatural target to aim for. Try to focus on yourself and the little positive changes you’ve made and being the best you, you can be.

Back Squats 12 – 15 Reps
KettleBell Goblet Squats 12 – 15 Reps
Single Arm Snatches 8 – 10 Reps

Back squats were too heavy for the normal weight. Failing at 6 so lowered slightly. Still failing second set at 13 just finishing at 10 last set. The goblet squats were to blame. Same as the sissy squats earlier in the week these just took the last bit of energy from my legs. Did them all but was slow and the burn was too good for words. Made the snatches impossible, contesting my legs and my arms failing across the board at no more than 8.

As I’ve always said: failure is good. I do think however, that what is a hard week anyway, you’ve made monumentally harder by putting all the days back to back. I’m not surprised squats needed to go down and goblets were the finisher!

Farmers Walk 20m
Shrugs 12 – 15 Reps
Single Arm Deadlifts 8 – 10 Reps

Using the treadmill again. I did the walk and the shrugs stood next to the treadmill. Trying not to catch anybody’s eye whilst doing the snatches in the c.v area. My eyes go wonky when I am tired and I was exhausted so I probably caught someone’s eye somewhere in the gym. Failed snatches all sets. 6 on the first 3 on the second and 6 on the third. I think the little walk allowed some blood to my arms!

Well done Bob. Who cares what anyone else thinks. As long as you aren’t endangering yourself or others by being unsafe, you can train as you wish; even if to others it seems unconventional. Very pleased you finished this.

Take a pat on the back. A tough week socially meant for a VERY tough few days in the gym. Not ideal as I’ve already said and to be honest, I probably would’ve advised against it. But, you made it work. Well done.

Bob Manser - Author

I am currently doing a 12 week transformation with the help of Sean Lerwill. I'm 27, overweight and overworked. Trying to change the fact that my hair is thinning more than my waist line.