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Chris Freenan


Vital Statistics Before Current
Height - 5ft 7in (1.70m)
Weight 19st (120.6kg) 12st 5lb (78.5kg)
Body Fat 52% 14%
Arms - 16.2"
Chest 52" 44"
Quads - 25"
Waist 44" 32"

Based in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, 20-year-old Chris' transformation is positively inspiring. At 17, Chris weighed in at 19 stone with a 54" chest and 44" waist.

When he was younger, he played rugby and Gaelic football but an injury and bad diet saw his weight creep up and up. It wasn't until he booked a holiday with a friend that he decided to overhaul his lifestyle and embarked on a strict training regime and diet plan.

He cut out the junk food and switched up his diet by eating 6 or 7 small, healthy meals a day rather than three large, unhealthy one's. He hit the gym lifting weights and getting cardio fit and within three months he began to notice changes in his physique.

Chris Freenan

These changes encouraged Chris to keep on training hard and eating right and now, just three years later, he has completely transformed his life weighing 13 stone with a 45.5" chest and 33" waist.

Now he's a confident personal trainer who is determined to use his personal experiences to help others through their own transformations, Chris has big plans for his future, one of which is to hopefully start fitness modelling and competing on the bodybuilding stage!

He says the key to his success was perseverance, support from those around his and determination and while the transformation was the toughest thing he's ever done, it was easily the best.

Chris Freenan

Training Plan

Make sure to make use of forced reps with a spotter when going heavy, also include some negatives into heavy sets for example, when benching shooting for 8 reps you get to 6 and hit failure, get the spotter to take the weight to top of movement and you control the negative for 5-6 secs never do anymore than 3-4 negatives in a set.

Monday: Chest & Tricpes

  • 5 Min dynamic warm-up (full body)
  • Treadmill- 5 min steady pace walk 3.5mph

Chest - focus on contracting pecks and top of movement 2sec positive plus 2 sec negative. 60-90 sec rest periods

  • Flat Bench press, 1 warm up set lightweight 15 reps 4 sets - 6-8reps (heavy) (forced reps for last set if needed)
  • Incline dumbbell press, 4 sets 8-10 reps
  • Decline dumbbell press - 8-10reps, 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Flys 5 sets-8-10 reps

Triceps - focus on getting a good stretch at top of movements and good squeeze at bottom

  • EZ curl bar skull crushers = 4 sets 10-12 reps
  • Single arm over head extensions, 2 sets each arm 12 reps
  • Straight bar cable push down 3 sets 10-12 reps

Cool Down

  • 5 Min walk on treadmill at medium pace gradually bringing it down to a slow walk bringing the heart rate down gently.
  • Static stretches (chest + tri)

Tuesday: Back and Abs

  • Dynamic stretches (full body)
  • 5 min slow steady pace on cross trainer

Back

  • Deadlifts, back straight, chest up sink hips to parallel, press through your heels - 5x5 reps (165kg)
  • Wide grip Pull-ups - 3 sets, go to failure on each set
  • Underhand bent over row - 4 sets 8-10 reps
  • Wide grip lat pull downs overhand 4 sets 8-10 reps
  • Superset - 3 sets 10-12 reps each exercise face pulls + rear delt flys

Abs

  • 4 sets leg raises with 10 reps (45 sec rest period)
  • 4 sets crunches 10 reps (45 sec rest period)

Cool Down

  • 5 Min walk on treadmill at medium pace gradually bringing it down to a slow walk bringing the heart rate down gently.
  • Static stretches (whole body)

Thursday: Shoulders

  • 5 mins steady pace on cross trainer
  • 5 mins rotator cuff exercises

Shoulders

  • Dumbbell press- 5 sets - 8-10 reps
  • Wide grip upright rows, 3 sets 10-12 reps
  • Strict form dumbbell side laterals 2 sets 10-12 reps (2 sets controlled cheap reps (heavy 6-8reps)
  • Dumbbell front raises 3 sets 10-12 reps
  • Shrugs - 3 sets till failure - 55kg 6+

Cool Down

  • 5 Min walk on treadmill at medium pace gradually bringing it down to a slow walk bringing the heart rate down gently.

Friday: Legs

  • Warm up dynamic stretches whole body
  • 5 min walk on treadmill

Legs

  • Squats 100kg - 4 sets 8-10reps- make sure to go to at least parallel
  • Leg press 340kg 5 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Walking dumbbell lunges - 4 sets, 10-15 reps each leg
  • Leg curl 3 set x 12 reps
  • Leg extension 3 set x 12 reps
  • Calf raises on smith machine, 4 sets 12-15 reps

Cool Down

  • Treadmill- steady pace walk at 3-4 mph - 10 mins (helps minimise doms)
  • Static stretches (whole body) especially focus on glutes and hamstrings

Saturday: Arms

  • 5 mins on bike steady pace

Triceps - Heavy day

  • Incline Close Grip press on smith machine (keep elbows tight to sides) 4 sets 8-10reps
  • Rope tricep pushdowns, pyramid 4 sets increase weight each sets, 1st = 15 reps, 2nd = 12 reps, 3rd = 10 reps, 4th = 8 reps
  • Tricep kickbacks 1 handed 2 sets 10-12 reps
  • Diamond pushups 2 sets till failure

Biceps

  • Dumbbell hammer curls, 4 sets 10-12 reps
  • Straight bar cable curls, 3 sets 8-10 reps
  • Preacher curls, 3 sets 10-12 reps
  • Single arm concentration curls 2 sets each arm 12 reps

Cool Down

  • 5 mins steady pace on bike

Saturday: Core

Core

  • Core again consisting of stations and rounds

Sunday: Legs

Legs

  • Squats (60kg) 12 (80kg) 10 (100kg) 8 (120kg) 6 (140kg) 6 (160) 6
  • Legs press (160kg) 12 (170kg) 10 (180kg) 8 (190kg) 6 (140kg) 30
  • Calf raises – same as above
  • Leg Extensions (85kg) 12 (90kg) 10 (95kg) 8 (97.5kg) 6 (60kg) 30
  • Leg Curl (55kg) 12 (60kg) 10 (65kg) 8 (70kg) 6 (50kg) 30
  • Swiss Ball Hip Bridge with Hamstring Curl 3x10 holding for 30 seconds on last set

Meal Plan

My daily calorie intake should be 3600 which should come from protein sources minimum 1.1g per pound of bodyweight 180g + (40%), to help strengthen and grow your muscles, 40% carbs for energy and also help gain size and 20% fats to keep your hormone balance at an equal level allowing maximal gains.

A typical week could look like this:

A Typical Week

 

Sunday is a cheat day!

* Milk + cottage cheese contains casein protein, which is released gradually, giving you a source of protein while you sleep. This will help to prevent catabolism (degradation), and helps feed your body while you sleep keeping your metabolism ticking over.

General Rules: NO white carbs = high GI, NO Sweets, NO salt on foods, NO Butter, NO Chocolate, NO Crisps, Very little red meat, NO processed meats, No limit on water, only milk to drink was skimmed or semi-skimmed, no full fat.

Interview with Chris Feenan

Tell us about your fitness journey…

Well, I was always sporty. I started off playing Gaelic football when I was younger then moved into rugby at High School although when I was playing rugby I was the heaviest I'd ever been. Easily 16 stone but then I got injured and at the age of 17 I weighed 19 stone.

Chris Feenan

I had a 54" chest and 44" waist. I knew I was big and then I booked a holiday with my friend and decided to lose weight! I started with cardio and lost some then started to really enjoy the bodybuilding side of things and started training more and more and started getting into shape.

Making the decision to lose the weight has easily been the best one I've ever made. The toughest, but the best.

Your transformation is very impressive, how long did it take?

Three years and two months.

When did you notice your body had changed?

It took about 3 months before I really started seeing proper changes. My clothes size dropped which was really encouraging.

My clothes size dropped which was really encouraging.

Research suggests that the fourth week of a transformation is the toughest stage – did you ever feel like you couldn't do it? If so how did you overcome these feelings?

To be honest, there was a point at 4 or 5 weeks where I thought it wasn't working but I wanted to keep pushing because I had an end goal to look better when I went out with my friends. I knew I had to mentally push through it.

What did you find to be the most challenging aspect of your transformation?

100% the diet – it was just so tough! I effectively did a 180 on my diet and switching it up like that was a big challenge.

Before my transformation, I maybe only ate three meals a day of bad food and completely overhauled that to eating 6 or 7 times a day of healthy food.

What were the three biggest lessons you learnt during your transformation?

  • Persistence is the key to success.
  • Never give up because mental toughness can overcome physical barriers.
  • You really need support from other people to give you that encouragement when you're having a down day.

What is your overall end goal?

Ideally I'd like to get into bodybuilding competitions and fitness modelling - that's the long terms goal.

I'd love to get signed by a supplement company and eventually compete on the stage with the great bodybuilders – and give them a run for their money too [laughs].

So why did you decide to begin personal training?

Chris Feenan

Well, I've been there – I know exactly what it's like whenever you're big and I thought I could use my experience to help other people.

I've been training clients for about a year, one of which lost 9 stone and put on 2 stone of lean muscle. It effectively changed his life! The feeling I got from watching his transformation was great and I just generally really enjoy what I do!

How has your career and training impacted your personal and social life?

In a nutshell - drastically! When I was younger and bigger, I'd never really go out very much to parties or social events but now, because I'm a lot more confident, it doesn't phase me going out with my friends.

I used to be an introvert and now I can go and speak to anybody!

What advice would you give to those maybe considering a transformation journey but don't know where to start?

Basically – you gotta be consistent and start slow.

Build it up. Don't try and go crazy training 6 days a week because you'll burn out, get bored and probably injure yourself in the process.

Keep records of everything and get confidence from seeing your improvements no matter how small they are. After all, the small one's all add up to the bigger transformation at the end!

After all, the small one's [improvements] all add up to the bigger transformation at the end!

And what about the novices who maybe aren't seeing the results they'd like to in the gym?

I would advise getting some sort of help – if you train properly from the start you're going to see better results.

If you can't afford a personal trainer, do your research online and find out what works for you. The thing about weight loss is it's not a one size fits all thing, what works for one person may not work for you, so you need to research and educate yourself.

What's more important – cardio or weights?

Weights definitely. From my own personal experiences and research, for every pound you muscle you build, you burn around 50 calories at rest! Now I could eat 3500 calories a day and stay the exact same weight just because of the amount of muscle I have!

Of course, you need cardio to keep CV fit but certain weight exercises can do that too, plus it'll keep you strong.

What is your current training split like?

Chris Feenan Training

I currently have a 5-day split:

  • Monday = chest and tri's
  • Tuesday = back
  • Wednesday = rest
  • Thursday = shoulders and biceps
  • Friday = legs
  • Saturday = I throw in some tri's, calves and abs.
  • Sunday = rest

How important is nutrition in maintaining your physique?

At the minute I eat between 7-8 meals a day; 240g protein, 280g carbs, 40g fat.

You need carbs – you need them to build muscle. A lot of people gloss over them, but they're just as important as protein.

What three whole foods could you not live without and why?

Chicken & Tuna
  1. Chicken – I go through 5kg of chicken breast in 5 days!
  2. Couscous – I love it
  3. Tuna – It's a great source of protein and omega-3.

And what about supplements?

Protein Lifestyle® & Platinum Edge™ supplements
  1. Whey protein
  2. Creatine Mono
  3. Multi-vit
  4. BCAAs
  5. Casein protein before bed
  6. Sometimes a pre-workout but it depends on what I'm doing really.

What about supplements for people starting out?

I believe the only supplements that will be useful are a whey protein, creatine monohydrate - just 5g a day - and multi-vitamin in case you're deficient in something.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years with your training?

At the minute I would love to have a wider client base and embark in online coaching.

Personally I'd like to get to the point of competing but there's one thing I need to fix before I could do it. I have some loose skin from when I was big and I'd need to fix that before I could compete. But the goal is to step onto that stage!

Ideal first competition…

By the age of 24, I hope. I'll hopefully be a bit bigger and my muscles will have matured by then too.

What three things would you tell people to focus on to make sure they're starting their journey as they mean to go on…

  1. Stay consistent in both diet and training
  2. Keep results and records and especially take pictures to keep a visual track of your progress
  3. Ask for help when you need it, by starting your training the right way, you're more likely to succeed.

Any last words

I just like to say – it's completely worth it in every aspect of life. My life has changed completely and it's so much better than when I was big!

Muscle Food Final Thoughts

Every transformation story featured on Muscle Food outlines that a good diet and a good workout plan are essential to achieving the results you desire. All transformation stories, exercise routines and diet plans are provided by the customer and have not been checked by a nutritionist or doctor. Results may vary for different individuals.