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John Hodgson


John Hodgson is a man who came scarily close to death, and is now living every day to the max because of it.

His story starts 4 years ago, when he was diagnosed with Myopericarditis and Pleurisy (inflammation of the heart and lungs) along with a poorly functioning liver. His chances of survival were roughly 50-50, and through sheer internal grit he made it through!

Two weeks later, he was discharged and was left unable to even walk for a greater distance than a few steps. He became content with binge eating and watching the TV, but that all changed in late 2012…

On Boxing Day of the same year, he was tagged in a photo on Facebook that really put things into perspective for him. He was not happy about how he looked, and the decision was made – it was time for a change.

The first day at the gym in 2013 was painful (like it is for all of us), but that same sheer grit pushed him on his commitment to change through the initial burn. By March, the excess weight was gone and he kept going to see some BIG changes.

Now, he is ripped! John’s been a Personal Trainer for over 3 years and plans to start competing on the big stage. With an AMAZING story like this, we had to talk to him…

John Hodgson - Before & After

 

Training Plan

  • 1

    Workout 1: Legs and Glutes

    • WARM UP – 5 minutes at least
    • Squat – 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Hip Thrust – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Bulgarian Split Squat – (smith machine) – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps each leg (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Goblet squat – 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Jump squats – (no weight) – 4 sets of 20 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
  • 2

    Workout 2: Legs

    • WARM UP – 5 minutes at least
    • Deadlift – Warm up and 5 sets of 12 to 15 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Lunge – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps each leg (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Glute Kickback – 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Leg extension – 5 sets of 12 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Bodyweight squat (hold at bottom for 2 seconds each rep) – 4 sets of 10 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
  • 3

    Workout 3: Shoulders and Lats

    • WARM UP – 5 minutes at least
    • Seated or Standing Military Press – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise – 4 sets of 10 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Dumbbell front raises – 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps each arm (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Wide grip Lat Pulldown – 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Narrow grip Lat Pulldown – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Bent over lateral raise – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
  • 4

    Workout 4: Back and Biceps

    • WARM UP – 5 minutes at least
    • Barbell Row – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Assisted Wide-Grip Pullups (Chin-Ups if you can’t) – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Prone fly – 4 sets of 10 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Dumbbell Bicep curls – 4 sets of 10 reps each arm (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Dumbbell Hammer curl – 4 sets of 10 reps each arm (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
  • 5

    Workout 5: Bodyweight Cardio Circuit

    • Circuit – 15 reps on every exercise (REPEAT X 4 (2 minutes rest between circuit)
    • Squats
      Sit ups
      Deep squats
      Leg raises
      Press ups (on knees)
      Lunges (alternate legs)
      Burpees
      30 second plank
      Jump squats
      Russian twist (medicine ball)
      30 seconds star jumps
    • Intervals – cross trainer (15 minutes) 40 seconds slow – 20 seconds fast, Repeat x 15
    • Cool down - 10 minutes, stationary bike
  • 6

    Workout 6: Chest, Triceps and Calves

    • WARM UP – 5 minutes at least
    • Chest flyes – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Tricep rope pushdown – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Dumbbell Tricep extension – 4 sets of 10 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Smith machine calf raises – 4 sets of 20 reps (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Tricep Kickback – 4 sets of 10 reps each arm (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
  • 7

    Workout 7: Circuit training

    • Circuit – 12 reps on every exercise (Dumbbells and bench needed) (REPEAT X 4 - 2 minutes rest between circuit)
    • Goblet Squats
      Weighted Sit ups
      Single arm row (each arm)
      Uni clean and press
      Press ups (on knees)
      Weighted Lunges (alternate legs)
      Russian twist (medicine ball)
      Tricep bench dips
      Seated dumbbell overhead press
    • Intervals – cross trainer (15 minutes) 40 seconds slow – 20 seconds fast, Repeat x 15
    • Cool down - 10 minutes, stationary bike
  • 8

    Workout 8: Abdominals and Core

    • WARM UP – 5 minutes at least
    • Superset Decline bench sit up + bench leg raises – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps each (Rest 45 seconds in between these sets.)
    • Superset Crunches + Hip thrusts – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps each (Rest 45 seconds in between these sets.)
    • Superset Russian twists (medicine ball) and seated knee tucks – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps each (Rest 45 seconds in between these sets)
    • Superset Forearm Plank – 4 sets of 30-40 seconds (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)
    • Bicycle crunches –4 sets of 10 reps each side (Rest 1 minute in between these sets.)

Meal Plan

Interview with John Hodgson

Hi John! Thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Let’s get a bit of back story first – tell me all about your transformation.

4 years ago I was diagnosed with Myopericarditis (an inflammation and fluid in the heart) and also pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lungs) not to mention my liver functions were off the chart. And for a few days it was very touch and go whether I would be around to write this article.

Two weeks later, once I was discharged, I was left unable to walk any distance, let alone train, and this subsequently meant that I became somewhat of a couch potato.

john before his transformation

The year that followed was a year of frequent hospital visits, constant binge eating and a time when watching the television became a number one priority.

I was given the all clear on the 12th November, but I was so stuck in the couch potato lifestyle that I continued as normal - I didn’t get my defining moment that changed my life until Boxing Day of 2012.

It was as simple as one of my friends uploading a photo of me onto Facebook, A photo which hit me hard and upset me enough for me to decide that I drastically needed to make a change in my life.

My first day back at the gym was on the 3rd January 2013, and I will honestly say I was in the worst shape of my life. Because of this, the first week of dieting and the gym was nearly enough to put me off for good, but I was determined to lose the weight that I had gained.

By the time March 2013 turned up, I had lost all of the excess weight and was starting to see some improvements in my physique. So instead of stopping and being happy with what I had achieved, I continued with the gym and kept tweaking my diet with plenty of tips from online articles and nutritional plans.

Fast forward to October 2013 and I had seen so much improvement and muscle gains in my physique that I knew that I wanted to help other people to be able to do the same, but at the same time make it clear that, the journey is a long one and not the easiest road to travel down.

I have now been a Personal Trainer for over 3 years and have took part in numerous photo shoots. And even though all of these things have been difficult, I am doing my best to inspire others to do the same.

How do you keep yourself motivated through it all?

Not only do my clients keep me motivated with their drive and ambition to be better, I also have an amazingly supportive girlfriend who continues to push me to be a better version of myself, also the constant transformation of my body keeps me pushing for more.

Have you got any top tips for others looking to transform just like you did?

Not so much a top tip, but consistency with your training and diet is paramount to achieving the best goals possible. Getting to the gym and eating the right food on the days that you don’t feel like it are a sure fire way of getting to your goals quickly and efficiently.

john before his transformation

What has been the best advice you received?

With whatever you do, always be sure you have given 100%.

If you leave knowing it wasn’t good enough, take a step back and set up a plan of what could be done better. (Greg Plitt)

Now – let’s talk about nutrition! If we were to sneak a peak in your fridge, what would we find in there?

Right now I’m in a fairly relaxed phase of dieting, so I use a lot of the exotic meats from Muscle Food. I also love the protein pizzas, Chicken, Heck chicken sausages, eggs, egg whites, sweet potato wedges and lots of green vegetables.

Do you have any Muscle Food favourites?

Mighty Meaty protein pizzas, bourbon glazed chicken breasts, egg whites, bacon toritos and low carb wraps.

What is your cheat meal of choice?

I’m an absolute sucker for pizzas, and its Domino’s all the way for me.

With your Nutrition expertise earning you a diploma, is there any advice you’d like to share?

Just like before, I find that consistency is key.

johns muscle food favourites

I also like to eat my carbohydrates after my workout, whilst cutting down and focusing on protein and fats based meals for the rest of the day.

Now for the fitness… Congratulations on becoming a fully qualified Personal trainer! What are your top 3 favourite exercises and why?

Thank you.  I’m a big fan of wide grip pull ups, Incline Dumbbell bench press and Deadlifts, mainly because they all push me to my absolute limit.

And what are the ones you like least?

I absolutely detest squats and barbell rows, but I of course do them both anyway.

What is your favourite body part?

I really enjoy training shoulders and feel they are now one of my best body parts, I think its just the level of fatigue that makes it so difficult, and I just like the challenge.

john after transformation

How has your training changed since you slashed your body fat?

I really enjoy training shoulders and feel they are now one of my best body parts. I think it’s just the level of fatigue that makes it so difficult, and I just like the challenge.

And the one you think still needs a bit of work and why?

Legs… I’ve struggled on and off with sciatica for the last couple of years, and every time I start to get back on track I seem to get knocked back down.

Working as hard as you do… Does it have an effect on your work/life balance?

The Work/Life balance is difficult, but you can always make time for something if it’s important enough to you. I and the girlfriend enjoy our breaks away and make sure we always have something in the pipeline.

So what’s next for you?

I’ve been contemplating going down the competing route for a year or so, but I want to make sure I’m in the best shape possible before I do that.

I’m also currently in the process of setting up my own personal training studio, so that’s taking up a lot of my time at the moment.

Finally, do you have any other secrets to share with the Muscle Food readers?

Absolutely, USE MUSCLEFOOD! The variation has made dieting so much easier for me and my clients. It’s honestly one of the best decisions that you will make.

And finally, before hiring a personal trainer, make sure you do your research. There are many out there who won’t go that extra mile to help you hit your goals.  A real personal trainer will do exactly that.

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.