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Neil Davidson

Vital Statistics Before Current
Height 6ft 1in (1.85m)
Weight 12st 10lb (81kg) 13st 10lb (87kg)
Body Fat 11% 8%

32 year old Neil Davidson was always an active gym member but it wasn't until he began following strength coach extraordinaire Phil Learney on Facebook that his gym sessions went from social event to serious workout time.

He became inspired to transform his life not only in terms of strength and fitness, but career too and after educating himself in different personal training philosophies he ended his business (a bar) and studied to become a personal trainer.

Based in Penrith in the Lake District, Neil dedicates his time to honing his physique and training others to do the same.

Neil Davidson - Before & After

He recently went through a body transformation in a short period of time in which he shredded 3% of body fat and gained 6kg of lean muscle instead. Something he says was very difficult to achieve because his natural body type is tall and lean.

It was this transformation that spurred him on to compete in Physique Of The Week just a few weeks ago and win!

His ambition now is to keep improving his physique and hopefully appear on the cover of a magazine showcasing his physique.

Neil Davidson

Training Plan

My training for the transformation was as follows.

Four workout days per week in rotation. So for this example chest and back would get trained twice in the week.

Monday: Chest & Back

  • A1 - incline bench sets 4 reps 10-12
  • A2 - wide pull ups sets 4 reps 12
  • B1 - Guillotine press 4 12-15
  • B2 - bent over row bicep grip 4 10-2
  • C1 - machine hammer press 3 10-12
  • C2 - rack deadlifts 3 15
  • Plus abs melody at the end

Tuesday: Shoulders & Arms

  • A - Seated lateral raise 4 12-15
  • B - behind-the-neck press 4 12
  • C - Dumbbell front raise 4 15
  • D1 - Dumbbell hammer preacher curl 4 12
  • D2 - Triceps dip 4 15
  • E - barbell curl 3 12-15
  • F - close grip barbell press 3 failure

Thursday: Legs & Back

  • A1 - back squat sets 5 reps 10-12
  • A2 - stiff leg deadlifts 5 10-12
  • B1 - leg press sets 3 reps 15-20
  • B2 - lying leg curl 3 15 -20
  • C1 - hanging leg raise failure
  • C2 - abs wheel rolls failure c3 oblique plank

Meal Plan

I would carb cycle. I'd have two low carb days, three medium and two high days which were 'spike days' (added calories) Its important to remember that I did a plan that had the aim to give me as much muscle mass as possible in a short time. This plan wouldn't be sustainable over a long period but for the goal and the time frame it was ideal.

A low day would consist of 6 meals 3250kcal approx.:

A medium day would hit around 3500kcal.

And would have carbs added to the super shakes in the form of oats, oats with breakfast and basmati rice added to lunch. The first meal after a workout would also have a large helping of carbs.

High days were my 'spike days'.

As previously said; this was good for this short intense plan but 2 spike days a week wouldn't be sustainable for most people. Kcal target here was much higher, between 4500 and 5500.

Carbs with every meal apart from pre workout and a 'dirty meal' or two were included. A large pizza for example. Because of this and not wanting to add fat I timed my spike days for heavier lifting days such as legs or chest and back. The majority of carbs were taken in in the meals AFTER training.


Interview with Neil Davidson

Why did you enter Physique Of The Week?

Neil Davidson - Physique of the Week

I'd recently changed my body in a short period of time and after just a chat with a friend the competition came up so I thought why not?

What was your reaction when you found
out you'd won?

Shock! And then a heap of pride. I was delighted.

Would you recommend others to enter the competition?

Absolutely. Winning has upped my self confidence no end and helped me really focus on improving even more

Tell us about your fitness journey…

Neil Davidson

I started off just going down the gym with friends for something to do. Spent a few years just throwing weights around with no direction or real technique. When I started following Phil Learney on Facebook it all changed though.

Phil is from the same small town as me so to see what he was achieving was pretty inspiring.

From there I found Ultimate Performance personal trainers and from following them and their training philosophies everything changed and I started learning fast and beginning to love it.

So much so that I ended my own business (a bar) and had a total career change and trained to become a personal trainer.

How long was it before you noticed a change in your physique?

Neil Davidson

I had the initial 'training effect' when I first started training. Nothing substantial just a few muscle changes here and there.

This plateaued however until my training knowledge and nutrition knowledge increased. I had no real trouble dropping body fat but the biggest issue I always had was gaining mass.

My body type is tall and slim so gaining muscle mass was a struggle. But when I finally committed to going for a bigger frame and finding the right nutrition and training plan it all came together.

What's your end goal to your training?

To always improve. Now I feel I've made some good progress and with the competition win giving me some extra confidence I want to go as far as I can.

As with a lot of guys, my main aim is to get onto a magazine cover. That would be the pinnacle.

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

  • To train with absolute intensity every time you go to the gym otherwise what's the point?
  • To absolutely nail the nutrition and not to be afraid of carbohydrates. Using them wisely and at the right time is key.
  • And finally when you have set your goals always remember them in the tough times and never give up.

What training advice would you give to those wanting to go through a transformation?

Get the right plan and definitely the right nutrition plan for you and your body type. For me, Nick Mitchell's plan (the 6 week muscle plan) helped me no end especially with understanding nutrition. I took a lot from this.

What area of your body do you enjoy working out the most and why?

Honestly I love it all. Even legs ;-) when you get it into your head that every time you go to the gym it's to improve your body, not to chat with your friends your body responds to this intensity and improves. When you see the improvement happening it goes hand in hand with enjoyment.

When you see the improvement happening it goes hand in hand with enjoyment.

Do you think it's important to switch up your gym routine every once in a while? If so, why and how often do you mix it up?

Yes. Before I got my training right I did go stale through not changing it up. When you go stale it hits your enthusiasm and I have found it's a great mini boost when you have a new program to look forward too.

Mixing it up is relative to what type of program you're doing, however. I've just completed a style of program that changes rep ranges and sets etc. every week but is still structured over a 9-12 week period.

What about cardio – are you a fan or do you think all you need is weights?

I'm not a fan of it but I think it does have its place. I personally don't do a lot of it, maybe one session of High intensity interval training a week. I do train very intensely with weights, so this does stop the need for added cardio.

13. Coming to nutrition now, how important is a healthy, balanced diet to you in maintaining your physique?

Yes its vital. I'm just coming off a period of eating A LOT. This wasn't something sustainable over an extended period of time, but for my goal at that point (adding mass) it was vital.

Now I'm more into a maintenance diet but its covered with the right nutrients and at the right times.

14. What role do supplements play in your training?

I'm not big on the 'gimmicky' type supplements. Things like pre workouts etc. I don't view as essential. If you need something to give you a kick up the behind before you go training there's something wrong. Supplements to me are things I view as essential; a good multi vit, omega 3, whey protein, creatine, bcaas and probiotics are staples with me.

15. Which three whole foods could you simply not live without and why?

  • Obviously chicken. It's gorgeous and versatile! There's not a lot you can't do with it.
  • Turkey mince is big with me. I turn it into a turkey chili and it really helps the taste buds.
  • Steak in the morning for breakfast is something I changed too and now can't imagine not having it.
Essential Foods

16. What diet advice would you give to someone wanting to get in shape?

Goes without saying to get advice off someone who knows what they are talking about. But the basics remain the same. Cut the sugar out completely. Processed foods, bin them too.

Basically if it walks on the earth or grows from the earth, eat it!

17. What's more important – the gym or eating right and why?

Neil Davidson - Workout

To me you wont get results without them both. You could eat 100% clean but if you then couple that with going in the gym and playing on your phone for an hour 'checking in' etc. You might as well sit on the couch with a cheeseburger.

It goes the other way. Smashing it up in the gym with max intensity is what you need to do but if you spend the rest of the day eating rubbish you're cutting your gains by a massive amount!

18. Some say fitness is all in the mind – what do you think of this statement?

Once you walk through that door into the gym it does become that. You need to get into your head that you're in there to improve so go there with the determination and ambition you have when you sit at home and set your goals.

There's no better feeling than when you come out of the gym knowing you've given everything you had. You nail this mindset then results will come.

19. What's next for you?

I've signed up with an advanced personal trainer at Ultimate performance to take me to the next level. I'm super ambitious and this whole process has made me even more so. The sky's the limit if you really want it.

20. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

If you make the decision to go for a transformation put everything into it. The feeling of accomplishment you get and the doors it could open for you are fantastic. When it gets tough just remember why you started and push through and never give up.

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.