More energy and defined abs — here's how one man finally got the body he wanted by doing less in the gym

More energy and defined abs — here's how one man finally got the body he wanted by doing less in the gym
  • A 45-year-old man says he finally got results from his workouts by simplifying things.

  • He worked with a trainer to create a diet and an exercise routine that were easy to follow.

  • The biggest changes he made were regularly lifting weights and adding more protein to his diet.

Bobby Liu had been diligently working out for years with little to show for it. Trainers told him a combination of aging and genetics was the reason for his lack of results.

The 45-year-old was discouraged and skeptical that anything would work but wasn't ready to give up just yet.

"I wasn't achieving my goals, and I wasn't seeing much progress," Liu told Business Insider.

Then, he started working with Adam Enaz, a personal trainer and dietitian, in May 2023.

Enaz put him to work lifting weights and simplifying his diet. Within two months, Liu saw a noticeable drop in his body fat, along with an increase in his strength and muscle mass. In total, he lost about 9 pounds, accounting for gains in muscle mass, but shed 7 inches off his waistline. In the process, he added more than 50 pounds onto his lifts.

"People think it's like starvation, or that everyone must be on a low-carb diet or doing tons of cardio, but it's actually quite the opposite —high-carb, not a lot of cardio, and weight training," Enaz told BI.

Liu, who lives in London, says the most striking part of his fitness journey is that his best fitness progress came from doing less, not more.

By focusing on basics such as eating enough protein and consistent full-body strength training, Liu says, his routine is easier, less stressful, and has paid off by revealing the muscle definition and ab visibility he was told he'd never get.

"I've never been so big and so broad, and this is the first time in my life I've seen my abs," he said. "But I have more energy and a better mood, too. It's more about feeling better and more confident than just looking good."

He wanted to gain muscle, build strength, and lose belly fat

Like many gym-goers, Liu wanted to put on muscle mass but also trim some body fat, especially around his belly, to get a lean, athletic look.

"My main goal was to get bigger and gain muscle. I've always had a bit of body fat, so you can't really see any tone or definition," he said.

Previously, Liu had bad experiences with personal trainers who bombarded him with information on what he needed to do or avoid in order to meet his goals.

"They overloaded me with metrics. I had so much to do, it was very stressful, and it was hard to sustain," Liu said. "I was measuring like 20 things on an Excel sheet."

When Enaz initially told him to cut back his complex list of to-dos, Liu was skeptical.

"At first, I was like, surely there's more to it than this? Is that all?" Liu said.

But within weeks, he had already begun burning belly fat and seeing more muscle definition, motivating him to keep sticking to the program.

He works out four times a week with full-body strength exercises.

Liu still works with Enaz, meeting with him in person once weekly to check in, and completes the rest of his sessions on his own time.

He hits the gym four times a week, focusing primarily on strength training with little to no cardio. Each session works the full body and takes about an hour (including time waiting to use equipment in the public gym).

Liu says about half his exercises are compound movements, such as deadlifts and bench presses that work all the muscles at once, and half target specific muscle groups, such as preacher curls for the biceps.

He performs three sets of each exercise and up to 12 reps per set, with two minutes of rest between sets.

Each time he can easily do 12 reps, he increases weight (doing fewer reps if needed), a key principle of gains known as progressive overload.

For example, Liu started by doing 12 reps of 30 pounds on the shoulder press and now does 10 reps with 66 pounds. He also added almost 70 pounds to his bench press with this method.

Liu says the amount of work feels just right, when previously his assigned workouts felt like too much effort or not enough.

"It's really achievable," he said. "I'm tired enough but not overtired."

He counts macros and eats more protein but hasn't cut any foods out

Liu says his diet is flexible and breaks down into about 35% of calories from protein, 40% from carbohydrates, and 25% from fats.

Over time, he says, Enaz has gradually decreased his calorie goal so he can continue burning fat while still eating enough to build muscle.

Within that guideline, Liu says, he can eat what he likes.

"As long as I follow the calories and macros, I haven't cut out any foods out," he said.

Liu says the biggest difference in his eating habits has been getting more protein, including a protein shake and a scoop of protein powder with his morning oatmeal. That, and he's stopped stressing about strict, arbitrary rules around what he can or can't eat.

"It's been simple and focused. I followed it, learned from it, and I'm able to keep doing it," Liu said.

Read the original article on Business Insider