Just like at the start of a new year, summer is a good halfway point to start taking stock of how you feel, how you want that to change, and the goals you still want to reach. If you’re in need of some inspiration, take a tip from Julius Ise, trainer and fitness expert for Men’s Health. Here, he tells us how he transformed his body and how it changed his life.
First and foremost
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Julius Ise tells us everything about his body transformation
Hello, Julius! You haven’t always been muscular and athletic. What inspired you to change that?
On April 8, 2013, I decided I wanted to change my figure and my life. I hadn’t been exercising for years and my diet consisted mainly of cornflakes, bread, and pizza. After every meal, I felt really bloated and gassy, and I didn’t feel great about it. I decided it was time to get over that, and at that very moment, I began to change my diet, go running, and do more at-home workouts.
You’re now a trainer and fitness expert for Men’s Health magazine. How did your body transformation get you on this path?
My physical appearance isn’t the only thing that’s changed — my self-confidence and the way I deal with things on a daily basis have also improved during the transformation of the body. After I started to see progress from working out and eating well, I also noticed that I began to apply the same level of discipline to my daily life. I still doubt myself sometimes but having these challenges makes me want to continue to grow. Of course, I didn’t do it just to look good — the effects of my regimen also helps me feel comfortable in my body and stay positive in general.
You need to eat more than usual to successfully develop muscle. How do you ensure that you’re always eating a balanced caloric intake?
In order to ensure a successful transformation of body, eating a balanced diet is absolutely necessary. I make sure to avoid fast and processed food. Certain high-calorie foods are very useful for muscle development, but you have to pay attention to the nutrients they contain. A burger, for example, is calorie-dense but eating too many may cause you to gain more body fat than muscle. The shake I drink ensures I’m getting the surplus of calories to gain muscle as well as all the healthy carbohydrates and fat and protein and fiber I need to feel well because it contains Instant Oats and Peanut Butter. With a good smoothie recipe, you can easily get the extra 1000 calories you need.
Which foodspring products do you use every day?
Whey is a big one for me. No matter what kind of diet you are on (weight loss or strength training), consuming a certain amount of protein every day is essential. By simply drinking one or two shakes a day, you can easily guarantee you’re getting what you need.
Drinking shakes also helps me reduce the amount of meat I’m eating. For strength training purposes, I like to add Instant Oats to my shakes and use Recovery Aminos for my workouts. I also take 5g of Creatine every day.
Is there a recipe you can’t live without?
My favorite recipe right now is chicken with a coconut curry sauce. This recipe is fast, easy, and super good. And it provides me with a good amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
I prepare my chicken with low-fat coconut milk and pan-fry it with vegetables. Then I add curry, salt, pepper and simmer over low heat. Just add rice and that’s it.
Do you ever have cheat days?
I don’t really have a special cheat day. I treat myself when I feel like it. Burgers, pizza, a piece of cake or ice cream… unlike before, I enjoy them more because I eat them in moderation.
Let’s talk numbers. Could you tell us how much muscle mass you’ve gained over the last few years?
I started my body transformation six years ago, when I weighed 90 kg (198 lbs). When I was at my lowest point, I weighed 72 kg (158 lbs). For the past year or so, I’ve been hovering around 80 (176). In total, I have gained 10 to 12 kg (20 to 25 lbs) of muscle mass and lost almost 20 kg of fat.
It’s often said that food is essential to achieving one’s goal. What do you think? How do you organize what you eat with days as busy as yours?
Good nutrition is definitely the key to success. At the same time, maintaining a balanced diet in the long run is one of the most difficult things to do in the long run. To ensure I do, I try to eat the same amount of calories, more or less, every day. I also make sure I always consume a sufficient amount of protein by carrying protein-rich snacks and drinks with me at all times — the foodspring shakes really help me with this. And finally, I make sure that my diet contains enough carbohydrates and fats. If I’m on the go, it’s not always easy, so sometimes I have to improvise.
We can admit that it’s not always easy to motivate oneself to workout and eat well. Have you ever struggled with doing either?
Honestly, there hasn’t been a single day in the last six years when I haven’t felt like working out. There are so many exercise options, you don’t have to do the same repetitive routine at the gym all the time. On vacation, for example, there are often lots of different physical activities to try. In the meantime, I’ve also discovered functional training, or training for a purpose, which is a new challenge that motivates me every day. Your goals and the challenges you face are what keeps you motivated. That’s why it’s important to clearly define your goals by asking yourself questions like what do I want to achieve, in how long, and how?
How many times a week do you work out? What does your workout routine look like?
I currently work out at least five days a week. By dividing my strength training sessions into upper and lower body, I’m able to stay flexible so I can still have functional training sessions here and there. I’m a big fan of working out each muscle several times a week.
Can you give one last piece of advice for all our readers who want to lose weight and build muscle?
Lifting weights and improving during exercises is one of the best ways to see your progress in strength training. Always try to give it your all and enjoy the process. When it comes to what to eat, there’s no one right answer. You need to eat, eat, eat and eat as healthy as possible to give your body the calories and nutrients it needs to develop muscles and feel well. If you gain weight too quickly, then you will have to reduce your calorie intake to prevent yourself from gaining more weight than you want to.
Healthy eating in everyday life
If that interview motivated you to make a change, do like Julius and build a meal plan to help you reach your goal. Use our free Body Check to discover your BMI, caloric needs, and free nutrition advice. Our nutrient-rich products are also great companions to have with you on your fitness journey. There’s something for everyone!