Case study - Tom Miles - Serious strength!
For everyone tackling the strength phase in WIT 30 or through the 6 week strength programs here is a case study put together by one of our clients Tom Miles. He has made INSANE progress over the past 8 months.
Tom provides superb insight into what it takes!
Liam and I thought it would be helpful for everyone if I shared some of the experience of the last 8 months I have spent on a long term strength phase within training and nutrition which resulted in me gaining 20 kilos over the 8 months. . So here is what I found I have learnt over the time along with some tips and possible ways that I found made days easier for me.
Consistency and simplicity
Consistency is probably the overwhelming factor in the process. I found consistency came from simplicity, I found a way to get in my calories the simplest way possible that I could easily repeat day to day. I planned my nutrition around my daily training and got into a pattern throughout the week and targeted the times I was able to get food in. For me, mornings were a big focus area. I found not eating late and prioritising sleep allows you to wake up earlier and spend a decent chunk of time making and eating a bigger breakfast and having time to eat it, this would see around 1000 calories down in a couple of feeds. This meant I could already knock off a large chunk of my caloric intake for the day, with the added bonus of also boosting energy levels in the morning and setting the day up right. This even gave me time to split breakfast into multiple meals to avoid getting fed up of eating so much of the same breakfast every day.
This would still apply to the very early morning training but instead of eating a tonne of calories before training, I simply split my breakfast around the training window and ate a snack before and a larger meal after. I still went into training in a fed state.
Possibly the most consistent meal of my day has been post training and my go to oats. So easy to prep and eat with so many varieties to eat! I pretty much rely on my oats everyday to be able to hit my carb and immediate caloric intake straight after training to kickstart refuelling. This is super important as I train twice a day.
I would recommend to always prep this the night before and have it on hand for your post training meal. I found this immediately boost my recovery post training whilst also being the easiest and most enjoyable meal of the day.
Although this is a lower fat meal as it is post workout I would sometimes add a little peanut butter if I had a really heavy session. This was just to help with sneaking extra calories in.
Bad days and how to react
It’s going to happen some days you get home late and realise its not realistically possible to hit your calories and you’ve not prepped any meals, and you need to get to sleep. In this case don’t panic and don’t sacrifice your sleep to start making excessive meals and cram everything in late at night. Trying to, cook, eat and digest before eventually going to sleep is not advised. That will then have a domino effect onto the next day where you will probably end up having a poor breakfast and then find yourself in the same position the following night. But do not panic eat, let it go one bad day will not affect the next at that point.
A point Liam always said to me was to not chase my calories late at night but also to not eat nothing. So I would have something quick and go to bed. Then if it happened on multiple occasions I was under my calories we assessed why this was and implemented strategies to address this. One way you can close the gap at that point is with a blender, Liam’s smoothie recipes helped me recover countless times. And to increase the calories I chucked in avocados, oats or peanut butter for extra carbs, fats or protein.
It didn’t get easier by simply eating as much as possible randomly through every day trying to get in as many calories as possible working it out as I went along. However, when your body becomes accustomed to routine and consistent times and calories you intake each day you’ll find you almost start doing it without putting thought into it anymore and doesn’t feel as much of a pain as it originally did. I ended up splitting my six meals into two breakfast (6-7am), one post training (12ish), then 3 meals staggered around 3pm, 5pm and an hour before bed.
Keep it simple
Before starting the phase I thought theoretically I have less restrictions on foods and meals as the average person would, and eating out of Tupperware 75% of the time I went looking for unnecessary over complicated recipes that I thought would look and taste more appealing as being in Tupperware isn’t. But I found over complicating the food I was eating just made it unrealistic to consistently prep and eat in a structured time. KEEP IT SIMPLE. I made a list of sources of proteins, carbs and veg that I like, can prep easily and are easily stored at home. I used the list to take an ingredient from each one add the 3 together and make a meal that I can cook multiple portions of and store away for future days when I was struggling to come up with what to eat. For example, take chicken from the proteins, pasta from the carbs and spinach from the veg, chicken, tomato and spinach pasta, easy to cook and create multiple portions for future days.
Sick of eating
I think about a week in I was already fed up of the continuous eating, I would find it was always in the moments you least want to do anything, and energy levels are at a low for the day. I found being on the way home at the end of the day when you want to switch off before realising, I still have another meal to eat or have some prep to do for the next day. I found that this a common struggle as it was always there when I least wanted it! There’s no way to get out of it if you want to do it properly as not doing it then won't affect you in that moment, but it will in the next couple of days. I really noticed when I hadn’t eaten enough to refuel or fuel for my sessions.
The easiest way I found dealing with this was to focus on my routine. I found it so much easier to accept I had to spend time on it and got it done quicker.
Notable weight gain effects
I started noticing an increase in weight after a couple of weeks once getting my routine nailed and consistently hitting my meals day to day. Since I’ve put on 20 kilos and can’t really say I’ve noticed any limitations or negative effects on my aerobic performance whilst on this strength cycle. Over the 9 months I have done very little cardio but after testing in across the time on a few occasions there’s been no sign that the increased body weight has had a significant effect cardiovascular. Mentally and physically I’m yet to find any damage it’s done cardiovascular.
However, I know a lot of people have concerns over the effect extra weight would cause to their gymnastics. Yes, it has had an effect on my gymnastics but only a very limited effect and short-term effect I allowed it to have. By committing to such a long term strength phase nutritionally and training wise it meant having to neglect certain gymnastic movements. However now starting to slowly introduce small amount back into my training as my strength has significantly gone up alongside my weight. I feel more explosive and stronger in movements than before when I was lighter and had a focus on those movements. I now feel stronger and more confident knowing when I change my focus of training to gymnastics, I’ll be stronger than ever before and surpass my original gymnastics ability. This is largely due to the amount of strict volume gymnastics I have been able to focus on during this time, meaning my strict gymnastics is stronger than ever at my heaviest ever bodyweight by far.
Positive effects on performance and energy
The most significant difference I have noticed during the time would be the positive impact it has had on my energy levels and recovery. Going into strength session fully fuelled and fully recovered as much as possible allowed me to get so much more out of sessions compared to what I would have been able to have had I not been fuelled going into the session. This is why I so strongly recommend to anyone who seriously wants to improve their strength and overall performance, once you experience the benefits it has on your ability to perform in training that’s when it becomes a priority almost as much as actually training itself.
A fuelled and rested body makes or breaks the session.
Despite training every day on an extremely high-volume heavy programme with the specific purpose of strength and building a strong base I haven’t had a single session I’ve had to pack in as I physically haven’t had the energy or been in the state to do it. I’ve found it is that consistency and the ability of a fully fuelled body gives you to be able to consistently keep ticking over, over a long period of time the real and the only reason I’ve been able to develop.
September 2018- May 2019
Clean: 105kg-140kg (double)
Tom has shown incredible consistency with his training. He has been coached by Sam Norman. This is a huge part of his quick progress and yes he is young so can get away with eating a little more than those of us who are the wrong side of 30! But if you want to lift these numbers then it shows you what is needed. Amazing progress and one to watch in the future!
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