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Emily Builds Lean Muscle & Completes 11 Pull-Ups!

Emily Builds Lean Muscle & Completes 11 Pull-Ups | LEP Fitness

Super proud to share Emily’s story this week. Emily came to LEP Fitness, struggling to motivate herself to work out and stay in any consistent routine for longer than a couple of weeks!

Emily has done exceptionally well in the time that we’ve been working together, and she’s achieved some impressive results:

  • Losing 13lbs 
  • Building plenty of lean muscle 
  • Starting at ten push-ups to now being able to do 60!
  • 11 pull-ups! she couldn’t do any when we started working together
  • Fixed shoulder imbalance (the left shoulder was higher than the right)

BUT most importantly, Emily now really enjoys training, is in the best shape of her life, and is in a consistent routine of working out 5x per week!

I thought it would be good to share what we’ve done! Hopefully, you’ll learn a thing or two, and it will inspire you to embark on your own personal transformation.

#1 Set Goals – the SMART principle 

I like to use the SMART acronym when setting goals. SMART stands for:

  • Specific 
  • Measurable 
  • Attainable 
  • Realistic
  • Timely 

We all need goals, one’s which are challenging (but not too challenging) and realistic ones. As time goes on, we can set ourselves tougher challenges, BUT we must start slowly. 

Far too many people set themselves unrealistic goals and fail because of the fantasy they’ve created in their minds. For example, people will say they’re going to work out every day and lose two stone in 3 months, BUT in reality, they can’t commit to training every day and have inadequate experience in the gym, and therefore they fail and quit. 

If this happens over the years, people develop a belief that they can’t change, and it becomes a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy.’ 

The most important thing is to set small goals that challenge you, but that don’t overwhelm you. At the same time, you don’t want your goals to be too easy. Think of a computer game…

You don’t want it to be too easy, where you hop from level to level, BUT at the same time spending 3 hours on the same level can get frustrating – you don’t want things to be too hard! The best goals are ones in the middle, one’s which push you outside of your comfort zone and test you but are achievable! 

For example, Emily said she wanted to do five pull-ups, but at that time, she couldn’t do any! So I said, great goal and I said I’d be happy to work towards it; however, we needed to start with bands first and slowly build-up. I also created a home workout routine to help her gain strength in her arms). 

As time went on, she got stronger, and then finally she managed to get 1 pull up, then 2, then 3, etc. and now she can do 11! 

Emily - LEP Fitness - personal trainer Sheffield

We also applied the same principle to push-ups, Emily started at ten push-ups, but over time we kept adding reps each week, and now she can do 60! 

#2 Compound Lifts 

With Emily (as with most clients), we’ve used lots of compound lifts. Compound lifts are movements which hit multiple muscle groups all in one movement, for example:

  • Deadlift – which targets the thighs, butt, lower back, upper back, core
  • Incline DB press – which targets the chest, shoulders, triceps
  • Split squats – hits most of the leg
  • Pull-ups – back, biceps, rear shoulders

In total, we’ve worked on eight different exercises each week – keeping things simple. Once good technique was established, we then started to add more reps, or more weight (or both!) and have stuck to the same plan, making small tweaks along the way. 

Lots of personal trainers will change their client’s program too often (in fear that the client will get bored!) – however, all of this chopping and changing often leads to poor results. 

If a client sees progress i.e., getting stronger and noticing amazing body shape changes, let me tell you this… they won’t get bored! People value results more than variety! That’s not to say you can’t do a different workout now and then, BUT the majority of your sessions should be consistent. Aim to beat the numbers, keep your form strict, and progress is guaranteed. 

#3 More Protein 

I’ve never put Emily on a diet plan! Her diet was already pretty good. All I’ve done is gotten her to place more emphasis on eating more protein.

Protein is vital when it comes to building muscle and losing fat. Protein is the building block for muscle (you can’t build muscle without it), and it also keeps you fuller for longer (especially compared to carb foods). 

To begin with, all I asked Emily to do was eat some protein at least once per day. Like with the training, we’ve slowly built up so that she now has protein 2-3x per day! Plenty of white meat, and fish, with the occasional piece of red meat. 

#4 Home Workouts And Running

After training with me for four weeks, we tried to get Emily in the gym. However, she didn’t like it (like lots of people!). So instead, I built her a home workout routine to follow, using resistance bands and some dumbells. She does this 2x per week, and then goes running 2x per week, and now trains with me 1x per week. So five sessions in total. 

#5 Fixing Shoulder Imbalance 

Fixing Shoulder Imbalance | LEP Fitness

Lots of people have rounded shoulders, mainly down to things such as computer work all day, driving, etc. Emily had rounded shoulders when we started working together, and her left shoulder was raised higher.

We addressed Emily’s shoulder issue by working on the muscles in the mid back area. We improved her scapula strength (the muscles responsible for pulling the shoulders back), and also her lats (muscle on the back). 

We did plenty of pulldowns with bands, pull-ups with bands, and scapula drills. It only took around two months to fix this issue. Not only does Emily’s posture look better, but she’s now able to perform better in other exercises, especially push exercises like the incline DB press, and any back movements like rows, pull-ups, etc. 

Fixing imbalances should always be addressed naturally within a client’s program. 

#6 Putting It All Together 

Emily has done amazingly well, and to summarise how she’s achieved these results would be as follows:

  • Constant progress – adding a rep each week, or an extra kg to the weight lifted and doing this for the last four months. 
  • Picking the right exercises – for Emily’s structure. Sorting shoulder imbalance. 
  • Performing the exercises correctly – to ensure the right muscle groups are recruited and to iron out any imbalances 
  • Consuming more protein to build lean muscle 
  • Extra workouts outside of our sessions – running and home workouts

And that’s it! No magic pill, just the right guidance, plan of action, and consistency. These foundations will always be the keys to a successful body transformation.

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