Who’s The Best Role Model For Body Trans­for­ma­tions

Shape up swiftly with this six-pack of tips from fit­ness trainer and Men’s Health Open cham­pion An­dre Crews.

Men's Health (Singapore) - - ED'S NOTE -

Eight years be­fore he had the chis­elled physique you see now, An­dre Crews was like most guys: an av­er­age Joe who wanted more out of life and his body. By day he was a banker por­ing over fi­nan­cials at PNC’s Pitts­burgh head­quar­ters, and by night he was a party an­i­mal with a taste for Jame­son Ir­ish whiskey. Here and there he’d squeeze in a work­out or a run, but his body–at 90kg, the same weight he is now–was more flab than mus­cle.

That all changed in 2010, when Crews de­cided to ditch the desk job. “I wasn’t happy do­ing bank­ing,” he says. After a stint of bar­tend­ing, he found his true call­ing as a trainer. Now he’s in the best shape of his life and co-owns a New Jersey CrossFit box called 150 Bay. Plus, at 31, Crews is the reign­ing cham­pion of the Men’s Health Open fit­ness challenge. Here’s his ad­vice for other av­er­age Joes.

1. MAKE S.M.A.R.T. GOALS

This acro­nym–a ves­tige of Crews’s busi­ness days–stands for “spe­cific, mea­sur­able, ac­tion-ori­ented, re­al­is­tic, and timely.” Fo­cus on small goals you can quan­tify. Crews started his fit­ness jour­ney with the di­rec­tion­less goal of “get­ting ripped” as he fol­lowed a friend into en­durance runs. But it wasn’t un­til he chased 1-rep max goals in the weight room that his body started chang­ing. Set goals that keep you ac­count­able to your mis­sion. Don’t make vague prom­ises to your­self like “I’m go­ing to work out more.” In­stead, says Crews, “try, ‘I’ll go to the gym Mon­day, Wed­nes­day, and Fri­day at 6:30 a.m. every week for the next 12 weeks.’” Plug a work­out sched­ule into your plan­ner. Then stick to it.

2. KILL BAD HABITS SLOWLY

You’ll likely need to up­grade your diet and ex­er­cise rou­tine to get the body you want. Just don’t rush it. In his bank­ing days, Crews threw back brews at the bar six nights a week. He knew he couldn’t keep do­ing that, so he first nixed drink­ing Sun­day through Wed­nes­day and par­tied the other days. Two full years later, he was down to drink­ing on Fri­day and Satur­day. By 2014, it was only on spe­cial oc­ca­sions. “After a while, it feels good to not wake up hung over every Satur­day and Sun­day,” he says.

3. GET CER­TI­FIED

Even if you don’t want to work as a per­sonal trainer, tak­ing a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion course can yield huge ben­e­fits. “To have peo­ple who live and breathe fit­ness ex­plain it to you will help you con­nect the dots phys­i­cally and men­tally,” says Crews. It’ll challenge you too. In his CrossFit Level 1 course, Crews re­mem­bers his re­ac­tion to “Fran” (21 reps of 43kg thrusters fol­lowed by 21 pull-ups, then 15 of each ex­er­cise, then nine of each) in 10 min­utes: Holy s***. “It got me out of the leisurely gym at­ti­tude,” he says. He now does Fran in 2:37. Hone your skills with CrossFit, StrongFirst ket­tle­bell, and West­side Bar­bell cer­ti­fi­ca­tions.

4. GIVE YOUR­SELF FIVE

Learn Crews’s favourite rep scheme, 5×5, which will help you build strength on ex­er­cises like the bench press, dead­lift, and squat. Pick a weight and do 5 sets of 5 reps each, rest­ing for at least a minute be­tween sets. The fol­low­ing week, in­crease the weight you’re us­ing by 2kg.

5. LET TWICE BE NICE

Crews loves Olympic lifts like the clean and jerk be­cause they challenge his en­tire body dur­ing every mo­ment of every rep. But they’re not easy to learn, so fol­low his two-miss rule. “If you fail more than twice at a weight, you’re done for the day,” he says. Live to fight another day.

6. BE YOUR OWN VIDEO STAR

Bring your phone when­ever you lift–and not just for In­sta­gram. For as long as Crews has been train­ing, he’s been record­ing com­pli­cated lifts from a side pro­file an­gle. He stud­ies both slow-mo and reg­u­lar-speed video of his form to make sure his tech­nique on his heav­i­est reps is as solid as that of his warm-up reps.

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