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Get your objectives very clear and you are half way to your new healthy and good looking you.

Let me explain

Let's look at the word "objective" first.

Since getting in shape (whatever that means) is a project
itself, I will take the definition from the business dictionary- Objectives are
basic tools that underlie all planning and strategic activities. They serve as
the basis for creating policy and evaluating performance. Some examples of
business objectives include minimising expenses, expanding internationally, or
making a profit.

In general, objectives are more specific and easier to measure
than goals and most of the time expressed with numbers.

For an example, the goal is to launch a successful business but
the short-term objective is to raise x amount of cash. X is a number. You see,
when you talk about clear objectives, they normally bind to a NUMBER.

Body builder's end goal is to win a contest. For this to happen
he or she will need to have the most impressive physique.

What would be then the short term clear objective for someone
who just starts their preparation for a contest expressed in numbers so you can
measure easier progress?

Well, a good coach will measure body fat percentage, weight and
then he will have a way to workout the lean muscle mass at the starting point
and then he will put down on paper clear objectives.

To go on stage and win a contest or at least don’t look stupid
on stage one need to be at least sub 10% body fat and hold reasonable amount of
lean muscle mass. Based on your body shape the coach will advise the prospect
what competition class he or she will be more suitable for them.

You can check the different classes from the link bellow.


Different categories will require a different level of leanness
and different level of lean muscle mass. Although the descriptions on the
website are quite ambiguous and subjective one thing is for sure- to enter
either one of the categories you will have be at least 10% or sub 10% body fat.

Leanness comes with reducing your body fat and muscles mass has
to be build. Period.

So, what do we have? A starting body fat percentage which is a
number and targeted body fat percentage which should be sub 10%. Without
getting to that level of leanness, there is no point going on stage.

Let's look at the average gym goer.

Let's be honest here. The first and the main motive for all of
us joining a gym or start an exercise programme, or go to a class is because we
simply would like to look a bit better naked and the health aspect come second.
I have dealt with hundreds of clients over the last 12 years and I have come
across to lots of different motives- "would like to get fit", "want
to lose a bit of weight", "would like to get a bit toned". But
when I start peeling the layers and get deeper of what really people want to
achieve when they join the gym is always looking better naked! Period. And if
you are only concern with the health aspect of training, you will still need to
get rid of the flab. It is possible to be lean and unhealthy (normally those
individuals would have hard time gaining muscle) but you can’t have optimal
health if you are fat. What would be fat by my standards?

Males above 10%

Females above 14%

Remember, I am talking about optimal not average! And if you
think that cardio is the answer to long life, you are very wrong. Countless
studies show that exercise will promote longevity and strength training is the
best mode of exercise for a long life. Check the article below on the


Second factor is muscle mass and factor number 3 is heart
health. Interestingly research clearly shows that heart health is not to be
obtained with long cardio training, it is quite the opposite according to a
study presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2010 in Montreal. Read
the article bellow on the topic.


So, if you are just after some general health- get lean, strong
and gain some muscle.

At different level of leanness or body fat percentage, different
people will use different language. For an example, a female who is in the
range of 15-20% body fat will say something like " I would like to tone up
my mid-section" or something like " I would like to work on my
gluts". A guy at this body fat percentage will say something like " I
would like to get my abs out and may be put some size on my upper body,
"but not much" (that always make me laugh). Both male and female
above 20% body fat will have slightly different language- "I would like to
lose some weight" or they will have a very specific number of weight loss
in their head that they would like to achieve.

My point is that what will make all the above profiles happy, is
if they eventually manage to drop their body fat down to a certain percentage.
The overweight and obese clients will say that they would like to lose weight
but the clear objective will be reducing body fat which always results in those
individuals as weight loss. Part of being a good coach is correcting people
(especially overweight) to use the right terminology "fat loss" vs
"weight loss".

Females always lose body weight in the quest for achieving a
more toned physique. Young male adults in the region of 15-20% if they are
trained properly tend to lose some body weight but not a lot because during the
process they build muscle easier than females and they don’t have much body fat
to lose.

Overweight and obese people will have lots of body fat to lose
and if even they manage to build some muscle (they should be trying to, as lean
tissue increases one basal metabolic rate) it will never exceed the amount of
fat they will need to lose to get down to some more healthy ranges. Therefore,
they will have to lose weight but what people don’t realise is that this will
have to come from fat loss not muscle wastage.

So, if you are a regular gym goer and your body fat percentage
is above 20% and you would like to get in a reasonable shape for a summer
holiday (male and female) your CLEAR OBJECTIVE WILL BE TO REDUCE YOUR BODY FAT

May I just open a bracket here and point out that as a male
going under 10% of body fat and if you are achieving this without the use of
abusive hormonal assistance, you are only improving your optimal health. Male
can go down (and they should strive to) to 6% body fat without any adverse
impact on their health.

On the other hand, females should hover on the range of 12-14%
as staying at lower values for a long time will have a negative impact on their
health and the sex hormones. Because females tend to store their fat around the
hip and the arms mostly, at a percentage of 12% body fat they will appear well
defined with nice define lines in the mid-section but not very exaggerated six

OK. If you agree so far with me then let's compare the
objectives of an individual with 23% body fat that wants to compete in a
physique contest and a regular gym goer with same body fat level but wants to
just look "a bit better" for a summer holiday.

For this exercise, we will agree that they both start at a body
fat of 23%.

As we mentioned above our regular gym goer needs to get down to
12% to get what industry calls "a toned body".

Our fellow physique competitor will have to go down to 6-8 %
body fat to good look good on stage, let alone if he or she wants to win! For
these exercise, let's agree that he or she will also start at a body fat
percentage 23%.

The very first objective will be to get our fellow competitor
down to sub 10% along the way he or she will need to build some muscle at the
same time so he or she looks competitive on stage. Once this level of leanness
is achieved a good coach will look for any body parts lacking and will
personalise a programme that tackles those muscle groups. It could be calves,
lats, arms, etc. There are other specific preparation tasks that will need to
be completed close to competition (a week before) like tanning the body,
getting dry and veiny look. One can argue if this is healthy but THE POINT
BEFORE THE COMPETITION DOWN TO SUB 10%. Only then he or she will need to take
care of the rest of the details encompassing a good stage physique.

The Physique competitor needs to go down to sub 10% and build
some muscle and the starting point is 23%. On the other hand, our fellow
regular gym goer will need to go down to 12% body fat also starting at 23%.

At this point, let me ask you a question.

Would there be any differences in terms of training and dieting
in their journey until they both get down to 12%?

Once they both get to 12%, one of them (the regular gym goer)
will relax with the diet and training (unless he is a male that would like to
go below 10%) and will maintain the leanness but he or she will need to get
there first, right? On the other hand, our physique competitor will need to
keep going with the diet and the training. At that point, he or she will need a
different method to drop down to 6% but until he or she get down to 12% from
23% the method will be the same as the method with our regular gym goer. And
there you go, if you "just want to get a bit tighter", you are a body
builder or physique competitor, or fitness model but you don’t know it yet!

And what is the method?

Strict diet, weight training and HIIT (high intensity interval

I can hear some of you already screaming especially the female
audience "I don’t want to do weight training because I don’t want to build
muscles". Well, you don’t want to lift weights, that means you will never
get down to your desired body fat percentage unless you are already genetically

I will give you an example with two of my transformations-
Bradley and Maya. See the pictures below.

Bradley started at 23% body fat, weighing 94.7kg with total lean mass of

After 16 weeks of hard training and dieting he finished with the following

Body fat: 9.3%

Body Weight- 85.6kg

Total Lean mass- 77.7kg

He trained 3 times a week on average.

Maya started with a body fat 25%, weighing 62kg, with total lean
mass 45.4kg

After 8 weeks of very hard training and dieting she finished with the following

Body Fat: 17%

Body Weight- 57kg

Total Lean Mass- 47.6kg

If you look at the pictures below you can clearly see that
either one of them is not at a stage condition if you compare their bodies with
the physique competitors. But, boy, did we ever back off from training though?!
I urge you to go and check the videos on this FB page or on my Instagram and
you will see them squatting, benching, dead lifting, chin ups with weights. On
one of the videos Maya does 3 chin up with 10kg hanging from her waist after
performing one negative rep with 35kg.

My point is that I trained them as professional body builders
and our objectives were exactly the same as professional body builders but the
only difference was that they were not hormonally assisted. Is it so bad that
Bradley gained 5.5kg and Maya gained 2.5kg of lean muscle?! Well, they were
very happy with their results at the end but they had a clear objective-
getting those results without trying to push heavy (it is a relative term)
weights and strict dieting.

Don’t get fooled by the industry, telling you that if you do
that class or that class you will tone up better than if you would do some
other type of training. And if you do weight training you may get too bulky and
slow! You can only get bulky and slow if you get fat! Period!

Toning up is a very deceiving term made up by the fitness
industry. It basically means 3 things:

1. You either get rid of the body fat and your existing muscles become more visible

2. Or you maintain your body fat level and gain some muscle

3. Or... This is the one that I use as my best strategy- the two objectives above
happening at the same time.

Get your objective very clear and measurable. Start training the
same way as a physique competitor but a lot harder and smarter!

Live To Your True Potential!


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