Carol Aquino Case Study: No Excuses. Taking Care of Business, While Getting in Kick Ass Shape

Carol Aquino Case Study: No Excuses. Taking Care of Business, While Getting in Kick Ass Shape

I’d been aware of Carol for a while before we started officially working together.

First, I’d seen her train at a gym I used to work at in London. She really did a 180 in terms of her figure in a very short space of time. But, I’d seen that before.

What impressed me was that two years later, I could still see her progressing both in terms of visually physique wise and her strength and skillset in the gym. This wasn’t a flash-in-the-pan. This was someone that had been bitten by the bug, and was super driven.

Watching her training videos she’d upload to Instagram I’d be blown away by the intensity used, but occasionally actually thinking she benefit from pulling back at times! (It’s rare to see this as a coach. Most trainees are looking for any opportunity/excuse to pull back).

So at the beginning of this year, when Carol reached out and asked if she could work with me – I jumped at the chance.

I’ve said it time and time again, that combining the correct training and nutrition protocols, having a coach that knows when to push/pull and combining that with a client that trusts in the process and executes no matter what, is always going to lead to some damn impressive changes.

What I didn’t know, is that Carol had also become a major investor in the restaurant chain The Good Egg. Not just your typical boardroom investor, but very hands on, often flitting between the two sites.

Starting Point

As you can see, Carol was in a pretty good starting position. But, she didn’t just want to look ‘good’ – she wanted to level up, go all out and compete in a bikini competition! At this point Carol was working with a 1-2-1 PT named Artur Moura in London, who was overseeing her technique and helping her to prevent injuries.

My job was to write the training, nutrition and supplementation plans for them to execute together to take her to the stage.

Training – Right off the bat, I knew Carol needed a little muscle all over but we also had a short term goal of getting leaner first.. So we started on a 5 day split of: Lower Heavy, Upper Heavy, Glutes, Lower Pump and Upper Pump.

Cardio ­– Living/working in and around London, it made sense to use a 10,000 step goal per day.

Diet – As always, I started on a ‘moderate’ approach across the board. This looked to be:

Calories – 1590

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 155g

Fat – 50g

Supplements – Super simple initially.

  • Supplemental Protein – as per meal plan
  • EAAs (Anabolic Designs) – 1 scoop during workouts

Carol’s Comments:  

“I had met Adam in July 2015 when I had decided to change from being a cardio bunny to someone who wanted to lift weights. At that time I was training with someone else at the same place where Adam used to work. I followed him on social media and was SUPER excited when Akash (whom I had also met in 2015) and him decided to start RNT. I still felt like I ‘wasn’t ready’ to be part of RNT as I’m a horrible perfectionist. Seeing the transformations that Adam had done, and the fact that I always struggled with my self esteem, I wanted to feel confident first.”

2 Weeks In

The first changes we made a couple weeks in was v simple, just a reduction in rest day carbs. The new macros looked like this:

Training Days:

Calories – 1590

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 155g

Fat – 50g

Rest Days:

Calories – 1490

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 130g

Fat – 50g

4 Weeks In 

Despite lots of travel commitments, Carol was making some good headway!

No changes to training, diet, supplementation or cardio.

6 Weeks In

Still heading in the right direction, although Carol was starting to feel overwhelmed with stresses of various work projects, the travel and lack of sleep.

We decided to incorporate some Magnesium before bed to help reduce anxiety and improve sleep, as well as small doses of 5-HTP spread through the day to help elevate mood in general while she was trying to keep up with everything.

One thing  I didn’t want to do was make more aggressive changes, as it would just become another stressor on top. I wanted Carol enjoying her training and using it as a positive outlet.

Carol’s Comments:

“Work commitments, travelling and personal problems usually come together for me – it’s always a tsunami of things that make my life go crazy. However, the gym became my outlet where I’d focus on myself. Turn my mobile off, listen to good music and use my frustrations to move some heavy weights ended up helping me LOADS.”

8 Weeks In 

Despite all of the above, at 8 weeks in, Carol was looking leaner visually and more muscle. She had clearly added a lot of muscle to her upper back, and her glutes were ‘lifted’ as well as waist coming in nicely. It just shows that not rushing into making changes week-in and week-out pays off some times.

From here, we picked a show date and decided the job right now was to get calories as high as possible, while keeping body fat in check.

Training – I decided to actually drop a training day, and do 4 days per week with a strong glute focus. This ended up being four ‘full body’ workouts that each started with a form of hip thrust.

Cardio ­– We dropped steps to just whatever Carol would clock up habitually.

Diet – The goal was now more food!

Training Days:

Calories – 1800

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 185g (UP 30g)

Fat – 60g (UP 10g)

Rest Days:

Calories – 1580

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 130g

Fat – 60g (UP 10g)

Supplements – Just the addition of Creatine.

  • Supplemental Protein – as per meal plan
  • EAAs (Anabolic Designs) – 1 scoop during workouts
  • Creatine Monohydrate – 5g per day

10 Weeks In 

Two weeks in, Carol was holding steady so we were able to bump food higher again! On top of this, she was getting stronger!

Training Days:

Calories: 1950

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 200g  (UP  15g)

Fat – 70g (UP  10g)

Rest Days:

Calories: 1890

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 185g (UP 55g)

Fat – 70g (UP  10g)

12 Weeks In 

Due to being on a time frame for the official ‘diet’ part of the competition prep, we had to keep this gaining phase to just four weeks (hence it was aggressive).

Overall, Carol’s calories were higher than ever before. She was stronger, carrying more muscle tissue and just as tight.

Pretty damn good for less training, less cardio and more food, right?! The power of strength training correctly for females is huge!

Carol’s Comments:

“For a woman, it’s VERY HARD to accept that you have to eat more to gain muscle mass. It’s so ingrained in our brains that we need to be skinny and eat as little as possible (with usually lots of lettuce!) that I definitely struggled at first. But then I was enjoying the food as well as the massive pump it was giving me in the gym. Progressive overload is SO MUCH FUN when you have the stamina – every week my weights were going up and I was living the dream!”

14 Weeks In 

It was now time to flip the switch and dial it in for her show!

Training – We went back to the 5 day split, but a revised version of it, with some exercise advancements. At this point, Carol had a niggling hamstring, so we did have to be conscious of and work around that.

Cardio ­– Steps back in, 10,000

Diet – Sadly, we had to start taking food away again now.

Training Days:

Calories – 1660

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 150g (DOWN 50g)

Fat – 60g (DOWN 10g)

Rest Days:

Calories – 1540

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 120g (DOWN 50g)

Fat – 60g (DOWN 10g)

Supplements – Inclusion of Yohimbine HCL at 0.2mg/kg

  • Supplemental Protein – as per meal plan
  • EAAs (Anabolic Designs) – 1 scoop during workouts
  • Creatine Monohydrate – 5g per day
  • Magnesium – 400mg
  • 5-HTP – 200-400mg
  • Yohimbine HCL – 12.5mg

16 Weeks In 

At this stage, Carol was really under pressure with the restaurants. So rather than pull calories (energy) and create more hunger, we just gave her a 2,000 step bump onto her step goal. Now at 12,000 per day.

18 Weeks In 

We started reducing calories at this point, which now looked like:

Training Days:

Calories – 1530

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 140g (DOWN 10g)

Fat – 50g (DOWN 10g)

Rest Days:

Calories – 1290

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 80g (DOWN 40g)

Fat – 50g (DOWN 10g)

Anyone that has worked with me previously will know that I’m happy to go quite aggressive on rest days, in order to preserve as much food as possible on training days. Across the 7 days, the deficit would be the same, so fat loss equal. But, theoretically more food = being able to train harder. So potentially, leaving calories higher on training days may help with muscle preservation.

20 Weeks In 

We just introduced caffeine at 200mg this week.

22 Weeks In 

Reduced fats. Increased steps. Increased caffeine.

Training Days:

Calories – 1485

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 140g

Fat – 45g (DOWN 5g)

Rest Days:

Calories – 1245

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 80g

Fat – 45g (DOWN 5g)

Steps from 12,000 up to 14,000

Caffeine 200mg AM and 200mg early afternoon.

24 Weeks In 

Things moving in the direction. Upper body is pretty much stage ready, just glutes/hamstrings to go!

Training Days:

Calories – 1485

Protein – 130g

Carbs – 140g

Fat – 45g

Rest Days:

Calories – approx. 1000

Protein – 130g

Carbs – Green Veggies

Fat – 45g

26 Weeks In 

At this point, we pushed caffeine to 400mg AM and 200mg early afternoon. And added a second, smaller dose of Yohimbine early afternoon too.

Sneak peek of what’s to come 😉

 

28 Weeks In

This is where we stepped on the gas. The final stretch.

At this point, I allowed Carol to do any classes that she wanted to do at her gym due to increased energy expenditure being a bonus. On top of this, for the final 7-10 days we ran a PSMF style diet of protein and veggies. I’ll let Carol explain how she ‘enjoyed’ that one!

Carol’s Comments:

“Man… PSMF SUCKS. But gives you the results you’re looking for! I felt SOOOOO tired all the time, and I never understood what lack of carbs meant until I did this. But having a deadline for it didn’t make me panic – I kept thinking about the end goal, how I wanted to look my best onstage and needed to keep pushing. I was counting the days, both of carbs back into my life and dreading going onstage! However I felt so confident and felt so empowered that even  the heat, glycogen depletion and tiredness wouldn’t take that away from me.” 

Final Week

There are many ways to play a peak week. Typically the best thing to do is leave everything as is. Other times, when there  is still body fat to lose, you have to make a call as to what the priority is: coming in full, or slightly flat, but leaner.

In Carol’s case, I chose the latter. Due to Carol’s upper body coming in so fast, her glutes were lagging behind a little. So, to attempt to get the final bits off, we pushed on hard right up until 3 days out from the show, in which we did a small carb load.

Two days out we did 250g. One day out we did 150g. And on the day, just a high carb/fat/sodium breakfast.

I was super happy with how Carol looked, considering this was our first prep together, and her first ever competition. Her overall look was great. Could we have got the glutes a little sharper? Sure. But, we know that for next time. The great thing about physique sports is that it’s a constant learning curve!

Here’s Carol at her first ever show!

That smile and ‘owning’ the stage is what it’s all about for me! Seeing all the hard work that Carol had put in with travel, running her businesses, the injuries/niggles and still busting ass to get to this position. Amazing.

Who’d Have Thought?

Not only did Carol compete for the first time.. But, she also waited until I arrived back from the US to also do her first ever photoshoot, with Ben Mark!

To say she crushed it, would be an understatement:

Start to Finish

With having everything to juggle around her, Carol’s determination and drive landed her with the below transformation!

 

 

Here’s what Carol has to say about her overall experience with RNT Fitness, and training with Adam: 

“I can not recommend Adam enough. My mindset has changed dramatically since we started training and even though I started this journey for ‘aesthetic’ purposes, it has spilled into so many different aspects of my life. I’m much more diligent, I believe in myself so much more and I know that not only I can achieve my goals but I do have a lot more strength within me than I ever thought possible. My self esteem has improved and although I can’t say I don’t have bad days, I know how to pick myself up much faster and kick myself in the arse to keep going! :)”

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