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(All photography by Kane Vato Photography

UPDATE! (3rd July, 2012)

Reveal The Steel has been released. The entire 14-page ‘photo shoot’ ready detail can be read in it’s entirety at the ‘big link’ below.
Find out more >

A lot of people have been asking me what I did in the 2 weeks prior to being ‘photo-shoot’ ready. I’m talking photo-shoot ready in around 8 weeks from a ‘reasonable’ level of body fat. Circa 10-15% for guys and 20-25% for girls. The photos of how I look year round in ‘Maintenance’ mode are all over this site, so I don’t need to post another one here.

First a disclaimer

I’m by no means an expert in this area. Results can and WILL vary — what works for me, may not be ideal for you. Also, the shots are ALL without flash and used the natural light of the area we took the shots in.

The lead-up

In the weeks prior to my “2-week” out period, i had been slowly, but surely ramping up my training and fine-tuning my diet.

This began at about the 8 week mark and was done for two reasons:
1. I didn’t want to suddenly shock the system with a bunch of new training regimens that it wasn’t used to (this would have had a high chance in leading me to either burnout or unpredictable results).
2. Getting the diet spot-on BEFORE the “2-week out” period allowed me greater freedom on the weekends. I could STILL have pizza and wine, as long as my weekly dietary patterns were set in place.

In terms of my diet… I was fasting daily for 16 hours, with an 8 hour feeding window (ala lean gains). Nothing else really changed here. In terms of my training – I had been following both 5×5 and RPT regimens for quite a while (probably 6 months). This included big lifts with long rests, keeping it all very, very simple.

Diet 3 weeks out

At about the 3 week out mark, I started eating a lot more ‘whole’ foods. If I was after a snack, instead of reaching for a protein shake, I’d snack on something which involved chewing. Oats and protein powder mixed in was another staple I had quite a lot. My carb sources became yams and vegetables with very few grains originating from ‘bread’.

Training 3 weeks out

I changed up my schedule to a much higher volume of training using a similar technique to Phase 1 from Rusty’s Visual Impact. This would ultimately bridge the gap between the heavier, strength-training sessions and the glycogen depleting workouts I was going to be completing at 1 week out. Think short rests of 45 seconds and high volume.

Diet 2 weeks out

Still fasting daily at this point. Had a huge binge on steak, prawns, red wine and pavlova at the weekend. My last ‘real’ feast. Now it was time to ‘dial-up’ my adherence to ‘good’ foods and stop with the ‘sometimes’ foods. (It was only for 2weeks, so no real issues here. I don’t recommend doing this for a long time. It’s unrealistic, unsustainable and fricken boring as hell).

Training 2 weeks out

I made a few errors here, in that I was still researching the best ‘plan of attack’ for my final 2 weeks and suddenly I found myself already at week 3. So rather than changing it up significantly, I kept the training simple, but heavy using short rest periods to encourage additional fat-burn. This is when I started increasing my cardio to walking pretty much every day for 45 mins, with a sprint in there at least once.

1 week out

This final week involved serious adherence to diet. Whole foods, salt reduction, water intake increases. Controversially, I also ditched any form of fasting, and went back to a 3-4 meal a day schedule. I did this mainly due to the fact that I was coupling high volume glycogen depleting workouts with low body fat — high potential to lose some mass here. I also had a chest/arm wax, a spray tan and drank a heap of dandelion tea to shed any last bit of water from beneath the skin.

The results…

How I prepared for my photo shoot

All shots were taken with natural light in the surrounding area.

An old photo from 2001…

Just to give some perspective on where I’ve come from in the past 10 years, I thought I’d post this (embarrassing) picture for you to laugh at.

How I prepared for my photo shoot

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Such a long time ago now, but it goes to show that a ‘lifestyle’ change makes a big difference long term. Please excuse the fashion sense and blonde tips. A huge WTF moment I know!

Want more detail?

As I’m currently detailing the sh*t out of my diet and training for my impending book release, I won’t be giving away all of my info just yet! The final ‘STAGE’ of my diet and training is a key factor in the success that I had — so I don’t want to spoil the ending :)

UPDATE! (3rd July, 2012)

Reveal The Steel has been released. The entire 14-page ‘photo-shoot’ ready detail can be read in it’s entirety at the ‘big link’ below.
Find out more >

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More posts by Clint Nielsen

Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • Awesome work Clint, I know I have been one of the ones bugging you to find out how you prepared for the shoot and I must say the results are impressive. What is even more impressive your evolution as a fitness expert, to go from the shape you were in in 2001 (tips and all) to where you are now is a reflection of your fitness and nutrition expertise. I don’t care what people saw, you will learn much more from life experience, than you will ever learn from doing a $3000 TAFE course. Well done mate.

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      Thanks for your kind words Niko :)
      I agree completely that it’s life experience that plays a huge part in it.
      You can really only train smart and eat properly once you’ve experienced how to do so. Its all in the practical application of knowledge!
      I’m constantly learning of course, but I often look back and think “If i only knew then what I do now…”

  • Unreal man, that is awesome! Totally ripped and the good thing is you were within striking distance to achieve your goal.
    It is also really impressive the way you transformed yourself from 10 years ago. You’re a role model for anyone who wants to get lean. Hard work pays off.


  • Keith Lai says:

    Awesome job Clint, you look great. And props to the photographer as well, looks like he does good work. Good luck on finishing your book.

  • That transformation from 2001 is just sick, great job Clint. I can’t wait to have a 11 years photo transformation.
    Really good job.
    Just one question, why have decided not to fast in the last week?

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      As i wrote above, I did this mainly due to the fact that I was coupling high volume glycogen depleting workouts with my already low body fat.
      I felt as though I could potentially lose some mass with this kind of training regimen, therefore wanted to stay ‘fuelled’ a little more throughout the day.

  • Awesome before and after pictures. Stuff like that is golden. Prepping for a photoshoot can be tough mentally, but I always say the “pain” is temporary and a picture lasts a lifetime.

  • Congrats Clint, those are some damn impressive photos. Looking forward to reading your book.

  • Troy says:

    Clint, that’s awesome to see the details that you went through to get ready for a photo shoot. It is good to see real evidence that mixing high intensity and low intensity cardio is tremendously effective.

    The ‘blond-tips’ are so awesome, you could bring back the style. No, really!

  • Thanks Troy, but I’m not sure my wife would agree with you on the ‘blonde tips’ idea!

  • Ahopitt Fitzmaholl says:

    Forget the training/diet stuff, I want to know where that wicked cool-looking abandoned warehouse is!

  • Dan says:

    this is great, say Clint, did all those workouts and diets also change your mindset ? I notice some clear difference in the look of your eyes, more alpha-male I’d say; (it’s what happened to me when I switched from 87kgs pure ugly fat to 65kgs pure mass..and yes I have some pics but too embarrassed to show them ^-^)

    • You become quite robotic in your approach when you have such a clear goal – it’s all very regimented and becomes completely autonomous. I wouldn’t say my mindset changed long-term per-say, but rather I learnt a lot about the new found limits that I could push myself towards.

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