- The 45-year-old man says he finally got results from his workouts by simplifying his work.
- She worked with a trainer to create an easy-to-follow diet and exercise regimen.
- The biggest changes he made were lifting weights regularly and adding more protein to his diet.
Bobby Liu has been working diligently for years, with very little to show for it. Trainers told him the reason he wasn’t getting results was a combination of aging and genetics.
The 45-year-old was discouraged and skeptical that things would work, but he wasn’t ready to give up just yet.
“I wasn’t meeting my goals and I wasn’t making much progress,” Liu told Business Insider.
Later, in May 2023, he started working with personal trainer and dietician Adam Enaz.
Enaz made him work by lifting weights and simplifying his diet. Within two months, Liu saw a noticeable decrease in body fat along with an increase in strength and muscle mass. Overall, he lost about 9 pounds, accounting for the increase in muscle mass, but dropped 7 inches from his waist. During this time, he added more than 50 kilograms to his lifts.
“People think it’s like starvation or that everyone should be on a low-carb diet or doing tons of cardio, but it’s actually the exact opposite — high-carb, not a lot of cardio and weight training,” Enaz told BI.
The London-based Liu says the most remarkable aspect of her fitness journey is that her best fitness progress comes from doing less, not more.
By focusing on basics like eating enough protein and consistent full-body strength training, Liu says her routine is easier, less stressful, and has paid off by revealing the muscle definition and abs she was told she’d never achieve.
“I’ve never been this big and wide and for the first time in my life I can see my abs,” she said. “But I also have more energy and a better mood. It’s more about feeling better and more confident than just looking good.”
He wanted to gain muscle, gain strength and lose belly fat
Like many gym goers, Liu wanted to trim body fat, especially his belly, to achieve a lean, athletic look while putting on muscle mass.
“My main goal was to bulk up and gain muscle. I’ve always had some body fat, so you don’t really see any tone or definition,” she said.
In the past, Liu had bad experiences with personal trainers who bombarded him with information on what to do or avoid to achieve his goals.
“They overloaded me with measurements. There was so much to do, it was very stressful and hard to keep up with,” Liu said. “I measured 20 things in an Excel sheet.”
Liu was skeptical when Enaz initially told him to cut down on his complicated to-do list.
“At first I said surely there’s more to it than that? Is that all?” Liu said.
But within weeks, she was already burning belly fat and seeing more muscle definition, which motivated her to stick with the program.
He works out four times a week with full-body strengthening exercises.
Liu still works with Enaz, meeting her in person once a week to check in and completing the rest of her sessions on her own time.
He hits the gym four times a week, focusing mostly on strength training with little or no cardio. Each session works the whole body and takes about an hour (including waiting time to use the equipment at the public gym).
Liu says about half of his workouts are compound movements like deadlifts and bench presses that work all the muscles at once, and half target specific muscle groups, like preacher curls for the biceps.
He performs three sets of each exercise and up to 12 repetitions per set, resting two minutes between sets.
Every time you can easily do 12 reps, you increase the weight (doing fewer reps if necessary), which is the basic principle of gain known as progressive overload.
For example, Liu started with 12 reps of 30 pounds on the shoulder press and now does 10 reps of 66 pounds. He added almost 70 pounds to his bench press with this method.
Liu says that the amount of work feels just right when the exercises previously prescribed to him felt like too much effort or not enough.
“It’s really achievable,” he said. “I’m pretty tired, but not too tired.”
He counts macros and eats more protein, but doesn’t cut out any foods
Liu says her diet is flexible, with about 35% of calories coming from protein, 40% from carbs and 25% from fat.
Over time, he says, Enaz gradually lowered his calorie goal so he could continue to burn fat while still eating enough to build muscle.
Within this guideline, Liu says, he can eat whatever he wants.
“As long as I followed the calories and macros, I didn’t cut out any food,” she said.
Liu says the biggest difference in her eating habits is that she gets more protein in the morning, including a protein shake with oatmeal and a scoop of protein powder. That, and he stopped stressing about strict, arbitrary rules about what he could and couldn’t eat.
“It was simple and focused. I followed it, learned from it, and can continue to do it,” Liu said.