Back in December 2011, I made a mini-update on the site about a project I was working on. You remember that post titled The Official JCDFitness Recomp Manual? Well, this is a partial update to the original post.
As you may remember, I took on some Beta testers for the manual to test it out, so to speak.
I learned a lot from this process, and today I want to share with you what I learned, as well as give you some straight-up responses from some of the testers I had the pleasure of monitoring.
Oh yeah, it’s also my birthday (August 4th for those of you not on the other side of the world), and I wanted to get this post out before I go spend time celebrating with about 15 friends during my current stay in Boston (been here about 2 weeks now).
First, let me say that I had an awesome time managing the group. In fact, I took on about 80 participants total. 80 people sounds like a lot, and it was. In retrospect, I would’ve taken only about 20 people and did strict interviews with each of them before letting them into the program.
Simply because I’d say about 50-60% did not actively participate. They either started the program, and then fell off the bandwagon, or just never did anything with the material at all, despite spending $20 on it.
This brings me to my next lesson learned.
$20 is nothing for most people. It’s a weeks worth of latte’s for me at the local Fido. I even got emails from some folks saying “hey JC, I just wanted to get your program and see what it entailed – I don’t have time or (insert random excuse for not doing the program here).
So immediately, the perceived value of my information was low, even though I believe it to be very valuable – thus many didn’t really do much with it.
The next time I do something like this (which is in the making right now), I’ll be strict with my entry criteria, and make sure EVERYONE is going to participate. I did this because I wanted to collect some data, and gain some insight into what some people were struggling with. In saying that, I did collect a lot of data. I got enough to make the tweaks, and changes I feel that were necessary to take this fitness course from good to great.
Even though I hoped for more participation, I’m pretty happy with the results of the folks who helped me out. And I of course promised that whenever I got done with this project, they’d be getting a shiny new copy. My promise still stands, even if you did nothing with the material, or never provided me with any feedback/criticism.
Yes, I love you that much.
However, I want to share with you some of the progress shots from the duration of the testing.
Please keep in mind, some of these images/testimonials all came in at random times. I spent my time going over everyone’s (who submitted their progress reports) training progress and the majority of folks maintained or even gained strength during their diets, and those who did the hypertrophy training gained weight, and strength.
I know I’ve kicked this idea around forever of putting out a resource for all of you and I felt like it may never get done, but I’m glad to say the project is 95% complete. The artwork is done. My editor and I are wrapping up the loose ends with the product copy as well as all the extra material I wrote and added to the course.
I never thought I’d see the day of completion, but my friends… it’s upon us.
Below are real-life comments from the testers. I have not altered them in any way (other than slight editing where needed for grammar/spelling).
My promise is to provide you with the information you can use now and put to use for a very long time (even years if you wanted to keep swapping out programs and diet strategies).
First up, we have a lady that I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with over email and Facebook. I learned a lot from her, and actually put some of what I learned in the final product.
Long term dieters can probably relate to the months of wheel spinning I endured as I jumped from one program to another trying to find the solution to the dreaded fat loss plateau.
JC’s manual gave a simple and effective structure that was flexible enough to adjust to my lifestyle. The strength routine allowed me to maintain strength and retain muscle mass as I progressively reached my fat loss goals.
One of the biggest aides was the nutrition program. It helped me set up, adjust, and maintain a steady fat loss diet. It was effective in which adherence was effortless. How many times do you see dieters enjoying ice cream on a regular basis without sabotaging their progress? After going through JC’s program, I was able to prove to myself that it’s possible.
Check out this youtube video of her doing some weighted hyperextensions. This girl has worked really hard and built a very nice set of glutes and hamstrings (as seen in her pic above).
Next up we have a guy who I actually met via Twitter. Craig Francis was very diligent in tracking and hard work.
I am a hardgainer, a member of the metabolic elite, a gift and a curse when all you want to do is pack on size. I’ve tried many programs, tried many mass diets, and I couldn’t seem to find one that worked and still allowed me to have a life.
After a run in on Fitocracy and subsequent Twitter conversation, JC told me about his program. It looked straight forward, calculated, and manageable in terms of required gym time and suggested diet. “Let’s give it a go” I thought.
Plug your metrics into his metabolic calculator, eat the kCals it tells you, and follow the lift progression. It’s fool-proof. I gained 4 pounds in 6 weeks, something that for me, seemed previously unattainable.
This program works. JC was great to communicate with and was readily available to answer any questions I had. The entire time I got the sense that this wasn’t just some gig for him, he really does care about about helping people reach their fitness goals.
I recommend this program to anyone. Period.
- Craig Francis
Here’s a tester of mine who made great strength gains, coming off a layoff and getting back in shape post injury.
Following JC’s program has probably been the best decision since I started weightlifting. I’ve always worked out hard on barbell lifts and eaten more protein than my budget could afford, but I’ve never been particularly lean. Last summer this got even worse, I injured my back while deadlifting and I couldn’t even stand up straight for months.
After months out of the gym, I had ballooned from 202lbs to 224lbs, while losing a ton of muscle. I was fat and I was depressed and I was even wondering whether it was worth working out anymore. That was until JC mentioned a new program he wanted to test.
I’ve been a long time reader of JC’s. His advice is straightforward and based upon hard science instead of the myths that have been perpetuated throughout the fitness industry, so when he said he had a program coming out, I immediately signed up. He sent out the program a week later. I chose one of his fatloss programs and there I was, back in the gym again.
At first it was agony to be back in the gym, but I put JC’s stretching/mobility routine into practice because I wanted to heal my injuries and really do it right this time. Well, for the first few weeks, nothing happened. My bench and squat stayed pretty much the same, my deadlift was pretty much nonexistent, and my chin ups were a struggle. But then, almost overnight, I started to see improvements. My bench started skyrocketing, I was adding 10 pounds to my squat every workout, and my deadlifts were out of control.
Then, people started commenting about how good I looked. At first, I thought they were just being nice, but then after having people repeat the same thing, it started to sink in. At this point, I knew there was no turning back, I was fully committed to the program and my results showed the smart training principles the program was based upon.
Over the 16 weeks of JC’s Fat loss program, I had the following progress.
Starting body weight: 224 pounds
Previous lifting records (all weight in pounds):
Bodyweight Chin Ups: 9 @ Bodyweight of 215
Ending Weight: 194 pounds
Weighted Chin Ups: 6×65
Body weight Chin Ups:
1st Set: 16
2nd Set: 10
Bench: 8×250 (+35lbs)
I’ve lost 30 lbs and gained a lot of muscle. My body feels better than it ever has and even better, I look great and feel way better about myself.
Thanks JC for putting an amazing program together, you’ve made a really big impact on my life.
Keep up the great work,
- Dieter S.
I’ve had the chance to chat with Travis a good bit over email as well. This guy has come a long way in terms of improving his squat and deadlifts over the course of the last 6 months.
Running this program was definitely a good decision for me. I’ve done my share of diets and workouts, and this one is definitely one of my favorites. Being able to know what was coming for the next few months and sticking with it was great. Whenever I had a question, JC was there to answer. He’s a legit guy and knows his stuff.
He actually cares about all of his clients and knows everyone is different. He sticks with his principles but he’s willing to work with you. He’s not a “one size fits all” kind of guy.
While on the program I was able to make improvements in all of my major lifts, and also make some improvements in form and balance as well. Having the spreadsheets for workouts and macros took the mystery out of everything. I had great time on this program and plan on continuing to use it and the principles I learned from it in the future.
As far as gains go, I was able to add 30lbs to dips, 20 to squats, 25 to chins, and 40 to deads. I put on about 5-6lbs bodyweight in the process, so not a bad ratio. It helped that I hadn’t really ever concentrated on dips or chins before. I’m happy with the gains though.
- Travis Bailey
Here’s a guy who’s made quite the transformation after having gone through a TON of riff raff that’s often associated with fitness information.
Through JC’s guidance, I slowly began to grow a better relationship with food and fitness. Dieting wasn’t an obligation. Actually, I wouldn’t even call it a diet. It’s a lifestyle now. As long as my pizzas fit into my macros, I enjoy it. Key word: GUILT-FREE.
His program helped me shed off the last few lbs. that I’ve been plateaued on for the longest time. Eating less carbs on days I don’t work out and carbs on days I do work out made so much sense. Reading it just made me realized how ignorant I was. All this time, I have just been doing low-carb all the time. My workouts and just my days were so groggy. By the end of each day, I was worn out. I’ve been doing all of this hard work, when it could’ve been done quickly and efficiently.
JC has helped me reach my goal faster within 5 months than I reached it myself in a span of 5 years. He’s made fitness more fun, and my relationship with food a lot better. You’ve made me look at life in a more simplistic and practical way.
There’s some more to come, but I wanted to share with you some of the exerperiences of those who got involved.
So to those of you who provided feedback, and help – thanks a ton and I really appreciate your help in shaping up something I think is going to be very beneficial to many and something I’m very proud to release to all of you in the coming weeks (yes, a few weeks, actually).