by Bret Contreras June 08, 2012
Today’s blog is a very special one. – it’s devoted to my good friend Ruth Naidoo. I met Ruth and her husband Strini last year when I was in New Zealand and they quickly became two of my favorite people. Ruth is one of the most spectacular individuals I know, but last year at around this time she wasn’t quite herself. Like many adults, she had gradually gotten out of shape to the point where it started affecting her self-confidence and mood. Let me reiterate – this was exactly one year ago.
At this point in time she decided to do something about it. She took the bull by the horns and decided to change her reality. And change is what she did! In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an incredible transformation in a natural lifter in my entire life. See for yourself!
Within just a few months, Ruth looked like a completely different person. She eventually decided to enter a contest, and to make a long story short, she won her first competition (she won both her novice class and the overall) and is now the current, all-natural, drug-tested INBA physique champ. All this in under one year. And the transformation in her mindset and confidence is on par with her physique transformation – Ruth is booming with pride and zeal.
If you buckle down and get serious, you can achieve incredible results. Here’s how Ruth did it.
1. Hi Ruth, holy shit! Do you still recognize the “Ruth” from 12 months ago?
OMG no! I have a staff ID card at work for photocopying and every time I see the photo on it I’m like: “who is that person!”
2. What made you want to change? Was there a straw that broke the camel’s back?
The fact that my misery (caused by being out of shape and not myself) was affecting my marriage. Please understand my husband is not a terrible person who just wants a skinny wife – but me being unhappy and depressed was not the wife he married and was not good for either of us.
3. What were your initial steps in this body transformation of yours?
I needed help; I’d had enough of trying to do it myself and failing. First step was asking for help (I do not like asking for help).
I went to see a nutritionist, Tarren McCall and told her I desperately needed help to lose weight. She worked out a food plan and I’ll never forget she was so confident and just said “you watch, the weight will fall off”. At first I thought she was nuts; I’d tried and it didn’t work! But her belief in me was so powerful, it is truly what made me do it.
Next thing I did was call Bret, “I need your help with a training programme,” I said.
“I’ll be there in 10 minutes,” he said.
Now, I have a Masters Degree in Sport and Exercise Science, so I have the tools, the knowledge to lose weight; but having some finite prescription from other people and just following it to the letter was exactly what I needed.
* I want to stress that I simply helped Ruth with her initial programming…my man Strini took it from there and adapted her workouts, tinkered with the variables, continued to push her to the limits, and changed things up to prevent boredom, which I feel played a huge role in her transformation.
4. Tell me how your strength has progressed from day 1 to day 365 in terms of your favorite lifts (for example hip thrusts, squats, RDL’s, chins, db incline).
I’ve never really tested my 1 rep max but every workout and every weight lifted is recorded and graphed and tracked, so I’m always trying to lift heavier or get better ROM (i.e. deeper squat etc) and I believe this is fundamental to success.
|Exercise||Day 1||A year later|
|Back Squat||50kg for 10reps||75kg for 10reps|
|Hack Squat||60kg for 10reps||100kg for 10reps|
|Deadlift||50kg for 10reps||84kg for 8reps|
|Barbell Bench Press||25kg for 10reps||50kg for 4reps|
|Hip Thrust||50kg for 10reps||164kg for 10reps|
|Glute Bridge||50kg for 10reps||164kg for 10reps|
|BB Clean & Press||20kg for 5 reps||37.5kg for 8 reps|
|BB Seat Shoulder Press||25kg for 10reps||37.5kg for 4reps|
* Simply multiply by 2.2 to convert kgs to lbs
5. What about your bodyweight and bodyfat percentages?
So I started with Tarren in 16 June 2011 at 75kg and 25% bodyfat and the last measurement before the comp 30 May 2012 (before water deletion) was 55kg and 6.5% bodyfat. Over this entire period my lean muscle mass only dropped 5kg (and most of that happened in the first 3 months). From Sept 2011 to now my lean muscle mass has stayed pretty much the same.
6. What have you done along the way to prevent boredom and spice things up in terms of training and dieting?
I passionately believe that the diet does not have to be boring and I constantly test new ideas and flavours. I’ve read, requested, adapted and made-up recipes for everything from protein pancakes, protein muffins and balls, egg white and veggie pies (I call them pies but its nothing like a normal pie), different protein puddings/ jellys – I work out the calories, photograph and record them. I really love food so its super important to me that it looks and tastes good and with a little effort this is possible. My hubby loves the clean food I make and on multiple occasions we’ve looked at each other mid-way through a meal and gone “OMG this is amazing, who would want to go out if we can eat like this at home!”
7. How has your transformation impacted your outlook, professional life, and marriage?
It’s not about aesthetics or vanity or arrogance, it’s about feeling good in your own body. So obviously first up is a pair of tight jeans and I don’t care what you say but nothing beats feeling hot in a pair of jeans! But there are other things like improved energy for the day; being stronger means I can lift and carry stuff if I need to; being fitter means I am more functional at general daily living. I’m excited to get up in the morning and take on the challenges of a new day, I’m more productive at work and a happier person to be around. I lecture anatomy to prospective personal trainers and the difference in my teaching from last year to this year is huge because my confidence improved so much because I FELT good. Lastly, but most importantly because I got off my lazy butt and put some effort into myself I showed I loved myself, and this was so good for my marriage. I don’t think you can love anyone fully if you don’t love yourself first. And if you’re miserable with yourself you certainty ain’t gonna make anyone else happy. Our sex life has improved and (because that’s really all men need LOL) I’ve got a very happy hubby. Seriously we’re such a good team and both just loving life!
8. Tell me about your gluteal awareness over the past year – were you using the glutes from day one or did it take you a while to really learn to fire them during glute exercises?
It took a while to learn how to get my glutes going, especially with the hip thrust. There were certain exercises that from the beginning I could really focus and squeeze them, like the squat or hyperextension, and I just improved on these all the time. But the first time I really felt my glutes while doing a hip thrust was probably after 2 months of doing the exercise and it was a brilliant AH-HA moment! One of the comments I got at the show was “best ass on stage” and that is totally attributable to my new arsenal of exercises passed on from the GLUTE GUY (Cheers BC!).
9. How important is it to have a supportive spouse?
PARAMOUNT! Strini, my husband is my ultimate fan, he is constantly supporting me. He wakes me up in the morning with a glass of hot lemon water, and even lifts me up to drink it! (yes I’m freaking spoilt). He helps me with the cooking, the gym work (with me crying through it at times!) and he is always telling me I’m a champ. He was also really good at helping me keep perspective and was never scared to tell me off when I got bitchy.
10. Any words of wisdom or encouragement for my readers?
There are so many lessons I learnt on this journey and it has been incredible, I feel like I’ve taken a course in “loving oneself” and should have a degree in “Getting THE formula right”, although these names don’t do it justice. My key words of wisdom would have to be:
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