I want to tell you about two girls who just competed in a powerlifting competition BUT also got comments about how good they’re looking.

(Bear in mind they hadn’t spent a week dehydrating and fake tanning and all that show stuff!)


Not so long ago, if you were a girl, you were expected to spend any time that didn’t involve kids and kitchens, prancing around doing high knee repeaters to the cheesy beats of the latest Top 40 hits.

Gyms were like watching a lane of traffic branching off the highway.

Girls to the aerobics studio.

Guys to the weights area.

Girls simply would not be seen dead near a barbell for fear that the very sight of one would make them look like this.


Fortunately, things have changed.

Guys realise that if they don’t do something that involves more than a bench press and a bicep curl they will likely get fat and have a heart attack.

Girls are starting to realise that to look like the monsters you see in some female bodybuilding shows requires copious amounts of daily training, food and unnatural levels of hormones (i.e take lots of drugs).

What we now know is that when girls lift weights, combined with some high intensity intervals/circuits, potentially some of the old school ‘cardio’ and lots of healthy food, magic stuff starts happening to their entire body.

They look AMAZING.

The problem still remains that some girls are still scared of anything beyond a 10kg dumbbell and quite honestly their gym sessions are doing NOTHING after a few weeks even they still sweat a bit.

Remember, sweat means you are hot and need cooling down.

Sit in a sauna for 60 minutes every day and see if you get a toned, strong figure….


A typical session will be something like this…

5 minute warm up on the cross trainer

2 sets of lunges with light weights (because you want toned glutes not a big butt)

2 sets of jumpy things whilst holding on to a TRX (other suspension trainers are available)

2 set of push ups (on your knees because you’re a girl and don’t want to do man push ups because you will look like a man)

1 set of shoulder presses with the lightest dumbbells you can find (you were going to do two sets but after the first one you saw a vein and wet yourself thinking the Incredible Hulk was about to burst out)

30 minutes of cross trainer to burn fat.


So back to Sam and Lucia, two of my very good friends and online coaching clients.

This weekend they competed in their first powerlifting competition.

Sam: Squat 95kg, Bench 52.5kg, Deadlift 112.5kg

Lucia: Squat 82.5kg, Bench 52.5kg, Deadlift 110kg


Along the way they have had to deal with the same job/family/life/injury problems as everyone else.

They both have full time jobs and Lucia has two children as well.

This is not about having all the time in the world to train like an athlete.

It’s about doing the right things at the right time and not just following what you pick up here and there on the internet.

So what gives?

How can you be strong but not look like a freak?

Here are 6 things that happened in the Personal Fitness Coaching process that got the girls where they are…

1) The program had the primary goal of getting as strong as possible BUT the girls wanted to still look good for summer!

It’s important that whoever you get your training and nutrition programs from understands that goals (at an amateur level) are rarely black and white.

You both need to be crystal clear about what the goals are and how they can compliment each other or at least not negatively impact each other.

In this case we focused mainly on the strength work and assistance work to help it, but also put in enough hard conditioning to make sure weight and body fat stayed down.

This was also important because the competition ran on the Wilkes formula which is largely based on a weight lifted : bodyweight ratio.

In other words getting stronger without adding bodyweight is rewarded!

2) We work closely together

I hate when people tell me they can never get hold of their coach or have to wait ages to find out what’s happening next!

Yes I could just write a program and a good one at that and leave you to it for a month.

The thing is life and your brain don’t work like that.

There were times the girls felt they were doing too much of this or too little of that.

It’s my job to listen carefully and either adjust things (a happy client is a productive one!) or carefully explain why doing more or less of something would impact the primary goal.

This applies whether you want to be a pro athlete or just get in great shape for the beach – more is not always better!


3) We hit all areas of the ‘spectrum’

This is a sample session from the program.

As you can see, everything has a purpose and everything is structured.

I require clients to write down everything and use it to build into the next similar session. 

If anything was not improving then we can look at which areas are lagging behind and find the weakness or problem.

Remember this was just one session from THEIR program.

Someone looking to just get big and muscular or look toned and sexy for the beach would have a very different program.

In this session you see how we work mobility, power, ‘grinding’ strength, tension work and intense conditioning.

In a typical bootcamp or studio class you only really hit high rep work so you’re missing out on a LOT from a physical abilities perspective and in terms of transforming how you look.


GENERAL WARM UP: (Get blood flowing, mental prep)

5 minute jog

SPECIFIC WARM UP: (Prepare legs and hips for session)

Wall squat x 5

Goblet squat x 10

High knee march x 5 each leg

Complete 2 rounds

A1: Paused vertical jump (Working power from the end range)

5 x 2

(From dead stop at bottom. Full extension)

B1: Back squat (Developing strength)

5 x 2

Last three sets at 85% of 1RM

Increase 2.5-5kg if you get all three sets

C1: Glute circuit x 2 (Assistance work for squat depth, stability and control)

KB goblet squat x 10

Swing x 20 (Same weight)

Mini band walk x 50 each direction

Rest 60 seconds

D1: 30 sec incline sprint at 3.0 (Intense conditioning for base fitness and body composition management)

D2: 5 Knees To Elbows with lats engaged

Rest 30 seconds

Repeat until you have run 800m or 0.5 miles on treadmill (only include distance with you on treadmill)

Record total time to complete.



4) They started 5-6 months ago

This didn’t happen overnight.

They didn’t come to me 3 weeks before in a ‘body panic’ and want a magic spell from my box of voodoo tricks.

We built and built and built and will continue to do so on to the next goal leaving those who stopped and faffed about annoyed at falling behind.

Fitness isn’t built in an Instagram photo which is why I only work with people for a minimum of three months.

5) Tricks and tweaks along the way!

Injuries, stress and generally crappy days are part of life.

Numerous times we had to make changes according to any niggles or injuries.

Sam had a hip issue, Lucia a hamstring problem.

Certain things in the program were altered to accommodate those issues.

They didn’t just walk away from stuff.

If you are constantly searching for new programs that never need anything adapted or tweaked and are just easy to go and implement with no thought required, there is a VERY good chance they aren’t going to deliver anywhere near the results you want!

When you are pushing your limits, niggles can happen.

Your back hurts? Okay, let me know and we’ll avoid loading your spine with heavy back squats today.

Elbow niggling? Okay, it’s probably best if we take out anything involving lots of grip from today’s upper body session.

That is what coaching is about whether it’s mental or psychological stumbling blocks.

It enables you to keep moving forward rather than constantly sliding back down the slope to where you were.

This applies to your mindset and nutrition as well.

You have to learn to play the game of life!

6) Have faith!

If you hire a coach, you need to have faith.

Numerous times we had ‘heated discussions’ and towards the competition the doubts about what weights to go for crept in.

I know with all the exposure and ‘noise’ with social media that clients always see other things going on that look fun and wonder if that would work better.

BUT…the girls stuck to the plan and got the results they deserve.

Why invest in something only to keep being distracted by other things which are very rarely any better, they just have clever marketing spins.

Results require hard work and consistency nailing the basics.

You may look at the one sessions (which is only part of the story) and think, “I could do that”.

Maybe you could, but you’re not.

You’re getting distracted, you don’t believe in what you’ve already ‘signed up for’ and you don’t stick to anything long enough to really see any changes…

…then you blame the program!

If you keep faith in your coach and keep faith in yourself, you will progress.

It won’t always happen perfectly and I know both girls can do even better next time, but they did themselves proud by sticking to the plan and working hard every time they hit the gym.

I don’t let my clients screw up and I stay on top of them to make sure things get done over and over and over.

They are responsible for their own results but have the accountability factor of having to report to me regularly so we can keep tweaking and improving as things go well or not so well!

If you want to work with me on any goal from powerlifting to sports conditioning to just looking smoking hot on the beach, I GUARANTEE I’ve worked with someone very similar.

It is an application only service so please be prepared to answer questions on just about everything in your life so I can catapult you where you want to be and much further beyond!

Your training, nutrition and any mindset/lifestyle work required outside of the gym and kitchen will all be built in – this is not some random exercise prescription system.

Invest in yourself or watch the others get better and better!

Email jon@jonletocq.com to apply for Personal Fitness Coaching.