Designing A New Life

Before and After.

Clinton Jurgens has redesigned his body, and without using Photoshop. It doesn’t get more obvious than just checking out his before and after. A quick disclaimer, Clint is an old friend and colleague – a Senior Designer at Men’s Health. As part of my work with MH, I’ve edited and compiled amazing stories of South African men taking control of their lives and fixing their fitness through the Belly Off Challenges. I’ve seen guys lose up to 80kg, cure themselves of life-threatening diseases, and even fix up family issues by transforming their health through training. What impresses me most about Clint is that he has empowered himself to go from a soft, cheese-griller sausage and pasta eating slob to MH Gym Guy and fully-fledged calisthenics pro. He experimented, tested and taught himself through MH training content and his own research, and was able to tailor make his own fitness formula. He even created his own customised workout plan (with the help of fitness expert James White of Roark Gyms) called Beast Mode. This isn’t some 12 week success story, Clint has worked for years to get where he is. Now he’s a role model for men wanting to lose the extra rolls. Here’s a quick Q&A with the bar star:

When did this all start? I’d always been a sporty guy, but after a couple years of club football and rugby after high school, I called it quits and that was the start of my lazier lifestyle. I didn’t become overweight or suffer from any health-related problems, but I just didn’t look the way I wanted to look anymore, and that bothered me. This change in mindset was definitely kickstarted by working at Men’s Health.
[Ed’s Note: Clint also took part in Men’s Health Staff Challenge which ended in February 2011, see images below, and click through here: SixpackChallenge for the full pdf. This was a big step in the journey.]

Clint took part in a MH staff challenge in Feb 2011.

Clint took part in a MH staff challenge in Feb 2011.

What motivated you to change?
 I wanted to look better. Getting stronger and fitter was a bonus, but with my wedding roughly a year away and fast approaching, I wanted to get into the right kind of shape.

The biggest obstacles? I believe I’ve got a strong mindset (maybe it’s stubbornness), but I don’t let things get in my way. One challenge in the beginning was permanently losing my lunchtime gym partner. It’s always better to workout with someone – it makes it easier. But every day as 1pm rolled around, I would just pick up my gym bag, shut down my PC and hit the gym. Everyone has those days when they just don’t feel like going. On those days I just tell that voice in my head to ‘shut up and go to gym’ – I know it sounds like a bumper sticker lesson but I honestly believe this ‘lost gym buddy’ scenario has been a great life lesson for me, and has helped make me a more determined and focused person with my training.

The biggest lessons: 

  1. I’ve never stopped learning. I continuously flood myself with training info, articles, workouts and expert advice so I can increase my knowledge, and train correctly and more efficiently.
  2. You CAN do it alone. Not having someone with you is no excuse.
  3. You don’t need fancy or expensive gyms.
  4. My training mantra: ‘Form and Intensity’. If you’re doing an exercise, do it right and go hard. Keep proper form throughout a move and go through a full range of motion.
  5. Set goals. Be specific. If they’re too broad, then break it down into chunks so that you have mini-goals to work towards on your way to the big one.
  6. Too many people don’t understand what type of training they need. Too many are doing bodybuilding style workouts when that really isn’t what they should be doing. 90% of guys in any gym don’t need more than just their body weight to get lean, strong and fit.
  7. Mobility work is really important. I try and include it in my evenings at home so that it doesn’t eat into my lunchtime gym session.
  8. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your success.

The influencers:
 Frank Medrano started me onto the whole calisthenics obsession. But I also follow a whole bunch of calisthenic and bodyweight practitioners on Instagram (Warren James Li, Christian Henkel, Kenneth Gallarzo, Tanabat Chua, Captain Joe Barragazz). It’s a fantastic social community with a lot of motivation, support, education and tutorials. There are always people out there on a similar level to you, so you can watch their progress and get tips and advice from them.
Nutrition – After years of eating healthy, and then another year of eating clean I’ve now opened up to the world of Intermittent Fasting. I read the Warrior Diet by Ori Hofmekler which I found very interesting, but as someone who trains hard at least 5 days a week I needed a fasting eating plan that supported this, and that’s when I discovered Jason Feruggia’s Renegade Diet. It’s very similar to the Warrior Diet and I almost see it as ‘the missing chapter’ as it follows the same ideology but caters to those who are training and looking to add muscle. Since switching to the Renegade Diet I must say that I have pretty much ignored all other mainstream nutrition advice as I have experienced significant improvements already in the space of one month.


Clint flying the flag for MH.

Clint flying the flag for MH.

What is the Beast Mode? 
I created the plan for myself, as I’d done typical weight training for a good couple of years and wanted a change. I had also discovered the whole calisthenics movement and loved the way it worked my entire body and was also more fun. So I wanted to incorporate all of the training styles (including HIIT, plyometrics and strength training) into one complete, fairly high-intensity workout that broke the mould of your typical gym workout. Check it out here.

Favourite move: I love muscle-ups (and anything on a pull-up bar really), handstands and parallette work. There’s always something that you can work on. But one of my main goals is a full planche. That’s a long-term goal, so my immediate goal is the planche lean which I’ve completed, and I am now working on the tuck planche. In my push-up complex I do a push-up variation called the tiger push-up which is fantastic. It’s a real killer.

Favourite meal: I love my ‘healthier’ Chicken Nachos and Panang Thai curry. When it comes to snacks, it’s a protein pudding which I make at home say once or twice a week (recipe below). And then I also enjoy my Bulgarian yoghurt with blueberries and strawberries on alternate nights.

Protein Pudding
Ingredients: 1 overripe banana, 1 egg, 1tbsp cacao, 0.2 tsp baking powder, 1tbsp desiccated coconut
Put all together in a bowl and stir. Then microwave for 3 minutes. Sprinkle cinnamon, and you can add half a cup of vanilla ice-cream. A drizzle of honey is optional.

For more from Clinton, follow him on twitter here and on Instagram here.

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