Steve Shaw's Body Transformation Plan - Obese to Beast

Steve Shaw's Body Transformation Plan - Obese to Beast

In 2013 I was one of the strongest over-40 lifters on the planet. My squat was near 700, deadlift close to 800, and I had pushed my bench press to a whopping 440. I felt like nothing could stop me.

Then I had a brush with death.

Heading into a meet my peaking program was rocking. I was going to nail a 1900 total. Easy. I knew it.

Related: Submit Your Transformation Story to Tiger Fitness

A week before the meet I was riding high. It was time to deload, eat some grub and relax. I took my daughters out for pizza. That's when disaster struck.

After gorging myself with wings and a stuffed crust uber-meat pizza I stood up to pay the bill and my body rebelled. Every muscle from head to toe cramped. Literally. Every small movement resulted in a major charlie horse.

Chest. Calves, Abs. Upper back. Everything. Each slight movement crippled me. I could not move. It took me 10 minute to slowly saunter to the door.

This was a wakeup call.

I was 346 pounds and in trouble. Fatty liver disease was preventing any substantial amount of minerals to enter my muscles. It was cramp city. Realizing the heart was a muscle, I knew a change was required. Either lose weight or have a heart attack.

I decided to lose weight.

A photo posted by Steve Shaw (@bendthebarman) on

Steve Shaw - Obese to Beast

Since that week in 2013 I've managed to lose 100 pounds. My body weight went from 346 pounds down to 236. I believe I've also added 10 pounds of muscle during that time.

I'm often asked how I did it. This article contains the basics of my body transformation plan.

Remember that it took me 3.5 years to make this change. If you are looking to transform my best advice is to remain patient. It likely took you many years to add weight. It will take some time to lose it - the right way.

Focus on adopting a new lifestyle rather than making temporary changes. Lifestyles last, and allow for the occasional bad day. "10 week transformation plans" may help in the short run, but they don't properly equip you for life after the weight loss.

First let's talk diet.

Body Transformation Diet

The first thing I did was completely change my eating habits. There was no more room for crap foods, junk foods, processed foods, etc. My life was on the line. I needed quality intake and plenty of micronutrients. Here are the rules I adhered to:

Rule #1 - Kill the carbs. I had type 2 diabetes. Also, carbs were making me feel sluggish. I dumped all non-fruit and veggie carb sources. I completely gave up:
  • Rice, pasta and all other grains
  • Peas, corn and potatoes
  • White sugar and white flour
  • Bananas (too many calories from carbs)
  • Any drink with calories
Rule #2 - Stick to nature. I ate only foods that had once roamed the land, or sprouted from the ground. Meat, fruits, veggies, healthy fat sources such as nuts, seeds, avocado, etc.

Yes, grains are natural. But I was diabetic. I needed a radical, low carb approach. If you aren't diabetic, eating grains won't kill you. Remember, my approach was out of necessity.

Rule #3 - Modified intermittent fasting. I would limit calories prior to 6pm to around 600. These calories came primarily from protein foods.

I was trying to hold on to muscle. I wanted to keep my protein intake high. Strict fasting wouldn't cut it. It was too difficult to take in 200+ grams of protein after 6pm.

After my workout I would eat up to around 1500 to 2000 calories. This kept my daily total under 2600 per day. I didn't worry about nailing a specific number. I just tried to eat until I was full so I wouldn't go to bed hungry.

Rule #4 - The plate rule. I would eat one reasonably-sized plate of food around 6pm. If I was still hungry I would wait another hour and eat again. If I was still hungry I would wait another hour and eat a small snack before bed.

Instead of stuffing myself with one big meal, I would try to pace myself. This required discipline, but allowed me to never go to bed hungry.

Rule #5 - Learn to cook. Bland food is bland. I learned to cook. You can make veggies taste better with the right techniques.

Get on YouTube and the Internet and search for healthy, low calorie recipes. It's not that difficult, and most recipes are easy to make. Don't get lazy. Learning to make food taste better will change your life. And it might just save it.

Rule #6 - Cheating. During the first two months of your fat loss journey you are allowed to cheat one day per month. Have anything you want to eat but limit daily calorie intake to 3,000. Women, keep this upper ceiling to around 2,000 to 2,200 calories.

After your first two months you are allowed two cheat days a month. You may also want to try my Flex Calorie Dieting approach at this point.

Body Transformation Supplements

[caption id="attachment_11880" align="alignright" width="201"]MTS Whey Click here to order MTS Whey Protein.[/caption]

My supplement plan was simple. The cornerstone was whey protein prior to 6pm. I would drink several shakes. This allowed me to nail my daily protein intake goal without packing in calories.
  • 3 to 4 whey protein shakes. Relied on MTS Whey vanilla or chocolate flavor. Basic, but amazing taste.
  • Pre-workout formula such as Savage Roar or War Juice. Losing weight is hard. I needed the energy and focus boost.
  • Creatine monohydrate. Yes, I take a pre-workout with creatine in it. With that said, my body responds well to creatine. I like to keep my intake to 10 grams per day.
  • Yohimbine HCL. Taken 30 minutes prior to exercise. This is a good fat burning bargain that is backed by research.

My Workout Approach

My workout split was as follows:
  • Day 1 - Legs
  • Day 2 - Chest and Triceps
  • Day 3 - Off
  • Day 4 - Back
  • Day 5 - Shoulders and Traps
  • Day 6 - Off
  • Day 7 - Off
Workout Plan
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats  2  4 to 8
Squats  1  20
Leg Press  3  10-20
Leg Extensions  4-5  10-12
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts  3  10
Leg Curls  4-5  10-12

Chest and Triceps
Workout Plan
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press  3  3 to 8
Guillotine Bench Press  3  10
Push Ups  3  AMAP
Machine Chest Press  3  12
Pec Dec  3  12 to 15
Rope Cable Triceps Extensions  3  10 to 15
Lying Trices Extensions  3  10
Close Grip Bench Press  2  10 to 20

Workout Plan
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlifts  2  3 to 8
Dumbbell Rows  1  10 to 20
Seated Cable Rows  4  10
Lat Pull Down  4  10
Machine Pullovers  3  8 to 12
EZ Bar Curls  2  10 to 12
Hammer Curls  3  10
Cable Curls  3  12

Shoulders and Traps
Workout Plan
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Overhead Press  3  8 to 10
Standing Alternating Dumbbell Press  2  10
Bulldozer Laterals  3  10 to 15
Machine Shoulder Press  4-5  10
Face Pulls  4-5  10 to 12
Power Shrugs  2  6 to 10
Machine Shrugs  4  6 to 8
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Anthony Curiale - February 17, 2020

I was looking over your article again. I had a couple questions. Did you have a shake for breakfast and lunch and then one pre workout and one post workout? If you did a post workout shake, did you add any carbs at that time? Did you use creatine pre and post work out?

Tracey - March 12, 2019

Hey Steve… So no bread or pasta whatsoever?? Buckwheat, barley? I want to make sure.. I am not diabetic or pre but I am insulin resistant…


Anthony Curiale - January 11, 2019

I would love to see what there is. I like your program. It has variety and keeps things interesting.

Steve Shaw - January 11, 2019

Not as of yet. I think it’s time I do so though.

Anthony Curiale - January 11, 2019

Steve, I have read your article and am following your program, Obese to Beast. I am also a diabetic, Type 2. I am controlled. I would like to ask a question. Do you have any where on you tube or other place that you have any recipes for any of the meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner at? I would be nice to try different meals for a variety.

jeff gray - January 11, 2019

great job Steve!!

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