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    I Dieted And Worked Out With Celebrity Trainer Patrick Murphy For 4 Months — Here's Everything I Learned

    Quick weight cuts are one thing, but a lifestyle change is a whole different challenge.

    Alright, let's do this one last time. My name is Christopher Hudspeth. In 2017, I tried to get a “Baywatch body” with Zac Efron’s trainer, Patrick Murphy. For two months, I ate clean and worked out hard until I was as ripped as I’d ever been.


    I’m pretty sure you know what happens after one finishes a temporary, intense diet and workout regimen: INDULGING.

    I ate whatever junk foods I craved, and while I kept going to the gym, my workouts weren’t nearly as intense because it wasn’t like I had a professional trainer present or “before photos” keeping me motivated.

    So, I gained some of the weight back UNTIL October of 2018 when I worked out with Michael B. Jordan’s trainer, Corey Calliet for 30 days and got in shape like Creed.


    When that ended, I went back to my carefree diet. I ate fast food, I tried to conquer The Rock’s cheat meal, the holidays came, I inhaled festive baked goods, and although I still went to the gym a bunch, I still packed some weight on.

    It wasn’t the extra pounds that bothered me, but the way I felt after eating so much junk food on a regular basis. My diet made me lethargic throughout the day, and it made my workouts less intense. In general, I just felt kinda bleh.


    One night I ate so many Skittles and pieces of chocolate that I legitimately woke up feeling like I was hungover. Headache, nausea, regret, etc. I decided I wanted to figure out a way to diet and work out in a manner that wasn’t so strict and was actually sustainable — not just for a month or two, but for the foreseeable future. Turns out they have a name for that — it’s called a "lifestyle change" or something.

    I hit up Patrick Murphy who, despite having super-famous clients like Zac Efron, Keanu Reeves, and Aubrey Plaza, was kind enough to work with me again. The first order of business was coming up with the ideal plan for me.

    Here's what we did for the diet:


    Patrick had me aim for high-protein meals that included green vegetables and limited carbs. He didn’t want me to restrict myself solely to eating clean because 1) it’s sort of miserable to me; and 2) I’d immediately go back to eating tons of innutritious things the instant this phase of the diet ended.

    The goal was to find a way to eat mostly healthy while also allowing myself to enjoy the things I like eating/drinking that aren’t particularly clean. (I think they have a name for that, too: It’s called” balance” or something.)

    BuzzFeed / Marvel

    Remember in Avengers: Endgame when Thanos watched in horror as all the Avengers spilled out of portals? That's me every single day looking at Hot Cheetos, Doritos, chocolate-covered almonds, Goldfish, multiple cereals, etc., knowing I'm probably about to take an L.

    I’m going to let y’all know right now that the hardest part of these things for me is ALWAYS the diet. My toughest opponents are snacks in the canteen at work that I'm forced to see five days a week.

    I wasn't struggling to get in the gym six times a week, but to ignore the voice in my head, heart, and stomach when it told me it wanted sushi, or chocolate, or not broccoli.


    Because I love snacking and I've been cursed with an unrelenting sweet tooth, it was important to find little ways to satisfy my cravings without eating 18 handfuls of Skittles or multiple bags of chips. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but I promise y’all that I’m capable of incredibly disgusting feats.

    Here were my three favorite go-to treats when I wanted sweets. I highly recommend these to anyone else suffering from I-need-dessert-after-every-meal-itis.

    BuzzFeed / Kevita / Torie & Howard / Hello Bello

    1. Hu Chocolate $6.95 per bar

    Everything I've had from his brand is A+, but my personal favorite is the Cashew Butter and Vanilla Dark Chocolate Bar! There's no dairy, no GMOs, no refined sugar, cane sugar, or sugar alcohols — and no gluten! Also, they don't have that glossy, shiny look that a lot of chocolate and candy does, which is a shellac that comes from bugs that's most commonly known as "confectioner's glaze."

    2. Kevita Tonic Kombucha $3.49 per bottle

    I’ve been drinking these for a couple years now, and they always help me curb sweet cravings. The Meyer Lemon is my favorite flavor, and I usually sip on 'em for hours, until I forget all about whatever sugary thing I initially wanted.

    3. Torie & Howard Chewie-Fruities $2.99

    This brand uses organic, all-natural ingredients with no additives or preservatives, and the Chewie Fruities TASTE AMAZING. Every flavor is delicious. I'm a huge Starburst fan, so these really helped me when I wanted fruity candy, and my only hope is that they'll start popping up more often in a wider range of grocery stores.

    4. Hello Bello Organic Men's Multivitamin $19.42

    Hear me out — these are the best-tasting vitamins I've ever had. EVER. I would regularly save 'em for when I wanted something sweet because they taste like quality gummy candies. It took a great deal of discipline to limit myself to two a day so I wouldn't overdose on vitamins.

    I was also very fortunate to have a ton of healthy meals provided by Trifecta Nutrition, which supplemented me with a much-needed variety of tastes throughout the months of eating my own cooking repeatedly. The cost of Trifecta's plans vary depending on how many meals one wants, but the weekly plans begin at $108.43.


    I’ll be elaborating extensively on the food I ate with Trifecta in a future piece, but the meals they sent me were under a "clean" plan and typically consisted of high-protein foods like chicken or fish, and healthy carbs, like brown rice or sweet potato. The meals were a nice way to supplement my cooking, but as for the foods I bought and prepared myself, my go-to options were:

    - Tilapia

    - Salmon

    - Chicken

    - Broccoli

    - Brussels sprouts

    Early on, I ate a lot of steamed rice as well, but as I began to cut carbs it was the first thing to go. The only things I really had for breakfast were eggs and steel-cut oats, occasionally with turkey bacon.

    When I wanted to eat out but keep things somewhat healthy-ish, I’d go for sushi (sometimes rice-less), poke, or a salad.

    Here are some tips I wish I'd known from the start of this experience:


    - Buying salads from restaurants or stores can add up, but they’re so easy to make yourself. As a not-rich person I highly recommend giving homemade salads a shot if money is a factor. I get it: Buying lettuce isn’t a fun time. The produce section is to adult me what Home Depot was to kid me. But saving money is solid.

    - I’ve given up soy sauce, and I've replaced it with coconut aminos. It has less salt and is soy/wheat/gluten-free. Also, IT DOESN'T TASTE LIKE COCONUT. It tastes like soy sauce's sweeter, less wild sibling who has their shit together. It's also great with sushi!

    - Don’t be afraid to attempt healthy-ish recipes online. I made fish tacos using Pinole Blue pink corn tortillas and cheap tilapia from Trader Joe’s, and I finally mastered a honey sriracha meatball recipe I’d been tinkering with all year.

    - Garlic. Lots of garlic. It salvaged so much of my mediocre cooking.

    Also, being fully transparent here — I cheated. Like, A LOT.


    Sometimes I decided not to follow the diet because I was traveling and there weren't any super-clean options in the immediate vicinity. Other times there was fully prepared healthy food in my fridge, yet I craved something specific, so I went to Postmates with no regard for my bank account (those fees add up, y’all).

    Alright, let’s move on to the workout aspect. For the entirety of this experience, I followed the same schedule:


    Normally, cardio day is one that I dread, but Patrick has a routine that only takes about 20 minutes to complete and involves sprint intervals. Although it’s shorter than an hour of jogging on a treadmill, I was always fully drenched, and the intensity of the sprints left me out of breath and exhausted.

    As I said earlier, I lifted heavy for the first couple months and then went lighter for the last two using rep schemes from Patrick Murphy's "Show & Go" fitness plan.

    Murphy Fitness / Via

    I don’t want to sound like an ad, but I promise I genuinely enjoyed these methods. I obviously can’t give away all of the rep schemes because Patrick Murphy sells 'em as a package, but he gave me his blessing to share an example, so here’s my very favorite mass-gaining rep scheme:

    It’s known as the 10-8-6-4-2-10. So, imagine you’re doing a bench press. You do 10 reps, then eight reps, then six reps, etc., BUT you’re increasing the weight along the way until you do the final 10 reps back down at the same weight you began.

    That was just one I always enjoy, but there are plenty more to choose from, so even if you do the same exercises every week, you can switch up your rep schemes and keep the workouts intense because your muscles are doing something new.

    Within a few weeks I definitely felt the added weight and noticed a visible difference. Here’s a photo from about 7 weeks into the bulking process:


    OK, it's disclaimer time: The descriptions of how I felt physically are MY personal experience relating to MY body. I chose to do this for my own personal goals, and I'm not defining what fitness or beauty or ideal weight should mean for others. As you know, individuals should consult their physician before making drastic changes to diet and fitness regimen.


    - The process of bulking made me feel less energized. Whether it was being full from larger portions or exerting more energy to lift heavier weights, I felt sluggish more often than I would've liked.

    - I noticed that I had more back pain, which is something I've also noticed in the past when I've been at a heavier weight. This could be a result of the weight gained during the bulk straining and putting pressure on my spine.

    - Weights be heavy.


    - Suddenly felt stronger than I’d ever felt, like a superhero in their origin story exploring their newfound powers.

    - My large shirts became comfortable mediums, and my mediums became smalls, thus creating the illusion that I was even bulkier.

    - I looked cooler lifting heavier weights at the gym (totally subjective/unconfirmed in reality, but in my mind, I did).

    Next up, it was time for cutting down and leaning out, which I can only sum up as fast. The pace of the workouts was faster, the weight dropped faster than it’d been put on, and the speeds I was able to sprint during cardio was faster. Below is the intense sprint scheme Patrick had me doing:


    Although I picked up the pace during these workouts, Patrick ALWAYS emphasizes the importance of making sure you’re doing exercises with proper form 1) so they’re effective; and 2) so you don’t hurt yourself. So, even though I was lifting lighter weights and taking less rest between sets, I was always making sure I maintained proper form. As for the cutting-rep schemes, here's an example of one of my favorites:

    It’s called the 21-15-9. You pick two exercises — say lateral raises and front raises. You do 21 lateral raises and 21 front raises. Then you do 15 lateral raises and 15 front raises. Then, you guessed it: You do nine lateral raises and nine front raises. You have to go light and figure out the proper weight for you so that you can complete this without taking breaks — but once you do, it’s such a quick burner that it'll have you feeling GOOD. Again, this is just one example of Patrick’s many rep schemes that made working out enjoyable.

    It's worth noting that I did more traveling during this stretch than I've ever done before. Many of these workouts took place in hotel gyms, like this one from back when I was bulking.



    - I did significantly more cardio during the cut, and although I love how I feel after sprinting, I don’t enjoy it in the moment.

    - I wasn’t able to lift as much/looked less cool at the gym.

    - I had to be super disciplined with my diet because there’s less room for cheating when cutting versus bulking.

    - I was no longer able to tell people I was trying to get "thicc."


    - My cardio improved within a couple weeks — I could sprint at a faster pace for a longer time.

    - I was getting in and out of the gym quicker because the workouts were so fast-paced.

    - I was no longer able to tell people I was trying to get "thicc."

    Toward the end of the cut, I saw more definition — but MORE importantly, I felt energized and strong. I didn’t feel weak or uncomfortably light as I previously had when doing weight cuts.


    THE BEST THING ABOUT THIS PROCESS is that I never fully stopped enjoying things I wanted to eat. Yes, I adjusted my diet, but I continued to have things I love like chocolate, or pizza, or wine.

    Patrick assured me that when I'm craving a waffle or whatever, I can/should eat said waffle without hesitation. In the past, I’ve always been like, “Well, I ate one waffle so I might as well just cheat for the rest of the day.” Then the day turned into a week of cheating, and so on. My personal goal moving forward is to enjoy the foods I want while consistently whipping up my own meals with good proteins and vegetables that make me feel good. I'm simply striving for balance over binging. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find the nearest waffle.

    For more on Patrick Murphy visit or find him on Instagram @MurphyFitness. Find the "Show & Go" program I used here.