The Paul Faulder you see before you in 2024 is what transformations are all about. Before he became a cover-worthy fitness fanatic, the buff Brit suffered with chronic lower back pain and the all too familiar negative lifestyle choices influenced by the busy life of a CEO. Eager to become fit before 50, Faulder turned his life around, committing to a two-phase approach that has sustained him at age 48.

Here’s how he did it.

After an MRI in 2021, Faulder’s doctors advised him that his BMI needed to be addressed and that he should aim to lose around 35 pounds (almost 15kg) in order to reduce the load on his lumber region. There were considerations however, and Faulder was advised to be cautious about spinal compression inducing activities like running and weightlifting, taking things slowly and not doing too much, too soon. Faulder had been a gymgoer before, and had switched his memberships annually to keep things fresh, but he eventually found his home at Ultimate Performance (U.P.) IN Cheshire, England. “In just 14 weeks, I lost 44 pounds (20kg),” explains Faulder, smashing his doctor’s target.

Paul Faulder incredible physical transformation at the age 48
Courtesy of Paul Faulder

Sustainable Fitness Is About Finding Ways To Stay Accountable

To motivate himself, Faulder decided to work towards a professional fitness shoot in 2022. “Using the photos as feedback, I reflected on my progress and, inspired by my achievements, decided to enter a second phase focused on muscle gain,” he says. “This marked a new chapter in my fitness journey, moving beyond weight loss to building strength and muscle.”

Phase 1 of Paul Faulder Transformation Plan

Phase 1 had been focused on fat loss and Faulder achieved this through three workouts per week split as lower body, upper body, and full body. In addition, he maintained an 8,000-step daily goal.

“Gradually, I added ‘Target Area’ workouts like bicep curls, lateral raises, and abdominal crunches, following the strategy: ‘if you can see the muscle, train it,’” explains Faulder. “As I neared my goal, I incorporated Peloton spinning classes and increased my daily steps to over 10,000. The process became more challenging as my body tried to hold onto reserves, requiring constant adjustments to maintain progress.”

Next came phase 2, the muscle building phase. “Building muscle takes time, patience, and dedication,” explains the changemaker. “My focus shifted from just weight loss to gaining muscle mass and improving overall body composition, reflecting a deeper commitment to my health and fitness. After the initial diet for that first photoshoot, I had lost some strength and fullness, so we adjusted both diet and training.” Like many of us, Faulder was also having to respect his age and physical limitations. “Due to a resurfaced shoulder injury, we focused on lower rep ranges to lift heavier weights without aggravating the shoulder,” he notes. “Bench presses, especially incline and decline, caused pain in my dominant right shoulder, leaving my weaker left side underworked. Reducing reps allowed us to lift to failure without causing shoulder issues.” It has been an ongoing journey of trial and error, but along with his trainer Laura Blease, Faulder been able to find a sustainable routine that keeps him ripped and is now living with a much-reduced level of pain.

“My training routine consists of various types of bench presses, including incline, decline, and flat bench presses. In addition to these, I perform chin-ups, pull-ups, dips, and floor presses. I also integrate dumbbell presses at different angles (45°, 30°, and 15°) to work on different parts of the chest and shoulders. To complement the major lifts, I include a variety of accessory exercises such as:

  • Straight arm pull-downs
  • Triceps extensions
  • Biceps curls
  • Lateral raises
  • Cable ab crunches/rotations

Workout Intensity and Technique Considerations

“We typically focus on drop sets and rest-pause techniques. These methods are employed to increase workout intensity, ensuring progressive overload, and maximizing hypertrophic effects for muscle growth,” says Faulder. “My bench press weights have progressively increased over time, illustrating the principle of progressive overload. I might start with a warm-up set at 50% of my max weight and gradually increase to my working sets at 80-90% of my max. Similarly, for isolation exercises like bicep curls, I use weights that allow me to perform around 8-12 reps with proper form, increasing the weight as my strength improves.”

This combination of varied exercises, strategic intensity techniques, and consistent cardio has been crucial to Faulder’s fitness journey and overall transformation. With back and shoulder injuries to think about, he doesn’t ego lift, instead making small incremental changes for long term gains. He still uses photoshoots as a motivational factor, too.

Phase of Paul Faulder Transformation Plan

“For the most recent photoshoot at the end of Phase 2, I trained three days a week for an hour each session dedicated to personal training with Laura,” he explains. “We made program changes every six to eight weeks based on her assessment of my progress. Cardio was encouraged, but honestly, I only incorporated it in the build-up to the shoot. I’d struggled with running for many years due to lower back issues, but we built such a strong core so that I managed to increase from 10 minutes to 30 minutes per running session without pain. Leading up to the shoot, under Laura’s guidance, I did this three to four times a week. This greatly enhanced fat loss, and by focusing on a heart rate of 120-130 bpm, the cardio burnt fat while preserving the muscle we had built.” By taking on a two-phase approach, Faulder was able to get down to 10% bodyfat while still maintaining solid muscle.

Hard Work Pays Off For Paul Faulder

“The most significant change during phase 1 was to introduce a huge calorie deficit,” reflects Faulder. “This was over more than a 50% reduction in my starting weight maintenance calories and was comprised of a precise breakdown of macronutrients that would serve to maintain my lean body mass whilst stripping fat as quickly as possible. Such a large reduction in calories may seem extreme, but I felt it was sustainable and stuck with it for 14 weeks.

“However, phase 2 with Laura was all about building more muscle and so we had to adjust the calories and underlying macros to support our objectives. Carbs increased massively, fat stayed relatively low, protein (the primary macro) was even higher than Phase 1. This modified macro profile supported the energy I needed to lift heavier and with more intensity, and in conjunction with the protein supported my recovery and subsequent growth. The particular balance meant that I stayed relatively lean throughout the process. I’m delighted with what I have achieved, but to pass on the belief to others that this is accessible to anyone despite injury is the greatest feeling ever,” explains Faulder. “There is no quick magic pill despite what you might be ‘sold’ through marketing and social media influencers, and no amount of lighting or fake tan will perfect an unfit physique. It takes graft, time, and you have to get past the days when you are too busy to even think about it. It’s about making a start, being accountable, then slowly but surely, and with expert guidance, you can make a serious transformation.”

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