The Biggest Challenge I’ll do - A 21-Week Body Transformation Programme

Hardeep Nagra
Hardeep Nagra
The Biggest Challenge I’ll do - A 21-Week Body Transformation Programme

I’m embarking on what will be the biggest challenge I’ll have gone through ever - a 21-week body transformation programme! Read for some background on what I’m doing and why

Those that follow me on Instagram know that I’m on a 21-week body transformation programme. It’s challenging! The goal by the end of it is to come out much leaner with a body composition that favours muscle over fat!

In this post, I’m going to tell you what my 21-week body transformation programme actually entails.

But first, a little about me

I’ve always been overweight for as long as I can remember. I have a photo from when I was seven on a beach in Vancouver — it’s the earliest photo I can find where I was ‘skinny’. The rest of my photo library consists of an overweight Hardeep.

On a beach (aged 7)
On a beach (aged 7)

My problem is that I love food. I eat anything and everything. Growing up, I didn’t know the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods.

It affected me growing up. I was into most sports growing up and played a lot of football, tennis, and cricket. The problem was my fitness as I could never last a full game. But I was in my high school cricket team and I’ll never forget what our PE teacher said to the team after we lost in a cup final:

Chin up lads, we fought well, and could have won if Hardeep wasn’t slow to the ball.

We were the fielding team and the other team needed 4 runs to win. Their batsman hits it towards me and I chased it down to stop it going for a boundary. I didn’t make it. They won.

Now, I don’t think he meant for that to come out the way it did, but man, that hurt.

This anecdote pretty much sums up my life up to the age of around 23. I got engaged and felt I had to get into shape for the wedding. I figured there must be a scientific reason why I’m overweight and so there must be a way to reverse it. It was time to stop telling myself that I had a slow metabolism and to educate myself on nutrition and working out.

And that I did. I came across a forum post that I can no longer find but it made weight loss sound simple. It explained what calories were, how to calculate them, and how to track food intake.

Complete game changer!

I dropped 16lbs for the wedding, and it was the best shape I’d ever been in. I lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time. As a result, I became what’s known as skinny fat where you lose too much muscle mass as well as fat).

It’s safe to say that I’ve fallen in love with health, nutrition, and training. I read up about nutrition for fun! I’ve learnt how different foods impact you to how best to train depending on your body type and goals.

The biggest challenges to date

I’ve maintained a weight of around 175lbs since the wedding in 2014. In 2017, I made a goal to get to 165lbs and reached it after 5 months of consistent dieting and training. It was by far the best I’ve ever looked and felt.

Since then, there have been 3 BIG life changes that have had a negative impact on my ability to stay fit:

  1. Change of jobs — my commute went from 25mins one way to 3.5hrs round trip. It meant I was waking up at 4am just to get to gym before leaving home at 6am for work.
  2. Second child and poor sleep — parents, if you know, you know.
  3. COVID-19 — Lockdown happened. Gyms closed. Diet and training were out the window.

Which brings us to September of 2020 and the start of my 21-week programme.

So, what exactly is the 21-week body transformation programme?

It comprises two parts: training and nutrition. The latter I’m doing myself but the training programme is from Greg Nuckols. It’s a linear programme where you focus on core compound lifts (deadlifts, squats, bench etc.). Weight increases over the course of 21 weeks. It also incorporates deload weeks to allow your body and muscles to recover.

I chose this programme because it let me start at 60% of my max lifts. This was important as I’d been off from training for around 5 months. Starting at 60% would ease my muscles back into it before getting back to pre-COVID strength. It can be tailored to your needs depending on how many days a week you want to train. The spreadsheet provided calculates your lifts each week, adding or reducing weight accordingly.

The programme cost £5 which is a steal. If you’re interested in finding out more visit

For nutrition, I’ve recalculated calories and macros and use MyFitnessPal to track. It’s a balanced diet – no Keto, Atkins, Vegan diet etc.

What’s your goal?

I’d like to finish the programme at around 175lbs and around 15% body fat. But this journey won’t end at the 21-week mark. I’ll go through a few cycles of losing fat and adding muscle before repeating the cycle. For me, it’s more important to do this at a steady pace rather than rushing. When I rushed weight loss before I lost too much weight and lost muscle mass in the process. It left me with a lot of loose skin. So this time I intend to do this slower so that I can keep as much muscle as possible.

Slow and steady wins the race

If you enjoyed this post or have any questions, please let me know by leaving a comment below. You’d help me massively by sharing this post to your social media and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @hardeepsnagra.

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