‘Average Joe’, 36, reveals how he transformed his physique in 8 weeks

‘Average Joe’, 36, reveals EXACTLY how he transformed his physique in just EIGHT weeks – and he didn’t have to cut out snacks

  • EXCLUSIVE: Journalist Joe Warner, 36, undertook an eight-week body challenge
  • He wanted to transform his body from ‘Average Joe’ to toned and chiselled
  • Magazine editor reveals how he shed fat and gained muscle in the time period 

A 36-year-old ‘average Joe’ has revealed how he transformed his physique in just eight weeks. 

British magazine editor Joe Warner challenged himself to shed fat and gain muscle in just a couple of months – a feat many believe is reserved for men at their physical peak. 

However by following a weekly plan of full-body workouts and a healthy, balanced meal plan, he quickly saw results and ultimately felt confident enough to strip off for the cover of Men’s Fitness magazine. 

In an exclusive extract from his cover story, Joe reveals exactly how he went about overhauling his lifestyle – without cutting out snacks.    

Before: Joe Warner, a self-described 36-year-old ‘average Joe’, had eight weeks to transform his body. The journalist revealed how he overhauled his physique during the timeframe

After: Joe saw his energy levels and his figure completely transform over the eight weeks 



  • 4 scrambled eggs with ½ an avocado mashed on 1 slice of brown toast and a handful of cherry tomatoes.
  • Snack Immunity-boosting smoothie: Blend 1 apple, 100g frozen berries, 1 large handful of spinach, 1 carrot, 10g clear honey, ½ a tsp of ginger and 100ml water.


  • Lean chicken club sandwich 100g sliced grilled chicken, 2 rashers of grilled lean smoked bacon, 1 sliced egg, tomato, salad leaves and low-fat mayo on two slices of toasted brown bread.


30g whey protein powder mixed with 150g low-fat Greek yogurt and 1 handful of frozen grapes.


One-pot pork stew. Fry some onions for a few minutes then add 150g of diced pork chops. Brown the meat then add ½ a tsp of paprika and some mushrooms. Cook for a few more mins then add a big squeeze of tomato puree and 200ml veg stock. Simmer for 20 mins, mix in 50g Greek yogurt and serve with 100g potatoes and broccoli.


1 small bag of salted popcorn.

Total nutrition: Calories: 2270; Protein: 198g; Carbs: 161g; Fat: 93g

‘In your twenties you can get away with murder,’ Joe writes in the magazine. ‘Too many pints tonight? That won’t stop you smashing chest day in the morning.  

‘You recover from anything faster, even on less sleep, because your body is just better. At everything.  But as your early-thirties imperceptibly give way to your almost-forties life comes at a greater cost. 

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‘Staring 40 in the face, I wanted to find out how much of a factor age is in building a bigger, stronger and leaner body.’

Joe, who describes himself as being ‘out of shape’ before, followed the eight-week New Body Plan system. 

The programme gave him a tailor-made exercise regime based on his age and personal requirements, as well as a full nutritional plan complete with recipes.   

Building muscle: Focused gym sessions were crucial to creating a chiselled physique

Transformation: Joe did lunges with dumbbell weights as part of his eight-week regime


Monday: Workout 1 Push session

  • 1 Dumbbell bench press 4 sets of 10 reps
  • 2 Dumbbell shoulder hammer press 4 sets of 10 reps
  • 3 Dumbbell lateral raise 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 4 Low-cable crossover 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 5 Cable rope overhead triceps extension 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 6 Cable rope triceps pressdown 3 sets of 12 reps

Wednesday: Workout 2 Pull session

  • 1 Lat pulldown 4 sets of 10 reps
  • 2 Wide seated row 4 sets of 10 reps
  • 3 EZ-bar preacher curl 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 4 EZ-bar upright row 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 5 Cable bar biceps curl 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 6 Cable face-pull 3 sets of 12 reps

Friday: Workout 3 Legs session

  • 1 Front squat 4 sets of 10 reps
  • 2 Romanian deadlift 4 sets of 10 reps
  • 3 Leg extension 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 4 Hamstring curl 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 5 Dumbbell lunge 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 6 Dumbbell step-up 3 sets of 12 reps

Saturday: Workout 4 Arms session

  • 1 Close-grip bench press 4 sets of 10 reps
  • 2 Underhand lat pulldown 4 sets of 10 reps
  • 3 EZ-bar overhead triceps extension 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 4 EZ-bar biceps curl 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 5 Cable bar triceps pressdown 3 sets of 12 reps
  • 6 Cable bar biceps curl 3 sets of 12 reps

Examples of the workouts Joe Warner did each week for eight weeks

Workouts were broken down into sessions like ‘push’, ‘pull’, ‘legs’ and ‘arms’ that targeted the whole body over the course of the week. 

Meanwhile his diet consisted of protein rich meals designed to fill him up and fuel his workouts. 

However it did not restrict him completely and he still found he could indulge in snacks between meals – just ones that were better for him. 

Ultimately Joe found himself shedding fat and gaining muscles – as seen in his incredible before and after pictures.  

Determined: Joe did workouts targeting muscle groups, including his arms, as seen above

Upper body: Press ups helped Joe target the muscles across his chest, back and arms

Variety: The programme involved a mixture of body weight, free weight and machine moves

Read the full feature in the February issue of Men’s Fitness, out 12 December

Not only that but he found he boosted his energy levels, motivation levels and felt ‘back on top of every area of his life.’ 

Joe continues: ‘As we get older it’s easy to assume that our best days are behind us, and any dreams of building a bigger, stronger and leaner body should go the way of you scoring the winning goal for England in the final of the World Cup. 

‘Or even just watching England in the final of the World Cup.

‘But the reality is it’s never too late to make huge changes to how you look, feel and perform.’ 

He adds: ‘The good news for all of us is that age isn’t a barrier to getting into the shape of your life, not only to look good but more importantly to feel good. 

‘And the even better news is that it’s not all about training hard, it’s much more about training smart.’

Results: Joe found his body, fitness and overall well-being improved as a result of the programme


Training hard is only effective if you’re also training smart. Do so with these instantly-applicable New Body Plan Plus training tipS

1. Training smarter begins with scheduling your weekly workouts. I planned mine for Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, then Saturday or Sunday. This schedule strategy gives you the maximum amount of recovery time between workouts, allowing the time necessary for your body to repair and rebuild your muscles stronger so you can push yourself harder every time you train. And getting the first session of each week under your belt on a Monday is a really positive start to the week, and massively increases the chances of you doing your other three sessions.

2. To build muscle fast each set must last between 40 and 70 seconds, which means you need to select the right weight to hit a target of between eight and 12 reps at a slow, controlled tempo. Leave your ego at the door and use a weight that is heavy enough to fatigue the muscles thoroughly, but not so heavy that you can’t do all the reps, or maintain correct form.

3. A training diary is essential for focused workouts. Ahead of each session write down that day’s workout, including space sets, reps, tempo, rest and weight, then fill it in as you go. You can include other key info too, such as pre- and post-workout nutrition, energy and performance levels out of 10, and what went well or didn’t go to plan.

4. Swinging weights around is a waste of your time and leads to injury, not results. Learning to properly contract and apply tension to the working muscle has a huge impact on your capacity to build muscle, and burn fat. Before each set think about the muscle you’re going to work then lift at a controlled pace so your muscles move the weight, not momentum.

Joe appears on the cover of the February 2019 issue of Men’s Fitness, on sale today. You can follow Joe on Twitter at @JoeWarnerUK, and get your own tailored exercise and eating programme at newbodyplan.co.uk

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