Lifestyle editor Adrian Collins spent the last two months doing his best to get ripped, and the final results are in.

Eight weeks ago, as myself and Peter Cooney (who also undertook the challenge with me) sat in a coffee shop staring into our plain americano with no sugar and piles of broccoli and spinach in our shopping, we began to wonder what it was that we’d let ourselves in for, and whether or not this was really a good idea.

Now, having gone through the full program and come out the other end, both of us are thoroughly convinced that it was one of the best things that we’ve ever done in our lives. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t fun, and I spent a lot of time hungry and annoyed, but from where I started to where I ended up has been an absolutely incredible transformation.

On Thursday of last week, having gone through a cutting and flushing phase, I had my last set of measurements done by Anthony in Raw Gyms, and my body fat, which was over 16% when we started, was down to 7%. To get into single figures was a goal of mine from the beginning, but I never thought that I would get as low as that, and I felt amazing for having achieved it. Across the board, all the other measurements on my arms, legs, shoulders and back were all up, and even in my numbers when I’m working out I can lift heavier than I could before I started.

I’ve stripped the fat away that was there, and gained strength while I was at it, and while the workouts have been tough, there is no doubt that the diet was key. I always felt that I ate well, and although this plan was extreme, I did learn some things that I have taken away from it that I will carry through in to my every day eating and fitness plans.

Firstly, my body clearly doesn’t like sugar, so I’m going to try and cut as much of it out of my diet as possible. I’ve already gotten used to not having it in coffee, and having only one cheat meal a week allows you to satisfy that sweet tooth. A lot of the time a chocolate bar is not really what you’re after, and since I love peanut butter I can satisfy those cravings in a healthier way.

I also think carb cycling will be important, as will the timing of my workouts, but the biggest thing is preparation. If you fail to prepare your meals for the next day in advance, you’re going to fall down, and you only have yourself to blame for that. I had challenging weeks and long days, but I prioritised preparing all my meals, even on days where I was travelling or catching a flight, my lunchbox of turkey and broccoli came with me. Now, that won’t always be necessary, and you can bring nicer foods if you’re not doing the cutting section if the plan, but you have to match the amount of effort you put in on the gym floor with the amount of effort you make in the kitchen.

Anyway, since it was a once in a lifetime thing, we went to Raw Condition Gym, the site of my transformation, and did a quick shoot with photographer Ger Holland so that I would have some physical evidence that in week one I was chubby and a bit out of shape, but that after eight hard weeks I had reached my goal of looking ’ripped’, as they say, at least in my humble opinion, you can peruse the gallery below and see if you agree. The professional shots have not been photoshopped to make me look better, or, at least that's what Ger told me anyway!

Overall I’m healthier, happier and I’ve got more confidence. I walk taller, my posture has improved and people have immediately noticed the difference in me out and about. In my final workout session with Ant last week, we trotted out a pretty cliché line when we said "nothing tastes as good as being ripped feels", but to be honest, it’s true. I spent the weekend eating what I wanted to, and I already feel sluggish, slow and much worse overall. Today I got back to the a version of the plan that’s less extreme, and I intend to keep it that way. Sure, chocolate and crisps are nice, but they’re not as nice as the sense of confidence I feel right now.

Before I sign off, I have to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to all the staff at Raw Condition Gym. They were there every step of the way with support, guidance, nutrition information and the requisite amount of threats to make sure that I got where I wanted to be. I also want to thank anyone who read along for all eight weeks, and hope that it's been an inspiration to a few of you. The thought that you guys would read the blog was what kept me from breaking the rules and quitting. 

If you’ve started the program yourself, let us know your results and tweet with the #GetRippedOrDieTrying hashtag. If you’re thinking about making a change and getting fit, then don’t be afraid to drop me a line on Twitter for any advice or get in touch with the lads at Raw. They know their stuff, clearly. All pictures by Ger Holland Photography.

Check out the blogs from the other weeks here:

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Week Six

Week Seven

Week Eight