Chris Spooner

23 Aug

I’ve always been pretty skinny in physique, but last year I decided to take on the challenge of transforming my body into a shape and size I was happy with. One year on things are going pretty well and I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved so far. I can’t say I’m 100% comfortable with posting semi-nude photos of myself on the Interwebs, but for anyone interested here’s a couple of progress snaps comparing the difference between the older and newer models of Chris Spooner.

Stats and figures

Height: 5′ 9″
Weight: 135lbs to 150lbs (Goal=160lbs)

My routine

June last year was when I first signed up at the local gym. I’d been a member of another gym a little further from home for a year or so beforehand where I was using the usual resistance machines, so my goal at this gym closer to home was to move onto free weights. I had a three day routine of Chest/Triceps, Back/Biceps, Legs/Shoulders for the majority of the year, but I cancelled my membership and invested the money into a home gym as of June this year (2011).
I’ve definitely seen more growth since working out at home as I’ve been able to split up my workout days to concentrate on one muscle group a day to really blitz them. I also feel much more comfortable about stacking on extra weight and struggling with it, which can be a bit embarrassing at a busy gym!

Home gym and spotter

Monday: Chest
Bench press: 3 sets, 6-10 reps.
Dumbbell flys: 3 sets, 6-10 reps.
Incline press: 3 sets, 6-10 reps.
Incline dumbbell flys: 3 sets, 6-10 reps.

Tuesday: Back
Bent-over row: 3 sets, 6-10 reps.
Wide grip pullups: 3 sets, 6-10 reps.
Dumbbell row: 3 sets, 6-8reps.
Close grip pullups: 3 sets, 6-10 reps.

Wednesday: Legs
Sumo Squat: 4 sets, 8-10 reps.
Sumo Deadlift: 3 sets, 8-10 reps.
Single leg calf raise: 3 sets, 20 reps.

Thursday: Shoulders & Abs
Dumbbell press: 3 sets, 6-10 reps.
Dumbbell lateral raise: 3 sets, 8-10 reps.
Dumbbell front raise: 3 sets, 8-10 reps.
Crunches: 3 dropsets, 20 reps.

Friday: Arms
Barbell curls: 3 sets, 8-10 reps.
Dumbbell hammer curls: 3 sets, 6-10 reps.
French press: 3 sets, 6-10 reps.
Dumbbell triceps extension: 3 sets 6-10 reps.
Dumbbell kickbacks: 3 sets, 8-10 reps.

Food wise I’m currently managing around 3000 calories a day, but I’m contemplating whether to switch up my lunchtime sandwich or my afternoon snack for a small cooked meal to help bulk me up to my goal of 160lbs (and beyond!).

Update: Diet

Thanks for the super kind responses everyone. It’s quite relieving as I do still feel a little awkward posting nude photos of myself online. A couple of people have shown interest in my diet, so here’s what I’m currently consuming. Like I mentioned above though, I’m thinking about switching up my lunch or afternoon snack but this current meal plan is serving up the right amounts of calories, carbs, protein and fats.

Glass of orange juice – Easy 100cals and a nice bit of fructose to wake up!
Bowl of Cheerios – Nice mix of grains (Oats, rice, wheat) to slowly burn off.
2x Eggs, Scrambled – With a coating of honey, yes honey – Try it, seriously!

25g Whey protein + Milk (Semi skimmed for now for the extra cals. May switch to skimmed if I need to cut the fat)
1x medium Banana

Wholemeal bread roll + “Can’t believe it’s not butter” low fat stuff
Ham slices or Tuna
4x slices of Cucumber
Pack of Crisp (aka Potato chips) – Added to the sammich!
Ski Yogurt
Cheeky bun or piece of cake
1x medium Apple

25g Whey protein + Milk (Semi skimmed for now for the extra cals. May switch to skimmed if I need to cut the fat)
1x medium Banana

Dinner (typical):
Fried chicken breast (Using one of those 1 cal spray jobs, extra yummy with a chicken stockpot)
Rice (Pilau or wholegrain)
Selection of veggies (Carrots, peas, beans, broccoli)
(Pasta dishes are also quite common for us, using wholewheat pasta)

25g Whey protein + Milk (Semi skimmed for now for the extra cals. May switch to skimmed if I need to cut the fat)

Totals: 3000ish calories, 350ish grams carbs, 160ish grams protein, 70ish grams fat

Inspiration and motivation

The majority of people’s responses is they struggle to find motivation to work out or go to the gym. Here’s what keeps me going:

– A childhood of 80’s action movies. Commando (1985) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger has a lot to answer for!
– Male movie stars diet plans to get in shape for their roles. Christian Bale from The Machinist to Batman for instance –
– Superhero movies. Spiderman and Captain America make it look so easy. All you need is a radioactive spider or an injection of serum.
Scooby1961 on YouTube – Good form tips.
Scott Herman on YouTube – Great how-to videos.
RJRiches on YouTube – Good nutrition advice and inspirational workout vlogs.

I hope this helps out anyone else wanting to change their body shape and size!


  1. Tjobbe says:

    Fair play to you for posting the pics, especially as you’ve got a classic farmers tan in the before pics!

    I’m currently a stone or two overweight, so need to slim down before I then gain muscle.

    Got myself a home gym too now, so no excuses.

    Good luck.

  2. Jamie says:

    Well done for keeping it going. I can never find the motivation to exercise at home.

  3. Chakib Tsouli says:

    You forgt to mention in your Routine that you enrolled in Balck ops :D

  4. Ross says:

    Nice job Chris!

    Struggled with the gym when i joined last year but I started doing morning sessions and it’s totally transformed my day.

    Tjobbe, get started now while you have the enthusiasm!
    You’ll gain muscle and you can lose a weight as you go by adding a bit of cardio to your workout. As your muscle goes up and your fat goes down you’ll start to look like a greek god ;)

  5. @Tjobbe – Thanks! I have to say it’s quite embarrassing posting them on the web, but it makes for good motivation to improve for this time next year!

    @Jamie – I find it easier at home in that it’s more convenient. Beforehand I’d struggle to get myself to the gym if time was getting on. Now I can just set aside an hour any time during the day.

  6. Hi Chris,

    Kudos to you!

    I’m in a similar situation to you (The old you). I’m trying to bulk up a bit, and get into more of a shape that I’m happier with, even though i’m eating extra calories, and training when ever I can, I still seem to bounce around at the same weight and build.

    Thanks for sharing your progress!


  7. Alan says:

    Been trying to do much the same for my wedding, but motivation is my main problem.

    I need to lose a little weight first in the belly (about a stone) but after that its bulking up.

    I was doing really well until I went to Florida about 6 weeks ago, can’t get back into the stride of things now lol.

  8. Sofia says:

    Chris, you are great!
    Congratulations! )))

  9. John says:

    You can really see the results. Great job! We are the same height but I want to go from 160 down to 135. Looks like we have opposite goals!

  10. Mandakh says:

    Well Done :) Nice body :)

  11. 19atpressured says:

    Wow! A designer who does gaming and works out as well? You sure are an inspiration Chris.

  12. Matthew Leak says:

    Hey Chris,

    Great Progress. How are you finding Scott Herman’s workouts? I follow his works religiously, they’re great and the results are incredible.

    What brand of Protein Powder are you taking? One of my companies is my own brand of protein powder, called WheyShake. It’s really high-grade quality protein and it tastes delicious. I’d be more than happy to send you a freebie as a thanks for helping improve my design skills over the years I’ve read your blog.

    Message me if you’re interested chief! :)


  13. Alex says:

    Very inspiring! Thanks for posting your workout routine and diet, too.

  14. Martin says:

    Good on you Chris!
    Proving that not all designers/gamers are pasty fat cellar dwellers or scrawny spotty geeks!
    I’m going the other way to you, losing some podge and gaining definition.
    Been going to the gym for 4 weeks now and already 1/2 stone and gained a LOT of definition.
    Thanks for the diet ideas. See you’re taking the whey protein 3 times a day. Are you finding it helps? I only use it after a work out.

  15. @Adam – It’s definitely all about how much you can consume. I’m struggling to get past the 153lbs mark so more calories seem to be needed!

    @Matt – I don’t really follow any particular workout of Scott’s, but his videos have definitely helped me find that balance between weight and how much physical exertion you should be putting in. Some of the how-to videos make it look too easy when they’re using low weight for the demo. Nice website for your whey products. I currently use MyProtein but your Instant Whey looks like it has a good protein content %.

    @Martin – Glad to hear you’re seeing results. It’s good motivation when you see it in the mirror isn’t it? Protein shake wise it’s mostly for convenience to get that regular intake 6 times a day (between main meals in my case). I do seem to drink a lot of my calories so switching out one of those snacks for more solid foods (more eggs maybe) might be a wise move.

  16. Brad says:

    Rock on. Keep it up. I’m venturing into the mythical realm of “working out at home” and this is a very inspiring post!

  17. Kevin says:

    Hey! I was told there’d be nudity here!

  18. Awesome! , i have like a year on the gym too :)

  19. Chris says:

    Chris, glad you posted this. Definitely gives me some motivation, I didn’t think skinny guys like us could add bulk and muscle mass like that lol. Nothing has really worked for me my whole life so this was quite a nice read. Thanks man.

  20. Lee Gustin says:

    Great results Chris!! Congrats on committing yourself to your goal. Thanks for listing your workout routine and diet as well (I’ll have to try your snack)

    I was in the same boat as @John: I was at 160 eight months ago, and told myself I was going to try P90X for my News Years resolution (I’ve never been able to stick to a workout routine before). So far I’m down to 140 and have added a few pounds of muscle. Being freelance out of a 1BR apartment doesn’t allow for a workout room so P90 has helped me feel less lazy and also gets some creativity flowing while I workout.

  21. Snix says:

    Hey, nice going dude, well done and keep up the work rate!

  22. Tre says:

    What can I say?
    From web design master to physical body master, lol.
    Keep it up, healthy mind should go with healthy body (not pas the body wasn’t healthy, but you know what I mean with all due respect).

  23. Jake says:

    Great job!! Squats and deadlifts I think are the key to substantial growth. That and of course the right amount of good food.

    Just started my winter gain a couple weeks ago so I feel your pain :)

    Good luck!

  24. Gideon Banks says:

    Impressive! I’d love to achieve same. We have similar body type… I mean the “before” body time. Good job bro.

  25. Shane says:

    Don’t be embarrassed mate. Be proud of your achievement which is quite obvious from the pics. Thanks for the routine and diet insight. I think keeping it up is the hardest part. Good luck.

  26. Beauty says:

    You did a great job! You can certainly see the difference.

    Plus it looks like you gained all muscle!!!

  27. Sanuja says:

    Keep up the good job. No way I will lose weight with school and stuff at this time…. LOL

  28. Buff Gyal says:

    It looks like you put on a ton of lean body mass. That’s excellent. Your macros seems in check, and your progress is good. I think I am going to bookmark your page, just to see the end result! :)

  29. Olli says:

    Since you already have twitter accounts for design and gaming, when are we going to see one for fitness and training? :)

  30. Thank you !! Thanks a lot for the routine you have published .. !! i Need this !!

    All the Best !!

  31. kilymom says:

    I’ve always been pretty skinny in physique –

  32. zang says:

    Buy directly from – AliExpress . com — DhGate . com

  33. Great Work Chris, how long do each of you work outs take on average? I’m starting to keep track of my intake and I need to find another 500 cals from somewhere any suggestions on desk snacks?

  34. zung says:


  35. Peter says:

    Great work Chris, this is an inspiration.

    A couple of questions: How do you structure your workouts during the day? All in one go, or spread out? How do you structure your eating around your workouts? Do you eat jus before or after working out? Or do you leave some time between eating and workouts?


  36. Dustin says:

    Nice work! You went from pretty cute to hot.

  37. hyperbro says:

    Good job. But youre really short changing yourself by not doing a full body routine 3x a week. You basically need huge amounts of drugs to make a 7 day body part split work.

    • Steven says:

      @hyperbro – that is totally false, you can train HOWEVER you prefer and what works best for you and your lifestyle.

      As long as you progressively overload (i.e. the weight on the bar each session, the amount of reps/sets you do) you will get stronger and in fact get more muscular as the body is adapting to the consistent weight increase.

      The reason people think body part splits don’t work unless you’re taking steroids is because pro-bodybuilders use these types of routines as they can handle the excessive volume of different exercises due to the drugs, but our bodies are more capable of handling this than we think.

      It’s obviously worked for Chris as the pictures show.

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