Prior to his Men's Health transformation, Guy Sebastian was no stranger to the gym. Ever since his 20s, the singer had been hitting the iron, but his previous forays into the gym had lacked purpose.
“There was never a plan,” he says. “It was just as heavy as you can and no form.”
Which is anathema to how Transformation Coach Chief Brabon operates.
Central to Sebastian’s transformation was a system devised by Brabon called DARC: Dynamic Aerobic Resistance Conditioning, which involves pairing weights moves with high-intensity cardio exercises. In effect, you’re lighting up a muscle group and targeting body fat in the one brutal superset.
“If you’re looking to increase lean muscle mass while reducing body fat, there is no better method,” says Chief. While some would argue that’s a physiologically impossible combination to achieve, Chief is adamant that it is absolutely possible, provided you get your training and nutrition spot on.
In fact, he says, it’s his experience that over a period of eight weeks a very overweight man could use DARC to gain up to 6kg of muscle while shedding 20kg of fat. Sebastian had no need to hit numbers like that. He aimed simply to unveil a moderately beefed-up frame by stripping away a layer of blubber.
Chief told him the task would require five 45-minute sessions a week, which sounded onerous, even fanciful, to Sebastian, who’d never done more than three. As it turned out, he usually did six. Sometimes seven.
How does DARC work in practice? Check out the back-focussed workout Brabon had Sebastian punching out each week...
Move directly from the resistance exercise into the aerobic one. That’s one round. Do four rounds of each supersets. When handling weights, emphasise strict form over load. Minimise rest between rounds. Your rep range for the weights moves is 8-12. For the aerobic parts, do two minutes of activity, fluctuating between 20 seconds at moderate intensity and 10 seconds at full tilt. Don’t forget the finisher at the end of the workout.
Resistance exercise: CHIN-UP
Jump up and grab the bar with an underhand grip. Body straight, pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar. Lower under control. Can’t do the 10-12 reps? Use a band or a spotter for help.
Aerobic exercise: JUMP ROPE
Make like Rocky in Rocky III.
Resistance exercise: BARBELL ROW
Grab a barbell and bend forward from your hips, keeping your back neutral. With your arms at a dead hang, row the bar up to your upper abs, squeeze your lats and lower.
Aerobic exercise: RUN/SPRINT ON THE SPOT
Be sure to pump your arms, too.
Resistance exercise: BACK EXTENSION
Lie prone, arms out in front. Lift your arms and legs off the floor and hold that Superman pose for 10-15 seconds.
Aerobic exercise: MEDICINE-BALL SLAM
Grab a ball of challenging weight. Take a wide stance and lift it above your head, now drive it hard into the ground. Retrieve and repeat.
Finisher: JUMP SPLIT SQUAT
Step forward with your right foot and lower into a lunge position. Jump up explosively, switching leg positions in midair. Go for 10 seconds, rest for five. Do that 10 times.
For more on Sebastian's transformation, including a sample day's eating and the remaining workouts Sebastian employed to shred fat while building lean mass, grab the September issue of Men's Health magazine