My Journey through Body Recomposition

Starting point: 2009 - before Instagram filters were invented.

This article was written in July 2014. If you want to hear the latest from Tom Fitzgerald and Integrated Fitness & Nutrition, you are welcome to sign up to our mailing list below


That’s me in 2009, straight out of school and about when I decided I wanted to gain muscle and build my physique.

For the past 14 years I had been playing sport year-round, which was ending now I had finished school. I decided that weight training would be a good way for me to stay active and also build the body I wanted.

But it wasn’t just for the activity and health benefits. I definitely thought that building muscle would enhance my chances with women too!

Over the next two and a half years, I trained without consistency or a solid training/nutrition plan. I gained about 3kg over this time, but I had made very little progress towards my goal of building my physique. 

I didn’t like training in gyms, because I was uncomfortable with being weak and skinny compared to other people. Instead, I had a home gym with a rack, bench, barbells and weights. It had all the basics that I needed; I just didn’t use them very well.

I came up with every excuse to justify why I wasn’t making progress.

  • That I was naturally skinny/hardgainer.
  • Didn’t have time or the motivation.
  • Everyone else was on steroids.

In reality, I just didn’t have the knowledge to build the right program and I didn’t give nutrition the attention it deserved. Most importantly, I was too proud to ask for help from an expert, because I was convinced that I knew everything and no one could help.

In mid-2011, I decided that it was time to either get serious or to give up and focus on something else. I spent hours on end researching resistance training and nutrition to help me gain weight. Even though I was studying Exercise Science/Human Nutrition at University, the first three semesters was more general science and anatomy, instead of specific nutrition and exercise learning. This meant I had to do additional research to find what I needed.

I formulated my little plan to get me bigger. The plan was well-suited to my goals and lifestyle. It was nothing revolutionary; lifting weights five times a week and eating six meals a day.

The plan worked! In the next six months, I went from 78kg to 90kg and was stronger than ever. Admittedly I did gain some fat, but once I lost that I still weighed 86kg, which was still a great increase from where I started.

Over the next three years, I continued to train and eat reasonably well. 

Strong picture quality: Hopefully the last gym-selfie I ever take.

I currently weigh 99kg and have made a lot of progress from 2009. Most importantly, I have learned so much through my experiences (good and bad) and the completion of my university studies.

Over the journey, I have definitely have had periods where I trained and/or ate poorly. The times I have made my best progress were when my training and nutrition was well planned and structured. Having a structure (it can be anything to begin with) helps foster consistency and commitment, which are paramount to achieving body recomposition goals.

I have optimised my progress primarily through my increasing knowledge of nutrition and adding structure to my training programs.I also completed a double degree in Sports & Exercise Science/Human Nutrition, which has given me an incredible foundation of knowledge in these areas. I am also an avid reader and listener, and stay up to date through seminars, articles, and podcasts.

I know that I haven’t perfected my training and nutrition, but I have definitely improved it!

It was from my personal experiences and my current knowledge that led me to develop Integrated Fitness & Nutrition.

If I hadn’t have studied in the field, I doubt I would have ever achieved my goals. I was stuck in a cycle of poor training and excuses to justify my lack of progress and misguided efforts. 

Looking back, if there was one thing I would do differently on the same journey, it would be to spend a little less money on supplements and little bit more on expert advice.

I literally spent $1000’s on supplements since 2009.

I also spent $0 on expert fitness or nutrition advice.

What was the better investment?

I have nothing against supplements and I still use some now. However, they add only a small amount to your progress compared to training and nutrition.

Don't believe I spent $1000's on supps? My supplement stack in 2011.  Also, that cupboard needs a wipe.

Ironically, if I had of stopped chasing the quick fix that is supplements, and instead focused on getting expert training and nutrition advice, I would have got to my current state a lot quicker than I did.

I didn’t get the expert advice because I thought I knew all the answers and I didn’t think I needed help. The reality is that it’s very difficult to objectively view your own training and nutrition, particularly if you are lacking knowledge in the area.

Most people will say “I should eat better” or “I want to get a bigger chest” and they have a rough idea of how to achieve it. The problem is, they cannot develop a plan to implement these goals. Without a plan, you have no direction and minimise the chances of achieving your goals.

Integrated Fitness & Nutrition is for people who might not want a personal trainer to supervise them at the gym, but still want advice programming their training optimally. Integrated Fitness & Nutrition is for people who want to eat better, but need some help building a nutrition plan.

Integrated Fitness & Nutrition would have been ideal for me in 2009, but it wasn't there.

Integrated Fitness & Nutrition is ideal for you, now!

Take some time to think about whether we can help you, and if we can, get in touch!