7 keys to becoming a shredded tradie

I did a podcast on the Tradie Business Show and promised I’d send a workout program to the host for tradies.  Julius and I decided we’d go one better and give a bit more.

This guide isn’t just relevant to tradies, but to men in general.  I’m sure you’ll get some serious value from it.


Julius After

Julius now (top) and about 4 months ago (above).

Realise you are at an advantage.

Most other workers have non-physical jobs. They have to do things outside of work hours to increase their average daily energy needs, like running or walking the dog or some other form of aerobic, long, boring exercise. You get paid to move around all day. Therefore, you don’t need to do any ‘cardio’.


Plan your exercise habits.

There is no point starting a workout or diet plan for a short term fix. Plan to create lifetime habits. There are 24 hours in a day. If you work for 8 and sleep for 8, that means you have 8 left. Fit some exercise in there and plan to do your exercise at the same time every day.

Most tradies I know like to get a jump on the day and start work early, so a workout after work, or after the kids go to bed (what my husband and I do) are viable options. I like to do it after the kids are asleep because they are then not a convenient distraction. It was weird to start, but now it’s a habit I feel compelled to do every night.


Plan your food habits.

Don’t eat for hunger, eat for good health. We use an app called Myfitnesspal to track all the food we eat for the day. Better yet, we use it to plan our food for the next few days. It may sound weird if you’re a foodaholic, but we eat the exact same 4 meals every single day for about 4-8 weeks. Once the habit is built, it’s hard to break. A life spent chasing variety opens the door to gluttony. Pack your food into a 6-pack bag that you can buy online or from any supplement store.


Our food for the day is this:



Egg white pies

Pour a 500ml box of egg whites into a 12 hole muffin tray. Put a slice of tomato into each one, and as many herbs as you like. Bake for 24 minutes at the highest setting. I have 4, Julius has 8.


Morning lunch:

Large Aldi can of tuna in springwater, mixed with a large can of diced tomatoes (also from Aldi) cheap and organic. Julius eats this, I eat a banana.



Barramundi fillet fried in coconut oil (me: 200g, Julius 400g)

Asparagus fried in the same coconut oil until it is crispy (a bunch each)



200g(me) & 600g (Julius) of lean meat steamed/grilled with veggies or a salad. We eat dinner with the kids at 5 and then don’t eat anything, even after our workout.


Metabolism Accelerator:

Twice a week, we carb re-feed. Which we call a ‘metabolism accelerator’. Foods we Carb re-feed on…….

  • Oats with water and a scoop of protein powder. (If you drink milk, make it low fat – it’s a carb refeed, not a calorie dump).
  • Chocolate ice cream. In a high speed blender, blend frozen bananas, one egg white and a bit of cacao powder. Yum!
  • Fruit salad (as big as you want)
  • smoothies
  • Healthy Junk Banana Bread (Julius eats a whole loaf)
  • You can add brown rice or sweet potato to your regular dinner as a carb boost too.

Sometimes re-feed turns into an all in madhouse feast. If this happens, just make sure you only eat carbs – don’t add fats into a cheat meal. Also, make sure the madness doesn’t extend for longer than 2 hours. To this end, we start carb load at 3pm, finish at 5 and make sure that we do our biggest workout after the kids are asleep – that way the carbs go to the right place – muscle, instead of fat.


Get outside the comfort zone twice a week.

You know that feeling when you run up a flight of stairs as fast as you can? Keep pushing for another flight and you get to a place we like to call “outside the comfort zone”. It’s when you feel like you have to lay down on your back to avoid dying. Every time you get outside your comfort zone, your body reacts by making your heart and lungs stronger.   Get outside the comfort zone as many times as you can in about 15 minutes, and do it at least twice a week to turn your body into a fat burning furnace. Seriously, that’s all you actually need.


Some of our favourite metabolic sessions are:


Running light posts.

Sprint from one lightpost to another, then jog the next. Repeat for about 10-20 minutes. When you start out, you may need to walk instead of jog. As you get fitter, you can sprint two lightposts, and jog one.


Street sprints.

Our street is about 100m long. Starting at one end, we run as fast as we can to the other end. Julius gives me a head start and then tries to catch me. If he catches me, he gets to slap me on the butt as he overtakes. Its like a romantic date….hahahaha!



50 burpees as fast as you can. It takes anywhere between 2 minutes and 8 minutes. Either way, it’s a very quick way to get outside of your comfort zone. We do ours in the lounge or in the back yard with the kids playing around us.


Full body explosive movements.

Any combination of full body movements will push you outside your comfort zone. Think things like squats, pushups, pullups, jumps, skipping, running, swimming. If you’re struggling for ideas, we’ve got a program called 8 week athlete that has 1 or 2 of these type of exercises per day for people who have little to no equipment.



Julius working out in the garage late at night.


Build bigger muscles.

So I can perve on you when I run past your job site. But more importantly, bigger muscles require more fuel on a day to day basis. If you increase your muscle mass, you will be able to eat more without gaining weight. My husband (Julius) can eat 5,000 calories and still lose weight because he has built a lot of muscle, and because he gets outside the comfort zone twice a week.

Julius’ current workout program.

Sunday (also carb day)

lunge around the block (about 900 lunges with our block)

If you are still standing (which will happen after about 3 weeks of trying), do the following:

Squats – 3×8 wide legs

Squats – 3×8 close legs

Leg press – 3×12 wide legs

Leg press – 3×12 close legs

Leg extensions – 150 (break it up however you want)

Leg curls – 100 (break it up however you want)



Chest Width & calves

Bench Press: 5 sets of 12 (pyramid up)

Incline bench: 3 sets of 12

Dips: 3 sets to failure

Calf raises 5×15 straight leg

Calf raises 5×15 bent leg



Abs and Back

5 sets of crunches with a plate behind your head to failure. Do not lift up into a situp or it becomes a hip flexor exercise.

3 sets side crunches each side

Deadlift: 4 sets: 10,6,4,2 reps (pyramid up in weight)

Chin ups: 50 reps (break it up as much as you want)

Bent over dumbbell row: 3 sets fail on each side (around 8-12 reps)



Shoulders & arms

Clean and press: 5×12 sets (use traps, not legs to lift)

Front delt raises 4×12

Side delt raises 4×12

Rear delt raises (very light) 3×8

Superset close pushups (make a diamond on the floor with your hands) with barbell bicep curls (against a wall)

5 sets of 8-12

superset: tricep rope extensions and dumbbell bicep curls: 5×12



Chest thickness and back thickness

One giant superset that goes like this:

Incline dumbbell press: 40 reps (10kg)

Bent right over row: 40 reps (10kg)

Incline dumbbell press: 30 reps (15kg)

Bent right over row: 30 reps (15kg)

20 reps (25kg), 10 reps (35kg), 5 reps (40kg), 5 reps (40kg).

Have a bit of a break and then reverse the pyramid with flat dumbbell press and bent over rows (on the bench) challenge is to use the same weights on the way down.


Friday: comfort zone training in the morning (no weights)

Saturday: complete rest


Keep going forever.


take regular photos – you’ll get to a point where you have achieved, then look at a photo and see how much further you can go.


You can’t build one house and retire, believing you’re a builder. You have to keep building houses every single week for the rest of your life. Fitness is the same. You have to keep doing fitness things every single week for the rest of your life to be fit. Not just a 12 week challenge or a 2 week diet. If you are doing those, make them part of your long-term plan – please think about what you are going to do next.

Your kids are watching.

If you have kids, remember that they learn their habits from you. If you’re smashing pies and drinking a six pack every night, they will do the same when they grow up. Except that they will do it with pride because they are “being like dad was.”

If you take control of your health and fitness, they will try to be like you when they’re older. Once again they will do it with a sense of pride, because they will do it with the memory of you firmly in their minds.



Sharny Kieser along with husband Julius have authored 13 books on fitness including the worldwide bestsellers FITlosophy 1&2, Healthy Junk, Fit, Healthy Happy Kids and Fit, Healthy, Happy Mum. They have 5 children and live on the Sunshine Coast in Australia.