Here’s what Nick was looking to achieve before we started working together, in his own words:
What was Your Health and fitness goal?
“Looking like Arnie did at the same age 😉. Or, more realistically, convert the sizable portion of fat I’m was carrying to muscle to improve my sporting performance”
What was getting in the way of that goal?
“Not appreciating the calorie content of several ‘snack’ foods, and a bit of additional motivation.”
What extra help was required?
“In general, a bit of oversight to keep me honest and develop the right habits as well as a bit of external perspective and reassurance to stop me second guessing myself.”
Nick’s Key Takeaways from Our Journey So Far
“I like a data driven approach and Tim taught me how to bring that data together from different sources (MyFitnessPal, fitness tracker, scales) what was relevant, what was subjective and what was downright misleading
I didn’t really have a clear, focussed goal or a real roadmap of getting there and was just using my own mash-up of diet and exercise until we settled on an objective target of 15% body fat.”
The whole process was one of collaborative education; Tim is always working with me to understand what I wanted, how to achieve it and why.
Finally, I really appreciate Tim being prepared to be blunt when necessary, then explaining and standing by his decision.
Overall, plenty of exercise, so why the increased waistline?
It doesn’t matter how many calories you burn if the calories within the food you eat exceeds them.
Like a lot of people his age, Nick has a demanding job and often has to work long hours. Weekends are busy with sport too and this means that quite often food is ‘grab and go’, without much thought to how well it balanced his hunger across the day. Which leads onto…
Like a lot of people in recent times, Nick has reduced the amount of animal produce in his diet. Partly due to this, the amount of protein in his diet was low when we first started working together.
Regardless of how ‘sub-optimal’ a low protein diet may be for his sporting endeavours; it also isn’t really that filling. Increasing protein had an instant impact on snacking and there was no more devouring half a packet of biscuits between conference calls to keep him going. Nick likes to keep things simple (like all of my most successful clients) so the majority of the increase in protein came from the convenience of a protein shake in the morning, or alongside other lower protein meals
Not having a solid plan for the amount of food to eat each day wasn’t helping. Nick had used MyFitnessPal in the past but hadn’t had much success. After I suggested simplifying his method of using the app it became far easier to manage and gave him huge amounts of flexibility around his food choices without being tied to the app 24-7
Following a calorie target is all well and good but how do you know it’s the correct one to follow. What gets measured gets managed, so we used body and weight measurements to objectively track his progress and adjust the calories accordingly.
Given the huge variability in his calorie output at the weekends, I also gave him some guidance on how to handle this (this is not a trade secret but in the interest of keeping this succinct, it’s probably the subject of another article…)
Stage 1 Fat Loss:
Nick wanted to lose some of the bodyfat so that was a sensible place to start. Especially as he wasn’t really playing a lot of competitive sport due to the Coronavirus pandemic meaning we didn’t have to worry too much about his performance suffering whilst in a calorie deficit
Note: in more ‘usual’ times my recommendation would have been to save fat loss for the off season, so performance is not impacted.
Initially we just focussed on the quality of each meal and monitored that through him sharing photos of his usual meals. This then allowed me to discuss improvements with him.
After increasing the amount of protein and vegetables in his diet to balance hunger, we discussed the pros and cons of calorie tracking. The biggest issue with calorie tracking for Nick in the past was that he was overcomplicating it. I gave a simpler strategy that he was happy to use most days to keep on track.
Dialling in the detail (at the right time) like this is where things really began to happen.
There is always a ‘big’ result in the first few weeks of any ‘diet’ as you typically conduct wholesale changes and cut out all the junk. But keeping that progress consistent and sustainable is the aim of the game: