In this article, I'm going to show you how we helped Mitch shed 16kg, get abs and keep them in only six months. Mitch stepped on stage as a fitness model and did it all whilst eating his favourite foods. No bullshit or magic tricks, just plain logic and science. Here's how we did it.
UPDATE: Read this in e-Book format for BONUS content and detail...
The Straight Up Truth
Okay, let's get a few things straight. Firstly, Mitch DID eat his favourite foods however these were the 10-20% of his daily intake. A little later in the article I'll show you how we structured a day but please know, the so called 'bad' foods were only fitted into a day filled with wholesome, nutrient dense foods. The fun stuff should only be fitted into your day when you've met your minimum nutrient requirements (more on this later).
Secondly, Mitch is a mate first, client second. Those who know us know we're good mates BUT want to know the kicker? I didn't train him once. Our communication was all done via my Online Coaching and, as harsh as this sounds, for it to work I had to drop my "mates mentality" and treat him how I would any other client. What does this mean? It means Mitch's results were achieved just like any other client. He did NOT receive special treatment or any extra attention just because he was a mate.
The First Call
Cut to the chase, Mitch wanted to step on stage. The fitness modelling stage. This required him to be sub 10% body fat and showing six pack abs. Here's how Mitch looked at the time of the first phone call:
So we had a bit of work to do but it certainly wasn't impossible. We had time on our hands. Getting to low levels of body fat is hard, real hard, in fact in this article I tell you exactly how to do it. However, Mitch wasn't just focussed on stepping on stage, he wanted to remain lean all year round. He wanted to keep his 6-pack. Difficult? Can be if done wrong. Impossible? Not at all. So now we had the goals set, it was time to get to work.
Here's What We Did To Begin
Remember, Mitch is stepping on stage so it requires stricter tracking and marginal room for error. Your goal requirements may vary.
First, we set realistic expectations on the outcomes he wanted to achieve. In other words, we set out a timeline on what could be achieved by when should he tick all the boxes. Secondly, I had Mitch fill out a food diary using MyFitnessPal to give me an idea of his current daily intake. Why did I do this and not give him a meal plan? Meal plans provide no long term benefits and aren't flexible. This article goes into more detail about meal plans and why they don't work in the long run. Here are three benefits why I get my clients to fill out a food diary to begin:
1) It creates self awareness of your habits
2) You're in control
3) I can see where we can improve
Once we agreed on what to change, I was able to put Mitch into a slight calorie deficit (burning more energy than he was consuming) and get to work. Here's a visual on why calorie balance is the first place to start when losing body fat.
Using the pyramid above, you can see why I started with his calorie intake first, and not his macronutrients. With that said, here's what we focussed on next.
"Tracking Macronutrients is like Power steering. You can still drive without it, but it's incredibly difficult to move in the direction you want to go"
Yep, that's what I tell my clients. Look, ultimately the tools you use to lose fat are your choice. But you wouldn't be reading this if you didn't want to know how Mitch dropped 16kg, got abs and kept them would you? Anyway, for the first few weeks, we tracked macronutrients loosely. That is, as he learned how it all worked, he tracked major items to get an idea of what calories were in certain foods. This method allowed Mitch to become educated and learn the balance of macronutrients.
The closer Mitch got to stage day, the stricter we tracked and as a result, the leaner he became. Once Mitch had his macronutrient requirements set, he was able to stay consistent.
How Did I Know This Was Going To Work For Mitch?
Well, truth is I didn't. Na that's a lie, I did know it was going to work but it was up to Mitch to adhere, be consistent and check in with me on a weekly basis with his measurements. You see, to find out if something is going to work you must try it, measure it and adjust accordingly. Mitch did what every other client does. He updated me every week with his measurements and weekly report and we made changes accordingly.
Here's what we adjusted: (dependant on circumstances)
Besides a few other nitty gritty's, that's it. It's that simple. There were no magic formulas or special tricks. We simply ensured Mitch remained in a calorie deficit that was sustainable for him and his lifestyle.
The Fun Foods
Here's an example day from Mitch during his prep:
Take away points from this picture:
Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking Mitch has a lot of calories and therefore he can fit more foods into his day than you can. This might be true, and I envy him too, but it's all relative. Mitch's protein requirements are high and needs to eat more 'clean foods' than you or me before getting to the fun stuff. He wasn't able to eat the fun foods all the time.
Mitch is a personal trainer, weight trains six times per week and is quite active. Therefore his calorie expenditure is high. If you work at a desk, and train only a few times per week, you're not going to need as many calories per day. Make sense?
How To Make Your Food Plan Work For You
Once you've followed the processes above, and you have your daily macronutrient requirements, this is how you can structure your day to suit you.
Here's an example:
Elaborating further on the above, if you know your daily macronutrient requirements, you can really structure your day and take control. Let's say your macros are 130g protein, 150g carbs, 35g fat (1435 calories) then you could structure your day like this:
130g divide by 3 meals = 43g protein per meal
150g divide by 3 meals = 50g carbs per meal
35g divide by 3 meals = 11g fat per meal
For a female, this is pretty standard calories. See how you can actually fit a lot of fun stuff into your day should you structure it to your lifestyle? That's what we did with Mitch (and all our clients). We simply structured his day to suit him and the foods he enjoyed.
Check out some of our other client's results here.
What Does All This Mean For You?
It means strict dieting and deprivation is a thing of the past. You really don't need to deprive yourself of your favourite foods or follow strict meal plans to get results. The term 'flexible dieting' is essentially having flexibility within structure. You have your guidelines and daily requirements, but you can adjust them to suit your day. Are you going out to your favourite Italian restaurant to have your signature pasta dish? Cool, simply reduce your carbs in the day and 'spend them' at dinner time. It doesn't matter so much the time of day you eat your carbs, it's more the amount you consume in that day. This is what macronutrient guidelines are for. You have your carbohydrate, protein and fat bank account and where you spend them is up to you, just don't go into overdraft or you'll need to pay it back (and sometimes with interest).
Putting It All Together
The first question that comes up when you see a transformation picture is: "how long did that take?". The reality is, if you want long term change, it takes time. Mitch's transformation took around six months and you might think six months is a long time. But is it? I don't know about you, but the last six months went pretty damn quick. This whole year has gone quick. To say you can drop 16kg in six months, still live your life in that time frame AND keep the weight off afterwards is pretty good if you ask me. It even got to the point where Mitch wasn't even thinking about 'dieting', He was just living a healthy lifestyle and the fat continued to fall off.
"If you truly want to lose weight for the last time and remain lean all year round, you must change your habits one by one and Drop the Quick result Mentality".
There is no shortcut to long term success. You must do the work required and be committed to the cause. Mitch had tough days, but he also enjoyed the good. It's a rollercoaster of a ride, but when you continue to make small changes week by week, habit by habit, I promise you will lose weight and keep it off. How? Because you stay consistent and true to yourself.
That cider was well earned...
Written by Aidan D'Arcy - Personal Trainer Frenchs Forest
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