[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ver the past 18 months or so I haven’t really focussed too much on my own training, sure I’d been hitting the gym every week but with no real intensity or structure. The same applied to my nutrition. The only real structure I had with my food was ensuring I had my weekly fix of cinnamon buns aha.
Anyway, In September I realised I’d had enough of working towards a ‘dad bod’ and decided that as of October I would get my act together and get back to what I love – making progress and returning to a body shape I’m happy with.
I set myself an 8-week target bringing my body fat down and generally getting myself into a happier place.
This time though, I was going to do it differently. I wanted to use a different approach that I wouldn’t usually use for myself.
In the past when I’ve wanted to diet down, I’ve been strict…super strict! No junk food, no alcohol and certainly wouldn’t have gone out for meals with friends and family. I would stick to the plan, every single day 100% no exceptions.
So what was different this time then?
The 3 areas I worked on were nutrition, training and general activity.
We’ll start with my nutrition – this time I wanted to keep it relatively relaxed. I didn’t want to cut off my social life completely, in fact I went out 3 times partying in the 8 weeks which is unlike me anyway, all of them were heavy drinking nights and a weekend away.
To keep it flexible I adopted a carb cycling approach with my calories. I simply kept my fats and protein similar daily and had high, medium and low carb days. This approach isn’t for everyone but I like it and it certainly gives you flexibility to be able to have a better social life because you can structure high carb days for a weekend when you are more likely to consume them (cinnamon bun allowance 😉 ).
I set myself 2 rules – hit my calorie target and hit my protein target. If I wanted to have a higher fat day I would, if I wanted more carbs I would BUT I had to hit my protein and calories, that was non negotiable. Fat loss is dependant on being in a calorie deficit <it’s science 🙂
Throughout the 8 weeks I think I had one moment when I actually felt like I was ‘dieting’. To me that is a success in itself. I didn’t feel restricted in the least, If I wanted a particular food I would have it (as long as I kept under my calories for the day). EVERY week I either had a take away at the weekend or went out for dinner with Gem. Something that I wouldn’t have done in the past.
In order for me to be able to keep on track this way, I had to use an app called MyFitness Pal, I 100% recommend you give it a go for keeping a record of the food you consume, it’s a great tool. Even I got caught out with some foods!!
TOP TIP: if you use the app, track it as you eat it. You will forget to log it in if not.
over the past few years I have used traditional body part splits; chest one day, legs on another day etc etc, this time though I opted for full body push and pull plan.
Simply put, I gave myself 4 workouts a week that focussed on pulling movements 2 days a week and pushing movements 2 days per week. I also did an additional arms session on a ‘rest’ day as arms have always been a slow developer for me.
I’m gonna be honest, I loved the training, probably more than I have ever! This plan really worked for me. Whole body training is fun! It could be the fact that not one body part gets completely annihilated? I dunno but either way, I enjoyed it.
This is something that I have never applied to myself and oh boy am I glad I did. I have an apple watch (other wearable fitness trackers are available aha) that I’ve basically only used for telling the time for the past 18 months…until now!
Using the watch to monitor my daily output in steps and in calories has been an EXCELLENT tool for my fat loss. For the first 3 weeks, I set myself a target of hitting 10k steps a day (I was averaging 5-6k previously), I then pushed the steps up 1k a week until I got to 14k per day.
It may seem like quite a lot of work to do but it wasn’t. I swapped out driving for a coffee to walking for a coffee. I’ve actually begun to ENJOY walking (shock face). Yes me, Richard Gunter now enjoys going for walks aha. I did jump on the treadmill and walk when I was a lazy shit through out the day though ha!
I really enjoy walking with gem and the team to go get coffee, it’s great not being on my phone, out in the fresh air and generally catching up with the team. Gem would often join me for a walk around somewhere so I could get some steps in which meant we had more quality time together instead of burying our faces in our phones whilst sat at home or watching TV.
I went for a walk on Saturday evening because I actually just ‘fancied it’, next ill be saying I’m going for a run – lol joke!
For such a simple thing to do, it brings way more positives than I ever though it would, this is the part that I enjoyed changing the most and is something that I will continue to do. Having said that, I haven’t had to go out in the rain yet so we’ll see…
To make sure I was making progress and to make myself accountable to someone other than myself I enlisted the help of Samantha to track my measurements every two weeks. We did body fat, circumferences and pictures.
Knowing that every 2 weeks I was going to be measured kept me on track. I always bang on about this, but accountability is SO important when committing to a fitness regime, it’s so easy to go off track when you have no one to pull you up on your own bs excuses.
So what were the results?
Well, I dropped 13lbs. That was actually less than what I was expecting but I’m happy with that. In some areas I’ve actually grown which I’m very happy with, maintaining or growing muscle in a calorie deficit is very hard.
My body fat? It’s down a lot. I’ve actually over halved my belly fat and lost 2.3 inches in circumference around my waist. Am I absolutely shredded? Nope. Do I care? Nope. Could I have been leaner if I’d done it my old way? 100% yes but I’d also be miserable!
I’ve learned a lot in the past 8 weeks about myself and what we can now implement for our clients here at Impact. It’s been a great experience and I’ll be continuing on now into a growing phase as I have the bug for training and improving myself again 🙂
Giving myself routine and structure has been excellent and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
Below are some before and after pics of my progress. They are actually 7 weeks apart as I didn’t want to use the original photo as it wasn’t a great comparison for ‘fairness’.
If you’re looking to get yourself into better shape, have more energy throughout the day and feel better about yourself? Get in touch by clicking here and find out how we can help you make the same progress without giving up your social life or cinnamon buns (if that’s your thing 😉 )
Owner Impact Personal Training