[Andy wanted to collaborate on this post. His comments are in Bold]
Andy trained with me somewhat infrequently for a couple of months until he proposed to his now fiancee and decided to really buckle down and get aggressive with his training. Putting his trust in me, he made some major changes and sacrifices to both his diet and physical activity levels in order to not only improve his general health but also to ensure his wedding pictures didn’t portray him as he put it: “a tub of lard”.
The very first thing I needed Andy to do was to keep a detailed food log to see what kind of improvements we needed to make with his eating habits. I can’t stress enough that it is impossible to out-train a bad diet. Using a free iPhone app called “Lose It” he was able to get a pretty accurate representation of the amount of calories he was taking in as well as the protein/carbohydrate/fat macro-nutrient breakdown of each meal. Rather than nitpick and poke holes at every little “mistake”, I chose a couple of guidelines to correct some of the major flaws in his diet – mainly, eating a higher quality breakfast and cutting down on the amount of alcohol. What many don’t realize is that “a drink or two every night” adds up and can sabotage the efforts of an otherwise sound diet.
Most people on New Year’s resolutions or just general fat loss kicks try to do too many things at once and end up getting overwhelmed and are doomed right from the start. Real, long-lasting results will occur through lifestyle changes and that doesn’t happen overnight. Andy also began eating smaller amounts & eating more frequently, upping the fruit & vegetable intake and cutting back on sugar, particularly added sugar (“sugar is the devil”).
Step two was to figure out his training schedule. Realistically, Andy had about 3 days to work out during the week. He supplemented training with me once a week with a 50/50 class at the Training Room as well as a regular gym session on his own, which included a weight lifting and high intensity cardio interval regimen. The first half of our sessions were solely for building strength and gaining mobility while the second portion was completely metabolic and meant to burn as many calories as possible.
What many fail to realize is that the more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate (RMR) will be. Your RMR comprises approximately 70% of your total caloric expenditure per day (the rest is made up of physical activity and the energy it takes to break down food), which means the amount of muscle mass you have is crucial for any fat loss endeavors. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t deem it quite as necessary because it’s so metabolically “expensive”. For that reason, any time your body encounters a period of lower caloric intake (a diet), lean muscle mass is often the first thing to go. The only way to “bypass” this is to strength train with weights challenging enough to provide the proper stimulus that tells your body that it needs to hold on to the muscle mass.
With less than a year of serious weight training under his belt, Andy puts up some serious numbers. Andy’s mantra: “More weight, Jason, more weight” was interestingly inaudible throughout this entire session:
400lb Trap Bar Deadlift:
Tough, but he made it. Notice the two little 2.5 pound weights sticking out at the top because there wasn’t any space left on the bar.
Could’ve gone lower, but depth is understandable considering the max effort trap bar deadlift right before.
We decided to load his pushups with one of our trainers, Lauren:
Two (and a half) reps with about 120 pounds on his back – not too shabby for a guy who could barely do any a year ago.
An example of one of our Kettlebell “Complexes” with 2-20kg KBs:
Front Squats, Alternating Push Presses, Romanian Deadlifts, Alternating Rows, and Swings
Andy before at 272lbs and 31.1% Body Fat
Completely transforming your physique requires a tremendous amount of hard work and discipline. All too often, people create excuses for themselves. Work, life, stress, kids, etc. all “get in the way”. With his optimism and enthusiasm, Andy was able overcome these excuses and set aside the time to make healthy lifestyle choices. That’s why it’s important to set yourself up for success. Surround yourself with people that support you, keep healthy food choices at the office, and train hard at the gym so that with the right self-motivation you can achieve your goals like Andy did.
It’s still May, so one more final push until Andy’s July 31st wedding date! Stay Tuned!
A year ago I figured that the weight I had put on after some personal issues the last few years was there to stay with my 40th birthday now some years behind me! Jason’s right that the galvanizing event was my upcoming wedding to Kate, and armed with that deadline I challenged Jason to help me get into shape. A year and 65 lost pounds later, I can’t say enough good things about how much Jason has helped me.
Jason gave me nutritional advice and regularly checked in via Txt to see how I was doing. As he said above it helped tremendously to just focus on a few key things. Probably “sugar is the devil” was the key learning for me, as focusing on that alone led me quickly to be in or around my daily calorie target without focusing on calorie counts, fat intake, etc. Of course, My fiancée Kate gets major credit for cooking healthy meals and giving me healthy snacks for the work day (generally, almonds and fruit). Plus, no doubt, the knowledge that Jason would be checking food logs was undoubtedly a motivating factor on those evenings when a beer would have felt good after a stressful workday!
Jason was always well-prepared for workouts with the exercise schedule written up in advance; and workouts were always varied and challenging. As someone who had never really lifted weights before I quickly found that I enjoyed that challenge and was amazed to see the weight levels being increased as the body weight came down. The daily stretching routine that Jason prepared has been helpful to me also, particularly early on as I had a long way to go flexibility-wise.
I also tremendously enjoyed the Training Room exercise classes, after the first-time nerves that perhaps I’d be out of gas after the first 15 minutes! The combination of cycling and body weight or circuit exercises keeps things interesting and for me I push myself much harder than if I was in the gym on my own with the headphones on.
To sum up, the Training Room are lucky to have Jason on the team. I couldn’t have achieved the progress I made in the last year without his counsel, guidance & support. [Jason: It was a team effort with Heidi, Maren, and Lauren - best instructors ever! And even more importantly - Andy's drive and dedication!]
More weight, Jason, more weight…….