At the start of the Pandemic back in March, Darren and I were dealt a crushing blow, by not only losing half the Juice Business due to café and restaurant closures but also having my gym (The Elite Training Centre) shut down. Like many, I fell into a rut and ended up trying to cheer myself up with alcohol and all those delicious foods that we enjoy.
By the start of ISO 2.0 I had put on 6kg in 6 weeks and weighed in at a plump 106kg, a weight I had not hit since 2016 after I put on 12kg in 12 days on a cruise (but that’s another story). I decided to join Donna Lindsay’s (Bodhi and Co) accountability program, with the aim of losing 10kg in 6 weeks (which at the time was the anticipated end of lockdown), when Donna heard my plan she said I was an idiot and that was not sustainable or healthy… But me being hard-headed and a competitor at heart, I knew I needed a big goal to keep me motivated, so I said “I can do this with you or without you, but without you, the damage will be much worse.” Finally, she relented and we were ready to start!
As an extra bit of motivation, I had made a side bet with a client. Although my goal was 96kg in 6 weeks we would have a side bet which would be a race to 95kg.
I just got back into the groove of training, no diet or any other lifestyle changes, I simply wanted to get the body moving again.
2 day cleanse to start the week followed by some healthier eating habits without changing too much. The egg, bacon, and sourdough bread was replaced with overnight oats and all coffees were now black. By this stage, I was already 5kg down but things were starting to stagnate, this is where I officially started Donnas accountability program and come up with a measurable and trackable plan.
The way this basically works is I download the My Fitness Pal app, give Donna access to my log, and she sets up all my targets in terms of calorie, protein, carbohydrates, and fat goals. From here I set up my own diet and used the app to ensure I was eating the right food and hitting my targets. Donna then emailed me reports on what needs work.
My plan was to count my calories over a week rather than a day. I was to eat like a peasant during the week and eat like a king on weekends, or as James Smith would say “save my pennies during the week so I could make it rain at the club on the weekends”
Donna was onboard with this provided I didn’t under eat and got my calories in over the 7 days while hitting my daily Macro targets.
The weight was falling off me and the tracking had really ignited the inner competitor in me, I found the tracking to fun and a challenge! This really boosted my motivation and I started training twice a day.
By this stage watching the weight come off the scales so easily it was a bit of a rush. Now, anyone that knows me knows that when I do something I do it over the top, so I did what any reasonable person would do… I dropped my calories down to 1400 a day (my maintenance is 3000+) so the weight would come off quicker, what could go wrong, right?
Well, everything went wrong! I fell in a heap and the weight stopped coming off. I then got a message from Donna, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? EAT SOME FOOD YOU IDIOT!”. So, I upped my calories and you would never believe it, the weight came off literally overnight.
By this stage I had also fallen into intermittent fasting, I never planned to but I was doing my morning run fasted and afterward wasn’t really hungry until around 11am, I thought why not push it out to 12pm and make it a 16 hour fast?
By week four I had found a happy medium, training was going great and I was feeling good while still dropping weight. Donna was happy with the majority of my food choices but it was time to get a bit more specific. I was still falling a little short of my protein targets and my sodium intake needed to come down. I had also started looking at keto-friendly foods as they are high protein and low carb which would help me hit those targets a little easier (I didn’t actually do keto).
My diet was under control, weight was under control, and from weeks of tracking, I was actually getting pretty good at working out calories/macros by eye. My protein intake had improved but Donna still needed me to work on my sodium levels. She asked me to add some potassium-rich foods such as bananas, sweet potato, and kidney beans to lower my sodium levels and to help protect my heart, she also wanted me to dial in my fibre intake. I did this by adding raspberries, chickpeas, and swapping my spinach leaves for lettuce.
This was my last week to hit 96kg… I woke up Monday morning at 98kg after a 1kg meat board courtesy of the Sporting Globe, so I knew that I was full of fluid, and I knew that I would hit 96-96.5kg by Wednesday.
Wednesday morning arrived and I was right on 96kg. A new goal was set! Time to clean up this side bet! 95kg by Saturday, because the feeling of being in shape and healthy is nothing compared to the feeling of winning! I was feeling great! Strong, fit, and generally happy.
Thursday morning I woke up and I was 95.9kg, damn! As I was working night shift the next 2 nights I knew I was going to hold onto a bit of water. I woke up as expected this morning at 96.4kg. So I unleashed my old inner fighter, popped 3 #instahoe fat burners (they are insane), downed a double espresso, put on the tracksuit, and hit the river for an 8km run and sweat. Although i ended up hitting my target i felt terrible. I was drained, depleted, hungry, and as usual, i had pushed my luck way too far.
My Final stats:
BMR: 2224 calories at rest
Body Fat: 9.48%
The good news is I have never been this lean before, even when I was fighting. The bad news is I cannibalized a fair bit of muscle in this process, but I knew and Donna had warned me that was going to happen
Things I learned:
– I wish I tracked food like this when I was fighting, not only did I enjoy it, it made everything more scientific and fun for me. Not once did I feel like I was on a diet or restricted in any way.
– Lots of new recipes and cooking skills. When you are trying to hit certain targets, you are forced out of your comfort zone, I learned a heap of new recipes and now have a heap of new go-to foods.
– The importance of protein! The days I hit my protein target I felt so much better the following day. No other macro target seemed to make a difference to the way I felt. Protein on the other hand was very noticeable
– Without sounding like I’m bragging, I actually found this whole process very easy compared to my fight days. When the goal of training is simply to look good and not for performance it really makes the whole process a lot easier. The last week and a half I noticed I really started to struggle with my running, but I didn’t really need to worry about it, I wasn’t looking to compete, I simply wanted to drop some weight.
– My relationship with food has changed completely, before I eat something, I don’t simply think about the temporary pleasure it will give me, I think about what it will cost me or a better alternative. I could eat that piece of carrot cake now but that will cost me 2 beers on the weekend. Or I can eat that 350cal carrot cake now or I can eat an 81 calorie serving of FroPro ice cream which not only taste great but helps me round out my daily protein intake.
– Alcohol can be a killer and catches up on you quickly! I was sitting there one night and punched in the 6 Peroni Beers I had consumed when no one was looking. 900 calories! Straight back to the neat Hibikis for me (50 cals)
– Tracking calories may not be for everyone, if you have an obsessive personality (like me), it can be easy to get carried away. I am lucky I had someone keeping an eye on me and keeping me honest
– As of next week I will up my average daily calories by 200 a day before upping it again by a further 200 calories the week after. This will leave still leave me in a big enough deficit that I can reach my goal of 91-93kg (my old walk around weight from my fight days)
– Although I reached my target, I still have not got control of my sodium levels, I would love to dial this in over the next few weeks
– Nail a half Americana with BBQ sauce, half southwest chicken from Town and Country Pizza tomorrow tonight and feel terrible for it. No regrets!
Cardio – 6 times per week. Either running 5-8km run, Muay Thai, or both
5-8km walk 3-4 times a week
Strength – 5 times a week. Upper, lower, push, pull, legs
Once again, thank you so much to Donna at Bodhi & Co for guiding me through this little experiment.