When we kicked off this journey alongside Nate before the New Year, we were all excited, motivated, but very aware that we may encounter some setbacks every once in a while, and to not let those setbacks derail the mission. Although detours and hiccups in any plan can be frustrating, they are also good opportunities to reevaluate and take inventory: what’s working, what can be tweaked and where are we off base? As we pass mid-February and approach the 60 day mark in this journey with Nate, we’re reaching the point where we, as his coaches, have enough data and information to start tweaking our game plan for the coming months, and where Nate, as our athlete, has some momentum and education to keep him moving.
In our initial plan, February was going to be the month where we really started to buckle down and dial in nutrition with Nate, getting him to integrate different foods, namely vegetables, into his diet and start really intensely food journaling. Then…life happened. We, Nate and us as coaches, got a bit complacent, and at Nate’s 2nd hydrostatic test (approx. 30 days after the 1st), we saw the cold, hard numbers from that complacency.
Contrary to popular belief, a pound lost is not always a good thing, even when you have 200 of those pounds to burn, like Nate started with. The whole goal of weight loss with Nate has always been fat loss, not lean muscle mass, and although being down 30+lbs since the start of this journey looks fantastic and incredibly motivating on the bathroom scale that Nate has chained himself to, his second hydrostatic test on Feb 18th showed that since his last test, he lost 11lbs of lean muscle mass, and only 5lbs of fat. Not good. Numbers don’t lie, so we needed to dive into what was really going on.
Food journaling and writing down what you eat, how much you eat/drink, and when you eat can be incredibly tedious, but it’s such an integral tool to really see the broader picture of what’s going on. Unbeknownst to us, Nate had essentially been practicing a sort of hybrid version of intermittent fasting, and drastically reducing his daily caloric intake, which was reflected in the 16lb loss that he experienced from January 20 through February 18, but only 5 of those pounds lost were fat. Because of inconsistencies with his workouts and fueling, his body has been burning lean muscle mass, not fat.
Luckily, this is all incredibly fixable, and Nate knows this. Getting him back on track with consistent workouts in the gym, and having him re-start making his workouts a priority, not an option, is first on our list. Next, now that he bought himself a juicer, he will start incorporating more greens and veggies into his diet in the way he feels most comfortable, before we really shake things up in the kitchen with a more regimented meal plan. Moving forward, Nate is going to start journaling his food, honestly, and with no filter, and finally…and perhaps most importantly…we’ve taken his bathroom scale away from him for a bit. When you get too tied up with numbers on a scale, you can start to derail yourself if that number doesn’t immediately reflect the hard work you’re putting in both the gym and the kitchen, and we believe that is what happened this past month. Again, these are all learning opportunities for us to adapt and become better coaches as Nate becomes a better athlete. We need to hold him more accountable, and he needs to push it to the next level with regards to food and his workouts. Together, we will get back on track, and keep rolling with this 30+lb loss while building, not losing, lean muscle mass.