I started going back to East 80 in Dec 2016. After a couple of months of being back, although I was getting stronger, my stamina wasn’t increasing like I thought it should and I wasn’t getting as strong as I thought I should. I was confident the programming was right, I just couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t improving like I thought I should. For a couple of months I blamed it on being older and not having the mental toughness I needed to push through the workouts. But then I noticed Rich and Aimee making comments and FB posts something like “It’s not the hour you spend in the gym, it’s the decisions you make the other twenty-three hours of the day” and that started to resonate with me. So I started researching different nutrition programs online and couldn’t find one that I thought would work, was one on one, and would complement the programming at East 80. So I started talking to Aimee about it after workouts. My goal at the time wasn’t weight loss. I wanted to get stronger, improve my stamina, and get through the WOD’s better. I knew if I did all of that, eventually the fat would come off as a byproduct of those other things.
Long story short Aimee put together a nutrition program designed specifically for me and my goals and said do this for 3 weeks and then we will adjust. If you follow it for 3 weeks you will get stronger, have more energy and stamina for the workouts, sleep better, and not be hungry. So I did…
That was 4/6/2017 and I haven’t looked back. A couple of weeks into it I started to really see the gains in strength, energy, stamina, and sleep. I was getting through the WOD’s better. I was killing the strength training so much so that I began converting my 1RM based on the last set of reps for the strength for that day so I would have a new working max to work off of. A couple of weeks after that I really started to notice the weight loss.
It’s been 8 weeks since I started Aimee’s nutrition program (while following Rich’s strength programming). My Bench has gone up 20#, Squat up 40#, Deadlift up 50#. I am stronger and faster in the WOD’s. And I am down 15# total. Arguably that is realistically approximately 19# or so of fat loss because I know I am putting on muscle and ½# of muscle a week increase is reasonable to assume I think given I hadn’t worked out in 3 years prior to staring back at East 80 in December.
In 8 weeks I have attained my training goals through this nutrition program. And the fat is coming off on its own without my focusing on it.
Just this week we did Murph. A workout I would not have been able to complete 8 weeks ago. My body has been sore and recovering all week from that workout. I was steady at the same weight from my last weigh in all week. Even though weight loss wasn’t my goal, I was starting to get concerned my weight loss had plateaued. So I talked to Aimee about it. She said give it a few days, your muscles will retain water after a workout like that while you are recovering and she expected me to go up in weight. I reminded her every day. She kept saying wait until Friday when you weigh in and we will decide if we need to adjust macros. So I weighed in on Friday, and of course she was right, down 1.5#
Some of the challenges I faced and lessons I have learned while on the nutrition program:
1. When do I start?
a. I’ll never forget the day Aimee sent me my program. It was a Thursday. I read through it and I begin wandering does this start Sunday or Monday. So I text her and she immediately replies “Start now”. Wait, what? Now? But I haven’t been watching what I ate so far today. But it’s a low carb day and I had a sandwich for lunch. But, but, but. After a few texts back and forth Aimee said “Start now. Do the best you can given you didn’t plan on starting today. And be ready for tomorrow.” So I did. For me that was key. No last binge day. No excuses. No delaying. No “I have to travel Tuesday so I’ll start when I get back”. Just start now and do the best you can every day with it.
2. Ok, so I start today, do I start with Day 1 or is Day 1 this coming Sunday or Monday or what?
a. I guess it may be different for everyone since Aimee customizes it for each person, but for me Sunday is always the same, Monday is always the same, etc. So once you get the routine down, it is pretty easy to adjust your macros for the given day. So, when Aimee said “Start Now” it meant this was a Thursday, that’s your macros for the day. Again, no excuses, no planning ahead, just wrap your head around it that you are starting now and move forward.
3. My Fitness Pal
a. I have a hard time paying for app subscriptions. I think they are a waste of money and I hate the idea of someone debiting my card in perpetuity. But MFP can be bought for $48 per year rather than $10 per month. And if you are counting macros and carb cycling it is well worth it.
4. I can’t eat that many carbs and fats in a day!
a. I think we all have a mentality these days that carbs and fats are bad. It’s hard in the beginning to wrap your head around the fact that you are eating to fuel your body to workout, not to diet. And that includes carbs and fats. Fueling your body to excel in the gym will ultimately lead to fat loss. You just have to trust the nutrition programming the way you trust Rich’s strength programming.
5. Healthy Fats
a. For me this was a big one to learn. I knew the difference between carbs and starches. And to get my carbs from veggies, fruits and things like sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. But what in the world is a healthy fat? If you aren’t familiar with them then I would suggest reading up on them a bit or asking Aimee to explain them.
6. Have a “Go To”
a. When Aimee gave me my nutrition plan I went through and put together a day of meals for both high carb and low carb days. Something I could eat on a regular basis. I ate pretty much the same thing every high carb day and pretty much the same thing every low carb day for the first week. I still eat those same meals on a regular basis, but they are so routine for me now that if I am out to eat somewhere I know what I would eat on a “normal” day and then find a close substitute. You may need more variety than that, I don’t. But if you do I would still suggest planning out a “Go To” day for high and low carb days. Then adjust as needed for variety. Any time I question whether I am fueling my body correctly or not I will do 2 things:
i. Eat my “Go To” High and Low Carb days for a few days
ii. Scrutinize the substitutes I made on days when I didn’t eat my “Go Tos” to see if I really substituted correctly and then I know going forward if those substitutes are viable or not.
7. Heavy workouts and Recovery
a. A hard workout that takes you several days to recover from may disrupt the scale. Unfortunately all I have to go by is the scale, how I feel and who I look in the mirror. Body fat testing is scheduled but isn’t often enough for weekly progress checks. If you are staying on your nutrition plan after a hard workout that is taking you several days to recover, don’t get discouraged by the scale. Your body is getting better. Give it some time to recover and get back to normal, don’t get discouraged and let that sidetrack you from your nutrition plan.
a. Of course, if you want fast results, getting rid of alcohol is always the best solution. But like I said, I wasn’t looking for quick fat loss, my focus was getting stronger and increasing stamina. But of course, I wanted to stay on the nutrition program while still living reality. At first I wasn’t logging alcohol at all, I wanted to make sure I was eating what my body needed, if I went over because of alcohol then I was just over. But Aimee showed me how to log alcohol so I could track it with my macros and not go over while still being able to enjoy a drink now and then.
9. Calories or Macros
a. Some days, depending on what I ate, I would be over on calories but short on macros. Didn’t make sense to me but I wasn’t sure what to do. Do I stop eating for the day and be short on protein, carbs and fats? Or do I get what Aimee prescribed and go over on calories. Aimee’s suggestion was get the macro’s, or at least do everything you can to get with 5 grams of the prescribed.
10. Be committed
a. Everyone’s schedule is different. Some of us have flexibility, some of us don’t. But I know there are people in the gym who have jobs where they easily have a lot of excuses to not eat properly throughout the day and they make it happen. I’ve made it a priority to make it to the gym 5 days a week and eat correctly every day. Sure I take a meal or 2 off now and then for holidays and special occasions. In the beginning I would take a day off now and then. But now it is just a meal or 2, I still get 4 quality meals in the rest of the day. Even when it was a whole day, committing to getting back to the program immediately is crucial. Now that it is only a meal or 2 I will cheat on, I make sure to plan out the other meals so I know that is what I am having next and don’t let the thought of another cheat meal entice me. But even those cheat meals are fewer and farther between. Memorial Day Weekend was last weekend. I had 1 beer and a couple of cheat meals on Saturday. Sunday, Monday and this week have been back to the program. I actually planned on cheating more and drinking more on Saturday and the weekend, with a plan of getting back on the program Tuesday. When it came to it I just didn’t want to.
11. Life will get in the way
a. No matter what it is, something will derail you. Family, travel, work, we all have something that is going to come up that is going to make it hard to eat what you should and need to at some point. You can power through it and not let it derail you. Or you can get derailed and start fresh the next day. One of Aimee’s sayings is “Life is going to get in the way. It’s how you respond that will make the difference.” If life gets in the way then deal with it, move on and get back to where you need to be.
b. Prior to committing to this nutrition program, when I would travel my workouts were crap. I’d hit the hotel gym and try to find something to do and usually end up just riding the bike for a while. Since starting the nutrition program I am more committed to my training. I guess it’s an added incentive. If I am going to train I am going to eat right. If I am going to eat right I am going to train. I’ve taken 1 vacation and had 1 business trip since starting the nutrition program. For the vacation Aimee put together Beach workouts for me to do (and I did them). When I travelled for work I found a CrossFit gym near my hotel and stayed on my normal workout week. Not that I couldn’t do that before, but in reality I just didn’t. Being intentional about my nutrition has made me more intentional about my workouts.