Andrew looked us up in February of 2016 for guidance in losing fat and improving his overall health. Six months later he has lost 30 lbs of fat and looks incredible. I took photos of Andrew the first day, but I had Andrew keep his shirt on so we really cannot see the remarkable changes. I did, however, take his photos in April that we can use for a comparison with the photos we took in August. Andrew had already lost 15 lbs by April, but you could still see a remarkable amount of fat loss from the photos in August as compared to the photos in April.
Andrew weighed 210 lbs in February. He weighed 180 lbs in August, a little over 6 months later.
Here are the photos:
Andrew gained muscle as well. This I know because he increased his strength on all of the major lifts. For example, his first leg press was with 200 lbs for 15 reps and he now does the leg press with 620 lbs for 10 to 12 reps. He did dumbbell presses with 25 lbs for 15 reps and now he regularly uses 50 to 55 lbs.
I would say, based on his strength gains, that he gained approximately 4 to 5 lbs of muscle.
Andrew’s goal is to weigh approximately 170 lbs with his body fat level around 12 to 15%. He can achieve that in another 4 to 6 months.
The exercise program
Andrew would see me, on average, two times a week for his workouts. I would put him through the Hystrength protocols, which include a combination of strength training, functional exercises and stability work. He did not do any aerobic exercise the whole time.
During the first week we worked together I explained to Andrew the eating plan we use. It is a low carb approach that is similar to plans like the Atkins diet, and the more recent Paleo eating plan. The reason I am a fan of the low carb eating style is that, quite simply, carbohydrate consumption drives fat storage via the release of insulin. A low carb diet limits insulin production, allowing the body to use fat for energy. You can learn more about that HERE.
A part of our eating plan is the use of a sliding scale that Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint uses. It is a three-tiered scale. The first level is that if an individual would like to lose fat at a rapid pace, he should strive to keep his total daily carb intake to 50 grams a day or less. If the individual would like to see steady fat loss albeit at a slower pace, he can shoot for 100 grams of carbs a day or less, and once he reaches his fat loss goal, he can then experiment with a carbohydrate intake of 150 grams or less a day.
After the discussion, Andrew then downloaded a calorie counter app to his phone so he could track his total caloric and carbohydrate intake for a week. This gave him some basic information as to what foods are very high in carbs…and how much 2,500 calories a day looks like in comparison to how much 2,000 calories a day looks like.
Once he found the holes in his diet, he then took out the high carb foods (he found that his breakfast cereal was a big carb contributor), and he made it his goal to shoot for 100 grams of carbs a day. He did not need the calorie counter after a week or so. He was able to “eyeball” how to keep his carbs under control.
He was very successful with this approach, and the beauty behind it is that he took the information I gave him and figured out how to implement it in a way that he could make steady progress and make it a sustainable plan without feeling deprived. In other words, he owned it.
Andrew’s success is a great example of how fat loss and muscle gain can happen with very little exercise…and without having to count calories. One does not have to be hungry all the time, nor committed to a high volume of weekly exercise to lose fat and gain muscle. His success demonstrates how it is a matter of sending the right signals to the body to lose fat and gain muscle. That is all the body needs.
I tip my hat to you Andrew. Great job!