Note: You are an individual, your results will vary depending on genetics, adherence, and effort.
It is the practical experience of working with clients that allows me to write the guides on the site. However, in trying to keep them science based but immediately applicable to most people in most situations, I miss out on covering some fascinating individual learning points from working with people.
Sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back before moving forward. Things don’t always go to plan and they might not do so for you either. So over the coming weeks, I’ll publish some client case studies alongside the final parts of the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance series that I hope you’ll find useful.
First up we have Max. The e-mails sent between us at the end say it all. Here are the appropriate parts:
Happy New Year and hope you’re well. I’ve attached photos and the data. Over the last few weeks, I’ve learned a ton about how my body actually reacts to the macros you laid out. For starters, because I was busy w/ work and being lazy I took some shortcuts. I love turkey thighs and the whole foods market close to my place makes an awesome dry rubbed smoked turkey. I got my protein there pre-cooked almost daily. For example, I would have 800g cooked w/ the skin on rest days (simplified macros for me = 1000g RAW). I Wrongly assumed that turkey lost 20% weight when cooked and that the skin was negligible if I didn’t add other fats to my meals i.e nuts, oils and peanut butter. Carbs came from fruits, rice, and plantains which I typically cooked myself.
After our “come to Jesus” conversation, where you told me to take a few weeks to properly track I decided to give cooking ALL my meals a shot. I bought boneless skinless turkey thighs and broiled them at home. Turns out 500g raw turkey cooks down to about 300 – 325g depending on how long you cook them. So I was obviously over-eating on the lean protein part plus however much more in fat from the skin. Lesson learned there.
Between vacation, holidays, work, and family events, I took the last 3-4 weeks off from training. So the results shown in the data sheet and pix are all based on averaged carbs and fat. I have to say I’m pretty happy w/ the results. Hopefully, it’s all in line w/ what you’d advise as sustainable. I can’t thank you enough for your guidance and the extension. Looking back I shouldn’t have been such a lazy ass in the beginning (w/ cooking) because by now I’d probably be at my goal. But like you’ve said this process is a marathon, not a sprint. I think another 5-10 pounds off perhaps? I’ll be sure to send updated pix in a few weeks.
Max, thank you for the update.
So glad you have included the photos for comparison. There’s clearly a huge change and I think I’ve once again fell for the trap of burying my head in the data and not looking at the bigger picture here. – Stalls and fluctuations happen, even over extended (12-week for example) time frames, but the change from one end to the other visually is very clear.
Glad you are happy with the changes, means a lot after the perceived temporary setbacks.
Age: 32, Height: 6’3”, Weight: 225lbs -> 211.8lbs, Stomach: 36.4” -> 32.1”
Chest: 44.6″ -> 44.4″, Legs: 25.5″ -> 24.9″, Arms: 16.0″ (no change)
Overall: ~13lbs down, ~4″ (10-11cm) off the stomach. Chest/back and arm measurements have been surprisingly well maintained. Legs have come down but just to the extent, I would expect given the fat losses. Muscle growth also? Can’t say for sure but it’s a definite possibility, if to a small extent.
Moving forward I don’t think you need to do anything special other than return to the current macros for a month when you can get back into your training. From there follow the guidelines I have written below. Consider a diet break first before adjusting the carbs any lower perhaps. That should take you to shreds very nicely Max.
I’ve passed your site on to a few work colleagues and friends. I told them to let you know that I recommended you in the event they get sick of stumbling around on their own. I’m glad that you see my case as a learning opportunity, so yes you can use my pictures, but please do some kind of conceal action on my face. At some point in the next month or so I’ll send you updated pix (hopefully leaner). Thanks again and if you’re ever in Los Angeles, there’s a pint w/ your name on it
The Coaching Lesson? – Don’t Miss The Obvious
- I should have checked earlier on that Max was counting things correctly.
- I should have looked more carefully at visual evidence of change in the photos rather than just getting hung up on the measurement data. (Always check, weight, photos and measurement data as a set.)
A big thank you to Max for allowing me to share his story.
[Note: The client photos on this site have been published only with the express permission.]