Her own testimonial experience is also at the end of the case study.
- 7% Body-Fat reduction
- 5kg Weight Loss
- 4th Place Bikini First Timer
- Structured Nutrition & Training
- Better Health & More Energy
Step 1: Pre-Training Assessment:
When I first spoke to Lucy on the phone to find out more about her goals she advised me she wanted to get leaner, lose weight and feel more body confident. She had been doing group classes 5-6 days a week, a bit of cardio and eating less (what she considered as healthy at the time) but was extremely frustrated by the fact changes weren’t happening in the direction she wanted them too.
All of this was good to know; it gave me information about her current training and nutrition and with the information at hand I could better help her understand why things weren’t working and how she could get things moving in the right direction again.
This ultimately helps with confidence as the facts are right in front of your face and you know exactly how you’re going to deal with them moving forward; it doesn’t become a guessing game and you’re not making decisions based on emotions.
The Over the Phone and In Person Assessments:
- Training & Nutrition History
- Lifestyle (Workload; stress, rest and recreation)
- Training Quality (Movement, flexibility, strength and fitness)
- Nutrition (Timing, calorie and nutrient intake)
In the next step we go through each assessment in detail specific to Lucy’s pre-training condition and goals.
Step 2: Identify What’s Wrong and How to Make the Right Changes:
Training and Nutrition History
Lucy had been doing classes 6 times a week; eating less and yet her weight wasn’t dropping and she was feeling tired and fatigued. I could already determine that there was an imbalance in energy; mainly too much training and not enough food.
It’s common for people to want to exercise more and eat less to change their body but over time your body will hit a wall; too much stress and your body will want to make up the nutrition deficit by over-eating somewhere at sometime.
One of the first things we had to do was apply a more strategic approach to her training program training 4-5 times a week and increase her nutrition; more protein, fats and carbs.
Her initial measurements were 18% body-fat, higher readings for supra-iliac (love handles – 21mm) and umbilical (front of belly – 20mm) sites which suggest better management of carb intake and stress management is needed and a low reading for subscapularis (back – 9.5mm) which indicated better tolerance for having carbs.
If we tie this back to her training and nutrition history it made a lot of sense.
High training frequency with a low carb; low calorie nutrition would increase stress and at some point lead to over-eating.
My guidance to her was simple; we don’t want to worry so much about the weight initially; only your body composition (body-fat%) and reduction in stubborn areas (supra-iliac and umbilical). If we get the body happy and sites moving in the right direction the weight and transformation will look after itself.
Here we were mainly looking at Lucy’s ability to rest and recover. She’s a full-time vet who made the time to train and prepare meals (even before seeing us for training). She would occasionally go out for dinner and drinks with friends but not excessively every weekend.
She was also doing her Yoga teaching course so she was very invested and knowledgeable in the realm of health and fitness.
This only reaffirmed the fact that the main issue was energy balance; training frequency and the quality and quantity of nutrients she was getting in.
Other people we train we do more coaching around stress management (making the time to rest/booking in holidays), nutrition coaching (mindset, attachments, food sensitivities) or play bad cop and keep them accountable by making sure they’re doing what they need to do with training and nutrition.
Thankfully for Lucy she was already doing the right things and she only needed a little bit of tweaking and guidance.
Lucy had only been exposed to HIIT group training and running; this was great to know as I knew a lot of progress could be made with specific weight training and cardio for fat loss and for building the body she envisioned.
A few things we knew we could implement right off the bat:
- Increase mobility with strength training
- Teach muscle fibre recruitment with weight training to better engage muscles when training (build defined muscles)
- Strengthen joints and weaknesses so she could train harder
- Improve training quality (form and conditioning)
- Focused training in development areas (glutes and core)
I’m not going to go into why group training is inefficient here; I wrote a whole article on it here. To read more about why it’s important to improve your training quality and how you can do it you can also download my training and nutrition guide Results Training for Professionals.
From her nutrition history assessment Lucy had been following the I Quit Sugar program; that program is great; initially for learning about food, how to cook and if you’re in the beginning stages of losing weight and training.
However Lucy wasn’t in the beginning stages and she had been training for a long time already; her body was in very much need of carbs and other forms of energy to support her training and recovery. Without them her body would go under stress and hold onto body-fat; instead of losing it.
To start we gave her guidance around her nutrition structure; how many meals and the amount of macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats) which would be ideal to support her lifestyle and training goals.
This would always be dynamic and not set in stone as her body and training progressed.
Here we were looking where we could get an edge and excel (speed things up). You can get great results from nutrition and training alone but you can get better results with the right supplementation.
We based supplements to focus on:
- Covering micronutrients
- Training performance and recovery
- Energy production
- Sleep and stress management
Step 3: Implementing Training Program:
With all her pre-training assessments done and the information I had at hand It was easy to write up the initial stages (first 4-weeks) of her training program. The goal was simple; increase her food (all of protein, fats and carbs), implement a training program that would encourage her body to use up the fuel; get her mobile, get her fit and get her stronger.
This would create an environment where her body was less stressed and in a better position to drop body-fat.
1 day from her initial training program.
Note: Because we increased her food and carbs it’s important that we utilised strength and weight training methods for fat loss. There’s no better way to use up glycogen (carbs stored in muscles) than to train the muscle directly. We would finish her training with some strategic HIIT (10-15 mins if that) and after training we would then have her eating a protein/carb meal as it would less than likely convert into fat.
The body is adaptive and as long as she aimed to improve on her previous weeks training performance her body would learn to become more efficient at utilising her food intake as energy; meaning she would have a faster metabolism.
Step 4: Testing & Measuring:
Every 2-weeks we would track and measure her progress; not in a way where we looked at measurements as good or bad but instead we looked at it as how we could make things more efficient; getting better results by doing less.
- Body-fat reducing with no cardio
- Body-fat reducing with “free meals”
- Body-fat reducing eating more carbs
- Having a social life
By testing and measuring it kept us both accountable and we didn’t make decisions based on emotion. We would look at actual results and progress photos to see how she was tracking. We would prefer to have Lucy eating more and progressively training harder and getting fitter to lose body-fat.
Of course this is not always the case and when she had to go away for work or more work stress was there we had to be more adaptable and in some instances training less with less food was a better option.
Step 5: Repeating Cycle for End Game Results:
After measurements we would make necessary changes only if we needed to. If measurements were going well; no changes needed. If anything we would bump up carbs or overall nutrition to give her more energy to train harder which would have little to no impact on scale weight.
When Lucy decided she wanted to enter a competition we had a deadline to work with and we made more manipulative changes to her nutrition and training to meet that deadline.
- Carb cycling (having carbs on certain days)
- 20-30 mins of cardio post training (on certain days)
- Temp no “free meals”
- Strategic “free meals”
We were training for a result so training ramped up (It’s only temporary).
You can see the difference from this training program and her initial (first) training program; a lot more reps, sets and working in a Giant Set to finish off; we were only able to do this because Lucy worked up her training quality to be able to do it.
This program is not the “best” program; it was specific to her and what she needed at the specific time for the goal she wanted to accomplish; your program may be different but still as effective.
Step 6: Making It An Effortless Lifestyle:
When you know how much you need to be eating and how to be training for your body it becomes easy to maintain and you know how you can push it further. You know what you can get away with, what you can’t, how often you need to be eating and how often you need to be training.
All of this Lucy knows by going through the process.
After her competition Lucy was able to go on holidays knowing how to look after her body and still indulge in the things she wants.
From here on in because she knows the nutrition and training systems which work well for her the most important thing is keeping herself engaged with training; an effective program only lasts 4-6 weeks (where after you stop getting fitter and stronger); luckily for her every month she gets a new training program.
Lucy in Her Own Words
What Was Your Training Like Before Training With Gordon & Athletic Studio
My aim has been to get leaner, lose weight, gain energy and feel self confident enough to get out there and make he most of living in Melbourne. Before I used to do too much cardio – at least an hour a day slow running, no sprinting or high intensity work. I’d be running off too few calories – not enough protein or healthy fats and certainly feeling the fatigue! Despite this, I’d keep at it thinking that one day the weight would shift. A never ending cycle really, I couldn’t understand that if I moved enough then why wasn’t my weight reducing. I also went to F45 – 6 days a week. I did enjoy these sessions but during the final 6 months there I didn’t feel like the classes were helping me reach my goals. If anything – they were stressing my body out I think.
I struggled with fatigue, bloating and mild depression at worst – despite thinking I had a ‘healthy diet’ and active lifestyle.
What Did You Want To Get Most Out Of Achieving Your Transformation / Competition Goal?
The results of the comp were fantastic – to see myself and to feel so confident in my own skin, it was a real high. I loved the preparation, the dedication to a routine which I felt was fine, manageable and I actually enjoyed it! I could feel myself getting healthier and gaining energy, my skin got clearer and my mindset was heaps better. These changes for me were most important. My physical appearance, tone was a secondary bonus in actual fact! I hadn’t felt this good since I was in my late teens/ early twenties when I was a moderately successful fell runner!
My aim now is to get back into a competition prep – maybe/ most likely to compete again in the spring but regardless I’m keen to keep up the hard work and dedication to a clean diet as I don’t want to ever feel as low or sluggish as I have done in the recent past. I love having the energy to try new things, meet new people and make he most of the great lifestyle that Melbourne allows us to strive for.
On Gordon & His Training Service
GP has helped me from the word go. Early on he listened and understood my struggles and why I wanted to make a change. He then went on to create a mega program, with great attention to detail with regard to training and nutrition. The program was kind to my body and at no point in the last 12 weeks have I felt stressed out. He is clear and great at explaining what we need to do to get results. Having a timeline and a gradual (but still pretty speedy) transformation has been amazing too. I’ve been able to keep up my day job, travel a bit, train for other hobbies and the extra energy I’ve had has allowed me to go out exploring more – finding new friends along the way. GP has been a constant source of support, encouragement and a friend. He has taken into account how external ‘life’ factors (work etc) could have been hampering my success. He is always thinking and has a strategic way of reducing worry in me, my self confidence is better just through meeting him and following his professional example and positive outlook on life.
I would definitely recommend him. I talk about how he has / is helping me a lot! Many of my friends here in Melbourne aren’t ‘gym goers’ but I’d like to think that between us, we will encourage them to sign up as they have witnessed so many positive changes in me. He is a great PT, friendly, supportive but extremely professional with a strong knowledge base. Young professionals, athletes, people with medical conditions or on injury come back and people who are just keen to look or feel a bit better, I know he could cater for anyone and get them results.