This series details my 21 day challenge to get in the best shape possible in 3 weeks.
To read part 1, click here
To read part 2, click here
To read part 3, click here
To read part 4, click here
This challenge has been a lot harder than expected. Not necessarily because the dieting was hard, or even the exercise (although that first workout was brutal). It was the staying consistent through a lack of routine and moving apartments. Not being able to work - and especially drive - was very strange for me. I'm a 'put your head down and get through it' personality so having a bunch of spare time and no time constraints actually worked a little against me.
I definitely lost some fat, the progress photos definitely show that. I was also reminded just how much social eating can F*** up some really good progress throughout the week and how it's often cutting out a behavior (e.g. fast food and excessive drinking)- not creating a new one - that has the biggest benefit.
End of week 1: There was a definite reduction around the waist here. I did change my arm position for the photo's so that explains a little bit of the change in how my back looks.
End of week 2: For me, this was the biggest change. I saw a much bigger reduction in abdominal fat and I 'felt' the change here. It was probably not a coincidence that this was the week where my workouts were good and (weekend withstanding) my diet was pretty consistent. I also got below 170lbs for the first time in a long time. It wasn't a goal of mine but it was cool to do it.
Sticking to the plan worked...who knew!
End of week 3: Given that we were moving this week I pretty much maintained. If I was able to do another week of hard exercise and dieting I may have lost another couple lbs but I'm happy with what I achieved.
All of the tracking stuff
The math - hang with me for a second
We are going to see if the math makes sense. In total I lost 6.7 pounds over 21 days.
But, I started the challenge in a glycogen full state (my carbohydrate stores are full) and likely ended it in a lower-glycogen state.
A human body my size can probably hold around 550g of glycogen. When you add 3g of water per 1g of glycogen you get 2.2kg or 4.8lbs of weight made entirely of water and glycogen. Therefore, the weight of someone my size can swing by 4.4 lbs without any change in body fat (this explained why I changed weight so much over my weekends when I had higher carbs).
So, I started the challenge with 550g of glycogen (and 1650g of water) and lets say I ended the challenge with 200g of glycogen (and 600g of water).
We now take the 200g of gylcogen + 600g of water (1.2kg or 2.65lbs in total) and subtract that from my total weight loss. 6.7-2.65= ~4lbs of FAT lost.
This leaves us with an estimated fat loss of 4lbs over 21 days. This works out to be an average daily Calorie deficit of ~650 Calories. Sounds about right.
To check if that number makes sense we can work out my Basal metabolic rate (the Calories I burn by existing) using something called the Harris-Benedict equation. Then, we estimate my physical activity level.
Basal metabolic rate: 1900
(Using a guide and bit of expertise we estimate my physical activity level to be 1.4. So now we take 1900 and multiply it by 1.4).
Total daily energy expenditure: 2660
We can look at the tables and see that, on average, I consumed around 2081 Calories per day.
Estimated Daily Calorie deficit: 2600-2081=519
Now, we need to find out how much fat I lost if I was in an average daily deficit of 519KCals for 21 days
Total energy expended over 21 days due to Basal metabolic rate + activity: 519*21= 10889 Calories or 3.1lbs of fat
That's weird? In real-life I lost 4lbs but the math says I should only have lost 3.1lbs. What gives?
Well, we forgot about exercise. Over the 21 days I did ~1400 Calories worth of Cardio. This equates to just under half a pound of fat. I also did over 6 hours of resistance training. Now, resistance training is pretty awful for burning Calories but it does burn some. Therefore, I'm confident in saying that between the cardio and the resistance training the remaining fat loss is accounted for.
Pheww...the math checks out.
Is it worth getting a coach?
Having someone else take an objective look at my lifestyle and create a plan based around my needs was invaluable. It's so hard to be objective when examining your own tenancies and patterns.
Nothing I was coached to do was new to me, as I've mentioned previously I've completed the premier nutrition certification there is as well as a being Nutrition coach to all of my clients, but that's kind of the point. Doing the fundamentals and doing them well is what leads to success long term. Having someone hold you accountable to actually doing the fundamentals is huge.
It may not seem like much but the gentle pushes, well-done's, and well-timed questions have pushed me to do way more than I could do on my own.
Even though I could have done it on my own, outsourcing was well worth the investment. I couldn't recommend it more.
If what I have achieved during my 21 day journey has caught your interest I would love to hear what you have to say; whether its questions about something specific that I did or what my daily food looked like I'm more than happy to chat.
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