How Diet Changed Everything
Joe was a former college athlete who thought his days of training and gym success were past him. Once an injury forced him to dial in his nutrition, he saw the best results of his life. Here is his story.
Name: Joe White
Length of Membership: 1 Year, 3 Months
Change in BF %: 14.9% to 8.5%
Fat Loss: 13 Fat Pounds
Recent PRs: 400#+ Deadlift, 300#+ Squat, 55″ Box Jump, 5:51 Mile
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
My name is Joe White and I’m 30 years old. I’ve been at the gym for about a year and four months now.
My background is as a CPA but I’ve worked in and around professional baseball pretty much my entire career. I’ve spent most of my career as a player agent, but I’ve recently transitioned over to running a sports technology company founded by a few former players.
The company is called OnDeck Digital and we provide outsourced video scouting solutions to MLB organizations and amateur facilities.
(Fun fact: I also played college baseball at the same school as Dave and Pritz. I was a few years behind them.)
WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SEEN?
My body fat is down 7.5% overall (14.9%-8.5%), while keeping my muscle mass the exact same 156 lbs, over the last two months.
That brings my total weight loss since Jan 1st to 22 lbs (192lbs to 170 lbs).
Despite the fat/weight loss, I’ve actually set PRs in Hang Clean, Squat, Box Jump, Deadlift, and Pull Ups over that time span. My strength has actually improved thanks to what I am assuming is Lenny’s diet programming.
HOW HAS YOUR MINDSET TOWARDS NUTRITION EVOLVED?
Evolution is an appropriate word for mindset on diet, because before starting to follow Coach Lenny two months ago I was pretty much a Neanderthal when it came to diet. See, like, eat. Sure I knew things like too many crbs/fat bad, protein good, but I never really cared to know the why or the how much.
I’ve always been somewhat “health conscious” (which at the time meant I didn’t crush Roberto’s California Burritos and McDonald’s every night).
However, I had never attempted any sort of a diet in my life and never really had any great ambition to even try one. I’ve been pretty consistently in the 175-185 range in my post college days depending on my level of activity.
Coming off the holidays, a full year of living in PB and leaving my last year of my twenties, I was shall we say forging new ground towards in the upper limit of that range. So, I committed to hitting the gym hard and following Lenny’s macronutrient outline, so I could get back down to my “playing weight” of 180lbs.
I was on my way towards my goal and lost about 5 lbs in January, then in early February I hurt myself doing a split jerk. It’s weird looking back on it now, but it may have been the best thing that could have happened to me. It was such a weird injury, that I felt like it was my body’s way of giving me “the break up talk” and saying its not you, its me, well it’s really its you and this isn’t working out for me, so we need a break or something has to change.
So, I figured I would take a look at my diet.
At that time in my mind, when I thought of diet I thought of two things 1) It’s short in duration (month or two) 2) It’s no fun (for you or any one around you). All the diets I had either read or heard about either cut out things completely from I really loved to eat and really really frowned upon alcohol, which I knew realistically I wasn’t going to completely cut out (Hey, I like to have a good time).
Coincidentally, right around that time Lenny had come out with his article about the 5 Levels of Nutrition, I read through it and thought now this is something I can get my mind around doing. I can eat what I want when I want and still have fun, but I just have to stay between the lines.
From there I just really began to embrace it, and the whole idea of a macro diet kind of became a game for me. I had to figure out ways to hit my certain macro goals on a daily basis while doing the things I wanted to do. I started tracking what I ate and consumed using MyFitnessPal and reading other articles online and I quickly learned a lot.
Now I view my diet as just a part of my overall lifestyle instead of this short term, no fun, restrictive thing. I stay within my macros most of the time, but if I want to have some fun (go out with friends, crush Baked Bear) I can still do it. I still have a lot to learn, but I feel like I’ve evolved immensely from my Neanderthal ways.
WHAT TRAINING FACTORS DO YOU CREDIT?
First, I always place focus on all around athleticism. Strength, agility, explosiveness, and conditioning. It’s the former athlete in me.
Before moving to San Diego and joining the gym, I hadn’t really lifted weights in about 7 years. I stayed in shape primarily between a combination of Insanity, P90x, and running a couple times a week. I had pretty much given up on the idea of ever really feeling anything close to how I did when I was a college athlete. Now I feel as good as I did back then, if not better.
I really focused on just embracing whatever the daily challenge was throwing at me that day, whether that be a heavy deadlift, athletic circuit, 5 min row, or whatever it may be and executing it as well as I close as I could to how it was suppose to be done. I figured it I did that then the results would come, and they have. I’m definitely a better all around athlete. It’s really fun not only feeling stronger and better conditioned, but also being able to jump, cut, and move my feet again.
I don’t think I could have had the same kind of results while actually improving my overall well being without the focus that the programming and the coaches put on all around athleticism. I think I would have ended up sacrificing learn muscle and overall performance if I really wanted get to my body fat goals.
Second, I focus on a target body fat not a target weight.
I had never had my body fat measured until the end of February, but once I did it was a real game changer for me. It completely changed how I viewed my weight/body and it changed my goals. For as long as I can remember I would always just aim for a target body weight.
I would aim to weigh 180 or 185 whatever it may have been, and if I fell below a certain weight, it I was below that number I would eat more if I was above it I would eat less and run a little more. Once I got my reading though that kind of all changed, and I really set my focus on my body fat % and lean muscle mass.
I set a personal goal for myself to eventually get under 10% body fat while at least maintaining my lean muscle mass while letting my weight settle at where ever it needed to be to achieve those goals. The biggest mental hurdle this helped me across was actually allowing myself to lose weight. In the past I would have never let myself go much below 180. It actually would bother me more to be light then it would be a couple lbs heavy. Basically, in my mind I always felt that if I was light I was sacrificing muscle and power.
Once I had the readings, I felt comfortable going and staying well below 180lb because I knew that if I did it right I could shed straight fat and still keep the muscle. Without those readings I would have never had the confidence to do that.
WHAT DIET FACTORS DO YOU CREDIT?
Basically everything I learned from Coach Lenny.
I had never heard of a macro diet before and if I did it was in one ear and out the other. The entire base of my knowledge about diet and what I’ve done over the last two months was rooted in his article the 5 levels of Nutrition. I’ve probably read it 10 times. There is just so much great information in there it took me a while to really get a good grasp on all of it.
So, I just kept referencing back to it and asking him questions, and over time incorporating more and more of it into my daily routine. If it weren’t for that article, I definitely wouldn’t be where I’m at today. Next time I see you out Lenny, I’m buying.
WHAT IS YOUR WEEKLY GYM STRATEGY?
I love the daily challenge. I think I’ve done that pretty much exclusively over the past two months, mixing in a few muscle classes. I’ve done all the classes except for Yoga since I’ve been a member (Sorry Julianne, I promise I’ll try it) and they have all been great.
The DC just really fit my goals in terms of strength, fat loss, and conditioning for the past two months so I just kept it simple.
Moving forward, I plan on branching out a little more but the DC has given me all I’ve needed to hit body composition, strength and athleticism goals