In Mid April I finished my second Renaissance Periodization physique and diet transformation. A process I originally began in July 2018. My first attempt at this went beyond my expectations. Not only in body change outcome, but a better understanding of macro-nutrients (Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates) in quality and quantity, food timing, and the importance of resistance training for weight-loss and strength gains.
My second attempt was not as much for weight-loss, but for strength gains and more visible definition. I do see the difference in my upper-body, specifically in the shoulders and chest area. Somewhat less visible change in the mid-section, but I feel stronger in my trunk and overall in my lower-body. Visible change in the mid-section for me seems to be more consistent with what phase of training and nutrition I might be in at that time. Since the December holidays, I’ve had more scenarios taking me away from my program (vacation, etc.). Still, I’ve maintained a healthy weight, and I’m pain-free in key areas like low-back and shoulders. With the exception of having “Golfers elbow” which is now better, I credit being pain free from incorporating proper stability and mobility training so I can comfortably handle the increased loading that comes with a strength training routine. I feel that a diet high in nutrient dense foods has assisted keeping out of pain. A point I hope to elaborate on at another time when I have more information.
My process over the last 9 months
Strength Training- Between 3-5 days a week with weekly progressions. Primary lifts with a body part focus (Chest, Back, Shoulders and Arms, 2 days a week for Legs).
Minimal but effective cardiovascular training- Moderate levels of High Intensity Cardiovascular training 2 times a week using Stair-master. 30 minutes max 2/week. Intervals within 30 minute blocks.
Food Preparation-Preparing proper quantity and quality of foods each week allowing for time efficient, but healthy meals covering 90% of my intake each week.
Rest and Recovery- For me, this is always about doing what possible. Not always what is ideal. Catching up on sleep when I can. Cut back on exercise intensity for at least a week every 4-5 weeks. Any additional recovery methods if available (massage, foam rolling, etc.)
Consistency- What I’d consider most important. Not everyday was perfect. Missing days is inevitable. But I always strive to have more good days then bad. This compounded over time helped me create a healthy lifestyle. Consistency is also what allows you to enjoy your time off. Leading into weekend or vacation, if you feel good about your efforts before those events you’ll appreciate that time off even more. When vacation’s over, I always get back on track.
Steps for finding the right nutrition and exercise program
Define why this is important to you and be specific. Your “Why” should be clearly defined. This can also be helpful in explaining to others who might put expectations on your time. Your “Why” may actually inspire others (family, business colleagues, friends, etc.), so something you shouldn’t feel reluctant to discuss.
Find a strategy or program that matches your ability and allotted energy, commitment, and interest. I use to tell people interested in getting healthy “Find something you enjoy.” But I now I’ll say, “ find something that interest you.” Your interest and curiosity will make you want to improve whatever you’re doing. For me, I like learning about proper movement and developing strength. I also like creating a leaner and healthier look as I get older. These pursuits give me a positive feeling so I continue to be curios and focused.
If you are forced to eat out, try to plan and know ahead of time the restaurants or places you’ll be getting your meals. Planning ahead as much as possible for what, when, and how you’ll eat. The same should go for your training.
Find a meal preparation program that matches your nutritional requirements and goals so you don’t have to spend time preparing. A meal delivery program I’d recommend is Trifecta. They are also affiliated with Renaissance Periodization. Most meal preparation and delivery programs are becoming more personalized and using better quality products as well.
Work with a professional who can coach or assist on some level on a short term, long term, or intermittent basis. A good personal trainer or nutrition expert can help organize these programs to find and effective and safe approach, and hold you accountable.
Like so many things, your health goals can succeed with a systematic approach that you are regularly contributing too. The more you can plan ahead and be prepared for what may come, the more likely you will succeed and meet your goals.
For questions on training, classes, general inquiries, or healthy lifestyle support please don’t hesitate to reach out! Also, please follow on Instagram @the_modern_athlete and Facebook @modathlete.