In this podcast, I interview Emily, who read my book Thinner Leaner Stronger and joined my one-on-one coaching program to take her health into her own hands, lose 25 pounds, and get leaner and stronger than ever before.
Before she found my work, she was 175 pounds and felt skinny fat. She didn’t feel like she knew what she was doing, especially when it came to nutrition, and was spinning her wheels. As a result, she decided to invest in herself, join my coaching program, and now she’s transformed herself into a lean, strong, and confident person. After a 3-month cut, she dropped 25 pounds, 10% body fat, and now she maintains around 160 pounds with a completely overhauled body composition.
And the best part is she realized that once she had the knowledge, she had the power to make a change. Despite dealing with disordered eating in the past, she learned about what it really takes to lose weight without feeling hungry, fixed her relationship with food, and gained the confidence to know she can get results on command.
So in this episode you’re going to learn how Emily navigated challenges like preparing for an ultramarathon while strength training and dropping body fat, what she learned about protein and why she changed her vegetarian diet, how she avoided derailing her progress while on vacation or during cheat meals, and more.
So, if you’re looking for motivation and inspiration, make sure to tune in to this episode.
0:00 – Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching: https://www.muscleforlife.show/vip
5:23 – Where were you with your fitness journey before you found Legion coaching?
9:28 – What was your body composition like when you started our coaching program?
10:58 – How did your body composition change over your coaching period?
16:14 – Did you stay vegetarian while doing the coaching program?
22:12 – How was your coaching experience?
25:10 – Is there anything else about nutrition that surprised you?
32:12 – What was your diet like during their coaching program?
43:51 – What did your work schedule look like while you were getting coached?
49:10 – Is there anything you would like to add?
Mentioned on the show:
Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching: https://www.muscleforlife.show/vip
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hi. Hi, and welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. I am your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for a success story episode, an interview with Emily who read my book, Thinner Leaner Stronger, and then signed up for my one-on-one coaching program, and she lost 25 pounds of fat. Gained a significant amount of muscle and strength.
And before she found me in my work, Emily was about 175 pounds. And in her own words, she felt skinny fat and she didn’t know what she was doing, especially with nutrition, and she felt like she was just treading water. And so she found my book Lyer Stronger and read it, and it made a lot of sense to. And then she decided to sign up for my coaching program just to make it as easy and foolproof as possible.
And in three months of coaching, she dropped 25 pounds. She lost 10% body fat. And as you can imagine, she now has a completely different body composition and like many women I have heard from over the years, Emily was also surprised to learn that with proper strength training, which adds muscle, which is very dense, the look that she really wanted is a higher body weight than she thought it was going to be when she started all of this.
So I have heard from many women over the. Who, when they start their fitness journey and their strength training journey, let’s say their evidence-based fitness journey, they have a certain number in mind that they associate with. How they want to look. And that’s usually based on some period in the past when they liked how they looked and they weigh a certain amount maybe in college or sometimes even in high school.
I’ve heard from women who obviously later in high school, you know, 17, 18, and then going out of high school, 1920, usually in that range, they weighed a certain amount and they were happy with how they looked. And then later in. If they have this idea that they need to weigh what they weighed in high school, you know, late high school or uh, in their early twenties to be happy with how they looked.
But as Emily learned, when you start gaining muscle in the right places on your body, you. Weigh more than you expect, but you really like what you see in the mirror. In many cases, women will go through this process. They will add 10 to 15 pounds of muscle in the right places on their body, and they will end up weighing 10, 15, even 20 pounds more than they thought they wanted to weigh in the beginning, but end up looking even better than or or liking what they see even.
Then that earlier period in their life when they were not strength training, when they just had youth on their side basically. And with that additional muscle though, comes curves, comes an athletic. But still feminine look. And so I always like to hear from women who experience that process because it’s very liberating for them to realize that body composition matters a lot more than body weight.
I have seen many female transformations, many women who have reached out to me just to share their before and afters where. The before and after weights have either not changed much, so maybe they started at one 40 and they ended at 1 35. In some cases, their before and after weights were essentially the same.
Starting at one 40, ending at one 40. Sometimes smaller women starting at one 20. Ending at one 20. But because of the change in body composition, because they essentially quote unquote traded many pounds of fat for many pounds of muscle. Of course, you can’t turn fat into muscle, but by simultaneously losing fat and replacing that weight with muscle on the right places on their body, they look completely different.
And so anyway, my guest today, Emily, went through that process and she talks about. And she also fixed her relationship with food, which is huge, and she gained the confidence to know that she can do whatever she wants with her body composition, that she can continue to get leaner. If she wants to continue to get leaner, she can focus on gaining muscle and strength, she can focus on, on just maintaining what she has.
And that also is very empowering when you understand. Your genetics can’t get in the way, your environment can’t get in the way your food preferences, exercise preferences, schedule, none of these things can get in the way because you know how to make it all work. Hello, Emily. Good afternoon. Hey Mike. How are you?
Uh, I’m doing all right. How are you? I’m doing well. Cool. Well, thanks for, for taking the time to do this. You’re still at work, so I appreciate you, uh, staying at work a little bit longer. That’s okay. . And we’re here of course, to talk about you and to talk about your fitness journey, your fitness transformation, and.
We can kind of start wherever you would like to start. Often, you know, people will say, you know, before, so if I rewind, this is kind of what was going on. So we could start there. Or if you had something else in mind, I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna listen and, and ask the occasional question.
Emily: Yeah. Cool. So growing up I was always an athlete.
I think a lot of your listeners and a lot of people, Done the legion journey, have been that position before and got into the workforce. Fast forward a couple years late twenties, and I really didn’t know that much about nutrition. I thought that if I wanted to get a certain physique that I just needed to stop eating basically.
You know, I had dealt with like a few eating disorders growing up, and I’m also six foot, so I’m a pretty tall person, especially for a lady. So I had some body, body issue images with. I guess I was about 29, 30. I was getting married, had pretty much cut out. A lot of bad habits with eating. I guess depending if you’re talking about eating or as me, it wasn’t so good cause I was cutting out a lot of stuff.
But anyway, so after my wedding, the weight just kind of piled on. I wasn’t as like focused on it and I had. started weightlifting a little bit. I had bought your book, started weightlifting. Didn’t really know what I was doing, spinning my wheels, and in addition to having been an athlete, I decided I was gonna become a runner too.
So I started running. Can probably tell where this is going. So not great nutrition. Running a lot and still not looking the way I. So I was like, you know what? It was around Christmas time. I was like, you know what? I’m just gonna go ahead and look into doing this legion coaching thing. I’ll go ahead and do my form and see what happens.
And I heard back, and that’s kind of how it started. And that was, I guess I started in 2020. So we were in the midst of the pandemic too. So there’s all this crazy stuff going on, and I decided that I was gonna do this crazy
Mike: thing too. I was just curious, did your decision to do it then what? Was that related to Covid somehow and what was going on?
Or was it just. Something just happened to be okay, you have, you’ve had enough and it’s time to do
Emily: something. Yeah. I think it was a little bit of all
Mike: that. The reason I ask that is some people I’ve spoken to here on the podcast and just in day-to-day life, they, they gained a fair amount of weight during Covid and Lockdowns, or they lost, they fell behind in their fitness and then other people, the.
They got fitter during covid. Ironically, I’m one of those people just because I was no longer then driving to the gym because my gym was closed and I was working out at home. So I was like, I guess if I’m not gonna drive, I’ll just go do cardio. So I just started doing more cardio, eating the same. So I just like got leaner and looked better at the end of it.
Right. That, that’s why
Emily: I asked the, I was definitely working out. But it was like spinning my wheels because I wasn’t doing what I needed to do and what I’ve learned to do to get the, the body that I wanted. I was running a ton. My teammate, actually, I’m a PE teacher, so my teammate is my best friend and my running buddy.
So, you know, we would sign up and do braces and things and a lot of them were virtual, but eating a ton and running a lot. But like, I still didn’t look like I was. and that was really frustrating. And then, you know, my wedding came and went and I put on a lot more weight than I, you know, when I look at the pictures now, I’m like, wow, I had no idea I had gained that much weight.
And by no means was I an obese person. But , you think of yourself in a certain way, and then when you see a picture, you’re like, oh dang. Like that’s not , that’s not kosher. That’s not what I want. So I really felt like I was spinning my wheels. I needed some more direction and I honestly didn’t know it was so much nutrition.
Like, I thought I was pretty good, but I was not, and I’d also been a vegetarian for a long time, so that was not helping me either.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. That makes it more challenging. I wanna follow up on several things, but just to give people an idea, so, okay. So when you, when you started working with us, what, what did your body composition look like at that time?
Emily: so I was sitting around 175 pounds. I think when we went back and looked at it, I was like 30% body fat.
Mike: So in the scheme of things, that’s within the, the range of healthy, it’s just a matter of do you like that look or not? Some women do, some women
Emily: don’t. Yeah. If people were to see me walking down the street, they would be like, oh, that’s a pretty.
Average looking person. She’s really tall and she’s somewhat slender like . And uh, you always use the term skinny fat. I was definitely, felt like, I felt more into that category than anything else,
Mike: but yeah, which is is almost inevitable for many women if they’re doing a lot of cardio. Not maintaining a very low percentage of body fat, which isn’t even necessarily healthy.
Um, but you know, some women get around the skinny fat by being like 15% body fat. Okay. But then there are, that’s also a look that some women do not like. And then there are health considerations as well.
Emily: Performance-wise, I wanted to keep being active. I’m definitely more active now than I was at the time.
I was not in the gym as a PE teacher. I was a fourth grade teacher, so, which looks very different. So, yeah, uh, my whole nutrition fitness journey has kind of led me to a new position at work too, which has been really great. But yeah, just wasn’t. Where I wanted to be .
Mike: And before we get into the details, I’m just curious, so how has your body composition changed or how did it change over the course?
Emily: think I’ve pretty much done the full gamut now cuz I was, you know, with the elite coaching side of things, checking in like every week. And then I went down to, I can’t remember what the other levels are, but I’ve backed off and now I just use the app, which I really do love and I can touch base with Jeff when I need to.
I’m now in more of a maintenance. I’m about between 1 58 and one 60, and my body fat percentage is about 20 right now. And when I look at the pictures, you can really see the difference and I would like to probably do another cut cuz I’ve kind of gone through. Some cutting phases and now some balking phases.
I would like to be a little bit leaner, but honestly like my energy levels now are way better. Uh, when I was the most thin was after my first cut with Luke, which was a while ago now. But yeah, I felt like I was dying at that point. ,
Mike: I joke that that something that uh, many lean people don’t want to admit, very lean people don’t want to admit is, uh, maybe even to themselves, is that they would feel a lot better with more body.
They would have more energy, they would sleep better, better workouts, better sex drive, everything is just better. Being super lean is cool. It’s fun to look at, but uh, it does sometimes feel like a measure of death.
Emily: It really does. And you know, I was. I think at my lowest I was around one 50 and you could definitely tell I was super lean for me.
Some I had ab definition. I wouldn’t say I had a six pack or anything like that. And is it worth it? ?
Mike: Exactly. I mean, I’ll, I’ll say though, in defense of of at least doing it once, it’s not a bad idea to do it once and just to say you’ve done it. I think once you do that, you also. Nobody is now going to be able to convince you that energy balance isn’t a thing and that calories in versus calories out doesn’t actually work or doesn’t matter.
You’ve seen it work firsthand and the only trap you can fall into, which I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, I have a lot of other people who have gotten very lean, have is that once you’ve been very lean, there’s a part of you that thinks that anything. Fatter is just fat . If you’re not 17% body fat, like 20% is just, you know, there’s, you look in the mirror, you’re like, eh, whatever.
I looked better when I was
Emily: leaner. Yeah, I was, I emailed Jeff. I was like, Hey, by the way, I’m doing the podcast and, uh, I’m definitely not my most lean. I mean, I know, I know I’ve been successful, but I’m not my most lean, but that’s okay. , right? . And he’s like, oh yeah, I can
Mike: still do it if I’m not like, absolutely shredded.
Right. It’s still okay.
Emily: Yeah, and I think that’s important too because you know, like you wanna be a functioning person, you wanna be in your relationships, you wanna be happy. Like I was at the point where I wasn’t eating with my husband anymore. We weren’t eating the same meals or eating at the same time, and like, That’s a
Yep. And then there are some genetic components that come into play too. Everybody we have different, uh, I wouldn’t necessarily use the term set points. It’s not a, a fixed body composition. Maybe a settling point is, is a better term for it. A range of our, uh, Body fatness in particular that our body likes is a simple way of putting it.
And um, that can change, we can shift that range upward or downward based on our behaviors. And it seems to change slowly, but it does seem that there are certain body fat levels that, you know, some people. Seem to have a, a fairly easy time maintaining very low body fat levels. And, and you know, I, I don’t know about you, but I’ve known these people personally, meaning it’s not somebody on social media who seems to not have to work so hard to stay very lean, but they’re just not showing you everything that they actually do.
Now, I’ve known people who, yes, they’re active, but they couldn’t explain to you what a calorie. They’ve never tracked a macro. And yeah, they work out, maybe they played sports, whatever, but so did these other people and why do they look that way? So, uh, the, there are some genetic factors in play as well.
But it sounds like though, that you have found a, a sweet spot where you. , like the way you look, the, you like the way your body performs and you like the lifestyle that provides those things that you’re not having to spend far more time or energy on this stuff than you
Emily: want to. Yeah, for sure. I think, you know, I had tossed around the idea of like, could I someday do a body building competition, you know?
Cause I do a show and yeah, I could if I wanted and now I have that power. I know I. That’s pretty cool. And like you said with the set point, definitely feel like I’ve found a sweet spot. Would I prefer to be a little bit more lean? Yeah. But is it really gonna make that big difference? So would we
Mike: All that’s, that’s everybody.
Doesn’t matter how lean they are, they’re gonna tell you the exact same thing. , it’s a curse. Like
Emily: you said. I’m like if one 50 was when I was my lowest and I’m always gonna want that. And anything more is just fat. But it’s not black and white. And I think that’s one of the most powerful things of going through this is you get to learn all.
Mike: Um, let’s talk about nutrition. So you mentioned, uh, vegetarian and you, you are still, uh, vegetarian, I’m assuming? I am not . Oh, interesting. Okay. Yeah. Did that change during the coaching or was that before? Was
Emily: that So I guess to put things in perspective, I’m 32. Um, when I was in college, my sister and I, and she’s about my age, we started watching documentaries and things like that on nutrition and more of.
The environmental impact of eating meat. And not that I don’t think that’s still important, but I kind of went into it when I was in college thinking this would be a great way for me to be healthier. Cuz I, from these documentaries I was hearing, you’re
Mike: healthier. It seems like a no-brainer, uh, on every, in every way.
Yeah. You’re healthier
Emily: if you don’t eat meat. So I was like, well I’m very, you know, concerned about being a healthy person, so I’m not gonna be eating meat and it’ll help the environment too. Awesome. Which I know. Kind of shows. It depends on what you look at, right? Anything can be supportive, but there’s a happy medium.
So I went for about seven years being a vegetarian. I played volleyball growing up for about 13 years, and I started playing again, and I was like, gosh, I feel dead. Like I had no energy. So it just wasn’t really working for me. And so I slowly started to reintroduce meat and, you know, did um, like salmon and eggs.
And then eventually I was like, you know what? I’m just gonna try eating meat again. I was like, oh my God, , like, what have I been doing to myself? And obviously it’s a personal choice and everyone has their own code of ethics with it, but, uh, I felt like I needed to eat meat again. You know, it’s hard to say because there’s so many different factors that could go into body composition.
But I really feel like not eating meat did me a disservice in a lot of ways cuz I was just eating tons of carbs and fat .
Mike: Yeah, I was gonna say, I’m guessing your protein intake was quite low and if it’s too low, it becomes a major impediment. To not just body composition, but to health. I mean, a low protein diet is unhealthy and it only gets unhealthier as, as we get older, stretch into our middle ages and beyond.
It then speeds up, you know, sarcopenia and, and just to comment quickly on the environmental impact and the ethical considerations. Totally understandable. Something that is just a piece of advice, not, not necessarily for you, but for people listening. I would suggest before making life altering decisions based on a documentary or, or one side of an argument, I don’t care how that information is presented.
Try to try to go look at the other side of the argument as well and try to look at the strongest counterpoints to. Decide that. Okay, so, so let’s say you feel there are some strong arguments that suggest that giving up meat is just the way to go. It’s better for your health, it’s better for the planet, it’s better for animals.
Seek out the strongest counter-arguments you can find and then weigh them against each other. And, and then make your decision. Try not to only hear one side of an argument, especially something that has been politicized because there’s, there’s a lot of effective propaganda out there on both sides of a lot of controversial issues.
And if you only expose yourself to one source of that propaganda and any, that doesn’t even have to be. Negatively necessarily. This is information that is, is meant to influence people’s attitudes and behaviors. Then you can, you can make mistakes. You can make poor decisions simply because you didn’t go and look at the other side.
And if you would’ve, maybe you would’ve thought differently.
Emily: Exactly. And I was, I mean, gosh, 23 at this point, you know, and what you just said is so true. And that’s the value of doing your homework, so to say. And like I feel like with the coaching with nutrition, like you don’t know what you don’t know and there’s nothing you can do other than try to expose yourself to as many opinions as possible.
Mike: and just to comment quickly on vegetarians, if there are vegetarians or vegans listening, you certainly, you certainly can get into great shape with a vegetarian diet, even with vegan diet. You can stay that way. However, the more restrictive a diet becomes, especially. Sources of protein in particular, the more you have to micromanage it.
You have to really start paying attention to what foods you are eating and why you are eating them. And that diet executed well. A vegetarian diet or a vegan diet executed well for body composition and health may not be enjoyable to. I’m speaking to anybody listening who is currently eating that way and struggling with it or thinking about it.
You have fewer options if you want to make sure that you are providing your body with enough protein and enough key micronutrients so you can make it work for anybody who wants to just know it. It does take more work. It takes a bit more, I guess, discipline to make it. Yeah, and
Emily: I definitely was not doing that.
Mike: A lot of people, understandably, I mean, they don’t wanna, okay, it’s now, it’s not just eating five servings or six servings of vegetables per day. It’s eating very specific ones for specific reasons, and then it’s actually figuring out, right, how am I gonna get, let’s say in your case, we probably wouldn’t want to go below 120 or 130 grams of protein per day on average.
You’re like, all right, how do I do that? Is half of that just gonna be powders and, and then what’s the other half? So,
Emily: And then can you find a powder you can stomach? Like, I know my, my sister’s still a vegetarian, so the, these are comments and questions. I always ask her like, have you found something that you, like, she’s seen me go through this process now and how your body can change if you’re giving it what it needs.
And she’s like, no, I still haven’t found anything. So, Like, I know that’s a, a challenge for her. And of course I’ve told her about your stuff, but she’s also, she lives in Florida. Uh, she’s going through to get her doctorate, so she’s like, I can’t spend money on anything right now. .
Mike: I understand. And you, you had also mentioned that you were surprised that just how much.
Of a difference nutrition made. I believe you were referencing your coaching experience and can you talk to us about
Emily: that? Yeah, of course. So when I first started, kind of send in my preferences, this is how I’ve been eating, this is what I like to eat. A bunch of recommendations, which was awesome cuz then I could customize it, you know, not just, well you’re gonna eat this, this.
And. You know, when you’re counting your macros, you can be a little bit more flexible. So, you know, protein was like the number one thing, right? You need to, and I think I was on the higher end at that point, when I first started, I was looking at like 170 grams of protein per day, you know, which is probably on the higher end.
And some people might be like, well, you don’t need that.
Mike: But, but if for people, I mean you, you also are tall and I think you said you weighed about 170 pounds or so in the beginning, so that’s not an unreasonable amount of protein. If you really were adamant, it could have been lowered. But again, like if I were working with you one-on-one, I would say, Emily, can we please get 130 or 140?
Let’s try not to go below that because it’s just going to get in the way of results and you’re gonna be more hungry, which just means you’re more likely to overeat, which means. Even worse results and so on.
Emily: Yeah, so protein’s like my favorite thing. Now basically I’ve changed everything that I consume to focus on protein.
So that was number one. And then looking at carbs and fats, I can’t remember the exact numbers now, but I know those were a little bit lower because I started in a cut, you know, when I first started with the coaching
Mike: and, and you were eating a lot of carbs and fat previously, right? Yeah,
Emily: I. and that’s something I know we’ll talk about.
Like what would you do differently? I probably, if I were to go back, I would wanna do a little bit more tracking before I started, you know, the cut so that I knew exactly what I had been doing and what I didn’t wanna do again in the future. I don’t know if you’d call that like a pre fat loss phase, but that’s something that I kind of wish I had more data on, just so I know exactly what I was doing.
Mike: curiosity, how, what value would that that have been to you? Just
Emily: like a comparison. A starting point, like these are the habits that you had sort of thing, and these are the habits that you’ve built over time and what you’ve changed, because I think that could be really valuable because I know.
I mean, I have no idea how much protein or how little protein I was eating, but I know it was a ton of carbs and fats. No one gets fat from eating too many vegetables, obviously.
Mike: I joke, I joke that like they can get fat by, by eating too much fruit is like, like telling guys that uh, they can, they can be sexy by by getting a lot of money.
Like Yeah. But it, it takes a lot. It takes a lot, . It’s not just, it’s not just a moderate amount of fruit or money that it, it needs to be a
Emily: shitload . Yeah. So I. Yeah, I don’t, maybe it wouldn’t be very helpful to know, but I’m just kind of. What I was eating. Yeah, I could
Mike: see that. I mean, obviously the experience, you know, you know the, the difference where we were like, okay, this is more protein and this is a lot less carbs and fat and is, is there anything else about the nutrition in particular that was surprising to you?
Emily: How protein helps keep you full. So not only did it help with, you know, body composition changes, it also helps keep you full, which was awesome because maybe this is all humans, but for me and my personality, I was like, I like to control things. I’m very type A, so I was. What happens if I get too hungry?
Like I’m just gonna be hungry all the time. And like that really worried me. I was not as hungry as much as I thought I was gonna be. Now near the end of the cut. Yeah. I was pretty darn hungry. That was like the last big push, you know, when I was trying to really get down to my lowest weight possible and the goal weight that we had set.
And actually I, I went past the goal weight, we. I went lower, but I was like, let’s push it. Let’s see. Yeah. So fullness, being hungry wasn’t a big issue. Eating the protein. Also just learning like how many calories are in a gram of protein, you know? And now I’m working with kids and being in the physical education world, like I wish we taught more of that.
And I’ve tried to implement it into our lessons and things. The education’s just not there. And you know, I’m having like these like aha moments as a 30 year old about nutrition that I feel like, wow, if I had known this before, I would not be in the same position I’m in now. Yeah. Yeah.
Mike: I’ve heard that from a lot of people who’ve gone through this process.
Like, why didn’t I learn this? At least in high school? Like, why didn’t I learn the basics that not, not, not that we should be encouraging teenagers to start counting calories. No, that’s not the point. It’s just to understand how our body works. That’s, that’s all we’re talking about. It’s understanding our metabolism.
Emily: like you said, the carbs make you fat thing, you know, you can only lose weight doing keto or whatever it is. You know, all these gimmicks, , I hate to use the word gimmicks, but it’s like all these lies about nutrition that were fed. They’re usually stemming from people trying to make
Unfortunately, that’s kind of how life works. Many people are mostly just motivated by money. That’s, that’s about it. .
Emily: Yeah. It’s so true. Well, now, like my bullshit radar goes off anytime there’s some kind of commercial. On tv, you know, starvation mode and this and that. It’s like, wow, would I still be buying into that if I had not done your coaching program?
And probably because I hear adults, I mean, I work mostly with women being in education at the elementary school level, and I hear it here, you know, in passing or when we have our big luncheons, These misconceptions about nutrition.
Mike: Have any of them asked for your advice? Cuz they’ve seen now your body change and I’m sure that, whoa, some something’s
Emily: happening here.
Yeah, so my teammate that I work with, I’ve shared a lot of what I’ve learned with her. We have very different body types and shapes and where I’m tall, she’s very short. So there’s like some things there, but she’s implemented a lot of it too, and looks great. I remember when I was at my leanest, someone had asked me what was going on, like what was I doing, and I told her that I was really focusing on weightlifting and nutrition, and she’s like, well, I don’t wanna get bulky.
Which we all hear that. I was like, I wish I could get bulky. Like now I just wanna be as big and strong as possible. Like I wish I was bulky, but it just does not work that way for us, us females.
Mike: The, the only women who, and, and often they’re not concerned about getting bulky, but you, you do have people, just like with guys as well, who.
Were always big and strong like that, that’s just their body type. Even at a young age, they were just the big strong kid. The big strong boy, the big strong girl. And then they get into weightlifting. They’re still big and strong, and they’re always the biggest and strongest, uh, you know, boys or girls in the gym.
Many of those people end up getting into sports for obvious reasons, and, and even those people still have to work at it though to, to even get that kind of bulky
Emily: look. I wish I was like, man, . I, I remember laughing when she said it and she was like, like, I’m not laughing at you. I’m just laughing at the fact that it would take a lot more than what I’m doing now to be bulky.
Mike: mean, also think about body fat, right? So if you were to maintain 20% body fat, I would say you probably could never get to a the point where, People would be like, whoa, whoa. She’s way too bulky. If you just stayed lean, the sheer amount of muscle it would, it would take to, to really look bulky is it’s just not there genetically, for most women, just as it’s not there genetically, for most men to look like a, a hulking bodybuilder, doesn’t matter what they do, unless they were to take drugs, if they just stay off drugs, it doesn’t matter how hard they work, it’s just not gonna happen.
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One other question about, about nutrition before we move on to training, just because people like to hear specifics. So can you share just, uh, an example of your menu, your meal plan, the type of foods you were eating during the program? So, so while you were changing your, your body composition?
Emily: Yeah, and actually I still eat the same way.
Mike: which is, which is a good sign. That means that, uh, you worked it out. You, you found stuff you like to eat.
Emily: Exactly. And I think that’s the key. Like I literally eat the same thing every day. Was that the case before? No, it would definitely was not. I’ve found that I really do enjoy it. You know, I’m eating things that I like and the, the control part of me gets to control that.
Maybe I’m a little rigid. I know we go to my husband’s house for, uh, the holidays. I do not typically eat what everyone else is. That’s something that I need to work on, like being, I’m that person being a little bit more flexible, but I was like, no, I know what’s in this. I know it’s hitting what I need.
And thankfully his family’s really cool with it and they’re very accommodating. , I eat a ton of non-factor Greek yogurt. It’s like my go-to, so I usually start with like 350 grams of that in the morning for my breakfast. I make this crazy weird concoction. Put a little bit of gel like cheesecake sugar-free Jello mix in it to really thicken it up.
I zapped some blueberries in the microwave, like a hundred grams. And then I top it with PB Fit Powder. It’s like a dessert. Yeah. . It was so funny. I made it over the break or over the holiday, and my husband’s mom said something about it to somebody. Oh, she’s, she’s like, well, if I ran all the time and did what Emily does, I would eat dessert for breakfast too.
And I, I wanted to say, whoa, whoa, whoa, . It’s not dessert. It is, it is a treat, but it’s not. So I usually start with that. I do the protein coffee. You know, I stick my protein powder in my coffee when I’m at work. Our lunch is at 10:45 AM so I usually wait to eat my breakfast until a little bit later in the day.
So I flex my time and then I have a huge salad for dinner with a ton of meat on it. And, uh, different vegetables and I still weigh everything out. Again, maybe that’s just me being too controlling and I need to be more flexible, but I do enjoy tracking macros and measuring my food. What is it the saying you can’t manage what you don’t measure, or.
Measure what you manage. I mean,
Mike: everybody who has gone through this process, let’s say most have weighed and tracked food for a period, and I recommend that everybody do it if they haven’t done it, because it will really teach you it’s eye opening. Yeah, I would say most people who have gone through this kind of evidence-based, uh, fitness transformation, if you will, this whole process have weighed or tracked their food at least for a period, and it’s something that I’d recommend everybody do.
You don’t have to do it forever, but if you’ve never done it before, And especially if you’re kind of new to all of this stuff, create a meal plan, weigh and track everything for a few reasons. One, and, and Emily, you can, you can take over and you can speak to why you are even still doing it. I doubt it’s just because you’re being o c d, the, there actually are some, some big benefits.
Even if it’s a little bit of that. There’s probably other, there are probably other reasons. Other reasons too. But let’s say for people who have no kind of, you know, o c d in them, right? That they don’t, that doesn’t appeal to. All, but it will, it will teach you portion control. So a lot of people are surprised to learn what a proper portion of a certain amount of food looks like.
What is a tablespoon of peanut butter? Actually, what is a cup of something? Actually not a heaping pile, but like a measured out to the gram. Cup and you apply that to all the foods that you like to eat. And then it can be very helpful for when you are not weighing or tracking, because at that point, you know what proper portions look like.
It’s also, and I’ll say this, and then I’ll, then you can take over and just share your experience with it. But it’s also in, in my experience, Especially when you’re cutting and you wanna make sure that you’re precise, and if you’re on any sort of deadline, where it actually does matter that you could reach this goal in 4, 6, 8, whatever weeks as opposed to double that.
It’s nice to know that you’re not accidentally eating more than you should be or than you, than you want to be eating. And so by weighing and tracking, it just gives you some peace of mind that your calories are right in the range that they need to. You’re not tricking yourself in accidentally doubling or increasing portions of things by 20, 30, 40, 50%, and it only takes a couple of those errors to almost completely wipe out or completely wipe out your calorie deficit for that day.
And so, . Those are some of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed it and why I do think that everybody should try it. I mean, there are exceptions to rules. If somebody has had a really rough history with food and disordered eating particularly along these lines, okay, fine. That’s an exception. But in my experience, most people find it very beneficial.
Emily: Yeah, and maybe that’s part of it. Like I’ve had issues in the past with disordered eating, so for me it’s like a comfort in a way. , the peanut butter thing is really sad and that’s why I usually use the peanut butter powder cuz it still gives me that taste. And I’ve learned how to trade and alter things so that I still get the taste and the textures that I like.
But anyway, measuring, tracking it and my fitness power has been really, really helpful for me.
Mike: What about cheat meals or treat meals? Did you, did you incorporate any of that or did you not really feel the need
Emily: During my first cut, I did. My husband and I would always go out to dinner on Saturday nights, and I would definitely like let my guard down a little bit and enjoy.
But we would usually go to a restaurant where the portion sizes were not huge. To begin with. So it was more of an upscale place and we would get dessert. I mean, it doesn’t
Mike: have to be, uh, treat meals don’t have to be binges. It just something different, something tasty. Something to look forward to.
That’s some, that’s a misconception. You know, we’re bombarded with like, this is what the Rock has. When he does his big binge, that’s what
Mike: we should do too. Yeah, yeah. Oh gosh. Seven pizzas or whatever. .
Emily: Yeah, whatever. It’s, you know, you see the big stacks of food He. But something else that came out of me going through this process, I, it’s for everyone.
Like, you know, it’s up to you personally, but, uh, I don’t drink alcohol anymore. And did
Mike: you, did you stop drinking during the coaching or was that before?
Emily: Uh, during the coaching, I was never a huge drinker. That was not something that I really loved anyway. I would of course have like two or three drinks if we went out to dinner or something, but I don’t miss it.
And it was impacting. My workout. So didn’t wanna track alcohol , like, cause that’s also not fun.
Mike: So you were not, you were not drinking much, but you were noticing, uh, better workouts just by cutting it out altogether.
Emily: Yep. And I would rather eat my calories than drink them. That was something else that came out of it that I just thought of.
But yeah, having a clear plan, measuring now
Mike: wine. Wine, I think it’s, It’s like 20, it’s like 25 to 30 calories an ounce, I think an ounce.
Emily: Yeah. Not that carbs are bad, but most wine, carbs, . Yeah.
Mike: I was talking to somebody in the gym just recently and was joking with him that he, he finally had the, the realization, the disappointing moment when he realized that he’s just gonna have to.
Drink less wine or just stop drinking wine to lose his gut. Like that, that that’s what he is gonna have to do. Uh, I was like, dude, there’s just no way. I’m sorry you’re not, you can’t drink two bottles of wine every weekend and make this work. Yeah, I’m sorry. It’s just not gonna work. and then the occasional drink throughout the week too, there is a point where even the sheer calories become insurmountable.
Basical. And I
Emily: guess it depends on like, why are, are you drinking just because you enjoy it? You know, like, what are you trying to accomplish? So it’s all about goal setting and what you want. It wasn’t what I wanted. And so I don’t really, and I don’t miss it.
Mike: And I would say it’s the, that’s the smart decision.
It’s not necessarily the easy one for a lot of people, but alcohol is a poison. The research is clear that there are no, the, the, the downsides very much outweigh. Potential upsides, which are even controversial at this point. Some people’s bodies just deal with it better than others. That’s true. But everybody will be better off without alcohol there.
There’s nobody who is, is going to benefit from any amount of alcohol, unfortunately, for people who like
Emily: alcohol. Yeah, so I’m still, I’m still tracking. I still weigh things. I put it in my Fitness Pal, and even if I’m, you know, like over the holidays I was obviously a little bit more lax. I always tried to eat the same breakfast, like set myself up for protein, so then later in the day, I could, could enjoy other things.
I’m still hitting my targets and my goals for my macros, but yeah, I’m gonna continue doing it
Mike: until one, one day you’ll, you might be like, all right. It’s like, it’s like the little blanket, like the kids, you know, eventually give the blanket up. Well, I will
Emily: say this, we, uh, finally, we got married in 2020, my husband and I, and we finally went on our honeymoon last summer.
We did like, uh, we flew into Scotland and we drove around Scotland, we did Ireland and Iceland. I did not track any of that partially because there is no way in hell I could have, but .
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. That’s good. And that’s also good advice for vacation, what you just said, like something that. Uh, it is very simple and workable, is try to work in some physical activity of some kind if you can.
Doesn’t have to be workouts per se, but maybe it’s hiking or just walking around. Try to get your protein in and then, you know, have one or maybe two, just kind of whatever meals where, where you’re not worried about calories or macros. You’re eating what you want. Again, bing binging, I would not recommend.
Not, not worrying about it, just eating too satisfaction. And if you need some snacks along the way, just stick to high protein things. It’s a very simple way to, to enjoy your vacation without coming back, you know, five pounds fatter, which is not that big of a deal. You, you, you can go lose it. But if you, you don’t need to, then why, why, why not just come back Exactly where you, where you left
Yeah. So we were hiking. A ton, but you know, even just hitting your steps, like if you have a step target, like that’s super important too. So, and I’ll, I’ll stack, I do a lot of habit stacking now and first thing, if I’m on vacation, I walk, I get, try to get at least, you know, 5,000 steps in, in the morning. 10 if it’s a good day,
Mike: Yeah, that’s great. And, and for people listening, sometimes putting those steps into, Time context helps. So like 10,000 steps is about an hour and a half of walking for, for most people. So to do, to do 5,000 going out for like, you know, a 45 minute walk, which I would hope that most people could do if they’re on vacation.
I hope they would give themselves time.
Emily: I mean, I did get creative. I know you’re in Florida. It got pretty cold there over Christmas. It was freezing where we were. It was like 11 degrees. So I mean I still do run occasionally. Nothing like I was but my mother-in-law and I started doing like the Apple Fitness dancing.
Like, that’s what we resorted to. But I was like, I’ve gotta get my in. So this, this is what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna dance and everyone else in the family’s just gonna have to sit and watch. So you guys are gonna be here. We’re, we’re dancing
Mike: Every step counts. Let’s, uh, let’s talk about training. So, What did, what did your workout schedule look like while you were
Emily: getting coached?
Yeah, so I have had two different coaches with you guys. I had Luke and now I’m with Jeff, or was with Jeff, uh, with Luke. I was doing three days a week, you know, and he had lower body split and core and, but really they were not high rep. I think I was and still.