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In this podcast, I interview Nicole, a mother who had been struggling with her fitness journey until she found my one-on-one coaching service

With the help of my book and her coach, Jamie, she managed to redefine her body, learned about proper nutrition, and built a consistent fitness routine that helped her transform her life.

Before she found my program, Nicole relied on guidance from people at the gym with no formal coaching. After gaining weight and struggling to make progress, she realized she needed a structured approach to her training. 

She was initially skeptical of online coaching but gave it a shot. 

In 60 weeks of coaching, she’s lost 8 inches from her waist and 15% body fat while dramatically increasing her key lifts, drastically improving her body composition and strength. 

Nicole’s story is not just about physical transformation. It’s also about changing her relationship with food, understanding the importance of nutrition, the challenge of adjusting to a higher protein diet, and the benefits she experienced from lean bulking. 

Tune in to hear about Nicole’s inspiring transformation and the key lessons she learned along the way.


0:00 – Please leave a review of the show wherever you listen to podcasts and make sure to subscribe!

4:54 – Where did you start on your fitness journey?

11:27 – When you were bulking, did you notice any benefits in how you were feeling?

16:15 – Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching

18:40 – What was your diet like before you started your journey?

24:22 – When you were reading the book, did you not have a nutrition routine? Did that only change when you started the coaching program?

34:45 – Is there anything you wish you had known before you started your fitness journey?

37:16 Has there been anything that has been crucial to your success that you weren’t expecting?

39:56 – Was it a tough adjustment  to start eating more protein?

41:32 – Is there anything else that I didn’t ask that maybe you wanted to discuss?

Mentioned on the show: 

Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Mike: Hey there, I am Mike Matthews, and this is Muscle for Life. Thank you for joining me today for an interview with Nicole, who is a client of my sports nutrition company, Legion’s one-on-one coaching service, and with us, she lost 15% of her body fat and she gained a considerable amount of muscle and strength and.

She did it in her fifties. Also, as you will hear in this interview, Nicole didn’t just transform her body composition, but in working with her coach, she also transformed her relationship with food. She transformed her understanding of the importance of nutrition and the mechanics of nutrition, how to make that work.

That was a big breakthrough for her, and she transformed her overall health and wellbeing, her physical health, as well as her mental health. And as usual in these success story interviews that I do, Nicole is going to share her story, but she’s also gonna share the key lessons that she learned along the way, the key obstacles that she had to overcome and how she did that, as well as the key methods and techniques and strategies inside and outside of the gym that have enabled her to transform her body composition and her health in her fifties.

Hello, Nicole. It’s nice to meet you. 

Nicole: Hey Mike. Nice to meet you too. 

Mike: I like the background. I’m seeing a gym back there, right? 

Nicole: Yes, I’m upstairs in my gym. Nice, nice. I figured it was the most fitting place to do this, so 

Mike: Yeah, I like it. And is this something that you’ve had for a long time or is this something you put together as a part of the journey you’re gonna share with us today?

Nicole: Uh, this gym started as part of the journey. I started my journey working out outside with some really makeshift gym pieces that I had gathered from here and there, and the gym is still work in progress. I’ve got a new piece coming in next week I’m pretty excited about. So just where I spend most of my time during the day.

So it’s my favorite room, I guess. 

Mike: What do you have coming? What’s the new piece of equipment? 

Nicole: I broke down and ordered a leg press. This was not ever part of my routine or anything that my coach really had me doing, but I. I kind of feel like, or I’m hoping that it will help me strengthen my squats and get a little stronger in my legs.

So I do really well upper body, but my lower body, I don’t feel like it’s coming along as fast as I would like, so I’m adding pieces. 

Mike: You’re not the only woman who has told me that over the years. With men, it’s always the other way around. Guys are always like, yeah, my legs, you know, my legs are growing.

It’s cool, but. My upper body, my chest, my shoulders, my arms, often, they just, particularly upper body, never really gets big enough. That’s the male neurosis, uh, weightlifting, neurosis, uh, but no leg press is a, uh, I think a sensible addition. If right now your options are only free weights for lower body, that is a, a very useful machine in addition to the free weight stuff.

Nicole: We have a tonal also, we ordered that little piece that mounts on the wall, and I just have not acquired a taste for it, so I stick with the free weights. And I mean, they’re bulky. They take up a lot of space, but I just feel like they are better, they work better for me as far as that goes. 

Mike: Yeah, yeah.

They’re more versatile. I, I’ve played around with the tonal and. It’s not useless, but especially if, if you have a bit of experience and you’ve already gained a bit of muscle and strength, free weights are a lot more versatile, a lot more comfortable because you can move the ways that work the best for your body.

And so, yeah, I under, I understand that. I think that tonal could be great for somebody who’s maybe. New to resistance training. It’ll only get them so far, I would say similar to maybe body weight training. And then you add some bands and you can get a bit further with the bands. Uh, and then maybe you can add some dumbbells and you can get a little bit further, but, That type of setup will only get you so far.

Now, a person can actually get into good shape by anybody’s standards just with that. But if you want to get into exceptional shape, it takes a bit more for most people, unless you just have the genetics that it, you can just do body weight squats for a couple years and look like, uh, a fitness competitor.

Nicole: I’ve witnessed the lack of proper form on that quite a bit. I just feel like it really allows for mistakes and form a lot easier than using free weights. So I’m just not a huge fan of that thing. 

Mike: Yeah, I understand. So let’s talk about your journey. Can you. Tell us so, so where did this start for you? Was this something that fitness and from where you’re at now to that, that kind of transformation period, what does that look like?

Nicole: Well, unlike probably majority of people who do this, I have never had a weight problem, the opposite. In fact, I weighed 86 pounds when I graduated from high school. I would say I was grossly skinny. I could put my. Hand around my bicep and touch my fingers together. And if you’ve never tried that, that’s very small.

So I don’t know, I was always okay with being skinny, but I always felt less than my peers who were athletic and, you know, stronger than me. So somewhere in my twenties, early, I’d say probably 21. I followed my brother to a gym in our hometown and just started working out there. Really had no idea what I was doing.

That first time I ever did a squat with a bar, my legs turned to Jello and I. Truly did not think I was going to be able to walk outta that place on my own two legs. So that for me was where it started. And I never really had any coaching. It was just the guys in the gym that I kind of followed around and did what they did or they would kind of.

Kind of guide me here and there. So I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with these exercises. And after having babies, I gained a little bit of weight, but I mean, my max was still 108 pounds, but it wasn’t a healthy 108 and it wasn’t a strong 108. I had paid coaches, personal coaches, who actually I feel like I worked out with them, but there was never any coaching beyond that.

45 minutes I was with them. There was no nutritional coaching, no what to do tomorrow or the next day. In fact, I remember one of them laughing at me when I mentioned what I had eaten, but that’s as far as it went. He never said to me, what may I should be doing? So years went by, you know, family, babies, career, all that stuff that happens to us in life and.

I found a book. It was bigger, leaner, stronger. It was actually laying around the house. I don’t even know where it came from. Someone had ordered it and I picked it up and read it, and then I ordered thinner, leaner, stronger, and then I ordered the one year challenge. And I tried doing this on my own. I mean, maybe I was making some progress, but certainly was not doing what I was hoping it would do.

Started looking into the coaching, and I’ll admit I was very reluctant to believe that anything online was going to benefit me in any way. Shape or form. My fiance and I had discussed signing up for a year, and I talked him out of it. I told him, let’s just do it for six months. I just don’t see how this is going to work.

And within three months I knew that I had made a mistake. So the changes were not as fast as I, I had hoped for. Maybe the changes were they were happening, but in my mindset they weren’t happening today. So, but when I look back, In like three month increments they were happening, and I can see them in my progress photos, which I just despise taking those every time.

It’s time to do that. But I’m always so grateful that I have them. So the changes were happening very quickly now that I look back on it and look through the photos I learned about nutrition and. What I need to do to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish, and my goals were not so much to lose weight as to get in shape.

I’ve always admired the bikini competition. I. Body, and I never expected to get anywhere close to that, but that was what I kept in the back of my mind. My coach took me through a cut initially because when I look at those photos, I definitely was not heavy. I was 108 pounds, but I was fat, uh, skinny fat, I guess grossly outta shape and.

We went through a cut, we cut down to 99 pounds, and then we decided to do a lean bulk. Uh, she took me through that whole process back up to 106 pounds, and the photos of 108 and 106, you would never know that. There’s only two pounds difference in that. So the changes happened. They happen very quickly.

The consistency that I learned. To maintain, I learned to maintain just the change in meals, not even, I’m certainly not hungry. I’m definitely eating more than I ever was to start with the food. Gosh, there’s so much food at my calorie level right now that some days I think I can’t do this, but I manage.

Mike: That’s how you know you’re lean bulking correctly. By the way, after the first month or so, you’re just kind of force feeding yourself, even if you’re in a slight surplus for people listening, like if you think you are lean bulking and, and you’re not reaching that point, then you’re probably not in a surplus.

Because it’s fun for the first, again, month or two, at least in my experience and in just having spoken with and worked with many people over the years, the first month or two can be nice. And then it’s a bit of a chore similar to, to cutting. After a couple of months of cutting, you’re, you’re experiencing a bit more hunger than usual and you are minimally just kind of looking forward to get it done and, and just get back to eating a bit more food with lean bulking.

That’s totally normal. Because your body doesn’t really want to be overfed consistently for months at a time. Not that it’s raw, it’s not bad or unhealthy to do it, but that’s what you’re experiencing is your body’s like, okay, we have, it’s okay. We have no food. You don’t have to keep feeding us this surplus.

Nicole: Yes, I went to bed feeling like. A toad every single night during that, maybe the puppy that ate too much.

Mike: Just out of curiosity, in the way of benefits though, did you notice better workouts? Did you notice anything with energy levels, sleep recovery? 

Nicole: Absolutely. In fact, the first cut, I really didn’t. Notice that I, my energy levels were lower because that’s where I started.

After going through the bulk, I was able to live considerably more. Definitely look forward to the daunting routine, sometimes a whole lot better than I did prior to with the cut, it was the second cut that where I noticed the difference because I could really see where my energy levels had dropped a little bit after the bulk.

My strength dropped some, which was a little bit disheartening in the beginning. My coach Jamie, she kept me going through all of it to explaining this is going to happen. I had convinced myself that it was not going to happen to me, but it did. So I think everything just kind of went by the book as far as what was expected to happen.


Mike: and how was the body composition? Aspect of it. And the reason why I’m, I’m asking these follow-up questions is many women I’ve spoken with over the years have been resistant to lean bulking, especially after going through something similar to what you went through. They started out maybe a bit skinny fat or overweight, and they lost that fat and they’ve added some muscle and they’re pretty happy now.

They’re much happier with their body composition than. When they started and they feel like they don’t want to gain fat, so they’re just reluctant to gain body fat. So then they don’t want to lean bulk. And sometimes I’ve been able to coax them into trying it just by reminding them, you know, how to lose body fat now.

You know, it’s pretty straightforward. And if you really do want to gain muscle, even if it’s in certain parts of your body, like lower body for example, and you, and you really want to accelerate that progress, and I think it is nice. To experience. That elevation in performance, in energy, in mood, in recovery, just to see how, how much of an effect a bit more food can make.

So for all those reasons, I’ve been able to coax many women into trying it. But some have just politely declined, still, like, you know, I, I’m fine, I just wanna stay at 20% body fat and I’ll accept slower progress. And, uh, I don’t, I just don’t ever want to go. I, I came from, Over there and I don’t, I don’t want to take another step in that direction.

Nicole: Right. It was a little scary at first. I also felt that way, but I also wanted to gain muscle and I really only gained back six pounds, so, and. Not all of that was fat. It was just a little bit at the peak of my bulk. I was not fat. I didn’t feel fat. I didn’t look fat. My muscles were plumped up. They looked a lot better.

I felt so much stronger and it seemed to go away very quickly with the cut my body comp had. Changed so drastically that I was burning calories like crazy. In fact, the increase was about 600 calories from where I started with my cut, and I’m five feet tall and a hundred pounds roughly. So that’s quite a bit of calories for someone my size, I think.

As far as fat, I just don’t even really see it in my photos. I, I can see it when I compare it to my af the cut afterwards, but during the process I didn’t see the fat. It was surprising. It was amazing. I’m ready to do it again. I really can’t wait. I’m kind of waiting for the holidays to start my walk again so that it will be, I don’t wanna be in a cut during my, the holidays is what I’m.

Mike: Yeah, that’s my joke that I’m like, uh, here. How, how to diet during the holidays according to science. Just don’t do it. Just don’t bother. Just enjoy yourself. And if there are days where you really overdo it, then maybe the next day just cut it back a little bit and try not to do too. Feast days in a row may.

Maybe that’s the only tip. And if that happens, oh well, 

Nicole: I think I’ve changed enough that just my nutrition, the way I eat to go ahead and have those cheap meals from time to time, I enjoy them, but I don’t ever feel that good after I eat them. I really am always asking myself, why did I do that? Because it just doesn’t.

Seem to fit me anymore, like it, that kind of food used to do so, and I don’t enjoy it like I used to, so I just don’t all that often. Now, cake is another thing, but I will eat cake if it’s around. 

Mike: Everyone has their other thing. How would you like to know A little secret. That will help you get into the best shape of your life.

Here it is. The business model for my v I p coaching service sucks. Boom, mic drop. And what in the fiddly frack am I talking about? Well, while most coaching businesses try to keep their clients around for as long as possible. I take a different approach. You see, my team and I, we don’t just help you build your best body ever.

I mean, we do that. We figure out your calories and macros, and we create custom diet and training plans based on your. Goals and your circumstances, and we make adjustments depending on how your body responds, and we help you ingrain the right eating and exercise habits so you can develop a healthy and a sustainable relationship with food and training and more.

But then there’s the kicker because once you are thrilled with your results, we ask you to fire us seriously. You’ve heard the phrase give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Well, that summarizes how my one-on-one coaching service works, and that’s why it doesn’t make nearly as much coin as it could.

But I’m okay with that because my mission is not to just help you gain muscle and lose fat. It’s to give you the tools and to give you the know-how that you need to forge ahead in your fitness without me. So dig this when you sign up for my coaching, we don’t just take you by the hand and walk you through the entire process of building a body you can be proud of.

We also teach you the all important wise behind. The hows the key principles and the key techniques you need to understand to become your own coach and the best part. It only takes 90 days. So instead of going it alone this year, why not try something different? Head over to Muscle For

That is Muscle Foor Life Show slash vip and schedule your free consultation. Call now and let’s see if my one-on-one coaching service is right for you. But, but that’s interesting you say it. So previously, what was your diet like? You know, before you. Started all of this. 

Nicole: Previously I tried to eat healthy.

I thought I was eating healthy, but we ate out quite a bit at restaurants. I’ve still been able to eat out and I do from time to time, but we did it often. When it wasn’t really called for, and I say that by meaning, you know, going out or meeting friends, whatever, we would just eat out because we didn’t wanna cook and or go shopping.

You know, I just didn’t keep always the food in the house that I need, and I don’t do that anymore. But that was really the bulk of my diet and I, I just didn’t think about what I was eating so much as I should do it because it tastes good. So that’s what I did. Now I put considerable more thought into what I eat before I eat it.

Mike: And how do you make eating out work currently? Because that’s just a, a hot topic. That’s something that, that people often ask about is how do you incorporate, usually it is for the purposes of socializing. How do you incorporate that into a healthy lifestyle that’s conducive to maintaining a fit body composition and so forth.

Nicole: What works for me is we typically frequent the same restaurants. When we do go out, we both know what we eat and what the calorie allotment is. I mean, we have a pretty good idea. If I do go anyplace else, I usually have that planned and I’ve allowed calories throughout the days that I do have a few extra toward the end of the day, and then I don’t beat myself up over it because it’s one time and I generally won’t go out to eat again for another couple of weeks or maybe even a month that I don’t do it.

I carry my food with me. To work. I always have some sort of snack in my car if I go any place, just simply to avoid being hungry and making poor decisions because of that. So, Carry some sort of healthy snack with me. It, it’s working for me. I’m comfortable, comfortable with that. My friends and family have gotten used to me carrying food everywhere and it benefits them also.

So they just know and that, I mean, people have stopped asking me to order out at work because they know I’m not going to, and frankly, I enjoy the food that I make, that I eat now much better than eating out. To begin with, so that’s how I do it. 

Mike: Yeah, ironically, preparing your own food and bringing it to work should probably be the thing that is more normal.

Eating out or ordering out every single day and ordering food that was not prepared with often, depending on what you’re ordering. Not prepared with health in mind, but just with taste in mind. How do we make this as tasty as possible? And that usually in entails. An unhealthy amount of, or unnecessarily large amount of calories and unnecessarily large amount of fat.

And sometimes it can be, you could even say unhealthy if it’s an excessive amount of saturated fat in one meal, like that’s not doing that often is not conducive to health. So what. You’re doing, you know, it is just anybody who, who gets into this, like you has those moments where people, they look at it as like odd or like there’s something wrong.

Maybe you have a weird relationship with food, but again, that can be the case with some people. Sure. But if you. Speak with a lot of people who stay in good shape for a long period of time. You notice some commonalities and this point of, yeah, I mostly eat food that I prepare is something that probably all of these people are gonna mention again if they stay in good, in good shape for a long period of time.

Nicole: I enjoy the food that I eat and I eat what I want. The flexible dieting is fantastic. There’s never, there’s just never any uncertainty with knowing what I’ve prepared and the way I prepare it has changed just a little bit. Certainly more healthy. I do have a favorite cookbook I use and that. Helps considerably.

Um, I think you know that cookbook, but the family loves it. But I don’t know, I think initially my friends and coworkers were a little weirded out by the things that I was doing, and, but I get a lot of questions. 

Mike: Then they see the results though, and they, and that’s why they’re like, okay, well actually this is clearly working.

So now I’m curious. 

Nicole: Almost every day that I work, I. Have somebody stop me and they are saying, so I’m watching what you’re eating and I wanna do that too. How do I do this? Or what’s the, the main goal? And, you know, I try to tell them a little bit, but that it’s, it is diet, it’s nutrition, but it’s all encompassing the whole program.

It’s not just one thing that got me here in the first place. I can do the nutrition without the strength training. Certainly would be healthier by doing so. If I did the strength training without the nutrition, as I’ve learned, I don’t get there either. So it’s discipline, it’s you just have to decide that this is your thing, this is what you wanna do, and you’re going to do it.


Mike: Yeah, very true. And is that what occurred when, so when you had my books and you had started to work on your own, you were doing the strength training, but did you not have the nutrition component worked out or, and then what else, I’m curious, got tailored specifically to you in the coaching that made it really kind of click into gear, you know, 

Nicole: Okay.

The nutrition was a struggle. I had tried to figure my macros, trying to count the calories. It was difficult in the beginning. Having the coach definitely made that easier. The meal planner that she sent me, I think I had two meals that that came with my program to start with substitutions here and there.

We did that, that helped. And honestly, I stuck with that for probably the first month and didn’t veer from that too much simply because of the security that I had in that I didn’t have to put a lot of thought in it. Over time, my coach, Jamie, she’s fantastic. We hit it off and had a lot of similarities in our journey.

She was able to guide me here and there with some little substitutions, little things I could do that would. Help me make some changes here and there, and it was just over the course of time, little changes that I added, made supplemented here and there, and now it’s just second nature. I don’t even think about it.

I probably don’t have to measure food the way I did as precisely as I did currently just in a maintenance program, I guess. But I feel better doing that. I feel. Safer, I feel more secure, and it’s not a nuisance to me to do that. My lunch bag has a scale in it, and if I do order chicken breast or something from the cafeteria, just go ahead and weigh it just for my own benefit.

I’m usually pretty spot on with it. Just having eaten all these foods for so long. But I feel better doing it, and I, I don’t know that I’ll ever stop doing that. I thought maybe I would, but I, I don’t think I’m ready to do that right now. So, 

Mike: I mean, it’s a good exercise for everyone to go through, especially people who are resistant to the idea of weighing or measuring anything.

Because often what happens is those people don’t understand. How many calories they’re actually eating and they don’t understand portions and what a portion of a food that they like represents in terms of calories and what maybe a more reasonable portion should look like. And so, you know, I’ve, I’ve said many times that.

People, you, you don’t have to continue weighing and measuring forever if you don’t want to, if you want to do what you’re doing. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But for people who don’t, who, who their, their baseline is, I, I don’t wanna do any of that. I highly recommend if anybody’s listening with that, uh, mindset, I highly recommend that you do it for a period.

Just commit to weighing and measuring for four weeks, let’s say make a meal plan, weigh and measure everything. And I, I’ve heard from many, many people over the years who have found that very enlightening because it allowed them to really understand. How many calories they’re eating and what certain caloric intake levels looks like and feels like in terms of food.

And then also to kind of calibrate their understanding of portions, like what does 300 calories of this oatmeal that they with some nuts and fruit, or what does that actually look like? Unfortunately, This is just, just the way we, humans are. Most of us tend to drastically underestimate how much food we eat and how many calories we eat, not the other way around.

So it is a, a great exercise to go through and like you, many people, they stick with it for longer than they quote unquote have to, and they know that just because they got into the routine of it and it works for them. Again, I, I don’t. I don’t see any reason to not do it so long as you don’t mind doing it.

Nicole: Right. I enjoy it. I think sticking with the routine helps with the consistency. It helps with the discipline of actually getting myself back into the gym because honestly, there are days that I don’t always want to work out. Having the coach over head was wonderful, especially for those days when I could, you know, send her a message and just say, I’m not feeling it today.

Kinda need a push. And she was always there to do that gently. Of course, 

Mike: she didn’t just send you a clip of David Goggins yelling at you. 

Nicole: No, she was, Jamie’s great, she’s awesome. She would just give me the nudge that I needed and once she even told me I didn’t have to do it, she said, you can quit if you like.

And that was all I needed to hear to not quit. So I did the workout and in fact, I, what I’ve noticed too is these workouts that I just don’t really wanna do that day, they sometimes end up being the best workouts that I’ve had in a while. So maybe, you know, Stack the weight on, add a little bit more. You know, it helps, it gets you through when you don’t wanna do it, because I think my consistency has just got to where it needs to be simply by having the coach overhead telling me, you know, not telling me to do this, but it was laid out for me and.

I knew that she was watching, so I, I did it. I didn’t wanna disappoint her, nor did I want to have to answer to her why I didn’t do it. So 

Mike: yeah, accountability is one of the number one, that’s one of the top reasons, if not the number one reason that people. Higher coaches, uh, in the supplies to fitness and many other things.

And anybody who has, and, and I’ve worked with fitness coaches, I’ve worked with golf coaches, I’ve worked with, uh, played ice hockey. So I played, worked with various coaches and yeah, I understand that that’s, uh, a valuable part of it. Also, you mentioned. Just taking out guesswork, basically just knowing that somebody else has, who has a lot of experience with this, has worked it out for, and you don’t have to question whether you set your calories or your macros upright or set your workout program upright.

It’s nice to eliminate the cognitive overhead, so to speak, and just give all that to somebody else. And all you need to do is execute. Give them feedback. And allow them to do their job 

Nicole: right. I think that was the difference in having a personal coach that I. Paid and went to see and worked out with versus the online.

It was all there for me. I could see days in advance what I would be doing with the personal coach would see that person. And like I said before, it just didn’t go on beyond that. Beyond that hour with the online with Legions program, it was all. Laid out for me. Everything I needed to do every day do this and the magic will happen, and it did happen.

So I’m stronger. I’m. Feel like Wonder Woman some days and it’s really nice as far as the muscle, I know women don’t really, some women don’t look forward to being bulked up, but I just don’t think a woman, it’s, you really have to work really hard to get that bulky, I think. But I have other women walk up to me.

On a consistent basis and ask me how do I get arms like that? And that’s a pretty good feeling knowing that I’ve worked that hard and other people are noticing. 

Mike: So yeah, to get to bulky, you have to, you have to pass all the way through athletic. And that’s a whole range of. Musculature and it takes a lot of work to get even outside of that spectrum, just the athletic spectrum to then the more kind of muscle bound look I guess you could say.

And especially for women. Mostly because women start out with less muscle than men and have, they have smaller skeletons than men, and that’s correlated with the total amount of muscle that you can gain. And so, It is, it is very hard to get to that point of being truly bulky, especially if you’re keeping your body fat in a reasonable range.

I mean, it takes many years of really tough training to gain the amount of muscle that it takes to look like, not like a bikini competitor, but now like a bodybuilder and, and I would say many, this applies to men too, but many women. They actually probably don’t even have the genetics get there. Even if they tried, they could get fat if they just gorge on food every day.

But if they were managing it properly, there’s a point where there’s, there would just be so little muscle left to gain and they still don’t quite look bulky there. There’s still somewhere in that athletic spectrum. 

Nicole: Right. I think it’s just a very healthy look, and I don’t know, I like it much better than the way I used to look.

And I will say I did all this without doing cardio. That is the best part of this whole thing. 

Mike: And yes, absolutely you can. Cardio is not necessary for improving body composition. I would suggest it for the purposes of general health and longevity, particularly cardiovascular health. But you have seen firsthand that if you know what you’re doing, With your nutrition and if you’re willing to put in at least a few hours per week, uh, into your strength training, if you were only strength training one or two hours per week, it gets kind of difficult unless you are very active just in your day-to-day living.

Uh, maybe like if your job isn’t sitting at a desk, but you’re moving around a lot, so you already get in 30,000 steps a day or something ridiculous. But if you have probably minimally three, certainly four or five hours a week of strength training, that’s enough exercise to allow you to maintain enough of a calorie deficit to lose fat when you wanna lose fat and so forth.

So, question for you. Is there anything that you wish you had known when you first started this process, this transformation you went through? 

Nicole: I wish I had known how attainable the goals were. Like I said before, I, I was unsure of the online part of it. I wish I had known ahead of time that I think the best way to do this, that it is, that these goals are actually there.

And as I said earlier, the. My photos say it all with the one month pictures, the just the changes that are actually achievable in doing this. I would’ve started this a long time ago had I known ahead of time. 

Mike: Yeah. Is there anything that was particularly surprising to you just throughout this whole process?

Nicole: Again, I’m gonna refer to the online part. That part was surprising to me just how great that works. I’m older in my fifties and not of the computer generation so much. So that was shocking to me that, that it works so well with, you know, for me doing my workouts at home. Everything is there. The videos are there.

My coach is there. She’s always reachable if I need anything. The weekly phone calls were wonderful and. You know, I just kept a little notepad if I did have any questions I wanna talk with her about over the phone versus, you know, a text. 

Mike: That’s a good tip, by the way for people listening when you’re working with a coach is when things occur to you, just write them down.

Either put them in your phone notes app or a little notebook or whatever. And then you don’t have to try to remember when it comes time for a call. Like, oh, well there was this, oh, well I feel like I’m forgetting something. 

Nicole: I usually have a small page of questions to ask her for the phone call. You know, she always had an answer, and if she didn’t, she would check on it for me or no, we would figure it out together.

That, and then, you know, she did the weekly videos or the review videos afterwards, and I’ve saved all those. Those are just kind of like, They’re encouraging. They get me through a week when I’ve had a rough week of workouts or I’m just, you know, not feeling good, not feeling the workout. That helps. It helps to be able to have someone.

In my corner looking out for me and who has the same goals as I do, and when my coach gets as excited as I do for my wins and my gains, that’s a really good feeling. So I can’t really thank her enough for what she’s, what she’s helped me to accomplish, so 

Mike: that’s great. Is there anything that has turned out to be crucial?

To your success, a big part of your success that you weren’t expecting? 

Nicole: I would say the nutrition and, and the consistency, but nutrition definitely is just made such a difference in not just my workouts, not just my games, but just life overall. Just the changes that I’ve made. I feel better. I’m happier. I sleep better.

I no longer take an antidepressant. I don’t take any medication to sleep anymore and all that’s huge. I’ve done that for years leading up to this and was able to get off of these meds and now I. Take an allergy pill and that’s it. So I give credit to my workouts and nutrition for that. 

Mike: So, and on the nutrition side of things, I’m assuming that it wasn’t just working out calories and macros.

It sounds like from what you were saying earlier, there also was a qualitative improvement to your diet in terms of food choices. And with that comes a lot of additional nutrition that maybe previously your body wasn’t getting quite enough of certain. Nutrients simply because of eating out a lot and just kind of choosing whatever tastes good.

Nicole: Certainly, I don’t think that I, well, I know for sure that I had no idea how much protein a person needed to eat. 

Mike: How was that for you, by the way? Was, was that a tough adjustment? A lot of women, it is a bit like they’ll go from have guess. I’ve received so many emails over the years where, uh, it would be a woman who’s eating like 30 to 50 grams per day, and now she’s supposed to eat a hundred or maybe even some cases a little bit more.

And they’re double checking like, did I calculate this wrong? Is that seriously how much protein I’m supposed to eat? And they’re trying to figure out how do I even do that, that, that, that’s like a, a completely different diet. 

Nicole: I honestly never really thought about how much protein I was eating or should be eating, but once it was on paper and I was looking at it in my calorie counter, yes, it was a, a huge awakening.

Oh my gosh. I still have, you know, I still can be eating. I still need protein, and I’m eating all the time. It’s pretty much a all day long thing for me. I get the comments so frequently. Oh my gosh, you’re eating again. But I have to, to. Stay where I’m at, so, and to reach the, the goals that I have. But yeah, the protein was a monster to get used to, but I’m.

Now, I don’t know that I would have any trouble not counting it. I think I could do it without counting, but I’m gonna count.

Mike: Is there anything that, uh, helped you adjust to the large increase in protein? Or did, did you just kind of force it down and eventually you just got used to it? 

Nicole: I just did it, Mike.

I did everything that my coach told me to do down to the last calorie, the last macro. I didn’t miss anything for the first six months. I stayed spot on, got a little more flexible there. The last six months, or the second six months, I’ve been a little less rigid in it. Of course, going through a bowl, I was able to do that as far as cutting.

I did exactly what she told me to do, down to, oh, I’ve gotta eat four more grams of egg white, and then I’m there. So, Yeah, 

Mike: I remember. I remember the first cut that I did where I. It was, there was a bodybuilder who I met just kind of randomly, and he explained energy balance and macronutrient balance and, uh, made sense.

And I remember being very meticulous, like, you know, texting him, Hey, so this is my, my little treat meal. And I’m gonna go eat sushi. Is it like, okay if I have two tuna rolls and like, here’s exactly what I plan on eating. You know, he thought I was funny just cuz he went, we all go through the same and eventually you do it enough.

Or like, eat the sushi dude. Enjoy yourself. It’s okay. 

Nicole: Right. It’s definitely an adjustment. 

Mike: Yeah. Well, when you’re seeing results too, you’re like, all right, this is cool. I just don’t wanna mess this up. So I’d rather rather be safe than sorry. Well, this was a, a great discussion, Nicole. I really appreciate you taking the time again.

And before we wrap up, is there anything else that I didn’t ask that you were hoping I would ask about or anything else you wanna share to everybody before we. Sign off? 

Nicole: I don’t think so. I think we’ve talked about everything. I would like to thank you for this program for all of it, and my coach, Jamie Pearson, she’s just phenomenal.

Definitely recommend Jamie as a coach. She’s awesome. It’s just been really a nice lifestyle change for me and I have you guys to thank for it. 

Mike: That’s awesome. Yeah, I love it. And let’s finish with, how much are you squatting now? So there was a time when you fir, well, I think you said in your twenties that the bar left you almost like handicapped and, and what is it now?

Nicole: At the peak of my bulk, I was squatting 105, which that was what I weighed. So I have dropped back down. I’m squatting 80 pounds right now, comfortably, consistently. And for how many reps though? I’m doing 10 reps at a time. 

Mike: Yeah. So that’s a big change. When the bar leaves you, I think you said jelly lagged and then your, your one RM now is well above your body weight, so that’s great.

Nicole: Yeah. That’s pretty awesome. I’m proud of myself. 

Mike: Cool. Cool. Well, uh, keep up the good work and thanks again for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it. 

Nicole: Thanks, Mike. It was fun. 

Mike: Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes.

And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you. And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have. Ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share.

Shoot me an email, mike muscle for, muscle f o r and let me know what I could do better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future. I read everything. My, myself, I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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