Branden here. I’m a personal trainer & nutrition coach.
Around Pride of last year, I reached a breaking point. I saw photos of myself in the Pride March. There was so much joy on my face, but on my (nearly) naked body, there hardly seemed to be the muscle definition I craved.
I had worked out nonstop for years. I was getting very fed up. I figured it was seriously time for Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
But as I researched HGH, I realized I couldn’t afford it. So I hired a coach, Chris Hale, who I had known several years ago. I had once asked him how he had earned such an incredible body. “One day, I realized I didn’t just want to be good,” he had answered, without a trace of pretense. “I wanted to become great.”
Within two months of hiring him, I began feeling like every morning was Christmas morning.
I still feel that way.
Over the last several months, there have been two dietary “hacks” that have allowed me to see muscle accrue on my frame while fat has melted away.
1) INCREASED PROTEIN (from REAL FOOD sources, not powders), and
2) DECREASED FAT INTAKE.
The kinds of protein I eat almost/every day:
- 96% lean ground beef (super cheap at Trader Joe’s)
- Canned chicken (ibid)
- 0% Fat Greek Yogurt or Fat Free milk
- I currently consume 225g (or more) protein every day, and hit 38g of fiber daily (mostly from oatmeal, broccoli, and psyllium husk powder)
The biggest tweaks I’ve made to reduce fat:
- I track everything via My Fitness Pal, a fabulous, free app that helps me see what my biggest fat culprits are. Even when I go over my daily goal (95g), I can avoid going over by a lot
- I try to be gentle to myself on days when I go over, but don’t use that as an excuse to let all hell break loose
- I never buy full-fat dairy/meat.
- I stopped buying and consuming nut butters, nuts, and extra oils
I used to think I could NEVER “eat healthy” or have that prototypical “Chelsea Gay” body – because I love pizza, chocolate and donuts TOO MUCH.
I’m delighted to report, I still eat those things! Sometimes, several servings in one day!
But, I don’t let myself enjoy those foods (usually) until I have made a SERIOUS dent in my fiber and protein goals for the day. This makes me crave those foods less. Also, tracking EVERYTHING I eat lets me know when I’m about to go over my goal, so I can mentally begin putting the breaks on.
Trust me … the joy and power of having the body I’ve wanted for so long is COMPLETELY worth the effort it takes to plan ahead and track my food.
If a sugar addict (me) can get and SUSTAIN changes like this, YOU CAN DO IT TOO, gurl.
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To the most empowered, joyful version of yourself,