Friday, 24 May 2013

6 Week Project: End of Project

Well I have to say it's been an absolute pleasure working with my project for the past couple of months.

Here's a brief look at the changes made and the results:

Changes in nutrition:
We wanted to avoid making immediate, HUGE, drastic changes or creating a strict 'diet' to stick to. Instead we made subtle changes over time and taught her how to look after her own dietary requirements (instead of being reliant on an external source like Weight Watchers, Lighter Life, Slim Fast or a diet book).

Here's the changes we made over the course of our programme-
- Cutting portion sizes and not eating until uncomfortably full.
- Cutting processed sugars from her diet. Replacing sweets with fruit to tackle the sweet craving initially. Then removing snacks altogether over time.
Drinking more water. As we know, a hydrated body won't cling to water. By hydrating her effectively we were able to shed some water weight.
- Eating 3 meals per day and avoiding snacking (gradually replacing snacks with water)
- Cutting caffeine intake, again hoping to created a hydrated, efficient body.
- Reducing intake of starchy foods (pasta, bread, potato) We replaced potato with sweet potato, bread with pita or corn-based tortilla wraps and replaced pasta with rice. I also introduced simple recipe ideas like mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potato.
- Stopped her being scared of 'fat'. The body needs fats. So I looked to educate her and show that sugars were the problem with the current diet, not fats.
- Reducing intake of artificial nasties. This one was a tough one that requires some willpower. I asked that if she bought any item of food that was processed, prepared or packaged (ie, not a fresh, raw ingredient) to look at the list of ingredients, if there were more ingredients that she didn't recognise than she did recognise, then it was best to put it back on the shelf and find an alternative. Again looking ot educate and get her to understand what she's putting in her body.
- INcreade in fibre (from vegetables) and protein (from food, not supplements) and general reduction in carbohydrates (trying to source carbs from fruit and vegetables primarily)
- Planning meals and preparing in advance to avoid rushing for Gregs or Subway as a last resort.

The fitness side of the program was quite straightforward. We followed this basic plan with varied exercises and weights:
- Warmup and mobility
- Heavy compound lifts (Variations on squats and deadlifts as the main exercises)
- Accessory compound lifting (overhead press, rowing, pull ups etc.)
- Complex patterns with load (series of lifts at moderate weight with no rest between exercises)
- Specific strength work to assist with pole dancing strength goals (grip, shoulder strength etc.)
- Cardio (Usually High Intensity Interval incorporating bodyweight exercises.)

So, what were the results?

Firstly, and most importantly in this case, she FEELS better. She's happier and more confident. That's not something that can be measured, but it makes all the difference in the world to a client.

She doubled the load that we put on her back squat and deadlift. We created more muscle, therefore increasing her base metabolic rate - more calories burned per day before any exercise has been done.
This also had the added bonus of increasing core stability and completely removing lower back discomfort that she had blamed on her office chair at work.

There was a significant and noticeable drop in body fat and an increase in firmness and muscle tone.

Total weight lost in 6 weeks was 12lbs. But we have to take into account that she gained a significant amount of muscle during that time.

All things considered, the whole experiment has been a success. Now she can carry on living a healthy, happy life on her own.

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