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What’s the difference between someone in those successful nutrition transformation photos and others? There are certainly genetic factors, the impact of workout intensity, financial investments, more time committed and any number of other influencing factors. But in the end one simple thing makes the biggest difference: Consistency is the key to Nutrition Program Success. Very simply, someone who is successful with their nutrition program buys into the program 100%. That doesn’t mean they pay more money, it just means that they agree to follow and trust the program and coach during the entire process and are active in communicating their challenges and needs.
The nutrition program at Ironstone Strength & Conditioning is geared to be a lifestyle change. The aim is to teach clients how to properly fuel their bodies for performance, increase energy levels, improve body composition and therefore improve lifestyle inside and outside of the gym. The ultimate goal is creating sustainable habits that will last a lifetime.
Changing habits takes time, it takes patience, and it takes work. In order to be successful with your dietary choices you must make some changes, this should be obvious. If you keep doing what you’ve always done you will get what you have always gotten. However, changes cannot be drastic if we want them to be sustainable. For example, if a client comes to me and drinks alcohol about 3x times per week, I can’t expect them to stop drinking altogether as this wouldn’t last more than a couple weeks. Anyone can have good intentions and can commit to something extreme for a short period but taking small steps is the sustainable path to long-term goals.
The effort it takes, mindset, and results might be best understood as a case study. Kendra & Matt are members who completed several months of nutrition coaching in the spring. They listened to all nutrition and lifestyle advice and followed the plan even when they weren’t seeing the physical changes they wanted at the beginning. I cannot emphasize this enough: even though they weren’t getting immediate results they Stayed. The. Course. Aesthetics will always follow on as the after effect of proper nutrition, hydration & recovery. The key was not losing faith in the program after the first month, as well as constant coach-client communication and support. Communication helps silence the voice that says “this is too hard” or “this isn’t working.” Have a read about their individual experiences from their perspective:
I can’t say enough good things about the time I spent working with Kat through the Crossfit Ironstone Nutrition Program! Kat was great at listening to and analyzing my eating habits, helping me to set individualized, attainable and realistic goals for the program. She provided me with a specific meal plan, tailored to the foods I like, giving me lots of options to choose from. I was never hungry, as Kat ensured that my meals were spaced out appropriately throughout the day. She also made sure she was available to me at any time, meeting with me and responding to my emails and questions in a timely manner, helping me navigate any concerns I had. Kat literally does all the work for you. There was no macronutrient or calorie counting needed on my end, as she provided me with my meals and the amounts of foods needed!
What I liked the most about this program was that Kat was able to set up my meals around my individual gym schedule, ensuring that I was properly fueled for each workout and recovering appropriately. Within the first couple of weeks, I was already feeling the benefits of this program both inside and outside of the gym! I was sleeping better, had more energy during my workday and during my workouts, and was overall in a better mood! Even though I had reduced my total number of calories per day, I was improving my performance in the gym, hitting strength PRs and feeling more energized during the endurance workouts!
By working with Kat over the course of 5 months, I lost a total of 10lbs (any many inches) without ever feeling like I was on a “diet”. I was able to continue eating all the foods I enjoy, including having a “cheat meal” once a week! I definitely wasn’t perfect and had my days (or many days) where things went a bit off the rails; however, Kat was always there to help me get back on track and figure out the obstacles that were hindering my progress. I feel this program is highly sustainable and realistic for anyone who is looking for a lifestyle change, specific to nutrition and performance. This program has provided me with the skills and knowledge needed to understand proper nutrition, portion sizes, and fueling my body pre- and post-workout. My perspective around food and nutrition has changed for the better and these new habits are ones I plan to keep for the rest of my life! Thanks Kat and the Ironstone Nutrition Program for all your support and help!
Kendra represents a really interesting example of how consistency can lead to positive change. She had very specific training goals, she was extremely active in the gym, and she didn’t have “much” to lose in terms of weight or body fat. She spent her time working on what we call recomposition – which means trading off a few pounds of fat for a few pounds of hard earned muscle. Even though her overall weight loss was low, the images speak for themselves (Editors note: Kendra was a bit unsure about putting her pictures on the internet so as much as she deserves immense praise for her efforts please be tactful if you want to give her awesome feedback -Patrick)
For me, asking for help from Kat (and Ironstone) was the key to being successful. I’ve always liked to cook and ate well. Probably a little too well. I mean, why not try that new beer?! “What?? there’s a new restaurant… why, I must eat everything they have on the menu”. That kind of thing. I travel often for work and when I travelled I ate poorly, especially with groups of people. When I wasn’t travelling, I also liked coming to Ironstone and seeing my progress, chipping away at it.
Pretty quick, with my combination of inconsistent habits and perhaps a little miseducation on what eating well is, you realize that those things are actually chipping away at your progress in the gym. One step forward, one step back. Eventually you just stop progressing, which was where I was at.
Working with Kat was great. For me, I found being accountable to another person who is in your corner huge, and key at first when the changes are hard. It stays hard for a while, but eventually the habits form and it sticks. What doesn’t stick or doesn’t work for you personally, there’s always a workaround, and Kat’s there to help you find it, even if it takes a few tries.
Beginning to end the process makes sense – Kat learns your habits, establishes a new baseline, sets a goal, and you keep adjusting until the goal is hit. Every change made was sustainable. In the end, I simply put my trust in Kat’s abilities and was rewarded by going from 214 lbs (25.2% BF) to 190 lbs (20.2% BF) in about 4 months, while still hitting weekly PRs.
I’m actually now at a point where I will soon walk away from the program, continuing to reach out to Kat, each time I take on a new goal. To me this is a testament to Kat’s success, to be able to walk away knowing that the changes you made and what you’ve learned sticks with you.
I honestly can’t say enough great things about it or how it went. I’m sure you will end up the same way. Also, I hear Kat’s trying to build a magic school bus. I’m pretty sure it was Miss Frizzle who said, “take chances, make mistakes, get messy”. I think we should all support that and maybe do more of it for ourselves. Try it out!!
Matt also had great success from an aesthetic standpoint, but real story is how much he was able to change his measurements:
24 pounds, 5% bodyfat and five inches at the waist are substantial changes considering his legs also slightly grew in width. These metrics highlight the framework about a greet nutrition program. It isn’t just about the number of pounds you can lose. A good, balanced program maintains or increases muscle mass, improves performance, and helps you reach your goals. It takes dedication, and time but with a strong commitment substantial changes are possible and you don’t have to give up everything you love!
Kendra & Matt should be commended for what they were able to accomplish but it is worth reinforcing that the magic ingredients here were consistency & time coupled with a solid program and good communication. The program cannot do the work for you; you need to put yourself in the Driver’s Seat and take full advantage of the opportunity that working with someone affords. Kendra and Matt did exactly that and they got great results. Further reinforcing their dedication I pulled some numbers from the admin panel in Beyond the Whiteboard. Each month, BTWB calculates a “Committed Club” for those who have attended at least 12+ days in a month. Kendra and Matt have been on this list every month this year and during the height of their coaching efforts were the top attendees 3 months running. You don’t have to win every workout or PR every day, you just need to show up and do the work. The same can be said for nutrition: you don’t need to give up everything or jump on some extreme diet. Just make small changes and commit to consistency, the changes will come.