Hello everyone, and thank you to Jenn for asking me to provide my perspective and an overview of my experience with the RP Strength diet plan. Jenn pretty much covered the ins and outs of the program in her post last week, so I won’t reiterate it here. If you want that info please visit her previous post . This is just a short post highlighting my experience.
A little background before we get started…I believe that I have been fairly mindful of my nutrition for several years now, and have been able to maintain my weight between 168 and 180. The upper limit of 180 is usually encountered around the holidays and when I let too much beer creep into my diet. I have never followed a diet plan…ever. For my entire life I have carried extra fat around the middle, and I have come to accept that as the reality. I have been accepting of it for the most part because my exercise regimen combined with eating “clean” 80% of the time has allowed me to maintain a level of fitness that enables me to enjoy physical activity and do just about whatever I want to do. For 8 years I have been adhering to a CrossFit style of exercise, which I thoroughly enjoy and which has produced good results physically and mentally. I have remained “in shape”. I have also had my share of bumps and bruises along the way, which sometimes limits my level of activity. While on RP I decided to follow The Bigness Project that Jenn had previously utilized. While the program is designed for and marketed to women, the exercises are no different than one’s I would / could implement for myself. You can read more about the program here; in a nutshell, it is a more conventional weight training program with no olympic lifts or “metcons”. An old school meat head approach combined with some tempo work and a good amount of consistent volume. I enjoyed the change of pace and my body responded favorably, both in terms of aesthetic gains and reduction of nagging injuries. When I started RP my weight was 175.5 lbs and my waist measured 36.5 inches.
(Bob over the last 4 years.)
1996 ^^^ 2001^^^
My overall Impression of RP – it works! The template was easy to understand and put into practice. So much of the thought and variability that can lead to poor food choices was eliminated due to the guidelines provided in the template. The breakdown of macros and timing of meals was easy to grasp and follow. Overall, I was satiated during the entire process; although, there were a few days near the beginning of Cut 2 when I was hungry. This is a program that anyone can follow, and if you simply keep focused on consistency during the program, then you will have success.
What I liked – I responded well to the 3 month commitment aspect of the program; it was nice to know that I was not signing up for a meal plan that I would follow for the rest of my life or some miracle program that produced all the desired results in 72 hours. I liked that the program gradually adjusted based on my weight loss; I did weigh myself 3x per week. I liked that the daily intake of macros was based on my training schedule and volume. This allowed me to map out my week in advance and know what to expect and meal prep accordingly. RP gives you boundaries and not specific meals, so there is some ability for variety. However, it was nice to stick to a go-to meal for the morning and during the day, as it was one less thing to think about. I liked that it required greens at every meal other than the workout shake and pre-bed shake. I really enjoyed doing the diet with Jenn; it would have been very disruptive to do this on my own. Doing it together allowed us to support each other and to be understanding when our meal times and/or needs did not line up. I had plenty of energy for all of my workouts and loved the feeling of going to bed on a satisfied stomach. My favorite thing was the Casein pudding at night; especially on days when I worked out in the evening, as I was able to add .5 tbsp of peanut butter and plenty of fresh fruit to the pudding.
What I didn’t like – the elimination of healthy fats during the day in Cut 2. I understand the rationale, but missed avocados!
My evolving mindset over the 12 weeks – as usual, things started off very strong with a ton of meal prepping. The Base phase was easy, and there were days when I didn’t think I would be able to finish a meal because I was so full. On Base I pretty much still lost about 1 lb per week, and stayed on Base for 4 weeks. When I transitioned to Cut 1 I saw a slight increase in results and could visibly see some changes to my midsection. This gave me more motivation to keep going and to be meticulous with the portions and macros. Cut 1 was still pretty easy. I continued to lose about 1 lb per week and was on Cut 1 for 4 weeks as well. I switched to Cut 2 and it instantly got harder. I love peanut butter and avocado’s, so the fat reduction was tough. Plus, at 8 weeks in, things were getting a bit repetitive. I felt like all I thought about was meal prep, eating the meal, and what was in store for my next meal. BUT, the progress on the scale and in the mirror continued, and actually increased, so staying on track was not too difficult. Although, meal prepping pretty much vanished by this point; lots of other priorities and life in general pretty much forced meal prep to the back burner. But, by this time, I was so accustomed to the template that it didn’t matter much. The only times I had to scramble for food were when I was traveling for work. I only diverted from the template on 2 occasions: Logan’s HS graduation cake and the day Alex received all his homeschool credits for the 10th grade (I had 1 drink). I never hit Cut 3, as I was still losing weight when the 12 weeks was up; I am ok with not getting there, as it would have been tough to eliminate all fat. During the last 2 weeks of the program I was longing for a beer and some ice cream, so the 12 week duration was pretty much perfect.
What I learned – Nutrition really is the biggest influencer on health and body composition (duh). It is better to feel satiated than full. Weight loss is a marathon and not a sprint. Good natural foods make you feel better overall, and even helped eliminate some of the dry skin issues I have been dealing with for years. The gradual weight loss was easier to attain and now maintain. RP aside…I also learned that my body responds very favorably to conventional weight lifting type programming.
My results – started at 175.5 lbs and 36.5 inch waist…finished at 161.5 lbs and 32.5 inch waist.
From here, now what – Well, I had my beer and some ice cream (not together), the day after I completed the program. In fact, I have had quite a few beers since completing the program 2 weeks ago, but I have not gone off the deep end. I actually feel even more mindful now than before in terms of how I feel from a hunger and satiety standpoint. I recognize that RP is a finite program that helped me reach a specific goal at a specific time, but that it is not an ongoing way of life. Following some level of meal timing and proportion of macros is a good plan, but not with the specificity and boundaries required during the 12 week program. I am satisfied with the results, but welcome the afterward…where I can adopt much of the RP principles and mindful approach to eating without following a diet program. I plan to repeat the program after the holidays and our birthdays. I am looking forward to the challenge and how it may be even more effective now that I know what to expect. All in all, I am thankful that Jenn and I did this, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in seeing aesthetic and mindfulness results.