Huge congratulations are in order to Nick Ellaby who wins the club’s new year fat loss contest by dropping 20 pounds of fat , and goes from 21.7% down too 8.5% over the 6 weeks, a truly amazing result.
For his true dedication he wins £660 and is now the proud owner of a super lean new body!
The table below shows the top 5 contestants in order from over 60 participants in total.
|Start weight||Start BF%||End weight||End BF%||Total BF lost|
You will notice how the weight doesn’t necessarily drop much, this is due to the ratio of muscle to fat changing, which is exactly what you want to happen and the main reason to not focus on the scale too much.
Nicks result is absolutely staggering, to lose 60% of your body fat over 6 weeks takes serious dedication to your goal. I had to find out more so interviewed him this past week.
Here is what he had to say.
PL – Nick, congratulations on winning the fat loss contest, you must be over the moon?
NE – I was actually quite shocked, but absolutely delighted with my results.
PL – Was the cash prize a big incentive for you?
NE – As ridiculous as this sounds, no not to begin with. I entered to give me a bit of an incentive just to detox for 6 weeks. When I was initially weighed, I was surprised and really quite unhappy and disturbed to see how high my body fat was. I thought I was slim, but I think I just became too familiar with carrying my love handles around. As a result, I set myself a new personal goal to lose all the excess body fat I was carrying.
I did a quite a bit of ‘googling’ and found references to 8-12% body fat loss in 4 weeks (saw some achieved numbers on a website called Dempsey’s Resolution). It didn’t say how, but it gave me a good target, I wanted to lose over 10% in 6 weeks.
However, the money was definitely a proper incentive towards the end when I knew how rigidly I’d stuck to my diet and exercise plans, and it definitely kept me going during the last two weeks.
PL – Have you attempted fat loss before and if so what type of diet did you try?
NE – I have attempted weight loss before about 6-7 years ago when my jeans got a bit too tight for comfort, but not fat loss. I cut down on calories and hit the gym 5 days a week for a few months. My diet was pretty poor though I’d say, with lots of carbs still, just in smaller portions. I lost weight but didn’t feel toned whatsoever.
PL – I’m assuming you made a lot of changes to achieve such amazing results?
NE – I had to be very committed to eating in a very controlled manner and fitting in exercise no matter how my day looked. I started exercising 6 out of 7 days and just kept going no matter how I was feeling that day.
PL – Can you give us a brief snapshot of a what typical days food looked like?
NE – My typical day involved breakfast of wholegrain cereal (such as porridge oats, Oatibix or Weetabix) with measured milk and manuka honey for sweetener. I thought this would get my carbs out of the way first thing and it was full of fibre and low calorie. I found out the hard way that fibre was a pretty serious requirement on a high protein diet!
Lunch was normally a vegetable or pulse soup to get a couple of my 5 a day, then a protein shake to get the calories up to about 300 overall.
I kept my evening meals very low carb, so it would typically be a low cal, low carb protein main element like chicken, turkey mince, etc, plus vegetables. I used pesto for glazing and tomatoes or stocks for sauce if needed, plus lots of herbs. I was eating black eyed beans, aduki beans and cannellini beans to fill out the meals a bit. I also had veg that looked like a lot on the plate compared to the calories they contained, like broccoli (in huge amounts), peppers, leeks and cabbage. I avoided potatoes completely, having onion, carrots and swede (sometimes mashed) instead, and avoided things like sweetcorn too.
I also had ‘3 egg omelettes’ for evening meals about 2-3 times a week, mainly with veg in, plus sometimes feta, olives, ham, whatever really.
I then used protein shakes as a dessert if I needed extra calories to get up to about 1200-1400 a day.
I gave up alcohol and caffeine completely. I wanted to drink a lot through the day, so by giving up caffeine I knew I could drink more without fear of diuretic effects. I had decaf coffee, Red Bush tea and herbal teas instead (and surprisingly, no caffeine withdrawal headaches at all).
PL – Did you count calories?
NE – I weighed and counted absolutely everything I ate without fail. For 6 weeks, not one single thing passed my lips that wasn’t measured and part of my deliberate diet. This was by far the hardest bit for me, but I just kept thinking ‘it’s only for 6 weeks’.
PL – Were you hungry at any point, and if so how did you deal with that?
NE – I did get hungry, especially at the start, and also when I passed the Kebab shop in the car. Every time I felt hungry I drank liquids. I drank as much as I wanted to keep hunger (and kebabs) at bay, without any limits. I just made sure I measured any milk in hot drinks, but mainly stuck to herbal teas and water. I ended up drinking really large amounts of liquid every day.
PL – Tell us about the exercise you did over the 6 weeks?
NE – This is where I had a good advantage I think. I used to be a competitive swimmer many moons ago but I haven’t swum in years for exercise purposes. I wanted to mix up what I had already been doing exercise-wise to give my body something it wasn’t used to.
My Kettlebell training has been a bit sporadic, normally managing 2 times a week and a really good lie in on Saturday mornings instead. So I firstly upped Kettlebells to 3 times a week religiously.
It was then on with the Speedos again, and I started swimming 2-3 times a week in between Kettlebell sessions, covering about 60-80 lengths probably in 30-40 minutes, so I pushed myself to do high paced endurance swimming.
If I needed to miss a swim due to other commitments, I did the aerobic workout in the ‘Biggest Loser’ booklet that day, upping it to 1 min of work followed by 30 secs rest for 30 sets (so 3 times through). I preferred the swimming and Kettlebells as I found the aerobic sessions properly hard work!
PL – Did the diet affect your exercise performance?
NE – Yes, I felt no different to begin with, but halfway through I was starting to feel weaker in Kettlebell classes, although I was swimming faster. I just kept pushing as hard as I could though.
PL – Apart from losing a ton of body fat, did you lose any muscle?
NE – I think I lost some muscle off my arms and thighs, but still seem to have more definition due to the fat loss.
PL – Are you glad you took part in the comp?
NE – Both me and the bank manager are very glad! Actually, cash and joking aside, I’m just really glad I set myself a tough target and managed to reach it. If I had not won, I’d still be really pleased with the difference in my body in 6 weeks. Now it’s over it seems like no time at all to commit to something so important.
PL – What have you learnt from this experience?
NE – I have definitely learnt to eat so much better. Also, if I had to do it all again, I would probably up the calories and swim for a bit longer each time to build more strength.
I think the other thing is that different types of very regular exercise helps me really get in shape, as opposed to training 2 times a week and expecting huge results. Kettlebell strength and conditioning plus the endurance swimming works really well for me when combined together.
PL – Will you continue to eat this way now that the comp is over?
NE – Definitely, although I’ll probably take a few nights off now it’s over. I going to eat more now I’ve lost quite a bit of fat to build up, tone and get a bit stronger. I will certainly have bad days as I won’t be obsessive about things now, but I know how to have a few good days afterwards though to compensate.
….and I’m going to drink alcohol again, because let’s face it, that was never going to last!!
PL – Haha, thanks mate, enjoy the cash!
NE – Cheers!
What I like about this is Nick took things into his own hands, even though everyone in the competition had a nutritional guide to follow, he took it one step further, did his own research, came up with a plan and executed it with 100% adherence.
The result? A phenomenal 60% of his body fat gone!
What if he had gone with 90% adherence to the plan? Or even 80%?
I would bet the result still would have been very good.
As Nick pointed out, his calories were slightly too low. A good starting point for weight loss is to multiply your body weight in pounds by 10-12. For Nick that would work out between 1700-2040 daily calories, quite a bit more than the 1200-1400 he was getting. He was also doing rigorous exercise 6 days per week which would bring him even lower into this deficit. I would label what Nick did as a crash diet. It would not have been sustainable for much longer than the 6 weeks, he would have lost too much muscle, and eventually metabolic shut down. This is not a slight on Nick and his result, crash diets are very effective short term methods to drop body fat (obviously). The velocity diet and Lyle McDonalds rapid fat loss plan are very popular versions and used extensively, just don’t do anything stupid like the cabbage soup diet or any diet where you have to buy shakes or live off supplements.
Calorie counting for most people is a pain in the back side but will be necessary to get body fat levels as low as Nick has. Weighing food and calculating these figures can be a real motivation killer, and is the reason why I did not suggest you do this in the guide. If you are eating protein with veggies at every meal there is little chance of overeating. Provided you are not being a glutton of course!
Another point I want to pick up on is in regards to the exercise. As I have always made a point of saying, if you want really good results mix in some form of aerobic activity in between your kettlebell sessions. Getting 5hrs of exercise per week is the quickest way to burn fat, and as Nick pointed out, yes kettlebell training is tough, but don’t expect amazing results if you only do two sessions per week. Likewise in this same vein, don’t expect great results if every time you exercise you go balls to the wall! Yes high intensity exercise generally gives great results and is necessary but just not every session. Add in some frequent lower intensity exercise and watch your results change for the better.
So what can we lean from Nick’s experience to aid us in our own fat loss attempts?
- Schedule your exercise and do it no matter what
- 50% resistance training and 50% aerobic for 5-6hrs per week gives best results
- Drop alcohol and caffeine, increase water intake
- Base calorie requirements around body weight multiplied by 12 and adjust accordingly
- Keep protein high to avoid muscle loss
- Take in your carbs in the morning and taper them off during the day
If you want to drop some body fat, implement the above ideas and I guarantee you will be getting leaner within a few weeks, further to that you will be able to grab your self a copy of the nutritional guide used in the competition from this website within a week or two. Its packed with recipes and tips to start dropping body fat straight away, it will be available to download in PDF format off the front page very soon.
In May the club will be running a 4 week fat loss contest with a £10 buy in and cash prize for the top 3 places. If you want a chance to take part and win, sign up to our classes and start training here
You never know……it could be you I’m handing the cash too next!!!