Today, I will be going over my recent micro-cut, which was a 14-day rapid fat loss phase, how to set it up, and all of my results, including how well I was able to adhere to the protocol and how I handled nutrition, how all my measurements changed including the fat loss itself, changes in biofeedback, my training, and the results of the group challenge we ran concurrently with my self-experiment, where 7 participants of the Wits & Weights Facebook community did their own fat loss phases along with me following the same protocol.
Then, I’ll talk about some of the limitations and findings of aggressive dieting, and the seven lessons I learned that will help anyone following such a protocol to get through it successfully, mitigate hunger, and hold onto as much muscle as possible.
If you want the exact protocol I followed, just click the link in my show notes or go to witsandweights.com/free to download it.
Click here to apply for coaching!
Today you’ll learn all about:
[2:48] Shoutout to Weight What? Podcast
[4:26] Recent five-star reviews
[6:59] Background and purpose of the micro-cut experiment
[9:32] Preparing for the micro-cut
[15:15] Training during fat loss, and intake targets
[18:37] Initial observations on the serious deficit of the micro-cut
[22:07] Results with flexible refeed days
[25:06] The before and after measurements
[34:17] Decline in biofeedback during the fat loss phase
[37:52] Personal experience and training routine
[39:31] Shredtober 14-day fat loss challenge results
[42:57] Adherence to calorie and protein intake during the challenge
[45:40] Future goals and recommendations for participants
[50:10] Warnings about aggressive dieting
[52:43] The seven lessons and recommendations for the rapid fat loss micro-cut
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What did participants love the most two things, community and simplicity. They loved the group setting, the accountability, the motivation, it kept everyone going and engaged. And we talked every day. And when people were down on themselves a little bit, we lifted them up. It's awesome. The second thing was simplicity. Several people found that this challenge was easier to adhere to than expected. And that was a huge one because I didn't, you know, I didn't know what was going to happen. But within about four or five days, people were saying, You know what, this isn't so bad. Welcome to the Wits & Weights podcast. I'm your host, Philip pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self mastery by getting stronger. Optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition will uncover science backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry, so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in. Wits& Weights community Welcome to another solo episode of the Wits& Weights podcast. In our last episode 115 how Tony lost 15 pounds 8% body fat and built lifelong strength with barbell training, I sat down with my friend, fellow lifter and client Tony to talk about his transformative journey, the intricacies of nutrition and barbell training and the mental hurdles along the way. Tony's insights could radically change your perspective and approach to fitness, nutrition and health. So definitely check that out. Today for episode 116. seven lessons from my Rapid Fat Loss micro cut, it's finally here, I will be going over my recent micro cut, which was a 14 day rapid fat loss phase, how to set it up. And all of my results, including how well I was able to adhere to the protocol, how I handled nutrition how all my measurements changed, including, of course, the fat loss itself, changes in biofeedback, my training and the results of the group challenge that we ran concurrently with myself experiments were seven participants of the Wits & Weights, Facebook community did their own fat loss phases, along with me following the same protocol, and then they shared their results with us. Then I'll talk about some of the limitations and findings of aggressive dieting. And finally, the seven lessons I learned that will help anyone following such a protocol, get through it successfully mitigate hunger and things like that. And of course, hold on to as much muscle as possible. If you want the exact protocol I followed, just click the link in my show notes, or go to wits & weights.com/free, to download it along with lots of other free guides, but look for the free Rapid Fat Loss guide specifically for this episode. Okay, you all know that in addition to producing a podcast, I love listening to them. So going forward, every now and then I'm going to give a shout out to other shows that are aligned with my principles and values. So you can check them out for yourself. So today's shout out is to Leah and KAMNA of the weight what podcast. So that's weight W E IG HT just like Wits & Weights? And then what wha tea with a question mark? Wait, what? I really liked their show because they give weight loss, a nuanced complex treatment just like we do on this show. And I asked them to send me a summary that I can share with my audience. So here we go. Weight Loss sucks. As anyone who's tried to lose weight knows, you think you have it figured out and then suddenly things change and you're back to square one. This process can be so frustrating, and it doesn't take much to fall off the path, the podcast Wait, what does a deep dive about so many things that can impact our weight, and the hosts experiment to find possible solutions and let you know the results of their experiments. Take a listen to WaitWhat today to know that you aren't alone in the struggles and there are solutions that may also work for you. All right, and I'm gonna include a link to that podcast in my show notes as well so you can check them out. What I really love is the idea of trying to understand all the things that impact your weight, and performing self experimentation, which is actually highly relevant to today's topic. So give some love to Leah and camera and subscribe to the wait, what podcast. Okay, before I get into all the fun details about the microcut I wanted to share a couple recent five star reviews which I haven't done in a while so and we're up to I think at now it was last time I did this we were probably around 50 Something so they're really coming in fast and furious. And if you're listening and love the show, one of the best things you can do to support it is to go to apple and leave a five star rating and review because the more reviews we have, the more people will know that it's a good fit for them something that they call social proof. It actually doesn't affect the algorithm or the rankings in full disclosure from what I understand. But it does help people's The Hey others like this show, and here's why. And that's what I'm looking for. So the first review is from cool kid Wyatt. And I think I know exactly who this person is. And if he's listening, he knows I've figured it out. eye opening nutrition advice, I spent 10 years getting nutrition advice from fitness books, read it, and fitness influencers on YouTube, it was fine. But everyone had something different to say. And I felt stuck, not really knowing who to believe or what was right for me. Philips show gives advice that is freeing and empowering, I started feeling a lot more confident about my nutrition and habits after listening to this show, hearing his guests seeing how he can connect all the dots in a simple and logical way. I have more confidence and pride in eating habits now than I have in the past decade. Awesome. I love that review, because it just talks about all the buttons that we that we push here in terms of the confidence and the habits and you know, simple logical, doing things sustainably, right, all of this stuff. So I love that review. The second review is from Rachel Kay Hancock, and the title is balance. This podcast helps you develop healthy habits without demanding you give up your favorite foods and activities. It's more about mindfulness and setting up successful behavioral change toward a better life. I appreciate the host knowledge and expertise. Well thank you so much for that one as well. Because again, hit hit the nail on the head with the sustainability and flexibility, enjoying your favorite foods, mindfulness, behavioral change, that's really what it's all about. Okay, so I could definitely spend a half hour going over reviews, but I'm not going to do that, it is time to dive into seven lessons from my Rapid Fat Loss microcode. Okay, and now I'm actually pulling these from a white paper that I put together, that I actually shared with Dr. Bill Campbell recently, he's gonna give me some feedback. And I'll probably make it available publicly. But if you're interested in you can always reach out. And I'm gonna go over the whole process, how you can set this up the results, all of that. So in October of 2023, I decided to run an aggressive fat loss phase, and I called it a micro cut, as opposed to a mini cut, which tends to be anywhere from like four to 10 weeks long, or standard cut, which is even longer than that. So this was for 14 days. And I wanted to figure out if a very large calorie deficit could be used effectively to induce mostly fat loss. And by mostly fat loss, I mean, avoiding muscle loss as much as possible, and the majority of the weight loss being fat. So as a nutrition coach, I'm also curious whether this approach is feasible for my clients. So what did I do, I recruited 12 volunteers from the Wits & Weights Facebook community to participate and follow along in a challenge format. And the goal wasn't to lose X number of pounds, the goal is to learn about themselves, and also to share their, what they learned as part of, you know, to help with the research to help with this podcast to help you as the listener, learn about their experiences. Now, of the 12 volunteers. And by the way, we had like something like 30 or 40, who actually registered and followed along in some way. But 12 actually signed up to do the challenge directly, and have the 12 seven completed it and then share their final data with their consent with me. So I'm going to go over the exact protocol, my experience, the results of the challenge, and so on, so that you know exactly what you're getting into if you want to try this yourself, and you can replicate it yourself. And as I mentioned earlier, you can get the exact protocol, go to wits & weights.com/free, or click the link in the show notes if you want to do it yourself. Now, the one caveat I do want to mention is that I had left rotator cuff surgery about 12 weeks before starting the protocol. And that affected my training, I had gotten back to normal lifting a few weeks after my surgery, except for my injured arm or my recovering arm. And then I started to build from there with mostly a linear progression. So I'm still kind of doing that. But I am using all my limbs. Now my arm is good. It's about 80 90% range of motion now. But what this means is I was training sub maximally versus my recent one rep max loads, but I'm still applying the principles of progressive overload, mechanical tension and all that to ensure sufficient training stimulus. So if I did this again, in the future, when I'm 100% healthy, the results may have been different. Just a little caveat there. Alright, so first, I want to talk about the setup. All right. I, before you do anything like this, it's good to think about what do you want to track? What kind of data do you want to collect, so you know that it actually worked, and you can learn what you might change in the future. Because later on in the show, I'm going to share the things that I think could be changed or experimented with to maybe make it more effective. So here's what I decided to collect, of course, weight loss data. So scale weight and trendweight trendweight is calculated in macro factor. Macro factor is the app that I use and all my clients and all my challenge participants used to track their food and their weight and their trendweight because it also calculates your expenditure. If you haven't heard macro factor before, I've talked about it a lot on the show, but you can download the app use my code Wits & Weights, all one word Wits & Weights, get an extra free weekend, your free trial, give it a shot, let me know what you think. Anyway, weight loss, scale weight and trendweight. I also have my training logs. So am I maintaining performance with my strength with my progression? I also tracked biofeedback, but I really only did it at the beginning in the end, because I'm pretty much in tune with that on a regular basis anyway. And it's only two weeks long. So the biofeedback would include things like hunger, digestion, sleep, stress, energy, mood, and recovery. And these are good indicators. Because if any of those go, decline, more than you would expect or decline a lot during this challenge, or during this, um, I'm sorry, during this fat loss protocol, it's a potential variable to tweak later on, like if you want to improve and prevent it from declining as much. Another thing I measured was changing body circumference measurements. So for me, that was my neck, waist, chest, biceps and thighs, as another way to tell Okay, how much fat did I lose, and also did I lose any muscle. And then finally, I tracked my change in body composition, based on two things, the US Navy formula, so that's for me, based on my neck and waist, for the ladies, that's neck, waist, and hips. And then I also took some in body scans. Now you say, oh, in body, I thought you didn't agree with body fat measurement devices, I don't I don't like these, I don't think they're very precise. However, the trend can be a lot more reliable, then the value. So I took it anyway. And I use the data, and I kind of averaged it out with the Navy formula to give you a conservative view on my results. And all that's available, if anybody wants to see it. Okay. Demographics, I'm a male, I'm 42 years old, I'm five, nine. Good to know, my starting weight was 180 4.9. And my expenditure when I started, this was 2800 calories. Here's another important point, if you are smaller, if you're a female, you tend to have a lower expenditure, let's say, less than 2000 calories, this is going to be very hard compared to other types of fat loss phases, because you're still going to have to go into a deep deficit. And that deep deficit puts you into a level of calories that makes it so critical that you do meal planning and prioritize things like protein, fiber, etc. And it's just a very fine dance you have to play. And so it's not recommended for everyone. As I said, in the title, it's not for everyone, your expenditure is an important consideration here. So mine's 2800, which is reasonable to drop, even if I drop, you know, 1200 calories, I'm still in the mid 1500s, which is where I'm going to end up for this and as we'll see in a moment, but if you start at like 1500 calories, well, now you're dropping to like 800, which is you're getting into the range where it's a little bit dangerous and unsustainable. Granted, it's only for two weeks. So just keep all that in mind. Okay, so what is the protocol look like? It's based on 14 days on the calendar 12 days of those are in a significant deficit of 45%. And two of those are refeed days, where you come back up to your maintenance calories with mostly carbs. So it's the first four days you're in a deficit of 45%, then day five is a refeed. At maintenance, then the next four days 45%, then day 10 is a refeed of maintenance. And then the final four days you finish out the dieting phase. So that's it. Now, key to this are the macros, we want to keep the protein high. Now for this protocol, the target was one gram per pound. For me, that meant I started at 185, I expected to end at 180. So I just went with the 180 grams, you can do it at your current weight, your target, whatever, it's not going to be much difference because it's a short protocol anyway. And as you'll learn later, it may be more valuable to go with a higher target for protein, but at least that one gram per pound fats, somewhere between 20 and 30% of calories. So for me is was around 23%. And then carbohydrates are your remaining calories. So for me when you take it all together 2800 calorie expenditure 45% deficit I was eating, I was targeting 1500 40 calories on the deficit days, which is pretty low for me, and then back up to 2800 calories on the two refeed days. So if you want to set this up yourself, you're going to start with your current expenditure, your maintenance calories. And you're going to multiply by point five, five to get your calorie intake. Point five, five because you're going to be in a 45% deficit. So what's the opposite of 45% 55%? So multiply by point five, five. That's how much you're going to eat. On the deficit days, all right, then you're gonna set your protein, one gram per pound, based on your body weight, then you're gonna set your fat to 20 to 30% of the calories. And then your carbohydrates are the remaining calories. All this is spelled out in the guide, if you want that your training during fat loss is, in my opinion, continue doing what you're doing, assuming you're already following a program that is sufficiently stressful has progressive overload, and the appropriate load to cause you to get a muscle building signal. Okay, that's the principle of it. For me, personally, what did I do? Well, I was doing a three day per week full body program with three to four compound lifts, and one to two accessory movements. And a lot of the compound lifts were on a linear progression, because as I said, before I was recovering from surgery. So you're talking in one session, I might do safety bar squats, deadlifts, barbell rows, and then maybe some back work and some, you know, accessory like artwork, bicep, tricep work. So five or six movements, usually about 90 minute long sessions, but three days a week. Interestingly, now that I'm back to a slight surplus, I'm I'm now in a four day split. But I didn't want to change anything going to the fat loss phase, I wanted to balance recovery with intensity. Because the key here is to keep the training stimulus high. All right, my step count target was 12,000 steps per day. As you'll see, I came pretty close to that. And then, as I mentioned, what are the things we're going to measure? Right? When do we measure those things, we'll on the first day of the morning of the first day, and then the morning of the day, after the thing is done. You want to take your biofeedback. So that's your hunger, sleep, stress all of that, your body circumference measurements, and then calculate your body fat. So that's the beginning and the end. Every day during the challenge, you're also going to measure your scale weight, you're going to log your food, and then on training days, you're gonna log in training. So that's pretty much it. Okay, so I ran this from October 2 to Sunday. So that's a Monday through Sunday, October 15. And we're going to start with the food side of things here. So I mentioned what my intake targets were. And I'm going to tell you what my actual was, right. So I tracked everything. And I looked at my deficit days, my refeed days and my total average. So on deficit to sell deficit days, I was going for 1540 calories, I ended up at 1548. These are averages for the whole time. So that was pretty close, I was about 1% over, which is more, which is fine, I'm looking for within 5% and you good protein, I aimed for 180 grams, and I actually came in at around 170. So I was a little bit under at 94% of what I intended. So that right there stuck out to me as an opportunity in the future, if I were to do this, again to bump up the protein. All right, my refeed days kind of similar, I aimed for 2800 came in at 2802 On average, so I was pretty locked in on that. And then the protein was actually more than enough on those days at 193. So when you average it all out for the 14 days, here's what you get. My average target was 1720 calories. My actual was 1727 calories. So I was pretty much it rounds out to about 100% adherence, my protein target was 180 grams, my average was 172. So that was 96% of the target. fats and carbs are variable, they don't matter so much. What I did find is that on refeed days, I couldn't quite bump the carbs all the way up to my target, because some fat increased as well. But I think that's okay, as long as you have a nice bump in that those carbs for the refeed. Alright, so I want to dive in a little bit on the nutrition observations that I had from this microcut. Immediately on day one, I noticed that this was a serious deficit. If you go on one of these things, and you jump right away, you might notice that hunger, it's going to be different, you're going to have to plan your meals differently, you might end up cutting out a snack or meal. It's a big change. Right? I was I had been in a slight surplus above 2200 calories, and now I'm eating only 1540. So this required careful meal planning. That's one of my takeaways. It's not one of the seven lessons that I titled the show with that comes at the end. But there are actually a lot of lessons in here. So I could have called it like 27 lessons. Let's see. So even with meal planning, what does meal planning look like? For me? Well, I did a whole episode called the perfect meal plan where it's really very personalized to you and your goals. But for me, this is just what is a Monday through Friday look like? What am I going to eat? What am I going to eat? How many how am I getting my protein? It just kind of think about it and make sure I have the food and in the kitchen in the pantry in the fridge in the pantry. Okay. Now even when I did this, I had a few pre planned events. I had a couple nights out and visiting family that were already planned ahead. Right? If this was a perfect situation, you would have just total routine for two weeks and I think we had one or two challenge members that were in that situation. But life is life right and hey If you can handle this kind of phase, when life has been thrown at you like this, then you can handle anything. And my wife loves to cook for us. And so I never know quite what she's gonna make or in what quantities. But she always has some sort of meat, some sort of starch or green and then some sort of vegetable so and she's, she's cool that I don't like finish my plate, right? I kind of she serves to me, and then I kind of eat what makes sense for what I'm trying to hit for the day. And this is a flexible, sustainable approach. But it did result in a little bit of variance from my overall adherence day to day. But as I said earlier, at the end, at the end of it, I still was pretty close to 100% adherence. And we don't even need to be that precise, just kind of in the ballpark. Right. So I ended up getting the deficit I wanted with proper meal planning protein. Now, protein is the driving macro for muscle preservation, especially when you're in such a large deficit. So I aimed for that one gram per pound, I averaged point nine six gram per pound. And when I was in the deficit protein represented almost 50% of my calories. Whereas on refeed days, it's only like a quarter of your calories. So if I ran this protocol, again, I'd probably set my target to like 1.1 or 1.2 grams per pound, or even higher as a stretch goal or a real goal even to drive more precise meal planning and timing distribution and hit that target and really hold on to all that muscle. Okay, fats. So we all have fats. I mean, I'm a big meat eater. I like dairy. I prefer fattier cuts of meat fish. And I did make some changes, like I had some white fish instead of salmon, I bought some low fat dairy, like cottage cheese instead of full fat. The few incidences of dining out and meals that were not fully in my control, like, again, that lovely wife of mine who cooks resulted in a bit higher fat intake than planned. And I don't think this is a quote unquote, bad thing. It's just one of those preferences of mine that I can better account for. With future protocols like this, like maybe I will deliberately set my fat a little bit higher, knowing that the carbs come down a bit. On refeed days, I deliberately brought the fats up along with the carbs just because of the types of composition of foods I was eating. And I sort of violated the mostly carbs approach, but but not necessarily violating the spirit of a refeed, which is just getting all this extra energy in restoring your, your leptin and restoring your glycogen and all that. Okay. So if it sounds like I'm rationalizing, I'm really not, I'm just suggesting that you don't even have to be perfect, and you can still get great results. Carbs. So carbs were the sacrificial lamb on deficit days. So I went from a building phase where I was eating like 400 grams of carbs a day to now barely over 100 grams. So for me, that was like going to Quito, not quite, but still is a big adjustment. So what I did is I reduced to replace most starches and grains, not all right, because again, sustainability, you can include things in the right amounts. I replaced most of those with fruits or vegetables, mostly green vegetables. And fiber, which is a carb was essential for satiety, right for feeling full. So I added more vegetables to my lunch, my dinner to compensate for the fewer starches and grains with volume. So without increasing calories, and that is key here, right? On the refeed days, I just scaled up my routine carbs, like my morning oatmeal, I added grains and starches back into my Perry workout nutrition, my lunch, my dinner. So it's kind of fun actually, to see the extremes and kind of live those extremes within the two week period and, and play play around with it right and learn how to meal plan a little bit more effectively. Even after all this time that I've been doing it, there's always room for improvement. And going through this process continues to help me empathize with you as the listener who's trying to do this as well as my clients. So overall, for the nutrition, I was able to add here to the plan deficit and the refeed days within about 1% of the target. So energy wise, this was a success, I would say. Now, if I drilled it down into the macros, I was a little bit under on the protein, but still within 5% of the target. If I use the rough rule of thumb of 3500 calories to represent one pound of body mass change, if it crunch all the numbers, I would have expected 4.3 pounds of body mass weight loss. So 4.3 pounds of weight loss based on my intake. All right, and as we're going to talk about in a second, the actual weight loss was around four and a half to five pounds, which is actually really close to that expected value. And I found that all the other challenge participants to admit to a person had a similar result that whatever deficit they were in induced the expected loss, meaning this stuff is scientific. Now granted, that's a small sample size and this is a anecdotal. This is Not even a research study, right? But it's something that I would expect, it's not a surprise. All right, so moving on to the before and after measurements. As I mentioned before, you know, scale away expenditure circumference all these things, I'm just going to highlight a few key ones, I have a lot more detail behind this, but I don't want to bore you to death. If you're listening to this, and I'm losing you, hopefully not, this is interesting stuff. Let's start with weight. Okay, I measure myself on the home scale, and I measure myself with the InBody scale, the InBody scale was a tiny bit more, I was wearing clothes. And it was like point three pounds more. So it could have just been the clothes to be honest, where tolerance and the scales. So I'm gonna go with the home scale weight. When I started, I was 180 4.9 after the microcut 170 9.8. So that's a loss of 5.1 pounds on the scale. Now, since I was using macro factor, I also had my moving average weight called the trend Wait, I started at 180 3.9 ended at 180 1.1, which is a loss of 2.8 pounds. Now in reality, it's somewhere in between, because the full 5.1 pounds probably includes some water loss, and then the 2.8 pounds, because it's a moving average over three weeks, it was too short of duration for that to really update enough. So that's where I said, I think the true weight loss is around four and a half pounds, somewhere around that for four and a half, five pounds, you know, we're never going to be super precise, but that's in the ballpark. Now, interestingly, my expenditure dropped, okay, from 2800 calories to about 2600 calories. So about 200 Calorie drop, I would expect some metabolic adaptation. But I also know that this could this number could be driven by the large fluctuations going on. And I don't know how much to you know, trust it like did it really drop 200 calories, but everyone in the challenge, their expenditure dropped except one person. And so that's kind of to be expected circumference measurements, my waist dropped by 1.4 inches, my neck went down a little by a quarter inch, my chest went down by an inch, and then biceps went down barely like my point two inches and thighs went down by six, so all of them came down. If you lose fat, I would expect waist size to come down. So for me going from almost 34 inch waist to like 32 and a half inch waist in just two weeks. That's pretty cool, right? And a lot of people are looking for a quick fat loss get in get out, no big deal, I can handle the deficit for a short duration. That's really the point of all this is to see if this is effective. So waist measurement is a good indication of that. The fact of my biceps went down a tiny bit and my thighs went down a bit. Maybe that's an indication of fat loss or muscle loss. It's really hard to tell, you know, in the short durationUnknown:
Hello, my name is Isaiah Silverado. And I just wanted to say a big, big thank you to Philip pape, for Wits & Weights for creating this challenge and given us the opportunity to expand our comfort zone. And for all the support that he gave us throughout the challenge. He was also there doing it with us and always sharing amazing information support, and given us the courage to do something that probably wouldn't have done by ourselves, and the inspiration to try something different to test our limit. And definitely to improve not only our bodies, but also our mindset when it comes to healthy lifestyles, and what can we do to make ourselves better. So thank you.Philip Pape:
So body composition I mentioned earlier, I used both the Navy formula and the in body scan. So according to the Navy formula, my body fat decreased by 2.13%. And my lean body mass went up by point six pounds, which I wouldn't quite believe I would expect a drop in lean body mass. So again, that could be this could have to do with fluid changes and the fact that I'm using a tape measure in precision, but there were some at least decrease in body fat, which is important. And we know this because my waist came down the InBody scan said my body fat percentage went down by 1%. And I lost a pound of skeletal muscle mass. I don't think I lost a full pound of muscle mass. And there's also body water loss in there of point two pounds, right. So what I did is I averaged the two together just to be conservative here. If you average them, my body fat came down by 1.6%. That's 3.6 pounds of body fat. And my lean mass came down by point three pounds. So if we're going to do ranges here, we would say okay, I probably lost three or four pounds of fat. And I lost maybe a half a pound to a pound of muscle. And that's anywhere from a three to one to four or five to one ratio. Is that good or bad? I don't know. I think it's not bad. I think it's pretty good. I think on a traditional fat loss phase, you would expect something like two to one, maybe three to one if you're lucky. So on a bridged fat loss phase like this, to get a Three to one or even four to one, I think is a sign of success, I would have loved to lose zero lean mass. And maybe I did, maybe it didn't, it's very hard to tell, I do know that my training started to plateau at the end there. And I lost a rep or two, whether that's us due to body mass or skeletal muscle loss, or a significant drop in energy, because I was just not eating very many calories. Again, it's very hard to tell all of this stuff, which is why we take it all with a grain of salt. And we, you know, we don't assume the extremes, we assume it's somewhere in the middle. And if you're happy with that, kind of in the middle result, then it was successful that that's sort of my take on that. Okay, so I kind of touched on these, but just to review some of the details underneath, you know, body weight, body weight fluctuates dramatically from day to day, I mentioned earlier, the weight, what podcast, the reason I wanted to mention is they talk about that all the time, they're Lea and KAMNA, they talk about how weight changes for lots of different reasons, right, not just from fat accumulation, or loss, changes in fluid, changes in glycogen, inflammation, fat, mass, all these things affect your body mass. And that's why I like to take measurements every day. If you take it every day, you can a observe the large variations that are not due to fat mass changes, right? Because it's impossible to you know, gain or lose a pound every day constantly, unless you're over consuming by 1000s and 1000s of calories every day, or vice versa. So that's the first one and then B, you're able to calculate a moving average based on daily data points, and get this more conservative realistic view of true changes in fat mass. Alright, so I mentioned my weight decreased about four to 5%, four to five pounds. So it may have been anywhere from three to five pounds. We talked about the expenditure, the decrease of 200 calories, you know, indicates rapid metabolic adaptation in some way, whether it's really 200 or 200, or 300, it's still a lot, it's a lot faster than I would get on a normal fat loss phase. So that's something to be aware of. And that's with increasing my step count going into the fat loss phase as well. Okay, we talked about body fat, I think body fat is kind of a controversial thing to measure. In general, I don't always recommend even even caring about it, so to speak, I'd rather you go by how you feel in your clothes, and how you look and how you're performing and all those things, you know, how your clothes fit, and so on. But we all like these numbers. So there's a million ways to measure body fat calipers. bioimpedance scales, DEXA, Bod Pod dunk tank, all of this. And they all are prone to some level of error in terms of the absolute value. However, they tend to be a bit more reliable at indicating the trend when the same machine is used by the same person under similar conditions from one observation to the next. Now personally, I do prefer to use the Navy formula, because it's convenient. It's simple, it's just simple math based on tape measurements. And I've compared its results to other methods in the past even bod pod. And I found that the change is pretty much in parallel with those changes, meaning it's super reliable. So even though I did take the embody scan for this at the request of Dr. Campbell, and I get why he wanted me to do it, because of the ability to measure water change. My inner skepticism led me to also do the tape measurements and use the Navy formula, right just to compare them. And that's why I average the two to be conservative. So I already talked about how maybe I lost some muscle, maybe I didn't and how much I lost is up for debate, but also the last punch of fat, which was the point. So the two things that affect that, for this type of microcut are going to be the protein and your training. So if I eat more protein, or if I had had a closer to maximal intensity in my training, maybe I would have had less muscle loss, right. And that's always something to try out in the future if I ever run something like this again. So overall, I do count this fat loss phase as mostly successful because it did induce a rapid loss in fat that was in line with the expected from the deficit while minimizing muscle loss, right. But if I increase the protein increase the training, maybe more muscle could be preserved. So then this takes us to biofeedback. When you're in a fat loss phase, whether it's a normal one a mini cut or micro cut, it is typical to expect some sort of decline in various measures of biofeedback because your energy availability is declining. And the body is trying to compensate, it starts to become more efficient, it shuts things down, it down regulates your hormones, all of that stuff, you know, you don't have enough glycogen in your system. So now you're gonna get more drained when you go train. And it's good to track this stuff. I track this stuff with my clients weekly, so that we can use that as a data point of how what they're doing and what they're eating affects their body. So I like to measure seven indicators and For this challenge, or for this microcut, I did before the challenge, and I did it after the challenge. So I measured hunger, sleep, stress, energy, mood, digestive recovery. And I'm not going to go through all of them here. But the biggest declines were hunger, energy, and recovery. So with the hunger, I definitely felt it on day one, but it was manageable. And then, as early as day three, I really got more frequent hunger, it was both the physical hunger because you don't have calories coming in. But also, I'll be honest, emotional or psychological hunger, because of number one, I was reducing how often I was eating. So now my body was thinking habitually, like, where's the snack that I'm expecting at 3pm, for example, and that's kind of more of a emotional hunger really, because of the habit. Also, I reduced the amount of indulgences I had. And so some of my cravings weren't being satisfied as much as before. Not completely, though. I didn't eliminate them completely. Because that's, that's always the wrong approach to say, like, just cut everything out. No, no, no, no, no, we don't do that. We say okay, what can we fit in? Or what is kind of similar to our other indulgences, right, like yogurt might be similar to ice cream, maybe you don't want the ice cream, but you can have the older. So hunger went down from a self rated 10 out of 10. Like I had zero hunger before this, because I was in a surplus, I was doing great. And afterward, I would say it was a four, like it really, the hunger really ramped up, especially the final like two or three days, again, physically and psychologically, because I'm anticipating the end of the cut. So that's hunger, energy, and recovery also dropped. So energy went from a nine to a five, and recovery went from an eight to a six. The energy early on, it wasn't affected, right, I think for the first week, plus, everything felt great energy felt good. My training felt fine, didn't feel affected by the last four day deficit block to things I was feeling more apathetic in the morning, like, just not as motivated. And that was unusual for me. I mean, if you listen to this podcast, and you see what kind of, you know, high energy guy I am, I tend to be like that, right? From the time I get up until almost the time I go to bed. I mean, I do get I do drag a little at night, like most of us do. But in this case, I felt apathetic in the morning, which was unusual. And and then I would really dragging in the evening, I mean, really just feeling exhausted. Of course, from the lack of energy, obviously. And what I did, though, is when I felt that way, I would go for a walk. It sounds counterintuitive, right? Because you don't have the energy. So how do you have energy for a walk, but no, walking doesn't take a lot of energy. I went for a walk. And guess what, it improved my mood dramatically. It really did. So walking, I think as an added to antidote to lots of things related to mood anxiety, depressive symptoms of depression, and so on, give it a shot when other things don't seem to be working. And then my recovery also took a hit. As my performance dropped as my glycogen was depleted. And it started to feel like the next training session was I was kind of like, falling behind. If that makes sense. Like, I would start the training session already feeling like I had been training, as opposed to feeling super fresh. So all of these are symptoms to be expected. You know, hunger, especially is an indication something's happening. But we want to find ways to mitigate it as much as possible and deal with it in constructive positive ways so that we can execute our plan as we intent. Having said that, would I do a two week fat loss phase? Again, I'm not sure. I'm really not sure. Some people in the challenge said this was awesome. Like, I didn't feel much hunger, it was fast, it was over with quickly. And they will do it again. Now, I probably if I ate more protein, like a lot more protein, and I was training normally and all that, maybe next time I do it, I wouldn't feel it as much, for example, because we know protein is a really good way to make you full to increase your satiety. And so that one variable right there could make a lot of difference. Okay, so about my training, I mentioned before, I have this consistent three day full body routine. I already told you about the lifts and what's in there, so I'm not gonna repeat that. But I kept that I did those Monday, Wednesday, Friday, both weeks are good. And then I maintained an average step count of 12,637. So my target was 12, I hit 12.6. My range was the low day was 9.6, the high day was 15.4. Again, you don't have to get exactly 12 Every day, just you know, some variation is perfectly fine as long as you average out to what you're intending. Okay, so that was my personal experience. And now I want to talk about the experience from the challenge to see how other people did because it was actually quite similar to my results, which gives you a little bit of comfort in knowing that this is a fairly predictable thing like if you follow the protocol, you're probably gonna get probably going to get similar results knowing that everybody is different. And as I mentioned before, seven participants went all the way through completed it provided their data, which is actually more than I expected. I expected maybe a couple People because it's it's a lot like I asked for a lot of data. And they were committed, they made it happen. We had a, we had a group chat going on where you could ask questions, I could do some coaching, we could send videos, it was a lot of fun, we'll probably do it again. If you like stuff like that, join the Wits, & Weights, community Wits, & Weights on Facebook, we're gonna do stuff like that for sure. Also, my coaching program, I may, I may introduce like a semi private version of coaching that has that similar feel, if you're interested in that reach out to me, because I'm only going to do it if I have enough people interested for right now my focus is mostly one on one. But in a semi private program, I would still probably have a one on one piece to it, or an option for it like different tiers of coaching. So anyway, I'm getting off track, seven participants completed what I call the shred Tober, 14 Day Fat Loss annihilation challenge, you know, nice clickbaity name. All the participants consented to share their data in aggregated anonymized form. And that's what I'm going to use right now. So first, looking at the weight and measurement and expenditure changes, all right, it's not going to be nearly as much details as for my own, we're going to keep a high level here. So for body weight scale weight, the minimum loss was 1.8, the maximum weight loss was 7.2 pounds, the average was 4.2 pounds. More importantly, is the percent, the average percent weight loss was 2.8. So that's pretty good. 2.8% weight loss in just two weeks. Now, if you just do simple math, that means 1.4% a week. If you've listened to me before, you know that we never want to go more than 1% a week of weight loss when we're in a normal fat loss phase. But I've also explained that for this microcut, you're going to end up around 1.2 to 1.4. And guess what the average was 1.4. In reality, awesome. Like the stuff works. Okay, so 2.8% weight loss on average circumference measurements, average waist size drop of 1.4 inches, or about 4% average hips drop decreased. This is women only of about an inch or 2.2%. The expenditure was kind of weird, because the the minimum loss was actually a gain. So one person actually their expenditure went up 76 calories, the biggest loss one person dropped 500 calories. Now, the caveat here is if you hadn't been using macro factor for very long before starting, it may not have calculated your true expenditure yet. And so whatever number it had in there could have been artificially high or low, and therefore the delta at the end was artificially off. So I'm not going to read too much into it. But if you take the average drop in expenditure was 176 calories, or 7%. Mine was 200. So it's kind of in that ballpark, maybe you could expect the same. And if that happens, just know what that means in terms of your your calories. Now, we did not adjust our calories during this fat loss phase, we kept it exactly the same. So it didn't really matter whether it went up or down for your expenditure, like it normally would, over a longer phase where you're adjusting it weekly, or at least with me, you're adjusting it weekly. So that's pretty cool. All right, then, as far as the intake, so I actually split this into two groups, out of the seven people, a few didn't adhere fully like they were actually over on their calories. And and the rest did. So if I were to take just the full adherents group, their average adherence was one to 1.8%. So it was pretty close, right? Their average protein adherence was 98.7%. If I took all the participants average, the adherence was a little high, it was 110 7.7. But the protein was and the protein was a little low 96.1. Interestingly, if you dig into the data, though, even the few people that didn't fully adhere, they still got great results. Which the takeaway again, is you don't have to be perfect, because this is so so large of a deficit, even if you don't quite hit it, you're probably way beyond what you normally would be and you're still gonna get great results. But the main thing is to keep the protein on. Okay. So the last thing about the challenge is, I actually asked some more self reflective questions in the final survey, and then I summarize these and to get you what the themes were of the challenge. So there were four themes that emerged. The first one is that most participants saw noticeable fat loss, especially around the midsection. Great, that's what we're going for. Many participants learned the value of high protein diets and had an increase in their nutritional education in terms of making a calorie deficit more manageable. Awesome. That's what I'm all about. Let's learn. The third theme is improved self confidence. Some people found that discipline from the challenge had a ripple effect on their mental well been, um, I even got a personal video from someone in the challenge thanking me specifically for that, that they did not expect to learn so much about their, their mental state and actually improve them for the better because they found what they were made of, they found what how they can push the limits with support, and what they what they like and what they don't what they can and can't do, and, and actually improve their mental state, which I love. And then the last thing was making progress, most participants said they had met their goals, which weren't always the fat loss it might have been, but it could have also been body recomp staying on target with their macros, you know, getting a Kickstart to further fat loss, whatever. Most people said, yeah, they met what their goal was for the challenge. Now, I also ask them about their next goal. And it's interesting, because it's, it was either up to lean bulk or body recomposition. I do feel like somebody said they wanted to continue fat loss. But I sort of cautioned against it. Because once you've gone through such an aggressive to weak phase, my suggestion is to recover out of it first before you then resume into like a normal fat loss phase. If you want to do a go fast, then go slow approach, I wouldn't go this aggressively or this fast to start because I think you get too much adaptation too quickly, too much of a draining energy, and then you don't give yourself a chance to recover. So that's just my two cents. So some participants wanted to go to a lean bulk, right, they wanted to go back to a slight South calorie surplus. And some people wanted to do some body recomp go back to maintenance. Also, a lot of people wanted to just find a more sustainable rhythm, since they had now learned some really good tools for choosing foods in the extremes. And then carrying those principles into a much less extreme environment that actually makes it really easy. I also asked about their training just to make sure everybody's training the way they want it to. And there are a whole mix of programs. But the recurring theme was progressive overload. And training four to six days was very common. So which makes a lot of sense, because a lot of my community members and clients are already say, late novice or intermediate trainees who are up to like 40 splits or five day power building programs or 60, bodybuilding programs, things like that. And so that's pretty common. I didn't want any newbies who'd never trained doing this challenge. daily steps, the average step count ranged from four to 14 and a half and the group average was 10.1k. So 10,107 steps, and then everyone seemed to be committed to maintaining some level of daily activity, regardless of the step count. What did participants love the most two things, community and simplicity. They loved the group setting, the accountability, the motivation, it kept everyone going and engaged. And we talked every day. And when people were down on themselves a little bit, we lifted them up, it's awesome. The second thing was simplicity, several people found that this challenge was easier to adhere to than expected. And that was a huge one because I didn't, you know, I didn't know it was gonna happen. But within about four or five days, people are saying, You know what, this isn't so bad. Like it's a big deficit. But we've got the support or eat a lot of protein, we're learning to choose foods for satiety, and volume and so on. We're training, wow, this is like the right way to do it, even though it's very fast, abridged way to do it. Okay. So that's the challenge results. I hope that was enlightening in some way to give you some relief to know that this is doable, and it doesn't have to feel extreme. And so, you know, based on my personal anecdotal experience, in myself experiment, based on the experience of the challenge, and all these wonderful people in our community, I think that a rapid fat loss phase can be an effective way to lose fat quickly while preserving muscle mass. Now, now, there are some limitations of this. So before we get to the findings, and my recommendations, the short duration means that large scales, large swings and scale weight for reasons other than body fat can actually have a larger impact on the measurements in that short period than if you were in a longer fat loss phase, right? Like your weight is more sensitive to those. So that's one thing to watch out for. The second thing is body fat measurement is just not precise. I'm not going to beat a dead horse already talked about that. The third is I didn't fully adhere to the protein intake, I was like 4% under. So I might have been had better results. If I had like with my lean mass retention. The next one is that expenditure data may not be quite reflective of reality, because of how rapidly everything was changing. And this the main thing is that this could affect how you calculate your calories and macros coming out of the diet post diet recovery. In that case, I would recommend just going back to what your maintenance was two weeks before initially and then letting it kind of catch up to where your to maintenance is. The other thing is and this is really important. So let's listen to me carefully here. If you're thinking oh, I really want to do this. This protocol can be challenging for people who are not physiologically or mentally prepared to execute it. properly. So before everyone throws their hands up and says, Oh man, this is like rapid dieting. This is Quick Fix crash dieting. Hopefully I've indicated through all this episode that that's not the case. But I do want you to be prepared. These are some things that could happen if you don't execute it properly. Okay? The first is you're gonna get much greater muscle loss. If you don't have enough protein intake, you're going to lose a bunch of muscle when you go this quickly. It's why most fat loss faces are not anywhere near this, you might get micronutrient deficiencies, if you don't choose nutrient dense foods, you're gonna get an energy deficiency. And if you don't do it, right, it could affect your training. It could recap, refractory recovery, and biofeedback more than it would otherwise, you're going to get faster metabolic adaptation, right than typical fat loss phases. So don't look at this as jumpstart, look at this as one and done, get back and recover. You could be prone to binge eating, if the hunger becomes overwhelming. Now, you shouldn't have this if you're training and eating the protein and walking and all that and choosing foods the right way. But if anything is not done correctly, you get the same result that you do in a crash diet where you just get so ravenous that you overeat. Right, and we don't want to do that. Another thing is the temptation to continue past the 14 days, right? Oh, I'm on day 14, it hasn't been so bad. And look at all this weight loss. Let me go another week. And then another week after that, no, don't do that. That's, that's not sustainable at the end of the day. Um, I'm not I mean, I'm not going to discourage personal self experimentation, whatever you want to do. It's your choice. But for this protocol, I would not recommend continuing period. And then the last thing is that the refeed days may not be sufficient. If you don't foetal it fully take advantage of them. So let's say you don't quite eat up to the calories, or you don't really increase the carbs that much. Well, you're not getting the benefit of the refeed day. All right, so not doom and gloom. Here are my recommendations. Well, here are a couple findings. And then my seven lessons that you've all been waiting for, okay? The the very short duration, the 14 days might be an acceptable trade off with the significant calorie deficit. Because the symptoms of biofeedback, right hunger, poor sleep, poor energy, mood recovery, the loss of strength, are either going to be very short lived, like you might not even notice them until toward the end of the two weeks, or minimized altogether, you may not have them at all, like some people didn't experience hunger, right. So that's kind of where this trade off comes in. This phase is not, you know, quote unquote, sustainable in the sense that you could continue it beyond this period without significant muscle loss, but the principles can still be applied. And by pushing the limits like we do here, you can still learn a ton about yourself, which is where I think the value is. Okay, so here are my seven lessons or recommendations for anyone who's following this protocol, you ready? Number one, I would increase protein even further than the one gram per pound, I would aim for 1.2 to 1.5. Just aim for it. If you fall short, you'll fall about where you need to be. And if you hit it, you might find even better results in terms of lean mass retention. So it doesn't hurt to try that number to select all of your foods based on satiety and nutrient density. So when you're doing your meal plan, every time you make a choice, think about its ability to keep you full. So things like protein, things like white potatoes, right? And nutrient density doesn't have a lot of nutrients it fruits, vegetables and so on. The third lesson is to just it's kind of related to what I just said. But it's a very specific recommendation for everybody. Increase your consumption of fibrous vegetables in high volume foods period. Okay, and whether or not that like ties into satiety index or nutrient density, it will, but I want you to just think of every opportunity throughout the day snacks, lunch, dinner to throw in greens, greens, greens, veggies, all the veggies that you love, raw cooked whatever, you know, keep them steamed or roasted with minimal oils, and high volume foods, things with water soups, just like throw those all into your meal plan right from day one, it's going to help a lot. Number four, try shifting the refeed days around your hardest training days. Now in this protocol, the refeed days were fixed to days five and 10. But why not experiment? Maybe you shifted up one day or back one day and see if it aligns better with your training because in my case, it didn't always line up. And I probably could have gotten more use out of a refeed day if it was shifted by one day. So that that's a more advanced thing to try that that's what I would do next time. Number five, get enough sleep please. This is always important. But really look at your calendar and plan out this fat loss phase on it's in a time where you can definitely get the full seven, eight hours of sleep or even more every single day because it's gonna go a long way in terms of your expenditure, your recovery, your energy, how you feel everything and your mental state. Number six, maintain a high training stimulus. Okay, that's That's by default as part of this challenge, but balanced the volume for recovery. So just be aware that if you are training six days a week, or five days a week right now, and you continue that into the fat loss phase, you may have a lot of volume. You may I don't know, I don't know what your program looks like. I mean, if they're 30 minute sessions, you may not but if they're like typical power building sessions, you'd have to cut something out and plan to do that. But still keep the compound lifts and the low rep high intensity stuff in there. Okay. And then number seven, maintain a high step count, no matter what, and I would aim for at least 12,000. If you can get something like 15,000 On average, to increase your energy flux, your metabolic rate and avoid all of the other cardio, it may help even more. Right. So those are my seven lessons. There are probably a lot more with everything else I said today. And again, if you want the Rapid Fat Loss guide, you go to wits & weights.com/free. Okay, so there you have it, everything you could possibly know about doing a rapid fat loss phase or a micro cut, so you can make your own informed decision about whether it's right for you. And again, if you want the exact protocol, just click the link in my show notes will go to wits & weights.com/free, and look for the free Rapid Fat Loss guide. In our next episode 117 Starting strength the novice effect and barbell lifts with Cody anino Cody and I talk about the transformative power of barbell training, you'll learn the principles and benefits of the starting strength program. Very popular one that I followed that I recommend to so many people because it's so effective. You'll learn some common misconceptions about strength training, and the critical, crucial novice effect. We'll compare different training methods look at how barbell training impacts mental health and touch on the future of online versus in person coaching in the fitness world. As always, stay strong. And I'll talk to you next time here on the Wits & Weights podcast. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Wits & Weights if you found value in today's episode, and know someone else who's looking to level up their Wits & Weights, please take a moment to share this episode with them. 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