June 20, 2016
October 20, 2016 I recently embarked on a brand new journey. This journey took me from a soft 280 pounds to a lean, tight current weight of 226 pounds. In June of this past year I decided it was time to shed some unwanted fat and focus on my physique rather than purely strength. It all kind of started when I walked in the house one day after work and my son looked at me and innocently asked, “Daddy, why are you walking with your tummy sticking out?” I guess Plato was right when he said, “there is truth in wine and children.” While my son fat-shaming me was a primary catalyst in me wanted to get leaner, I also thought it would be a good chance to feel the struggle that my diet clients go through daily. The way I saw it, this would be a great opportunity to not only better myself physically, but also a chance to become a better coach and trainer for my clients. This is not the first time I had ever dieted down, but it was the first time I did it with physical appearance in mind. While I was throwing the shotput, I had to watch my diet in order to be as powerful, athletic, and fast as possible. Any improvements I saw in my physique were just added bonuses. A Little Background During my throwing career, I was most successful while I weighed between 255-265 pounds. I maintained this weight from about 2006-2012. The 2012 Olympic Trials marked my last competitive track meet, after that I turned my focus onto getting as strong as possible. In my quest to bench press 507 raw and deadlift 700 raw I ate everything I could. By May of 2016, my bodyweight got up to 280, and while I was strong, I looked like a Vegas-era Elvis Presley. At this point, I figured I could either become a Social Justice Warrior fighting for fat equality from the confines of my “safe zone”, or I could diet and get leaner. I’ve never been much a whiner, so option 2 it was. The Diet I tend to gain muscle and fat quickly, which is a good and bad thing. Its good because it is easy for me to get strong, but along with that strength also comes unwanted body fat. Because of this trait I decided that a low carb diet was the best option for me. Although this was the best way for me to shed fat, it is not something I always do with clients. Everybody is different and people respond to the same diet differently. I firmly believe there is no “one size fits all” diet. Here is an outline of the diet I followed: • Carbs – less than 40g per day of net effective carbs. What does net effective carbs mean? Well, when calculating my carbs, I took the total number of carbs I ate and subtracted the total amount of fiber from that. So, a cup of broccoli has 6g of carbohydrates but it also has 2.4g of fiber. That means the net carbs is 3.6g. The 3.6g is the number I would use when calculating my carb intake. • Protein – 250-300g per day, some may say this is too high but I experimented with a lot of different protocols and this was the sweet spot I found that allowed me to lose fat and maintain the maximum amount of muscle. This will be different for everybody. • Fat – 100-120g per day. • Total Calories – 2300-2500 calories per day. I spread this out across 6 meals, 2 of which were protein shakes (whey shake post-workout and casein shake right before bed). Supplements (or lack thereof) Unfortunately, I don’t have any secrets when it comes to supplementation. The only supplements I used during my cut were; BCAAs, Protein (whey isolate and casein), glutamine, and caffeine (which I am hopelessly addicted to). While I am not some soapbox “anti-drugger” shouting the evils of AAS from the rooftops, steroids are something I have chosen to stay away from. To each his own, but I have always wanted to know what my body is capable of naturally. So, if you wanted to know about drug protocols I would not be the guy to ask. How did my training change? For the last couple of years my training has been focused purely on getting strong, without much concern for my overall health or physique. The reps have been very low in the compound movements with the higher reps (8-12 reps) being done in the assistance exercises. When I decided to lean out I knew the training had to change. The best way to describe the current training would be “Powerbuilding” or “hardcore bodybuilding.” I still do heavy compound movements but I also do higher rep compound exercises along with extremely high rep sets. I have also utilized drop sets, supersets, giant sets, timed sets, “rep-sets” (where I have a prescribed number of reps in a set and get them done as fast as possible), tempo training, and short rest periods. Here is an example of a leg day in my Powerbuilding protocol: • Hatfield Squats – 5, 12, 20 reps. (90 sec. rest period) • Superset (4 times through with 90 sec. between supersets) o Front Squat (5 sec. eccentric) – 5 reps o Leg Extension – 40, 35, 30 reps o Bodyweight Squat – 25 reps • Cable RDL (5 sec. eccentric) – 8, 7, 6 reps (60 sec. rest period) • Leg Curls – 6 sets to failure – each set was 30-50 reps (45 sec. rest period) • Backwards Sled Drags – 1 min straight for 5 sets (90 sec. rest period) • Ab Wheel – 3 sets of 12 reps (45 sec. rest period) The first few weeks of this training were absolute hell; I was sore and tired every day. But it didn’t take long for my body to get used to it. The human body is amazing in its ability to adapt to stressors. There you have it; this is exactly what I did to lose 54 pounds in 5.5 months. If you have any questions regarding training or diet feel free to contact me through my website: or on social media @noahstrength (Instagram), or https://www.facebook.com/shotputnoah (Facebook).