How to Bomb a Fat Loss Contest

How to bomb a fat loss contest

Back in 2010 I did a 28-day diet that consisted mostly of protein shakes along with a few other supplements.  I had a healthy meal made from whole foods once per week.  I followed it to a T and had awesome results, losing 7 lbs of fat and gaining 4 lbs of muscle.  My fat percentage dropped to 14.8% and I was very happy with where I was at, finally!

Fast forward six years.  I was involved in an instructor fat loss contest at Barefoot.  It was a 60-day contest with a $900 prize going to the winner!  We  measured body comp with a bod pod.  I was determined to win and so excited to finally have something to “get me back on track.”

The results?

I failed.


I actually gained almost 1 pound of fat.  What the what?!  Completely embarrassing and shameful.  How could a gym owner who is Precision Nutrition Level Two certified and gives nutrition advice on a regular basis screw up so badly?

The two winners of the instructor contest both dropped 5% body fat, the same as what I had done with the extreme diet years before.  Granted, my results were in 28 days and their results were in 60, but a huge thing is that what they did was sustainable for life.  They’ll have an easy transition back into their “normal” way of eating because what they did for those 60 days was just a more stringent version of their normal whole foods-based routine.

As for the diet I did, it’s obviously not possible to live off protein shakes forever.  I got great results with that crash diet, but as it turns out, I didn’t really learn much. Again, how could I have messed this up so badly?

I thought about this for a few weeks after the contest and here’s what I realized.  My mindset was wrong and I didn’t practice what I preach and have learned through Precision Nutrition.  I’d been acting silly. I got suckered by the appeal of quick fixes and short-term methods.

My mindset was all wrong.  I stressed about what I was going to eat and paid no attention to how I was eating and my lifestyle.  I didn’t do any of the PN habits.  Why would I not follow what I have learned?

I realized that ever since I did that extreme diet, I’ve had it in my head that I have to change what I eat in order to get extreme results.  

On some level, I know that I could get the same results with whole food.  Yet somehow, I never really believed that until this challenge.  What did the winners of this contest do?  They focused on eating to 80% full every time (a daily habit from PN), getting enough sleep, drinking a S#%t ton of water and not eating any processed foods.  Notice that three of the four things I listed there have to do with lifestyle and only one of those has to do with what they ate.  Huh.  Precision Nutrition really does know what they are talking about…

If you are like me and need to change your mindset, relationship with food and lifestyle; I highly recommend you learn from my mistakes and take the approach that actually works long term.

There is a huge divide between knowing something and consistently doing it. I mean, I’ve been able to drop my bodyfat as low as I’ve wanted in the past, generally do very well with nutrition and am one of the only two Precision Nutrition Level Two certified coaches in South Dakota (Abby is the other one).

I know all sorts of stuff when it comes to nutrition. But even someone who knows a lot can fail, by forgetting to actually put those things into practice every day.

How many of us know that we should be sleeping 7-8 hours every night and eating a wide array of brightly colored vegetables every day? I don’t think anybody needs to google that or have somebody with a stethoscope around their neck it to them. And yet… How consistently do we really do those things? It’s actually pretty rare that the place where we fall short is in the knowledge side of the equation.

The Precision Nutrition approach is all about sustainable, sensible habit changes. It’s about making all the core pieces of nutrition that we mostly already know into things that we can easily, consistently do. It’s the philosophy that our two contest winners were following and that I ignored because I got lured in by shortcuts.

Beginning in January, Abby and I will each be coaching our own group of people through the Precision Nutrition program. I’ll also be following along myself as a client, because as I’ve just proven, we all need a refresher now and then.

The program will start on January 2nd, and enrollment closes on the night of December 27th. In order to make sure that each client gets the attention they deserve, we’re keeping the groups to a small number of people.

To learn more about the program and get signed up, you can go here.


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