How Mark Got a Six-Pack by Eating Pizza and Ice-Cream
Though not all personal transformations are dramatic, like Vasely, Kyle or Helen, all transformations are meaningful.
We celebrate the person who’s lost 250 pounds and the person who’s lost 25 pounds. Because, for all of them, it took hard work & dedication and those things are worth celebrating.
I’ve known Mark for years and he’s taught me a lot about nutrition, training in the gym, and how to make a healthy lifestyle sustainable.
In the past 2 years Mark’s lost 40 pounds and got in the best shape of his life, all the while never having to miss out on the foods he loves.
Below he shares his story and secret.
Why did you decide to transform your body?
I’d been going to the gym for a few years, but I was NOT seeing great results. I knew there must be more to it than just lifting weights because I was looking more or less the same.
I’m always up for a challenge and I knew getting in good shape would be something of a challenge for me. So I decided to go all in, give it my best, and see what happened.
What was the diet plan or strategy that guided your transformation?
15 months ago, coming into last summer, I was using a more traditional “clean eating” style of dieting. Basically a really low carb, high protein diet, while lifting weights enough to maintain most of my muscle mass.
This time around, coming into this summer, I was eager to get lean without cutting out delicious foods and I’d heard about the “Flexible Dieting” way of eating.
Based on my goals, I started tracking my macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat) and found it significantly easier and equally as effective. I also started to track my fiber and ensured I was getting enough micronutrients.
Did exercise play any role in getting your 6-pack? If so, What?
Working out has been a huge part of my journey. Last summer I did a fair bit of running, mostly HIIT (High-intensity interval training) and that was cool.
This summer I thought, “stuff it!”, I will see if I can get lean without doing any cardio at all. This past year I didn’t do any cardio and was still able to reach my goals and ideal body fat percentage.
Outside of cardiovascular health, cardio isn’t a necessity. It is just a tool that can be used to get into a calorie deficit, which causes weight loss.
I lift weights, keep it heavy, allow suitable times for rest, and sometimes don’t even sweat. It seems to work well for me.
Did you find you became obsessed with food or felt like the diet was taking over your life? How did you deal with that?
When I initially started dieting I was obsessed with what I ate. My diet was so restrictive. Everyone notices when you’re the only one not eating dessert or when you refuse to eat anything but salads at a café/restaurant. I didn’t want to live like that.
When you completely eliminate things like sugar or certain foods you crave them and I found that makes me think about those foods more.
Now when I’m out, I order whatever I feel like and I just eat that stuff in moderation. If I’m going out for dinner and will be having something like pizza and ice cream, I will have fewer carbs and/or fat for breakfast and lunch.
It’s all about making it fit my macronutrient goal for the day. It’s easy and it means I barely think about food at all.
What’s one mistake you made during your transformation?
One mistake I made when I first started was not learning enough. I mistakenly believed there were certain foods that made you fat and other foods that made you skinny.
I would get to the point where I desperately wanted something sweet, so I would eat loads of dried fruit or other “clean foods” that had a lot of calories. I didn’t realize they almost have the same sugar content as candy.
What aspect of your journey has challenged you the most?
The most challenging aspect is actually living the day to day lifestyle of being healthy and fit.
Sometimes I just want to stuff my face with whatever is in front of me but learning discipline, although it can be challenging, is a necessary part of the journey.
What are your future plans with health and fitness?
When I first set out to change my body I wanted what most guys (and some girls) want: A 6-pack.
Once I reached that I had to ask myself, “Where do I go from here?”. At this stage, I’m going to continue to go to the gym, lift heavy, and track my macronutrients.
My goal for now is to get bigger (add more muscle mass), while still maintaining low body fat.
What advice would you give to others aspiring to change their body?
Getting lean and eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to be restrictive (chicken and broccoli all day, anyone?). Learn about macronutrients and then eat the foods you love, while making sure they fit with your macro goals.
People always think, “oh you’re on a diet, that must suck.” But really, they are eating just 1 greasy sausage roll for lunch while I’m enjoying a huge cajun chicken salad with cucumber, capsicum, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Who gets to eat more?
I’ve found fresh vegetables and lean meats are the best tasting, the best for getting lean, and the best for feeling good. But allow flexibility in your diet for when you need it.
You’ll only reach your goals if your consistent and sometimes the only thing that keeps us consistent is flexibility. Understand what it means to “fit your macros” and you will never feel like you’re on a diet again.
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Disclaimer: Your results may vary and Mark’s were largely due to his dedication and adherence to his calorie/macro protocols.