BluePrint 360 6-week Challenge
Insights from a (former) personal trainer

I want to start by qualifying this article. I am an NASM certified personal trainer and fitness instructor. I was certified by Precision Nutrition. I owned a fitness business for 9 years. I trained other people. I don’t anymore, but that was my career for about 10 years.

I also have pretty strong motivation for results from the BluePrint 360 Challenge: I’ll be playing Brooke Wyndham, a fitness instructor, in an upcoming production of Legally Blonde, and I want to look good on stage. I also have to be in great shape so that I can sing and jump rope during my main number.

So not only do I have a lot more education than others about appropriate exercise and healthy nutrition habits, I have pretty specific and lofty goals. I’m also in a place where I have the time, physical and mental energy, motivation and resources to dedicate to reaching those goals.

It’s important that you know this background. It would not be appropriate or recommended for everyone to be doing the same things that I’m doing. We all have unique situations that mean that we can tolerate different levels of challenge.

Everyone can learn things from challenges

Here are things I’ve learned that are specific to me and the goals that I have, followed by some take-aways that can help anyone who’s interested in losing weight:

I’m doing pretty well with water intake. 

This is one of the things I used to coach people to start with. Even if this is the only thing you do differently for a week, it’s a great base habit to establish.

I was eating way too much overall.

I assumed that I was eating “pretty well.” I focused on protein and produce but didn’t really pay attention to how much I was eating.

The act of monitoring how much you’re eating is important in a weight-loss journey. You can count calories and macros (complicated, time consuming). You can also just use your hand to guide you: eat 4-6 palms of protein, 4-6 fists of veggies, 4-6 cupped handfuls of carbs (fruits, veggies & whole grains) and 4-6 thumbs of fat.

I was eating way too much fat.

I had cream in my coffee. Eggs with cheese and sometimes avocado for breakfast. Salads with a lot of salad dressing. Cheese and crackers for a snack. That is a LOT of fat for one day.

Many popular diets (like Keto) “allows” you to eat high amounts of fat. I promise you that very few people are able to sustain a diet where they are truly in ketosis. See if you can cut back on fat a bit.

I was drinking way too much alcohol.

A few months ago I decided to talk with my therapist about it. I told her that I started thinking in the morning about what I would drink that night. Would it be a cocktail and a glass of wine? Maybe a couple of glasses of wine? As the words were coming out of my mouth, I was horrified to understand that I was displaying alcoholic tendencies.

Matt, my trainer, suggested that I try avoiding alcohol during the challenge. Don’t tell him, but I haven’t totally gone dry. I’ve had 1 drink each week of the challenge so far. But the results have been fairly astounding. It’s not the only thing I’ve changed, but I have lost 15 pounds in 8 weeks, and you can really tell around my midsection that I’ve lost belly fat.

Alcohol not only has empty calories, but it messes up your digestion and your organ function. We use alcohol to kill things, and yet we consume it for fun in large quantities. It will only help if you cut back a bit.

I was walking way less than I thought I was.

I also assumed that I was more active than I actually am. I’m good at making it to the gym, and I sometimes stand while I work. My husband and I have a dog that we take on frequent walks. But Matt is asking me to get 10k steps per day, and that is hard. It takes me an hour per day to get that many steps.

It’s a useful exercise to keep track of your daily steps. But you don’t need fancy equipment. Add more walking to your day. Start with 15 minutes, work up as you’re able. 

I eat frequently to solve another problem.

I have caught myself “feeling hungry” a lot over the last few weeks. Before I was tracking, I didn’t think anything of it. If I was “hungry,” I’d go get something to eat. Now that I have to track everything, I’m much more conscious of when I have the urge to grab food, and I’m noticing that it’s often when I’m trying to avoid something – a hard email to write, a task that takes a lot of thinking or strategizing. You get it.

Food is so much more than calories. It is culture, it is social, it is delicious, it is fuel for our bodies. It can also be a big distraction from hard things we have to do. Take note of when you reach for food (or drinks with calories) and be honest with yourself about whether you’re hungry or just trying to distract yourself.

A couple of notes

First, I highly recommend Matt and the entire coaching staff at Detour Athletics. I have never worked out this hard or paid this much attention to my diet. It’s freaking hard. So hard. Sometimes I hate it. But then I remind myself that it’s my choice.

Second, if you have a history of disordered eating, please seek help. I do not recommend this program for anyone who has not cleared it with a professional who knows your capacity for monitoring calories, weight, etc. That said, the coaching staff at Detour is very sensitive to the various needs of participants, and there are different ways to work towards goals that avoid triggers.

Third, thank you, Matt, for allowing me to participate in this program in exchange for sharing my experience and insights. I am a paying member at Detour, which gets me access to their full schedule of workouts and classes, but the Blueprint program is extra. This is a special 6-week challenge, using the BluePrint 360 system. It is an online system for food, exercise, body composition, step, sleep and other metric tracking, as well as communication between coach and client.

 

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