Stronger U Q&A
Today I’m sharing with you a little more about the Stronger U diet, and why I chose to go this route. I also have a Q&A with my coach to answer questions you may have!
First I’ll tell you what brought me to Stronger U. I KNOW I’m not ‘fat’ or even ‘big.’ But I am the quintessential example of weight creeping on slowly over the years. When I was younger, I could eat whatever I wanted (within reason) and stay the same weight. That was me my whole life: I didn’t have to fight to be skinny; I was just naturally thin. As I’ve gotten older, I have found that I can’t just eat whatever I want. But I still have, which is why over the past 5 years, a pound has crept on here and another pound has crept on there. I’ve done every diet you can imagine for 30 days and had success with all of them. For 30 days. But then the weight always comes back. I know that I can just cut my caloric intake and lose weight: trust me, I’ve done that enough times. But I wanted something different that would help me determine how much I should really be eating, let me eat the foods I enjoy, and something more than just a 30-day diet. I wanted to finally get the weight off and have a plan to keep it off.
Stronger U is a macro-tracking diet. Macros are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. So yes, you have to weigh and measure everything you eat (it gets easier, I promise), but you also get to LITERALLY EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT. It basically goes like this: you sign up for Stronger U, they assign you a coach. You fill out a questionnaire about your habits: what you do for work, what you do to workout, what your activity level is, your hobbies, your age, current weight, your goals, etc. Your coach gives you a macro goal and you use the app My Fitness Pal to track your food. You fill out a spreadsheet every week with your daily weight, your workouts, hours of sleep, how you felt that day on a scale of 1-5, and measurements. At the end of the week, you email it to your coach and they adjust your macros for the next week based on your progress. You can see my first week’s food diary HERE.
I’m on week 8 and hovering between 5-7 pounds lost. I feel SO good. I actually love tracking my food, and I have only been hungry a few times. I keep my meals small and eat often which helps. I barely have any cravings. But if I want something, I fit it in. Sure, I would love to go smash a burger and fries or some Mexican food…and I probably will at some point (I mean, Shake Shack did JUST open here). But the interesting thing with this diet is that I’m not DYING to go crush a burger. I was most often under-eating, which lead me to overeat. Now that I am controlling my caloric intake to what I need every day, I don’t have nearly the cravings. And I’m finding that the less bad food I eat, the less bad food I want.
I wanted to dive deeper into the How and Why of this diet, so my coach Derek (@dstanleyfit) has answered some questions for us!
What makes Stronger U different than other macro diets?
There are a lot of things but I’m going to keep it to three big ones. One, the access to your coach and having someone that you can ask questions to at any time. A lot of coaches/companies in this industry do not have the same “open door policy” and only respond to emails once per week. Two, the FB support group with over 10,000 members. I think you can agree it’s probably the most supportive place on the internet and having social support like that is a huge part of fat loss or body composition success. The last thing is the amount of accountability that you receive which goes hand in hand with the first thing I mentioned. If you don’t check in with me, I’m going to hunt you down and find out what the f*ck is going on 🙂
What are the benefits of having a coach?
The biggest thing is having someone that can look at what you’re doing and be completely objective about how things are going. For example, if I’m coaching myself, I might “mess up” and go way overboard one day. Then there’s the tendency to over-react and think we’ve sabotaged ourselves and possibly even slash our calories. A coach can look at it without that same emotion and be like, “chill, it’s absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. Let’s just get right back on track right now and you’re good.” Then, of course, there’s the accountability, support, education, etc that comes along with having a coach.
How do you determine a person’s macros? How do you decide when/how much to lower them?
There are literally books written on this, so please understand this is a shortened answer for brevity.
-Set calorie intake based on activity level, workouts, body weight, body fat, etc.
-Set protein intake since it’s arguably the most important macronutrient. This is based on someone’s lean body mass. A good start is around .7 to 1g per pound of LBM (Lean Body Mass).
-Set fat intake somewhere in the range of 20-30% of total calories for hormone production, overall health, etc.
-The remainder of calories will come from the last macronutrient, carbs.
We make changes based on feedback and progress. If we’re moving in the right direction and losing fat (assuming that’s the goal), we likely don’t need to change anything. If someone isn’t losing, we first make sure compliance is there, then we may decide to lower things to create more of a calorie deficit.
If anyone wants to understand on a more in-depth level, I’d recommend checking out Eric Helm’s book, “The Muscle and Strength Pyramid.” Or you can also watch his series of YouTube videos which is six-20 minute videos that explain this in depth.
What do you tell clients about working out?
Strength training is the best tool that we have at our disposal for changing the shape of our body, so I always recommend doing some form of that if possible. But most importantly is just finding something that you enjoy and can stick to. If you love yoga, do yoga. If you love cycling, then cycle. Just find something that gets you moving.
I know a lot of women are probably in the same cycle I was of under-eating and overeating or ‘always being on a diet.’ Can you talk a little about how Stronger U changes that?
Most women can lose fat on far more calories than they think. Unfortunately, a lot of women will start off on a “1200 cal diet” because for whatever reason, that’s what they’re told by the media, magazines, and people who have no clue what they’re talking about. So we’ll start you off with a higher calorie intake that’s more appropriate and show you that you can still lose fat while fueling yourself for performance, energy, and longevity. Then we’ll also make sure you have a strategy for after the “diet” is over to maintain that fat loss forever.
When I started Stronger U, it was more food than I was used to eating, which I LOVED. Can you talk a little about metabolism and how dieting can affect it/what Stronger U does for your metabolism?
Even if you do everything perfectly on a diet, your metabolism still “adjusts” so that the longer you’re in a calorie deficit, the fewer calories your body burns. A way to counter this is to make sure that you do maintenance phases either periodically or a long maintenance phase after the diet. This allows you to “upregulate” your metabolism and normalize your hormones so that you’re able to sustain the fat loss forever.
One thing I love about Stronger U is that it isn’t just a 30-day challenge or even a 12-week challenge, it’s a lifestyle change. Tell me about the Stronger U maintenance plan once you have hit your ‘goal weight.’
Can I just post the link above again? LOL.
(Yep, read HERE about maintenance phases!)
And the last and maybe most important question, thoughts on ALCOHOL?!
There’s nothing wrong with having an occasional drink as long as the calories are accounted for and fit within your daily allotment of macros. But yea, you probably wouldn’t want to get “hammered” very often or drink every day, LOL.
Thank you Derek (@dstanleyfit) for answering all these questions! I also found THIS blog post on the Stronger U site and it is full of great information. Side note: this post is in no way sponsored by Stronger U; I just love it and think you would, too! MAYBE I’ll be brave enough to share my before and after photos, WE SHALL SEE. It turns out I will be in Hawaii on my 12th week of the diet, so I’m going to take a break from tracking macros for that week and then get back on it when I get home for another 12 week cycle (or a maintenance phase, I’m not sure!). Stay tuned!
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If you have any questions for me, you can email me (email@example.com). For pricing or more information on Stronger U, head to their website HERE. If you do decide to try it out, I would LOVE if you listed me as your referral (Megan Orrell). Thanks for reading!