Client Spotlight: Karen Proves You Can ABSOLUTELY Build Muscle & Lose Fat At 55 Years Young!Jan 31, 2021
If someone ever tells you that losing fat and building muscle is a lost cause once you hit a certain age...they clearly have NO FREAKIN CLUE what they're talking about.
Check out my badass client Karen!
In her initial intake form, Karen wrote:
"Wondering if metabolic flexibility is possible for me. Also wondering if I can get to the place where I am lean and feel good, but can also relax and eat food without always wondering how many pounds I'll gain if I celebrate or eat a little gluten... If you can help me change my body composition, that would be fabulous.
I think I mentioned that a pipe goal for me is to be under 140 lbs and 20% body fat. I don't even know if that's at all achievable! I like the look of that kind of fit body, and I know I FEEL good when I'm under 140lbs. I'm willing to read, learn, and do as you suggest.
I'm tired of trying to figure it all out on my own, so your accountability and expertise are GREATLY appreciated. Thank you so much for being willing to work with me! I look forward to what lies ahead...I'm excited!"
Here are some of the main things we focused on during Karen's transformation:
- Bumped up calories, incorporated more carbs, and ditched the chronic fasting to fuel and support Karen's activity levels and hormones.
- Started focusing on being more consistent day-to-day rather than constantly switching back and forth between different protocols.
- Dialed in Karen's sleep and stress management routines to support better recovery.
- Implemented a progressive, structured resistance training program to work on building up Karen's strength and muscle mass.
- Ditched the chronic cardio and circuit style training for consistent daily steps and 1-2 smart conditioning sessions per week.
- Took a strategic approach to her fat loss phase by implementing several diet breaks and refeeds to accommodate lifestyle and travel.
Check out what Karen had to say about her experience below!
Can you give a quick intro on who you are and your background?
Karen, 55. I’m married and have 5 children who are all grown. Currently, I work full time as a library research assistant, but I recently finished my master's in Christian Counseling.
What doubts did you have before signing up for one-on-one coaching?
Well, being a 55 year-old-woman who has had 5 kids…you get told so many things...
--> “You’ll never get rid of the mom-bod without plastic surgery.”
--> “You’re in your 50s, you should expect to gain weight and feel worse every year.”
--> “Just get used to always being fat and flabby…it’s the way things are—women over 50 cannot really gain muscle back…just try to maintain what little you have left.”
Those things made me wonder if getting someone to coach me would really help. Hadn’t I already tried everything? Wouldn’t I just be wasting their time and my money?
But I had tried so hard to do keto and intermittent fasting and had succeeded a little so far…but I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working anymore and why I continued to gain weight and fat despite eating so little and exercising a lot.
What specific results have you experienced thus far working together?
After telling me I needed to eat MORE food (??!) …with Rachel’s help, I’ve lost 12 pounds and about 8 cm off my waist/hips. Definitely re-comped my body for the better! I actually have a butt again (yup, amazingly still have glutes at 55!)
My exercise is more focused on weight training, and I’ve built so much muscle – even found muscles in my upper arms that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, and lost most of my batwings!
My sleep is better (not waking up several times at night in fight or flight mode) and I keep having people look at my picture now and my picture from when I turned 40 (15 years ago) and say, “you’re aging backward! How do you do that?” lol.
What do you feel like you’ve benefited from the most in our time working together?
Rachel has really helped me to stay consistently focused on the right things and to not panic if I gain 2 pounds or let everything fly out the window if I lost 2 pounds.
She’s reminded me again and again that consistency wins over perfection, and that progress is progress (even little bits). And maintenance…she’s helped me understand the missing piece of every diet – maintenance!
What advice would you give to someone who might be in a similar place you were before coaching?
Having a coach—an outside observer—to what you’re doing is going to be a good move. Even if you’re the best at studying all the literature and calculating macros and know all about physiology, it’s going to be a benefit to have someone like Rachel helping you along and holding you accountable. Rachel is great and very encouraging, but also tough when she needs to be.
I’d say do it for 3 to 4 months and see what happens! You may hang on after that like me and see how far you can go!
Anything else you’d like to share about your experience thus far?
I’ll be honest...I was really surprised at how helpful this whole experience has been. My husband was very skeptical as well, but he likes the progress I’ve made and how much better I look and feel.
Are there still places I want to go, things I want to achieve? Yes. But I don’t think I’d be where I am if I hadn’t taken the plunge and hired Rachel.
A few quotes from Karen's check-ins over the course of the last 6 months:
6/7/20 “Couldn't believe you asked me to eat so much food. And then I lost weight some days?? Most days I was trying to fit the macros, but didn't feel hungry. After listening to some of your lectures, it may be that I did too much intermittent fasting and that's why? I've been intermittent fasting 16:8 or 20:4 almost every day for a couple of years...sooo....guess I didn't understand that well for women.”
6/22/20 “As for sleep, I don’t really know what else to do. I have my routines to lower stress, but I continually wake up at night and have trouble going back to sleep. Last night I woke up at 12am, 3am, and 4am. Finally, I just got up at 4 because my alarm would have gone off at 4:30am anyway. And Fitbit indicates that I get a lot of deep sleep during the first cycle, but none the rest of the night. But waking up just kills me. Every week I get maybe one night of uninterrupted sleep with no waking up, but that’s really rare. Wish I knew why.”
7/20/20 "Thanks so much for the encouragement on the progress. It’s helpful to know you feel like I’m making the right amount of progress. I never know what is a good amount — I’ve heard so many misinformation kinds of things! And I just worry when there’s a stall or I see more belly than I think I should that I’ve done something “wrong” and worry about how I should “fix” it. That’s again why it’s good to have a coach, because in the past I would have been like, "okay I need to change everything!” and I wouldn’t be consistent. So thanks for helping me to hang in there and be consistent. I’m much better at executing the plan than thinking of the plan! Lol.
7/26/20 “I do think that overall I am healing from the long period of time that I was eating too few calories, stressing my body with intermittent fasting, and afraid to eat things like rice or fruit. I think I am sleeping more consistently all night. On the weekends when stress is lower, I think I get more deep sleep. So while I'm tempted to look at the numbers this week and say I'm in a plateau, I also realize there's a lot going on behind the scenes that will hopefully lead to greater progress as I keep on keeping on.”
8/9/20 “Is there such a thing as too much food? Some days it felt like too much. BUT color me surprised when I eat so much food and stay at the same weight all week. I guess you nailed the maintenance calories! “
8/16/20 “Best week of sleep I've had in a long time. Very little waking up. My energy was great this week. My head seemed clear. It was a good week hormonally. Ah... if only they all could be like this…
"I was surprised by this week because I thought I would struggle with hunger or my sleep would be terrible, or have low energy. But it seemed the opposite. So I guess that diet break did its job! Thanks! Have a great week."
9/6/20 "It was a better week. Calories and tracking on fleek. Steps in. Had some increased stress later in the week and some messed up sleep, but I think I recover a little faster now. Looking forward to the refeed and diet breaks that are coming, but weight loss is looking good. Guess the body decides when it can let go of weight and inches and when it can’t...this week was a bigger drop in weight than I have seen since my 20s!"
9/14/20 "Because of the increased stress, there have been points this week where I've felt exhausted and just wanted to quit. But the oddest thing is that the tracker...seeing my progress over the past 15+ weeks, and knowing that I am feeling so much stronger really helped to keep me going. In the past stress like this would have made me quit. But now, I'm determined to stay in this and look stress in the eye and dare it to make me even stronger, lol. I like what you said before about becoming antifragile. Hopefully, that's what this is...lol. Thanks, Rachel."
10/19/20 "I struggled with hunger a bit this week, but think I'm doing ok overall. My husband noticed the muscle definition and difference around my waist for the first time since I started and that was nice for someone close to me to see a difference! Thanks for adjusting the time and exercises. Doing the shorter but more frequent resistance training will work well for me I think."
11/15/20 "Had a woman say to me, 'tell me what you've done to lose all that weight!' - told her I hired a coach and that it was my best decision in years. Also, my doctor said at my physical that my numbers all looked great and that he was glad I hired you and was eating better overall. Says I should convince my vegetarian husband to eat some animal protein, lol."
Karen put in the work, stayed super consistent even through the tough weeks, and completely trusted the process...her results speak for themselves!
I'm excited to continue working with Karen! The plan is to reverse diet her for a few weeks and then practice maintenance while pushing further muscle gain. I know she's going to continue to crush it - stay tuned for a future update!
If you're interested in working one-on-one with me to become your most confident, badass self...follow THIS LINK to apply for coaching!
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