Ep. #1144: How My Coaching Helped Luke Lose 43 Lbs in 8 Months

Luke: Practicing some of those intensity techniques definitely was a game changer for me as well because I feel like in the past, you know, I just wasn’t actually pushing it nearly as hard as I thought I was. All those things came together to really produce the results that I didn’t think I would be able to accomplish before.

If I could go back in time and tell myself something, it was uh, you know, be willing to try new things, whether it be, you know, focus on those compound exercises, try the rest periods, um, you know, try something like the BLS philosophy and then just be patient. If you’re being honest with yourself, you’re tracking accurately and you’re showing up and doing the work, you will get the results.

It feels like instead of like fighting my body, I’m working with my body and it is definitely a huge relief. 

Mike: Oh, hello there. And welcome to a new episode of Muscle for Life. I am your host, Mike. And in this episode, you are going to hear from Luke, who worked with my one on one coaching team over at Legion, and who lost 43 pounds in eight months, and of course gained a lot of muscle and strength as well.

And as you will hear in this episode, before working with us, Luke’s story was like many other people’s, struggling with his weight for over a decade, experiencing short term success through brute force, you know, extreme dieting, lots of cardio, lose a bunch of weight, and then, you know, Regain the weight, and then rinse and repeat.

Until Luke found his way to me and to Legion and learned how to master the basics. How to create a lifestyle that produces health, that produces fitness, and that you can sustain for the rest of your life. And in this episode, Luke not only shares the highlights from his journey, but also the obstacles that he had to overcome and how he overcame them, like managing weight fluctuations, learning to be patient, learning to trust the process.

Especially a process that was very different than what he was used to doing when he wanted to lose weight. So much so that he was skeptical at first that something so moderate compared to the extreme measures he was used to taking, that it would actually work. And so, if your personal transformation is still a work in progress, if you are still working toward your ideal fitness, your Ideal body composition, ideal body health.

And if you want to hear a story about how someone else who might be very similar to you did it and minimally get a little bit of motivation, a little bit of confidence that Luke did it and you can too, then this episode’s for you. Before we sink our teeth into it, how many calories should you eat to reach your fitness goals faster?

What about your macros? What types of food should you eat and how many meals should you eat every day? Well, I created a free 60 second diet quiz that’ll answer those questions for you and others, including how much alcohol you should drink, whether you should eat more fatty fish to get enough omega 3 fatty acids, what supplements are worth taking and why, and more.

To take the quiz and get your free personalized diet quiz. diet plan go to muscle for life dot show slash diet quiz muscle for life dot show slash diet quiz now answer the questions and learn what you need to do in the kitchen to lose fat Build muscle and get healthy. Hey Luke, a fellow Floridian. Nice to meet you.

Hey Mike. Nice to meet you as well. Uh, thanks for taking the time to come and talk with me and talk with the listeners, or I guess it’s more talk with me and at the listeners, but 

Luke: yeah, 

Mike: absolutely. 

Luke: Thanks for having me. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. So we’re going to be talking about your fitness journey. Uh, so for people listening, Luke did 36 weeks of one on one coaching that my sports nutrition company region.

Offers and Luke, I’ll let you share your results and get into the details. I like to, to hear the specific obstacles that people had to overcome and the key takeaways that people learned, because as I was saying offline, I think it’s helpful for listeners. Um, to hear how other people have put the pieces together, because if you have a good theoretical understanding of how to get into good shape, you realize that there are certain things that aren’t negotiable.

If you want to lose fat, you got to understand energy balance. You got to maintain a calorie deficit. Not negotiable, but what is negotiable is how you go about doing that. There are many ways of going about doing that, that are perfectly valid. And the same concept applies to training. There are certain things that if you want to gain muscle and strength, you got to achieve one way or another, but there are many different ways of getting there.

And so, um, I think it, it’s helpful for people to, to hear. The specific blueprints of other people other than me, because what has worked well for me, certainly exactly how I’ve chosen to do everything certainly works for, for many other people, but there are parts of how I go about health and fitness that really is not optimal for other people.

Only because they wouldn’t enjoy it enough. They may have issues with compliance. It may just not fit their lifestyle, their preferences and so forth. And so, um, that’s why we’re here to, to hear about you. 

Luke: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Um, so like you said, I, I did, um, I’m actually in a fourth block now, but for initially for these results, it was the, the first 36 weeks of coaching.

Um, so, you know, to, to kind of go back to the beginning of my fitness journey, I probably started, um, You know, a little over a decade ago, um, you know, back in high school, always struggled a bit with my weight. Um, you know, I had trouble with weight management, didn’t necessarily grow up in a family that was ever very active, didn’t have, you know, solid nutritional foundations.

Um, so I think I did what everybody does at the start and just learned to starve and do a ton of cardio. And that will only get you so far. Um, it’s always unsustainable in the long run. Um, from there did a lot of kind of, let’s see, just, just go straight to the chainsaw. Yeah, exactly. Right. And, and it kind of gets a little bit too addicting because you’re like, okay, this works.

I see the scale dropping. I’m not thinking about where does this end up and how do I actually do this for, uh, you know, a lifelong commitment. Um, so definitely went through, you know, that phase, um, continued on, did, uh, some various other, you know, at home stuff, did some of the beach body, the P90X, the T25 body beast.

Um, you know, had some, had some success in doing those, followed some other people’s plans. Um, and I was able to, to get some. Results, um, but it was always very unsustainable and even though I would be able to get lean, um, so, you know, I had been able to get down to like, you know, 190 pounds, which for me, um, you know, at the time was like, okay, this is cool.

And I can have some visible abs and have some of that success. Um, but a lot of times now looking back with the new information I have, it seems like I was, uh, kind of successful in spite of, uh, some of the, the training modalities I was doing and the nutritional principles I was adopting, um, not really because of them.

Uh, so that was one of the biggest takeaways for me. Um, Was, you know, I, I finally had gotten back up to kind of like the heaviest point in my life. I would still be, I would consistently work out. I definitely did. It was not, I will, I can say I was consistent with my diet. It was just a very poor diet, um, as well.

Uh, so I kind of, you know, you had one of the boxes, I was definitely consistent. I was consistently doing the wrong things. And, you know, I had tried, uh, a bunch of the different diet fads that did, you know, a lot of low carb keto stuff. Um, I didn’t have any fasting here or there, but again, we’re just kind of out there looking for something that I was like, you know, there has to be a way to, um, you know, get in shape and actually stay in shape, right?

Have a, have a sustainable lifestyle. And I had ended up picking up a copy of bigger earlier stronger, um, you know, and just reading through it and just even like some of the paragraphs, you’re like, Hey, you know, I got to this level of body composition and it’s good, but I feel like there’s more out here for me.

It feels like I’m working really hard, but not seeing the results. Um, and I really was reading that. I was like, yeah, you know, uh, at the time I was definitely, you know, like I said, the heaviest I had ever been in terms of weight, but I knew I could kind of. Do some stuff to get some of that weight down by new.

I was going to just keep spinning my wheels and always get back in the same spot. Um, so that’s when, you know, I kind of, uh, looked up and saw that you had some coaching available and it’s like, you know, I think this is really the time to, to invest in that, um, get some actual coaching, you know, and really learn The, the ins and outs of how to do this over a long period of time, as well as just how to successfully implement, um, you know, the bigger, leaner, stronger philosophy and, um, like we talked about really tailored to, to me, to my lifestyle, to, you know, my home gym, right?

So I have a squat rack and a barbell, but I might not have access to all the machines. Um, so that’s really where that unique coaching came in and made the world of difference. 

Mike: Yeah, it really is a powerful shortcut. If you use it the way you’ve used it. And, uh, especially at this point, and this was, this was something I, I wanted to incorporate into our coaching from the beginning is I wanted to make sure that people didn’t feel like they were dependent on us.

I wanted them to not only get results, but also understand why these things work and understand how to do them without us, because ultimately I want to see people. I want to see them find the lifestyle that allows them to not just get into great shape, but stay that way for the rest of their lives. And inevitably many clients end up working with us for a long time, longer than they would quote unquote have to, if it’s only a matter of, well, what, what do I need to do?

Show me, and then I’ll go and do it. But. Because they get great results and because they like the accountability and because they like the convenience of having somebody there that they can ask questions of at any time, they can get diet, meal plan adjustments made as needed training adjustments, and they find that it just becomes part of their regimen that works for them.

It’s, it’s part of their success. And so, so inevitably, um, yeah. Uh, many, many clients stay on longer than the first three or six months. And and so that’s, that’s always appreciated as well. And if we look at your results here, so eight months, 43 pounds down, uh, 17 percent body fat down. And so that’s in an absolute, not relative for people wondering.

Uh, so basically, I mean, it looks like you about cut your body fat almost in half, uh, is probably for people can’t see what I, what I can see here. You lost 11 inches from your waist. And so, uh, this is just one of those striking transformations. You did such a good job. I’m sure people that. Hadn’t seen you in the interim were, were they had to do a double take, not that, and I don’t say that to say that you looked horrible before.

It’s just such a, it’s such a big difference before and after. 

Luke: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s definitely one of those things where I think the, um, they’re not that anybody I think would look and say, Hey, losing 43 pounds isn’t a large amount. And I think the pictures really are what do it justice. Um, and you know, when you think like 11 inches off the waist, that’s 30 plus percent of my total.

So that’s really where I think it’s like the biggest, right? Um, you know, it’s, uh, it’s really one of those things where the, the numbers on the scale, um, they matter, but they don’t matter so much as, you know, the, the picture you see in the mirror every day. I think that really tells the, the, the real story.

Um, and that was actually one of the big differences that my coaching helped me understand. Right. Um, so I was with ash and, you know, very early on. I, you know, I had even shared some of the, you know, the pictures from when I had moderate success in the past. I said, and I had this, um, wait in my mind. I was like, okay, wait, Uh, before I was able to cut down almost like starve myself down to like 170 pounds and a little bit over six foot, um, just to see some abs.

And then I did kind of like a bulk and maybe around the 190, I could still kind of see some abs. So in my mind I was like, I need to lose. You know, 70 pounds because I was starting at, um, close to, you know, 270 pounds and, and that’s where I really need to go. And, you know, Ash kind of talked me off the ledge and he said, okay, let’s just start focusing on the basics.

You know, let’s work on your diet. Let’s work on your, you know, your rest. Let’s make sure we get a solid exercise plan. Let’s manage your stress. Let’s make sure you’re sleeping. And just cover those, you know, big items to really get your lifestyle in line. And then as we start seeing the results, we can go from there.

And you know, when I, you know, quote unquote, finished this, you know, nine, nine months, 36 weeks of a cut, I have the best abs I ever had. And I’m at 220 pounds. So that really goes to show how much of a difference, um, you know, a proper diet and training can make in your life and how much more sustainable it is.

Like I feel really healthy sitting at 220 pounds. And even now, as we kind of, you know, reverse diet back up and go into a bit of a lean bulk. Um, my calories are so much higher, right? I’m not starving under 2000 calories. I’m at 3000 calories and not, uh, so that’s really where it’s a lifetime sustainable thing.

And that is like nothing I’ve been able to experience in the past decade. 

Mike: Yeah. It’s an important point for people who are, um, experiencing a dramatic change in their body composition for the first time. It, it, It is hard to predict what, what body weight represents the goal that, that you have in your mind, especially if you have done a bunch of cardio in the past and starved yourself in the past.

And over the years, I’ve heard from many, many people, probably in this sense, more More women than men who have done especially that and women seem to be more indoctrinated care a lot about body weight than men just just generally versus body composition. And so just an important point for people listening, if you are starting out and you know that you need to lose a fair amount of fat and you know that you need and you want to gain a fair amount of muscle, you can actually just count on weighing quite a bit more at a great look like what you see in the mirror is probably going to weigh a fair amount more than what you would think when, uh, when that day comes and you look in the mirror.

And you think, wow, that looks really good, but I’m, I’m at least 80 percent to my, uh, absolute best body composition that I could ever imagine getting to. Um, you’re going to, you’re probably going to weigh a fair amount more than you think. 

Luke: Yeah. And that was definitely one of the biggest surprises to me.

Like, you know, I, I really thought, okay, maybe, maybe two Oh five is, you know, where, where I can still see abs and Ash just kept being like, you know, how about we just, you know, show up and execute the plan and, uh, we’ll see where we get. Um, so that was, uh, you know, an amazing portion of this whole coaching experience.

Mike: You mentioned, uh, earlier that you had some success in the past and now looking back on it. It seems like you succeeded in spite or despite what you were doing rather than because of it. I wanted to come back to that because that’s also an important point that it confuses a lot of people who are relatively new to learning evidence based diet and exercise and so on.

Can you explain what you meant by that and maybe even share some examples for you specifically? You shared some of the things that you were doing in the past and. Um, I’m just curious which of those things did seem to work to some degree. And now with hindsight, how do you interpret that? 

Luke: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

So, you know, tons of different examples. Um, but, uh, you know, definitely, um, not eating enough was, is one of my key problems. Um, not being patient enough. Um, you know, sometimes if you, uh, You don’t really have any true nutritional knowledge, right? You’re just kind of reading out of a booklet that kind of came off a program you purchased and it’s okay Well, if you don’t see your weight drop in, you know, two weeks, then you absolutely have to keep dropping your calories And you know, I would just drop calories so quickly that I would be at 1, 600 calories as a male weighing 240 pounds and trying to work out two hours a day because I want to get these results quickly Um, that’s almost, that’s the, that, that, that moral lines on starvation study.

That’s almost prisoner, prisoner of war territory. Yeah. And you, and you don’t feel good. You can’t perform it all right. There was no, it would get to where I couldn’t weight lift, which is obviously not beneficial at all. Cause now, uh, I’m losing just as much of the lean body mass that I had as I would be, um, fat.

Um, so I would, you know, do a lot of hit training. I would do, you know, 25 minutes of hit a day, and then I’d go for like an hour walk at night. Um, and I would attempt to do some types of circuit training and stuff where my energy levels would be so low that there was no way I could actually perform or build any muscle.

Um, so I would get to a, a unsustainable, um, body weight, even if I could get lean enough that I could see some definition, um, and I’m like, Oh, this is great. You know, I can, I can see my abs or see some, you know, definition in my arms. Um, but it would always just be like, okay, well in six months this is going to be gone This isn’t a sustainable thing.

I can’t do two hours of cardio a day and, you know, eat less than 2000 calories. Um, so just really being patient with my progress, uh, really prioritizing, um, weightlifting and not cardio, uh, you know, multiple times, you know, even kind of, I knew having read, um, your books and listen to your podcast and stuff.

I knew I’m like, no, cardio is not for me. Always the thing that’s going to move the needle. So, um, you know, at least a couple of times I came to Ash and I was like, you know, Ash, I, I dunno, it seems like my weight stalled a little bit. Can I, can I add some hit? And he’d be like, no, you’re just gonna, you’re going to do exactly the program.

Right. Um, and every single time he did that, then it would be like the next week I would see, you know, the drop of weight and the scale. Um, so, you know, just being able to trust that if you show up and execute the plan, it will work. Not being so intimidated by those daily fluctuations or weekly fluctuations, right?

You know, being a 250 pound guy, it’s nothing to see, you know, a 2 percent weight fluctuation, but five pounds feels like the end of the world, especially if it’s in the wrong direction while you’re on a diet. Um, so having that coaching just to be like, Hey, it’s okay. It’s less than 2 percent of a fluctuation.

Just keep on your diet. You know, we don’t need to drop calories any lower, um, and then inevitably two or three weeks later, I would have like, you know, a fat whooshing effect or something like that and see all that progress so that I can’t tell you how many times that happened. You know, it’s kind of funny to, to look at the, you know, the nine months if you pull up, you know, the train rise application and see all the weight logins and it’s just this nice mountain down.

Um, but when you’re in it right, week to week, it can feel like it’s the end of the world when you’re not seeing it. Yeah. 

Mike: Yeah. That, uh, that, that makes a lot of sense. And that, um, that, that, that point of reaching these, uh, either it’s plateaus or even seeing weight moving in, in the wrong direction. It also can help when you do have a fundamental understanding of, of what’s going on.

Again, you understand why these things work the way they do. And even though maybe the emotional response to it is, uh, maybe even a little bit of panic, it, it helps to understand intellectually. Okay, so, so my weight went up five pounds. And that would, that would represent probably close to realistically speaking a 20, 000 calorie surplus.

It’s like 20, 000 calories of body fat or so. And, and if I, if I think about my diet now, I’ve been pretty good. I don’t have to be perfect, but, um, uh, yeah, I’ve been a hundred calories up, a hundred calories down sometimes here and there. But I, but there’s no way in the last week that I ate 20, 000 more calories than, I burned.

So I know this five pound increase is, is not all body fat. I know that. And it’s not all body fat and, and it’s not even mostly body fat. Well, then it has to be some of these other things. And, and then as you go through this experience of seeing the following week, you, you get a bit of that whoosh effect, which for people listening is, um, it just refers to a sudden decrease in body weight.

Usually that, that follows mo one, maybe two week period where there’s little change. And, and weight loss is never perfectly linear. Like Luke said, if you look at your graph, if you’re doing it right, it trends downward over time. Look at your graph of your average body weight over time. It trends downward.

It, it, it, it’s not a little bit lower. Every week until you finally reach your goal, it goes up, it goes down, it goes back up, it flattens out, it goes way down, it goes way up, and so it, it’s just, it’s just part of the, part of the process and I’m sure Luke for you, once, once you saw this pattern repeat a couple of times, then the, as you said, the daily fluctuations, you just don’t even care anymore because you know that if you just focus on execution, execution, execution, You’re going to get the results.

The results factually are happening. Even though they’re not always perfectly reflected on the scale or even in the mirror, because you look at yourself every day and you get, it gets a little bit distorted in your mind’s eye, you get where you’re not actually even seeing the changes until They’re dramatic.

Luke: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s also, I think, uh, another benefit of really focusing on those pictures and taking high quality progress pictures, even at the start when you don’t want to write. I’m so glad I took those pictures. And now I look back, um, I’m like, well, um, and it’s really cool to go, you know, Yeah. Yeah.

Monthly, you know, and I have them all in a folder and you could see even when, you know, you would still look in a mirror and like, Oh, I don’t know. But if you compared that to a month before, you’re like, okay, yep. Now I see, um, you know, my arms may be a little bit more defined. I have less lower back fat.

Um, to just finding wins in places like that. Um, and you know, also again, having the coaching because you might kind of like overlook some of those, but you know, a good coach is going to look at those and point out to where, where they’re saying, you know, the most progress as well. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a good point.

Can you talk to us about your diet? How did you approach that part of your diet? Um, this equation, what specifically worked for you? And I’m curious if you had to make any changes along the way, did you start out thinking that one approach would work, then you found that certain parts of it actually weren’t right for you.

And so then you had to, had to, 

Luke: Yeah. So I’ll, I’ll definitely say, um, starting out because I was so overweight and, you know, I really wasn’t super hungry. Um, even despite being in a caloric deficit, cause, um, you know, it, it was fine. I was, you know, I was working out and I’d say my intensity probably actually the, the More fit.

I got the higher intensity. I was training. Um, so that that definitely played a role in it. But starting out, it was, um, you know, I won’t say easy, but pretty simple. Um, you know, I, I definitely had a macro nutrient based diet. Um, you know, I had used, uh, one of the sample meal plans and kind of adapted it to, to what made sense to me.

Um, just found some meals that I liked. Uh, and once I kind of dialed those in, I was like, Hey, I know I can have. Yeah. You know, say 10 ounces of, you know, lean ground turkey and X number, you know, of grams of rice for lunch or whatever. Um, I’m kind of simple in that I can eat the same thing, uh, you know, five, six, seven days a week.

So it’s, it’s fairly simple for me to be like, okay, well, I know this is the macronutrients present and, and this lunch or this dinner and so forth. And then I just kind of built them with like, like they were building blocks. But, uh, for me, I don’t need a ton of variety. It was simple to. A handful of meals that worked for me and then just keep executing on this.

Mike: And was that different? Sorry, just to interject the question. Was that different though, then, because, because previously you said we were joking or, I mean, you were joking that, yeah, you were consistent, but you were consistently doing the bad, wrong things. And I’m assuming that, that, that included eating probably relatively high.

Process highly processed foods that are very calorically dense and very tasty and probably too much snacking and so forth. I doubt you were just eating too much ground turkey and rice, right? Yeah. 

Luke: No, I don’t, I don’t think anyone’s ever eaten too much ground turkey, rice and broccoli. Exactly. Nobody, nobody, nobody gets fat on ground turkey and rice.

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Um, and in some ways that actually even helped manage the stress a little bit better, right? Doing some, some of that meal prep and meal planning because you didn’t have to think about, um, it wasn’t like a, you Oh man, I’ve been on a work conference all morning. Um, I only have 30 minutes and now I’m starving.

Now I’m in fight or flight mode already. So I’m going to grab crap or I’m going to run to, you know, like a local, like Wawa or, you know, fast food joint and grab whenever I can. Um, it actually made it almost easier. Right. Cause it was like, nope, I know what my lunch is and I’m going to eat, you know, a healthy, nutritious lunch.

And that’s going to, to fuel me throughout the day. Um, so that part actually made my life a lot easier. More simple, um, not having to always think about those things, um, in terms of kind of how that adapted, I will say, as we, um, the more weight I lost, the deeper into the cut I got, the bigger into the deficit, um, you know, something my, uh, Ash and I worked on.

Was, uh, food selection, right? Um, so picking some of the more voluminous things, um, you know, really focusing heavier on those vegetables, making sure I got adequate fiber and, um, just to keep there’s the feeling of fullness and not feel like I’m starving all the time. And that was actually a major change.

That’s not something I’ve ever really thought about before. Um, before it was kind of just like, okay, yeah, I’m, you know, feeling like I’m starving, but I’m like, oh, the sufferings kind of required, um, you know, working with a proper coach. He was like, look, you’re going to feel hungry at times. We’re in a deficit, but you really don’t need to feel like you’re starving and you can eat Damn near as much broccoli as you want, as long as you’re not coating it with cheese, right?

Mike: A little asterisk, minor detail. 

Luke: Yeah. So that, that’s definitely one of what is the, the other evolution was, you know, finding those things like, you know, this, but do you like potatoes, like white potatoes? Do you like sweet potatoes? Um, you know, instead of just using carb sources, you can sub in some of those things.

You can eat, you know, vegetables. Um, So that was definitely expanding the dietary preferences and understanding and being a lot more in tune with how do I feel? Right. So I’d keep a little, uh, you know, food journal where, Hey, I ate this for lunch. And by 4 PM I was starving or, Hey, I ate this. And at 4 PM, I really wasn’t that hungry.

Um, and then kind of modeling my, my diet around how it was making me feel. 

Mike: That’s, that’s smart to try just different combinations, like starting with. A basic food satiety scale you can find online or you can find over on our blog over at lesion. We’ve, we’ve written about it, uh, in a, in a number of different articles and contacts.

Uh, and then picking out which foods you like and then mixing and just making some meals and then seeing, uh, how it works for you and, and being, uh, I guess he, it’s not maybe rigorous, but like you said, actually writing it down and rating your, your hunger on a scale of one to five with, uh, five being absolutely starving and one being you, you wouldn’t even be interested in eating your favorite cheat meal wouldn’t even be appealing to you or whatever, right?

Um, and, and then, and then just seeing from, from those, those different combinations that make sense to you, which works best. And as you mentioned, that once you find the meals that you like, and this is a very common experience, and I don’t know if this was a little bit surprising to you, maybe not if you have done it before, but I’ve heard from many people over the years who started in a place that is similar to where you started.

Where they, they were not eating well, they were eating a lot of fast food, they were eating a lot of pre packaged food, uh, it was, it was a lot of just in the moment decisions, I’m starving, what do I, what do I want, how much time do I have, what’s convenient. Um, and they They went from that and then with that thinking that variety was really important to them and they, they just, they were used to making these on the fly food decisions that often started with what do I want to eat right now?

What, what sounds delicious to me right now? And, and then they, they transition to a much more structured approach where they get to eat the foods that they like. But like you said, there’s some planning, there’s some prep now that now they have it all worked out. They know even the time that cool at 9am I eat this and then at 11am I have my little snack and then at 2pm I eat my salad and they don’t have to think about it anymore.

And Uh, like you said, I’ve just heard from many people of the years that were surprised that they actually enjoyed that and that variety wasn’t as important as they thought. Was that the case for you? Or did you already know that? Uh, that putting, putting some pretty thick guard rails on your, on your eating or on your diet was going to work out.

Luke: I’d say it was probably a little bit surprising. I’d say how, uh, how much I didn’t need any variety. I, I kind of figured, oh, I’d get tired of eating the same, you know, ground turkey and rice every day for lunch, but I really didn’t. Yeah, it’s, and then after four months of eating the same thing, you still look forward to it.

You’re like, Ooh, I’m gonna eat my turkey and rice soon. Yeah, especially if you’ve been deep enough in the cut ground turkey tastes great. So that’s true. That’s true. Yeah. And, and, you know, finding again, back to some of that sustainability, right. Um, finding, you know, seasonings that you like, um, you know, Yep.

It doesn’t, it doesn’t just have to be hot sauce, right? It used to just be like chicken breast and hot sauce and rice and that’s all I can eat. So, you know, finding different seasonings you like that are, you know, make sure they’re actually, you know, no calorie or low calorie and they’re not doing some trickery on, on the labeling, but, you know, finding different seasonings, uh, you know, now there’s all types of stuff on the market, like, you know, so.

So, you know, reduce sugar, um, like barbecue sauces and ketchups and stuff and different condiments like that, um, that, you know, a decade ago, either I didn’t know existed or, you know, this has just come, um, more, more into the main stage now that I’m back and was looking at these things. Um, so there’s a lot of those things you can do, um, you know, picking up like you have, you know, the shredded cookbook and they’re like, okay, so there’s simple substitutions you can make, um, to meals that you really like.

Uh, and then make them a lot more macro friendly so you can still kind of get that hit of, oh, I want to try something like this. Um, and instead of being like, oh, well, I can have a cheat meal, you know, once a month or something like that, you can be like, okay, well, here’s a much more reasonable, um, adaptation of that that still tastes 90 percent of it and hits the spot.

Mike: How did you deal with cheat meals, treat meals, however, however people want to call them free meals. Yeah, I never, I never, I think some of the. It was almost like a moral panic over cheat meals, as if, as if people are going to feel bad because they’re cheating. I, I get, I get the sentiment, but I have to say, in speaking with, particularly emailing with tens of thousands of people over the years, I, I don’t know if I’ve ever actually met someone.

Who had a problem with that in fact, they never cared. They were excited because they had a system that worked and they looked forward to their sheet meal. They felt great afterward because it was delicious. But regardless, regardless, in the latest editions of bigger, linear, stronger and thinner, linear, stronger, I changed, I changed the terminology to treat meal just for fun.

We’re like, okay, I mean, I’m, I’m not, again, I’m not concerned about calling it a cheat meal. Um, but I think treat meal actually captures the essence of it even, even better anyway. Um, but how did you deal with that? Is that something you did? On a regular basis, irregular basis, not at all. 

Luke: Yeah. Um, so I wouldn’t say, uh, we didn’t have it like scheduled in.

Right. Um, it wasn’t like, uh, Oh, every third week we do some people, 

Mike: some people like to do it and it becomes even a little event that they look forward to and then they go to their favorite restaurant and they, they get whatever they like and. It’s like a nice reward for the week and a reset. 

Luke: Yeah. Yeah.

So I, I didn’t have anything like that. Um, but you know, I would basically, um, for me, it kind of worked out and especially cause I was on this long enough. And, uh, when I, one of the things that really helped me, especially being on coaching for a little bit longer than just the 12 weeks was, um, you know, holidays were going to come up, you know, there was memorial day, there was July 4th, there was labor day.

Um, you know, we worked through, um, you know, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Um, so having that, uh, support and having that, um, person to talk to of how do I approach these holidays, um, and actually, you know, in a lot of ways, it was even again, talking off the ledger, um, ash was like, you know, you can enjoy Christmas, like you can enjoy.

Your holidays, you can still have, you know, the big meals, um, you know, and we talked about some strategies on how, on what we can do, you know, if we feel better because we just had this great meal, then yeah, go for, you know, a little extra walk or something like that. Um, but, you know, one of the things we focused on was enjoying what I wanted to eat.

Um, you know, still having those meals, being guilt free about it, and then just making sure that I’m right back on, you know, my exercise schedule. And even if we see a slight fluctuation, uh, in weight, right, you might have a couple pounds from the extra sodium or so forth. But like we talked about earlier, it’s like you didn’t eat 20, 000 extra calories.

You might’ve eaten 2000, you know, you didn’t even gain a pound of fat. So all of those things definitely played a huge role. And in my, just like the mentally thinking for release things. Um, so why I didn’t necessarily have like a scheduled, uh, yeah, treat meal, cheat meal, whatever. Um, since I was on it long enough, there was holidays and so forth.

So I kind of just ate what I wanted on the holidays, you know, within reason. But if I wanted to have, you know, barbecue or a beer or two, we just did it. I, you know, I tracked it like normally and then, you know, we got right back on the schedule and in the following days. 

Mike: Yeah. I joke, uh, I’ve joked on, on social media.

I’m paraphrasing myself. I don’t remember exactly how I said it, but basically that, uh, yes, people who eat a lot of food, drink a fair amount of alcohol, uh, on the holidays. This is, this was, I think I was, this was during the Christmas holiday season. They, they, they typically gain some, some fat, but they also have a lot of fun.

So that matters too. And you can always lose the fat. It is. And as you, as you do this for enough years, you see that fully enjoying yourself. And once you, once you get to where you, where you’ve gotten to, you, you’ve achieved a great body composition. You’ve learned how to keep it. You’ve also developed a very healthy relationship with food.

And so I, again, if I think back to all the years, I can’t think of anybody. Who has gone through the experience that you’ve gone through and then has a problem with binge eating, for example, as I’d say, it can’t happen. It’s just not. It’s definitely not the norm. And so what I see is with people like you in the holidays, like you said, what are we talking about here?

We’re talking about. Eating some barbecue, eating a couple thousand calories of barbecue, maybe in that, in, in, maybe for the day you’re, you’re in a little bit of a surplus and you have a couple of beers and you do that a few times here and there. And so that’s doing that a few times over the course of whatever period of time, depending on the holiday, that’s, that’s you having a great time.

That’s not feeling restrained at all. And the, what’s the worst case scenario, you eat a bit less for one or two weeks, maybe it, maybe you don’t even have to, but if you really feel compelled to, maybe that’s the price you have to pay. And so, again, once you’ve experienced that a couple of times, similar to, uh, with weight loss plateaus and so forth, you, you really understand that, oh no, that this is just how it works.

You don’t, you don’t have to, uh, You don’t have to feel guilty for eating the barbecue or, uh, drinking the beer. And even if you want to do that, you want to do that multiple times a week over, over a holiday period, it, the, the, the consequences are, are just negligible. 

Luke: Yeah. Yeah, no, I’ll say that’s definitely, I think one of the, again, the, I can’t speak to enough about, um, the coaching, right?

It was very BLS, you know, philosophy, the, the workouts and so forth, but the, the ability to talk to our coach that really understands that and can help equip you and, you know, listen to your concerns and, you know, like, oh, am I going to ruin everything if I eat 2000 calories on, you know, July 4th? And Ash was like, No, I want you to enjoy yourself, eat whatever you want, and then, you know, July 5th, we’re go right back to the diet and you’ll see that a week from now, it’ll be like nothing happened.

Um, and just, you know, doing that enough times to be like, okay, yeah, like this isn’t a big deal. Um, you know, I have the tools and I’ve equipped myself with You know, the habits and so forth that, yeah, it, it’s really interesting too. Cause one of the things we talked about, she was like, Luke, to get to the weight you were at, you were doing this crap six days a week for years on end.

And I was like, you know, that’s actually a really good point. Like I was consistently doing the wrong thing for years to get the results that I had. So now it’s flipped. So, so, you know, reframing your, you know, your mindset for things like that is definitely super powerful 

Mike: and, uh, the, the general strategy to of just sticking to your meal plan and more or less sticking to your diet, uh, and, and then eating off plan, so to speak on holidays, which, you know, occur every few months, every couple of months, whatever is if, And that’s, that’s an example of something that may not work for some people because they like the regularity of eating off plan.

Or they, in the case of, you know, people, I think of people who travel a lot for their work and they have to go to meetings that are at restaurants and so forth. It makes it a little bit more difficult to where it gets actually kind of obnoxious if they were really trying to just stick to their. Their macros or their, or their calories.

And so they have to, um, work in some, some flexibility. Otherwise they’re just the weirdo asking for. They need, they need the asparagus, but it can’t have any butter or it can’t have any, any oil or, you know. Um, and, uh, but in your case, by not eating off plan regularly, it also, then if we think about it in terms of, if you want to zoom out and look at your calorie intake for the entire year and how that would, uh, map to your body composition goals and how, how active you’ve been and so forth, then, um, it allows you even more flexibility really during those holiday periods.

To, to eat whatever you want to eat. And it sounds like that’s kind of moderate anyway. Um, but by not overeating on a regular basis, something, there’s anything wrong with that as long as it’s controlled. And that’s really what people are doing when they, when they go out, even if it’s once a week when they’re cutting and they’re moderate about it, but they basically erase their calorie deficit for that day, or maybe they go into a slight surplus for that one day per week.

And that’s what works well for them. Um, but by not doing that, you are in a sense, kind of saving up the quote unquote, freedom, uh, to, to eat quite a bit if it’s infrequently every couple of months. And then still accomplish your, your goals when viewed over that longer timeframe, if that makes sense. 

Luke: Yeah.

Yeah. And it definitely does. And, um, you know, if, if anybody wants to see kind of like, you know, that the actual graph of my weight loss, it is in that article on legionathletics. com. And I think a big thing to talk about here is because that was over such a period of time, right. I had multiple holidays, right.

I had. Um, I had vacations in there where I did go on vacation. I tried to eat moderately, but it’s certainly not a controlled environment or you’re eating out a lot. You’re having a few alcoholic drinks. Um, so all of this was accomplished, not being super strict every single day. It was being strict enough most of the time that the results still came.

Uh, so that was, um, a huge, uh, you know, mental shift as well as like, Nope, you can take a vacation. And if you gain Even say you do gain, you have an extra 7, 000 calories, right? Gain two pounds. Okay. Like, you know, we, we were kind of already building that deficit in. So in a week or two, you’ll be right back to where you were, you know, and, and being able to have that flexibility in, in lifestyle and realize that, yeah, there’s, there’s no issues with having holidays with going on vacation and, you know, with, With good, solid habits, you just kind of auto regulate and get right back to where you wanted to be.

Mike: Hey there, if you are hearing this, you are still listening, which is awesome, thank you. And if you are enjoying this podcast, or if you just like my podcast in general, and you are getting at least something out of it, would you mind sharing it with a friend? friend or a loved one or a not so loved one, even who might want to learn something new.

Word of mouth helps really bigly in growing the show. So if you think of someone who might like this episode or another one, please do tell them about it. Let’s shift in and talk training. So how did you approach your training? Uh, how many days per week and did you modify with, with Ash, the, the, the kind of basic BLS programming, uh, and what, what did you guys find worked best for you?

Luke: Yeah. Um, so we did, um, five days a week for lifting. I found that the. The more days for me, the easier it is to say on schedule, right? Yep. Um, so we did, you know, five days a week lifts, um, really, really focused on the, the main BLS, um, you know, uh, programming, um, really focused on the compound movements, which is something that in the past I haven’t done super well.

And as well as, you know, one of the, the, the rest periods, I don’t think I’d ever rested three minutes before in my life. Like, I was like, if I’m here in the gym, I gotta be sweating. I gotta be moving. 90 seconds is the most, you know, rest I’d ever take. I 

Mike: remember that when all, many years ago, when I started to train like this, I, I was very skeptical actually in the beginning.

That this was going to work the way that it was supposed to, because even this point, I felt like half of my time, I was just standing around. 

Luke: Yeah. Yeah. And, and sometimes I still kind of feel like that, but the results are so incredible in terms of unless you’re, you’re squatting, you’re deadlifting then at three minutes, you’re like, really, it’s already been, it’s already been three minutes.

I’ll say even some of the times, um, you know, eight months into a cut and my deadlift increased like 180 pounds. Um, and that’s, you know, within that four to six rep range, not even the one rep range. So it’s actually probably slightly more than that. Um, but yeah, by, by the end of eight months of a cut, you know, down, uh, 40 pounds and an extra close to 200 pounds on your deadlift that, that the time would go for three minutes.

I’m like, I think I’m going to sit here another 30, 40 seconds. I’m just going to regroup. Um, so it’s like, it’s like those mornings, you know, and you’ve slept horribly and the alarm goes off. You’re like, I know, I know, but give me a minute. Give me a minute. Yeah. I think, you know, I was never lifting enough weight that, that it made sense to, to rest 30 minutes.

And the big difference was, uh, you know, actually focusing on being fully rested, recovered, um, doing low enough, um, rep ranges to, to build that strength. Um, focusing on the, you know, barbell movements as a skill, um, you know, instead of being like, oh, I can’t do the same workout for. Three weeks in a row. How dare I, my, my, I need muscle confusion, right?

And it’s like, no, you just need to actually get good at deadlifting. So there’s, you know, so many things that, uh, I had never done properly before, you know, definitely again, working with a coach, getting the form checks was fantastic because there’s so many little things that you might not really catch, you know, your hips move a little bit in a way, you know, doing like pull ups and stuff to where, uh, you know, okay.

Like maybe you put your thumbs. Outside and, you know, make sure you engage those labs a little bit more. Um, so there’s little minute details add up to a huge difference. But yeah, you know, before I was never scared of a barbell, but I never really lifted lots of weight. Right. And now, you know, when you’re loading up four or five on the, for the deadlift bar and doing multiple reps, you’re like, yeah, this is actually really fun.

You know, I didn’t think I would be able to see these numbers. 

Mike: Yeah, that’s always been. My favorite exercise sometimes hate it, especially when a couple of years ago, uh, well, I guess it hasn’t been that long. So I, I changed my training. So I was doing what is basically in my book, beyond bigger, leaner, stronger.

I was doing the five day program for probably at least three years. If I include the, all the way back to the beginning when I was working on it and doing it myself, uh, before I even updated the book. And, um, So that program starts with, um, sets of 10 on squat on deadlift. Those were not so fun, especially the final sets because sets of 10 close to failure, not to failure, but ending, ending sets probably within one or two reps or so, let’s say one or two good reps still in the tank.

I didn’t push much further than that was utterly exhausting. Uh, but once you get below six reps on the deadlift, I think that’s when it gets more fun. 

Luke: Yeah. 

Mike: Above six. Not so far. Yeah. 

Luke: And I will. And, and speaking of, um, that’s another thing that I think this program really helped me do is what actually is failure, you know, cause you’re like, Hey, if, if you’re not super well trained and you come in like one to three reps in reserve, you don’t really know that for yourself.

You know, in certain stuff, you always need to be safe, practice, you know, make sure you have proper form and stuff, but really learning to push yourself on lifts too and be like, Hey, what was I actually tired? Was I really within three reps of failure or was I just tired of doing deadlifts? Right? Because it’s, Oh, it’s this big, heavy thing I got to pick up.

So really being able to push myself, understand, um, you know, what does failure actually look like for me or, you know, am I just being lazy and don’t want to, you know, fetish the set. Yeah. So practicing some of those intensity techniques definitely was a game changer for me as well because I feel like in the past, both from not resting long enough, but I just wasn’t actually pushing it nearly as hard as I thought I was and the more weight I lost, the more fit I got, the higher the intensity got.

So all of those things came together to really produce the results that I didn’t think I would be able to accomplish before. 

Mike: Yeah, that’s a major point. I think that. To just generalize most people, they are, they’re not training hard enough in each individual set. Now, I’m thinking even of people who actually spend a lot of time in the gym and they do a lot of sets.

I mean, it could be two or two or three hour workout, uh, but, and in some cases I’m thinking of people who are in very good shape. Uh, but they are, I mean, it’s, it’s a, it’s almost, I wouldn’t say it’s a lot. It’s a bunch of warmup sets, but it’s something in between a bunch of warmup sets and. True hard sets taken close to failure.

And if you want to spend a few hours in the gym, doing a lot of sub maximal training, you could do that and you can get results with that. But if you’d rather the same results or even better results in maybe an hour or so. Then that’s when that intensity set to set has to increase. And so it, if I think to, to the gyms I’ve been in over the years, there always are people who know this and they train hard, they train intense.

They’re pushing close to failure. Some people overdo it and they’re always training to failure. Every set, every exercise, really pushing it to where. You know, the spotter is having to finish the final rep for them. And that’s also, that’s, uh, that, that’s not a, a practical and intelligent way to train. But, uh, the, I think that on average, people could benefit from a lot more intensity in their workouts.

Uh, I, I don’t see it the other way. I don’t see most people pushing to failure too often and, and, you know, benefiting from less intensity. 

Luke: Yeah, and that was definitely a key thing, you know, that’s changed for me now, is being able to much more accurately gauge how much intensity I am capable of, um, you know, and definitely pushing a little bit harder there, uh, helped me find those right, like, I, you know, you probably actually have to get really close to failure, um, at least a couple of times to be like, okay.

Yep. That that’s what this feels like. Um, and you can still do that in a safe manner, right? Um, you know, even, even as far as like, as she even helped me make sure how to, how do I set up, um, you know, like the safety bar I’m in the scrap rack that I’m benching in, right? I work out at home, so I need to be safe.

Yeah. Be safe. Um, but just those little things right where you’re like, nope, it’s okay. If I fail, I’m actually safe. I have these, you know, safety bars set up. Um, and they’re just a couple of times. Take it there just to, to feel okay. That’s what actual failure feels like and not, you know, be seven reps away when, when you’re finishing a set.

Mike: And, uh, two other tips for, for people listening is one paying attention to how quickly the bar is moving or dumbbell or machine. And if it also can help to video yourself, because Take dead lifting your deeper into a set. It’s getting pretty hard and you’re mostly focusing on just maintaining your form and getting that weight off the ground.

But what what you will always see is once you really start to approach failure. That barbell is going to slow down significantly and it can help to video yourself. So then you can, you can see what did you perceive in terms of that speed and what actually happened? Um, and so if you’re doing a set and that barbell didn’t slow down at all, regardless of how hard it fell, your perception of the effort, it might have been a 10 out of 10.

But the barbell didn’t slow down at all, then you could have, you could have gotten at least a couple more reps and it might not be seven, but it might be five. And sometimes it can be surprising with something like the deadlift or the squat, how many more reps you can do if you’re willing to, to try and, um, paying attention to that barbell speed or dumbbell or machine speed can help though, because it is fairly easy.

To just keep a little bit of attention on that. And if it feels like, nope, that, that, or still moved pretty quickly, I had to, I had to work for it, but I still got it up pretty quickly, then you can feel safe, so to speak in, in trying another rep and then seeing that still move pretty quickly. I had to try even harder.

That’s really hard, but it’s not slowing down yet. Then you go for another one. And then that’s probably. Where you will start to notice it. Uh, if, if again, you’re, you’re, you’re feeling like you’re giving it everything you’ve got just to keep that, uh, that, that barbell coming off the ground or keep that squat moving quickly, you can do that for a few reps until it starts to slow down, uh, but it’s going to slow down a little bit and then you’re to go for another one and it’s going to slow down a little bit more and then you go for another one and now you’re entering probably grind grinder territory, but if you really wanted to go for.

Everything, not that you necessarily have to, you probably can still get, uh, at least one or maybe two more grinders. And, uh, so that’s, that’s something that, that can help people just get an understanding of how close to failure they are. And then also, like you mentioned, pushing to failure and that could be, you could save that for a machine as well.

If you don’t feel comfortable barbell squatting to failure. I mean, I would never program that just for even myself really, but has it happened to me over the years? Yes, absolutely. And so, especially when now I’m kind of in maintenance mode, I still like to train intensely, but not as intensely as necessarily 10 years ago.

Um, and so. I then was willing to, uh, I wanted to get to a true, you know, zero RIR. Well, sometimes like zero good reps left for people listening where I just barely got the final rep map, sometimes miss miscalculated and couldn’t get it up and had to set it down. So if, if you don’t want to do that, and I understand you can do that on different machines though, where you can push, especially with upper body.

Yeah. You can push to failure with safety, a true failure, just, you know, you’re on a, some sort of chest press machine and you, you want to feel just the localized and the systemic effect effects of failure. What does that really feel like in your pecs, in your triceps, in your shoulders, and also just in your body on the whole, what does it feel like to really go to absolute failure?

You could do it on a bench press. Or do it on a machine because it feels about the same or do it with dumbbells if that, if that’s a little bit more comfortable and you can, you can repeat that with, with every muscle group. If it’s lower body, maybe you want to do that on a leg press, or maybe you want to do that on any sort of real squat mimicking kind of machine, a pendulum squat.

If your gym has that, maybe a belt squat, if your gym has that, um, or even, even with a dumbbell. exercise. Maybe it’s a Bulgarian split squat. Maybe it’s a lunge again, where you just feel a bit safer because you can just drop the dumbbells. Um, but if you do that, It doesn’t have to be frequently, but if you do that semi frequently, not only will you learn what it feels like, really, when you actually have zero good reps left.

If you go for another rep, you are not going to make it. And, and then also by doing it semi frequently, it helps just keep your understanding calibrated. Otherwise, what can happen is you can kind of lose your sense of it. And then some of that intensity, some of your training intensity is going to depend on how you feel that day.

And that’s inevitable and that that’s going to happen to some degree, but it is nice to to maintain that objective. Uh, understanding and that objective standard. So, so if you’re not feeling great because maybe you didn’t sleep great or whatever is going on, um, and you’re not inclined to train with the normal amount of intensity that you train with, then you, you understand that when you’re in the gym and you’re deeper into a set and now you would like to just end the set.

You’ve had enough of this set of, uh, squats, but you know, objectively that barbell has not slowed down at all. I’m going to, and then you just force yourself, all right, that’s it, do, do, do two more. You can do two more. 

Luke: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s definitely, um, something that, that we worked on a lot, um, really integrated kind of everything you said there, even, you know, um, stuff like Bulgarian switch squats with dumbbells.

Um, yeah. I would even like some foam roller hack squat with dumbbells. We got to do a, a lot of different, um, intensity techniques and stuff. So it felt like we really started with the first 12 weeks was the exact program as laid out. And then as we continued on, um, you know, we, we modified and, you know, different movements I wanted to hit.

Um, now even where we’re working on in the fourth block where, uh, you know, just looking to round out my physique. So we’re looking at some of the weak spots. So, you know, more inclined benching, um, really trying to hit the upper chest, um, more dealt, you know, centered exercises. Things like that, um, but yeah, really understanding intensity, um, understanding what failure feels like, managing some of those things like, you know, just actual fatigue of, hey, we’ve just been squatting just normal squats or barbells for so long that, um, let’s back off, let’s do some rows, let’s add some deficit rows, things like that, um, to just give, give the body a bit of a break.

So all of those things are super interesting. And again, I can’t speak highly enough of the coaches. 

Mike: Were there any obstacles, any other obstacles? I guess the intensity could be, that can be viewed as an obstacle with any other. Major obstacles or aha moments that occurred over these eight, nine months on the training side.

Luke: Um, yeah, I, you know, it, it’s funny when, when Ash and I were kind of reviewing from the first three blocks, he was like, you know, what, what do you think was the biggest takeaways? And we kind of sat down and we, we thought of a couple of them. Um, but he was like, you know, I think one of the, you know, the biggest that for, for me, he was like, yeah, like I gave you the permission to actually do less.

So instead of forcing myself, you know, two cardio sessions a day, you know, or, and you know, a weight training always trying to feel like I’m, you know, dying from a hit workout, you know, it’s okay to just go in, you know, do my pool day and go for a 20, 30 minute walk and not feel like I’m absolutely dead.

Uh, especially when you look at that over, Hey, I need to do five, you know, um, workouts a day over the next 12 weeks. I had never done a deload week in my life, even though prior I’ve been consistent and not skipped a workout for, you know, a year plus. So I’ve done that consistency before, but never actually deloaded.

So even having the faith that like, yep, I’m going to follow this as laid out, right? Did a deload came back? I’m like, Oh, I’m lifting more weight the week after I do load. This is weird. And I actually feel good. And my hunger is more manageable. So. For me, it was really, uh, finding more optimal programming and trusting it and not always just trying to, you know, run myself under the ground.

Mike: That’s funny. That makes me think of even so not today’s workout, but Monday’s workout. So I go to a local gym. And I go at the same time, um, I’m lifting Monday, Wednesday and Friday, then I’m doing cardio on the other days. And there’s a guy, uh, who’s always there at the same time, his name’s Howard. Nice guy, you get to know, you know, some of the, some of the people who are friendlier, you inevitably get to know them.

And, uh, he’s, he’s a bodybuilder. So he’s in there, I mean, his Monday workout, it’s three and a half hours, I think. And he’s a big dude and that’s what he likes to do. Go And so, uh, my workout was probably, it would probably be an hour and he, he, it’s, it’s just funny because he’s in there for hours and he’s bigger than I am for sure.

Uh, but my workouts to him seem like warmups, basically like. You’re already done. 

Luke: Like I, I just got warmed up. Yeah. And it’s definitely, that’s like something we definitely talked about. He was like, you know, you, you, you hit a point of diminishing returns that you can get 90 percent of the results from, you know, this set of effort and the extra.

100 percent effort is only going to get you maybe 5 percent more and it’s going to, you know, run you into the ground a lot quicker. Um, so when you have a, a long run rate like I had, you know, losing 50 pounds, it, it’s far better to, to really focus on, can I do this for, you know, 10 months in a diet and then can I adopt a program that’s going to help me stay fit for the rest of my life?

Mike: What about cardio? Well, what was the plan there? 

Luke: Yeah. So initially all we did was just walking, right? He really, especially because of that background, if I was like, Oh, let’s do a hit, let’s just do a tons of cardio. He purposely made me focus and prioritize on the weightlifting and really judge my success there.

Um, so we actually just did 30 minute walks every day. Um, and he said, you know, if you want to go from her walks, you can do that, but, you know, really make sure that we prioritize the diet and the weight lifting. And that’s what’s going to get us, you know, moving the needle in the right direction. I like rocking.

So we were, you know, give me some, some extra leeway to go do some of those. Um, I ended up doing like two, like, uh, go rock events during the time, which is really cool. Cause I actually did, um, one just a couple of months into the program and it was like, 13 or 14 miles. Um, and then I did the same exact ruck, uh, with extra 30 percent weight and cut 45 minutes off my time near the end of it.

Um, so even though I wasn’t necessarily training for that specific, um, event, just like the general physical, um, you know, preparedness and health benefits just transfer across your whole life. 

Mike: Absolutely. And so, so that was it for the whole period. It was walking and rucking. 

Luke: Yeah, you know, he said, you know, if I really want to do hit, he can help me program, you know, a day or two and or if I really wanted to run or something like that, you know, he was willing to do that.

But when we talked about what are my actual goals and it was like, you know, gain strength, you know, get lean. He was like, I, we can do that managing the cardio and not doing too much. Um, and I think that also helps knowing yourself, right? If I, Because of the, my, my history in the past, I’m just like, yeah, run, run yourself, do as much cardio as possible.

It made more sense for me to back off that, um, you know, really just focus on some basic cardiovascular health, use the, the weightlifting and then use the diet as the tool to move the scale. 

Mike: Yeah, exactly. And, uh, that’s a good example. In the in the exercise domain of modifications that people will make in the dietary domain, like for example, maybe not having a treat meal on a regular basis because they find that when they do, they just tend to overdo it.

It doesn’t mean that much to them. And so they’d rather just not or whatever. Uh, they just avoid certain things when they’re going to eat off plan, like they just avoid ice cream, for example, because they know that if they get that pint of ice cream. Eating 300 calories of it is not, it’s just not satisfying.

So they’re going to eat the whole pint. And, and so things like that are in your case, not, not doing as much cardio as maybe emotionally you felt compelled to do was actually the right decision. And, and just staying. Uh, cognizant of, okay, well, what am I trying to do here? Am I trying to, do I have a, do I, am I trying to do a bunch of cardio because I want to do a bunch of cardio, or even because I like doing a bunch of cardio?

Is that the goal or is the goal to, uh, gain muscle, gain strength, get my body fat down to the level I want it to be at. Okay. So if that’s the goal, then how does that then interface with this cardio desire? Okay. Well, it’s, it’s time to turn the volume down on that. 

Luke: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that that was again, you know, another one of those really powerful coaching moments was what is the latent purpose of us choosing an exercise, whether it be, you know, a weightlifting exercise or, you know, a cardio modality, you know, what is the actual latent purpose of us choosing that?

And then what, what do we hope to the result to be, you know, and then make sure that we have some meaningful metric to track it by. Uh, so really yeah. Thinking about it in those terms helped me understand, you know, better the exercise selection and why am I going to point out my, my week like this, you know, it definitely changed my mindset as to, to not just do as much work physically as possible within some period of time to, you know, why choose this exercise because we want to develop This end result makes sense.

Mike: Well, this was a great discussion. I think that, uh, that’s, that’s, that’s everything that I had on my list. Is there anything that I should have asked that I didn’t ask anything else kind of bounce around in your head that you want to share before we wrap up? 

Luke: I would say, you know, it. Different people have different, you know, goals, but for me, if I could go back in time and tell myself something, it was, uh, you know, be willing to try new things, whether it be, you know, focus on those compound exercises, try the rest periods, um, you know, try something like the BLS philosophy, and then just be patient, you know, show up and do the work, but don’t, don’t expect just because the weight didn’t move that day or that week, it’s okay, you know, if you, if you’re being honest with yourself, you’re tracking accurately.

Bye bye. And you’re showing up and doing the work, you will get the results. 

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, that’s, it’s really that, it’s really that simple. And it’s also cool that once you have experienced it, certainly once you’ve achieved the amount of success with it that you have, then it has all crystallized for you.

And there, there just are no more concerns about body composition, at least in terms of like what to do and what not to do. And once you see these things work, um, at least, I mean, I experienced this and I’ve heard from many people over the years where in some cases, in many cases, probably there’s a relief because it’s like, finally, you have a solution that makes sense logically.

It makes sense, um, empirically and it, it makes sense for you personally and it’s something that you can sustain and you can do indefinitely and there’s, there’s no going back to before and you’re no longer going to be kind of lost at sea trying to find a direction to go in, which unfortunately. Is, uh, it’s, it’s very easy to find yourself in that position in, in the body composition space in particular, because there’s so much bad information out there.

So many, so many people in some cases who are very highly credentialed and well spoken and they really seem to know what they’re talking about. And sometimes they’re even referencing research, but they’re complete frauds and they know it. I mean, they know that what they’re saying is not true. And they’ve worked it out for themselves one way or another, why that’s, that’s okay.

And why it’s for the greater good. That’s usually what it comes down to. It’s some, some form of that thinking where I’m lying. I’m telling noble lies. Yeah, it’s a lie. But if I were to tell people the truth, then most of them wouldn’t listen to me because they don’t want to hear it. So it’s actually better for them that I’m lying.

And getting them to results, not for the reasons that I’m giving, but two results, nonetheless, and so on. And, uh, so there’s just so much of that, so much of that in fitness. And so, uh, I don’t know if you experienced that, that moment of relief, but I remember as things really started to come together and, uh, I, I realized that, you know, Oh, this is, this is how it works.

This is how dieting works and this is how training works. And I just have to keep doing these things this way and then I’ll reach my goal. Oh, cool. And, and that is very motivating, at least to me, even if I knew it’s going to take a couple of years to reach my goal. But all I have to do is just show up and do these things and I’ll get there.

Luke: Yeah, yeah. And I definitely, definitely feel that sense of relief, right? Um, it feels like instead of like fighting my body, I’m working with my body. And it is definitely a huge relief. And, you know, just again, the knowledge of just master the basics, right? Know how to choose a proper diet. Make sure you’re resting.

Make sure you have a, you know, solid programming and exercising. Um, sleeping enough, right? And then stress management. And if you can handle those five things. You’ll get the results just do it consistently. 

Mike: I love it. Well, thanks again, Luke, for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it. 

Luke: Yeah.

Thanks for having me, Mike. Absolutely. 

Mike: Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful. And if you did subscribe to the show because It makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you.

And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have Uh, ideas or suggestions, or just feedback to share, shoot me an email Mike at muscleforlife. com muscleforlife. com and let me know what I could do better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.

I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode and I hope to hear from you soon.

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