I finally broke down and hired a trainer and nutrition coach. Yup, the cheapest guy in the world (at least that is what anyone that meets me says) hired someone. After doing a fair amount of looking, I hired Paul Kerton, better known as the Hench Herbivore. I can’t be happier with the results so far and I look forward to giving more details as time goes on.
Personal trainers and nutrition consultations are a dime-a-dozen. 90% or better of nutritional consultants and trainers are full of shit, don’t really care about your goals, and just resell you a cookie cutter meal and workout plan. So, what does tell me that a trainer/nutritionist isn’t legit? Here’s a few things I’ve found.
- Did they ask you questions about exactly what your goals are?
- Did they take time to get to know what you like and don’t like?
- Did the trainer find out how/where/when you prefer to exercise?
- Do you get the feeling they actually give a damn about you?
- What is your lifestyle and how do you fit in your eating and exercise?
Paul hit all the points for me. And here is why…
The Meal Plan
Hench Herbivore is one of numerous vegans and bodybuilders I follow on social media. I really appreciate his candor and knowledge. Of course, many of the people I follow are very much experts in their field, but from a personality perspective, I liked Paul. As previously discussed, I am a strong advocate and believer in The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall. I’ve been following his advice for over a year and have lost and continue to keep off 100 lbs. I’ve also been doing the Avery Jenkins disc golf centric workout routine to varying levels of success. However, it wasn’t really doing it for me.
I was previously an athletic person with varrying levels of success and numerous hours spent in and out of a gym. I was a bit lost workout wise. I was making progress with my lifting but I wasn’t really feeling good about it. I knew I was missing a lot of stuff. Plus, I’d started eating more vegan junk food since I’d gotten tired of straight Starch Solution. So, I reached out to Paul to see what he offered.
Unlike a couple of others I reached out to, Paul didn’t want cash immediately or offer to email me the plan ASAP. Quite the contrary. He asked questions, lots of questions. I’ve got a home gym and I wanted Paul to tailor my workouts to fit my capabilities. Paul also asked a significant amount of questions about my current diet, what my overall goals were, as well as what I liked/didn’t like to eat. He also got a good grip for how and when I ate and could make meals.
It was easily 20 emails back and forth before he mentioned being able to do my plans. I appreciated that. Quite a bit in fact.
Paul built a meal plan for me that was actually incredibly versatile. Instead of the standard “here’s your diet” he gave me the Cronometer printout with all my macros and a list of daily ingredients I could use. I honestly don’t even know if Paul realizes how versatile his list is. He did break it down into three easy to do meals, however after a few days and some clarification from Paul, I realized I could use the meal plan as a daily ingredient list. I started mixing and matching food. I started eating really good salads along with my mains, was able to craft everything from chilis to Mexican food, curries, and Budda bowls from the meal list. Unlike most cookie cutter meal plans, there is a TON of variety and I’m able to swap out ingredients easily.
Overall, it’s a really well thought out meal plan that keeps me in a range of foods that doesn’t overwhelm me. It really allows me to do a lot of bulk meal prep while still offering flexibility. Unlike a lot of meal plans you’ll get from trainers, it’s full of whole foods and not a single bit of packaged food.
Another key and really important thing is, Paul never once suggested a ton of supplements. He especially didn’t send me to the supplement/protein powder/etc company he has an affiliate relationship with in order to buy product through them. For trainers that work over the internet, that is a rare thing.
The Workout Plan
Much like the seeming 100 questions Paul asked about meals, he also asked about exercise. He wanted to know what I liked doing, when I did it, and especially what was the home gym I built capable of doing. He also asked me quite a bit about what my goals were. Were they growth or was it weight loss? Those are potentially totally different concepts. That much I knew from experience. Also, did I want to hoist tin to lose weight or was I wanting to cardio the pounds off?
I got a straightforward twice a week high volume split that works perfectly with my gym. I end up using practically every piece of equipment each workout but never the same piece twice so I can set up before the workout and not have to worry about a lot of equipment changes. That really means a lot to me. I hate being interrupted to fiddle around with attachments. Paul also stressed that I still need to do cardio, not just for weight loss but especially for overall cardiac and mental health.
So How Is It Working
The first full week of the diet and exercise regime was really easy. Usually, when you start cutting you are hungry. Honestly, even though I’m doing around 2100kcal/day, I have trouble eating all the food. One thing I’m thankful for is being introduced to Cronometer.
I’ve previously discussed using MyFitnessPal and being a real fan of MFP. MFP is nice but it doesn’t give you the macro-nutrient level of detail that Cronometer does. They are similar but have very different audiences.
My first week, I lost a pretty significant amount of weight. It’s not like when you go keto and you pee out 10 lbs of water. It’s just a change in the nutrients and whole foods I was getting. The following 3 weeks the weight loss has kept pace but slowed a little. I’m losing about 3-4 lbs/wk.
NOTE: For some people, 3-4lb weight loss is insane and dangerous. However, when you were as fat as I am it’s not that bad. Plus, looking at Cronometer, my macros are ridiculously well balanced (and yes, that includes b12 and protein) diet.