I have a confession to make.
I’ve been struggling with my nutrition for the last six weeks or so.
Things were great on Whole30. The month of January was a lot of strength gains and a lot of leaning out. Then, Whole30 ended and I transitioned back to my normal way of eating, minus gluten (mostly…) and a lot less dairy.
For the last three weeks or so especially, I’ve felt – off. And fluffy. It’s hard to explain. My performance in the gym has been decent, I haven’t gained weight, but I’ve also been stagnant on all fronts. I don’t like being stagnant.
Several months ago, one of my friends/barre students told me about Working Against Gravity, a company that specializes in individualized nutrition programs based on flexible dieting. It’s geared towards CrossFit athletes – Katrin Davidsdottir, the Fittest Woman on Earth in 2015 AND 2016, is a WAG follower – but anyone can do it, no matter their goals.
After visiting the website a many times over the last few months and seeing WAG creeping up more and more in the Instagram feeds of CrossFit and weightlifting athletes I follow, I took the plunge last week and signed up. I need some guidance, and with two competitions in the next four months, I need to dial in my nutrition. There is currently a wait list, but I was given a coach in under two days.
Essentially, WA’s intake form asks questions about your goals, training schedule, and lifestyle. Then, they match you with a coach who designs a program for you. The program consists of counting macros as opposed to counting calories. The idea is that you can eat whatever you want, as long as it fits into your macros – “If It Fits Your Macros” (IIFYM).
My current macros are:
- Carbs: 165g (195g on training days)
- Protein: 155g
- Fat: 55g
I use MyFitnessPal to log my food each day, which means measuring and using a food scale. Friends, you haven’t experienced disappointment until you’ve measured what an actual serving of peanut butter is in grams. Let’s just say I was eating – a lot more. At the end of the day, I log my macros for the day with my coach, as well as my weight (they take a weekly average). Each week, Ashley, my coach, will adjust my plan as needed.
My plan officially started yesterday, but I’ve already realized a big difference between my “Sarah” diet and my WAG diet. From a calorie standpoint, I was eating too much before WAG. Yet, from a macros standpoint, I wasn’t eating nearly enough – and way too much. Confusing, I know. Hence why I hired a nutrition coach.
Before WAG, my typical diet looked like this:
- Banana, sometimes with a handful of nuts
- Sweet potato, apple, and chicken hash with two scrambled eggs
- Monkey salad
- Salad of mixed greens, shredded red cabbage, shredded carrots, turkey burger, and walnuts with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing and an apple.
- Zoodles topped with chicken, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and black beans and an apple with almond butter on the side
A lot of nights, I would have my favorite protein shake – chocolate protein powder, almond milk, and peanut or almond butter – instead of the apple and almond butter. I would also snack while prepping food. Adding peanut butter to my monkey salad? Why not eat a spoonful while I’m at it? Starving, but dinner isn’t cooking nearly fast enough… Let’s eat a couple handfuls of almonds.
While it was a pretty healthy meal (save for the mindless snacking), I was eating a TON of carbs (almost 300g!), not nearly enough protein (on good days I tripped 100g!), and too much fat, when compared to the macros WAG has me on. I was also averaging between 2,200 and 2,300 calories a day. I wasn’t measuring or weighing food, eyeballing portions and assuming I was within the ballpark of a healthy serving size. See the peanut butter statement above for how that was working out for me.
Yesterday, I ate the following:
- Kodiak Cakes (3 pancakes! The protein-packed ones!) with sugar free syrup
- Two eggs
- Two slices of turkey bacon
- Greek yogurt and mixed berries
- Turkey burger, sweet potatoes, and broccoli
- Luna protein bar
- Trader Joe beef jerky (that protein macro ain’t no joke…)
- Chicken, peppers, cheese, and salsa quesadilla topped with guacamole
- Pita chips and Trader Joe Spinach and Kale dip
I still had a fair few carbs left, and the goal is to be within 5gs of your macros, so I had a serving of Smartfood Popcorn during the After The Rose special.
So. Much. Food.
For the day, I finished at:
- Carbs: 191g
- Protein: 153g
- Fat: 61g
It was a total of 1,935 calories.
Not bad for my first day of WAG.
Today will look similar, but it’s a non-training day so my carbs will be lower. I’ve pre-logged most of my food for the day, and I’m still quite short on protein and carbs, so I’ll be on the hunt for a snack later this afternoon to help me hit my goals.
I ate SO MUCH FOOD yesterday, but still finished under 2,000 calories for the day. I know it was only day one, but I was fascinated to study the breakdown of food, and can’t wait to see how it compares long term.
I’ll update periodically on how things are going with WAG. I’ve signed on for a three month commitment, and I’m excited to see how things progress, both in the gym and out. I’ll also do a post soon about macros, counting macros, and how they compare calorie-wise (it’s fascinating!).
Finally, while my interest in WAG was largely to lean out and build strength, I’m also interested in the nutrition theory behind their program. I just started my fitness nutrition certification through ACE, and I think WAG will be an important education tool as I study for the exam. I love to learn, so I’ll be reading all about food and nutrients while working with them for my own body.
Have you heard of flexible dieting? I’ve been reading a lot about it, and it seems to be the preferred method for heavy lifters and CrossFitters looking to gain strength, lean out, bulk up, improve performance, etc.
If you’re curious about your own macros, there are a number of calculators out there that can give you an estimate. I really like this one, but it’s important to think of the numbers it gives you as a base as they may need to change every couple of weeks or so, depending on how your body responds.
Now, I’m going to go eat something – that protein macro isn’t going to hit itself!