Michael Smith

Michael is a busy 1-1 personal trainer that works long hours in the gym. When he first came to me, he was frustrated that he couldn’t seem to diet down to low levels of body fat. Even as a fitness professional, he was overwhelmed by the many different dietary protocols out there – this led to paralysis by analysis, meaning he couldn’t adhere to a calorie target. Ultimately, this was stopping him from achieving his dream goal – to compete in a bodybuilding show.

After analysing his food diary and daily routine, it quickly became apparent to me that Michael was not prioritising meal preparation in this already busy schedule. On some days, he would train 4-5 clients back-to-back without appropriately fuelling himself (if at all!). This then impacted on his own training capacity and performance, as well as on his dietary choices: he’d end up going to the supermarket, grabbing whatever he could, and inevitably overconsuming carbohydrates and fats due to high hunger levels.

With this information in mind, my strategy to transform Michael’s life was clear: I would work on improving his energy levels throughout the day, decrease his overall hunger, reduce his food cravings, and improve his training performance, in three simple steps.

Firstly, I provided him with a structured meal plan to remove his need to make any unnecessary food decisions that would cause him stress, giving him more time to focus on his job. Together, we made sure it suited his dietary preferences as well as his work schedule.

Secondly, I made sure that the diet was tailored to his performance, to ensure his progress would skyrocket, enabling him to achieve his competitive goals. Specifically, we placed just enough carbohydrates pre-training to fuel his workout, as well as a large amount of carbohydrates in the post-training window. These included foods such as cereals, bagels, and jam! Why? The answer is simple. Not only did these changes enable him to get stronger on a weekly basis; but because these palatable foods improved his dietary adherence and eradicated his over-eating tendencies, he was able to drop body fat consistently and achieve his dream of stepping on stage in the best shape of his life.

Thirdly and finally, I ensured that Michael distributed his calories across the day over 6 meals. In doing so, it improved his work:life balance, forcing him to take structured breaks that were supportive of his goals: his hunger levels stabilised, his energy was sustained, and he was able to hold on to his built tissue even in a prolonged dieting phase. Assessing his logbook as well as his progress pictures was enough to show me that this strategy was the most optimal for him. Ultimately, seeing him step on stage two years in a row, knowing the journey he’d been on, was a privilege for myself and a proud moment for us both.

Here is what Michael had to say about his journey:

“Working with Vaughan was fantastic. Not only did he help me step on stage and achieve a 3rd placing, he also educated me along the way. Whenever I had a question as to why we were eating or training in a certain way, it was explained thoroughly in a way I was able to understand. This meant there was no more confusion or stress, I knew how to eat, when to eat and why I was eating it. After working with Vaughan, I can now program my own diet to suit whatever goal I have, and I have been able to use that information with my own clients.”