Larissa Stewart had always been healthy, but she slipped into a dangerous comfort zone that saw steady gains in body fat. Here’s how she regained control.
10.9% body fat lost
14 total inches lost
After a long winter where far too many tasty goodies were consumed, I was very uncomfortable with how my body felt and looked. I had already planned to start a diet, but the Fire Department I work for was participating in a health and weight loss challenge called “Pride for the Patch.” I love any challenge where a bunch of competitive firefighters can battle it out.
Dieting and constantly being hungry made me think about food an awful lot. I would ask co-workers to describe how delicious their meals were and I would scroll through a lot of foodie Instagram pages. Pure torture, but I did it.
I had a lot of time and energy constraints since I was working one full-time and two part-time jobs during this transformation. To overcome this I made getting to the gym a priority, even if that meant waking up extra early or staying up a little late.
I decided to fully commit. I was tired of starting and restarting diets. I was sick of following a plan for a few weeks, only to have a meal that would derail my progress and cause me to fall off the wagon completely. So, I changed my mindset and decided I was going to follow this plan and give it my all. I made that promise to myself and decided excuses were not going to stand in my way this time.
Each day I took a multivitamin and omega-3 fish oil in order to fill any gaps in my nutrition. I also used different protein powders and meal replacement bars as emergency food if I didn’t have a meal on hand.
A New App
I utilized Renaissance Periodization’s app. It gives customized macros for each individual based upon their goals, and progressively adapts your macros as you progress toward your goal. I would create a meal plan within the app then prep my food for the next several days and followed this routine for the entirety of my 12-week cut.
My Workout Plan
I made sure I did 30-minute moderate intensity interval cardio per week while always doing 10,000 steps per day. I also do three leg days per week, each with their own focus: squat, deadlift and hip thrusts. Then I’ll do two upper body days.
Here’s a typical example of a full training session:
Low bar back squat (as heavy as possible) 4 sets x 6 reps
Bulgarian split squat 4 sets x 10 reps
Romanian deadlift 4 sets x 10 reps
Leg press 4 sets x 12 reps
Barbell hip thrust 4 sets x 12 reps
45 degree back extensions 3 sets x 20 reps
Back squat: 225lb
Clean and Jerk: 145lb
Advice To Others
Don’t allow yourself to fall for your own excuses. We’re all short on time or energy or whatever. Choose to make this a priority and make it happen. The hard work is temporary, but learning how hard you are capable of working is the result that will last forever.
I plan to continue to train hard and improve my strength, aesthetics, and continually improve my abilities as a firefighter. Next I’ll do several phases of both cutting and bulking.
Quick Fix Hacks
- Plan ahead. Figure out what you’re going to eat and when you can workout the day before. Meal prep was my go-to!
- Don’t allow a slip-up to completely derail you. We’ve all heard it before but it’s so true. Just like one healthy meal does not make you lean, one unhealthy meal does not make you fat.
- Stop focusing on the end goal (especially if it’s far away). I focused on small daily goals and tried to consistently achieve those.
- Embrace low and no calorie seasoning, dressing and sauces (eg Bolthouse dressing, Walden Farms maple syrup and Stubb’s BBQ sauce).