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Beat The Creep

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.


Vital Stats


Age: 25

Height: 5’0

Weight: 128.6lb



Weight: 112lb

10.9% body fat lost

14 total inches lost


Transformative Moment

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.


Challenges Faced

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.


Timing Issues

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.


Initial Steps

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.


Supplemental Help

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.


Workout Particulars

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


Best Lifts

Back squat: 225lb

Deadlift: 275lb

Bench: 135lb

Snatch: 115lb

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.


Future Plans

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

  1. Plan ahead. Figure out what you’re going to eat and when you can workout the day before. Meal prep was my go-to!
  2. 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.
  3. Stop focusing on the end goal (especially if it’s far away). I focused on small daily goals and tried to consistently achieve those.
  4. Embrace low and no calorie seasoning, dressing and sauces (eg Bolthouse dressing, Walden Farms maple syrup and Stubb’s BBQ sauce).
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