M+ Lean, Week 3: Preliminary Results Promising

Staying strong, yet undeterred by sips of Louis XIII Cognac.

My journey continues on the path towards greater fitness, and a leaner situation. Three weeks in, I continue to feel great, and have noticed further increases in energy, motivation, and feelings of well-being. Overall I have abstained from alcohol, outside from occasional sips of Grande Champagne eaux de vie.

Coach Jim Hein, of Level 4 Crossfit met with me on Oct. 21st for some recap and a progress check. I am excited to share the great information we covered, including how these first three weeks have resulted in some tangible results.

First, Jim and I reviewed my personalized meal plan, and outlined a typical ideal-day with greater fidelity. The plan is structured specifically in regards to my current goals, body composition figures, and average level of activity. Every body is different, and deserves its own plan. Looking at mine, “Meals” should span across the day, numbering five in total, including snacks. The primary goal for each meal is to include protein, and a dollop of it: 40 grams (think two hand-sized pieces of chicken or beef). Veggies and fats are included with most meals, and carbs are inserted strategically, after a workout and before bed.

Note that the following plan accounts for a total of 2,500 kilocalories per day, which is designed to promote fat-loss via the Katch-McArdle Formula. Here’s how that works:

  1. My lean mass is calculated using precision 12-point caliper measurements. (See results below, after the tables. Currently 160 lbs. of lean mass, no fat included)
  2. That lean weight is multiplied by coefficient 9.7975 to equal 1,567 kcal. An integer 370 is then added for a new total 1,937 kcal. This is my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), representing calories needed for me to keep functioning on this planet, sans exercise. The reasoning behind this formula is above my pay grade; Jim would be more qualified to do it justice.
  3. BMR is then multiplied by a TDEE coefficient (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) of 1.55 (moderately active), resulting in 3,002 kcal, which is what I need to eat to keep Squatting and Bouldering like a beast.
  4. Subtract about 500 kcal from there, to represent a gradual and sustainable daily calorie restriction, and we get a 2,500 kcal daily calorie goal.
  5. That 2,500 kcal goal is then broken up like so:
    1. 800 kcal Protein (200g)
    2. 1,080 kcal Fat (120g)
    3. 620 kcal Carbs (155g)
  6. For reference, note how macro-nutrients are converted from calories to grams. Check out this University of Illinois article for more detail.
    1. Fat: 9 kcal per gram.
    2. Protein: 4 kcal per gram.
    3. Carbohydrate: 4 kcal per gram.
    4. Alcohol: 7 kcal per gram. (note: alcohol is metabolized preferentially, into sugar, before other macros)
  7. Types of macros are important too:
    1. Fat: nuts, macadamia oil, olive oil, fish oil, avocado, coconut.
    2. Protein: lean meat, chicken, beef, eggs, whey supplement.
    3. Carbohydrate: yams, sweet potato, jasmine rice. (limit bananas and the like, due to the glycemic response from fructose)
  8. From there, the grams of each macro-nutrient are distributed throughout the day, with various nutrient emphasis given throughout:
Meal Plan, with a Mid-day Workout
Wake UpFeeling Fresh9AMRecord sleep details
Food 1Pre-CF “breakfast”11AMPro: 50gFat: 30gVeg: fistBerries: handfulBerries for boost
DrinkCoffee4pmCaffeinePre-CF boost
Food 2Post-CF Shake1PMPro: 50gNo VegCarb: 65gReplenish Glycogen
Food 3Lunch3PMPro: 50gFat: 30gVeg: fistFuel
Food 4Snack5PMPro: 50gFat: 30gVeg: fistFuel
Food 5Dinner7PMPro: 50gFat: 30gVeg: fistCarb: 65gCarbs reduce stress
BedtimeFeeling Sleepy1AM 8 hours goal sleep


Meal Plan, with a Late-day Workout
Wake UpFeeling Fresh9am Record sleep details
Food 1Breakfast10amPro: 50gFat: 30gVeg: fist Fuel
Food 2Lunch1pmPro: 50gFat: 30gVeg: fist Fuel
Food 3Pre-CF “snack”4pmPro: 50gFat: 30gVeg: fistBerries: handfulBerries for boost
DrinkCoffee4pmCaffeinePre-CF boost
WorkoutCrossFit5pm Intensity!
Food 4Post-CF Shake6pmPro: 50gNo FatNo VegCarb: 65g Replenish Glycogen
Food 5Dinner8pmPro: 50gFat: 30gVeg: fistCarb: 65gCarbs reduce stress
BedtimeFeeling Sleepy1am – – – – 8 hours goal sleep

This plan definitely ratchets-up the level of planning and complexity in my daily routine. This is not to be tried from ground zero, with someone who is fresh off the Hot Pocket and Southern Comfort gravy train. Three weeks in to a general plan, I have acclimated to initial habit-forming behavior and awareness, setting myself up for success with plan adherence. It will take up to 66 days for these habits to gel, as noted by the now-debunked “21-day rule”.

As mentioned above, Jim determined all calculations based on my 12-point caliper derived lean-mass weight. He measured me twice, about three weeks apart. Here are the results, copied from my profile in the Vitruviant BioSignature database:

  1. Wed, October 2nd, 2015
    1. Body Fat: 30.38%
    2. Lean Mass: 158.2#
    3. Umbilical Measure: 35.2mm
    4. Quadriceps Measure: 32.4mm
    5. Hamstring Measure: 31.4mm
    6. SUM 10: 189.3mm (refers to the sum of every caliper measure, minus hams and quads)
  2. Mon, October 21st, 2015
    1. Body Fat: 29.28% (1.1% lower)
    2. Lean Mass: 158.6# (0.4# higher)
    3. Umbilical Measure: 31.3mm (3.9mm lower)
    4. Quadriceps Measure: 27.4mm (5mm lower)
    5. Hamstring Measure: 27.4mm (4mm lower)
    6. SUM 10: 187.4mm (1.9mm lower)

Overall, progress! Lower fat and a bit more muscle, which is the idea. I have been sticking to an increased protein diet with little alcohol and sugar, so no surprise there. A few details from Jim, followed by observations from this past week:


  •  My current metabolic priority is the “Umbilical” measure, aka around my tum-tum. Adipose accumulation occurs in the torso due to a hormonal stress response. The stress may stem from a combination of financial, social, employment and relationship factors, plus the influence of nutrition. We can limit nutritional stress by including carbohydrates in the evening, before bed.
  •  Getting lots of sleep is huge, and most people don’t get enough. Seven to eight hours is amazing, if possible.


  •  Per Jim’s remarks regarding a correlation of hormonal-stress response and bodyfat, I cannot help but to reflect honestly on my baseline mental state. While I typically remain level-headed and all-around “with it”, I do tend toward anxious states. This is especially noticeable in perceptions of being “behind” or “overwhelmed” in tasks, and in worrying about social acceptance. Certainly irrational thoughts, though leading to very tangible feelings, and apparently internal reactions.
  •  Noticed that on two concurrent “cheat days”, consuming ultra-sugared treats, although scrumptious, left me feeling woozy and in need of a nap.
  •  Feeling anxious from a social hiccup, I was drawn to remedy the feeling with a cocktail or two, and chocolate. Somehow held off, and woke up feeling better the next morning, imagined awkwardness vaporized.
  •  Still eating out a lot, and not cooking at home.
  •  Doing better at eating sooner after waking up, but would like to make it happen within the hour more consistently. This is a tip coming from Tim Ferriss, which is worth entertaining.

For a few laughs (and cries), I did an audit of my wardrobe, and found a collection of jeans which no longer fit. They are too small, sadly. My squat-induced thunder thighs are partly to blame, but that’s only half the story. Surely, a continued trip down a leaner path will let some of these fit again. What a reward it will be to wear skinny jeans again, like all the hip kids sipping Amaro on Capitol Hill! Raw denim, for the win.

Gotta be lean to wear the skinny-jean.

Gotta be lean to wear the skinny-jean.

And so it goes.

Here is my meal log from the past week. Wake-up times have been included, as have workouts, indicated in bold. A few weigh-ins have been included, what fun!

  • Thu, 10/15
    • 11am: Up, legs sore, feeling good.
    • 11am: Chicken and veggies. (Markettime)
    • 12pm: Crossfit.
    • 1pm: Half a chicken. (Marketttime)
    • 8pm: Salmon, quinoa, veggies, bites of chocolate, sips of wine, Cynar. (home)
  • Fri, 10/16
    • 9am: Up, deep rest, crazy dreams.
    • 10am: Steak, veggies, quinoa, banana. (home)
    • 3pm: Steak, veggies, quinoa. (home)
    • 4pm: Climbing.
    • 4pm: Pro bar. (gym)
    • 8pm: Turkey, carrots, mashed potato, stuffing, gravy. (markettime, snuck into MI5)
    • 10pm: Really craving some cocktails and dessert. Summoned deep reserves of discipline!
  • Sat, 10/17
    • 9am: Up, ready to kill it. 200.8 on the scale, a new record?!
    • 10am: Eggs, sour cream, salsa, gyro meat, avocado, 2 toast slices. (Smoke Shop)
    • 12pm: CrossFit: barbell. Super energized!
    • 6pm: Ribs, braised greens, spicy wings, sweet potato chips, quesadilla slice, chamomile tea. (Hattie’s)
    • 9pm: Soda waters. (Sunset Tavern)
  • Sun, 10/18: CHEAT DAY!!
    • 9am: Up
    • 10am: Quinoa, banana, base bar. (home)
    • 10am: Climbing.
    • 12pm: Spinach, chicken, Indian spices. (Whole Foods)
    • 5pm: Fresh pasta, fried potato croquettes, offal meat, bread, cheese, sips of wine. (party)
    • 7pm: Semifreddo (vanilla and hazelnut), huckleberry sauce. (party)
  • Mon, 10/19: CHEAT 2.0
    • 10am: Up, feeling fresh.
    • 12pm: Cup of pork green chili, steak salad, green tea. Feeling hyper. (Fremont Market)
    • 1pm: Rest day.
    • 4pm: Chicken, beans, spinach, jack cheese, pico, guac. (Gordito’s)6pm: Fatty beef, chilled veggies, greens. (Whole Foods)8pm: “Dirty Brownies”, German chocolate cake, chai tea with almond milk. (Friend’s spot)
  • Tue, 10/20
    • 9am: Up
    • 10am: Leftover beans, chicken, salsa. (home)
    • 1pm: 2 pieces Pagliacci pepperoni, brie, bleu, baguette, salami grapes. (Friend’s spot)
    • 2pm: Sips of wine, Cognac (come on, it was Louis XIII). (Friend’s spot)
    • 6pm: Clif Base bar. (gym)
    • 6pm: CrossFit.
    • 7pm: Climbing.
    • 8pm: 4 piece chicken.
  • Wed, 10/21
    • 10am: Up and attem. 202.4
    • 1pm: Large Phở, no noodles, sub veggies, extra meats. Tendon. Green tea, cream puff. (Than Bros.)
    • 6pm: Chocolate covered almonds, 8oz latte. (Ladro QA)
    • 7pm: Muscle milk, builder bar. (Gas station)
    • 7pm: CrossFit.
    • 9pm: Curry sauce, rice, 4 piece chicken, banana, water. (Markettime)
    • 2am: Bedtime, 204.4.
  • Fitness summary:
    • One rest day.
    • Four CrossFit sessions.
    • Three climbing sessions. (bouldering, top-rope, and lead climbing)

Progress seems to be slow and steady, but will continue on with perseverance of spirit. To be continued! Get in touch with Coach Jim to discuss a personalized plan of your own.




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