Hi! This is Jessica Danger, your Managing Editor. Over the next nine weeks I will be using the RP Diet App to cut weight. I’ve set my goal for nine pounds, that’s dropping one pound a week, and brings us to the end of summer. (I know. Not fair.)
Each week, I’ll update this page on how my nine weeks is going with progress reports, weigh-ins, exercise notes and other observations throughout the week. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask during my journey just shoot me a note and I’ll answer one each week.
Full disclosure: I am already familiar with RP as a diet. I used their templates a few years ago and had great success with them. So when I heard that they had an app out, I was excited to see what the app was all about.
The RP Diet app lets you choose your goals; you can cut weight, mass weight or maintain weight. After you choose your goal and set a number, the app asks you a series of questions about your lifestyle what time you get up and what time you go to bed, how many times a day you train and at what level of exertion. This is important as it tells you when to eat and exactly how much based on your activity level that day.
Each day, you build your meals from a drop down list of RP approved foods. The app tells you exactly how much of that food to eat to hit your target macros for that meal. It literally does the math for you. Easy day.
Then, it does this glorious thing where it reminds you when to eat. Supposedly, each week the app infers and adapts just to you and your metabolism, making necessary weekly adjustments to your diet to keep you headed towards your goals.
So, here we go. Week one starts today.
Week 9: September 2-8
Starting Weight: 154.4
Ending Weight: 153.6
Exercise: I did well in the gym this week. We had one WOD that had ten rounds of Cindy in it, and I definitely felt the eight-pound difference. I got five training sessions this week and was able to do all of them RX. Also enjoyed a weekend out with the nieces, using our fitness outside.
Meal Adherence: 78.8%
How I feel overall: This was my last week on this cut. I had originally aimed for nine pounds in nine weeks and I fell short by about a pound and a half, overall. I feel lighter, I am not tired, and my performance hasn’t suffered.
Points to note: Part of the reason I planned to end this cut now is that I am going on vacation next week. I decided to keep my macros the same this week and next week, while I am away, I will go into maintenance mode. This gives me a little bit more food so I can enjoy myself within reason. In theory, my weight shouldn’t fluctuate too much while I am gone. When I return, I can re-evaluate my goals and what I would like to do next. That’s one of the things that I most enjoyed about using the RP Diet App is that I could still work around major life events.
Question of the week: A reader reached out to me with a question that, in their words, they were embarrassed to even ask. They asked if RP works for “regular people” not just all the “jacked and ripped” people all over their website.
And the answer is yes, it definitely works even if you are not a crazy intense CrossFitter, or weightlifter, or anything-er really.
Every day you get to select the intensity of your exertion that day. So if you are not going into the gym, then you just choose “light” and the app adjusts your macros for you. If you are going into the gym, or you are doing something else like hiking or rock climbing then you will choose “moderate” for your exertion and it will adjust accordingly.
While of course exercise is recommended, and you’ll have faster results, I have heard several success stories from people that literally do not work out at all, adhere to the program, and still meet their goals. Nutrition really is 90% of it.
Week 8: August 26- September 1
Starting Weight: 155.2
Ending Weight: 154.4
Exercise: I got three WODs in this week, and a hike with my family. A very light week for me. Your girl is antsy, ya’ll.
Meal Adherence: 75%
How I feel overall: Feeling great, actually. I’ve definitely gotten accustomed to eating often, and what used to feel like smaller meals feel pretty normal now. Also, bulking the meals up with greens and vegetables have really helped. I’m feeling lean and have received several compliments that I look leaner.
Points to note: I wasn’t expecting to lose too much this week. Last week I was feeling run down so I opted to “have a bit more food” this week. I don’t regret it. I kept my intensity level marked as low. My macros per meal were still pretty slim. On average, I got about 10 grams of carbs a meal and 10 grams of fat. This last week I’ll return to my regularly scheduled macros.
Question of the week:
A reader wrote in to share she was on week one of the RP Diet App. She asked me if I had any tips for beginners.
1- Plan, plan, plan. I try to plan my day and my meals, in the RP app, every night before bed. I enter what time I will wake up and go to bed, and what time I’ll be training. That way I don’t have to think about it all in the morning.
But you also have to plan for eating so often during the day. When you leave the house for the day, you’re schlepping around with three or four meals. Pack your food the night before. Pro-tip: protein powder makes for easy on-the-go meals.
2. Batch cook. Instead of meal prepping, consider batch cooking. Twice a week I cook a big batch of protein, a smaller batch of a carb, and prep lots of veggies. That can look like grilling chicken breasts or cooking ground turkey, making a few cups of rice or roasted two or three sweet potatoes. I always have sautéed greens on hand. They’re a favorite. Also roasted broccoli, sliced cucumbers, zucchini noodles, and riced broccoli and cauliflower. This way I’m not eating the same meal six times a day and neither are my kids.
3. Be honest with yourself. It’s not going to work if you don’t follow it. It’s like when someone says they’re “kind of on Keto.” That’s not how Keto works. Also, you’re going to be hungry. Get comfortable with that. Lastly, you’re social life will suffer if it revolves around food and drinks. Be honest with yourself if you can’t do that.
4. Reach out for guidance and accountability. Join the Facebook groups. Talk to people in your box that are familiar with cutting or massing. You’d be surprised how many tips and tricks their are. Also, much like CrossFit, if there is someone in the room with you cutting weight, they’re going to want to talk about it. Trust me.
5. Make if/then statements. This goes hand in hand with planning, but I found it helps to have guidelines in place before I travel or go to a social event. Here’s an example, “If I am served wine, then I will have one glass and count it as my fat and carb.” Or, “If they offer dessert, then I will say no thank you and ask for coffee instead.” If you have already made the decision in your mind, it is 100% easier to vocalize in the moment.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Week 7: August 19 – 25
Starting Weight: 157.1
Ending Weight: 155.2
Exercise: I got five workouts in this week, including breaking in my freshly finished garage gym.
Meal Adherence: 77.26
How I feel overall: Feeling okay overall. Saturday, we did 31 Heroes as a class and I could not hang. Could not. I was moving so slow, and 105 pounds felt like a ton. As much as I hated to admit it, I needed to scale the WOD. So, I did. I stripped the barbell to 85 pounds and just tried to keep moving.
Points to note: I mixed a few things up this week. I lowered my workout intensity to “mild” instead of moderate, which lowered my nutrients a little bit. Also, RP updated their app this week and it. The first two days were about getting my bearings all over again, but now that I do the new update is great. Everything is visible from one screen.
Also, I successfully navigated my son’s tenth birthday party on a cut! I made sure there were lots of fruits and vegetables, sparkling water, and plain chicken. It was actually a lot easier than I anticipated.
Question of the week:
Last week, a reader asked what I do on “off meals.” What this reader meant is how do I track the meal where my macros don’t line up. Conveniently, the new upgrade really made this a lot easier. Now when you are logging a meal, you can select if you were above macros, below macros, or around your macros. This is how your meal adherence is calculated. So yesterday, at my son’s party, is a perfect example. I selected “above macros” for my third and fourth meal because, even though it was was chicken, fruit and vegetables I wasn’t weighing them. I know I had more than five grams worth of carbs in carrots alone. So, even when you are eating “off plan” you can still log your meals. For me, I appreciate that accountability.
Only one more week to go. Let me know what questions you still have.
Week 6: August 12-18
Starting Weight: 157.2
Ending Weight: 157.1
Exercise: I got five solid training days in this week, and one active recovery day that involved a burner on the Assault bike. No PR’s and my performance was average.
Meal Adherence: 76.87 %.
How I feel overall: Friends. I believe we have hit what is called, “a plateau.” According to the overall scale, I “only” lost an ounce this week. But I have a theory. On Thursday, I met my friend for dinner. We met at Whole Foods and I even brought my travel scale. I planned on 25 grams of protein, 10 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of fat for my 6:00 PM meal. Easy day. That’s chicken breast and raspberries. Done and done. I added some spinach, zucchini and shredded cabbage. Then I remembered that they had pickled vegetables, which are “free foods” so I stocked up on them. Then I remember they have Booch Craft on tap, which happens to be my absolute favorite, so I swapped my raspberries for fresh, super gingery, delicious kombucha.
It was delicious and I left full, very full, and had a great time out with a friend.
Until I woke up in the morning wanting to die and 1.6 pounds “heavier” so sayeth the scale.
Guys. Pickled vegetables, cabbage and fresh kombucha. Don’t do it.
Points to note: I fully understand that I did not actually gain a pound and a half overnight. That’s absurd. But if I were the type of person that did not know that, I would have freaked out. Here is where the RP community comes in handy. They have a very active Facebook group for RP Clients. You can get your questions answered, concerns addressed, helpful tips and tricks, and recipes. You can also get people to tell you that you did not actually gain 1.6 pounds overnight and you can cool your jets.
Question of the week: Someone at the gym asked me a great question. She asked me what I will do next. How do I plan to keep the weight off? The RP Diet App has three options: Cutting, Massing, and Maintaining. So when your diet is done, or you want to take a break and eat a bit more (or less if you are massing) for a competition or special travel week or something, you can adjust your app setting to maintenance. The app will calculate what you should eat daily to stay at that weight.
Also, I’ve started to compile a list of the foods and meals that have been getting me through this cut so I can share them on our last week, which is just around the corner! Let me know if you have something that you leaned on during a cut, or if you have any questions on foods that you can’t live without.
Week Five: August 5 – August 11
Starting Weight: 159.4
Ending Weight: 157.2
Exercise: I got five solid training days in this week. Saturday was a rest day on the lake with my kids, which including two hours in a pedal boat. So, maybe active recovery?
Meal Adherence: 74.06 %. The first thing I did when I landed at home after Madison was Instacart my groceries so that I could meal prep straight away. It was pretty easy to get right back on track with my meals again once I was settled in.
How I feel overall: I feel better than I anticipated. I was terrified to step on the scale again when I got home from Madison. But it actually wasn’t that bad. I still came home having lost about a pound last week, putting me at a total loss of seven pounds so far, illustrating that even when you can’t adhere to the plan 110%, the plan still works. My eating and my training suffered while we were on the road, but just trying my best to stay on track worked. Life doesn’t exist in a vacuum, you have to adjust, but if you don’t use it as an excuse to go hog wild, you’ll be okay.
Points to note: This week I kept my macros the same. The RP Diet App suggested that I go on maintenance calories to give my body a chance to recover, since I hadn’t lost any significant weight. But I chose to keep my nutrients the same and give this week a solid go, because I knew that last week wasn’t 100% and it paid off. I lost about two pounds (keep in mind some of that is water and inflammation from flying) and I also had a PR this week. Feeling good and feel like my overall goal is in reach.
Question of the week: A reader wrote in asking if there is a Keto option for the RP Diet App. I reached out to Nick Shaw, Founder and CEO of Renaissance Periodization, who provided me with this answer: “There is not a keto option. The reason for that is because keto is suboptimal for performance and since the CF community cares so much about performance it would be doing them a big disservice based on all of the available sports nutrition evidence out there! All of that being said, carbs can go pretty low in the app based on the aggressiveness of the goals. Basically, the app reduces fats down to help lower calories and when minimal levels are reached then the app starts to lower carbs.”
Send us your questions about the RP Diet App. We’d love to hear from you.
Week Four: July 29 – August 4
Starting Weight: 160.2
Ending Weight: ? (We’re still on the ground in Madison, and there is no scale in our Airbnb. I will update this with my weight when I am home on Tuesday. — Update: 159. 4.)
Exercise: I trained three times this week. The Morning Chalk Up arrived in Madison and hit the ground running. So while I walked practically nine thousand miles a day, I only got three proper WODs in this week.
Meal Adherence: 74%. Eating at the CrossFit Games is surprisingly tough.
How I feel overall: Ready to get back home where I can properly meal prep and back in my regular box to train.
Points to note: This week was kind of a wash. Instead of worrying about hitting my meals 100% of the time every day, I focused on just eating as close to the app as I could with what I had. A few times during the week we were able to get meals from Alliant Energy Center and I filled my plate with greens and whatever protein they had. I ate eggs and blueberries every morning for breakfast. But there was also banana pancakes that someone brought to us, and a burrito that I had zero regrets about eating in about four seconds flat. But I am ready to get home and get back into my regular routine.
Question of the week: A reader wrote in asking if there is a simplified version of the app, much like there is a simplified version of the templates. There is not. This is because the App manages everything for you, so there is no need to simplify it. Once you set your day in the app (what time you wake up, what time you’re training and at what level, etc) the app does everything else for you. I doesn’t get much simpler than that.
That’s all I have for this week, sadly. Let us know if you have questions as we go. And also, let us know how you guys manage to maintain your nutrition goals on the road
Week Three: July 22 – 28
Starting Weight: 158.4
Ending Weight: 160.2
Exercise: I was only in the gym this week three days this week. Each time I only did a class CrossFit WOD at RX. This is a very light week for me. I marked all of my workouts light.
Meal Adherence: 79.5%
How I feel overall: This week was all about family. My brothers and their families were both in town and we spent the week being tourists. We went to amusement parks and beaches and had lots of shared meals all week. I documented my entire day of eating on RP at Sea World on my Instagram. While very difficult (and absurdly expensive!) I did it. You cannot bring your own food into Sea World (even though I tried to sneak in shredded chicken in my backpack, dang you efficient security guard) so I had to make due with the park’s options. And I did.
The next day we hit the San Diego Zoo, where you can bring your own food in, and my brother (God bless him) showed up with a bag of deli meat and grapes for me. But honestly, by then I was tired and sunburnt and hungry and my adherence was not as enthusiastic.
I thought the amusement parks would be impossible. Turns out, it was the at home family barbecues that were the challenge. There I picked at chips, tried my moms mozzarella salad, had wine and (my favorite) BoochCraft, and eyeballed the kids’ desserts when they ran off to play outside.
I 100% did not drink enough water. It was more difficult to get water in the amusements parks than it was protein.
Points to note: What I noted the most this week is how easy it is to undo all that hard work if you’re not diligent and paying attention. Not only did I not lose the 1.5 to 2 pounds I needed to stay on track, I gained back some of what I lost last week. The app recommended I add a week to my diet to stay on track.
Question of the week: My youngest brother asked me about the app this week. (There is a lot of time to share the gospel of fitness to your family while in line for a ride!) He asked how I know what to eat, when, and why it’s important to eat at specific times.
That’s one of the things about Renaissance Periodization, they base their diet off of timing (hence, periodization) so you eat specific groups of macros at a particular time. Your pre-workout and post-workout meal should be made up of mainly protein and carbs. Fats are kept low in both the pre and post-workout meals since they slow down the rate of digestion, so you get your fats far outside those workouts. On days that you are not training, and are instead gallivanting across town with a gaggle of nieces, nephews, and your own sons…you don’t get a lot of carbs or fats.
Side note: this coming week won’t be much different in terms of challenges as Morning Chalk Up is in Madison for the CrossFit Games. So, lesson learned.
If you have any questions about RP or how to live your life eating on RP, shoot me a note.
Week Two: July 15 – 21
Starting Weight: 160
Ending Weight: 158.4 (still on track)
Exercise: I took a rest day this week, Saturday. I am still marking my training as moderate.
Meal Adherence: 77.5%
How I feel overall: Light, lean, and hungry. I feel slower in my WODs and sometimes dizzy. I’ve started to add BCAA’s in my workout shake, then following up with electrolytes, which is helpful. I get 30 — 35 grams of carbs a day, which is not a lot. But I PR’d my Glen time and my deadlift this week and still did well during class WODs, so I don’t know that it’s actually negatively affecting anything, despite not feeling fantastic. Also, several people commented that I am looking lean, so it seems to be working.
Points to note: This week was difficult for no other reason than my birthday. I stayed on track for the better part of the week, but I actively decided to allow myself to celebrate twice: once with my best friend and once with my kids. Those two meals, for me right now, bare more weight than my actual weight. But this does bring up a valid point: cutting for performance is hard. You need to be prepared. Know what you want and know what you are willing to do to get there. Be prepared to make sacrifices to get there if you need to.
Question of the week: A reader wrote in, which you can do too, with this: Can you substitute foods not in the drop down list and how do you incorporate recipes to hit macros?
This is a great question. You can swap out “substitute foods” on RP. There have been times when I have substituted things from the drop-down menu to make them fit. I had some leftover Daily Harvest smoothies in my freezer that first week and so I just used similar items in the drop down menu to meet the macros on the app. So, I chose banana as my carb, pea protein as my protein and almonds as my fat because those were the ingredients listed in the smoothie. Then, I just did the math based on the nutritional value to see how much I could actually eat without going over my macros. Same with eating out; try to order simply and do your best to estimate the size and ingredients to plug into the app.
Week 1: July 8 – 14
Starting Weight: 161.2
Ending Weight: 160 (we’re on track!)
Exercise: I took no rest days this week. I marked each of my training days as moderate. I felt well fueled for each of my training sessions.
Meal Adherence: It took me all week to build to a 73.81% meal adherence and let me tell you, this is hard-earned. Even for someone who is very familiar with tracking food, I hovered in the 60% for days. It took some serious macro magic to get that percentage up.
How I feel overall: Hungry. I’ve spent the last year intuitively eating, so cutting for performance is a pivot for me. But aside from adjusting my food intake, really I feel great. Not having any carbs during training is also different, but it wound up being less of an issue than I anticipated. Last week we were on the road for a handful of days and staying on track with my eating times proved challenging, so I did the best I could and we still came out on top weight loss wise. Our goal is to drop one pound a week and we did that and then some.
Points to note: I love that the app reminds me when it’s time to eat. Also, the app is almost foolproof. I say this as someone who is significantly math-challenged. You choose the food you want to eat for that meal and it tells you exactly how much to eat. Just follow the directions. The app suggested I further reduce my caloric intake for this coming week to stay on track. So, as of this morning, my weekly intact will have dropped.
Question of the week: Someone wrote in asking how precise the food measurements need to be. This is an easy answer: Very. I recommend getting a food scale and following the suggestions that the RP Diet App gives you for weight. You need to weigh everything. I weigh everything out the night and pack my meals for the next day before so I don’t have to fuss with it in the morning. My meals are already weighed and marked when the App reminds me to eat.