One of the unique features of Brownstone Fitness is the customization of our fitness programs to the client’s needs. We have a template and an order to the physcial qualities we’re improving but we understand that each client has specific goals, strengths, and limitations that don’t lend themselves to a cookie cutter approach. The overwhelming majority of our clients are women – active, professional women who aren’t interested in fancy equipment or fashion shows. They want results.
We do have a few men training with us.This post is about one of those men – Dino A. Dino presents a customization challenge that stands apart from that of our other clients (for some back story on Dino, see our Testimonial Page). I’m going to do a series of posts (not in order for several reasons) that will detail Dino’s path to physical improvement. Please note that “health” and “fitness” don’t always intersect and trainers need to be clear about this as they work with their clients
Dino is a former Marine and a decorated twenty-year New York Police Department veteran. He has served as a contractor in Iraq and now assists with the development of a police force in Afghanistan. His professional life has resulted in some “dings” to things like his shoulder and back. It has also developed some bad eating habits. As you can imagine, Dino has also had to make friends with chronic stress.
His major goals are to lose bodyfat and overall weight as well as to improve his aerobic capacity. His target weight is 170lbs. He also wouldn’t mind adding some new muscle (just not too much!). He started at a bodyweight of 210lbs. and he is now down to about 189lbs. – so you can see that he has made dramatic progress. I am prepared to take only some of the credit.
As someone who is focused on health and wellness as well as performance, I don’t necessarily agree with the way Dino has prioritized his goals…but they are HIS goals and I respect that. The food options offered in Afghanistan are not optimal and this presents the biggest obstacle. One of the main messages we try to drive home to clients is that you cannot outrun a bad diet.
The poverty, heat, boredom combined with the threat of extreme danger, and lack of positive distractions, make the junk food in the mess hall particularly hard to resist.
Dino’s mindset is his best advantage. It also helps that he has achieved a high level of fitness as a Marine. He has an image of achievement that he can go back to for reinforcement.
He is also able to get supplements sent to him.
Not only is he a genuine tough guy, he is incredibly reflective and thoughtful.
As Mike Tyson, or someone like that said: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” The Internet makes this case study possible but the inability to provide real time feedback makes it tough.
I provided Dino with a strength training program that mainly consists of functional, full-body exercises. The main goal is to develop some hypertrophy without going overboard in light of the bodyweight goal. If his job was of a more fire-breathing, tactical nature, we would adjust the strength training program accordingly. He’s found some French gendarmarie who are working out. This will provide the necessary social support. The gym also has more options than the single broken bicycle and rusty barbell that we had anticipated. This will help prevent boredom.
For cardio, he runs between 6-8 miles, 2-3 times per week on the treadmill (there aren’t that many scenic routes for runners in that part of the world). I have urged him to use the bike and elliptical to spread the stress and to use intervals at least twice a week on all the apparatus.
The limited food options necessitate the use of supplements. I recommended Fenugreek, fish oil, whey protein, coconut oil (a real food but you get the idea), and a multivitamin. I also had him on a very drastic diet for about two weeks (scheduled for four weeks but, hey, it’s really tough!) to get past a plateau. He came off the diet by going very low carb and increasing his intake of coconut oil and olives to make sure he was using fat instead of carbs for energy. He uses MyFitnessPal to track his food intake and macronutrient breakdown. I have his password so that I can review it and provide feedback.
Pass along any questions you have for Dino.
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