Today I’ve got a fun and interesting story for you.
It’s the kind of story you don’t hear a lot in the fitness industry, for two reasons: firstly, I’m telling it as a fairy tale, because why the hell wouldn’t I do that?
Secondly, because part of it can be a bit…I guess “off-putting” is the right term.
It’s a story about someone who wanted to lose a lot of weight, and when they hit their goal, decided they didn’t like it.
Why can this be off-putting?
Well, with so many people struggling to lose fat all the time, hearing “I accidentally got too lean” can be pretty disheartening.
The way one of my clients put it, “It’s sort of like being single and hearing someone in a happy relationship complain that they can’t go out without getting hit on. Like, just shut up.”
I get that. I’m going to ask you to suspend the inclination to react that way—because the lessons in this story are really valuable, and they ABSOLUTELY apply to everyone who is trying to get into great shape. Including you.
Even more importantly, this is a true story, after a fashion. And one you can learn from.
To begin, let me share this quote from one of my favorite books:
“Not only is my story designed to delight and entertain, but there is a kernel of truth hidden within, where only the cleverest student might find it…all the truth in the world is held in stories, you know.”
—Patrick Rothfuss, the Wise Man’s Fear
So, gather ‘round the fire, boys and girls, and get ready for story time with ol’ Roman.
Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess named Madison. She met a handsome prince, fell in love, and—as you’d hope—they decided to marry.
The people rejoiced at the prospect of this union, and there was much celebration. Both kingdoms were filled with glee, and there were parties and galas thrown in the couple’s honor, and all who attended partook in well-mannered frivolity.
As happens, thoughts turned from one joyous occasion to the next, and eyes turned to the calendar for the Big Day.
If you have been married, you know that most of being engaged is very tedious. Once the party is over and the pictures of the ring have gotten all the Facebook likes and Instagram double taps, the work begins on planning the wedding.
But this is not a story about the planning of the wedding. It is a story about getting oneself ready for one.
You see, like all brides-to-be, Princess Madison wanted to look and feel her absolute best on her wedding day.
Planning a wedding is a stressful process, and Madison had during the course of it gained a bit of weight. She decided to address that.
For while all in the kingdom, Madison included, agreed the Princess was a great beauty, she wanted to lose weight, gain muscle, and improve her overall body composition.
Although Princess Madison was no stranger to exercise, she decided to seek additional knowledge to give herself an edge.
“After all,” reasoned Madison, “I’ll only get married once, and these pictures will last forever. I want to challenge myself and see how fit I can be.”
It was this line of thinking that led the Princess to seek council and wisdom, to seek help in her quest to lose body fat and improve her health.
Much searching ensued. Princess Madison read through the vast annals in the kingdom’s Great Library of the Internet. She perused tomes and tablets, scrolls and spells.
But, alas! There was so much. Too much. “How can I do this? All of this information…it’s too confusing. I read one thing, and makes sense. Then I read another that contradicts the first! What shall I do?”
Despairing, Princess Madison began to think her only option was to just starve herself and work out every day to get ready for the Royal Wedding.
Instead, she did almost nothing. Overwhelmed with information, the Princess became afflicted by paralysis by analysis: a condition created by having too many choices. Many suffer from this.
But! In the fullness of time, a royal messenger arrived with an email that filled the Princess with hope. An email filled with a great opportunity. An email heralding destiny. She read through it several times, and decided to take action.
And so it was that Princess Madison came to enlist the aid of the Great Wizard Roman, a sorcerer whose mystery was exceeded only by his power, and whose skill was bested only by his hair.
“I shall help you, Princess. I shall not demand your True Name or your First Born. I require only your trust and your word that you will do your best.”
The Wizard Roman was known far and wide for his skill as a coach, and his ability to help anyone get into amazing shape. He had penned a tome that appeared on all of the Kingdom’s Bestseller Lists, and had worked with many famous knights, lords, and ladies.
Princess Madison looked the sorcerer in the eyes, and in that moment knew his power, and that she was in the right hands “We have an accord, wizard,” she said happily.
Roman nodded once, sagely. “The bargain is struck!” With that, he clapped his hands. There was a blinding light, and a gout of flame, and he disappeared.
As the smoke cleared, Roman’s voice echoed through air, “Check your email in the time it takes the sun to rise and set three times.”
“That was unnecessarily dramatic,” Madison thought to herself, but decided to stick with it.
In less than a fortnight, her training would begin.
Let us examine the process.
When Princess Madison began, she weighed 155 pounds, and measured at 25% body fat.
Princess Madison before beginning her epic quest (155 lbs. at 25% body fat)
Her goal, like many people who decide to undergo a body transformation, was to get as lean as possible. But she also wanted to be strong.
In her Magical Client Assessment Form, Princess Madison wrote:
Overall, I want to get a lot leaner, but I also to increase my strength and continue to build muscle. I also want definition in my upper body and midsection. I definitely want to tone up my lower half and get rid of the side-ass that has somehow begun to appear!
I also want to keep my big (muscular) butt and build up my hamstrings (I LOVE hamstrings that pop, but mine also seem to have plateaued.) My wedding dress shows off my arms, back, and booty–I really want to look great in this dress.
For performance, I’d like to be able to do more than 4 unassisted pull-ups; I seem to have plateaued and can’t get to that 5th pull-up. I also want to strengthen my squats and deadlifts.
Using that as the foundation for his spells, the Wizard Roman did all that he promised, and all that Princess Madison requested.
The week of her wedding, Madison weighed 145 pounds and measured at 11% body fat.
Wedding Ready: Maddison at her leanest (145 libs. at 11% body fat)
In the course of just 16 weeks of coaching with the Archmagus of Body Transformation, Princess Madison had lost 23 pounds of fatand gained 13 pounds of muscle.
When the Big Day came, the bride looked beautiful. For that day, Princess Madison felt she was not just the fairest in the kingdom, but the world, just as every bride should on her wedding day.
And the pictures? They turned out amazing. Everything was perfect, as a Royal Wedding ought to be.
The Princess departed for her honeymoon with her Prince, sojourning to an enchanted island to enjoy great food and their new love.
When the Princess returned from her honeymoon, she found that she was not truly happy. Something felt off. Not with her life, and certainly not with her marriage. But with her body itself.
Confused, she spoke the magical Charm of Summoning that Roman had taught her, “Where you at, bro?”
When she turned around, the sorcerer was lounging comfortably in the throne, resplendent in his purple velvet wizard’s robes (+4 charisma) and optic white Converse sneakers (+2 agility).
“Welcome back, Princess. How may I be of service?”
Madison thought a moment. “To be honest, wizard, I think I’m too lean. I don’t love how I look, or how I feel. Is it possible to lose too much fat?”
Roman was silent, but made a slight hand motion, prompting the Princess to continue.
“I think…” She hesitated. “I think that I thought being super lean was what I wanted. And I did. Just not all the time. It was great for the wedding, and I enjoyed it. But maintaining it is too much. And I would be happier if I were a tad…softer?”
The Archmage smiled, and leaned forward in the throne. “So, that’s simple to fix. What’s the real problem? What are you afraid of?”
In that moment, she realized exactly what the issue was. “I’m afraid that if I loosen things up, I’ll go back to where I was. That I’ll never be able to do this again.”
“I see. Anything else?” Roman asked gently.
“It’s just…I wanted so long to be leaner, and worked so hard to lose fat. Actively trying to GAIN fat seems like a betrayal, and it’s creating a mental block for me.”
Nodding serenely, the wizard smiled again. “I understand,” he said, rising smoothly to his feet. He walked towards the princess, tossing his luxurious hair from his eyes as he came to stand before her.
Resting his hand gently on the Princess’s arm, Roman continued “This is actually pretty common. I see it all the time with figure competitors, models, and knights who have to make weight for jousting and other sports.
“Peaking for an event is one thing, but not everyone wants or needs to be super lean all the time. It’s okay. It’s okay if you don’t like the look of it. It’s okay if the thought of maintaining it is unappealing. You don’t need to stay here.
“Descending from a mountain after you have reached the top doesn’t take away the achievement of having climbed it in the first place. And there is no sense in trying to live at the summit if it doesn’t make you happy.
Do you understand?”
The Princess was happy beyond measure and clapped her hands excitedly. “I understand!”
“Good!” explained the wizard. He smiled his dazzling smile, and asked, “Are you ready, then?”
“I’m ready,” the Princess said. “When do we begin?”
The sorcerer turned to look at her, fading from view as his body became incorporeal, his Cheshire Cat grin lingering a few moments after the rest of his form has dissipated. “We’ve already begun,” came the reply.
Madison rolled her eyes. “So dramatic.”
Over the next 16 weeks of coaching Princess Madison set new goals for herself, and achieved each and every one.
She added weight to the bar constantly, and she increased her max on all of her lifts by 10, 20, or even 30 pounds. She was deadlifting 185 for reps. Her endurance improved dramatically. She felt great.
And, yes, she slowly gained some body fat. But at no point did she feel like she was going “backwards.”
When her time working with the wise and powerful Roman had ended, Princess Madison weighed 150 pounds, and measured at 13% body fat.
Princess Madison in her Final Form. (150 lbs at 13% body fat)
In terms of her body composition, she gained just over a pound of muscle and 5 pounds of fat from her leanest condition.
Compared to her starting point, she was still in the positive. At the end of her journey, the Princess had gained a total of 14 pounds of muscle, and lost 19 pounds of fat.
Most importantly, she had achieved all of her goals. She was happier, healthier, and stronger. She loved her body, and had learned that—for her, at least—leaner wasn’t always better.
The full picture of a princess. Madison’s starting and ending points.
After eight months of coaching, after many high fives and fist bumps, Madison and Roman parted ways. She was ready to live in her new body, and use the knowledge she’d gleaned from him to continue making progress.
As for Roman, the Archmagus of Body Transformation? It was time for him to move on.
He gathered his robes around him, flicked his fabulous hair from his sparkling eyes, and thumped the butt of his staff on the hard tile floor once, twice, thrice.
With that, he departed, ready to work with another Prince or Princess, another lord or lady, another knight or knave.
But that, of course, is a story for another day.
See even MORE … http://romanfitnesssystems.com/articles/what-if-you-lose-too-much-fat/