Success! Applying the Velocity Diet protocol, with some changes, I lost 12.8 lbs in a month - going from 216.8 to 204.0.
I didn’t do this entirely “by the book” though - I made these changes to the basic plan.
1: Weightlifting: I was making good progress on a 5-3-1 workout plan and kept up my four week cycle on that. The first week of the Velocity diet corresponded to the second week of a 5-3-1 cycle (the “3” week). My assistance exercises were chosen to work the same muscle groups as the primary exercise, so overhead week, for example, was overhead press, chins and lat raises for assistance (50 reps total), and abs.
There were four workouts per week, but each one lasted between 20 and 30 minutes, locker to locker. I figured the basic point of the V-diet weight program was to prevent muscle loss while staying in calorie deficit, and this approach accomplished that. In particular, I hit a “5” week in the program after three weeks on the diet, and this is the week you raise the weight in all of your lifts. The last set is a “do as many as you can” and in all four of the major lifts my strength continued to progress.
2: V-Challenge. I didn’t do it. I took the point of having this in the program as getting the athlete to do some high intensity interval training at least once a week, and I did that by doing a Tabata-style workout on each of the three days I wasn’t lifting. This took the form of incline sprints on the treadmill (10% slope, 10 mph, straddle the belt to rest for 10 seconds, flat out for 20 seconds).
The exception to this was during a business trip where I didn’t have access to a treadmill on two of my mornings and I jumped rope instead.
3: NEPA (Non-Exercise Physical Activity). My office is about a 25 minute walk from my house, and the gym is about a block away from the office. Every day this month I walked to work, except for a couple of times when it rained and I walked an equivalent distance on the treadmill instead. In general, I’d wake up, walk 45 minutes on the treadmill at 8% slope, 3.5 mph, which raised my pulse to around 120 bpm (and just watch TV or whatever while doing so).
So this is probably more than the usual amount of NEPA, since there was 45 minutes per day plus the walk back and forth to the gym or work, but frankly it didn’t seem to cut into the rest of the life all that much. I would have spent 45 minutes goofing off on the Internet anyway, and the bus to work only gets me there ten minutes faster. Plus I can change at the office so I don’t have to worry about sweating out a coat and tie during a brisk walk - and of course it was May, not July.
4: Diet. The first week was the worst - adapting to a dramatically reduced food volume, combined with the first flavour of shake I tried being chocolate, which I really dislike, made me pretty miserable. I couldn’t sit at the table with my family during mealtimes, just because the presence of all the food there made me unhappy.
But I motored through it. I had leftover from a previous Biotest order some leucine and some BCAA tablets, so I used those as well, and I think they help prevent muscle loss.
Also, I applied couple of other changes to the strict diet protocol. First, my healthy solid meal became a healthy solid day - but I kept to the macronutrient split and total calorie level of the diet. After a couple of weeks I found it difficult to finish my healthy solid meals.
For example, I went to Ted’s Montana Grill and had the bison filet, with green beans and broccoli on the side. There’s possibly 700 calories of food on the plate, and the steak was perfect, but my adaptation to reduced food volume had proceeded so far that I found it a chore to put away the last few bites. A month ago, I would have been asking for dessert, eaten all the pickles they set out, and filled up on the little bread rolls they bring.
Additionally, I misread the diet recipe and was only using two scoops for my fifth shake of the day instead of three. On a couple of occasions, I wound up just skipping the last shake, too. I wasn’t feeling all that hungry at bedtime, and I feel a little queasy when I lie down with one of those shakes recently quaffed, so I skipped it. I didn’t feel especially ravenous upon waking though, more just ordinarily hungry.
What probably made up for the skimping on shakes, though, is the nuts. I can’t stand peanut butter (might be an Australian thing - we seem to prefer Vegemite), and other nut butters cost a fortune, so I figured that if all the product contained was ground up nuts, I could do that with my teeth. A can of Planter’s deluxe mixed nuts could get me through a week, but a few of those handfuls of nuts were a little proud of 210 calories. So I probably got 5-6 days out of a can rather than seven.
One strategy that helped when I was traveling was to mix up all the powdered shake ingredients (protein, superfood, leucine, flax seed) in a big bowl for the whole trip, and then just take two scoops of the resulting mixture five times a day. Both the superfood and the flax seed really need the blender to make them stay in suspension, but if you reduce the concentration of those ingredients the shakes will stay liquid long enough to wash down your Flameout, HOT-ROX, and BCAAs. Spreading the hard-to-mix ingredients out over the day helps with that.
Applying the principles of the Velocity Diet, with modifications to my particular circumstances, worked very well. I didn’t do fat percentage measurements, but I’m fairly sure I didn’t lose any muscle, and may have gained as much as a half pound. When I made a change, I tried to keep to the spirit of the plan, and am very pleased with the results. I’m going to keep up with the transition phase, blending more solid food into the diet, at least until I run out of protein powder, since I have quite a bit left over.
I still have about 25 pounds to go before hitting my goal, but a more sedate pace of weight loss will get me where I want to be when I want to be there, and I’m quite content about that. Thanks for putting together a great program, T-Nation, and I apologize for fiddling with it as much as I did.