By JENNY SUGAR
Brooke Strait has been fighting weight gain most of her life, but her real journey began when she got pregnant with her first child. Many moms can relate to not feeling great about pregnancy weight gain. “I left the hospital at the biggest I had ever been and was determined to get the weight off,” Brooke told POPSUGAR. Beginning at 207 pounds when she was six weeks postpartum, this is how Brooke lost 75 pounds over the course of two years and completely transformed her body and life.
Brooke’s Journey Begins
Before Brooke got pregnant with her first baby, she had been doing CrossFit for three or four months and loved it. “I knew to get better at CrossFit I needed to lose a large amount of weight,” Brooke said.
So for the first year postpartum, Brooke did the usual: eat healthy and exercise. After one year, in February 2015, she was only down 15 pounds. So she turned her attention to counting macros. “I found a website that helped me figure out what my macros should be, and I followed that and dropped 28 pounds!”
Brooke was happy with that plan until her weight stalled, and she couldn’t get any weight off no matter how hard she tried. She had been following @RPStrength on Instagram (a program known as Renaissance Periodization), and saw the amazing transformations people experienced. She finally committed and purchased the cutting templates, “and I have never looked back.”
In her first cut, she went from 162 pounds and 32 percent body fat down to 145 pounds and 24 percent body fat! “Now, about three years later and a second baby, I weigh 130 pounds and have hit 18 percent body fat. The templates that Renaissance Periodization provide has been the key to my success body-image-wise, and the success in the gym.”
What Is Renaissance Periodization?
Renaissance Periodization (RP) is a meal plan that is macro-based. Brooke doesn’t think of this as a diet. “RP allows me to eat almost anything as long as I’m hitting the right macro count.” She added, “That’s been huge for me. Saying ‘no carbs’ or ‘no fat’ really messes with me mentally, and the program does none of that.”
Brooke used the templates, which are in the form of a spreadsheet. It lists each meal for the day and the macro amount, depending on what time she trains and how hard. That means her macros can change day to day depending on her schedule and workout routine.
While the diet can be strict — especially if you’re looking for maximum results in a short amount of time — it can also be a bit more forgiving if you’re not on a time crunch. Cheat meals can be worked into the program, but they aren’t recommended since they may increase cravings; adhering to the diet 100 percent will give you the best results.
A Day of Eating
On the spreadsheet, every meal tells you the amount of carbs, fats, protein, and veggies you get. Brooke eats six meals a day, about every three hours, and eats more food closer to her workouts. “If I am working out for a longer period of time, then I get more food that day. I am eating to fuel my body for my workouts,” Brooke said. This is a typical day:
Breakfast: Egg whites with riced cauliflower, some fruit, and peanut butter.
Other meals: Her other meals are pretty repetitive. She has grilled chicken with rice, some kind of veggie, and either avocado or peanut butter.
RP wants you to have sugar when you’re working out, so Brooke has Gatorade with her workout and also drinks her whey protein shake. At night, she eats cottage cheese before she goes to bed as her nighttime casein protein, a slow-digesting protein to help with recovery.
Meal Prep and Staying on Track
In order to stay on track, Brooke said she’s a huge believer in meal prep. She and her husband go grocery shopping on Sunday and prep their food for the week. “I cook lots of chicken, rice, and usually a big batch of veggies. Because I am a stay-at-home mom, I don’t separate my meals on Sunday. I just throw everything together when it’s time to eat during the week.”
Brooke has now been following RP for more than three years. She’s been on and off, depending on what’s going on in her life and what her goals are. She believes this plan will be part of her life for a long time, not because she thinks she needs to be strict forever, but because it gives great guidelines for living a healthy life without restricting any foods. “I can still have sugar, I can still have fat and carbs,” she said. “It makes it maintainable for a long period of time.”
Brooke has now been doing CrossFit for more than five and a half years, and it is her “why.” It started out just two to three days a week for one hour. Then went to six days a week. Now she’s going five to six days a week, working out about two to three hours a day. “I am now training to compete in CrossFit and just become the best me I can be.”
Brooke’s Nonscale Victories
“I got my first pull-up shortly after I started my diet with RP Strength,” she said. “I have also used RP Strength massing templates to gain strength and recently hit a 150-pound snatch! Something I never thought possible.” Brooke also got her first-ever muscle up during the CrossFit Open this year!
“Being a mom I need my ‘me’ time. The gym does that for me,” Brooke said. And to succeed in the gym, she knows she needs to have her eating on point. Plus, eating right makes her feel good, so that’s added motivation to stay on track.
“I set goals and I do the things I need to do so that I can accomplish those goals. RP Strength has showed me if I am consistent in my diet, then I will see the success I am looking for,” Brooke said. She loves CrossFit, so it’s easy to find motivation to go to class and to make it a priority in her daily life.
“Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 20,” she said. “Don’t be intimidated by what other people are doing in the gym. Believe in yourself. Be consistent.Show up to the gym and eat right. I know you hear that all the time, but its the truth!”
If you show up every day, put the right foods into your body to fuel your workouts, and stay consistent, you will see results. She knows too many people who throw in the towel way too early. “Why give up now? Because it will take ‘too long?’ Time passes anyway,” Brooke added. “You might as well stick to it and see the magic happen!”
Final Thoughts to the Women Out There
“To all the moms out there: you can have the best body you have ever had even after kids. You just have to want it and sometimes that means putting yourself first!” Remember that taking care of yourself helps you take care of your children.
Also, women can be strong and have muscles, it’s not just for the boys. “Finding strength in yourself that you never thought possible is the best feeling in the world!”