Is This Plan Relevant to Every Woman?
This BREAK-THE-MOULD Body Plan can serve any woman who has goals to improve their body shape and body composition.
That said, if you are over 30% body fat (see guidance pictures below), then I would recommend you initially start with a calorie deficit combined with all the other principles of nutrition, meal ideas, training protocol and training flexibility to account for your menstrual cycle that are explained or referenced within this plan.
Get yourself sub 30% using the guidance within the Losing Body Fat For Good article, and by which point, deliberately focusing on increasing your metabolic rate and improving body composition by building muscle will be that much more relevant.
Which Women Will Get The Most Benefit?
The women who will maximally benefit from reading this are those who have been on calorie restricted diets for a long time, perhaps combined with a fair amount of exercise. You’re getting there in terms of a physique you would proud of, but results have stalled. The only way that you’re aware of to make further changes is by eating even less, moving even more, and inevitably hating the process of malnourishment and a slowing metabolism.
Perhaps you’ve got areas of stubborn fat that just won’t shift, whilst other parts of your body are looking ‘skinny’. Maybe you’re struggling with motivation due to the ground hog day nature of your nutrition and training whilst garnering little progress, other than treading water with your current bodyweight.
You might see others around you or on the internet that have a desirable physique, but you look at your body and just don’t have the curves in the ‘right’ places. You want to continue to ‘tone’ up, but think the answer is just lose more fat.
Worse still, by being in a chronic calorie deficit, maybe you have started to notice a series of changes in mood, energy, temperature sensitivity, appetite suppression, depression, auto immune issues and perhaps losing your period.
Lastly, perhaps you are struggling to keep to a nutrition and training plan as your menstrual cycle throws you off course by lowering motivation, having less energy, PMS symptoms, increased appetite and cravings.
If any of this strikes a chord, then this BREAK-THE-MOULD Body Plan will hopefully inform, guide and give you practical tools on transforming your energy, vitality and body. To help you #BeYourBest.
What’s The Goal Of The BREAK-THE-MOULD Plan?
#1 – Stop Obsessing About The Weighing Scales For These 8 weeks – to fuel all of the below, we MUST consider alternative measures
#2 – Fix and Increase Your Metabolism – Meaning you can enjoy more calories and limit the potential/continuation of being chronically malnourished
#3 – Helping the Female Body Thrive – It’s time to prioritise giving to your body, versus the mindset of deprivation, taking away and beating it up
#4 – Bring Wholesome Variety & Simplicity to Meal Choices – Greater enjoyment and increasing Kitchen IQ
#5 – Give you a Female-Centric Training Programme – that accounts for the female physiology, females monthly hormonal changes and serves your innate psychic needs to be strong, to have fun working out, and to bring calm into a busy life.
#6 – To Get You Stronger & Firmer – To help you get the shape and curves in the right places, and the basis for getting the body you deserve
First Things First. Time To Stop The Obsession With The Weighing Scales
In this BREAK-THE-MOULD Body Plan you are investing in building a stronger, healthier and firmer body with shape and curves in all the right places. Not to mention providing optimal nutrition to thrive, addressing symptoms of malnourishment from long sustained caloric restriction, and having great mental and physical energy.
Fat loss can absolutely (and likely will) be a goal that strongly features, but you need to believe in the process. The process of building your best body, that has a balanced composition of muscle and necessary body fat.
I know this notion is swimming against the tide of entrenched marketing and status quo, but if you want to sustainably manage healthy ‘attractive’ levels of body fat and have a ‘beach babe’ body that women aspire to have, and men are drawn to, you likely need to increase your muscle mass to do so. It’s that one-two combination of muscle AND sufficient body fat (20-23%) that creates that physique that people admire the world over.
The harsh reality is, with a chronic calorie restrictive diet and lots of training ebbing and flowing into your life based on motivation, you’ll likely be chasing ‘the dream’ for many many years with a good chance you will not get ‘there’. You’ll likely continue to struggle with stubborn fat areas, and will likely fall off the wagon for periods due to the lack of progress made. Not to mention all the physical, mental and biological detrimental impacts.
A sign of madness is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. So it’s time to break the pattern, and experiment with a purposeful plan to build some muscle that in turn may reap you all the benefits you value. But you need to know this – building enough muscle to reap all the aesthetic and physiological benefits for women takes 1-2 years of dedicated commitment to strength training, with a number of periods of being in a caloric surplus.
A Bitter (Ironic) Pill – Chronic Calorie Restriction & Excessive Exercise Could Be A BIG Problem
We’ve been told forever that to get into shape you need to eat less and move more. Eat less move more, eat less move more, eat less move more…
Whilst the guidance is sound and true – your body needs to be an a calorie deficit to to burn through your body fat stores, fat loss alone is likely not going to get you exactly what you need. Moreover, if you continue to dial down your food intake and ever increase your aerobic exercise, this Eat Less Move More model starts to let your body down in some significant and dangerous ways.
See, our bodies are built for survival. Famine was a very real threat to our lives through history, and our body needed mechanisms to accommodate prolonged periods of fasting or insufficient food until we stumbled across the next feast. Fat storage is an elegant survival mechanism, but in todays modern society it is more of a curse and can quickly get out of control.
The problem is, your body does not like to be in a chronic calorie deficit, especially if there are high demands on the body through regular intense exercise. When there is a sustained lack of energy availability to support your exercise demands, the body needs to take some drastic measures, and for women they are exacerbated. Your body needs to become MORE efficient. It needs to use less energy than it would otherwise like. It achieves this by shutting off or down regulating expensive biological processes, and this could have some pretty harsh consequences.
There is actually a term for this situation of insufficient energy to support your exercise regime – it’s called Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, or RED-S for short. The issues have been studied and observed across many women, especially Athletes, Physique Competitors, Elite CrossFit ladies, some Instagram Influencers and those who are very lean. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) wrote in their official documentation for athletes and coaches to be mindful and aware of the symptoms and consequences of RED-S.
This may surprise you, but for normal and healthy function of the female adult body, women should be consuming no fewer than 1,300 calories per day. Whilst you can go lower for short periods of time, eating under this number on a chronic basis will cause issues.
If you are suffering with some or all of these symptoms, and eat very little combined with lots of exercise, it’s time to seriously consider doing things differently:
- Having to eat so little to just maintain weight – Say 800-1300 kcal a day – this is due to a continually lowering metabolism, as your body shuts down expensive processes to meet the sustained famine-like state
- Issues with Hormone production and Endocrine system – Hormones are the chemical messengers in your body and are used to control every biological action. Most of the below are due to hormone issues.
- Weight is ‘right’ but body shape is not changing, with stubborn fat areas and potential skinny-fat look and/or muffin-top. This can be due to issues mobilising fat stores, typically caused by hormone issues
- You are doing ‘weights’, but your muscles never change – You can do more reps, and perhaps do it more easily than before, but everything is still the same. The issue here is that you are in a constant catabolic state.
- Reduced Immune Health – perhaps you have been diagnosed or suspect an autoimmune condition, or you are getting ill more often than before.
- Psychologic issues – Such as mental fatigue, depression, mood swings caused by insufficient energy, nutrients and correct hormone balance
- Feeling lethargic, sluggish, constantly achy muscles and slow recovery from training – this is due to low availability of calories, a decrease in growth hormone and critical micronutrients such as magnesium
- Blood Sugar issues – be it pre-diabetes, type two diabetes or hanger issues
- Abnormal Temperature Sensitivity (always cold) – this is a sign that your thyroid has reduced your metabolism, and is conserving energy. It is not instructing your tissues and organs to be as active as they should be
- Losing your Period – If you’re within the menstruation age, it is not healthy to lose your period, unless you are pregnant. It’s not a badge of honour. It’s a sign that your body is responding to a chronic lack of available energy
- Stress fracture and weakening of Bones – It is well known that chronic calorie restriction as women age can cause osteoporosis and/or osteopenia
- Anaemia / Iron Issues – again, in this case caused by malnourishment and insufficient caloric intake
- GI issues such as constipation – A sign that there is insufficient food, fibre, food diversity and energy to support a healthy microbiome and gastrointestinal digestive processes
Where Are We Going With This? I’m Expected To Eat More Food?!!
You’re probably thinking the goals of this plan, combined the the consequences of RED-S are both valuable and pretty serious. You want the upside and want to remove or prevent the downside described above. 👍
It’s all sounding good so far, but here comes something most women will wince at… I am going to ask you to be in a mild Calorie Surplus for the next 8 weeks. To deliberately eat more food.
“Hold the phone! I thought this was about getting a better body in the process? If I eat more food, I will get fat(ter)! You’ve lost me…”
I know, I am going out on a limb here and swimming against the tide. But, it’s different right? Maybe different is what is needed, in order to get different results…
Let’s get to addressing this ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM….
Continue Reading 👉 BREAK-THE-MOULD PART 2 of 5 – Fuelling For Stronger Curves
Follow this and other topic areas in our longer-form Articles series as they unfold, as well as the AdapNation Food Diary for healthy meal inspiration and AdapNation’s #HyperWorkouts for free training plans. Comment if you have questions or ideas.