For the past few months I have had the pleasure of working with the AMAZING Emily Davies as her Strength & Conditioning, and Nutrition Coach.
I’ve had so many questions about what I have been doing with her for her to achieve the results she has. The one question I constantly get is;
“What is the ONE thing is that allowed Emily to change her body in such a short amount of time?”
This question actually annoys me…
Long term changes in health rarely if ever just happen by only addressing one issue or implementing one change to diet or movement. This misconception annoys me because it’s a result of the way many fitness and eating programs are mis – represented.
So, there’s not one single thing I did with Emily that was the sole reason for her results.
It was a carefully considered and executed combination of changes.
One of the most important things to know about Emily is that she is incredibly committed and determined. She follows absolutely everything I give her 100%. If I want her to get a test done, she books it in on the day, if I need her to buy a supplement, she orders in then and there, her nutrition is always 100% on point and she puts everything she has into her sessions. She holds onto everything I say and applies it right away. This is one of the main reasons she has been able to get such great results.
In this article I am going to go through exactly what we did with Emily that yielded her results.
Emily approached me initially as she was having immense gut issues. These issues were causing her to bloat after every meal. After our initial consultation I suspected we were dealing with three potential issues;
- A certain level of leaky gut
- A host of food sensitivities
- Possible parasite
Emily’s goals upon approaching me were;
- Fix her gut issues
- Correct hormonal imbalances
- Improve her body composition
Due to the severity of her gut problems. This goal was the number one priority for us. I knew that once we had fixed her gut issues, body composition results would follow. I did not reduce her food at all (I actually increased her food periodically) and everything was designed with her gut health as the number one priority.
Fixing her gut
When I first work with someone with gut issues. The first point of call is to look at their nutrition, are they eating a lot of pro-inflammatory foods? are they getting enough fibre? are they getting too much fibre? are they drinking enough water? is there an electrolyte imbalance? So before even looking at supplementation I want to make sure we are ticking all of the above boxes. With Emily, she was ticking all of these boxes. So we had to get a little deeper.
First, we eliminated a lot of foods I suspected to be causing an issue and placed her on a specific supplementation and nutrition plan based on her individually, her body type and size, lifestyle and schedule, and goals, and changes were regularly made based on her body’s biofeedback. Even though she was eating a healthy diet with lots of meat, fruit, veg etc there was still a lot of foods on their that I suspected were causing a problem for her.
We placed Emily was on a range of different supplements to help heal leaky gut and to irradiate the parasite. Various probiotics, digestive enzymes, specific amino acids and vitamins were used during this phase.
We played around with eliminating and introducing certain foods to see how her body would react. Every week we were seeing small improvements in her gut health. But the bloating was still persisting. She then ordered a food sensitivity test so we could get some hard answers on why this was occurring. She talks about this test and the results here.
We progressed to starting a more aggressive gut protocol for 10-days. This had a notable effect on improving her gut. This amongst everything else we were doing; nutritionally, supplementation and lifestyle changes are what fixed her gut. There was not one thing, one supplement or one nutrition plan. It was a combination of various factors.
It is important to note that nutrition and supplementation are very individual. What worked for Emily may not work for someone else. Emily talks about her nutrition and supplementation through this process in this vlog.
One of the biggest issues for Emily that was contributing negatively to her poor gut health and poor hormonal health was STRESS. I believe that this is actually the root cause for a lot of issues that she was having.
With a history of under-eating, high training load, travelling HEAPS, and running her own business stress was one of the driving forces behind a lot of the problems she was experiencing.
We have worked a lot on stress management. Some of the things we included in her program were;
- Meditation 2 x a day
- Completing a gratitude log at night before bed
- Weekly trips to the beach
- Decreasing the amount of training/work she was doing
- Yoga session 1 x a week
Stress does weird things to people’s bodies. From my experience this tends to be the root cause of a lot of problems in females. If you do not address the root cause, then you are just applying band-aids to the issue and it will never go away.
Her strength program
Whilst we were working on improving her health, I put her on a specific and individualised strength and conditioning program.
Our goals for the program were too;
- Improve activation of her left glute and decrease the imbalance between her right and left glute muscles
- Lengthen her through her pecs and strengthen her mid-back to correct her rounded shoulders
- Increase her strength in the squat, deadlift and hip thrust
One of our big focuses was keeping Emily’s upper body petite, getting her lean through her legs, and a big glute focus. Her training programs are designed to accommodate for this.
All of my clients will phase in and out of intensification phases (more sets, less reps and strength focused) and accumulation phases (less sets, more reps and intensity focused). However, the specific program and exercises utilised are subject to the individual’s needs. We do not do anything fancy – we stick to the basics and we perform the basics well.
Fortunately, Emily has had some good trainers in the past and has a good base of movement competency allowing me to progress her more quickly through the program.
Note: no cardio is currently programmed in Emilys training routine
Consistency and compliance to the program is what yields results. We deceased Emily from training 6 days a week to only 4. And she makes sure she always gets those 4 sessions in per week.
As you can see from the above, there was not one sole thing that we did that allowed Emily to achieve the results she has. It was a combination of nutrition, training, supplementation, lifestyle and, compliance and trust to the plan.
Our main goal was to get her to a sustainable body fat percentage and to a shape she is happy with and can sustain long term.
She does LOTS of shoots over the year and we do not cut her calories or water/salt manipulate leading into any shoots (this would be recipe for hormonal and metabolic disaster if we did this so regularly).
She is able to go into her shoots eating her current meal plan which currently sits at around 2000 calories (and yes, she eats lots of carbs and has plenty of variety in her diet – she eats everything from bread, fruit, meat, veg, pasta, nuts etc).
Here is just some of the things she has achieved so far;
- 5kg weight loss (this wasn’t our intended goal and wasn’t the main priority for Emily it was simply a by-product of being healthier overall)
- 4% body fat loss
- Maintained muscle mass
- ZERO gut issues
- Personal best on Back Squats (1.2 x bodyweight x 2 reps)
- Personal best on Deadlifts (1.4 x bodyweight for 2 reps)
- Personal best on Hip Thrusts (1.5 x bodyweight for 10 reps)
“Mandy has honestly changed my life. Not only has Mandy helped heal my gut issues but she has guided and helped me switch my focus from body aesthetics to focusing on my health and the way I feel. I have genuinely never felt more confident, happy and healthy within not just my body but my mind and I thank her for this. Her knowledge is so powerful and it has honestly taught me so much. I cant wait to continue this journey with Mandy and learn along the way.”- Emily Davies