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Client Case Study: Dr. Alan C

Client Success

A long time ago, I stopped penning Client Case Study articles about clients who live in the gym and compete in physique contests, and work as trainers or whatever.

I Coach people who have real lives and live in the real world with real demands on their time.

My client Dr. Alan C is an Internal Medicine Specialist with a family. He has a wife and two children under the age of 5.  Translation? Dr. Alan C is a BUSY MAN! And yet he still makes cosmetic progress while living in the real world.

Check out this Before and After picture (which is still a work in progress!):

More often than not I write these Client Case Study articles from my own third person writing style. But in this example I let Dr. Alan C answer questions himself so you could get a direct perspective from this client.

So, the Client Case Study below is in Dr. Alan C’s own words, but I do provide a few “Coach’s Notes” here and there that you should look for.

So without further delay, here is another Coach Abel Client Case Study—the case of Dr. Alan C in his own words:

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Why did you first sign up for coaching?

 My goal has always been physique enhancement.  I fell into the trap of “training for strength and development will come.” This is something Coach has written about before as one of the ‘myths’ to developing one’s physique. And when I worked out that way with an emphasis on strength, I was not getting the results I was seeking considering the amount of time and effort I was devoting, so instead of continuing to spin my wheels I decided to look for something different.

I started with Scott's online/printed resources first (where I learned ‘train for development and strength will come.) I made significant gains over the course of 9 months on my own with Coach’s resources but then I plateaued.

The next logical step was to sign up for 1 on 1 coaching.

I am so glad I did.

Were there any unique circumstances that led you to signing up (lifestyle, stressors)?

I am an internal medicine physician. I have a busy work schedule and two young children (ages 2 and 4) at home

I always tried to eat healthy by avoiding soda/pop, fast food, etc.

Even though I am an internal medicine specialist with an extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology I still found it difficult to navigate the diet/nutrition information landscape that exists out there. And of course like so many other working professionals, I certainly didn’t have the time or desire to devote all my limited free-time to finding the definitive answer to this navigation dilemma.

I started Scott's programs (Whole Body Hypertrophy, 5 Day MET, and finally Hard Gainer Solution) approximately the same time I started his Cycle Diet program as well. I read all of his books and also started listening to the Smarter Sculpted Physique podcasts.

Just by using these Coach Abel resources , I went from 205 lbs. to approximately 190 lbs. in about 4 months (Coach’s note: that’s 15 lbs. of fat and bloat gone in 4 months).

I stayed right around 190 lb and my physique hit a plateau. At that point, I started with Scott's one on one coaching.

What have you tried before and what were your experiences?

I once hired a physique competitor as a personal trainer. But he took massive amounts of supplements, like 20-25 pills and powders and potions, and that just seemed not-right to me. His nutrition approach was basically fish and rice and supplements and repeat. And I knew that wasn’t sustainable or realistic for me.

And yes, I have tried supplements. I have taken creatine, weight loss supplements, pre-workout supplements, nitric oxide boosters, BCAAs, protein powders, plant based protein powders; you name it.

Ironically enough, it wasn't until I stopped all of these supplements, that I realized how bloated and sluggish the totality of these supplements made me feel.

What was your previous diet/training history like?

In my school days I wrestled. And I have been focusing on weight training primarily.

Diet-strategy wise, I have been all over the map in the past. I’ve tried Intermittent Fasting, a modified keto diet, complicated carbs formulas and the like but the results were less than satisfying.

So you could say I kind of pinballed from here to there trying various diet schemes designed for physique enhancement.

What previous types of training have you tried (cardio/no cardio)?

I had been focused on body part training and strength building programs in general. I was training anywhere from 4-5 days per week on average.

Previous to following Coach’s principles, I have always been focused on training the movement, not the muscle.

I tried fasted cardio as well for fat loss.

But with all this previous focus on strength training movements, I ended up dealing with chronic recurring shoulder pain. And as with diet-strategy, I also pinballed all over the place with various programs promising physique enhancement.

What surprised you about Coach Abel’s diet-strategy and training?

The training Coach assigned me surprised me a bit, even after following his work for several months before signing up for one on one coaching.

I had just assumed I would be doing some form of Scott’s MET training to improve my definition but I was wrong about that.

Coach Abel’s diet-strategy didn't surprise me that much as I had already been doing The Cycle Diet through his online Cycle Diet online course for several months. But he did help me with small tweaks here and there, especially as we went along.

But I also want to say this, as per one of Coach’s principles: I really don't weight myself much at all anymore. There is no point. I have finally learned that you can look great at 190 lbs. and then look awful at 180 lbs. I have learned that physique development and leanness isn’t about just making the scale move.

Tell Us About Your Experience with The Cycle Diet

I started The Cycle Diet in August 2020.  Being self-guided since taking the online course, I decided to go 4 weeks of no re-feed days prior to giving myself 1 refeed meal.

Then, without any negative cosmetic repercussions from that; the next week I took a half-day refeed; and then, the following week I took a full day refeed.  Subsequent to that initial full day refeed I noticed some negative cosmetic effects; so I skipped  2 weeks of  re-feed days  and started back at a half day each week. And that seemed to work fine.

With Scott's 1 on 1 coaching, he has made some small tweaks to my re-feed day scheduling as well as with my everyday diet-strategy, and some things surprised me about these tweaks.

But this just showed me that it is an evolving process and every few weeks something changes.

And I want to say this as well: After following so many different diet strategies through the years, I can confidently say Scott's Cycle Diet will be THE diet strategy that I will follow for the rest of my life.

When it comes to food indulgences, the concept of delayed gratification makes it very easy for me to pass on indulgent foods during the week, and just stay tight on my diet-strategy. Saying to myself “It's not Saturday,” makes it so black and white for me; instead of rationalizing to myself “I will just have 1 small piece of this or that,” or, “a little bit can’t hurt.”

I have 6 days that are entirely plant-based with 1 day per week of whatever foods I choose. (Coach’s note: see my book Lean Without Trying for more on this type of diet-strategy rotation)

The Thanksgiving Example of the Flexibility and Fun of The Cycle Diet

At the time I am writing this, Thanksgiving was last week and I was able to eat food all day long and indulge guilt-free with my family, knowing my body would return to pre refeed status after 1-2 days. I was able to participate in, and fully enjoy the family gathering and all of our traditions, that have always included food, as most family holiday traditions do.

To be more specific about it, this past refeed day on Thanksgiving, this is what I ate: a large bowl of cereal and pop-tarts, an entire tube of cinnamon rolls, a whole container of chocolate covered potato chips, Thanksgiving Lunch and Thanksgiving Dinner (classic, traditional Thanksgiving fare), 1/2 of a pumpkin pie, a bowl of ice cream, 1/4 of mincemeat pie and some other random dessert items.

My weekends now have a whole new level of excitement and anticipation looking forward to refeed days. And I like it this way.

I know this sounds cliché but every weekend feels like a Holiday when I have a re-feed day. It’s something to look forward to for myself, which is a great psychological element added to the fitness lifestyle for someone like me, a busy professional, and husband and father.

List approximate weight changes

When I started Scott's program: 8/2019 I was 205 pounds

Started 1on1 Coaching: 5/2020 I was about 190 lbs.

Most recently: 10/2020, I was 182 lbs. without even ‘trying’ to target a number on the scale.

NOTE: I really want to repeat that I don't weight myself much anymore. I went almost 6 months without stepping on a scale. Most people know that getting away from the weight scale is an Abel Principle.

How do you “feel” different?

I feel totally different than I ever have previously. Coach Abel is all about the real qualitative stuff and here is what that spells for me: I have consistent energy throughout the day, I sleep well, and my workouts feel energized.

And I think that one of the biggest factors to how great I feel is being plant-based 6 days out of the week.

Another big factor for just feeling better all-around is from dropping the supplements, believe it or not. Previously, I never knew what people meant when they said they felt “bloated,” but when I stopped the supplements I instantly understood. All my previous bloating and puffiness (which you can see in my ‘Before’ picture) is gone.

I love having a scheduled lifestyle. It just makes everything so easy and simple and uncomplicated.

I wake up at the same time every day, eat my meals at the same time every day, and workout at the same time every day, go to sleep around the same time every day. (Coach’s note: see my book, Beyond Metabolism for more on this notion that ‘the body thrives on regularity’)

This structured schedule really helps me with learning how to gauge and assess my biofeedback. When one thing is off, I can tell. And that kind of knowledge is far superior to anything learned from counting calories or macros, or stepping on the scale, and all the unnecessary number-crunching that now seems such a waste of time to me.

What has surprised you about the coaching so far?

I was surprised by just how much a few regular and consistent Coaching emails can really help guide and support the process along. Previously, I had assumed that an “in-person” approach was necessary for progress, but it certainly is not.

Now I understand how Scott is able to effectively coach people all around the world.

I have done a total overhaul of my life (scheduling, nutrition, training) based on Scott's information/knowledge and his principles, even prior to signing up for his 1 on 1 coaching.

But now I have learned how small ongoing tweaks from a qualified Coach can be such difference makers.

And also, sometimes when nothing changes, that can be a good thing too.

Overall the experience with Scott has been great. He answers emails very quickly, prompt and personalized. He is encouraging to a good degree, but I like that he is not overboard with praise and cheerleading.

You don’t get applause-points with this Coach just because you follow what you are expected to follow.

But, he meets you where you are at and he expertly helps you read/interpret your biofeedback.

And more than anything, he just keeps it real.

Have other people noticed your transformation/change?

My patients that I see yearly usually tell me “you have definitely lost weight.” I even had a patient that didn't recognize me from a year ago.

My wife and family have noticed differences in me. When I show them pictures from 2-3 years ago, the response is usually wide eyes and “I don't recall you being that heavy. I can't believe you were that big.”

(Coach’s note: That is what happens when real permanent and sustainable change takes place gradually over time, as it should)

Coach’s Wrap-Up

Dr. Alan C is a smart man. As an internal medicine specialist he has a working knowledge of anatomy and physiology well beyond most people who are seeking physique transformation.

And yet, he still benefitted from The Abel Principles and the one on one Coaching.

This is just another example, of real people who live in the real world, experiencing real results.

Look forward to your comments.