Co-Movement Gym: A is A Health Podcast S1E17 - Ricky McDonough's Success Story w/ EasyFit Challenge
Updated: Sep 1
The challenge rules were as follows:
1. Walk or run at least 10 miles outside every week
2. Fast for 24 hours (1 day) a week. Any day that fits for you.
3. Drink only Water, Black Coffee, or Tea for entire 28 days/4 weeks
Background/Why I decided to take on this challenge:
For those of you guys that don’t know me, my name is Ricky McDonough and I am a trainer/marketing consultant at Co-Movement Gym. I also work as a Material Research Scientist at a company called Indium Corporation, and since my job mainly involves sitting in front of a computer or standing at a lab bench…I was only averaging about 4,000-5,000 steps a day. If you listen to our “A is A” Health Podcast, then you already have a rough idea of how I eat (2400 cals/day) and how I train (6 days/week). (Listen to the Co-Movement Gym “A is A” Health podcast for awesome training, nutrition, and health tips…as well as learning more about how we train, eat, and achieve our fitness goals!) All of the trainers at Co-Movement Gym came together to develop the EasyFit Challenge with the ultimate goal being something anyone could feasibly do for a month, while also being highly effective. I figured I would put this challenge to the test myself, because why would I recommend this to anyone else if I wasn’t willing or able to do it. Plus, I was excited to see what kind of results I would get! (I had no idea that I would see the changes that I did…keep reading to see!)
Brief insight to how I approached the challenge:
I only walked, because I did not want this to affect my workout sessions in the gym. I did this sometimes in small increments throughout the day or all in one shot during my lunch break. Originally, I was only planning to do 10-15 miles per week, but it soon turned into trying to get at least 10,000 steps/day for the entire challenge! On the days that I fasted, I would not eat the entire day. This means if I stopped eating at 10 AM the day before…I would not eat until 5-6 AM the morning after my fast. I know this is much longer than the 24 hr requirement, but with my unique eating style I wouldn’t have technically missed any meals. I only eat one meal a day, and fasting for 24 hrs would mean I could push my meal back a couple of hours and still technically qualify. You can hear a more detailed discussion on my approach on the Co-Movement Gym A is A Podcast episode titled “EasyFit Challenge”! The drinking portion I followed as stated. Nothing other than the 3 options listed for the entire 28 days! I also chose to drink at least 1 gallon of water every day for the entire challenge.
What I did:
Challenge accepted and I started it off with the 24 hour fast! My starting weight was 181.0 lbs (82.1 kg) which is a lot of weight for only being 5’9” (175 cm). My average steps per day for the entire first week was 10,848 steps. I did approximately 2 miles outside Monday-Thursday, 3 miles on Friday, 4-5 miles hike Saturday at a local state park, and then mowed the lawn and other various chores outdoors on Sunday.
Results and Thoughts:
I lost about 3.4 lbs (1.5 kg), and my new weight is 177.6 lbs (80.6 kg). I noticed a difference in my arm and leg appearance which seems to be thinning out/looking more muscular. My love handles definitely reduced in size and maybe a slight change in my chest/stomach. The fasting and the drinking restrictions were easy to stick to, but the walking was a little more challenging. I have a typical 8-5 job with about a 30 min commute, the gym filling up 6 out of my 7 mornings, finding time to cook and meal prep (photos of what I ate every day and breakdown of macros will be added at the end of this post for anyone interested), sleeping at least 7-8 hours a night…left me with about 1-1.5 hours max of free time/day. I figured I would use my lunch break to get in as much walking as I could outdoors and finish up any miles I missed once I got home. I also found it useful to get additional steps in by walking longer routs around the office any time I had to get something from the printer, use the restroom, or check to see if any packages arrived. So even with my busy work/life schedule, I was able to get at least 2 miles outside walking every day and ultimately increase my daily activity level from 4,000-5,000 steps (2-2.5 miles) to 10,000 steps (5 miles) every day this week.
What I did:
I started this week off with the 24 hour fast again. My final weight this week was 173.2 lbs (78.6 kg) which is almost the lowest weight I have been since last year. My average steps per day for the entire week was 12,032 steps. I did approximately 2-3 miles outside every day Monday-Sunday which put me at 18 miles walked outside for the week. Most of these miles are walked around city street or in abandoned parking lots close to where I work, but on the weekend I get to walk on the Eire Canal trail, Rail trail or on our families farm. I definitely enjoy the weekend walks a little more. Especially when I get to walk on the farm and we can let our dog run around off leash!
Results and Thoughts:
I lost about 4.4 lbs (2.0 kg), and I noticed even more definition around my entire body. My extremities thinning out again and looking more muscular. My love handles are almost gone!!! I started to notice more definition in my chest and abs starting to become more noticeable.
I honestly did not think I would even lose this much weight throughout the entire challenge. I thought
maybe 1-2 lbs/week, but I have already exceeded that in just 2 weeks! I hope to continue to see some additional weight/fat loss over the next 2 weeks, but I doubt it will be as much as I have seen these past 2 weeks. The fasting and the drinking restrictions again were not a problem, and the walking seemed to become easier. The methods I had implemented from last week were easy to follow and still fit in to my busy life! Walking is starting to become more of a habit and I am really enjoying the outdoors after being stuck inside most of the day!
What I did:
I started this week off with the 24 hour fast again. My final weight this week was 169.4 lbs (76.8 kg) which is the lowest I have been for a while. My average steps per day for the entire week was about 11,967 steps. My goal was 14,000 steps, but I started to feel fatigued on Wednesday and decided that I might be over doing it. I took a step back and decided to get my 2 miles outside/day and to not push it. I did approximately 4 miles outside Monday and Tuesday this week, and 2-3 miles/day Wednesday- Sunday. I am not sure if I was over doing it or if I was a little under the weather on Wednesday, but I felt much better the rest of the week after taking a recovery day on Wednesday and Saturday.
Results and Thoughts:
I lost about 3.8 lbs (1.7 kg), and I continue to notice more definition every day. It really is astonishing that just walking a couple miles a day could have this big of a change in my overall physique. My love handles are almost gone, and my stomach still has some fat around the lower ab area. I have noticed that I lost some strength on some of my heavy lifts, but this is expected during a cut. I am finding it easier every day to stick to the 3 rules. I find that I feel healthier, lighter, and my posture has even improved! I was also worried that I would look a lot skinnier after losing so much weight (body dysmorphia issue from always being a little skinny kid), but it actually kind of looks like the opposite is happening for me. Even though I have already lost about 12 lbs, I actually look a little bigger because my muscle is actually starting to look more defined.
What I did:
I started this week off with the last 24 hour fast. My final weight this week was 166.0 lbs (75.3 kg) which is the lowest I have been in years! My average steps per day for the entire week was 14,757 steps. I did approximately 4 miles outside Monday, 3 miles Tuesday, 3-4 miles/day Wednesday-Saturday, and 7 miles outside on Sunday!
Results and Thoughts:
I lost about 3.4 lbs (1.5 kg), and I am amazed at the results. I honestly thought I would lose about 10 lbs max during the entire challenge. My arms and legs look more muscular/defined. My love handles essentially gone!!! I noticed more definition in my chest, back, and abs as well.
I definitely over did it on the walking this week. It was so nice out and It was really easy to get the miles in this week. I did about 30 miles outside this week! I do not think this will become the “norm” for me, but I plan to continue walking every day!
Overall Results and Final Thoughts:
I lost a total of 15 lbs (6.8 kg) over the entire 28 day/4 week challenge! I lost some muscle mass (to be expected during any cut/weight loss), but the majority of the weight loss came from water and fat. I would say that I probably lost about 4-5% body fat over the entire challenge! I got my average steps per day up to 12,000 steps from 4,000-5,000 steps (2-3x increase in movement/day)! I lost about 2-3 inches around my waist, and my muscle definition was well defined! I loved this challenge! This challenge did what I thought it would do and even exceeded my expectations! I made it a goal to do at least 2 miles walking outside every day during the challenge. I know this is more than the 10 mile requirement, but it made it easier for me to make it a habit and to insure I would meet the 10 mile requirement every week. Walking is definitely a habit that will stay with me throughout the rest of my life. I really enjoyed the outdoors and taking a mental break for 30-60 mins every day during my walks. I want to emphasis that I did not run a single mile during this challenge to achieve these results. The liquids part will also stick with me. I think having one soda a week or on special occasions would be fine. I also think drinking more water throughout the day is very important and I plan to keep that going for the rest of my life as well. While fasting 24 hours every week was very effective for this challenge, I will not continue fasting 1 day every week. I would prefer a 3 day fast either once a month or every other month, but I did not mind the fasting potion of the challenge. Also, this will not be the only time I do this challenge. I am already planning to do this at least 1 more time this year and maybe once or twice every year whenever I need to cut down. I would say that anyone who follows the plan as it is laid out is guaranteed to lose at least 8-10 lbs (3.6-4.5 kg) over the 28 days/4 weeks of the challenge.
Food/Meal Plan During EasyFit Challenge:
I gave myself a 5 hour feeding window from about 5 AM – 10 AM every day during this challenge. (besides fasting days). I had a cheat meal on Sunday (06/13/21) which consisted of a small chocolate soft serve ice cream with rainbow sprinkles in a waffle cone, a chicken quesadilla, and 2 tacos. I also had a cheat meal during a family BBQ on Sunday (06/20/21) which consisted of 2 hotdogs, 2 chicken drumsticks, homemade strawberry shortcake, a brownie, and a rice crispy treat. Generally speaking, having 1-2 cheat meals a week will not kill your progress and can sometimes even help you to stick to your diet/meal plane longer. I normally plan cheat meals into my week whenever a special event comes up or if I am having a strong craving for something.
1. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Fish Oil (only on non-fasting days)
2. Centrum Multivitamin for Men
3. NatureWise Vitamin D3 2000iu (50 mcg)
4. NatriRise Ashwagandha 1300mg (only take one pill (650 mg))
5. Essential Elements Magnesium + Zinc with Vitamin D3
6. Keto K1000 Electrolyte Powder
7. Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder
Meal 1 5:00-6:00 AM (Pre-Workout)
Alvarado St. Bakery Onion Bagel (1 bagel)
Organic Valley Cream Cheese (30 g)
Pasture Raised Eggs (3 eggs)
- Cooked in Organic Butter (1/4 TBSP)
- Vega Sport Chocolate (1 Scoop)
- Frozen Organic Spinach (160-170 g)
- Organic Chia Seeds (2 oz)
- Wyman’s Triple Berry Frozen (5-6 oz)
- Wegmans Dry Roasted Peanuts (1 oz)
- Cold Water (≈ 20 fl oz)
Black Coffee (4-8 fl oz)
Meal 2 6:30-7:30 AM (Drink/Sip during workout)
Apple Cider Vinegar (2 TBSP)
Lemon (1 fresh squeezed)
Water (16 oz)
Meal 3 8:30-9:30 AM (Post-Workout)
Organic Chicken Breast (8-9 oz)
- cooked in Organic Butter (1.5 TBSP when cooking 6 breasts)
- seasoned with Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Organic Broccoli frozen (400 g) with 1 TBSP Organic Butter
Kiwi (2 cut with skin)
Lindt Excellence 90% Dark Chocolate (5 squares)
Black Coffee (4-8 fl oz)
Water (1+ gal/day) (Note: I drank this much water throughout the day not all by 9:30 AM)
Detailed Information: Macro Split
Protein: 174 g (28% cals)
Carbs: 185 g (29% cals)
Fat: 118 g (43% cals)
If you were to go through the trouble of adding all of this up (highly recommend MyFitnessPal for anyone interested in counting cals, macros, and micro nutrients…it’s free!), you would see that I eat 2,417 cals/day. I generally shoot for at least 4,000-5,600 mg of Potassium/day, Sodium is right around that as well, and I am normally way over on all of my other vitamins and minerals. I always try to keep my sugar as low as possible (46 g on this diet) and my added sugar to essentially 0!!! My fiber is really high at about 61 g, and I do not really monitor my Cholesterol (because it’s not actually bad for you if you are healthy but…we could always discuss that to great lengths in another post or on the A is A Health Podcast!)