An Interview with Laura Hoggins…

FFF athlete, Laura Hoggins is day 29 into her calorie deficit with FFF, as she begins the 20 week journey to the London Marathon start line.
Diets and deficits are no easy game to play, but with a little help from a bag drop (or 42) life becomes a little easier, and hunger becomes a thing of the past.
We’re delving into the diet brain to see how she’s getting on at the half way point. Over to Laura…
What was the goal with this deficit?
This year I have been focused on strength development, whilst maintaining a good level of cardiovascular fitness, having some fun improving in my event lifts to enable me to compete in novice strongman competitions. I had been eating high protein and in an overall calorie surplus to gain muscle and size. The goal now as I start my marathon training, is to drop some body fat that won’t help me for endurance running.

How much exactly is the deficit?

Obviously this is specific to me, and everyone is different, but I will share the detail to highlight the principle, my average TDEE as a very active human is 2,500cals a day, and I am receiving 1,900cals from FFF per day, and supplementing this with a protein shake after I have trained, therefore I have an average daily deficit of 300-400cals. Its not aggressive, but its manageable given the frequency and intensity of my training, and my active job. No one will appreciate a hangry trainer.
How did you work out how much you should cut?
Myself and the team at FFF discussed my goals, and advised on a small cut due to my lifestyle, which would enable me to successfully manage my energy levels. There was no rush to lose the body fat, just as I turn to running training, I wanted to introduce the deficit to start to encourage my body to adapt to a more dynamic composition, and 300-400cals was a couple of coffees and a banana to cut out! Simples.
Is there a certain time in the day you struggle more so with the reduced intake than others?
I think like most humans, the circadian clock daily dip happens around 2-3pm, and this isn’t dissimilar for me, and as my alarm goes off at 4.50am every weekday, it’s my routine to eat the majority of my cals pretty early on in the day to fuel my work and training.
If so, how do you manage this?
Drinks loads of water, have a little coffee if I hadn’t already by this point, take a little nap if I can, or just suck it up! Its one of the things I have learnt through this deficit, feeling a little hungry is natural and very normal, it is up to you to decide if you give into it or not.
What kind of training are you doing to compliment the diet?
I am running 3 times a week, short interval tempo work and 1 long run. Then my usual CrossFit 2x per week, another basic strength session, 1x yoga and a bit of modified strongman conditioning. I am VERY active. So its super important for me that I monitor my activity levels, because if there is a day that my TDEE significantly exceeds 2,500 and I am still only eating 1,900cals, I really feel it the next day.
What has been your biggest learning, and how have you overcome it?
So, the biggest learning has been trying to keep up with myself in terms of monitoring what I am up to, and feeling at the right times. Sometimes people assume on a rest day, you should cap your calories a little more than usual, but that’s counterproductive to fuelling my life and training the next day. So I think for me it has been about understanding what my body is telling me, if I feel hungry, is that genuine hunger that I need to consider feeling, or is it just a moment in time and a part of the process.
How are you measuring your transformation?
I am weighing myself, not often, as I am not too bothered about that, sure its directionally a measurable, but not the be all and end all for me, especially given my composition of high muscle mass relatively. I am watching myself visually, and taking photos, but I know it sounds predictable, but I am mainly going on a gut feel, how my clothes fit, how I am moving, what people observe.
How has FFF helped keep you on track?
I think the biggest challenge with the modern lifestyle is we love being busy, too busy in fact to make sensible or considered decisions, especially with food. Rushing out to a meeting, or flying home from work to grab whatever dinner you can find makes life really random, and as we know transparency and consistency with your nutrition are what’s important to understand if you are looking to hit a particular goal or maintenance. I know whatever arrives for me is exactly what I need, no recipes, no food shopping, no meal prepping, no Tupperware leaks in my gym bag, its great food, with strong nutrient-dense ingredients, which enable me to hit my goals without the worry of weighing and measuring it all myself. I genuinely don’t know what I would now do without it.