Updated: Jan 4
I bought my first fat loss template from RP in February of 2018. We had just moved into a new house and I had simultaneously taken a month off from lifting while Josh and I were packing up and transitioning to our new home. It took the better part of that month to get settled before I was ready to tackle my fitness goals. It was a good time to look at everything as a fresh start; new lifting regimen, new running program, and I had done some research to find RP and decide to use it as my new nutrition plan. I began my RP journey and followed through for the recommended 12 weeks.
The Basics: What You Get with Purchas
On the RP fat loss template, you receive your macronutrient breakdown for 5-6 meals a day, depending on whether or not you are training each day. There are 6 meals per day on training days and 5 meals on non-training days (NTDs). You have a set of macros for training days and a slightly different set for non-training days.
Included in your templates is your meal timing. Depending on what time of the day you work out, your meal timing will vary from day to day (unless you work out at the same time of day every day — which I find the easiest to do when navigating through the templates). Consistency is key here. If you can work out at roughly the same time every day, it’s easier to plan out your meals for the week because your macro timing will always be the same. I usually lift after I get home from work, so my meal timing for a typical training day breaks down like this:
5:30am Cardio (I prefer to do this fasted when pursuing fat loss) 7:00am Breakfast (Meal 1) 11:00am Lunch 1 (Meal 2) 2:30pm Lunch 2 (Meal 3) 4:30pm Workout Shake & Workout (Meal 4) 6:30-7:00pm Dinner (Meal 5) 8:30pm Bedtime Snack (Meal 6) The templates will provide a window in which you should eat your next meal. For instance, it may say to eat Meal 2 within 2-4 hours of Meal 1. RP states that you can add or subtract about 30 minutes from each meal window so you don’t have to stress about getting the timing to an exact precise moment — especially if you keep a particularly busy schedule.
“RP CLIENTS” FACEBOOK GROUP
After you purchase the templates, you can send a request to the RP Clients closed Facebook group. Any RP client can join this group so others are using many different RP templates (not just fat loss). There are RP staff members available to answer all your template-related questions within the group. As you read through the client posts, keep in mind that not everyone in the group has the same goal(s) as you and to take their advice with a “grain of salt.” You will know who is an expert by their designation on the homepage of the group.
To follow the templates, there are a few items I recommend having in your kitchen. 1. Food Scale You will need a scale to calculate your macronutrients by the weight of your food. DO NOT GO BY VOLUME ALONE! Many first-time users try to measure their foods by volume (using measuring cups) but this method is notoriously inaccurate. Weighing your foods will ensure your macro intake is as precise as possible. Many template-users in the RP Client group recommend the “Perfect Portions” scale as it calculates the macro count for a given food based on its weight. The scale comes with a booklet of food codes, for instance “chicken breast,” and you type in the code and place the food on the scale to see the macro count for the weight. This is extremely handy if you struggle with calculating macronutrients. 2. Storage Containers If you plan to meal-prep your food in bulk, food containers are essential. I like the Rubbermaid Take-Alongs as they do well in the dishwasher, are lightweight, and affordable. I buy new containers about once/year as they tend to wear out with regular use. It’s up to you to decide what kind of container design will work best for the meals you enjoy eating. I started with the containers that had 3 divided sections in them but noticed pretty soon that I did not fill them all the way and they did not fit well into my lunch box. When I realized I most frequently pack salads with protein and then carbs on the side (like an apple sauce or rice cake), I stopped using the divided containers and switched to larger, undivided containers that provided more depth for packing in my greens. I do not recommend glass containers if you frequently eat your meals away from home; Glass is too heavy to justify carrying around with you all day. 3. Large Lunchbox/Small Cooler If you work from home you may be able to forego this item. I pack three meals/day to bring with me to work so I use a small cooler as my lunch box for my essential RP items. Don’t forget to keep a fork in there! I use a camping spork so I never lack an eating utensil, regardless of what I pack. The fewer details you have to remember about packing your food, the easier and faster it will be to get out the door during the morning rush.
UNDERSTANDING THE TEMPLATES
The diet templates follow a periodized structure. This means there are different phases that occur at varying intervals throughout the diet. RP refers to the diet phases as “tabs” because the original diet templates were released as Excel spreadsheets, where one would click through the tabs on the bottom to view the different phases of the diet. The tabs are structured as follows: BASE Everyone begins with this phase of the diet for a minimum of 2 weeks. It is your maintenance diet; the macros to support your current body weight. Most users lose their initial water weight and bloat during these first couple of weeks. You can expect to lose a few pounds during this phase but if you are already at a reasonably low-to-average body fat percentage, you will likely not spend long in this initial phase since your fat loss will plateau rather quickly. FAT LOSS 1 The second phase of RP removes a large percentage of your fat intake. For example, my daily fat intake on base is roughly 55g per day. When I compare this to to the FL1 tab, I only get 25g per day. I can’t vouch for the men’s templates but females lose roughly 50% of the fat intake between base & FL1. Your veggie intake will also double in size to keep you feeling satisfied throughout this phase. FAT LOSS 2 This is the phase during which the magic began to happen for me; the pounds started to melt right off due to the extremely low carb intake. On this phase, my carbs drop from 150-160g/day on FL1 to 65-90g/day on FL2. This is not the phase in which you want to be testing your 1RM or competing in a meet. You will feel a bit fatigued and you may see your lifts begin to suffer. Remember that carbs are key for recovery — be gentle with your body in this phase to stay physically healthy and injury-free. FAT LOSS 3 First, you need to know that not everyone will get all the way to the final phase of fat loss while following RP. If your body is very stubborn at losing fat, it’s possible you will get there. I spent 3 weeks on FL3 during my first cut and saw great fat loss results. That being said — this phase is when you embrace the suck. Your carbs are low (mine drop to 0 on light training days). Your fats are down to zero. Zero meaning you will not eat any added fats in your meals. At all. No fats AND no carbs. Just veggies and proteins. The suck is real. Sleep as much as you can. Drink a ton of water. You will feel tired and you will feel hungry. No, make that hangry. You will feel very hangry. MAINTENANCE 1 This is the first step of the re-feeding process. When you hit the end of your 12-week diet, you will begin the slow process of working back toward a sustainable macro intake. If you got all the way to FL3, you will first go to the M1 tab to slowly begin to add some carbs back to your diet. If you only got as far as FL2, you will go straight to M2. MAINTENANCE 2 This is the second phase of refeed. If you never got to FL3, you would skip M1 and go straight to Maintenance 2. This phase adds more carbs and fats back into the diet. NEW BASE This is your new maintenance phase. You will continue to follow new base until you are either ready to mass or you are ready to cut again. Remember, 8 weeks on maintenance is recommended before making any new changes to your diet.
Before you even order your template, you can go to YouTube and watch the introductory videos about the RP fat loss templates. Click here to go to the first introductory video. Dr. Mike Israetel discusses the finer details of the diet to help you find success during your RP experience.
USING THE TEMPLATES
TEMPLATE FOODS There are a few rules about the foods that are allowed on the templates. Theoretically, you can really eat whatever you want while following the templates, as long as it aligns with your macro allowances. However, the team behind RP recommend a list of “template foods” that you can have without counting the other macros. These will help you to achieve the best and healthiest possible results. For instance, if a meat is listed in the “lean proteins” column of the templates, you do not have to count the fats or the carbs within it. For brown rice, which is listed as a healthy carb, we would only count the carbs and not the protein or fat. The lists of these foods can be found at the top of each page of your template. TRACKING YOUR WEIGHT
RP recommends weighing yourself 2-3 times throughout the week and taking the average of those weigh-ins as your official weekly weight. When you stop losing .5lb/week, you move to the next fat loss tab. It is easy to become obsessed with the scale but you will additionally see the composition of your body change while on your RP journey.
I’m currently on my second cut with the RP fat loss templates. I lost enough weight last year that I had to purchase a new template to support my new lower body weight (a good problem to have!). The templates are about $110 but it’s pretty easy to find a code for 10% off (check out Marisa Inda’s Instagram if you need the coupon). Here are my overall impressions of the 12-week fat loss plan.
Reasonably affordable — paying $100 once a year is not going to break the bank and is significantly more affordable than RP’s one-on-one diet coaching.Reliable — you know exactly what you’re getting every time you purchase a template.You will learn a lot — I have a much better understanding about how to correctly fuel my body for my sport and for my general health.You have access to expert advice in the Facebook group. Not sure how much your chicken should weigh? Throw up a post in the Facebook group and a photo of the nutrition facts and plenty of other users and experts will be able to help you out.The science works — if you can have the mental power to get through the highly restrictive phases of the diet, you WILL achieve results.I did not lose any major gains I had made in my lifting program and my workouts felt strong for 85-90% of the 12-week diet.
Requires a fair amount of planning each week — unless you enjoy eating the same meals over and over again, it is time-consuming to plan out your meals and figure out the appropriate weight of each item. I personally make a plan for each tab of the diet and use it for the duration as it is the least time-consuming method of preparation.Macro-counting can be confusing — if you do not yet have experience calculating macronutrients, the first time through the templates may be a bit rough. Want some help with this? Shoot me an email.The lifestyle can become restrictive — while I am not usually 100% compliant on the fat loss templates, those who do plan to follow the templates as closely as possible will find that it is difficult to dine out or to attend social events with alcohol. You will learn a lot about yourself under these restrictions (maybe that’s a pro?).You may feel the fatigue toward the final 3-5 weeks of the diet, depending on how depleted your carbs become. RP advises you stop dieting after the 12 weeks to avoid hormonal imbalances damaging your metabolism.
Overall, I recommend this nutrition plan to anyone interested in cutting fat while generally maintaining strength. Whether you are a strength athlete, cardio-queen/king, or a couch lounger, you will get out of these templates what you put into them. The more strict you are, the greater your results will be. I am extremely happy with my results and encourage others to check them out whenever I am asked about nutrition. ***USER BEWARE*** It's recently been brought to my attention that users who have struggled with eating disorders in the past may be triggered by the FL2 and FL3 phases of this diet as they are fairly restrictive. As with anything, talk to your doctor before making any extreme changes to your diet and listen to your body.
LOOKING FOR A MORE AFFORDABLE NUTRITION OPTION?
I offer local and remote nutrition coaching sessions for $45/hour. In these sessions, I will teach you how to calculate your own macronutrient profile, adjust it for fat loss or bulking, and teach you the tips and tricks for planning efficient meals that don't keep you in the kitchen all day long. Send me an email through the CONTACT page to set up a consultation.