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Coach Norman's Journey: Gaining and Losing Weight During the Pandemic Part 1

Posted at February 02, 2021

With less mobility, people either 1) gained weight during the lockdowns or 2) took it as an opportunity to eat better and start a fitness routine.

Coach Norman was both.  The lockdown has caused dramatic transformation in Coach Norman’s physique.  Slowly, the lack of movement brought him to 26-28% body fat at 176 lbs. in June 2020. 

” On the first day of July, three months into our lockdown, I realized I was eating too much and moving less as I used to.  I cannot go on with this unhealthy lifestyle and continue to gain weight/fat.  I’m no longer happy with the way I look in the mirror.”  Norman Pascual shared.   After this decision, he is now at 140 lbs. at 16-18% body fat.  Indeed, a drastic weight loss and a dramatic transformation in his overall physique.

He is Coach Norman to many, one of the country’s pioneering and top triathlon coach who have with him fifteen years of experience in racing since his first Sprint Distance race in Subic.   His first race led to 20+ Ironman 70.3,  6X full Ironman, 3x Marathon Major and countless other short distance swim, bike and run race finishes.  More than his accolades as an athlete, the number of athletes he has helped transform from couch potatoes to Ironman finishers is growing (at a 100+ or so, he said he has lost count). 

We are fortunate to have the chance to share his weight loss journey (Warning:  This is long but we are in for a treat on a detailed guide on how to lose weight from a Certified Triathlon Coach.)

I began my program with specific goals. I identified the following:  1) My daily caloric need, 2) My daily caloric deficit and 3) My daily calories to burn (thru cardio and weight training).   I use the MyFitnessPal app to monitor my calories.

My daily routine:

430am: Morning alarm

5am:  An hour cardio workout (Zwift bike or run with students)

7am:  small breakfast

12nn:  lunch

2pm - Weight Training

5pm - Workout 2 (walking or easy bike/run)

6pm - Dinner 830pm - Bedtime

Summary of my routine:  1) Cardio workouts (indoor bike or run on Zwift) - at least an hour on weekday (4x), 2-3 hours on weekends (2x); 2Weight/resistance training - 5-6x/week ; 3) Sleep - at least 8 hours a day. With an hour nap either in the morning or after lunch, and 4) Stretching/mobility exercises - 3 to 4x/week

Diet: I just monitor my daily calorie intake by availing of a food delivery service to guarantee healthy meals with calorie count per meal. 

My Calorie goals are: July - November - 1600 to 2000kcal Deficit - 800 to 1000kcal  and December to present - 2 weeks on daily maintenance calories - 2000 to 2500kcal 2 weeks on 500kcal deficit.  I play around with this if I have long workouts.

Supplements : 1.Whey Protein to hit my daily protein target (1lb/body weight). 2. BCAA drink to fuel my daily workouts, 3. Tailwind Endurance for my long endurance sessions, 4. Creatine powder for weight training sessions.

The Six Month Progress: First 4 months:1 .5-2lbs a week during those 4 months.  Month 4 onwards: 0.5 to .75 / week

Staying Motivated:I take "diet breaks" to stay motivated. I eat just within my maintenance calories. I also make sure to treat myself with sweets (sweet tooth here). I intentionally allot calories for my treats (I love cinnamon rolls, ice cream cake, chocolates!).   If I needed more calories to accommodate my "guilty pleasures", I work out longer. Posting my progress on social media also helps. I somehow created this accountablity to my friends. A positive pressure to keep going whenever I felt unmotivated.

SHOULD AN ENDURANCE ATHLETE LOSE WEIGHT: Yes, totally! It is a must for us endurance athletes. Not just for performance but for health reasons. Personally, I feel better with my lighter weight. i can run faster now.  Obviously, I carry less weight now; carrying an extra 30+lbs was a lot.

The pandemic may still be far from over.  But we hope, like Coach Norman, we take this chance as a motivation to stay healthy.