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REVIEW: My 28 Days on Personal Trainer Food RECON

If you’ve been on the blog any time this last month, you’ve probably figured out that I’m trying to lose weight. Over the last few years, my Dad Bod started developing, and I got used to it. But as my son is getting older, I need energy to keep up with him. Because, like any 2-year-old boy, he’s non-stop!

My body over the years has seemed to get used to the weight that it’s been at, but I noticed that since I started the blog(not sure if related or not), that my weight has began to lean towards the high end. So I knew it was time to get serious and lose the weight. Coincidentally, I was contacted by Personal Trainer Food to try out their Men’s RECON program, and wanted to supply me with 28 days worth of meals to help kick-start my weight loss goals.

This is my review of my last 28 days.

What You Get

So the RECON program (as stated on their website) supplies you with 28 days worth of “Pre-Cooked, Frozen, No Fillers like rice or noodles. No hidden sugars or Bad Carbs. No heavily processed” food and guidelines on how you can supplement the food with other proteins and fats.

My knee-jerk reaction to this diet was “OMG no sugars, dairy(cheese/butter being the exception) or bad carbs. This is going to be a rough month!”

I started out in January, weighing in at 232.6 pounds; my heaviest in 6 years.  My initial expectation was to maybe lose 10 pounds and go from there.

On January 3rd I received my package from personal trainer food. Just a note here: You get the FULL 28 DAYS worth of food in one shipment, so be prepared for that. Clean out your refrigerator, or invest in a small deep freezer. I have a smaller refrigerator in my apartment, so I had to get creative and keep the first 14 days worth of meat in the refrigerator, PLUS keep a week of food in the freezer at work; whatever works!

When you start the program, you can choose your own food – or go with a quicker “customer favorites”, which is what I chose to make sure I was getting a good variety of food. When you receive your box of food, it comes well insulated and packaged in styrofoam, keeping in the food nice and frozen.

You’ll also get a couple documents that includes your guidelines to eating other foods, and a simple workout plan that consists of a combination of walking and pushups, that increase as you get further into the program.

The First Week

One of the “warnings” you’ll read regards your first week into the program, is how your body will adjust to your sugar intake – or lake thereof. The sugar intake in this diate is almost non-existent, other than being allowed an apple a day, even fruits are a no-no!

Not specific to this program, but anyone going into a diet that removes refined sugar is going to have a little adjusting which entails headaches and lethargy. Being this was right after the holidays where my sugar intake was higher than normal I mentally prepared myself for some tough times, but to my surprise I didn’t suffer from any headaches or lethargy, but I’m going to say that I got lucky.

I was a little weary of the fact that I was going to be eating pre-cooked frozen food, but I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food you get from this program. The chicken is well prepared, and if you didn’t know any better you’d think it was hot off the pan!

The amount of vegetables I was eating was a new territory for me, but they supply you with a buttery sauce that you’re allowed to drizzle over your veggies to make them more palatable if you’re not a huge fan of vegetables, or need a change of pace.

It didn’t take long to get used to the food intake. I’m normally a big eater, but knowing that this wasn’t a “starve yourself” type of diet, made this easier, and found myself getting less and less hungry, adding less extra food as the week went on.

Adding to RECON food

My favorite part of this program is that it isn’t focused on caloric intake. You don’t need to count calories, just eat until your satisfied. If the food they supply isn’t enough, just add to it with food that is allowed by the program. My favorite thing to do was to top food with an egg, or add some cheese. I honestly don’t think i could have lasted if I wasn’t allowed cheese so this was a huge plus for me!

If you were following me on Snapchat you know what I’m talking about. Protein style burgers topped with an egg. Meatball Marinara Zucchini Boats. Cauliflower tortillas for chicken tacos. SALSA on everything!

RECON’s Food quality

Again, kudos to whoever is developing the food over at Personal Trainer Food, because I pretty much loved EVERYTHING! They have what are called Meat and Cheese sticks, which by appearance alone you might be a little weary, if the name doesn’t raise an eyebrow. But they’re basically long chicken nuggets that have amazing flavor. I ate these bad boys first since I couldn’t get enough of them. Buffalo Chicken Sticks were the tops! Losing-Weight-PTF-RECON-04

Their Angus Beef patties were amazing to turn into protein style burgers (topped with an egg), and I’m already a huge chicken eater and devoured all the chicken as well, my favorite being the butter roasted chicken.

Or anything “breaded” (gluten-free). It made me feel like I wasn’t on a diet, which I really never felt like it.

If I had to nit-pick, my only “meh” (and very,very few) moments were really during breakfast, specifically the plain eggs. While I was pretty impressed with the quality of the egg breakfasts, like the western omelette with bacon (yes, you can eat bacon!) I’m just picky and prefer my own eggs.

If you’re like me about eggs, I’d suggest sticking to the fritata, and western omelette breakfasts. But even with the plain eggs, I can get them down, I just fixed them up with some salsa, cheese, and avocado. ????????????

Adjusting to the Lifestyle

If you couldn’t tell by this blog, I cook the meals in my family –  so this is where the challenge came. How do I keep cooking meals for the my family, develop recipes for the blog, manage eating out from time to time, and still stick to eating my prepared meals?

Thankfully, most of this wasn’t really an issue, what I found the most difficult was trying not to alienate my family from myself since I was eating totally separate food. So I could try and prepare similar meals, or a side that we could all eat. But considering I’m those only person in my house that doesn’t have a fast metabolism, I just basically came to terms with the fact that I was just going to prepare whatever they wanted to eat and throw my food in the microwave at the end and sit down and eat my food along with them.

But those carrot fries I made for the blog? You better believe we all got down on them.

Because this diet has a HUGE amount of vegetables (at least more than we’re used to) It gave me more motivation to include vegetables for everyone in our meals.

As far as eating out,  I became used to quickly to being “that guy” when ordering. Asking “can you substitute [some bad carb/sugar] With vegetables? or “no [bad carb] please” and get a weird look. Did I miss being able to have a side of rice and beans with my Mexican dinner, or a bun on my burger? Of course!

But you’d be surprised how quickly you get used to eating a new way and like it.

I actually soon found myself CRAVING proteins. I would end up ordering extra protein and devour it; and after eating I didn’t feel heavy either, which was amazing!

Managing Working Out

About 6-9 months ago – When I was determined to begin working out the first time – My son decided to have a little relapse in his sleep routine and insist that Mommy or Daddy lay in the room with him while he falls asleep. That eventually turned into Daddy in the room.

Because I normally cook the meals for the family, and the blog when I get home from my day job, my workouts had to happen at night. When you’re laying in a dark room at 8pm for an hour waiting for your toddler to fall asleep (because he cries anytime you get up and isn’t asleep), you’re kind of over trying to work out.

The workout plan they provide is super simple, by the end of the 28 days you’re working a max of 20 minutes. by taking a walk and doing push ups. And now we’re starting to get back to a normal sleep routine, I’ve been able to get into some sort of workout routine.

I’ve noticed with this program that I have a lot more energy to workout. Because of the high protein diet I was on, I really wanted to take advantage and try to fit an extra 10 minutes in the gym lifting weights.

Extra workout or not, the workout they provide is super manageable. If I can do it, you can do it.

The Results.

Even though they recommend not weighing yourself while on the program, and to use how clothes fit as a measuring stick, I couldn’t help but at least step on the scale once a week. The weight came off fast for me in the first 2 weeks. I lost about 12 pounds. In the last two weeks it slowed down and i lost another 5 pounds totaling to 17 pounds in one month; ending the diet at 215 from the initial 232!

Losing-Weight-PTF-RECON-01

Before.

After.

As far as actual fat loss I don’t know what to make of that, but I do know this. I’ve tone up substantially, and my energy levels are amazing. Clothes that haven’t fit me in a good 6 months – I’m talking sucking it in just to button up a shirt – fit loose on me!

I went from a 37″ waist, down to 35″.

For someone who struggled to lose .5 pounds a week doing exercise (I’m talking those crazy at home video workouts) alone, lost an average of about a half a pound A DAY over 28 days. I’m sold on this lifestyle of eating!

Moving Forward.

Now that the program is over, whats next? Well, I’m not doing losing weight. I want to continue what Personal Trainer Food has already laid out for me. I’ll probably have a “cheat day” every now and then, but at this point I’m so accustomed to eating high protein, and cutting out sugars and bad carbs, I feel like to just go back to my old ways is a waste!

I’m going to keep close to this diet, eating plenty of proteins and vegetables, while keeping bad carbs and sugars to a minimum.

Would I do this program again?

It depends how much weight I need to lose, and here’s why:

For me personally, it’s tricky managing having your own food already planned out, while being responsible for feeding your family. I figured out what worked for us quickly, and It definitely isn’t a deal breaker, but it’s something to consider in relation to how much weight you’re planning on losing.

I think this is a GREAT program for men who need to really kick-start their weight loss goals, and don’t have the time to cook the food themselves. If you’re the cook at home, just be prepared to get into a routine that fits this program, and stick to it.

Having to worry about two meals at dinner sometimes made things a little tough, but its manageable, so if you’re like me and make the meals in your house, prepare yourself to know that whatever you’re cooking for the family is not for you. It’s for them! And continue to cook with love!

But it’s not just about the food you eat, but with the lifestyle you have. For instance, going out to eat takes discipline, you need to be able to say “No fries” or “No dessert”. If you can do all over that, and you’re struggling to lose weight, this program is a great fit!

UPDATE: A year later, and I actually am giving it another go! Check out my next phase in operation dad bod here.

The cost of this program is another factor. At a price point of $519 (Promo Code: DADWITHAPAN will get you down to $419) up front makes it hard to swallow if you have other people in the house to cook for.

It comes out to about $12 a day(less with my promo code), which is competitive with similar programs, so if you’re already looking programs like this up, this is actually on the lower end!

So this is why I say it depends on how much weight you’re trying to lose, if you’re just trying to lose a couple pounds, it may be hard to justify the cost, but again, if you’ve been struggling to shed 10+ pounds for who-knows-how-long, this REALLY helps get you on the right track.

I will also say this – I’ve found that when paying for programs like this, you find yourself less likely to “fall off the wagon” you’ve financially committed to the program, you’re going to make sure you see it through.

Overall, with my results, I will say if I were to get back to my old ways a year from now and needed a kick-start my wieght loss goals, I will be coming back to RECON. And I’d definitely recommend it to any guy looking to do the same!

If you have any questions about this program, feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll be sure to reply!

Thanks again to Personal Trainer Food for supplying me with 28 day supply of RECON food and support! 

If you’re interested in trying out this program use DADWITHAPAN as a promo code to get an extra $100 off your order, and it will help me out too!

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Derek Campanile
Derek Campanile
I'm an IT professional by day. Home cook for the family by night. Follow my blog for easy to make recipes, how-to's and ideas to gather the family at the dinner table!