#228 ‒ Improving body composition, female-specific training principles, and overcoming an eating disorder | Holly Baxter, APD

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Holly Baxter is an accredited practicing dietician (APD), competitive bodybuilder, fitness and nutrition educator, and coach. In this episode, Holly discusses her experience as an athlete and competitive bodybuilder. She also opens up about her struggles with mental health, her long battle with an eating disorder, and the important steps she’s taken in her road to recovery. From there, she explains how she would design a nutrition and training program for a hypothetical female client wanting to improve her physique through the addition of lean muscle and loss of body fat. She explains reasonable expectations for gaining muscle and the value of a “reverse diet” for maintaining weight loss, and she shares her favorite exercises. She also talks through some female-specific training considerations such as programming, reps, volume, hormone replacement therapy, and more.

We discuss:

  • Holly’s background and passion for sports and nutrition [2:00];
  • Holly’s struggle with depression and an eating disorder [4:30];
  • Reflecting on her eating disorder, body image, and a wake up call [18:15];
  • Road to recovery: therapy, meditation, self-compassion, and a breakthrough [27:45];
  • The effect of competitive bodybuilding on women [39:00];
  • Holly’s competition prep and how she guides her clients wanting to improve their physique [46:45];
  • Training principles for muscle hypertrophy [57:00];
  • Training advice for an inexperienced person wanting to build muscle [1:01:30];
  • Training program for a hypothetical woman wanting to add lean muscle and lose body fat [1:04:15];
  • Lower body lifts: Holly’s approach to leg workouts with clients [1:14:00];
  • Upper body exercises: Holly’s approach with her clients [1:24:45];
  • Importance of nutrition and protein during the muscle building phase [1:34:00];
  • Changes to nutrition and training during a fat loss phase [1:40:30];
  • A “reverse diet” after a cutting phase to help prevent weight gain [1:49:45];
  • Female-specific training considerations: programming, reps, volume, sex hormones, and more [1:53:15];
  • Holly’s future in bodybuilding and helping struggling women [2:05:45];
  • Looking forward: Holly’s focus on longevity, bone mineral density, and wellness [2:08:15]; and
  • More.

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