By: Kay Rivera

The results are in for our October 2021 Muscle Build Challenge. Our 30 day challenge focuses on gaining muscle through lifting heavy and fueling your body with the proper guidance from Ryan Turner, RD, CSSD. Participants receive two Inbody scans, one at the beginning of 30 days and one at the end to track results.

Congratulations to athletes, Justin Ingram and Christine Montierde, on their hard work and impressive results. We hear about their experience below:

Q: The obvious objective of the challenge was to gain muscle, how was your training shifted in order to promote muscle growth? 

Justin Ingram: My training shifted during the challenge by emphasizing Strength and weight training as a part of my weekly exercise. I normally would like to include conditioning during the week, but for the challenge we felt it was crucial to focus primarily on strength training and that’s what filled my weeks. 

Christine Montierde: The most important shift has been my post training recovery, in which I learned how to refuel my body according to my “Food is Fuel” guidelines. This contributed to my current muscle growth, as well as allowing ample time for rest and recovery. It allows me to attempt more reps, lift heavier, followed by refuel and repeat.

Justin Ingram during an Upper Body Strength session.

Q: What were some of the guidance Ryan provided in order to properly fuel to compliment your training? 

JI: Ryan provided us with a list of nutritious food ideas that satisfied the necessary macronutrients we need for the day. It made planning my meals for the week much easier and also took the pressure off of calculating calories because his program was pre-calculated for you so I just had to choose what I wanted to eat for the week. Ryan also emphasized the need to try to increase the frequency during the week that I strength train. 

CM: Ryan and Abby are an amazing resource every athlete should utilize at Tone House.  I love the “Food is Fuel” spreadsheet that was individually tailored to me. It’s specific to meeting your body’s energy needs and requirements. I’m also a fan of watching Ryans TH-TV videos, he makes [meal] prepping fun and delicious. I admire how he models an ideal home environment for food prepping with minimal stress. He provides food shopping alternatives, practical preparation methods, and a positive outlook on how to mindfully refuel our bodies in the kitchen. In terms of macronutrients, I read nutrition labels tactfully and target requirements, with a focus especially on protein, which I never did before. I’ve since replaced my diet with higher quality protein, more complex carbs, and low fat cooking methods to my meals.

Q: Were there any ways your day to day habits were altered in order to produce results? 

JI: Yes! The largest change in my day to day habits were being sure that I consume enough of the proper food. I never used to eat breakfast. Due to my schedule, I would find myself waking up extra early and not eating because of that and then when it comes to lunch it was never enough. I had to make the purposeful intention to consume more and eat and eat! 

CM: I often reference back again to my “Food to Fuel” individual spreadsheet. I do my best to meet energy target goals daily. I try to consistently cook and incorporate fresh produce daily in my meals instead of ordering out (I like stir fried mix veggies and seafood). I also expanded my selection of high quality protein options (with a wide array of beans, nuts, and more Rx bars) to supplement in order to reach my goal. Many of these healthy choice options are listed in my worksheet.

There’s also a template included on how to organize your time, where daily activities and priorities are clustered into a goals checklist, hopefully achieving at least 70% of tasks per week. There’s a sense of accomplishment when I apply this strategized method of thinking.

Q: Did you face any challenges in your training and/or fueling?

JI: The biggest challenge for me was finding the time to consume enough calories necessary to sustain muscle growth. Upon starting the challenge, I realized that I just don’t consume enough calories in the day. No matter how many times I lift in the week I will never see the change I wanted unless I’m consuming enough calories including carbohydrates and protein . I started prioritizing eating and even snacking to consume the necessary calories. 

CM: The lifestyle modifications to incorporate these new changes into our day to day habits will always be the MOST challenging. For example, the adjustments to increase caloric intake from 1200 to 1900 cal, and finding additional food sources to hit my daily requirement was difficult. For years, I always practiced being at a calorie deficit, so the concept of consuming more felt unnatural. I also developed frequent hunger pangs (soo hangry lol ) and it took self control in choosing quality food selections. As far as training, I’d love to maintain consistency with a set schedule but life happens, and nothing is ever constant but changing.

Q: Outside of the numerical body composition results, did you notice any improvement in your overall strength and muscular endurance?

JI: Yes! I actually squatted and deadlifted the most I ever have. I still can’t believe it, if I’m being honest! 

CM: Yes, however the diagnostic results support what I already been demonstrating in class, stronger strength and longer athletic endurance. Today, I can comfortably take double classes back to back, first Strength then straight into Conditioning. This sequence was recommended by Coach Zack.

Q: Did you notice any Strength improvements in your lifts during class? 

JI: I felt that I was able to lift more than normal, while also not being as fatigued as I normally would be in the Strength Classes. I had more energy to raise my working set range and I pushed myself harder in class.  

CM: YES, ABSOLUTELY. I’ve definitely been lifting and tolerating heavier weights since I started. I am also feeling less fatigued in class.

Q: What were some of your learnings from participating in the Muscle Build Challenge? 

JI: The muscle build challenge helped me realize that with minor tweaks in my diet and frequency of training that I can see, and most importantly feel the change that I desire. I’m very grateful for how accessible Ryan was and how individualized my plan was. 

CM: I learned a lot when comparing my final Inbody results to my first scan. After I applied my “Food is Fuel” worksheet, I saw the difference it made in just 30 days. In the end I am able to evaluate results based on the percentage of muscle growth achieved and estimate potential muscle gain in the future. I would consider this service for follow-up.

Q: Do you have any words of advice for future participants or those wishing to put on muscle?

JI: My biggest advice would be to trust Ryan and to commit to the process, I always viewed myself as someone who had a difficult time gaining true muscle mass but with his guidance I was able to surprise myself and build a little muscle mass in the process. Along with trusting Ryan, my biggest piece of advice is that you can do it! 

CM: Try the Muscle Build Challenge or start any new training program with an open mind, accept the routine whole heartedly with the guidance provided and be open to lifestyle changes. Proactively apply the recommendations day to day, even if it’s one small step at a time. When progress moves one step forward then falls two steps back, have faith and “Trust the Process” as they say, and see where the journey takes you. “Excellence is achieved only by what we consistently do”.

Q: Any additional takeaways you would like to share?

JI: I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking to get started or see the changes that they have been yearning for.

CM: It was a helpful, and knowledgeable experience. I entered with  a lot of the questions I was unsure of regarding sports nutrition, and they were all answered.. My interactions with Ryan and Abby were impactful. The nutrition information provided in conjunction to the physical training on the Turf, was definitely the catalyst in obtaining the optimal performance I achieved, this also includes in my approach for recovery. 

Lastly, the Muscle Build Challenge was a unique program. I appreciate how it’s geared towards muscle gain, opposed to common weight loss contest programs. It’s fun! Go try it!

Interested in working with Ryan on your Nutrition goals? Check out all of our Nutrition services and schedule a complimentary discovery call at

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