I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog for you. That said, it’s mainly because I use my Facebook as my mini-blog. Further, I really had it on my heart to lay out some of the biggest mistakes many of you make when you’re trying to lose fat, get fit, and live the life you want to live.
I also get it. Mainstream media makes it virtually impossible to know what’s “right” and “wrong”. They make something the “holy grail” of fat loss one day then vilify it the next.
They blame whole food groups, sub-food groups, and Monsanto for the worlds ills.
They look to blame sugar and GMO’s and dairy and Jafar’s wizardry staff for people gaining weight never-mind the fact that all of this has been proven not to be the case.
Then you have TV personalities pitching products and programs and getting cosigned by other celebrities that it makes it almost impossible to not think, “this has to work. They’re doing it.”
Unfortunately, you’re being duped. Seriously duped.
And look, I get it. There is simply nothing more frustrating than wanting to be pre-pregnancy thin. There is nothing more frustrating than taking detoxes and teas and cleanses and making yourself look like a saran-wrapped baked good because it’s been toted as the reason you will just burn the fat off and then it doesn’t.
Then you were approached by somebody claiming to be a coach who tells you to try their overly expensive, low-quality shakes and get fit in 21 days. I know, it sound enticing because who doesn’t want the quick fix? Unfortunately, if it sounds too good to be true…it usually is…and in this case…it definitely is.
Speaking of which…people claim they lose the weight and yadda yadda. Let’s just call a spade a spade and get to the chase. If you started replacing your normal meals with shakes..even if its 1 or 2 meals, you are then intaking significantly less calories.
Since calories are the driver of body composition changes, you would then, of course, lose the weight (but more on this later).
You take drastic measures by cutting all different food groups, training 2x/day, training 6-7 days weekly, doing bootcamps and cardio, and you have come to your whits end. You have done it all and can’t lose it. This is just how it needs to be…right?
Why is this a lie?
Because you haven’t done the things that actually work. You have looked for every quick fix and you haven’t gotten anything but a headache. You are full of resentment. You feel hopeless. You feel you can’t ever do this. You just want it to be easy. So you give up and wait for the next thing that promises fast results.
Well I have good news and I have bad news.
The bad news is everything you think you thought you knew about fat loss is a lie (or realllllllllly stretched half truths) and the quick-fix doesn’t work.
The good news is I am going to address the mistakes you’re making and give you the fix for it.
#1 – Realistic Expectations
Most people are destined to fail if the first thing they expect to look like anyone else on Facebook or Instagram. I have had [potential] clients send me photos of the guy/girl they want to look like. They get it in their mind that this is the physique they want and don’t realize that every human being is unique. People need to understand that many times, photos on social media have been enhanced/edited. People also need to realize that each individual has a story. They could have been training for 10 years to look a certain way (such as myself), people take drugs to look a certain way, people have a real commitment to training a certain way, etc. There are so many variables individual to a person that it’s almost impossible to even expect anything remotely the same.
From a scientific standpoint, people have this idea that fat loss is supposed to be “quick” the moment you get in to a deficit and start lifting. It doesn’t quite work like that. The rate of fat loss is this:
That’s also not taking in to consideration fluctuations from water retention (and Time Of Month for woman).
I recently shared a post about that HERE
Start your journey with realistically expecting these things:
- You are you. You cannot expect to look like someone else.
- You have your own metabolism.
- You have your own hormones.
- You have your own rate of fat loss.
- You have your own life and stress levels.
When you can start realistically expecting these truths, you are setting yourself up for better results.
#2 – Nutrition (& Ridding The Ignorance)
There is so many ways to angle and attack this so I will just cut to what matters first and foremost.
Look guys, calories matter when it comes to body composition changes. No person defies basic biology and physics. If you eat more calories than you need, you will put on fat. If you eat less than you need, you will lose weight.
Now, I know you are wondering how you would find this caloric deficit.
Well I’ve written about this numerous times and even did a Facebook Live video going through the “what’s” and “why’s” of how to set your deficit for fat loss.
Just a recap: There are several formulas you can do to set the deficit. If you are short and/or much heavier, you would start somewhere at current bodyweight x 8-10 = calories for deficit. If you are a bit taller (I’m 5’7.5″ for instance) and a little overweight, you can start bodyweight x 10-12 = calories for deficit. Again, this is a very good, educated start BUT it differs person to person. If you are more active in either category, start on the higher end. If you are a little more sedentary, start on the lower end.
Now that that is out of the way, I know you’ve heard me before talk about flexible dieting and some of you are still trying to figure out the whole “IIFYM” phenomena.
As a coach of this style of doing things, I’m going to tell you this right now. IIFYM/Flexible Dieting was never meant to be a “diet”. It was a way to easily describe the amount of protein, fats, and carbs and the calories coming from each macronutrient to adequately maintain the deficit, maintain lean muscle mass (via protein), protect hormonal/metabolic function (via fats), and provide energy (via carbs).
Macronutrients = protein/fat/carbs. The summation of calories coming each macro = total caloric intake per person.
This leads me to the next debacle of a topic.
Carbs are not your enemy. READ THAT AGAIN…AND AGAIN…AND AGAIN.
Especially as a woman.
Want to ruin your thyroid? Go low/no-carb. Want to ruin your cycle? Go low/no-carb.
Not only does going low/no-carb suck, you just feel like death. It’s your brain’s fuel source (cloudy thoughts anyone?). It’s your immediate energy source for training. It aids in recovery from training. On top of that, getting rid of it doesn’t make fat loss faster.
According to Leigh Peele, “…Still, no matter what diet you are taking part of, and no matter how it alters TEF (thermic effect of food) or the other aspects of energy usage, fat is still pulled and used from cells in the same manner.
It should be noted that carbohydrates or insulin specifically are not needed to store fat. So yes, on a high fat diet you can still store fat. There is nothing wrong with a high fat diet, but it doesn’t really change much in the game other than fat is oxidized or used more for energy. Excess fat intake of need for daily calories will still be stored as fat.”
This also verifies the above that anything you eat in a surplus will be stored as fat; not a specific food group or type.
Further, she states, “Though it’s still popular right now for women to take part in low carb or aggressive carb cycling for fat loss, it more often than not leads to backfiring both in dietary compliance, digestion functionality, and hormonal optimization. While dietary fat and protein are the popular macro nutrients of the moment, carbohydrates play crucial roles in raising leptin levels, providing optimal gut variety, and lowering stress levels. This is particularly crucial for women because water retention, period consistency, and muscle recovery are bettered by the consumption of not only carbohydrates, but a variety of simple and complex carbohydrates. The general rule of thumb is at least 100g of carbohydrates on a regular basis with at least 25-35g coming from a simple carbohydrate source. The rest of the grams should be in complex/fibrous carbohydrates.”
So while on the topic of carbs:
People..SUGAR IS A CARB. You cannot say “I am cutting sugar AND carbs…” It’s the same thing!
People blame sugar for a lot without keeping context: The best tasting food is sugary and fatty.
And while on the topic of sugar…Artificial sugars are not an issue. This has been shown over and over and over. The evidence is overwhelming.
It’s simply easier to overeat. There is nothing magic about it. There are no fairies waiting to zap fat on to your body. Restricting it 100% isn’t going to make your life better. It’s only going to make you fear food even more.
And it doesn’t matter if its milk sugar, fruit sugar, refined sugar, or table sugar…it’s all the same thing: a carbohydrate. It all has the same amount of calories per 1 g…4 cals.
If you had a Snickers every single day and planned your food around that, ate the amount of protein, carbs, and fat needed, you would still lose fat and enjoy that Snickers
And if you are rolling your eyes and thinking, “you’re just a proponent of eating ‘junk'”, let’s just remember a few things:
-I said enjoy the Snickers and eat the rest of the whole, nutrient dense foods you would normally eat.
-You aren’t living off Snickers.
-There is no moral value of food. There is no “good/bad/junk” food. There is just…food.
Oh…and the glycemic index is severely flawed. Do not look to that as your frame of reference.
Now we also know that there are 4 calories per 1 gram in carbohydrates as well as in protein.
With that, why can’t you just eat all your calories from fat and carbs and skip the protein?
Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbs. This means you burn more calories when you ingest/digest protein than when you do with carbs. Protein helps you feel more full (especially the longer you diet and the leaner you get where hunger is inevitable and going to happen). Protein maintains lean muscle as well as builds and repairs it. Protein is very important for body composition as well as health. Every cell in your body is made of protein.
How much protein do you need?
Starting 1 gram per pound of bodyweight is a great place to start and if you’re really overweight, shooting for target bodyweight works.
#3 – Stop The Training Madness
When I first get a client inquiry or get in to talks with people about working out the moment they find out I’m a trainer, the first thing I usually see is, “I’m training 6-7 days. I do 5 weight training sessions. I do 3 days of HIIT. I do bootcamp…” and all I can think to myself is “my goodness…these people really need my help.”
Look folks, even the most advanced person isn’t training 6-7 days a lot of the time. Heck, I’m training 5 days currently and that’s after almost 3 years of training only 4 days. Most of my clients at this moment are training 3-4 days. That’s all you need! Seriously. Rest is just as important, if not more important. Many of you do WAY too much on WAY too little and see zero, zip, nada, zilch in results and progress.
You do not need to be in the gym more than 60-80 minutes. It’s not about the quantity of training in a session, it’s about the quality of the training.
If you are training 3 days/week, you may do total body x3 days or upper/lower/total or even an ‘A’ and ‘B’ session you alternate A/B/A and B/A/B.
It gets even more detailed in 4 days.
Pick a split that works withing the context of your life and keep it.
‘Boredom’ is not a variable. You cannot “confuse” your muscles. What you need to be doing is repeating the same thing over and over and getting stronger and stronger and more efficient in the movement. You “shock” your muscles by progressive overload.
Add weight, add a set, add reps, decrease rest…these are ways to get better the same movement, make progress, and “challenge” the movement.
Sure, maybe switching isolation movements every couple months keeps from boredom (ie: a variation of a biceps curl) but get stronger and better at the basics (squat, lunge, rows, presses, deadlift). The best part about your body: it’s a long time before you reach you max potential so don’t stop until you get there.
I’ve kept clients on the same program for 6 months to 1 year. Changed only a movement or two when needed.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
You don’t switch something if the results are tangible and showing.
Results from a program take TIME. Get used to it or you will never be satisfied.
OH…and stay off the bosu-ball. It doesn’t help anything and is great in the rehab setting…not the gym. Want to get better at stability? Train a stable surface. It’s not any more simple than that.
Then comes the next question when I tell someone they need to lift.
How much cardio do I have to do?
I’ve written about cardio extensively HERE
What I will say is this…cardio is a tool. Nothing more…nothing less. You do not need to do cardio for fat loss. It does the same thing as cutting calories does: increases the deficit. You can get pretty lean without doing a lick of cardio.
You burn more calories by using muscle while lifting which is why in context of fat loss, the order of operations is:
- Sleep (aha snuck it up on you)
- Living your life
#4 – Sleep
Sleep is important for many reasons. It decreases stress. It aids in recovery and repairing muscle. It keeps the metabolism and hormones healthy. It helps with water balance and decreasing retention.
Dieting is a stress. Training is a stress. Sleep helps decrease stress. “Decrease stress and you decrease water.”
That also said, Greg Nuckols states, “Sleep.
It’s as simple as that. Let’s take it out of the realm of “sleep helps with recovery,” and let’s forget for a moment about the health consequences or fogginess that come from not sleeping. We have concrete evidence that sleep is essential for optimal body composition. Lack of sleep directly makes it harder to burn fat and increases your risk of losing lean mass.”
That’s exactly what I’m telling you.
There is far too much focus on the details that don’t matter or flat-out don’t work.
Too many focus on the quick fix and things that have melted nothing except the money from their wallet.
We all know the K.I.S.S. acronym: “Keep It Simple Stupid”.
Not calling you “stupid” but you get what I’m saying…keep it simple.
It first starts off with realistic expectations. Understand you are an individual with your own needs, abilities, experience, and your program should be catered towards you. You cannot be anyone except you so don’t try. Be the best you can be.
Get your nutrition in order. Don’t fear food. There is no moral attachment to food. It’s not good nor bad. You can’t cheat on it. Just eat. Eat enough protein. Eat enough carbs. Eat enough fat. Do not exceed your calorie intake.
Lift weights. Go heavy. Go light. Go moderate. Stick to the basics.
Stop focusing on cardio. It’s just a tool. It isn’t going to make your fat loss happen faster.
Sleep. Your fat-efforts are dependent on it.
If you are having trouble put this all together and want to take hold of your fitness and life and want to work for the body you deserve, I encourage you to APPLY HERE for online coaching. Start making things more simple.