Archive for month: January, 2015

M's long-term transformation

Today’s testimonial comes from a long-term client of mine, M, who has been with me for almost a year. She leaned out through the summer of 2014 and then switched to reverse dieting in the fall.

M's long-term transformation

M’s long-term transformation

In the first photo, she started out at 144lbs. She was “intuitive eating”, lifting 4x/week, and performing HIIT 3-4x/week. This is all before she came to work with me.

M writes:

Sometime between photo 1 and 2, I got your How to Count Macros ebook and lowered my calories to 1900 and then to 1800. Granted I considered olive oil a ‘free food’ and was not measuring my food. Just estimating but tracking. My protein was way too high, fats too high and carbs were way too low.

Using my e-book, she dieted off 10lbs on her own. When her progress stalled, she reached out to me in June. See photo 2.

Pick up a copy of my e-book if you want to learn how to count macros.

Pick up a copy of my e-book if you want to learn how to count macros.

By late November, we got her down to 117lbs with 3 full inches off her waist and 4.5 inches off her hips (photo 3). We utilized a no-food-restrictions approach, lifted heavy weights four days a week, and we sprinkled in some conditioning. No steady-state cardio.

Since then, we have been reverse dieting for the past few weeks. Her calories are now up to 2,000 calories per day and she is actually maintaining her measurements.

Here’s what she has to say:

Our work together has been pretty amazing…. This includes my work work to change my diet (via your e-book) even before contacting you and then our 1:1 nutrition/fitness coaching.

My posture is better, and I’ve gained muscle and lost fat! I am eating way more carbs than ever before and feel like I have a very good sense about what healthy eating/diet/exercise is right for my mind and body.

Thank you for putting science out there in the public and teaching people that physique improvement can occur without food restriction/ developing disordered eating. I am excited to get to my maintenance calorie levels and stay there….

I don’t think I will ever want to diet again.

I plan on a life of mindful eating – being aware of my maintenance macros and killing it at the gym approx 4x a week. Perhaps I may want to do more powerlifting in the future. I will have fun seeing what happens to my mind/body over a lifetime of eating well and lifting.

This, my friends, is what I call #winning.

To get started on your own physique and mindset transformation, apply for coaching today.

My favorite brand of branched chain amino acids and my three favorite flavors.

1. It doesn’t matter what kind of diet you prescribe to…

…as long as it covers the following needs: provides sufficient calories, sufficient quality protein, sufficient fiber, and covers most of your micronutrient needs. As well, it should be suited to your personal preference. Meaning if you hate your diet, you probably won’t stick to it for long, and it’ll only be a matter of time before you jump ship.

2. There’s absolutely no need to cut out your favorite foods.

If you have a true addiction problem, see a therapist. Otherwise, believing that birthday cake is what made you gain fat is faulty thinking. It’s not the cake itself so much as the fact that you consumed it in excess.

3. You won’t always be able to control what you get to eat, but that’s not the point of fitness.

Because then what happens when you find yourself at a work function and you’re being served some unknown dish at dinner? Do you have a meltdown and go hide in the bathroom to scarf down your tuna? Of course not. The point is harnessing the anytime, anywhere tools you need to succeed independent of your external circumstances. These tools include: prioritizing protein for most (if not all) of your meals, consuming the bulk of your carbs around a training session, and being judicious with your indulgences.

4. Breakfast was once believed to be the most important meal of the day; now, the evidence isn’t so clear.

Keep in mind that correlation doesn’t equal causation, and so far, recent studies have shown that there’s no net difference in carbohydrate and fat usage at the end of the day between those who do and do not eat breakfast. What does this mean for you? Don’t force yourself to choke down eggs if you’re not a morning person.

Whichever side of the breakfast debate you're on, there's one thing we can all agree one: bacon grilled cheese is amazing.

Whichever side of the breakfast debate you’re on, there’s one thing we can all agree one: bacon grilled cheese is amazing.

5. Along the same lines, the multiple-meals-per-day-to-lose-fat theory has also been largely disproven.

The thinking goes like this: the more frequent meals you consume, the more you stoke the metabolic fire, and the more calories your body burns. The truth is, there was never any concrete, convincing evidence to back up the claim. I will concede to the fact, however, that all the studies conducted so far have been short-term, and we don’t know for sure the long-term effects of consuming six meals per day (although one study did seem to support the above notion). So far, the best recommendation we can give is: eat when you want to eat, but be consistent with it.

6. If you’re curious about optimal nutrient partitioning, let me first say this: the idea that the body can only absorb a limited number of grams of protein per meal is bogus.

The body actually has a high capacity for amino acid absorption – which then begs the question, what is the optimal intake that will maximize muscle protein synthesis (MPS)? Dr. Layne Norton suggests an intake of between four to five larger protein doses per day spaced four to five hours apart. Additionally, supplementing with an amino acid supplement (such as Scivation Xtend) with two to three grams of leucine can also help to maximize MPS.

Click here to read more.

7. But once again, what’s considered optimal doesn’t matter if you’re not able to stick to it – either because it’s too drastic of a change for you or it simply doesn’t suit your lifestyle.

What will trump everything at the end of the day is your dietary adherence. If that means you snack on a Snickers bar every night so you can take the edge off, then so be it. It’s not going to be a perfect diet, but what the hell is a perfect diet anyway?

8. If you want to make lasting changes to your nutrition, you have to think long-term.

If you can’t see yourself sustaining what you’re doing now for the next year, re-think your strategy.

9. Be wary of meal plans; they’re a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, they take the thinking out of the equation for you and they (supposedly) ensure that you consume enough protein, carbohydrates, and fats to reach your fitness goal. (I’d like to take a moment to emphasize that I’m well that aware that not all meal plans actually accomplish the above, and may even be detrimental to your well-being and health.) On the other hand, they don’t really teach you anything except how to follow instructions, and you don’t learn how to think for yourself. Not only that, but they also don’t provide for any flexibility.

Read more about my thoughts on meal plans here.

10. To that end, knowing how to count and meet prescribed macronutrient numbers is a valuable skill.

Yes, there is a learning curve involved, and yes, you’ll have to go through some trial and error figuring out the meal frequency, nutrient distribution, and food preferences that work best for you, but it’s well worth the initial hassle. It’s a lot like riding a bike: once you learn how to do it, you will never un-learn it. And just like bike riding, you only have to do it when the season is right (eg. you have a specific fat loss goal, or maybe you want to build some muscle mass without piling on too much fat).

Pick up a copy of my e-book if you want to learn how to count macros.

Pick up a copy of my e-book if you want to learn how to count macros.

11. There will never be a time when calories don’t matter.

Just because you’re not counting macros doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all. Some form of self-monitoring will always be necessary in order to maintain body composition.

12. If you’re struggling with binge eating, fat loss should be the last thing on your mind.

Your main priority should be to tackle the binge issues. Again, if it’s a true addiction or if the behavior stems from emotional eating, see a therapist. If it’s diet-related, pull yourself out of a caloric deficit for as long as you need to in order to heal.

13. Juicing is bullshit.

Save your $7 and maybe buy a pound or two of chicken breast instead.

14. Whey protein is great, but not necessary.

It’s true that whey has an incredible high biological value, meaning that it’s easy for your body to use, but you can also make plenty of progress by getting your protein from just whole foods. I like to keep a tub of whey around for those times when I’m on the run and need a quick and convenient pulse of protein.

15. Don’t wait until the circumstances perfectly align in your life to begin fixing your diet.

There will never be a perfect time. There is always going to be something in the way, some reason to hold off another week or another month. A big part of lasting change is learning how to roll with the punches and make the most of your current situation.

16. “I’m too busy to eat a nutritious diet” is not a valid excuse.

We’re all busy; we all have the same 24 hours in a day. Take the time to prepare your foods in bulk if you need to. Invest in a slow cooker, pre-chop your veggies (or purchase them already good to go), and cook up a mound of rice. At the very least, you should always have some readily available protein sources on hand in your fridge.

17. Supplements are by and large overrated.

Spending hundreds of dollars on fat burners and neglecting your actual diet is majoring in the minors. Fish oil, multivitamin, vitamin D, maybe some magnesium and creatine monohydrate – good. Branched chain amino acids can also be beneficial. You can save your money on just about everything else.

My favorite brand of branched chain amino acids and my three favorite flavors.

My favorite brand of branched chain amino acids and my three favorite flavors.

18. Junk food should comprise only a small component of your diet.

Macronutrients matter, yes, but so do micronutrients. My recommendation is to allow at max 20% of your daily calories for treats.

19. No, purchasing healthy food is not expensive.

Actually, it’s an incredibly smart investment compared to the colossal medical bills you may have to face later down the road if you don’t eat properly.

20. Dairy is good for you.

Fruit is good for you. Even alcohol – in moderation – has health benefits. There’s no reason to be avoiding any of these things unless they give you explosive diarrhea or make you break out in hives (ie. you have a food allergy or intolerance).

21. Fats don’t make you fat.

Your body needs them to function.

22. The more physically active you are in your daily life, the more carbohydrates your body is going to need.

Don’t be afraid of them. Fruit is not evil. Jasmine rice is your friend.

23. Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean you can eat as much as of it as you want.

Guess what? Organic chips are still chips! And the calories absolutely still count. Sorry to burst your bubble.

24. You can have it all, just not all at once.

There’s no reason to ever feel the fear of missing out when it comes to food (better known as food FOMO). Just because there’s cheesecake sitting in front of you doesn’t mean that you can’t have any of it, and at the same time, there’s no need to inhale the whole thing just to feel like you made the most out of your experience. (Because after all, how is eating yourself to the point of sickness a good time?)

25. Make one small change at a time.

A survey from not long ago revealed that many Americans actually find doing their taxes easier than figuring out how to eat a healthy diet. It’s really. not. that. complicated. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with just one thing – maybe get in your fish oil capsules every morning. Then focus on squeezing in more protein to your first meal of the day. Then once you’ve mastered that, swap out that mid-afternoon cookie for a protein shake. Little by little becomes a lot.

I want to show you something.

Voila - an instant transformation!

Voila – an instant transformation!

On the left, I am slouching and protruding my belly and the lighting is bad – and my tongue is sticking out.

On the right – 30 seconds later – I’m striking a pose. Hip out, everything flexed, and you betcha I was sucking in my abs.

I do NOT walk around like, “Hey guys oh don’t mind me, just walking around with my abs looking phenomenal. Isn’t life just splendid? Whoop-dee-doo!” It’s more like, “Guyz I am really little and can you please help me grab that can of tomato sauce up on that top shelf?!”

The reality is, progress pictures don’t tell the whole story. When people choose to share their pics on social media, OF COURSE they are going to want to present the best version of themselves – myself included!

Be careful not to compare your everyday normal self to the heavily filtered and staged photos you see on social media. 

binge eating video

The video logs are back in action!

In this two-part series, I cover a topic that is very near and dear to my heart:

How to break free from binge eating.

Catch them here –

SoheeFit lift weights

1. Don’t chase fatigue.

Is your goal to be exhausted, or is your goal to look better and get stronger? If you want to be tired, then you can do 500 burpees and call it a day. If you want to look better, you’ll follow a smart training program that prioritizes strength.

2. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is not necessarily an indicator of an effective workout.

So don’t be worried if you can barely sit on the toilet one week, and then the next week, you’re perfectly fine after the same workout.

3. Make the gym a prioirty.

Don’t treat your training sessions as an option, like something you’ll squeeze in when you happen to find yourself with an extra hour in the day. Your workouts are a commitment that you’re making to yourself for your long-term health.

4. I could write you the best training program in the world, and it’s not going to mean anything unless you meet it halfway.

In other words: it’s not the workout that delivers the intensity; it’s you. Are you really lifting as heavy as you can (while maintaining quality form) in the prescribed rep range, or are you busy gossiping with your girlfriend as you half-ass your squats? You decide.

5. There are lots of different ways to put together effective training programs.

The best coaches in the world are going to disagree with each other on some things, and that’s okay.

6. Lift heavy weights if you want to lose fat.

Lift heavy weights if you want to build muscle. Lift heavy weights if you want to get stronger.

7. Lifting heavy weights doesn’t make you bulky.

Lifting heavy weights and eating too many calories make you bulky. Lifting and eating the appropriate calories for your goals make you look lean and fit.

Seven years of heavy lifting does not a thick chick make - provided that your diet is on point, of course.

Seven years of heavy lifting does not a thick chick make – provided that your diet is on point, of course.

8. You don’t have to have a ton of time in the gym to get in an effective workout.

“I don’t have time to workout” is no longer a valid excuse. With just 20 minutes a day, you can get a solid training effect if you make the most of your time on the gym floor. Need an example? See below.

A1. Front squat (or goblet squat) 3×5
A2. Pullups (or inverted row) 3×8
B1. Barbell hip thrusts 3×10-12
B2. Pushups 3×8
B3. RKC plank 3x20s hold

9. On a similar note, supersets, tri-sets, and giant sets are your friend.

They’re great for squeezing in more work in less time. You can read more about supersets here.

Bodybuilding.com article: Better Living Through Supersets

Bodybuilding.com article: Better Living Through Supersets

 

10. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the basics.

Squats, deadlifts, pullups, pushup/bench variations, hip thrusts, and glute bridges should comprise the foundation of your workouts.

11. Weak glutes can get you into a lot of trouble, so get them strong.

Hip thrusts and glute bridges are great, but make sure you’re performing sufficient glute activation exercises and finding the right form tweak for you so you’re really getting the most out of the movements. And don’t forget squat variations, deadlift variations, and back extensions, just to name a few. Check out The Glute Guy to learn more.

12. Compound movements will almost always trump isolation exercises.

But there’s still a time and a place for just about everything. Except for squatting on a Bosu ball.

13. More volume is not always better; smarter is better.

Enough said.

14. Quality form takes priority.

This is especially true if you’re a beginner. Learn how to perform a movement safely and with solid form before progressing to the big boy weights.

15. Jogging is great if your goal is to get better at jogging.

If you want to look better naked, then sprints are your answer.

16. Start off with as little conditioning as you can get away with.

If you can make progress without any, then milk that for as long as possible. Sprinkle in conditioning judiciously on an as-needed basis.

17. Strength gains are not linear.

Beginner trainees are going to experience much more rapid increases in strength at first due to improvements in neuromotor patterning and coordination. Then as the months go on, you’ll notice that your strength gains will slow down and maybe even plateau. This is normal and can be circumvented via a combination of smart training programming and proper nutrition to support your goals.

18. Most people will be fine weight training 3 to 5 days a week.

If on the lower end, I’d recommend full-body sessions; if on the higher end, I’d recommend an upper/lower split or even Layne Norton’s PHAT program.

Layne Norton's PHAT program is great for both men and women alike.

Layne Norton’s PHAT program is great for both men and women alike.

19. Don’t worry about being self-conscious on the gym floor.

Most people are too busy focusing on themselves to even notice you. And besides, you’re not there to impress anyone else; you’re there to build a better you.

20. Invest in a quality coach to do the thinking for you if you find yourself obsessing over your training program.

Even the best trainers have trainers. Here are the handful that I can recommend and personally vouch for:

Sohee Walsh (Lee) – that’s me! I specialize in women’s fat loss and eating disorders.
Dr. Layne Norton (of course), but he’s just about always at max capacity. Works primarily with high level competitors.
Paul Revelia, who works primarily with competitors (bikini, figure, and bodybuilding).
Bret Contreras, who is the go-to guy for all things glute development. He runs the Get Glutes program, which is training-only and has a great support community.

21. If you’re injured, there’s almost always going to be a workaround.

With a broken arm, you can still do leg presses and leg extensions. A sprained ankle is the perfect time for you to finally hone in on those pull-ups you’ve been meaning to tackle.

22. Respect the gym.

It’s about the one consistent thing that will always be there in your life, no matter what happens. Let it be your haven, your place of me-time.

23. Training is not something you have to do; it’s something you get to do.

It’s not a chore, but a gift to yourself.

24. You don’t always need a barbell and weights to get in a solid workout.

There are plenty of things you can do with minimal equipment.

25. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that something can’t be done in the gym.

Women, that means that you can do pull-ups, and you have every right to take up the squat rack without some meathead telling you to sod off.

SoheeFit lift weights

The trio!

We’re baaaaaaack!

After a month-long break due to a wedding (mine!), honeymoon (also mine!), plus the usual holiday shenanigans, Layne Norton and I finally got back together earlier this week to record the next episode of Physique Science Radio.

The trio!

The trio!

For episode 11, we bring IFBB pro Laurin Conlin on board as our special guest.

Listen in as we discuss her thoughts on training, dieting, competing, and even tilapia.

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