Archive for month: February, 2015

Here's my client A, who achieved these results with months and months of consistency and patience. No magic here.

Does the following scenario sound familiar to you?

You decide that you’ve had enough of being out of shape, so you start reading up about all things fat loss. You read articles here, peruse fitness forums there, and you comb the Internet searching for information that will allow you put together a training and nutrition program tailored toward your goals.

You’re more motivated than ever, and you’re ready to rock that teeny tiny body at the beach this summer.

With each passing day, you eagerly step on the scale, expecting to witness some miraculous Biggest Loser transformation. The contestants on that show lose upwards of 10+ pounds a week, so naturally, you expect the same.

Yet you’re three days in and you’ve absolutely dismayed to find that you’re only down one pound — one measly pound!

So you panic.

You must not be doing enough cardio, you reason.

Surely you’re eating too much food, you conclude.

You steadily increase the time you spend in the gym and, though you’re feeling more and more exhausted, you reckon that this is just the way things are if you want to be lean.

Two weeks later, it’s time for your checkin. You diligently take your body measurements, log down your dietary adherence, and take a step back.

Despite having lost TWO whole inches off your waist in a fortnight (an accomplishment that anyone should be proud of), the scale has only budged two pounds total, and for that, you’re entirely disappointed.

THIS MUST NOT BE WORKING, you declare.

You’re frustrated. You’re angry.

You should be WAY leaner by now. And yet here you are.

You feel leaner, and you definitely look leaner, but that’s simply not enough for you.

ALL THIS WORK FOR NOTHING.

You decide that “this fitness thing” ooooobviously isn’t for you. You cancel your gym membership and take up permanent residence back on the couch again with a bag of Cheetos in your lap.

Screw fitness. It must not be in your genetics.

You quit.

———————

It’s a sad unraveling of events, I know. Yet this is the norm.

The harder thing is to be patient, you see.

It’s tougher to consistently adhere to a *moderate* program long enough to see long-term, lasting change.

What happens a lot of times is that people think that, in order to achieve extraordinary results, drastic and extreme measures must be taken. Not only that, but they believe that it all must happen RIGHT AWAY.

That’s not the case, though.

The individuals who experience true success understand and accept that any worthwhile endeavor takes time.

Here's my client A, who achieved these results with months and months of consistency and patience. No magic here.

Here’s my client A, who achieved these results with months and months of consistency and patience. No magic here.

They get that, if they want to build their goal body, they have to keep on keepin’ on *for long enough*. For most, that takes a bare minimum of 3 months.

Extraordinary results requires nothing more than patience and consistent execution of the correct behaviors, day in and day out.

The ones who win carry on despite setbacks, obstacles, and slip-ups.

The rest? Well, they find themselves swinging wildly from one extreme to the other and never achieve their goals.

Episode 13 of Physique Science Radio

In episode 13 of Physique Science Radio, Dr. Layne Norton and I bring special guest Dr. Jason Cholewa on and we discuss his research on betaine.

Give it a listen!

C.D.'s 6-month progress

I want to share with you some progress pictures from one of my group coaching clients, C.D.

When she first signed up with me, C.D. actually wasn’t eating very much — likely around 1200 Calories per day based off of her dietary records. She was lifting weights two days a week and performing steady-state cardio three days a week.

C.D.'s 6-month progress

C.D.’s 6-month progress (front)

C.D.'s 6-month transformation (back)

C.D.’s 6-month transformation (back)

Over the past six months, C.D. did the following under my guidance:

  • lifted heavy weights 4x/week with an emphasis on compound movements (squats, deadlifts, bench press, hip thrust/glute bridge)
  • performed just one high intensity interval training (HIIT) session per week
  • performed zero steady-state cardio
  • utilized a flexible dieting, macros-based approach that put no foods off limits

The total amount of time she spent in the gym totaled no more than five hours a week. I believe that, especially if you’re a recreational exerciser, no fitness endeavor is worth compromising your quality of life for.

We started her nutrition intake at the high end of dieting Calories and have only had to shave off 175 Calories in the past six months to see continued progress.

As we all know, dietary adherence is absolutely paramount, particularly when it comes to fat loss.

And while C.D.s’ adherence wasn’t perfect, she was consistently good enough in her behaviors, and over time she was able to slowly and steadily chip away at her bodyfat.

She now looks a good deal leaner and is much more athletic looking, as evidenced by her photos. (And as a coach, I can truly, truly appreciate that she took both sets of pictures in the same outfit.) I especially love how her back is starting to come in.

Lifting heavy weights made her bulky? Not even a little bit.

The combination of proper nutrition, a sound resistance training program, and the right attitude is what got her to her goal.

She writes in her latest checkin to me:

It has been such an exciting journey albeit an exercise in patience, persistence and perseverance. I still feel like I have a LONG way to go but am truly humbled at what my body’s been able to do without feeling like I have to deprive myself and beat myself up with hours and hours of working out.

I’m turning 40 in May and am so excited about putting in the hard work and watching my body & mind transform.

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

I swear they taste better than they look.

I say this time and time again: if you want to get serious about your nutrition, you have to make the time to prep your meals.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with eating out all the time, healthy options are typically limited and high-protein meals are hard to come by.

With that said, I understand that the idea of cooking all, or at least most, of your own meals can seem daunting. I’m just not a good cook, you might say, or perhaps even, Who’s got the time?

I get it.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a lazy cook.

I enjoy it, sure, but if there’s a recipe that calls for strange ingredients or if it involves multiple complex steps, my eyes will glaze over and I’m on the hunt for something that’s stupid simple.

I love these turkey meatloaf muffins because the ingredients are simple (most you’ll already have in your kitchen), everything goes into just one bowl, and the prep time is minimal. There’s really no skill involved here, which is great for someone with lackluster cooking chops such as myself.

This is an adaptation of Jamie Eason’s turkey meatloaf muffins. I’ve made these countless times by this point, each time tweaking things here and there to suit my taste a little more. You can make numerous substitutions and still have these coming out tasting delicious.

I have to be honest: the first time I added the tapioca flour into this recipe, I didn’t think they’d turn out. I was backed into a corner because I had already dumped all the ingredients into the bowl, only to realize that I was missing the oats that I needed! So I dug through my kitchen pantry, pulled out the tapioca flour, and crossed my fingers that they’d be edible.

They ended up tasting amazingly moist, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they tasted even better this way.

+1 for fortunate accidents. #serendipity

What You’ll Need

2lbs 99% lean ground turkey breast
1/2 cup tapioca flour
3 egg whites
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp Italian seasoning
1tsp chili powder
2tbsp Frank’s red hot sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1tsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup finely chopped opinion
½ cup finely chopped cucumber, zucchini, or bell pepper

Ingredients!

Ingredients!

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients into large bowl. Mix well.
  3. Roll mixture into balls and place into pre-sprayed muffin pan.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.
I swear they taste better than they look.

I swear they taste better than they look.

 

Makes 12 muffins

Nutrition information per muffin

112 Calories
16.4g protein
7.8g carbs
1.8g fats

I’m all about that bulk cooking, so feel free to double the recipe.

I make these about once a week in my house, and I’m thrilled that even my picky eater husband gives these the thumbs up. One full batch lasts around three days in my house.

We like to crumble them up into quesadillas, pair them with potatoes, or they’re even great by themselves. #versatile

I typically top them with some Sriracha or salsa or dip them in some ranch dressing. I’ll usually have two as part of a meal (that provides over 30g quality protein right there!), and they’re surprisingly filling.

Give these a try and let me know how you like it.

On haters and trolls

I’ve had some thoughts regarding haters and troll that I wanted to take a few minutes to address today.

This is for any of you who want to pursue your dreams but are afraid of the criticisms you may receive.

This is for those of you who are worried that people may not like your work or may not be thrilled about what you have to say.

This is for those of you who are holding back from following your passions and creating content out of fear of rejection.

Ask yourself this: Why would you let the opinions of a handful of people stop you from helping thousands and thousands of people?

Training or nutrition for fat loss?

In today’s video, I answer the question: Which is more important for fat loss – training or nutrition?

My 20-week before/after pics from June to November 2014. I lost at a very slow clip, but I was consistent and patient. Stepped on stage -10lbs and -2.5 inches off the waist.

1. Scale weight alone provides you with very limited information.

No, scale weight not changing doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve made zero progress. Maybe it’s the time of month for you, or you’re more stressed than normal, or your sodium intake yesterday was absurdly high. It might mean that you simply haven’t taken a good crap in a while. Hell, if you’ve recently started a sound resistance training program, it may even be the case that you’ve put on muscle while shedding some fat. The number on the scale won’t tell you any of these things. For the love of God, stop obsessing over scale weight.

2. Black and white rules work… until they don’t.

Which really is just another way of saying: they don’t actually work. If you want to reach your fat loss goal, not be miserable during the process, and actually maintain those results over the long haul, shed the unreasonable restrictions. Don’t ban chocolate if you love it, in other words.

3. Fat loss is not linear.

What tends to happen is that fat loss moves along at an impressive in the beginning and then slows down as time goes on. The reasons for this are multiple: you first tend to shed a good bit of water weight plus glycogen, and then you later have less bodyfat to lose, which means it’s harder to shed those last few pesky pounds; your body has adapted to the lowered calorie intake by slowing down its metabolism and otherwise making sure that you lose as little weight as possible (thanks, evolution); and hell, maybe your dietary adherence has gotten worse due to a combination of physiological adaptations (including increased ghrelin, the hunger hormone) and mental fatigue.

4. By the same token, everyone’s rate of fat loss is different.

Don’t be crying in the corner because Suzy over there has made a remarkable 12-week transformation and looks like a whole new person and you’ve only lost half the fat that she has. Slow progress is still better than no progress, and whining about what you don’t have doesn’t help anything. Focus on you.

5. There is a high, high correlation between self-compassion and getting the body you want.

Sounds backwards, I’m sure. But being kind to yourself means that you self-sabotage less and you don’t lose your mind when you bend the rules.

6. Where you lose fat first from (and conversely, where you gain fat first) depends largely upon genetics, which means that we can’t do much about it.

Some people lean out pretty evenly all overs; others lose top-to-bottom, as is the case with many women. Some have shredded abs year-round regardless of their bodyfat percentage, while others may never see visible abs no matter how lean they get.

7. If you’re having an impossible time losing fat, consider switching gears and building some quality muscle for a while.

You’ll not only look better when you lean back down, but you’ll likely have an easier time, as lean muscle is metabolically active. As well, you can “spot enhance,” as Nick Tumminello says. That means you can build the illusion of having a smaller waist, for example, by building up your lats and shoulders.

8. Coupled with an appropriate caloric deficit, heavy resistance training is paramount.

What builds the muscle keeps it. Cardio is overrated, and I’d argue that most people can make fine progress with just a sprinkling of conditioning here and there.

9. Fat loss takes time. You have to be patient.

You didn’t get to where you are in a two-week timeframe, so don’t expect the fat to melt off in an instant. Do what you have to do to get to where you want to be, but otherwise don’t stress about it. The results will come eventually.

10. There’s nothing wrong with slow progress.

I repeat: there’s nothing wrong with slow progress. Read here for more.

Patience and consistency wins the race.

Patience and consistency wins the race.

11. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

Stay accountable – to yourself, your close friends, and/or your coach – and take regular progress pictures, measurements (I recommend waist and hips at the very least), and dietary adherence.

12. You don’t have to become a professional exerciser to lean out.

Honestly, I’d say 4 to 6 hours per week in the gym is ideal for most individuals, with the large majority of that time spent lifting heavy weights. Just be smart about how you spend your minutes in the gym.

13. Full body or upper/lower splits are recommended for fat loss (in general).

As well, stick to as many compound movements as possible, and you can toss in fun isolation work like bicep curls at the tail end of your sessions if you have a few minutes to spare.

14. Embrace your rest days.

At the absolute bare minimum, take one full day off from the gym per week. That means no formal exercise. Walking is fine, of course, but it’s good to give the body and the mind a break. For me, I’ve found that two full days off works the best to keep my motivation up and training intensity high, plus it affords me time to devote to other areas of my life. You can even take three days off, especially if you’re just beginning your fat loss program.

15. Don’t chase fatigue.

Don’t get upset if a training program that your coach gives you doesn’t leave you dripping in buckets of sweat and crawling out the gym door at the end. The goal is not to make you tired; it’s to make you better. Anyone can make you tired. One thousand burpees, go! There, see? You’re wiped.

16. Fat loss isn’t easy, but there are ways to make it more enjoyable.

For example, did you know that you can still consume alcohol and get lean? Did you know that a Snickers bar by itself won’t halt your progress in its tracks, provided that you take it into the context of the rest of your day’s eating? Did you know that fat loss doesn’t have to suck?

17. Attitude is everything.

That’s the one thing you can definitely control, no matter what happens in your life. You can’t control scale weight, you can’t control where you lose fat from, and you can’t control what other people will say to you or about you. But you can always, always control how you choose to respond to it all.

18. You’re not a martyr for going on a crash diet; you’re an idiot.

Slashing away your calories in hopes of stripping off fat – and keeping it off for good – is a risky venture that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

19. Consistency is absolutely paramount.

If you can’t follow your nutrition program consistently, then you won’t get anywhere. The first thing you should do if your consistency is not on point is to check your commitment level. Are you half-assing it, or are you fully dedicated to this journey? If that’s not an issue, then look to the program itself – it may not be a good fit for you as a unique individual. How can you change it so that you can improve your dietary adherence while still getting you toward your goal?

My 20-week before/after pics from June to November 2014. I lost at a very slow clip, but I was consistent and patient. Stepped on stage -10lbs and -2.5 inches off the waist.

My 20-week before/after pics from June to November 2014. I lost at a very slow clip, but I was consistent and patient. Stepped on stage -10lbs and -2.5 inches off the waist.

20. If you’re dreading your next meal, you may want to re-think your nutrition strategy.

You want to enjoy the food you’re eating, or else you’re not going to stick to your program for long.

Oven-broiled homemade fries? Hell yes.

Oven-broiled homemade fries? Hell yes.

21. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can and cannot eat.

Unless you have a food allergy or intolerance, of course – in which case, use common sense. But besides that, you’re an adult. You get to make your own choices. And no, pizza alone does not make you fat, so go ahead and enjoy a few slices every now and then, but stay accountable.

22. You want to make your diet fit your life and not the other way around.

Your quality of life matters. Your life outside of fitness is still relevant.

23. If your hormones are out of whack, then don’t diet.

If you’re struggling with binge eating, then don’t diet. You can always return to fat loss at a later time. Your overall health is the most important thing, and attempting to diet through your health issues can exacerbate the problem.

24. Stop overthinking it.

Obsessing over minutiae is an exercise in futility. Not to mention, you’re wasting precious willpower (which is limited, by the way). Instead of spending hours trying to find that perfect optimal program that will guarantee that you’ll land on the next magazine cover, find a program that’s good enough and execute. Less thinking, more doing.

25. Chill the eff out.

 

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