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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you’re trying to lose weight?

Well, eat less. Duh!

It’s simple logic — if you burn more than you consume, you’ll lose weight.  If you eat more than you burn, you’ll gain weight.

So naturally, we center our thinking into consuming fewer and fewer calories.

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What I’ve found, however, is that most folks looking to lose weight simply just don’t eat enough. Ironically, this is also the same predicament that hardgainers looking to add lean mass are caught in. Go figure!


You can’t change your body eating a thousand calories. Extreme methods don’t last very long.

 

Needless to say, the bigger the caloric deficit, the bigger the rebound.

Sure, you might see some appreciable results from the beginning, but you will inevitably hit a plateau. And once that happens, guess what? You’re going to cut calories again. Remember: gradually reducing your body fat is the name of the game. You can’t change your body eating a thousand calories. Extreme methods don’t last very long.

Restricting calories should be done slowly and with precision. Put yourself in a position where a positive adaptation can occur by eating enough — adequate protein, carbs, and fats.

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While I’ve always had an open mind, there were instances in the past where I just wanted to bang my head into the wall over the uncertain things I saw other trainers do. Nowadays, I try to understand the reasoning behind their approach.

How you train or what you advocate is your move. Every exercise has its place due to the concept of specificity.

That being said, if we’re talking about exercises that are the most bang for your buck, it’s no question that you’ve got to hammer down movements that are going to make you strong — and exercises that exhibit high levels of muscular recruitment are going to be your best bet.

Here are four exercises to rule them all.

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1. Prowler/Sled Push

 

What can I say? They’re the best way to lean out without losing strength and muscle.

From a conditioning standpoint — these babies rule, which is why they should be in your training program. If the zombie apocalypse does happen, at least you’ll know that you’re in excellent condition to be a survivor.

2. Loaded Carries

 

I always get asked, “What does this exercise work?” Instead, they should be asking what doesn’t this exercise work. I’m convinced that nothing packs on more muscle than loaded carries. In addition to improved hip stability, walking with a heavy load forces you to engage your core, your upper back, and arms. It’s also worth mentioning that it does a heck of job in improving shoulder function.

3. Deadlift

 

It’s no secret that the Deadlift is highly regarded as the king of all exercises. You’re essentially working everything from your head to your toes. With that in mind, there are many schools of thought on how should you pull. Powerlifters will argue that the Trap Bar Deadlift are for sissies, and others will say Sumo is cheating.

Here’s what I have to say about all of that:

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What we need to start taking more into consideration is our unique individual anatomy. People vary dramatically in structure. Some might not be able to pull a conventional deadlift.  Similarly, there are others who might be more well-equipped to pull from a sumo stance.

I believe the deadlift is a big movement that should stay in your training program year round, however, you have to choose which variation is suited best for you.

Conventional Deadlift

Sumo Deadlift

Trap Bar Deadlift

Landmine Deadlift

4. Bulgarian Split Squats

 

I know what you’re thinking, and yes — I would’ve said the same thing in the past, but hear me out.  I have such an immense adoration for this exercise simply because they rarely cause me or my clients any problem.  In fact, I’ve found them to almost have a universal application.

Due to structural limitations, a lot of people are pretty much in quick sand whenever they try to get under the bar and squat — they’re not going anywhere. This is why I’m convinced that the Bulgarian Split Squat is a far better option than conventional squatting. Even with proper form in a back squat, you’re bound to run into some problems whether it’d be hip, lower back, or knee issues. Moreover, you can virtually load as much weight as you can, but with less loading on the spine.

If not these, front squats are my second option.

Conclusion

 

I’m aware that this is a very short list. You can make a legitimate argument that I’ve left off other noteworthy exercises. But make no mistake that proper execution of these movements will yield big time results.  Vary the intensity and stay consistent.

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1. Performance based goals yields better long-term results. Being able to do a chin-up(s), deadlift 1-2x your bodyweight, or simply move without pain — the confidence that comes with that is advantageous to your overall health.

2. A well-qualified coach can be a great addition to your progress. But at the end of the day, he/she is not going to spoon feed you. You’ve got to take ownership of your own health. If you don’t give anything, don’t expect anything.

3. Band-resisted Deadbug is a great drill to do before you hammer squats or a deadlift because it encourages you to keep a neutral spine, and your anterior core engaged.

4. Alignment and how well you move is going to determine the loads and stress on your joints. You’re body is amazingly adaptive, so always ensure you’re moving with proficiency.

5. If there’s one thing that working in a commercial gym has taught me, it’s that most folks go through the motions. Bust your ass and focus on getting stronger. Watch what happens.

6. Pizza is life, period.

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7. Get lean and strong with the prowler.

8. If your diet consists of minimally processed foods, you’re body will pay you back. If you eat crap… well, we all know where this is going.

9. You don’t have to be an athlete to train like one.

10. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. More often than not your mindset is taken to a different level.

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11. Squatting ass-to-grass or deep squatting is primarily governed by genetics. You can improve range of motion through various mobility drills and soft tissue work, but it’s ignorant to assume that everybody should squat deep. Assess, individualize, and prioritize.

12. A lot of shoulder, elbow, and wrist problems can be cleaned up by looking at scapular positioning. The site of the pain is not always the source.

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13. Standing on a BOSU or wobble board, and performing an overhead squat while holding your cat in one arm is not “functional training”. There’s nothing more functional than lifting heavy ass weights off the floor. Stop training for the friggin’ circus.

14. If you make the mistake of restricting too many calories in your attempt to lose weight, your efforts will bite you in the butt the moment you say, “F*ck it” and pig out.

15. Consume as many calories as you can whilst still seeing results. There’s plenty of time to make adjustments.

16. So cool to see my articles getting published back home in Saipan.

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17. The more disciplines you improve, the better the results. That said, I’d have to say that mitigating alcohol consumption and adding more protein into your diet is the most effortless thing you can do to start burning more fat.

18. Never sacrifice form to lift or move more load. Movements that begin from the spine is an indication for future back pain. Move well, then move often.

19. Must have supplements: Vitamin D, Probiotics, Cod Liver Oil.

20. I hate Farmer Carries and Bulgarian Split Squats, but man do they make your body change.

21. Fat loss is simple by design. Unfortunately, we make things more complicated than it has to be.

22. Don’t be demoralized by how much more you have to do. Rather, appreciate how far you’ve come.

23. How’s this for a baller photo? #ThatViewDoe

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24. If you’re having difficulty learning how to deadlift properly, try the landmine deadlift. It encourages you to shift your weight posteriorly imposing much less sheering force in your lower back, and your grip isn’t a limiting factor.

25. If you’re trainer or coach throws you into the workout without an assessment, RUN!

26. Take all the pills and powders you want. If you’re not employing the simple things such as drinking enough water and getting enough sleep, you’re wasting your time.

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