1. Cardio Is Still Important
I’ve said many times in the past it’s possible to reduce your body fat and improve your body composition with little cardio. I’m not anti-cardio, so don’t take things out of context. There is a caveat.
If you’re a part of population that works the typical 9-5 shift sitting at a desk, your energy expenditure is going to be relatively low compared to the person who works in…let’s say, construction or delivery. Guess who needs cardio? In order to facilitate lipolysis (breakdown of fat) you have to increase your energy expenditure. So yes, that means you’re going to need to add in some form of cardiovascular/aerobic work in conjunction with strength training. Whether it’s high-intensity interval training or steady-state cardio, that’s entirely up to you. There’s no right or wrong. They both work.
2. Your Diet Is Whack
It’s no question folks looking to lose weight are more prone to fads and gimmicks — and because of that they engage in many dietary practices. Just because something makes you lose weight doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy for you (i.e. juice cleanses, detox). What you ideally want in a diet is sustainability, nourishment, enjoyment, and… does it actually promote a healthy lifestyle? Put another way, if your diet sucks no amount of exercise is going to overcome that.
Don’t mistake simple for ineffective. Rather than resort to extreme methods, you’ll find that all the magic can be found in getting quality sleep, adequate hydration, eating your fruits and vegetables, and minimizing junk food.
3. Fat Loss Is Not Linear
My primary goal has never been fat loss. It’s always been about getting strong and building lean muscle. That having been said, what we need to appreciate more is that progress is never linear. From a coaching standpoint, it’s really hard to pick the best course of action for individuals who keep second guessing if what they’re doing is right. If you expect to see results after having only done two weeks worth of training, you’re delusional.
It’s not a sexy answer, but you have to be patient. Just because the scale didn’t drop in one week doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not heading in a positive direction.
Take home message: the body transforms in a wave-like approach.
4. You Go “Screw It Mode”
I applaud discipline and consistency, but to deprive yourself of a certain food group results in unwarranted mood swings and self-sabotage. If you continuously tell yourself you can’t have something, all you’re going to do is fixate on that. On some level avoiding it entirely does help, but believe me when I say: the longer you restrict yourself, the bigger the binge. One bite or serving of indulgence then all hell breaks loose and you have now entered, “screw it mode.” This phenomenon repeatedly happens — and unfortunately, it makes it more and more difficult for you to lose fat.
More pressingly, food avoidance in an effort to lose fat only works in the short-term. In fact, I’ve found that not everyone can adhere to a protocol like that. True, it will create a calorie deficit which is essential for fat loss, but you’re missing the big picture. Rather than avoiding completely, practice portion control and mindful eating. You can still eat the foods you want and still make reasonable progress, but you can’t eat as much of it as you want. We want to develop good habits, and a rigid diet tends to lead us in the opposite direction.