Posts Tagged ‘Diet’

If you’ve been training for quite some time, you’ve hit that proverbial bump on the road on more than a few occasions — and you’re pretty familiar with it.

You dust off your shoulders, and keep on keepin’ on.

If you’re relatively new to the iron game, nothing is more frustrating than realizing you’ve hit a plateau because it feels like an eternity to get out of it.

Whether your goal is to become insanely strong, get lean, or a bit of both, it’s never a pleasant feeling when your progress comes to a halt.

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Plateaus are a natural occurrence, so don’t lose sleep over it when it happens. You apply the stress, then your body adapts. That’s how it works.

There are so many variables that can be at play here, but the number one way to get out of it is to…

Address Your Diet

 

Newsflash: It’s not your training program (to some extent).

I find it oddly amusing that when we presumably hit a plateau, our natural inclination is to pull the trigger on our training routine. Panic ensues and we immediately overhaul everything. Admittedly, I’ve made this mistake in the past a number of times, so I can totally relate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve went program hopping only to find out years later that my nutrition game was horrible.

Having a well-designed training program makes a huge difference, but what is often overlooked as the possible cause is the diet.

Strength training by itself doesn’t work all that well. Yes — you can experience modest improvements, but exercise on it’s own without nutrition produces mediocre results.

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Whether you’re not getting enough protein, going over your allotted carb intake, or simply consuming too many calories, make the necessary adjustments rather than waving the white flag.

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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.

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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.

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Well… It’s that time of the year again. With 2016 coming to a close, building muscle and concurrent fat loss is on just about everyone’s mind.

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Okay.

I’m not a dietician or nutrition expert nor do I market myself as one, but I do want to highlight why most people fall short in their attempt to get results.

Eat More Protein

 

A constant observation I’ve made in my work as a trainer and a coach is that most people do not get enough protein in their diet, particularly females as they tend not to be huge meat eaters. It’s an ongoing debate as to how much protein you should actually consume.

But, nevertheless, the undisputed way to get lean and improve your body composition is, protein.

It’s painfully obvious, but believe me when I tell you this — rarely are the simple things employed. I’ve had so many consultations in the past where folks claim they’re doing everything they can to get in shape, but the elephant in the room always seems to be a lack of sufficient protein in their diet.

Increase your portion size, make a protein smoothie, add more whole eggs or egg whites, have some greek yogurt — it’s absolutely essential that you get enough daily protein in order to build appreciable size, strength, and muscle.

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Moreover, you have to understand that a protein-rich diet does an amazing job at increasing your metabolism and limiting hunger. Couple that with an intense strength training program, and you’re in for a sweet ride.

Wrap- Up

 

So, by taking this into account, the general recommendation is to consume approximately one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight — watch what happens.

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