I, for sooo long, was convinced that since I worked out 4-5 times a week I was allowed to eat just about whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted. And that is true, I was free to eat whatever I wanted, but I never was quite as lean as I’d like to be. Quite frankly, I felt justified in my overeating because I was “very” active.
I consider myself to be fairly well educated, yet I had a faulty belief system despite the level of knowledge I had acquired. This faulty belief system mixed with a little bit of denial and the inability to be objective about my appearance was the reason that I not too long ago… was over 200lbs (and I’m not talking jacked, but doughy and quite honestly overweight).
I, as a fitness professional, even make mistakes and am in a constant state of learning when it comes to developing the body I want. Hopefully I can shorten the learning curve to reaching your goal whatever that may be. So sit back and get ready to have your mind blown (ok prolly not, but let’s pretend this is new amazing information you’ve never heard before).
When it comes to fitness most of us walk into the gym or start a workout program because we aren’t happy with the person looking back at us in the mirror. Ultimately, we want to lose a bit of body fat and maybe get some bigger biceps to turn a few heads in the process.
While the gym is a great place to start, I for the longest time placed my trust in the gym and weightlifting to help me achieve the body of my dreams and failed miserably. Ok maybe I didn’t fail miserably; I got fairly strong in the process, but mostly ignored the largest key to success in developing the body you want. Nutrition, and more to the point… total calories.
It’s so simple, it’s almost laughable. If you can get into a calorie deficit and still be able to have a chocolate chip cookie, or some frozen custard every once in a while (life isn’t worth living without a bit of frozen custard every once in a while in my opinion) you’ll lose body fat.
So one of the greatest things you can do for yourself is divorce the mindset that hitting the gym will get you ultra lean, because the gym without a supportive nutrition program won’t do it. Nutrition is really where it’s at when it comes to fat and weight loss.
Don’t misunderstand me the gym is awesome it makes us look great, feel better, hell even deadlift a mack truck if that’s what your into, but a poor nutrition plan will quickly sabotage the most intelligently designed program.
“But Ian what about going gluten free, avoiding high fructose corn sugar, and eating like a friggin caveman! Doesn’t that get us the body we want?” you say. To that I say horseshit! None of that matters until you control for calories. Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t have those conversations, but they are secondary if your goal is to lose body fat.
There may be a bit more to the story than just calories but quite frankly it’s minutia until you have regularly been in a calorie deficit (and by regularly I mean consistently over the entire week not Monday through Friday with a 5000 calorie binge on Saturday and Sunday). If you think you are in a calorie deficit and you haven’t lost body fat and the way you look in the mirror has not changed, I challenge you to be brutally honest with yourself and reassess your nutrition.
If your appearance has not changed, nor has the scale, then almost certainly you are eating too many calories. Take a second and track how many calories you eat. Use myfitnesspal.com, lose it, or the other 5000 apps out there that have a great database of foods to track with.
Yes that means you will have to measure your food with a measuring spoon or measuring cups, and maybe invest a few dollars in a scale to measure some portions of dead animal flesh. It does take a bit of time and it may be a little annoying but you’ll have to ask yourself is it more annoying to not reach the goals you have for yourself?