Here’s what you will learn.
- You can lose weight and gain fat at the same time and vice versa (sure, read that again).
- Losing weight is not and will never be an exact science.
- You’re wasting your time if you pick up the same weights as your last workouts.
- You don’t want muscle? You don’t want to be “too strong”? Well, you’ll never lose weight and you probably won’t get very far.
Nothing but the truth. Facts and fitness fallacies, and how not to make and repeat the same mistakes when you want to lose weight.
1. If you are at the beginning of the process of finding better health and losing weight, you will be pleasantly surprised at how fast the weight can come down from the start. You may lose an average 10 pounds in the first few weeks! But hang on, the ride will be full of ups and downs.
2. If you are a weight-lifting newbie, your body will probably react really fast in the beginning. You’ll be seeing muscles and shapes fairly soon. You’ll probably even think anything’s possible. It’s almost too easy.
3. However, this honeymoon will last only a few weeks. Things will only get more complicated from here on out.
4. You can lose weight without losing fat.
5. You can stay at the same weight while losing fat and gaining lean muscle mass
6. You can gain weight and lose fat.
7. Complicated isn’t it? So stop freaking out when you see that number on your scale!
8. Your thermostat sets your home’s temperature probably somewhere between 18‒22°C. When things get a little hot, you open a window to cool down. But your heating will then work hard to bring the temperature back to its “normal” range of 18‒20°C. So what does this have to do with losing weight? Keep reading.
9. Your body has an integrated “thermostat” that regulates your metabolism. Say your weight fluctuates between 120 and 125 pounds on average. When you weigh more than 125 pounds, you start feeling cravings, tiredness, joint stiffness and the usual consequences of weight gain. If you stay too long in the high end of your normal range, your body will interpret this weight as its new normal.
10. If your weight goes lower than 120 pounds though, a survival mechanism is going to kick in. Your metabolism will slow down and become more efficient at storing energy to resort to its normal “setting” (weight). It’ll take a lot of effort and more time for your body to recognize this lower weight as the new normal.
11. This means small and constant progress is the way to go when losing weight.
12. Low calorie diets are totally destructive, if you ask me. They create bad habits and make people perceive dieting as punishment.
13. Eat to live, not live to eat.
14. Food gives you health and energy.
15. Let’s take breakfast for example. It’ll determine how your body will function through your day. A study examined the effects of a low-GI (glycemic index) breakfast, a high-GI breakfast and breakfast omission on cognitive function in adolescents. They concluded that a low GI breakfast improved cognitive functions greatly when compared to the high-GI breakfasts.
16. In addition to getting your day off to the right start, a low-GI breakfast has other advantages over the other meals of the day. You’ll have more control over your cravings and, since your motivation is at its best at this time of day, you’ll make better choices throughout the day and thus keep your efforts on the right track. Another study, carried out with preadolescent children, found that when fed a low-GI breakfast, kids were less prone to overeat during their last meal of the day.
17. So, if you thought skipping breakfast was a good move, think again! You are actually making things worse by helping your body improve its ability to store energy as fat.
18. We recommend a breakfast that is low in carbs (like low-GI fruit) and high in protein. Just this little change will quickly improve your metabolism and help you
prevent certain health issues, thanks to a healthier metabolism and immune system.
19. Now that you know protein should be at the center of your diet, you’re probably wondering just how much of it you need. The daily recommendation ranges from .75 to 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. This breadth can explained by the fact that different lifestyles have different needs.
20. I won’t get into the details for fat and carbohydrates because, once again, different lifestyles have different needs.
21. Claiming that 50% of your calories should come from carbs would be irresponsible because most people tend to overeat. For those who already abuse carbs, encouraging them to eat more or the same amount would lead them nowhere.
22. Wait, what? Doesn’t protein make you gain weight and get fat? Don’t you gain muscle mass too easily with protein? No, and actually science has proven this wrong many times over.
23. Protein is very important for people with an active lifestyle, especially for those who are actively increasing their strength and conditioning. As we mentioned in Point #19, some people believe they gain an extraordinary amount of muscle as soon as they increase their protein. This next study is for them.
24. Researchers sought to determine the effects of a very high-protein diet (4.4 gr/kg/day or 2 grams per pound) on the body composition of strength trainers. The researchers showed that consuming 5.5 times the recommended protein had no effect on body composition for those who maintained their workouts during the study. This was the first study of its kind and it proved that high protein intake does not lead to fat gain.
25. The International Society of Sports Nutrition’s position, supported by numerous studies, is that people who exercise regularly require more protein than sedentary individuals.
26. Protein intake for active people in the range of 1.4‒2 gr/kg per day is not only safe, it leads to better performance.
27. As part of a nutritionally balanced and nutrient-rich plan, high protein intake does not lead to kidney function or bone metabolism issues in active healthy people.
28. Post-workout nutrition is also very important to maximize your training potential. Protein shakes and the like will help you recuperate faster, boost your immune function and growth, and hang on to your well-earned muscle mass.
29. In some circumstances, amino acids (the building blocks of protein, like BCAAs) can improve both your performance and recuperation.
30. Another problem you will encounter in losing weight is calories. Is it that important to count every single calorie? How many should you eat exactly? What is the best diet for losing weight?
31. Common advice would that you reduce your intake by 100 calories a day to lose 10 pounds over a year. The math behind this is that if 1 pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, 100 calories a day times 365 days equals a 10-lb loss in a year. Ahhhh, if only it were that simple…
32. Your specific physiology, genetics and intestinal flora have an enormous influence on how you lose weight even when you apply the same calorie deficit as the next guy. For that reason, no one can calculate exactly how you should cut 100 calories, let alone keep this accuracy over prolonged periods.
33. In diet mode, your body will adapt quickly to this calorie deficit by “turning on” your energy conservation systems. In other words, it won’t let you starve.
34. The best weight-loss method is to combine a healthy and balanced nutritional plan with an individualized strength and conditioning plan.
35. Get rid of the “d word” (uh-hum, diet) because we all associate it with restriction, elimination, starvation, sadness, etc. Instead, nutrition should be health oriented and we should associate it with strength, energy, satiety, happiness, self-fulfillment and so on. It’s a matter of perception… and the method and diet used!
36. The key to success is better habits. When you find the culprit behind the problems, you can kill two birds with one stone. Turning a problem into a good habit will lead you to your higher goals. Unfortunately, that’s easier to say than to do.
37. For example, late-night snacking will disturb your sleep and often is the culprit when people have a hard time getting up in the morning. Lack of appetite in the morning and mid-day cravings are the result of sleep and leptin disruption, caused by late-night cravings. You see how you can kill two birds with one stone?
38. Recognizing what can lead you to cheat on your diet is also really very important. Many health problems would be solved if only we could eat just for our health, just when we are hungry and just until we are full. So again, eliminate the word “diet” from your vocabulary.
39. Eating natural, unprocessed foods that our bodies recognize (i.e., nothing that comes in a box!) can only bring us health and great conditioning. I recommend you hire a professional who can guide you in creating a great nutritional plan.
40. Back to training. Seventy percent of your results may come from what you eat, but it’s what you do in the gym that will help you keep those results, and keep them coming.
41. It’s most important to aim for fat loss, not just weight loss. The weight you lose will be an indication of how healthy you’ll be and how long you’ll keep the fat off, assuming you’re losing fat, of course. Go back and read Points 4, 5, 6 and 7.
42. Fat loss will be beneficial for your metabolism. No one needs dead weight. But losing weight at all costs will often result in water and muscle loss, which does niet for your metabolism. Prioritizing fat loss has the potential to improve both your metabolism and hormonal system.
43. This is the main reason it’s essential to combine nutrition, habits and strength training to lose fat (yes, you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time).
44. Your workout should never be identical to the last in terms of weights, intensity or rest periods. Beat your body’s adaptation (yes, adaptation is everywhere)! You don’t have to increase by a lot: The Kaizen Principle—small progress every single workout—leads to big results. Factors influencing your workouts are the type of muscle fiber, intensity, muscle dominance, hormones, proportions, muscle insertions and neural efficiency to name a few. Going to the gym is not everything.
45. You will, at some point or another, choose the easier path. This is when you’ll see your progress stall. But this is absolutely normal! You can’t go all out all the time. When this happens, maximize your gym time and make sure your workouts are productive. Just doing easier exercises or only working the body parts you want to improve is a waste of time. Spot reduction is impossible. However, changing your silhouette by gaining muscle and losing fat is possible.
‘’You can’t target fat loss. Fat loss is systemic.’’
46. Cardio OR weights vs. cardio WITH weights: Which should it be? Combine cardio and weights for faster results.
47. Have you heard jogging is the best way to lose weight? As you train for longer runs, your body will adapt and improve. You’ll have to run more to burn more, but still, your body will always get better. Google “HIIT”. It means half the time and bigger results, but more on this in our next articles. (Adaptation again, I know. If our bodies didn’t have that ability though, we would still be trying to light fires and living in caves. The Paleo diet would be the real deal then though!)
48. You want to start Monday? Nah, that’s the worst day of the week to start anything! Why not start on Saturday or Sunday, when you have time? All you have to do is prepare your food for a few days, rest and go to the gym!
49. Having a great training partner is the best way to increase your results at the gym. Find yourself someone who is stronger than you. This is a good way to leave your ego at the door. After all, the only person you have to impress is yourself!
50. Each movement we do, whether simple or complex, is a sequence of skeletal muscle contractions woven together in complex interaction between the body’s muscular and nervous system. So, if you don’t want muscles, you won’t get very far.
Cooper SB, Bandelow S, Nute ML, Morris JG, Nevill ME. Breakfast glycaemic index and cognitive function in adolescent school children. Br J Nutr. 2012 Jun; 107(12):1823-32. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511005022. PubMed PMID: 22017815.
Warren JM, Henry CJ, Simonite V. Low glycemic index breakfasts and reduced food intake in preadolescent children. Pediatrics. 2003 Nov;112(5):e414. PubMed PMID: 14595085.
Kamada I, Truman L, Bold J, Mortimore D. The impact of breakfast in metabolic and digestive health. Gastroenterology and Hepatology From Bed to Bench. 2011;4(2):76-85.
Antonio J, Peacock CA, Ellerbroek A, Fromhoff B, Silver T. The effects of consuming a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2014;11:19. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-11-19.
50 shades of weight loss