Tag Archives: fat loss

Do You Want to Look Better for 90 days, or Forever?

Probably the most common fitness related goal is weight loss, more specifically fat loss, and every one wants the fastest route there starting yesterday, I get that, but not many people pause to think that if they get there, how hard will it be to stay there and not rebound like the majority of flash-in-the-pan crash dieters and over-exercisers? Do I know how to do this without an all or nothing mentality?

Let’s clear the air really quickly: the fastest way to fat loss is through dietary restriction and through large energy expenditures. At the start this will mean a fairly radical dietary overhaul, and various weight training circuits, intervals and other high intensity methods that put out large amounts of energy in a relatively short period of time, BUT, is this the most sustainable way to transform your physique? Probably not.

Strength, Muscle and Habits are yours to keep

These three things are the most important long term predictors of a transformation that is yours to keep forever, not just rented for 90 days before your trip to Mexico or 10 year reunion, so let’s talk about each one of them in a little more detail.

Strength

“I don’t care how strong I am I just want to look better!”

At the base of this sentiment, I get it, you didn’t come into the gym to be the world’s strongest man or woman, you just want to look better, but, your strength has a whole lot to do with how quickly you’ll lose fat. Thanks to Greg Nuckols for highlighting this in one of his articles, but the energy expended during a workout is highly correlated to how much resistance you’re overcoming (aka how much weight is on the bar) and lifting a 300lb deadlift for 8 reps takes almost perfectly 2x as much energy to move as 150lbs for 8 reps, but they both take the same amount of time. So the person who is consistently getting stronger over time is actually expending progressively more and more energy in the same amount of time as the person who stays the same strength but just does endless circuits. The person getting stronger is also building muscle to boot, which brings us to the next key piece of the puzzle

Muscle

The more of it you have, the more energy you burn at rest, and the more energy you burn while you move. So long as you keep training, and don’t do any crazy starvation diets, the muscle you build is yours to keep, and there it will sit, silently pushing up your metabolic rate 24/7, and giving you better return on your workouts. Compare that to the person doing cardio and interval training only, who will likely be losing some muscle tissue and therefore slow their metabolism over time, and because of this they will have to train longer, or eat even less to maintain their fat loss efforts. Eventually this practice becomes prohibitively restrictive, downright unenjoyable, and unsustainable; you can’t eat nothing and run forever.

Habits

Building muscle takes time, actually significantly longer than it takes to gain or lose fat, and to do so takes consistency. You’re going to need to show up to the gym at least 3x per week and make that a habit, you’re going to need to eat enough of the right foods to recover from the muscle damage you created in your workouts and probably take care your hydration. You’re going to notice that sleep affects your strength, and that’s pretty damn important too.

The weight on the bar never lies to you, you can’t fake strength or pretend you’re working harder by grunting, if you’re hungover, eating poorly, and half-assing your workout, the weight won’t move, simple as that. By measuring your progress with objective numbers instead of subjective sensations, you take responsibility for your own progress and will have to look introspectively if something stops working – this is where true progress happens! It’s the same process and habit formation you can apply to your nutrition, your sleep, your health, and any other important facet of your fat loss/physique transformation journey.

We have had some incredible transformations at Blacksmith Fitness, people who have lost up to 100lbs and stayed there for months and counting, and every single one of those people are stronger, have more muscle, and better habits than they had one day 1 – it’s not a coincidence!

 

The Only Thing You Need to Know To Actually Succeed This New Year

This is my one and only post about New Year’s resolutions but I hope it reaches those who truly want to succeed this year. In hopes of actually helping you accomplish your goals this year I’m going to be frank, blunt and honest, because just like you I too have failed time and time again, but if you’re easily offended maybe skip this article.  
First of all I’m not a fan of New Years resolutions and here’s why: there’s no difference between the person you are today or tomorrow unless you make the change, a simple rolling over the page on your calendar won’t make changes for you, you aren’t born again, and guess what? All those challenges and barriers are exactly the same on December 31st as they are on Jan 1st. You flipped the calendar from November to December, did anything change that day? Did you feel different? Where was the fire and driving force for change that day? Or was it just another day that perhaps signified Christmas was coming and, oh shit, what am I going to get Aunt Tracy she has everything… Chances are that if you’re still reading this that you’re in the second camp, nothing happened the last time you flipped the calendar, and most likely this one will be no different. Even more so, chances are this isn’t your first New Years resolution aimed at the same goal, so if it didn’t work last time, what makes you think it will this time? 

The answer is quite simple (but not easy!): YOU have to make it different. 

That’s the unsexy truth about goal setting. If you’re relying on this sense of new that comes from the date on the calendar, not only do you know this will wear off quickly, but you’ve given away control of your life to an arbitrary external event instead of taking responsibility and control of your own direction, and in order to do that you need a strong and compelling reason why you are chasing your goal in the first place. 

Since this is a fitness page we’ll talk about fitness related goals but really these principles apply pretty much anywhere, let’s talk about the most common New Years resolution first: I want to lose x pounds this year and keep it off. Probably the first thing I would recommend to you is to change that to a waist size goal because muscle and fat have different densities and 150lbs can look drastically different depending on the ratios, but that still isn’t getting to the heart of the matter. Why do you want to lose x amount of fat? “To look better” or  “to feel healthy” is too vague and superficial, anyone could say that, why do YOU want to lose that fat? Your answer should be different, unique, and it might sting a little when you say it out loud for the first few times, although soon you should find it empowering as you put the old you in the rear view mirror. Here’s an example of what a goal could look like: 

I want to lose 6 inches off my waist this year, because I’m no longer proud of the person I am when I look in the mirror. I do not like the way I talk to myself throughout the day. I want to walk into a room without silently judging myself in other’s voices. I want to feel like I am worthy of attention and I no longer want to cringe, recoil, and silently refute every time I’m complimented. I want to get to a point where I value myself for my ideas, the way I treat people. I will not view myself a waking set of love handles and stomach fat another day. I will set an example for those around me that I care about, and hope to inspire them to change as well 

Despite the fact that it’s going to sound like a poorly written soap opera monologue, this is the kind of detail you need to get to if you truly want to succeed. Now go write it down, and keep writing until you feel like you’ve got it all out. Got it? Good. Now don’t show or tell anyone. Sounds weird right? I used to think you were supposed to tell everyone your goal, but new research shows that the more people you tell about your goals, the less likely you are to accomplish them , and this happens through deferral of responsibility. Every time you tell someone about your goals, you actually mentally give away part of the responsibility of achieving that goal to them, it’s now up to them to support you and guide you along the path, but it suffers the same pitfall that a date on a calendar does: it’s an external force and the only one that matters is you. 

In the new year, the same temptations will be there, there will be food, there will be alcohol, there will be Netflix marathons and deadlines. You will feel like you have no time and no energy, just like you did last year, except this year you’re going to have a really strong reason why none of that matters and you are going to kick ass, no matter what. 

Now that you’ve got a goal, if you’d like a little more direction on how to overcome some of the most common barriers to success I’d highly suggest you check out this article for further reading https://blacksmithfitness.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/the-1-reason-people-dont-make-progress/