The easiest way to lose weight is to eat less.
The statement is so simple and common, and yet merely telling someone to not stuff their face as often is also incredibly wrong.
Sure, if you eat less you’re likely to lose some weight and it’s an important part of the process. But saying “eat less” obviously isn’t that simple, and it’s those instructions alone that do plenty of damage.
WITH DIETING IT’S MORE EFFECTIVE TO WIN AT A SMALLER GAME THAN TO LOSE AT A BIGGER GAME.
The reason is in the process it takes to do so. Eating less usually means changing habits, such as what you eat, when you eat, or how much you stress about each and every meal. So eating less really isn’t just eating less; it’s making more decisions that trigger a series of reactions.
It’s those reactions where fat loss usually fails. It’s the rules, poor decisions, and demonizing of certain foods that make simple concept (eat less) the reason why people generally hate diets.
Tell someone not to eat a burger, and they might believe that removing one food they love will trigger weight loss. The truth: that removal will do more harm than good, especially when you realize that burgers (or really any food) can be a part of an effective diet plan.
Instead, the most effective diet programs don’t settle for cliches (eat less, move more), or even scapegoats (gotta be the carbs, right?), instead it’s about simplifying the lifestyle factors that make it easier to understanding how fat loss works.
That’s a real ingredient that is most often overlooked, and the backbone of Fat Loss Happens on Monday, a new book by Josh Hillis. If you want to take a new and more effective approach to weight loss, here are just a few of the principles that will make the process more doable and less of a headache.
Fat Loss Nutrition: Time to Choose
On of the biggest issues with most plans is the inflexibility. Quite simply, you have too many rules that force you to take a plan that doesn’t really fit how you eat and live.
A smarter approach is to look at your day-to-day habits and the build the plan around you, since making a diet fit your life is a big part of making sure it’s successful. Let’s take on of the most common problems as an example: your most difficult meal
The Problem: Mealtimes and Obstacles
Despite the surge in snacking behavior, most people still base their days around the concept of eating three meals per day.
Let’s say Bill has a hard time figuring out how to “get time for breakfast”, which becomes problematic because he repeatedly blows his lunch because he’s starving by the time he gets there. (Sounds familiar, right?)
Or Amy might feel breakfast and lunch are easy because she has a routine, but the wheels come off the wagon at dinner.
And Suzy might have no problem with breakfast and dinner, but work meetings often run through lunch and that’s where she struggles.
All of these three clients have very different issues hitting their meal plan, and it would be silly for each of them to work on the same thing.
At the same time, they all feel like they are “failing at fat loss” and they go searching for another diet, another superfood, another magic workout. But another diet or workout isn’t going to solve the issues they have with food.
Essentially, all of their issues are strategy issues. They need to play the game of making the “problem meal” work.
Don’t Make Lists, Simplify The Changes
The first step to making realistic change is narrowing the focus of which mealtime to fix.
The easiest approach is to start with the meal that causes the most trouble, rather than trying to solve every meal. (Hint, you should do that for yourself right now).
And then you choose – how many meals do you want to take on next week?
The mindset is simple: you want to create your own fat loss game each and every week. It’s a s simple challenge.
Which meal time do you want to go to work on?
How many meals do you want to work on?
Maybe Suzy is really confident she can follow the plan. She chooses: “I’m going to crush five lunches next week.”
And then the process begins. Suzy would take her day planner, look at her meetings, and plan what to do — strategically — to make that happen.
Maybe on meeting days when she can’t take a lunch, she brings two snacks to eat at her desk. Or on days when her lunch just gets pushed back, she brings a substantial mid-morning snack to get her through to the late lunch.
The point is, it’s not about a new diet or workout, and it’s not a willpower thing. It’s a matter of looking ahead to see the roadblocks that always come up, and handling them ahead of time.
Maybe Bill is working on breakfast, but he absolutely can’t see any way to make breakfast work because he never has time. So instead of mastery, the focus just becomes on achieving one good breakfast for the week.
Instead of solving a massive issues that’s always been an issue, now the focus is clear: How do I eat one good breakfast? And what are the barriers?
Usually the problems become clear: no breakfast foods in the house, no time in the morning, no ability to cook.
So you try to make adjustments for the reasons you struggle with food. Instead of planning in lunches in a calendar, Bill would be making time to go to the grocery store, or setting his clock 30 minutes earlier to wake up and have time to eat. These are lifestyle adjustments that help change behavior.
For Bill, because these are big changes he’s only focusing on that one meal. He’s putting all of his willpower and discipline and energy and planning into winning at that one meal – and he doesn’t have to worry about the rest of the week’s meals or workouts or anything else besides that one meal.
It might not seem like much, but this is where long term fat loss begins.
It’s Not About Perfect, It’s
About A Change You Can Make
That’s another reason that you get to choose how big of a change you make — because you want to know you can win at it.
For the one person, changing five meals could feel totally doable, if she had a plan. For the other, changing one meal seemed really big, and would also take a plan.
Is one better than the other? Not at all.
If they both win at the games they chose for themselves, then they’re moving forward. It doesn’t matter if you win at 1 meal next week or 5. What matters is that you choose a game that is going to forward your goals, and you win at it.
With dieting it’s more effective to win at a smaller game than to lose at a bigger game.
It’s no different than the Tipping Point theory. But the difference here is you make up the game, so it’s your job to create a world where you know you can win.
Then, after you win the game one week you can create a new game for next week. And continue on focusing on winning one game at a time.
The 4-Step Plan to Fat Loss Nutrition
If you’re just getting started or hit a roadblock, here’s a 4-step plan you can follow to help on the path to fat loss success.
- Choose which meal you are going to work on next week — breakfast, lunch, or dinner . (Depending on your situation, you might even get more specific — dinners out, lunch when I have to work a double, ect.)
- Choose how many meals you are going to take on upgrading next week — One? Three? Five? (Whatever you do, take on a number you are confident you can win.)
- Do the planning – work backwards from the meal(s), figuring out what you need to do differently this week. Be strategic about the roadblocks that always throw you off for that meal.
- Avoid distraction. This week, don’t stress about your workouts or the rest of the meals you eat, just nail the meal(s) you are working on this week. You can always expand or change what you are working on next week. But for this week, just focus on the one thing that you choose.
This could be a completely different way of looking at fat loss from anything you’ve seen before. It’s simple, reasonable, and doable. Hopefully, it almost seems too simple.
If you stack up little wins every week you’re going to be shocked at the impact these “little wins” have on your leanness and scale weight over the next co
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I believe you may be a lifter. I also guess that deadlifts and bicep curls make
most of your days and not the half marathons. Who has time for cardio anyway? Don’t
you think it gonna chew your hard-earned muscle gain? Yes and no… it will only
depend on how you do it.
So, does cardio burn muscle mass?
Though cardio is quite popular,
one thing it never does is to burn muscles. And this is not in the sense of a
regular boxing and/or running sessions. To say, ultra-marathons and extreme
endurance sports move along their own leagues and uniqueness. And in fact, your
habitual cardio might bless you with a dozen of pros if you are a lifter. For
example, your insulin sensitivity will increase, you will have a nicer blood
flow and may be you will have developed stamina as a result of enhanced
endurance and performance.
- Better blood flow
Cardio increases the
capillaries number of your body. This essentially means that you will be
developing a more efficient blood flow system. And the effect of these extra
capillaries are to facilitate a further transportation of nutrients and oxygen.
This way, minerals will access more organs where they are needed for a main
In addition, cardio also
improves recovery and DOMs simply by guiding blood to the needy and specific
muscles. For example, you have just hopped off that finishing set of squats and
are now engaged on some stretches. Then it turns out that it would have been
better to take a steady walk on the cross-trainer firstly. If you have more
power for your legs, your heart will have to make sure that it pumps the oxygenated
blood to your legs. This pumped nutrient dense blood will aid your damaged
muscles with a quick recovery, and result to less DOMs.
- Increased performance
You always have to encounter
and deal with increased performance. The cardiovascular training will equip you
with efficiency and therefore you can better handle endurance activities and
lead you to stamina boosts. With your aerobic and anaerobic base growing, you
will also be improving the workload to muster.
Therefore, whenever you want to
rep out on any long and deep sets, then you are able to handle it. If you lack
this fitness base that’s built with cardio, then fifteen reps might be a quick
and much of a burn. The same also applies to the anaerobic athletes who basically
ought to recover in between bouts of extreme exertion, for example football
players, CrossFit fanatics and boxers.
- Lower insulin sensitivity
A slightly regular cardio is
also associated with improvement in blood sugar. Recent research found that the
physical activities (inclusive of cardio) helps to reduce the insulin
resistance, the type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. And what does it mean
for your muscles? It means improvement in insulin sensitivity which allows your
body to process carbohydrates better.
In addition, improved insulin
sensitivity aids your muscles in absorption of nutrients in much easier way.
Therefore, your body can translate these improvements to count in for overall recovery,
performance, and growth.
Is cardio a muscle builder?
Yes. It is very possible to
build muscle with cardio – it’s legit. There are many studies out here to prove
One conspicuous study published in the 2014 issue of Exercise Sports Science Review had Konopka et al verifying that they and others had demonstrated that aerobics exercise attributed to acute and chronical alteration of protein metabolism, and that induces hypertrophy of the skeletal muscle. Or, cardio influenced the size gains in short.
The researchers proved also
that for an effective aerobic exercise, for purposes of muscle building, you
will need to do a required effort. The growth magic number laid ranges between
70 and 80% – a high intensity. It gets obvious thinking about high-intensity
and hypertrophy, right? Do you know any sprinter? Pay a look at his or her
legs. They are jacked, right?
Cardio enhances muscle building
A Mid Sweden University research notes that striding out to the track may also attribute to your size gains. Their study had ten men of age range, 25-30, who went on a 5-week training protocol. With their objective being ‘to understand how cardio affected muscle growth’, these men did 45-minutes of cycling with a single leg before performing seven reps knee extensions. It was strictly the other leg used for knee extensions, and not the cycling leg.
Then, the research team took an MRI scan of each leg after it was all done, that is, the 5-week plan. They found out that both legs depicted an increase in size gains. However, the cycling leg had increased in volume by 14-17% while the non-cycling leg had only grown by 8-9%.
The official statement stated
that the results had suggested that the increased aerobic capacity by AE+RE was
associated with a more robust increase in muscle size as compared with RE,
where RE meant resistance exercise – better gains.
Can you do too much cardio?
Before going and tanking on the
treadmill for 3 straight hours, we will need to backtrack. Yes, you can do too
much cardio and it’s easy to do it. Many people’s perception linger on more
performance and the better you get. So, they will either keep performing
further every session of an exercise or retire earlier to a dormant life and
end regretting. Or they might also topple over to overuse and succumb to injury.
One of the studies confirmed this through examining body composition of
ultra-marathon runners after a race.
Impact of endurance races on
One study found out that at the
end of a certain controlled race, athletes had lost 50% of visceral body fat averagely.
And on top of that, they had also reduced in the lean mass of their legs by 7%.
The RSI and Injury
Yet another muscle-wrecking risk
accompanying cardio, injuries have dominated much athlete’s performance. The
injuries are in form of repetitive strain injury (RSI) that commonly occur in
joints (ones experiencing the excessive repetitive movement).
What about overtraining the
Exerting too much of cardio
into the mix makes your body be in a constant fight of recovery. Before it
comes to a full circle, it will be back in the race to catch up with your every
day’s run. Overtraining sabotages your gains severely. The signs that indicates
an overtraining include strength loss, constant fatigue, lack of sleep, mass
muscle loss, mood swings and maybe a tanked testosterone.
To what extent can you go with
cardio without risks and yet gain muscles?
Cardio is greatly beneficial to
you and your gains. You just need a better or smart approach. Toning down your
cardio to 2 or 3 sessions per week can maintain your peak condition. Again, if
you hop between training sessions going for 20 to 40 minutes, it is also more
than enough. And one smart way to deal with this fear factor is by seeing
cardio as something new. It will programming and planning of your workouts much
Try setting different days for cardio
It is very smart to set your
cardio days different from strength days. For some aligning reasons, you will
find most gym goers hitting the air-dyne bike either before or after their
weight training days or sessions. However, this concurrent type of training is
not always constructive. It should only be done by weight-losing athletes, and
for short periods. The reason is because they run the risk of chronic
interference, especially when the body is overloaded by the needs of cardio and
If you go out amongst the gym
goers and ask if cardio burns muscle, they will tell you it does. We are always
in two camps of either a cardio crusade or a barbell brigade. However, one get stereotypically
yoked while the other is supposedly weak and stringy. If both helps, why can’t
we do both of them? Science acknowledges this, but why can’t we embrace it? Evidently,
if we adopt a sensible amount of cardio, it is very efficient for our gains.