When it comes to fitness, most people make one very critical mistake: They begin too soon.
Okay, let me explain.
I’m NOT saying you should hold off on your fitness goals. NOT AT ALL. You must take action now with anything you want in life. Let’s be honest, you need to take one impressive shirtless selfie that would make your mom shake her head and your older sister’s friends regret that one time they rejected you in college. So, don’t waste another day mindlessly reading articles about one quick trick to get abs or if it fits your macros with someone eating frozen yogurt five times per day on Instagram claiming they are effortlessly losing three pounds of fat per week.
If It’s Too Good to be True, It’s Probably the Wrong Advice!
But you need to do some research first. Too many people just dive into the first plan they find that offers a quick solution. Sadly, this leads them down a path of disappointment, frustration, and shoddy results. This sucks because they assume it’s a slow metabolism or bad genetics, then throw in the towel altogether.
For example, “Just fit it into your macros and you can eat whatever you want,” or “Have you ever heard of Bulletproof Coffee? It helps you burn fat,” or “Carbs are the best, you don’t have any energy on low-carb diets,” or “You’re never hungry in Ketosis. Just eat 25 grams of net carbs,” and “HIIT Cardio is always better than low-intensity cardio.”
There’s some truth to all of these within a specific context, but without context these can all be damaging.
I’m here to change this. I don’t want you to follow in the footsteps of so many others before you. So, I’m here to tell you the hard lessons you can learn right now so that you don’t have to experience them first hand.
This is going to save you time, money, energy, and it’ll help crush your goals in record time!
Cardio is NOT the Route to A Dream Body
When most people think of fat loss, they think of slugging it out on the treadmill for hours. If this is your idea of a good fat-burning workout, you definitely need a change.
Let’s get two things straight:
- Cardio is b-o-r-i-n-g as H-E-L-L!
If a workout is boring, you won’t stick with it. Plain and simple. You can only slug it out on the cardio machines for so long before your brain rebels.
- Cardio does very little to change your body.
For anyone looking for a complete body transformation, cardio is not the best bet. With cardio, sure, you’ll burn calories and you may become a bit smaller. But you’ll be a smaller version of your exact same self.
Is that what you want? No. You want to look HOT. You want more muscle definition, more POP in the right places, and you want to go from soft and possibly even “jiggly” looking to hard and firm. Cardio won’t offer that.
Strength Training Will Give You that Dream Body
This form of exercise is where it’s at. Strength training will not only give you functional strength, but it’ll also help you revamp your body composition. The ratio of lean body mass to body fat is what we want to improve, not just overall weight.
Oh, and did I mention it’ll help you burn fat while you sleep?
Thus, it’s time to get off the cardio bandwagon and onto a strength training program.
But here’s some context. Muscle requires more energy for the body to keep. So, when you lift weights and you’re in a caloric deficit it’s telling the body to use the next available energy source: body fat.
When you do excessive cardio without weights, you’re telling your body that you need to get rid of that expensive stuff. And your body adapts the activity that will help it remain efficient and conserve energy.
So, the goal is to remain as inefficient as possible so our body has to keep muscle and lose fat for energy.
When you do BOTH, the body prefers to use body fat when doing cardio because lifting weights requires the muscle to stay.
Without it the body has less reason to prefer fat over muscle in a caloric deficit.
Try This: Track Your Steps in Addition to Your Weight Training Program
Start without it first for the first 4 weeks of your strength training program, keeping a journal of everything you do. Then add 5,000 steps a few days per week and see what happens, or find activities you love doing outside of weight training that won’t cause extra stress in your life.
Goal: If you enjoy cardio, make it fun and do it in addition to weights to lose fat while preserving muscle mass. Gather data about how you respond when you add cardio to your routine. Stop guessing.
Your Best Friend’s Workout Isn’t Necessarily Your Best Workout
It may seem like your best friend has the “perfect” workout plan. They are seeing great results and love it. Every day they tell you they can’t wait to get to the gym.
You think you’ll jump on it too.
Hold up. Remember, you are not your best friend. Both of your bodies/habits/lifestyle are different and as such, require a different approach.
Never approach fitness with a cookie cutter approach or you will always be in for a disappointment. It’s important that you find a program tailored to your needs.
Let me explain. Do you know your best friend’s eating habits? Do you know the level of stress he deals with? Do you know how much sleep he gets? Do you know if he has any injuries? Does he have an eating disorder?
For example: A busy executive, mid 30’s, works out 3 days per week for 30 minutes, lifting weights. He gets awesome results and you see him eating out as well. Without the whole picture, you make assumptions about how he’s getting results.
Example 2: A busy medical student, late 20’s, who works out 6 days per week for over an hour with weights and cardio. He gets no results and you see him eating chicken and broccoli. Once again you don’t see the whole picture.
Do you know why? Probably not, because both people have totally different situations, habits, food preferences, dietary adherence, stress responses to increased energy demands. And the list goes on.
Try this: For a month, track your food intake via an app like Myfitnesspal, and get on an exercise program that you will follow through with for at least 4 weeks, that you’re willing to carry a journal, track how many sets/reps/and weights used. Start with a 12-set per muscle group and 6-8 reps per set. Follow this for 4 weeks, and each week increase the weight once 6-8 reps becomes easy.
Goal: Gather data so that you can make an objective decision on what’s working and what’s not. Does a certain exercise hurt? Write that down. Do you feel super hungry at a certain time? Write that down. Do you have sleep issues? Write that down. Does the nutritional plan you’re on make you binge on donuts 5 days a week? Write that down. Then take that to someone who knows what they are doing so they can help you figure out a better strategy tailored to you.
You Will Never Crunch Your Way to Abs
Walk into any gym at any given moment and you’ll find a handful of people crunching away on the ab mats. Ask them why they’re doing this and there’s a good chance they’ll tell you it’s because they want a six-pack.
Everyone wants a six-pack. But few ever approach their plan of action in the manner to actually GET abs.
Walk into any gym at any given moment and you’ll find a handful of people crunching away on the ab mats.
Ask them why they’re doing this and there’s a good chance they’ll tell you it’s because they want a six pack.
Everyone wants a six pack. But few ever approach their plan of action in the manner to actually GET abs.
(Or can you have both?)
Little secret: abs are revealed from a consistent caloric deficit, not on the ab mats.
Crunches can be okay for strengthening your core (although there are better ways to go about doing this), but they aren’t going to do much to help you see muscle definition.
For this, you need fat loss. Which is best achieved through proper nutrition.
Realize this now and it’ll save you a lot of time down the road, my friend.
Here’s some context: Working your abs WILL make them look better once body fat is reduced to a certain point. Abs are muscles as well. Which is correct, but without changing overall body composition to less fat and more muscle, you won’t ever see them.
Try this: Figure out what time of the day you usually “mess up,” and eat more than usual for whatever reason. The next day plan is to either eat lighter before that meal to save more calories for that specific time, or plan ahead so you don’t make bad decisions when you’re hungry.
Goal: Hack your decision making so that you lose body fat faster.
Complex Programs Rarely Ever Work
Avoid those overly complex plans that make it feel like you need a PhD to understand them.
Sure, some advanced methods do work, but usually, those methods aren’t all that terribly hard to understand.
If someone is over complicating a plan, it’s very likely they’re getting lost in the details
Getting jacked isn’t all that hard to do. You need to eat according to goal, lift a challenging weight, use compound movements, and harness as much metabolic improvement as possible.
When a program is too complicated, you won’t follow it, and will lead to lack of results.
Complex programs are for advanced trainees. If you are not following basic progressive overload, increasing resistance over time, you shouldn’t concern yourself with drop sets/supersets or rest pause.
Try this: Start weight training three days per week and learn one exercise per day that you do that is a compound movement. Example: dumbbell bench press/barbell squat/dumbbell overhead press. Work on one compound movement each day until you feel confident with it.
Going to Diet Extremes is Never a Good Idea
The diet world can be a scary place. You see many extremist approaches – low-carb diets telling you to avoid more than 30 grams of carbs a day, or a diet so low in fat that even a handful of peanuts will break your plan.
Listen. Extreme approaches rarely work! You might be okay for the first week or two, but after that, you will run into problems. Let me be clear: something extreme is generally something you hate.
Low carb can be perfect for someone and not feel extreme.
High carb can be perfect for someone and not feel extreme.
I’ve seen too many people completely sabotage their life by using diets that are too extreme. The end result is they end up regaining so much extra weight once they come off them that they spend months getting their body back on track.
Save yourself the trouble. Start a balanced approach you enjoy from day one and you’ll be far better off. Then move to a more calculated approach as you figure out what you can sustain.
(No magic here, just six ways to eat less food!)
Try this: Follow a nutritional plan you enjoy for at least 12 weeks without changing it.
Goal: Learn which fat-loss diet you can follow for 12 weeks or more. The best diet is easy to stick with. When it “ends,” you should be eating more of the same foods, not a completely different set of foods.
Note: Hunger is normal when losing bodyfat. You won’t eliminate that, but you can minimize things like binge eating or food obsession by starting off with a plan you enjoy.
Change Will Never Happen Overnight!
Another hard lesson you must learn right now is that change will not happen overnight. There are literally thousands of “quick fix” programs out there promising to help you drop 10 pounds in 10 days or to gain 20 pounds of muscle next Tuesday.
Don’t fall for these.
Ask yourself, “Am I committed to making changes that I will stick to for at least 6 months or more?”
If not, you need to address that first before finding a plan. In order to really succeed with fat loss, you need to change your lifestyle and choices. Sure, you can diet over the short term and see results, but if you revert back to how you ate previously, you’ll be back to where you started in no time.
Set realistic expectations from the start for yourself and you’ll sustain your motivation much better over time.
Try this: Figure out WHY you want to make a change. ask yourself how would my life change if I were to achieve my goals. Write all of those reasons down and put sticky notes in your car, laundry room, toilet seat–everywhere!
Goal: Remind yourself why these goals matter, time will pass regardless. So do it now.
I hope that you have learned a thing or two from this and now are feeling more excited than ever to embark on your journey to a badass body. The right way!
If you can learn from others’ mistakes, you can really short-circuit the negative process and get on track to see the results you desire much more quickly.
If you want even more help getting started and want to learn the fast track to a fit and healthy body, I invite you to Click Here for my FREE email series. In it I will cover everything from why your current plan isn’t getting you the results you want. To why you can ignore 99% of the fitness advice out there. And to how you can really change your life in a remarkable way in just 6 short months!
If you are serious about creating change, this email series is for you.