I was just thinking last night how simple this is. Everyone likes to make it so much more complicated than it really is. “Eat this, not that”; “4 sets of 5 are ‘better’ than 3 sets of 10”; “Steady state cardio sucks, all you need is HIIT”; “Blondes are better than brunettes”.
That last one is ENTIRELY false. Well, in terms of attraction that is. Well, in terms of the wimenz that is.
Step 1: Be awesome.
Mind your C’s and P’s
That would be “Calories” and “Protein”. Regardless of your physique goal, if it’s weightloss or weight gain, calories and protein are the only 2 markers I track.
Protein stays consistent regardless of my goal. I want to weigh 180lb. someday so I set my daily protein intake at 180g/day. 180g of protein is approximately 720 calories. (You’ll need this later.)
Calories change depending on the goal. If I want to lose weight, calories in must be less than calories out. If I want to gain weight, calories in must be greater than calories out.
How Many Calories Do I Need?
This is where some testing and documentation is required. It’s said that you need 500 calories a day deficit or excess in order to gain/lose one pound per week. That’s a good place to start, but that doesn’t take into account TEF (thermal effect of food) or how an individual processes certain macro nutrients.
My suggestion is set your protein intake like above, and then calculate the rest of your calories from there. Of course, that means you need to accurately document how many calories you’re eating right now. (I suggest a cheap food scale and The Daily Plate for tracking.)
For my example, protein makes up 720 calories of my daily intake. If I estimate that I eat 2,200 calories per day and I want to LOSE weight, I’ll start with the 500 calorie “golden rule”. 2200 calories, minus 500 golden rule calories, minus 720 protein calories equals 980 calories available for fats and carbs. In easy to read math format: 2200-500-720=980.
Now, stick to that intake for a week or two. Do you notice changes you’re looking for? If yes, stay the course. If not, decrease calories, increase activity, or change your fat:carb intake ratios (which is a post all by itself).
You simply must have goals. Goals are your motivation. If your only goal is to look better, in my experience, it’s not enough to keep yourself motivated. Choose another goal and be specific. Maybe you want to do 20 pull-ups in a single set as well as increase your vertical jump. Improving your physique and setting strength goals are not mutually exclusive. Plus it gives you something to work for other than just how you look in the mirror.
Progress is by far the best motivating tool we have. If your only goal is to look better, but you’re not seeing results there, maybe you’ll see progress towards your pull-up goal. That’s still progress. You’re still building muscle. You’re still getting stronger. It may be a psychological victory, but a victory is a victory, no? It will keep you excited to keep training, no? Exactly.
The reason martyr-fit and P90Sux works is because people stick to it day in and day out regardless of pain. Which is retarded and could easily lead to injury. Regardless, training every day is a surefire way to achieve goals.
I *may* be biased, but I think biofeedback is better. It ensures you don’t overtrain every single day. It ensures you *most likely* won’t have DOMS so debilitating that you have to take a day off. I know a lot of people on the protocol that train 27 out of 30/31 days in a month without ever overtraining. You want to talk about fast progress? Don’t take days off.
Speaking of biofeedback, not only does it ensure that you don’t pummel yourself into the ground day in and day out, it also allows you to choose the the movements that will be the best for you on that particular day. Read: most efficient with highest quality movement. So, if you consistently pick the lifts/exercises/movements that allow you the highest quality of work AND train every single day your schedule allows, do you not see how that allows you to achieve your goals faster? More safely? Pain-free?
In that sense, I don’t believe in sets and reps. I let my body dictate my sets and reps. I don’t follow a piece of paper that says you *must* do this exercise and you *must* do this weight and you *must* do these sets and reps. That piece of paper has no idea how I’m feeling that day, what’s sore, how much sleep I got, or what I’ve been eating. But my body does. By doing this, you are guaranteed progress every day.
What has that gotten me? Well, I posted this on my Facebook last night:
When I weighed 180-185lb., I had trouble squatting 275lb. for multiple reps per set. My 1RM was still 335lb., but multiple reps above 255lb. was really hard for me. Last night I weighed in at 167lb. and did 7 sets of 3 reps with 275lb.
To be completely honest, I don’t squat that often. Once a week, maybe? Most of the time front squat tests better for me, and I rarely go over 225lb. So how could front squatting 225lb. increase my back squat?
Easy: pick movements that allow the highest possible quality of movement, don’t follow a piece of paper written by someone else, be consistent.
Oh, it’s also the reason I never use a foam roller or do any static stretching. Here’s another “dirty secret”. Are you ready for it? Come closer….No, closer….. *whispering* I don’t even warm-up before lifting. *GASP!!!!*
Alright, that got a little bit longer than I had hoped. (That’s not what she said.)
This is really what I wanted the entire post to say:
Nutrition: Set your protein and be mindful of your calories for your goals.
Training: Set specific goals, train frequently, don’t hurt yourself, progressive work capacity as dictated by your body.
That’s it. Need any help with those things? Send me an email. I get bored at work and would love to help you out.
Don’t Miss Your Chance
I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.
Then I took control.
You can too, and it starts right here.
Great Info! I am posting to my facebook page to get you more traffic 😉 Keep it up!!
Love it! Keep up the simple & straightforward nature of your posts.
Dave,, thanks for again [and again]reminding us of this simple fact. Calorie in vs calorie out for weight loss [body composition is another story ]. Is that so hard for those fad dieters to understand?! But they are capable to remember weight watcher’s points, what is better to eat from eat this not that, Glycemic Index of carbs source, etc.
Life is simple but we insist to make it complicated..
PS: English isn’t my first language
I had shared your post and wanted to share one of my friend’s reply:
“But if it’s made suitably complicated, then it’s way easier to justify to yourself that your failure wasn’t due to complete laziness.”
Thought others might enjoy. 🙂
Heads up for the link on the calorie tracker. Definitely way more intuitive than DailyBurn, which was the best I had found yet.
Also, great article. But you know that since I shared it. Right? ;P
Thanks for reposting it! I appreciate any free publicity I can get. :p
As long as sufficient protein is met training at a proper intensity, I’m willing to bet that body composition and weightloss go hand in hand. However, if someone is not exercising or doing any loaded movements (lifting weights), then they will most definitely be skinny fat.
No problem. I found that website back in the day when Livestrong was just kicking off. Haven’t looked at any others since.
great points, Dave.