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Flexible Dieting: Is it right for you?

iifym elves

Today I’ve got something special for you: a guest post from Matt Dustin on Flexible Dieting. Matt’s a coach and fellow business owner. I had the chance to meet up with him in San Diego a few months back.

Matt’s a great dude who showed me the city, and we kicked around  some big plans for the coming months.

We even shared a “romantic” view in downtown San Diego.
Just kidding, I was the third wheel.

mattdustin, Flexible Dieting

One of the things we talked about was mimimalist nutirtion and flexible dieting. The result is this guest post, a great example of how Matt makes difficult topic comprehsnbile in ways that benefits his clients.  Over to you, Matt.


 

Over the last few years, flexible dieting has taken the fitness world by storm. Many have made arguments that it’s the best approach to dieting. The idea is to eat anything you’d like in moderation.

No more binge eating, because you won’t be restricting yourself from any foods. Intermittent fasting, or maybe six meals a day?

No problem! Hit your macros, and all will be well, regardless of your dietary preference.

Track food, hit macros, see results. Finding foods to hit your missing numbers becomes a fun game of Tetris.

Total sales of Pop-Tarts, Ben & Jerry’s, and donuts have surely skyrocketed thanks to all the shredded Instagram IIFYM-ers.

On the surface, flexible dieting seems like the perfect fix. But is it really?

Where Flexible Dieting Fails

Weighing and tracking every meal simply isn’t practical if you’re a 28-eight-year old career woman, working 12 hour days. Ditto for the parent of three trying to prepare meals for the whole family.

There are times when your family doesn’t want to eat grilled chicken simply because you blew your fat macros on Reese’s cups for breakfast.

 

Perhaps you’re in sales, and take clients out for dinner on a regular basis. Do you want to be checking the nutritional info on your phone, and then stressing over how the kitchen prepared the food that night?

No way.

Finally, some people develop an unhealthy relationship with food. They can become obsessed and/or stressed about missing numbers. They need to try an approach other than compulsive counting.

 

The Minimalist Approach to Flexible Dieting

 

The Pareto Principle is often referenced by life-hacker type people, such as Tim Ferriss of The Four Hour Workweek fame. It simply means that of all your efforts, 20% of them will result in 80% of your results.

“80% of your results come from 20% of your effort”
-Pareto Principle

With nutrition, this means that you should be focusing on the 20% of your habits that will have the most impact on your entire diet.

Simply put, there are major habits you can implement that will bring you incredible results. And there are minor habits that won’t do very much for you. Don’t get so caught up in the small details that you forget the big ones. Or as the saying goes: “don’t major in the minor. ”

Examples of Important 20% Habits

Drink plenty of water, and try to avoid drinking calories when you can. You need water to function. Too many people walk around dehydrated. Carry a water bottle with you, and sip on it all day.

Drink a big glass of water with meals. If you’re watching your figure, it’s probably best to avoid drinking anything with a high-caloric content that won’t fill you up – juice, regular sodas, lattes Just skip those and stay calorie free.

Make sure you eat lean protein and vegetables with each meal. You need protein to recover and build muscle, and you need to get your micronutrients from fruits and vegetables. Both of these food sources will also help keep you full. You won’t feel hungry an hour after your last meal.

Eat healthy fats like egg yolks, red meat and fish in moderation: You need a certain amount of fats in your diet, as they regulate all sorts of things, from cellular health to testosterone production. However, you want the right kind for optimal health. Skip the fats in donuts and ice cream, and try to eat whole-food fat sources high in omega-3s.

Try to avoid processed, sugary foods for most of your meals. Not that these are “bad” per se, but if you aren’t tracking calories and measuring food, it’s very, very easy to overeat the fun stuff. Especially since it’s delicious, and not very filling.

Examples of Not-So-Important 80% Habits

Obsessing over meal timing. Meal timing doesn’t really matter for most people. At an advanced level, it may come into play, especially pre and post workout nutrition.

But unless you’re an elite athlete, you don’t need to worry about this. Just eat when it fits your schedule. And try not to let yourself get so hungry you’ll eat everything in sight.

Expensive supplements. While some supplements can definitely be beneficial, they won’t do much for you if the rest if your diet is crap.

Think of supplements the icing on the cake, accounting for the final 3% to 5% of an overall plan. Supplements are only worth your trouble if the rest of your diet is on track.

Worrying about organic vs. non-organic, artificial sweeteners, GMOs, etc… Despite what the media would have you believe, these issues are barely worth debating for most people. Avoid gluten if you have Celiac’s disease…but if that’s not you, don’t worry about it.

If you’re the specimen of perfect health, then maybe you can lecture people about organic vs. non-organic blueberries. However, if you’re the out-of-shape person eating McDonalds three times a week, you have bigger things to worry about.

The Takeaway

Focus on the big habits mentioned above, and you’ll be much better off than 90% of the general population.

Flexible Dieting for Fat Loss?

Lift weights, eat protein and veggies with each meal, keep your fats low to moderate, and eat some carbs after your workouts. Meal timing doesn’t matter. If you get stuck, try reducing your portions slightly.

Flexible Dieting for Building Muscle and Strength?

Eat protein, vegetables, and carbs for most of your meals, especially pre- and pos- workout. You may benefit from spreading your protein intake throughout the day.

But it probably won’t make much difference. If you aren’t gaining weight, add some peanut butter to your meals.

Eventually, you may reach a point where you need to get very precise with your meals to get to the next level. However, if you don’t plan to step on stage and compete in any physique or strength sports, you should be just fine sticking to the basics.

Focus on the important habits, and you’ll be just fine.

matt dustin, Flexible Dieting

About the Author:

Matt Dustin is an online trainer, performance coach, and fitness author based in San Diego, California. He believes in training for both performance and aesthetics, but is mostly a fitness bro at heart.

You can learn more at his website, The Athletic Physique, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

11 Expert Tips for Rapid Fat Loss

fat loss scale shooting

Special Author’s Note, April 28, 2015:  This is the most popular blog post I have ever published. I seem to have struck a chord. And no wonder. This is the combined wisdom of several top coaches on Rapid Fat loss. It’s newly revised and has a Free Checklist so you can hang it on your fridge. Get that here:

Hook me up with the Checklist, Eric!

Enjoy,

Eric
—————-————————————————————-

You’ve probably experienced the most irritating aspect of building a strong, shredded, and athletic body: stagnation.

While the occasional plateau should be expected, fat loss programs are notorious for creating soul-crushing plateaus that send you into a state of panic and disarray.

The solution sounds easy. Train harder and drop your calories. Right?

Well, not always. Rapid fat loss isn’t always cut and dried. But it does not need to be extremely complicated.

Rather than frantically searching the web for the latest “fat loss secrets,” you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re looking to drop a few pounds to get shredded for summer, or starting a long-term fat loss program these 11 Principles For Rapid Fat Loss will accelerate your progress.

 

rapid fat loss, Photocredit: http://www.theranking.com/favorite-dr-suess-quotes_r11991
Photocredit: http://www.theranking.com/favorite-dr-suess-quotes_r119911.

 

1) Consistent Results Requires Consistent Effort

Mike Samuels of Healthy Living, Heavy Lifting

Despite the wealth of misinformation and popular media like Biggest Loser, fat loss is a long journey, not a quick fix.

Bumps in the road, busy lifestyles, and stress are bound to happen. But you need the perseverance to remain consistent and conquer plateaus.

In my experiences, most people hit plateaus because they’ve become a little complacent with their diet and slack off.

For starters: it’s imperative to start tracking your calorie and macronutrient intake. Eric’s Note: I recommend myfitnesspal.com 

Besides the knowledge and awareness you’ll gain with dietary tracking, you’ll also have a renewed sense of accountability.

Lets face it; most of us know what healthy food choices and unhealthy choices are.

By consciously taking note you’ll reinforce your goal. As yourself:

“Am I accounting for everything I eat? “

“Will this help me?”

You don’t need to choke down rice cakes, chicken, and broccoli with a miserably strict diet all the time. But you do need to be honest with yourself and accept accountability to reach your goals.

 

 2) Start the Day with Protein

 

Anthony Dexmier of anthonydexmier.com

Eat your proteins in the morning. A high protein breakfast will keep you more satiated throughout the day, helping you make better choices and stay on track with your caloric goal.

Whether you choose to have some carbs as well is up to you. (I would save them for dinner.) But making sure to eat a significant amount of protein in the morning will be a game changer.

Don’t forget that willpower has a battery life, and it’s generally full in the morning. If you keep the carbs for later in the day, you will probably find your diet easier to follow than if you find yourself short of calories at night.

Most times, a high protein breakfast is low enough in calories to allow you a nice serving of carbs at night.

 

 3) Carb Cycling Made Easy

 

If you’re looking shred fat, build muscle, and improve your overall health, then carb cycling is your answer.

What is Carb Cycling?

Carb cycling is as easy as it sounds and is as simple as cycling carbohydrates on weight training days (high carb) and non-workout/cardio days (low carb).

High Carb: Due to the repeated muscle contractions of resistance training,  your body will have increased insulin sensitivity. With this increased response to carbs,  your body will drive nutrients into your muscle cells. This aids them in repair, grows them, and provides you with more energy.

Low Carb: On the non-lifting days,  you keep carbohydrates low because there isn’t the same increase in insulin sensitivity. Without carbs flowing through the bloodstream, the body is forced to burn stored fuel or body fat. By minimizing carbs a few days per week, the body becomes more receptive to insulin. When you do indulge on the sugary goodness your anabolic response is maximized.

It doesn’t need to be complicated. Have more carbs on days when you’re training to improve recovery and minimize the carbs on days you’re not training. To learn more on Carb Cycling read a full overview of carb cycling made easy here.

4)  If You ain’t Assessin’, you Guessin’

Andy Morgan of RippedBody.jp

When it comes to changing your body it’s imperative to measure body composition, workouts, and constantly monitor them.

Tracking your progress is essential to success. Measurements of body fat, body-part circumference, lifting stats and scale weight are all vital to give a well-rounded view of your starting point and progress.

Miss any one of them and you’re potentially missing huge improvements or even early indications of plateaus.

Whenever people start dieting there is usually a big initial drop in weight. Dieting usually entails a reduction of carb intake, which brings about decreases in water balance.

Even if you gut it out through the hunger, you actually don’t want to start with too high a calorie deficit because you increase the risk of muscle loss, especially as you get leaner. If you stick to between 0.75-1.5lbs of fat loss per week,  then you will be fine.

Depending on training experience and dedication to your diet, you may experience disproportionate fat loss and slight muscle gain despite being in a caloric deficit.

As a result, muscle gain could be hiding some of your rapid fat loss. You could be gaining muscle while simultaneously losing body fat. But that’s a huge win when it comes to looking better naked and improving body composition.

From there, when it comes to getting shredded without losing muscle, consistency and patience is key.

For more information from Coach Andy Morgan check out this piece on maximal fat loss and his guide to tracking and measuring progress here. 

 

5) You’re Not lifting Heavy

 

By now, you already know fat loss is simple in formula, but difficult in execution. A caloric deficit, provided the body and metabolism are healthy, will cause weight loss.

Problem is, without proper training and dietary protocol, hard-earned muscle is stripped away, along with body fat, minimizing the improvements in body composition—unless you lift to prevent that from happening.

Instead of endlessly plodding on the treadmill and bangin’ out high rep resistance training, place an emphasis on heavy strength training.

 

Hook me up with the Checklist, Eric!

Lifting heavy with sets between one and eight difficult reps will increase testosterone levels and stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibers, offsetting the catabolism of muscle tissue and preserving muscle mass when calories are low.

In other words, to look your best and optimize body composition it’s vital to lift heavy when dieting down. Pick two or three exercises per week during “cut” phases and build strength numbers. Not only will you retain strength, you’ll also hold onto muscle while unveiling a shredded body.

 

 6) Stop Drinking Liquid Calories

 

Fat loss diets suck.

You’re already eating less than your maintenance levels to force fat loss. There’s no way around it.

So why would you waste your time drinking calories, ignoring the satisfaction you get from eating actual food?

When you’re aiming for at loss rapid it’s best to chew as many of your calories as possible. More importantly, the mere act of chewing stimulates digestion with amylase to begin the breakdown of starches. Optimal digestion is vital for overall health and especially fat loss.

Please: Ditch the crappicuno caramel mocha crack-juice, lay off the protein shakes, and use a BCAA supplement for your workouts as needed.

When dieting down, chew all of your calories for better digestion and better adherence to caloric restrictions.

7) Sprints or HIIT

While diet reins king for fat loss, optimizing your body and getting the most bang for your buck is also vital.

That’s where strength works to preserve muscle mass and high-intensity interval training come in. High-intensity interval training becomes the icing on the cake due to the effects of exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC).

 

EPOC is the phenomena where our respiratory rate stays elevated for hours after an intense workout to regain all the oxygen lost during the high-intensity exercise. Essentially, all the air you’re gasping for during sprinting, jumping rope must be repaid.

As a result, your body seeks oxygen to get back to baseline, keeping your respiratory rate and metabolism elevated long after exercise ends.

How much longer are we talking?

Well, in one study, groups repeated three-30 seconds sprints and found they required more energy in 24 hours than 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise (Townsend et al).

Furthermore, the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), examined the role of EPOC and sprinting in weight loss. They concluded that compared to continuous, lower intensity activity, sprint intervals create a greater increase in EPOC.

 

This increase can occur for over 24 hours with appropriate combinations of duration and intensity, leading to greater improvements in body composition (McNeely).

In other words, EPOC helps your body use more calories throughout the day to burn body fat despite shorter workouts.

Oh, and most forms of HIIT like jump rope intervals, sprinting, or complexes stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibers and neural activation, two high-performance muscle sparing benefits.

 

8) Drop grains for greens for at least one week

 

Travis Pollen of Fitnesspollenator.com 

Beijing, we have a problem: You’ve been inspired by Michael Phelps diet when he prepares for the Olympics.

Problem is you’re not a World-Class athlete and you don’t require thousands of calories and carbohydrates to support training.

Instead, you’re focused on shredding body fat.
More specifically, rapid fat loss to look great naked and improve your health.

In this case, dropping carbohydrates down and going grain-free for seven days is a great trick that’s worked well with tons of clients, according to Coach Travis Pollen.

“I recommend eating all the fruit, veggies, and yams you want and even a bit of dark chocolate (70%+ for max benefits) if it satisfies a sweet tooth.”

The biggest reason to drop grains is decreased gut inflammation and an overall cleaner diet. By replacing Grains with greens you’ll consume fewer calories yet higher fiber, plus more phytochemicals and other awesome nutrients to improve digestion and overall health.

Most importantly, one week without pasta, rice, bread, cereal, etc. will leave you leaner and feeling great.

This isn’t a requirement past one week, but I urge you to try it and re-evaluate after seven days. Either continue on the same plan indefinitely or add some grains back in – but do so only in moderation and an increase in greens.

 

Dinner time, boom.

A photo posted by bachperformance (@bachperformance) on

9)You Eat too much—calories are king!

 

It should be obvious that except for hormonal imbalances, the number one reason you’re not losing body fat is you’re consuming more calories than your burning. 

Calories are still king, you must be in a caloric deficit for rapid fat loss. For moderately active people (sedentary job, 3-4 workouts per week), multiplying bodyweight in pounds by 10-12 will put them a few hundred calories below their baseline to trigger fat loss. If you’re more active, go with 12-14 calories/lb./bodyweight to compensate for additional activity.

Eating less sucks, but it’s necessary. All goals worth achieving take sacrifice and fat loss is no different. Drop your calories using the recommendations listed above. Aim to be 300-500 calories below maintenance and no more to avoid crashing the metabolism and plateauing.  

 

10) Try Fasting for 12-16 Hour Periods

 

Per my last point, calories are still king. Fasting is the strategy I use to get photo-shoot ripped and accelerate fat loss because it makes your eating window shorter. Without going into the depths of all the science, intermittent fasting requires taking periods of 12-16+ hour periods without eating or drinking calories and then using the remaining hours of the day as feeding window.

As a result, you’re able to cue in on true hunger signals for better self-awareness, restrict your calories to hammer fat loss, and potentially improve digestive health by giving your gut a rest.

IF is tough and requires consistent effort, but it’s a liberating dietary style that accelerates fat loss allows for a little more flexibility in food choices, which you can read more about here from my man John Romaniello here, and here.

11) Reduce Stress

Life is already stressful. Jobs, family, school, and daily stressors have a big impact on our overall mood and function. More specifically, when you’re stressed your body produces more cortisol, a hormone that potentially increases body fat storage.

Having worked with hundreds of busy professionals, parents, and athletes it’s shocking how many people are constantly stressed, all day, every day. Unfortunately, this makes dieting down difficult, starting a vicious cycle of stress about a diet and lack of fat loss that ironically, makes fat loss more difficult.  

Take time each day to unwind by yourself, meditate (I recommend the headspace app), laugh, and do something fun.  My dad always said if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong, and he’s spot on. Take time to chill, relax your brain, and reap the benefits of a lower stress lifestyle 

Wrap Up 

Like any goal, there are multiple routes to your destination. In the case of rapid fat loss, the main tenets will always be a sound diet that puts you in a caloric deficit, and consistent efforts in the kitchen and gym. Plateaus are bound to happen, and that’s why we’re here.   Armed with these 11 Principles for Radical Fat Loss you’ll be able to troubleshoot your routine and get back on track.  

Hook me up with the Checklist, Eric!

 

Resources: Baechle, Thomas, and Roger Earle. Essentials of Strength and Conditioning. 3rd. Champaign, Il: The Role of Excess Post- Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) In Weight Loss Programs; National Strength and Conditioning Association

McNeely, Ed. Townsend, Jeremy R., et al. “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) Following Multiple Effort Sprint And Moderate Aerobic Exercise.” Kineziologija 45.1 (2013): 16-21. 

Are you Lying to Yourself? Guest post by Unleash Your Alpha

Today’s guest post comes courtesy of my good friend,  trainer, and author of Amazon Best Seller Unleash Your Alpha, Mike Campbell.  I first crossed paths with Mike- via the interwebz in a coaching group with Jon Goodman–since then, we’ve talked shop countless times. Hell, Mike was kind enough to guide me through my first photoshoot, to say I respect him in an understatement. 

Fast-forward time a bit and Mike and I continue to share messages back and forth on training, nutrition, and arguing over American Football vs. Rugby. I’m afraid I’m losing that battle– those guys are bad-ass. Mike and I have decided to share a few guest posts over the coming months.
Enough of me, this guy is an Amazon Best Seller and has some great perspective in the post below.

Enjoy!

-Eric

Are you lying to yourself?

 Posted by Mike Campbell

pinocioYes, you are. Well, to assume so is pretty safe, seeing as most of us do.  A lot.

What do I mean? Let me explain through a few common examples…

“I really want to just lose the extra padding around my gut. I eat well and train regularly…”

In my experience- no, no you don’t. No really. And therein lies the key. So often guys say they want to drop body fat, usually stressing how much they want it. The problem is that their actions – for the most part – don’t reflect that ‘want’, and therefore they’re lying to themselves because they don’t really want it. What they mean is “I really want to lose fat easily

“I’ve just got to get through this busy period, and then I’ll be ready to hit the gym properly…”

Umm, yeah, no. You’re ready when you say you are. Not when forces external to you dictate it. I’ve heard this a million times. Maybe a billion. Your life is just that- yours, not someone else’s to determine. Usually this is a form of procrastination, simply passing the buck for inaction on to the boss/work/family/other…  If you don’t make the choices that dictate your behaviours and actions, well, you’re fucked. Choose to start now. Simple. Or the end result is… you’re lying to yourself.

 

“I can eat this, I’m bulking, bro…”

really, unleash your alphaYeah, really? (Said in high pitched doubtful voice). Are you ‘bulking’, or are you using that as an excuse to eat whatever you like, get bigger and simply say “Yeah, I’m bulking at the moment.”? There are ways of going about putting on muscular size so that you remain pretty lean, that don’t (and shouldn’t) involve simply pigging out on anything and everything. Not, just get huge and stuffing your faceand hormones. In my experience ‘bulking’ usually means… you’re lying to yourself.

And one of my favourites (not), the all too common ‘reality’ TV situation:

“I just want this so badly”

No you don’t! You really don’t. Otherwise you wouldn’t be pinning all your hopes on a show that hands you that end result. If you really want it that badly you’ll go away and make a plan to succeed. You’ll then set about making that happen with every fibre of your being. You’ll hustle, sacrifice and repeat. You won’t live your normal life and then cry that it wasn’t handed to you on a TV show. What you mean is “I just really want this so badly for free”. I’m (not) sorry, but you’re most definitely lying to yourself.

There are endless examples here, in all walks of life; business, personal, social, but the most pertinent for us is regarding our health and fitness – our body.

At the end of the day, regardless of what is said, most guys are simply lying to themselves.

This can be due to knowledge and current capabilities, but it doesn’t really matter, because…

You just don’t want it badly enough.

If you really want it then you’ll find out what needs to be done, you’ll expand your capabilities and you’ll make it happen.

The number 1 reason stopping most guys from reaching their body composition goals is because their actions do not reflect what is necessary to achieve that goal- they want the body they have in their mind’s eye, but they don’t want to work that hard for it, they want it to come easily. So, what must we do…?

Values, Vision and Vehemence

The three V’s of success that is sadly missing from so many guys. Working on these 3 things, putting your energy and commitment into them will ensure that you are not only on the road to attaining your goals but you’re no longer lying to yourself; you’ve chosen to make it happen.

Values

values, unleash your alphaThe first thing, before any kind of dreaming and goal setting is to think about, and then set down on paper what your core values are. What is it that you value most in life? What things are most important to you? What can you not live without? What must be in your life every (or nearly every) day? What qualities do you value most in yourself and others?

Brainstorm on these, refine them and get your top 5. Now you can start to set some goals around these. For now you have perspective and a point from which everything else is relative and accountable.

If your health and happiness is a high value then you must reflect that in your behaviours and daily actions; make sure you eat like a man; prioritise good food, train like a beast; regular & effective training, quality sleep- whatever is relevant to you reaching your health and happiness goals. Whereas if you say you value your health, yet you consistently act against that, prioritising work, poor food choices and pissing it up, you are simply not aligning your actions with your values. A simple shift in priorities will stop you from lying to yourself. On the other hand if you’d rather work hard and hit the booze often over getting in great shape, so be it – just be honest and know that’s what your values are.

Knowing your values and being able to come back to them regularly is vital to knowing your path and where your health and body composition goals fit in the big scheme of things. If you want to unleash your alpha, do you value it enough to do so?

Vision

vision-nelson-mandela-picture-quoteWhich brings us to vision. Now that your values are set and you have some goals in place, don’t stop there. Setting simple outcome orientated goals isn’t enough. Sure, losing 20kg and regaining your sex drive is nice, but so what? What then? Why? Why do you want that? What does it mean to you? What you need to do from here is take your values and your surface goals and dig deeper, like way deeper.

Create a bold and exciting vision for your life. Incorporate any kind of superficial goal you have, but explain why and what it means to you and how that is evident in your day to day life (in the future; 3-5 years/whatever is appropriate for your situation). Tell a story, be creative and outline what your body and life is like and keep in mind that this should light you up. This vision should see you living out your values from above.

This vision is to be written by hand a few times and refined if need be. Then read it. A lot. Read it every day. If it isn’t making you think “Fuck yes I want that to be my life!” then it’s not strong enough- you need to want it badly. From here you should be itching to make your actions and behaviours those that will make that vision a reality.

Vehemence

hustle, unleash your alphaWhich is now when you should act with utter vehemence – relentless hustle – to make those dreams, that vision, come true. Without truly committing and acting day to day in ways that get you closer to your goal, you’re simply lying to yourself. Keep in mind however, that your vision must be powerful enough that you happily act accordingly.

Once you have this vision and your values set out, you can set out a plan that will see that realised. From here you must live out the plan, vehemently. Hustle, sacrifice and have faith in your own strength.

This isn’t saying that you must be a monk and never do things that aren’t directly in line with your vision. We’re talking 85-90% of the time. You have to chill, relax and unwind – whatever that may be, as it is goal and situation dependant. But your determination to make your vision a reality must win out; otherwise you’ll be lying to yourself again…

comfort zone, unleash your alphaIt’s a cliché, but it’s also true and often apt:

Success comes from stepping outside your comfort zone

This discomfort will manifest in numerous ways- saying no to certain foods, declining the booze at a work function, bumping a meeting because you have to train, whatever- bold things don’t come from doing the same old thing, remaining comfortable and never stretching yourself.

Before you ask “Surely it’s not all hustle?” let me point out that every situation is different. You need to find your relative level of push for you and your priorities, but always check – am I lying to myself?

Let me paint a recent example:

Unleash amazon front, unleash your alphaThis nutrition and training caper isn’t that hard for me, I am pretty lean and fit all the time. Why? Because I value it highly, so I act accordingly. But when it came to a big vision of writing a bestselling book, well that was a different and incredibly uncomfortable story.

So I aligned my values and what it meant to me, I incorporate this into my vision and then could set a plan in place. From here I vehemently went about making this happen.
Was it easy? Hell no! But because I wanted it badly enough and I knew what it meant to me, where it fitted in my values, vision and therefore my priorities, I was able to keep acting in ways that made it happen and got me closer to reaching it every day. I hustled and constantly sacrificed because of the end result. I was probably more boring than I normally would be, but I still had fun, chilled and tried to set aside time every week to relax and do things I enjoy – with my priorities in mind – but the overriding theme was: get this book done and whatever is necessary to make it a success.

Now Unleash Your Alpha is an Amazon #1 bestseller.

A little bit every day leads to a lot

Is just takes some values, vision and a lot of vehement follow through.

If you actually want to get that thing you say you do, you’ll check that you’re not lying to yourself, and then you’ll prioritise making it a reality.

But first you have got to make the choice that this is what you really want.

Once you’ve chosen your desired path you can plan out how to get there.

Then you have to hustle and do so with relentless consistency.

Only then are you being truly honest with yourself and putting yourself in the best place to succeed.

In order for this stuff to happen and continue to happen, you have to be able to look within yourself for the strength to do so. You have to have a strong faith in yourself and your ability to change, learn and grow.

That doesn’t mean you can’t outsource some things and ask for help, coaching and guidance – this you should most definitely do – but you have to be able to cover the general values, vision and vehement follow through yourself.

Only you can determine your fate, so go and do it.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION If you have questions about this topic or would like some advice specific to you, please join the discussion on facebook:

About the Author

Mike is the creator and author of Unleash Your Alpha. He is also a geek, like a massive geek when it comes to training, food and health. So much so that he ate 52 different meats in 2012. Plus he loves to cook, eat and talk to his food. He loves stone fruit, cold beer, red wine and to think of himself as Batman. And he likes to lift heavy things and eat many a variety of meat. He pours his energy into fine tuning the best ways for guys become the best man they can be.

Hormones and Body fat Distribution

getting back into shape, Fat Deposits and Hormone Correlations

Dude…is it true all this beer is giving me man boobs?

I keeled over and nearly spit my beer all over the table. I was 21 years old, an undergrad in kinesiology and kickin’ back a few beers on thirsty Thursday with my friend Chris.

“No, I mean, seriously. I heard beer has compounds that mimic estrogen. So drinking a lot of beer throws guys hormones off and gives us man boobs. Is this right?  At the time, I wasn’t sure. Three beers deep I was tipsy and didn’t really care. In hindsight maybe I was being a jerk. But then again, I wasn’t completely sure.

Do hormone imbalances play a role in where we store body fat? Is excess cortisol the reason some of us have stubborn belly fat that won’t go away?

Is excess cortisol the reason some of us have stubborn belly fat that won’t go away?
Taken a step further, by naturally working to improve hormone levels can we get rid of stubborn body fat to become stronger, leaner, and look better naked?

The more clients I work with, the more I believe hormones play a significant role in body fat and body fat distribution. Before going any further I must note that I am not a doctor. This is no attempt to treat any medical condition; rather, to paint a picture of a few possible reasons for stubborn body fat. That said, using well-planned resistance training, small tweaks in your diet, and avoiding environmental toxins you can potentially improve natural hormone levels for less fat and more muscle. I put together a free guide showing you what to do. Grab it here.


Here are some common issues and questions that my clients bring up when coming in for body composition testing, typically done as skinfold measurements and body circumference measurements.

“My arms and chest are toned and lean, but I just can’t seem to shake this stubborn lower belly flab, why am I lean everywhere but my stomach?”

“I can’t get rid of this stupid fat around my hips, it looks like a muffin top!”

“ Why am I developing man boobs  fat on my chest muscles?”

I’ve heard every combination of slang terminology for fatty deposits around the body. As funny as some of them may be they represent real, common problems that can wreak havoc on both physique and confidence.

Having body fat tested is a great way to get a reliable, quantifiable idea of your current body composition and is recommended for everyone. If this is not an immediate option, make it a priority. Check out this post on how to estimate your body fat percentage based on what you see in the mirror.

Skinfold measurements will provide vital information to track body composition with changes in activity level and diet. These numbers from a skinfold also provide important data that can signify correlations between important body altering hormones in the body and skinfold measures.

Here are the most common trouble spots along with necessary interventions and strategies to correct the issue:

High abdominal Skinfold

  • Physiological Correlation: High Stress, High Cortisol
  • Intervention: Cortisol Suppression, Stress Control
  • Potential Strategies: Frequent protein meals, improved sleep, BCAA’s, stress reducing techniques such as meditation.

High Suprailliac Skinfold (hip region)

  • Physiological Correlation: Large Insulin Release w/meals (Likely too much sugar)
  • Intervention: Control Carb intake and greatly reduce processed foods
  • Potential Strategies: Consider a low carb diet. Better yet, try carb cycling, as outlined in this article.

High Subscapular Skinfold

  • Physiological Correlation:Poor Insulin Sensitivity (too many carbohydrates, too little exercise)
  • Intervention:Boost Insulin Sensitivity
  • Potential Strategy: Add Fish Oils, R-ALA Supplementation, Low Carb Diet, potentially Intermittent fasting protocols

High Chest Skinfold

  • Physiological Correlation: Low Testosterone, high estrogen
  • Intervention: Support Healthy Testosterone Levels
  • Potential Strategy:Adequate caloric intake, adequate dietary fat intake, possible medical referral. Avoid alcohol, beer specifically.

High Triceps and Thigh Skinfold

  • Physiological Correlation: High Estrogen
  • Intervention:Reduce estrogen levels
  • Potential Strategy: Increase exercise volume, add cruciferous veggies (always a good idea), discuss prescription estrogens with doctor

As you can see there is a pretty consistent consensus that many hormonal issues stem from poor exercise and dietary habits. Body composition is very diet specific and using the potential strategies to attack trouble spots can help you lose fat, improve your overall health, and look better naked.

It is important to note that if body fat is high universally on all body composition measurements then correlations are relatively meaningless. You need to lose body fat to improve your overall hormone profile. Our 30-day fat loss transformation plan can help you lose 6-10 pounds in one month. Join us next month by applying here.

Other Tips

If looking to lose weight do whatever is necessary to increase your activity level, but studies show 5+ hours per week is what is needed to optimally lose weight. And if you’re looking for a workout program to maximize your fat loss, here’s a free program to get building your dream body.

Hook me up with the Free Fat Loss Program, Eric!

Sources:

Andrews, Ryan, MS,MA,RD. Berardi, John, PhD,”Chapter 12 Interpreting Client Information.” The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. 2nd ed. N.p.: Precision Nutrition, n.d. 316-18. Print.

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