Saw a hilarious video the other day of things women say to personal trainers and I can tell you that I’ve absolutely heard every last line in that clip. While I am sure it was created tongue and cheek, one of the things that really rang true for me was the scene with the cookie.
“Why aren’t I losing weeeeeeeeight?”
“Well, what are you eating?”
“I eat perrrrrrrfect! I only had one cookie”
(after five minutes)
“Okay, I had two…..boxes of cookies.”
Don’t waste my time or your trainer’s time with questions in which you know the damn answer.
That said, there are men and women out there who put in real effort with plenty of blood, sweat and tears only to experience moderate results for themselves. Typically speaking, all it takes to go from moderate to excellent are just some slight training and nutrition tweaks. Often times an overhaul is not required and it can just be the little things that tip the scales just enough in the right or wrong direction.
Here are seven suggestions to help you get rid of that stubborn weight that’s camped out like a redneck at NASCAR.
You’re Eating Too Many Grains
This is a BIG one as most people include too many foods in their diet they consider healthy when in reality those foods are causing their body to retain its body fat, rather than burn it as energy. Of these foods grains are the primary culprit. Oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain whatever, and other members of the grain family can actually be very problematic for weight loss despite what those fools at Special K might tell us.
In reality, grain based foods are mediocre energy at best, damaging to our health at worst and most likely fall somewhere in between at “you probably don’t need them at all.”
For the sake of this entry, we’ll save the grain debate from a wide lens health perspective and look at it strictly from a macronutrient perspective.
While you will find some folks who abstain from grains like Tim Tebow does intercourse, I am not one of them. That’s not to say that I don’t believe the science because I do. I just personally find I can’t completely remove them from my diet altogether because I like certain foods a bit too much and will dabble every now and then.
The biggest complaint I have with grains is how they cause us to hold onto our body fat and not allow us to switch fuel systems, a vital process for burning fat as I will explain in this video below.
When you consume foods that are entirely made up of grains (breads, rices, pastas, oats, etc) you are more or less eating 100% carbohydrates. That is indisputable science and so is the fact those carbohydrates go one of two places.
- Body Fat
What you do not use as immediate energy gets stored as glycogen. If your glycogen tanks are full than those excess carbs go directly to body fat as they have no where else to go.
Think of a car that you fill with fuel. If you keep pumping when you’ve given it enough fuel it’s going to spill out all over the place and cause a Zoolander freak gasoline accident. So, when you eat meals that have high carbohydrate food you better be burning an absolute shit ton of calories and using even more glycogen if you ever want to tap into body fat as fuel.
Your two tanks for energy are stored carbohydrates (glycogen) and body fat. Go back to the car analogy for a second and since we’ve already dropped a NASCAR bomb let’s keep with theme. If you are constantly filling up that first fuel tank (glycogen) with carbs throughout the day then the car will never need to go into the second fuel tank (body fat) while it’s racing around the track. However, if you cut back on the over-consumption of those carbs and replace those calories with lean protein and healthy fats then you will deplete the first tank and create the metabolic need to kick over to that second fuel tank.
Only then, when you use fat as energy do you actually “burn fat”.
Everyone has a carbohydrate limit before you start storing excess carbs as fat. Again, that’s just science. Typically, that number is around 200g. However, for fat loss you want to generally be below 100g so when you add up that oatmeal, brown rice, fruit and yogurt you quickly see you fly past it pretty quickly.
You’re Too Obsessed With the Cardio Section
Hour long sessions on the treadmill, bike and the fucking elliptical (it will always referred to by its full name on here) might do your cardiovascular system good but they don’t do a body good if you’re just long and steady (that’s what she said). Sure, there is definitely a place for cardio work in a training program but if you are doing nothing but 60 minutes on those machines four days a week then you’re not doing nearly enough to really address what helps you burn fat.
Lean Body Mass
LBM is what increases metabolism and turns you into a lean, mean giving fat a noogie machine. The more LBM you have on you the more your body takes potential body fat, applies the sleeper hold to it, takes its lunch money and then stuffs it into a locker.
If you are going to incorporate a pure aerobic workout in your routine make sure that it’s in the form of interval sprint training so that you are constantly changing speed and pace. One minute sprint, two minutes jog, etc. for about twenty minutes and that’s it.
As you will see below, science has shown over and over again that intervals are the best and most efficient way to burn fat.
In my opinion, the best kind of cardio is the kind you can disguise, like…
You Need More (Heavy) Weight Training
If you haven’t read about High-Intensity Interval Training as an amazing way to both increase strength and burn fat then I urge you to read this. HIIT as it is most commonly referred to was actually first known as IWT or Interval Weight Training when it was first developed by Dr. Pat O’Shea in 1969.
Here is what the good doctor had to say about his theories.
“During strenuous exercise, the rate of metabolism rises, going to about 15 times the resting metabolic rate (RMR)and even higher during intense interval work. For example, running 5 mi/hr the oxygen uptake required is 28 ml 02/min/kg of body weight with 3.7 cal/hr./lb burned, while a short burst of intense interval work may require 100 ml 02/min/kg with 13.8 cal/hr/lb burned. By maintaining the high level of training over a 5 or 6 week period one would expect a significant increase in the ratio of lean body mass to fat. Over a three month period you would be RIPPED like never before.
Intense interval work utilizes a greater percent of the body’s muscles, both slow and fast twitch. Also, performing high intensity work places added energy demands on the respiratory system, cardiovascular system and nervous system. Thus more fat and glycogen are burned to support the expanding energy demands of the body during – and after – intense exercise. In other words, the cost of short intense interval exercise is very high in terms of energy demands in comparison to low intensity aerobic exercise. What’s more, while at rest trained active muscles burn more fat night and day, contributing to further fat loss.”(1)
(Is ‘ripped’ a medical term? If so, this is great news.)
In fact read that again just to make sure you didn’t miss it if you’re more of a “quick skim” reader. Given how busy the modern man is I am sure you could benefit from that kind of gained output/reduced input combination. It’s science like this that clearly inspired circuit training gyms around the country today like P360, CrossFit, etc.
To that I say “in YO FACE, elliptical!”
Further, go heavy. Lifting heavy weight in a circuit format will make you strong as hell and melt fat off your body. Nia Shanks also points out why women need to lift challenging weights to lose fat. She weights 120 pounds and can deadlift over 300, so heed her words ladies.
As you can tell I simply despise the elliptical machine. No range of motion, no muscular development and as the topper it does not pass my smell test of “is this training or is this bullshit?”
If you can read leisurely while performing the exercise then it most certainly does not pass the smell test.
You’re Eating Too Much Fruit
This follows the exact same rationale as the grain in terms of carbohydrate/sugar intake. Fruit’s very beneficial micronutrients also come with a ton of fructose which, when you eat too much of it, is no bueno on our ability to burn fat. For that reason, if you are trying to cut weight we always advise to save your fruits for after you workout so your body uses it as replenishment rather than storage (think nature’s Gatorade), a little tidbit I implemented after following the advice of John Berardi.
If you are a habitual fruit consumer who has had problems losing that stubborn weight then cutting back on your fructose intake can often do the trick. Fruit also has an insulin spiking effect when eaten without any protein so a simple bowl of fruit can sometimes be more problematic than beneficial if you are repeating that meal multiple times per day. When your insulin is spiked outside of training hours your body is typically signaled to store fat.
Before you go all Bill O’Reilly on me, I am not saying to cut out fruit (I am eating a fruit bowl literally as I type this), I am just saying too much promotes fat storage so tread carefully if trying to lose a few stubborn pounds.
You’re Eating Too Much Dairy
I can already hear you. “Hey a-hole. I can’t eat grains. I can’t eat fruit. I can’t eat dairy. So what the hell do I eat?!”
I’ll tell you. Just be patient and simmer. Keep in mind I am not saying not to eat them I am simply saying you may be eating too much of a given food if the fat is not coming off like you had hoped.
Remember, that carb limit is around 50 – 100g and at the end of the day all carbs go towards that total. That includes grains, fruits, veggies, Red Bull vodka slushies and the sugar that’s in dairy.
Greek yogurt is by far the best of this group so if you include dairy in your diet then make sure it’s in this form. Milk and commercial yogurt are loaded with sugar, especially when they come with fruit flavored maple syrup in them.
My personal stance on dairy is that I never eat it as the featured item (yogurt and milk) but am happy to put cheese on veggies and eggs because I flat out de-test the taste of plain, steamed vegetables and anyone who thinks otherwise is a liar or way too healthy to be my friend.
You’re Not Getting Enough Protein
Before you think I am going all Jersey Shore on you, I am not suggesting you eat two chicken breasts with every meal and wash it down with a tall, cool Myoplex. My rule of thumb is just to have a source of animal protein with each and every meal. If you are not doing that you are most likely not getting enough protein which will inhibit your body’s ability to create and maintain that valuable Lean Body Moss.
Protein has a very high Thermic Effect of Eating (TEF) which means our bodies burn more calories simply by eating protein over carbohydrate-rich foods.
They call that a ‘win-win’ in the biz right there.
Worry not. Your body doesn’t always incinerate body fat 24/7. It could just be that you’ve hit a perfectly normal plateau and should do this to counteract it.
I have never seen a diet of grass-fed lean proteins, wild seafood, cage-free eggs, organic vegetables and moderate fruit intake fail to create weight loss. Create your meals around those foods and splurge occasionally on everything else and I guarantee the stubborn weight comes off in no time flat.