Now there is certainly no shortage of nutrition or exercise paradigms that suggest to have the secret formula, but more important than any scientific nuance of a strategy is your ability to adhere to the framework it implies.
Ask yourself, can I see myself doing this 3, 6, 12 months from now? Because ultimately you need to identify a lifestyle, not a diet. Study after study has demonstrated this fact… So consider that question next time you’re thinking about a juice cleanse or a detox.
Otherwise, you want to lose weight, duck tape works just fine.
Kidding aside, here are my 5 Take Home Tactics that can form the foundation of any goals you have:
1) HIIT or Resistance Exercise: we know now, through countless studies you simply don’t need that much time to get a huge benefit from exercise. Particularly of the High Intensity variety, in 5 minutes you can get some of the same physiologic adaptations that result from an hour of lower intensity training. We see everything from mitochondrial biogenesis (or the energy power plant in the muscle) and even improved cognitive function through the creation of new neural pathways. Literally rewiring your body and mind with 5 minutes of intense exercise.
2) Protein, Protein, and Protein: protein is the most satiating macronutrient, meaning the more of it you consume, the faster and longer you stay full.. and less likely to over consume calories. But it doesn’t stop there, it has the highest thermogenic effect of feeding, meaning that although the intrinsic caloric content of 1 gram of protein is similar to carbohydrates, the net calories available to store as body fat are considerably less. This is because of the energetic cost of metabolizing protein, and the difficulty our body has in converting it to body fat.
Protein dense foods: tempeh, planet protein bars, egg whites, white fish, etc.
Carry protein packs with you at all times.
3) Fiber: this one often gets overlooked… but in fact fiber can dramatically improve satiation, bowel regulation, and prevent nutrient absorption. Now this last one sounds like a bad thing, but it’s not. Consider a time you’re about to dive into a bowl of buttery popcorn, fiber can act as a vehicle to keep those extra carbs moving down your GI tract while reducing the amount and rate of glucose being absorbed into the bloodstream where it could be shuttled and stored to fat cells… let’s keep it moving 😉
4) Schedule “Treat” meals: Although I certainly encourage healthy food options for most of your diet, the scientific literature rejects the notion that the generalized exclusion of certain foods is required to achieve and sustain weight loss. In fact, the research suggests a flexible approach could be more beneficial to long-term body recomposition. Again, remember the question of sustainability, can you refrain from your favorite treat forever? …. Even if you don’t have to? What if I said you can actually make a splurge meal a benefit? Well you can, by implementing the first 3 tactics the day of and simply reducing your total calories consumed in the days leading up to that juicy burger you’ve been fantasizing about… these extra nutrients can then be used to replenish muscle rather than be stored as additional body fat. One simple strategy to lower your calorie intake is IF, or simply skip breakfast each day in the 3-4 days prior.
Conservative weight loss: 2 treat days a week, schedule on big lifting days.
Aggressive weight loss: 1 treat day a week or even 10 days.
Either way, schedule these on high volume lifting days.
5) Master Sleep: it’s like we all know we need it, especially after facing the mind numbing effects of a long-night tossing and turning… but our habits hardly reflect that dreaded lesson. Few things can impact performance, in the gym or office, like sleep can… Starting today, you can leverage a couple things to ensure you’re setting yourself up for a good night’s rest and productive morning.
Night: Melatonin, Magnesium, No blue light from cell phone, carb meals
Morning: yes blue light, pre-made coffee or caffeine supplements
What does the science actually tell us? It’s this: the most important thing is consistency.
As in life, plans are only as effective as they are likely to be followed, and attempts to cut out things you enjoy altogether actually reduces the likelihood you’ll stick to a given plan of attack.