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Too many truffles, not enough shuffles

Too many holiday truffles, not enough physical shuffling

Back when I lived in a colder climate that facilitated a hearty “hibernation layer”, January marked the beginning of my annual pursuit of fat loss. Unbeknownst to those around me, I named this 8-12 week period Operation Rub-a-Dub-Dub Burn Off the Chub.

But enough of my painfully nerdy internal dialogs…

With spring on the horizon you yourself may be in the market to drop some El-Bee’s.

To burn some Kee-Lo’s for our international brethren.

To say “scram” to those extra grams?

Alright, let’s get a grip here.

Do you want to know what the fundamental principle behind my annual fat loss program was? The fundamental principle behind all nutrition programs- both for weight loss and weight gain?

“Cut out Gluten!”

Who let that guy in here?

The most basic and important aspect of nutrition planning is calorie balance.

It’s Diet 101. The Foundation. The Roots.



Not these Roots…

Although they’re great and you should listen to them too. Maybe after you finish reading this…

Getting Down To Business…

The calorie (technically kilocalorie for those of you in the know) is a measured unit of energy.

Assuming you don’t  grow leaves and photosynthesize it from the sun, you’ll be eating to supply the energy your body needs to live.

Thus, food is often referred to as having “XYZ calories”. This tells you how much energy your body will get from eating said food, make sense?

Whether you gain, maintain or lose body weight will depend on whether or not you consume more energy than you expend.

The Expenditure Side

There are 3 elements to how much energy we expend in a given day.

  1.  The energy your body expends on the basic processes of maintaining the status quo: bodyweight, breathing, keeping your brain and heart working, etc. is referred to as your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. BMR for individuals can range massively from 1,000 cals/day for a small female to 3,000+ for a large male.
  2. The energy expended to digest your food is referred to as the Thermic Effect of Food, or TEF. Somewhere between 1 and 30% of the calories you consume will be expended via the thermic effect of food. That range depends on what type of foods you eat. Protein has the highest TEF, so if you eat two diets of 2000 calories and one has significantly more protein, you’re actually likely to lose more weight on the higher protein diet.
  3. The energy you expend performing activity is exactly as it sounds. It’s important to recognize that activity includes quite literally everything, not just the calories you expend in the gym. I’m expending calories just typing this…

Consider those the three musketeers of calories out. Picture them with mustaches and tri-cornered hats if it helps.

So what about the calories in? Pretty simple, it’s how many calories you eat in a given day/week.

Every diet created to date has simply manipulated calorie intake via banned foods/meal frequency/etc. to cause the dieter to somehow consume less energy than they expend.

That reality is not as exciting as blaming 1 food for all your problems, and that’s why people aren’t sold on it. As you know, on this site we’re in the business of truth, no matter how unsexy that truth may be.

Approximate sexiness of dietary reality

Approximate sexiness of dietary reality

So now you’ve got the inside scoop, and you’re armed with the first principle of diet planning.

In the 201 series we’ll be covering protein, carbs and fat and how they fit into the picture of total calories we covered here.

Did this post help make clear up some of your misconceptions regarding diet?

If so, do me a favor and share it so that we can help spread the good word of sensible nutrition.

Duder Himself Talks Stress Management

Duder on Stress Management…

 …sadly, we’re not talking about The Dude here. Or even El Duderino; not being into the whole brevity thing.
No, in this article it’s all about addressing the mountains of irrelevant concerns people have regarding their workout programs and nutrition.
Early on in my personal training and performance coaching career I noticed a disturbing trend.
Perfectly competent, intelligent individuals going nowhere fast in their health/fitness endeavors due to one paralyzing factor: Information Overload.
How many days a week should I work out?
What can I do for weight loss?
How much cardio should I do?
How many times a day should I eat?
Should I avoid fat?
Should I avoid carbs?
Should my nutrition come from a Paleo diet?
How much protein is enough?
Can I eat at night?
Should I do intermittent fasting?
Am i overtraining?
Should I drink a shake after I work out?
What supplements should I be taking?
Should I be training to increase my VO2 max?
What about my lactate threshold?
Should I consume plutonium to increase my mitochondrial density?
… You get the point.
Walter could probably use some tips from Red Rocks Health & Human Performance on destressing/healthy lifestyle.
Sure, there’s a million and one things you can worry about when it comes to training and even more when it comes to nutrition. The fact remains that unless you take action when it comes to those questions, you’ll remain the same.
“There is no more miserable a human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.”
– William James
If you’re already snowballing downhill, that path will only continue unless you make a conscious effort to change course.
Even The Dude knew he had to stop them from killing that poor woman, man. And he had the sense to know it was going to require action.
And therein lies the secret; action.
I can’t tell you what workout program is most effective for you, only that you should be physically active every day of your life. A good way to start is simply to do something.
I could make some predictions based on personal experience with myself/clients and research on what type of program is best. But truthfully, I have no idea how many days a week you should be working out or how much conditioning is right for you.
Anyone who tells you this without working with you personally first is a quack and the only ducks you should accept are those pan roasted and served with a side of vegetables.
These things require trial and, inevitably, error. Do yourself a favor and start small. A couple 30 minute workouts. One long walk. Build up to where you see results and you’re at a point that you can maintain.
Progressive overload is the only thing you absolutely need to focus on. Write it down and keep track. Are you using more weight this month at x repetitions for y exercise than you were last month? Are you running x distance at a faster pace or more distance at y pace? Not having access to a gym is no excuse, I’ll give you an example why in a second.
As far as nutrition goes there is even more uncertainty.
Heard you should eat your body weight in protein a day?
Eat 6 meals a day?
Low carbs? Plenty of carbs?
Low fat? Gluten free?
Nothing but pills/powders?
Pills/Powders? Here’s an answer to which fat burner you should take… not this one.
How many meals a day? I was fortunate to see Dr. Berardi speak at the NSCA National Conference a couple weeks ago and his experimentations on himself are worth the read. You can find them here. Please read everything, what works for him may not work for you, he clarifies that himself.
Herschel Walker is a vegetarian and consumes 1 meal a day. He never touched a weight until he played college football.
“No Meat! He’ll surely wither away into Screech from Saved by the Bell!”
I wonder who does his personal training?It’s tempting to warn the man, but then again he’s been eating that way for over two decades.
One can only assume this has worked because he has a rug that ties the room together.
Would Walker’s approach work for you? Who knows.
There are only two recommendations that I believe can apply to everyone.
1) Consume a hearty amount of fresh vegetables and a moderate amount of fruits daily. Fiber is your friend.
2) Eat whole, unprocessed foods for the vast majority of your diet. Body composition may be as simple as calorie deficit/surplus, but your actual health is not so cut and dry. In general, naturally occurring foods have more vitamins, minerals and fiber than processed, pre-packaged foods.
Have faith in what you’re doing, do it with a purpose in mind, and stay dedicated.
When it gets tough, just remember… THE DUDE ABIDES.
His Dudeness making some healthy nutrition choices for weight loss
 …or EL Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.
 Enjoy this post? Do me a favor and like it on Facebook, Tweet about it, Sing it from the rooftops or Shout it from the hedges a la Cyrano de Bergerac.