(You’re probably reading this at your desk, over lunch, or maybe you’re bored. Either way, I thought you should know that it won’t take more than 8 minutes to read.)
It’s the truth.
But no one wants to admit it.
So fuck it, I will.
Working out doesn’t get you the body that you want.
Seriously, it doesn’t.
Doesn’t mean that you should be a lazy piece and just chill on the couch pounding potato chips and ice cream. I’m certainly not advocating that you shouldn’t be working out at all. But, there is too much of an emphasis on working out as a means to getting the body that you want.
Is that a bad thing?
Yea, kind of.
And I’ll get to why in a little bit. But first, an interesting observation that I wanted to share with you.
My friends, colleagues, and even you reading this, have questions like . . .
- How do I lose the last 10 pounds?
- How do I get rid of my midsection?
- How do I become lean?
We all want to look leaner, muscular, sexier, confident, and just feel better. Cool, that makes sense.
Cause, who doesn’t?
So we workout.
Then this kind of stuff starts to happen . . .
- “I’m working out so much but just not getting to my goal weight.”
- “I’ve tried it all, nothing is working, it’s just hopeless.”
- “What else should I be doing besides working out more?”
All of these questions can be solved by focusing on something else entirely from the get go . . .
Eating the right foods.
Now, we’re all fucking busy and got shit to take care of. So today I’m going to show you some pretty cool things that will not only get you closer to the body that you want, but understand why it’s so hard to eat the right food and how to get around it:
- Why We Focus on Working Out
- Why It’s so Hard to Eat Right
- What to Focus on to Get the Body You Want (Video Lesson)
If you don’t want to read my post and just want the video for what to focus on, fine. It kind of hurts my feelings but cool, you can just sign up for my email over to the right, or bottom of this post, and I’ll send you over a copy.
Why We Focus on Working Out
I was talking with one of the trainers at Intrepid Gym and asked, “How many people ask you about proper nutrition and how to eat along with their workout plan?”
He looked at me funny and said, “No one.”
This conversation taking place amidst everyone working their asses off during a great class at Intrepid Gym. Come check it out, I teach at Mondays at 7:45 PM.
Back to my point.
So people kick their ass at the gym doing whatever it is that they do. High-intensity workouts, running, weight lifting, whatever. And I’ve noticed that after these workouts, everyone loves to feel sore. Or, like they just got their ass kicked by a tough workout.
So naturally, we focus on working out to get the body we want.
Even the questions I get around achieving that body are almost always workout oriented:
- What type of workout should I do to get lean?
- What type of workout should I do to get big?
- What type of workout should I do to get toned?
“Well, here are some ideas of workouts that you can do, but more importantly, what’s your diet look like?”
To which I get a blank stare.
Like this person is thinking, what kind of stupid fucking question is that?
I came to the realization that people focus on working out because it feels like they are accomplishing something. Interestingly enough though, studies show that thinking of working out as an exercise, triggers the need to search for a reward, aka snacks and indulging.
Now, working out can be fun. In fact, working out should be fun.
But sometimes, working out can be similar to putting in a lot of hours at the office. It feels like you’ve done a lot of work, but at the end of the day, you know what needed to be done to push the needle forward in the long term. And as seen in the study above, sometimes working out a lot can be less beneficial to getting the body that you want.
To be clear, working out certainly helps to get the body that we want. It’s just not as important as focusing on eating right. In fact, eating right is 80% of the game.
But a lot of people struggle with it. Maybe you do. I do sometimes too. And the reason why?
Well, it should come as no surprise. Eating right is hard as shit.
Why It’s so Hard to Eat Right
Because . . .
It’s a social thing.
We come home, we eat with our friends, our family, or our significant other. Who wants to focus on nourishment when we just want to eat and relax.
When you’re out with friends for dinner, drinks with a date, or lunch with clients, it’s never like . . . “Hmm, what food can I consume so that I can get the body I want.”
Fucking weirdo, who says that?
Some of my female friends have told me that guys won’t get pizza on their dates because they’re afraid of carbs. Bro, get your shit together!
It’s a convenience thing.
If you work in an office, which I’m sure you do since you’re on this site, you don’t have the convenience of a kitchen to cook all your meals.
Yes, I would love to cook all my meals and prepare them fresh at my desk. I just don’t have a stove at my desk to cook whenever I want. Pretty sure that’s against fire code too.
Then you get advice like “prepare your meals”. I love that. Seriously? I didn’t think of that! Thanks for the amazing piece of advice!
Everyone has thought of that. But not everyone does it. Sometimes you just don’t have time, because I don’t know, you have a life?
It’s the wrong information thing.
“I eat healthy”.
Is what I hear.
While this person proceeds to order a double mocha latte whatever the fuck with chocolate whip cream and a “splash” of skim milk.
Often your perception of what is healthy and what actually is healthy are quite different. You have to do some due diligence when putting food into your body because brands have to pay the bills to keep the lights on. And they label their food so that the good things catch your eye, not the bad things.
For example, just because something is labeled healthy or organic, doesn’t mean that it’s a good for you. Like, organic cereal.
Or better yet, having to go on a “diet” to get healthy.
The Atkins diet, the low carb diet, the Paleo diet, I could go on . . .
It just leads to unhealthy decision making and not achieving your goals of getting the body you want. Diets are a bad mentality to have when it comes to eating right.
How about the don’t eat too much bad shit diet?
Practical with a touch of flexibility allowing you to get the body you want, and still eat pizza 🙂
So how do we eat right?
Amidst our social lives, factoring in that convenience is not always an option, and short of paying a substantial amount of money for a nutrition degree, how do you get it done?
Well, lucky for you, I’ve got the answer. Check it out . . .
What to Focus on to Get the Body You Want
To get the body you want, the most important thing to focus on is intake. Working out is obviously important but it’s secondary to what you’re putting into your body.
So the things that I focus on the most to make sure that I get the body that I want are:
- Quality Foods
- Optimal Carb/Low Sugar (More on the low carb thing as this is relative)
- Intermittent Fasting
Ultimately you want to set up a system that allows you to eat the food you want, while getting that athletic build and low body fat, with as little effort as possible. At first, that might be difficult. Like anything though, when you’re getting started it’s always an uphill battle.
All in all, quality food isn’t just about looking good, though that’s the motivating factor. It’s about being healthy too. So when you’re starting out, here are some things that I look at when setting up a system for healthy eating.
For the most part, I always eat organic.
Not “organic cookies or organic rice”. I mean organic vegetables.
It’s probably important to point out that yes, there are different viewpoints on organic veggies, but for the purpose of an easy system, I just shoot for organic. Otherwise, I’d probably just go down a black hole. If it’s something that isn’t available, just defer to the healthier option which is regular veggies.
I try not to eat meat that is grain/corn fed or part of CAFO (Concentrated Feeding Animal Operation). It’s best to stick to meat and eggs that are either pasture raised or grass fed. As for fish, you want to stick to wild and not farmed.
It’s all a cycle when it comes to food. If you eat an animal that doesn’t eat quality food or have a quality life, how good do you think that will be for you?
Think about how our society is affected by diets heavy on grains and corn. Type II diabetes, obesity, and heart disease come to mind. And once you factor in that we all live rather sedentary lives … it’s a recipe for disaster. Now imagine that with animals, but also being pumped with antibiotics and steroids. It’s all the bad shit you see in Food Inc.
Point being, eat good animals and fish. Outside of going farm direct, I typically go for humanely raised, grass fed, and cage free. This might break the bank, but try to get quality protein into your meals weekly. If you can’t do it all the time, or you can’t monitor it, perhaps when you’re out to eat – it’s okay. Something is better than nothing.
I don’t typically eat stuff that I can’t make in my kitchen
That doesn’t mean that I won’t eat ice cream, or have a cookie, or pizza. It just means that they aren’t consistent parts of my diet, I typically order out for them or don’t have them accessible in my apartment.
Optimal carb/low sugar
I won’t get into it too much here, but high level, here, carbs get turned into sugar, and excess sugar gets turned into fat. Sugar and carbs have been public enemy no.1 for the past 5 to 10 years. But it’s all relative on your activity level, and I’ve been guilty of making the low carb mistake myself.
If you’re really not moving around a lot and don’t make it to the gym, taper down those carbs. If you’re doing a lot of Crossfit, or HIIT type workouts, dial them up. I still stay away from pasta and bread, I only focus on quinoa, rice, and potatoes. And those carbs are eaten before and after the workout time period.
Excess sugar in anyone’s diet isn’t good. So, take a look at what your drinking and eating, sugar stacks up quick in a day. I shoot for about 40 grams of sugar max, and lower than that is great. The only exceptions where I don’t stay away from sugar is fruits.
This can be the subject of another article so I’m keeping it high level for this one.
No doctor or health professional ever said that plants are bad for you, ever. If someone is saying that, run like hell the other way. Veggies contain a lot more fiber, are more nutritionally dense, and contain less calories than other foods. In other words, it’s hard to eat them excessively because they’re so filling and even if you do, it probably won’t move the needle forward on the scale.
Bottom line, eat plants and veggies.
This is a strategy for decreasing body fat while maintaining or increasing muscle mass. It was popularized by Martin Berkhan with his method of intermittent fasting known as the Leangains Guide.
There are a few other methods of intermittent fasting as well, such as Eat Stop Eat and the Warrior Diet. All carry the same concept of restricting your feeding windows, or times that you eat, to a certain time block in the day. Let’s take lean gains as an example.
The fasting/feeding window here is 16:8. So you don’t eat for 16 hours (sleeping counts), and you can eat food for 8 hours in the day. So if you have dinner at 8pm, you would fast for 16 hours, and break that fast at 12pm the next day.
This is really the best part of my strategy, it allows me to limit my caloric intake for the day and strategically take in calories when I need them, along with when I enjoy them.
Easy and Convenient Fat Loss
The big advantage to applying intermittent fasting is that it burns those “hard to burn areas of stubborn fat”. When you’re at that stage where you want to get those last 2 lower abs it’s a very helpful technique. And if you’re above 10% body fat, it catapults your fat burning and body composition goals.
Not only is it helpful in fat loss, caloric maintenance, but also in focus. I just come in and take care of the most important stuff I need to, booking meetings, emails, reading, laying out my tasks for the day. Everything gets done before lunch.
More importantly …
There are Lots of Health Benefits to Fasting
Research shows that fasting helps to increase secretion of the growth hormone which helps you to reduce fat, slow down aging, and increase muscle mass.
In my experience, with both clients and myself, it’s also the easiest method to adapt to. Let’s face it, adherence is key in any diet.
Fasting also protects neurons from degeneration – so that explains bolstering your mental clarity and focus.
And the beauty to fasting is that though you want to adhere to some level, even just giving your body a break from digesting maybe like 12 hours is good for your body. It’s not even science there, just think about how you feel when you’re constantly eating all the time. Bloated, foggy, etc. Like work, going all the time is tough on your brain. Which is why it’s good to take breaks. Same goes for your digestive system.
These are just 5 of the things that I, clients, and anyone looking for advice, focus on to keep a system in place to get the body that they want. There can be more nuances, but if you’re just getting started, or want to get to the next level of lean, these are great starting points.
You’ll notice that I barely touched upon working out. Because the number 1 thing to focus on when it comes to getting the body you want has little to do with how much you sweat at the gym, but more with the fuel going into your body for either those workouts or your daily activities.
If you have any questions, want me to write about something here or that you have questions about, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll hit you guys up next week with some cool shit to read during lunch. Boom.