Jonny and I have recently become absolutely obsessed with Dr Abraham, an endocrinologist who specialises in diabetes and lipid disorders.
The video brilliantly embodies two important truths:
1. The pernicious myth, perpetuated by the fitness industry that keeps people fat: “If you eat healthy food, you’ll lose weight”
2. The fact that his years of clinical experience and grounding in physiology of metabolism boils down to 3 words for weight loss:
‘It’s any calories’.
“But it’s 1400 calories from vegetables, or cheese, or egg?”
“It’s any calories”
“But what about cake, sweets and fruit?”
“…If you actually get bogged down in thinking that if you don’t eat, then you can’t lose weight, you have to accept that this is a physical impossibility.”
Let’s sit let this sink in for a moment.
Any time you start to get bogged down in life, just remember, it’s any calories.
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Once people really get a real handle on what this man is saying, vast swathes of overcomplicated content in fitness blogs flies out the window as a waste of time in the face of calorie balance: a physical inevitability.
“So do you think the way I use my muscles in my abdomen has affected the way that my fat has collected?”
“No. Not at all”
Obviously our goals are somewhat different to the patient in the video: we want to maximise performance and looking good. So two additional requirements would be resistance training and adequate protein intake to preserve muscle mass. Eric Helms’ nutritional hierarchy succinctly outlines the variables in order of importance:
– Leucine pulsing? Now now, you’re getting bogged down
– Won’t BCAA or milk in my coffee spike my insulin? Bogged down.
– Which is better for ketosis, MCT or coconut oil? Bogged
– Should I use a supinated or neutral grip for my chin ups? …down
– Will fasting 16 cause mTOR downregulation?
^ all questions we commonly receive.
Are you tracking your macros?
– Are you logging your training on the forum, aiming to beat your previous records each week?
I haven’t got round to it
– Worries about how many protein shakes he/she has per day and whether or not the whey is from grass-fed cows who were cuddled and read bed time stories:
-> still doesn’t come close to 1g/lb total protein intake.
2) Rushes to the changing room to slam down a shaker of SUPERANABOLIC post workout drink to sustain MAXIMUM muscle growth.
-> still eats a calorie deficit.
3) Blends 400kcal of fat from grass-fed butter and high octane MCT oil into myco-toxin free coffee to create the optimal fat-burning environment.
-> still eats a calorie surplus.
4) includes 4 bicep exercises per day to build the biceps’ peak
-> has no idea how much volume/tonnage they used last week or what they need to do to progress next session
For questions that prioritise anything above calorie balance, such as meal timing/frequency, spot reduction, insulin-fairies, to name a few, the only appropriate response is the following gesture:
The wider message here is that there’s no getting around the fundamentals. The physiological mechanisms surrounding nutrition are fascinating to read, but the best we can hope to garner from upcoming research are subtle optimisations, the final few percentiles for high level athletes.
It’s liberating to know that if you simply trained 4x/week using progressive overload, slept well, and ate a sensible amount of calories with enough protein, you’d achieve 80% of the results you see in our coaching testimonials.
Going back to basics is not a regression. It’s something we constantly need to remind ourselves. It’s very easy to fall into a trap of being busy at work, overlooking that we’re only sleeping 5-6 hours per night. Diet/training may be on point, yet progress halts. We discover our real limiting factors by going back to basics. Once they’re covered, that’s often all you’ll need to break a plateau in your fat loss or strength progress.
The most effective plan to reach your goals is one that includes a diet which is calorie controlled ,with sufficient protein and fibre, and a training plan that includes a sensible progression plan. Forget supplements and fads, ignore promises of quick fixes and 30 day transformations. Buckle down, dig deep and stay consistent. Want some help? Drop us a message to enquire about coaching
Most important changes you can make:
1) – Read THIS article from Jonny
2) – Pick ONE , write the bullet point on a bit of paper and stick it up in your room, set it as your phone/computer background, or set a daily reminder alarm.
3) – Perform the bullet point for 5 consecutive days. If you’ve succeeded, move on to the next. If not, start the from day 1 again.