I’m going to say it. That four letter word that makes most guys giggle and makes most women faint when they hear someone utter it.
Diet is a tremendous part of our life, is a majority reason for both losing and gaining weight and can really be broken down quite simply:
Eat more, put on weight
Eat less, lose weight
So how big a role does diet play when it comes to fitness and reshaping our bodies? Well if “tremendous” and “80/20” didn’t give it away, about 80%. Actually, most people say 70%-80% but that would have ruined my super awesome title.
So unfortunately, no, you can’t go work out to justify the Big Mac(even if you didn’t super size the fries) because there isn’t enough time in the day to justify everything you’ve eaten. Fitness goals should always start with the food you’re eating and how you’re eating it and exercise follows from that. Plenty of people lose a great amount of weight simply by cleaning up the crap and focusing on whole foods. Which leads me to diet rule number 1…which is pretty much the only rule I’ll ever tell anyone
Diet Rule Number 1: You dam sure know what types of food are bad for you.
Yes you can argue that your panini was on a whole wheat ciabatta or you didn’t eat breakfast so it doesn’t matter that you ate 3 gordita burritos all you want, you’re not even fooling yourself so why would anyone else buy it?
Now other than rule 1, the best guideline when it comes to your food is shop on the edges of the supermarket and avoid the inner isles. What do you find on the edges of the store? Meat and produce. And hopefully someone with an awesome free sample for the day! But why am I so keen on meat and produce? Because most of your diet should really comprise these two items along with healthy fats and a smidgen of carbs.
I’m not anti-carb per se, but cutting carbs to minimum levels has been shown time and time again to help people lose tons of weight even if they don’t change anything else. This is because an absence of carbs makes your body more insulin sensitive. When you eat a meal, more of the calories go to your muscles and your body in general and less of it get’s stored as fat. We typically get fat because insulin is just chilling in our body all the time since the Standard American Diet (S.A.D. 🙁 ) is built around carbs at all times of the day. That and carbs are easy to store as fat.
On top of that, think about it like this: a slice of bread is about 100 calories and an entire loaf is about 16 slices. Someone could pretty easily eat all 1600 calories throughout an entire day if they really wanted. Now look at broccoli; 1 cup is about 50 calories. Could you ever possibly eat 16 cups of broccoli in one week, let alone one day? It’s hard to overeat with such high volume foods. Plus vegetables have all those vitamins and minerals and crap. You don’t have to cut carbs out but just try to avoid them out for the most part. This is especially true for any white carbs. Basically, white carbs are nothing more than sugar when they’re digested and all they’re good for is making you fat. Seriously, just don’t go near them.
White is not right!
This is especially important if you’re a male at 20% or more bodyfat or a female at 30ish%. Your insulin sensitivity is about as low as it can get. Just looking at carbs will make you gain weight. If this is you, carbs are pretty much off the menu for you completely. No worries, with training and the new diet, you’ll be back into carb range in no time. If you’ve got a decent bodyfat percentage (15% for guys, 22ish% for ladies), a small amount of carbs is OK. The best kind of carbs are tubers(potatoes, yams) or roots(beets). 1 large potato or a few smaller servings are OK. In a pinch, 1/2 cup – 1 cup of brown rice isn’t bad but try to avoid it. Any other carb is out. If you’ve got abs, carbs are your friend and will help you perform better in your weight and interval routines.
But, alas, we do have a savior to our rescue. Many of you might have heard about eating 6 small meals throughout the day to lose weight. Through the thermic effect of food, it keeps your metabolism way up and burns calories because breaking down and digesting food does take a lot of energy and calories. This, for all intents and purposes, is pure horseshit. People can eat 6 meals, 3 meals or even 1 meal a day and all their metabolisms will have burned the same amount no matter what. Which finally leads me to said savior
Intermittent fasting is simply periods of not eating followed by eating. Basically, we all do it already when we go to sleep and then “break our fast”(quizzo answer for you there) in the morning. However, IF takes it one step further and we fast for 14-16 hours. Instead of eating breakfast, we plan to skip it, essentially. So if you stop eating around 8PM, your next meal would be around 10AM for women and 12PM for guys do to some metabolic differences. This cuts against the traditional and “accepted” methods of eating, but it has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity since we’re not eating anything for extended periods and we’re helping our body adjust back to where it needs to be. Coupled with the lower carb diet we’re eating, our body soon becomes a calorie absorbing beast that wants to shed fat.
Wait, there’s more!
Since we’re not eating anything in our fasted state, our body needs some form of energy to keep us going. I’m looking at you, fat stores! Plus, since we’re not expending all that energy to digest our breakfast, we feel a ton more energetic; you don’t have to slog through your mornings by way of 3 coffee’s and a diet coke anymore. Finally, Human Growth Hormone levels, otherwise known as HGH(made famous by Sly Stallone a few years back) go through the roof since there’s no insulin in our system to inhibit it’s release. HGH is great because it burns fat and builds lean muscle.
Yea I just went there.
Honestly, I’m barely scraping the surface here when it comes to IF. To read more check out Martin Berkhan at leangains.com, Ori Hofmekler’s Warrior Diet(though he recommends 20/4 rather than 16/8) or check out Jason Ferrugia’s Renegade Diet.
A clean diet, coupled with IF and weight training(we’re all Lifting Big, right? Right?!) will shred the fat, build lean muscle and totally reshape our bodies into something we’re proud of.
Lastly, just one last rule. I know I said I only had 1 rule but this one is really big, trust me. 1 day out of the week, whatever day you want, there are no rules. Eat whatever the hell you want, lay in bed all day, eat bon bons and watch soaps, who cares. Just take a day off from diet and exercise and go be merry. Seriously, eat 4 pizzas and a gallon of ice cream.
This is good because well eat a rough baseline of calories. Say yours is 1500 calories; you’ll eat anywhere from 1200-1800 calories a day and average around 1500. Well, taking that cheat day to the extreme, you might eat 4000 calories. Your body goes into super freak out mode since it’s been burning 1500 calories a day and now it has an extra 2500 to deal with. It’s forced to raise your metabolism to deal with those extra calories now. But the next day, you only eat your 1500 calories again, but your metabolism is trying to burn 4000.
This is a fairly simplified view, but it boosts our metabolism, which is great and it is a great mental release, which is huge, I think. We’re not going to be perfect all the time and this just helps the whole process.
So what did we cover today?
Diet is 70%-80% of our fitness goals. If we eat healthy, we feel healthy and lose weight
If you’re on the bigger side of the scale, ditch carbs. They say they’ll change but they never do
If you’re pretty average, a small amount of carbs doesn’t hurt.
Intermittent fasting is great for fat loss and muscle gain, especially when coupled with a weight training routine(*cough*)
1 day a week there are no rules
Until next time