Meet my client Ali. She has been following my online coaching plan for the last two and a half months, and I am so happy to be working with her. She follows my strength and conditioning program to a T, and also eats according to her Macros (I calculate her macro-nutrient intake based on her goals and provide her with a flexible monthly meal plan). In the past couple of months we have been working on body re-composition and muscle gain. She has experienced some weight loss, even though our focus has been on eating more and putting on muscle. Losing inches and body fat have been nice byproducts of the muscles she has been adding to her frame.
She is looking great, and from her feedback, she is enjoying the process. She definitely eats way more than she used to, and is only doing one day of cardio (I have her doing just 25 minutes) and weight training 3 times a week (she was working out about 6 times a week before working with me).
The nice thing about working with Ali is that she really pays attention to good form and follows the meal plan properly. She has cut out processed sugar and also trusts me enough to not want drastic dieting measures to just lose pounds. I could have had her drop pounds very quickly, but I didn’t want her to be miserable and skinny fat. Muscle definition helps build curves in the right places, and I wanted to give Ali the tools to live a healthier lifestyle in the long run. I wanted her to gain muscle so that she could burn fat even at rest, and I wanted her to be able to eat real food, full of nutrients and vitamins.
I find that a person has to be mentally ready to follow a healthier lifestyle plan. Most often people want to lose weight fast, and don’t actually want to put in the time for preparing healthy meals or don’t want to cut out some of the excess in their lives. They want the process to be easy, and unless they truly come to terms with some of the work that a healthy lifestyle entails, it is hard to see the kind of success that Ali is getting after 2 months. Losing weight and gaining muscle is not complicated, it just depends on how much you are willing to put into it. I can promise you, I give my one hundred percent to make the plan customized to your needs and easy to follow, but you have to be the one who wants it bad enough to put in the work.
Once you decide you want it, the sky is the limit!
If you need some time to get used to the idea of working for a stronger, healthier body, take a little bit of time to digest the following “Ways to maximize health and fitness goals” that I ask from all of my clients:
1. Follow meal timing and eat all the food!
Not eating enough food during the day slows down your metabolism and slows down your calorie-burning capacity in order to “survive” the workouts I prescribe. Besides, you are more likely to make up for low caloric intake with junk food and that is just not as good for muscle synthesis as fresh, organic meals made at home. The timing of your meals matter because I have my clients follow both Ketogenic and Carb-cycling methods, which only work when meal timing is followed properly. If you have had issues with your fitness goals before, it may be that even though you were eating the right foods, you may have been eating them in the wrong combinations. Or you may have eaten the right combinations of foods, but just didn’t time your meals correctly.
2. Drink lots of water
Drinking water is one of the best ways to get rid of toxins from your body. How do you think your body is going to get all of the old fat deposits and metabolic waste out of your system? I can’t say that drinking water will cause weight loss, but if you are eating a perfect diet, but are dehydrated, you will lose less weight. You can read about the other awesome benefits of drinking more water in one of my older posts.
3. Don’t expect a fad diet
One of the biggest problems with “fad” and “crash” diets is that they usually provide a very low calorie allowance. Some of my clients complain that I have them eating too many calories and they are gaining weight. Please know that I create your macro-nutrient intake based on your TDEE or total daily energy expenditure (which depends on your height, weight and activity level) so if you are initially gaining weight it might be that I have you bulking to gain muscle or we are looking to fix your damaged metabolism. Know that a well balanced diet should not overly restrict calories, and I don’t believe in any “bad” foods. If you have always eaten meat, dairy or gluten without any allergies to them, I don’t believe in cutting them out.
4. Slowly cut processed sugar out
I often find that my clients are eating the right amount of calories for weight loss, but they don’t lose any weight because of the sugar they eat. It may be just be a bit of sugar in your coffee, or the bran muffin you had as a snack, but sugars and refined carbs have the unique ability to stop weight loss in its tracks. Think of this: Your body is burning fat (i.e. from your stomach area) and all of a sudden it get a rush of sugar. Your body will use the sugar as energy and promptly stop burning the fat. So really, cut it out.
5. Back away from the treadmill
I’ve had clients tell me that they run marathons, but can’t seem to gain muscle or look toned. I feel bad having to tell them that all those years on the treadmill has probably been the exact reason for why they haven’t been able to look shredded. If you want muscle, you must train like a sprinter, and not a marathon runner. Sure, you burn more calories by walking on the treadmill than by lying on the couch, but without the proper amount of weight training, you will not be able to train your muscles to grow and peek out from under the layer of fatty tissue we all carry under our skin. Looking toned can only happen if you have muscle, and long periods of running can actually eat away muscle because your body needs fuel to keep running.
6. Don’t worry about how many calories you burn
Many people want to know how many calories my prescribed workout sessions burn. Usually the reason they want this information is to quantify it in terms of food. In other words, they justify eating that Kit Kat bar since they already worked off those calories, but that kind of an equation just doesn’t work. You’ll end up not losing weight, or you might even gain some weight. I allow one whole day off from my meal plans per week, so if you really want that Kit Kat bar, wait till that day and enjoy that candy without any guilt.
7. Go easy on the alcohol
There is nothing wrong with a couple of beers per week, but too many will absolutely reduce your muscle synthesis capability. Not only are alcoholic drinks usually high in calories, but alcohol also stops fat burning in its tracks (similar to sugar). Add in the side effect of increased hunger and snacking while drinking and you’ve set yourself up for weight loss failure.
8. Expect high fat and high protein meals
Diets rich in good fats and high in protein will absolutely not raise your cholesterol levels. During the low-fat food craze of the late 1980s, we all became afraid of protein as well because it was linked to higher-fat diets, and many trendy diets limited protein to 2 ounces per meal. This is really bad for you because when you skimp on protein, your body has to burn its own muscle for fuel. Muscle takes a lot of time to build, so why kill your gains and your calorie burning abilities? Besides, diets that are low in protein increase sugar cravings and cause you to be hungry quicker. If you need reasons for why Fats are good for muscle building, read one of my earlier blogs on how Fat helps build muscle.
So there you have it. If you want to get results like my lovely client Ali, don’t short change yourself and actually give it your all. I promise to try and make it as easy as possible and give you my one hundred percent effort. I hope you will too.
To a positively strong team effort,