While you can’t “break” your metabolism, excessive and repetitive periods in a prolonged hypocaloric state can leave your metabolism “depressed”. If you’ve eaten or exercised yourself into a corner, read on.
Our bodies are constantly striving to maintain equilibrium, and our metabolism quickly adjusts to balance (counter, resist) changes in energy intake or expenditure. This is why the common advice of EAT LESS MOVE MORE runs out of steam pretty quickly. Especially for those that have already been taking that approach for a while, or has already seen significant body re-composition.
Abs. Nearly everyone chasing physique transformation wants that coveted six-pack. A slick slab of undulating goodness that speaks to all that hard work. But sadly, many never achieve their dream, despite making good progress with fat-loss. But why? What is it that makes seeing abs such an elusive goal?
First, let’s be clear, a six pack isn’t for everyone. It’s not necessary, serves no practical purpose and is seen by many as an expression of extreme vanity. And if you’re reading this with a skeptical frown, thinking what the fuck is the obsession with abs in this industry, I totally understand.
However, having just got my coveted six-pack back again after a three-year hiatus, I can assure you that there’s a LOT it teaches you about yourself, the body and most importantly, the mind.
Are you a habitual snacker? Do you spend more time justifying your indulgences than considering how to better manage your treats? Well we’ve been talking about this over in my Facebook group, Uncommon Sense Physique. Here’s what I had to say on the topic.
When you pop that snack in your mouth, in almost all such situations, there is one simple reality.
That the individual–in this case my beautiful wife–wants/seeks the joy of eating the [insert favorite snack food] more than they want [insert desired outcome here].
You’ve established your energy needs, adjusted for exercise, and calculated your macros. Time to get in the gym and hit the weights! But where do you start?
In part one of this topic, we covered the importance of energy balance, how to establish an energy deficit and calculate our macros to help guide our nutritional choices.
In this post, we’ll cover some of the exercise protocols you can use to increase fat loss, and walk through a sample program that draws on many of these techniques.
With travel and work schedule this week, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to maintain my normal three day split and six training-day setup, so I committed early to change in plans. With just three days carved out for training, I hit a lower body session, upper body session, and today, I hit an all-body workout.
Given I’ve been concerned recently with how much is enough, I thought I’d share the [improvised] program along with some narrative as to how it went. I am not going to list the weights used, as that is relevant to me only. Suffice to say the weights were at a level where I was leaving a two-to-three reps in the tank, give or take — so 80-90% of max loads for the given rep-range. Lots of supersets designated with “ss/”.
On February 8th this year, I decided to set a new step-goal of seeing my abs. I can recall the date explicitly, as it’s the same day I signed-up for Adam Bornstein’s Getting Shredded event. Two months later… BOOM; abs!
Yup, that’s not stock imagery on on the right, that’s me sporting my new six-pack!
So what was different this time around?
It all sounds very technical, and to some, very scary; there are certainly negative connotations with the word fasting across large swathes of the populous. However, if you take the time to dig into these topics, you’ll realize a couple of things:
- They are regimens grounded in common sense
- They are not complex to practice
I’m working on getting shredded, aiming to reach single-digit levels of body fat. And I am making progress; down 12lbs and at least 2-3% of body fat from my ~15% starting point. And for perspective, at a starting weight of 168lbs, that’s a 7%+ drop in overall body weight.
My current eating regimen has me cycling carbs; that means higher carbs on training days and lower carbs on rest days. As a result, you end-up eating a lot of lean proteins, which for me means a lot of chicken and fish.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like a perfectly grilled chicken breast as much as the next person; I also like broccoli. But there comes a point at which grilled chicken and broccoli is just no longer satisfying. First world problems, no doubt; but a problem all the same.
Tonight, I decided I’d try to make chicken and broccoli interesting… something I did with aplomb! Apologies in advance for not having a picture — by the time I realized it would be great to share, I’d eaten it all. That’s what happens when you are in calorie deficit!
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a style of eating, not a diet. It is also not the silver bullet to fat loss that some might claim it to be. It IS, however, something you should know about, research and ultimately try for yourself.
Three quick sources for you to do some homework:
- Adam Bornstein is an advocate of this eating style and wrote a nice summary of fasting approaches for Livestrong.com. IF is also core to the eating strategy presented in Adam’s book, Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha.
- James Clear has also experimented widely with IF and found it highly complimentary to his lifestyle and lifting goals. You can read about his experiences on his blog.
- If you want the science behind the IF regimen I personally follow (16/8), you need to go to the father of IF, Martin Berkhan and leangains.com.
For me, IF works. In fact, it almost works too well and an eight hour eating window makes it hard to get all the calories I need when trying to gain muscle. However, when I am trying to lean out, combining an IF regimen with a healthy diet, balanced macros and a good training program makes a big difference. As a bonus, the IF protocol has hidden benefits:
- More free time to do more things; less time thinking about and planning eating.
- You care a lot more about what you put in your mouth when you’ve been fasting for 16 hours.
- You learn to appreciate your food more and associate being hungry with being healthy.
Closing thoughts: Don’t dismiss an approach or idea without doing your homework. Also, be prepared to invest some of your own time in trying and evaluating a diet or workout regimen. What works for one, may or may not work for another — but you won’t know unless you try!