I solve problems. I troubleshoot diets, make adjustments, monitor the body's response, and repeat – always working to make the body respond better and get results faster.
I've learned that simple works really well for training and diet. Whenever I see someone struggling with their fat loss, I always see if we can simplify things. Simple doesn't mean not as effective, it usually just means easier to execute. Complicated plans require constant attention and sometimes the rest of your life demands that attention elsewhere. How can you make a diet simpler? Here are three ways.
1 – The 100 Gram Carb Cure
Chris Shugart and I put this plan together, and it's pretty simple (and effective). The plan is self-explanatory – you simply limit your total daily carb intake to under 100 grams.
2 – Shake Diet
This is a good one for getting or staying lean during really hectic times in your life. Eat breakfast like you normally would (eggs, spinach, turkey sausage, etc.). Then have 2 quality shakes during the day (you can make them before you leave the house in the morning).
At night, have dinner like you normally would (steak and broccoli, salmon and asparagus, etc.). On days that you train, add your workout nutrition on top of this. Really simple. This works so well because your shakes are calorie and macronutrient controlled and require little to no preparation. Here's a simple 500-calorie carb controlled shake that works great for this.
Shake Diet Shake
- 1 1/2 scoops Metabolic Drive® Protein
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 servings Superfood
- 3 ice cubes
Toss everything in a blender, blend, and pack for your day.
3 – 3X Diet
The 3x Diet was an approach that I came up with for clients that didn't like a lot of variety in their day-to-day meals. What you do is construct 3 days of non starch-containing meals that are all similar calorically.
Then you rotate through these meals for 12-15 days. On days that you train, just add your workout nutrition to that part of your day. This approach makes food prep a breeze, and the addition of your workout nutrition on training days allows you to cycle carbs and calories based on when you're training.
Here's a sample diet:
- 4 omega-3 eggs
- 4 egg whites
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 small apple, chopped
(Cook omelet ingredients together in skillet.)
- 2 cups 2% fat Greek yogurt
- 1 scoop Metabolic Drive® Protein (Banana or Vanilla)
- 2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
- 1 oz. raw cashews
- 6 oz. skirt steak
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 2/3 cup chickpeas
- 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 acorn squash
- 2 cups green beans
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
- Resistance Training (Optional)
- 1 serving Plazma™ Pre/During
- 1 serving Mag-10® Post
- Energy Systems Training (Optional)
- 10-15 grams BCAAs or 1 scoop Mag-10®
Excuses and Mental Failings
If you need a weight loss fix, go back to basics. Start simple with one of these 3 plans and jumpstart your fat loss again. However, in addition to giving you 3 plans, I also offer the following 2 solutions to problems that range from physical to psychological.
1 – Too Tired
I was recently talking with a friend of mine who walks around looking like he could step onto a bodybuilding stage on any day of the year and I asked him about 'the most important factor in fat loss.' His answer was sleep.
It's counter to what the world is telling us. Aren't we supposed to get hopped up on stimulants, work 12 hours a day, work through the night, and only eke out 3-4 hours of sleep (as if this was some gold star we get on our badge of manliness)?
Big mistake. If you're trying to get lean, you need your sleep because while they seem like two unrelated processes, sleep and fat loss are connected through glucose tolerance and your fat cells. One study in Diabetes Care found that people getting 4.5 hours of sleep per night compared to 6 hours per night had higher insulin secretions and scored higher on the insulin resistance index.
Another study in Sleep showed that by moving from 8 hr/night to 4 hr/night of sleep for just 2 days, people experienced an increase in peak glucose and insulin levels after breakfast, while also exhibiting a blunting of glucagon release.
The relationship between sleep and glucose tolerance may to be tied together via dysfunctional fat cells. Other research shows that lean healthy individuals experience a decrease in insulin sensitivity when sleep is restricted. At the same time, lepin concentrations also decrease.
Because fat cells are the only cells thought to produce leptin, and calorie intake in the individuals in the study wasn't reduced (as this will decrease leptin), it seems as if our fat cells are playing an important role in the increased insulin resistance observed with reductions in sleep.
In the end, the only way to fix this and to get your fat cells to behave is to sleep. Make it a priority. You manage to exercise 5-7 days a week and eat 5-6 meals per day; I'm sure you can schedule in 8 hours of sleep to support your dieting efforts.
2 – Too Weak (Mentally)
Some say abs are built in the kitchen. Some say a lean body is forged in the gym. I think that both are created in your mind first. Dieting down and getting lean is made in those moments when no one is around. When it's 10:30 at night, you're a little tired, a little bored, and you want to eat something. What are you going to do?
If you see yourself as a fat ass, then you're going to get off the couch, go to the kitchen, and forget all the sacrifices for the day as you eat your kid's left over peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you see yourself as a lean driven motivated person, you're going to get off the couch and go to bed so that you can improve your glucose tolerance. Mental confidence and how you view yourself is key. To foster this mental confidence in clients, I focus on two main areas:
Working to See Yourself At Your Best: It's easy to mull over the times that you cheated on your diet, slept in and skipped a workout, or let your body slide so that you were 15 pounds heavier than you should be. But that isn't helping, so stop.
Instead, always remember yourself at your best. Remember your PRs. Remember the workouts where you did an extra set of barbell complexes just because the burning in your lungs felt good. Always see yourself as that person and you'll be that person.
Keeping up with Yourself, Not Other People: TC recently had a LiveSpill related to this, which is worth reading again. In it he wrote:
"I know a lot of you feel crummy or even pissed about your level of development. You sit there and look at pictures of Ronnie Coleman or Jay Cutler or some TNation coach you envy and admire and you feel motivated, yes, but you also feel frustrated. You get pissed because you don't look like them. You get pissed because progress, when it comes, is fitfully slow. But these aren't the guys who you should be comparing yourselves to."
TC went on to talk about all the fat, out of shape, and even regular guys that were surrounding him in Vegas and how, compared to those guys, you're superstars. Still, it's hard to even say that you should be comparing yourself to those "regular" guys as their ability to grab life and ride it for all it has, are mere pesos in the game of life compared to the big-stack chips you're playing on a daily basis.
Just worry about yourself. Don't compare yourself to the heart attack waiting to happen sitting next to you in the subway as he isn't on your level, and don't beat yourself up about not looking like the guys in the 300 movie. Train hard, eat right, monitor, and adjust. That's the only thing you have control over, so control it.