Tip: Get Ripped with the Proximity Effect

Whether your goal is fat loss or muscle gain, here's a simple trick to increase your odds and boost diet compliance.

See It, Eat It, Regret It

There have been a lot of psychological studies on proximity and diet. Proximity just means how close or how far something is from you.

For example, in one study, researchers placed snacks around a bunch of secretaries in an office setting. Some of the goodies were placed on the secretaries' desks, others in the drawers of the desks, and others in the break room.

You can guess the outcome, right? It looked something like this:

  • Snacks on the desk: Fat secretaries
  • Snacks in the drawer: Less fat secretaries
  • Snacks in the break room: Lean, sexy secretaries

If a food is in sight AND reachable, you're more likely to eat it, even when you're not hungry. If you have to work for it – even just by standing up and walking across the room – you're less likely to indulge.

For fat loss, make sure you have to "work" to eat. More cooking, fewer pre-made foods, especially of the junk variety. You want some cookies? You gotta make the cookies. (Make high-protein, no-sugar-added cookies ideally.)

Make it a little less convenient to grab foods you don't need. If you have to drive somewhere to get a junk food you're craving at 10PM, you're less likely to do it. Keep the crap out of the house.

On the flipside, maybe you need more calories. I once advised an underweight high school athlete. Lanky kid just "couldn't" eat enough. I told him to keep a can of mixed nuts in the drink holder in his car. Every time he was in the car he had to eat a handful. Kid gained a lot of muscle in one summer.

Proximity and visibility can also help you take your supplements correctly and regularly. I often joke that if Biotest came up with a supplement that could make you put on 10 pounds of muscle a week, BUT required you to take it two times per day, most people would never gain that muscle. They'd remember one dose but forget the other one. No consistency.

Here's what I do. I put all my supplements for the day in a container that sits right out on a counter I have to walk by several times a day.


The container is visible and reachable, so I never miss a dose.

Chris Shugart is T Nation's Chief Content Officer and the creator of the Velocity Diet. As part of his investigative journalism for T Nation, Chris was featured on HBO’s "Real Sports with Bryant Gumble." Follow on Instagram