During my time in the fitness industry I have come to see a few disturbing trends for those who have made up their mind to choose a healthy lifestyle, become active and in particular shed some unwanted body fat, often referred to as “dieting.” Today I will break down what I think are the top five mistakes I have observed dieter make.
1. Not goal setting
I have said it once and I will say it again, too many individuals choose or have a desire to get into the gym, start a nutrition program but fail or become unmotivated because they are not seeing the results they seek; this is due to a lack of proper planning.
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Develop goals – short term (1 month goal, or a weekly goal), intermediate goal (a few months) and a long term goal (one year or more). Having a goal in mind and a plan to reach your goal is critical. Furthermore, you will need a way to gauge your goal. For example, take beginning measurements; weigh in at the same time bi-weekly, test for a one rep max or 5 rep max of a weight.
For example, one of my current goals is to bench press 405lbs RAW at a body weight of 198lbs by the end of 2013. I am giving myself one year to reach this goal. My last one rep max was roughly 365lbs; I can use this number to base my percentages for my training cycles.
I am training at perhaps the strongest gym in the North West, surrounding myself with people who are goal orientated. I have written out training cycles using a variety of equipment. I have also planned and purchased a supplement stack for each stage of my journey, utilizing Jack3d, Prime, Compound20, Versa-1 and Test Powder. I will re-test my progress bi-monthly to gauge my progress.
Using the above example you can easily develop a balanced weight training/cardio routine with proper supplementation such as OxyELITE Pro to achieve your desired results.
When one makes an active decision to begin a program they are often very motivated by extrinsic factors (family, friends, trainers etc.). But real force needs to come from within yourself. People often quickly burn up that extrinsically motivated desire and are left dreading their next visit to the gym. For myself, the gym is the high light of the day – I will attempt to convey why.
Ways to stay motivated and help prevent those days where you are lagging – Consider joining a “team” or “group”. Many gyms have Zumba, Turbo kick boxing, or circuit “body pump” classes that you can enjoy with a larger group and make new friends.
I personally always bring my Ipod and have a playlist for each training session, depending on the body part trained and mentality I want for that day. I also vary my routine and gym I train at. Adding a few scoops of Jack3d OR 2 capsules of OxyELITE Pro also help get my focused and ready to “hit the gym”.
3. Nutritional timing
Nutritional timing is its own beast; I will do my best to provide a general rule of thumb approach for those seeking fat loss as their main objective. Nutrition is easily the most important part of a healthy lifestyle; if one is putting poor fuel into their bodies you can expect poor results. We can however, manipulate and utilize your body’s internal clock to get the most out of your foods.
Carbohydrates in my opinion are the macros that need to be carefully planned and utilized in your diet plan, timing them with your body’s insulin levels is absolutely key.
Carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores in the liver and muscle cells as well as supplying the body with blood glucose for immediate energy. Insulin is a very powerful natural hormone in the human body and works in conjunction with carbohydrates, and when these two are timed correctly, results follow. This is a very complex and scientific function that I will attempt to put into everyday speech; as well as provide a sample of how a day of my diet looks.
To start a day in “my shoes” diet wise we must first look at the previous nights last meal – that is to say when I stopped eating. Late night snacking and high carbohydrate meals can be very dangerous to fat reduction/weight loss, therefore I do my best to get my last meal/snack/shake in my body around 8pm to provide a fasted state upon waking. **Side note, getting enough rest is a vital part of weight loss/strength building because your body secretes many chemicals that build/repair muscles and burn fat, as well as a host of other functions – aim for 8-10hrs a night**
Upon rising your body is very sensitive to insulin, thus I wake and drink 20oz of water for proper hydration and curb any appetite I might have. Growing up we are told breakfast is the most important meal of the day; I would like to respectfully disagree. The longer I can keep my body secreting those chemicals that were produced while sleeping the better, the second a bowl of Cheerios hits your stomach your body starts breaking it down and stops secreting those healthy anabolic chemicals. Instead, it secretes a high level of insulin from your pancreas, which seeks to drive the food energy into your cells that need replenishing. The problem is that they are should be already full from last night’s meal, thus they store as “fat”.
I do my best to fast until around 10am-12am and if I can’t hold off until that long I try to eat/drink protein dense foods that are carbohydrate free – healthy fats are also ok. I try my best to keep carbohydrates low (roughly 30g) until my pre-workout meal (which I can consume 60-90min before training keeping carbs 60-70grams with 30g protein 10g fats, it is important to note this macro numbers are based off my body type and training style/split. There are many online calculators that can show you what your macros should be and how many carbohydrates your body needs post workout.
Immediately post workout is when I would recommend slamming a carbohydrate drink with a whey protein; the carbohydrates will get your blood insulin levels up quickly while the metabolic pathway is supporting anabolism. I recommend liquid for this first shake because it will digest and get where it needs to go quicker. The protein component is of course important because it stimulates protein synthesis, long story short leads to muscle anabolism (growth).
You might have heard of the “window of opportunity” post workout to eat certain meals. After your liquid shake or shakes it is important to try and get a solid meal in 30 minutes post workout to capitalize on muscle growth, glycogen stores and fat loss. This meal would be low in fats (fats slow the digestion process) and rich in lean meats and served preferably with a healthy complex carbohydrate source that we have talked about in the past. Depending on your goals the food selection on this meal varies, I know athletes who can eat nearly 5,000 calories from simple sugars immediately post workout and lean out while building muscle but that tactic takes mastery of nutritional timing, I would never suggest that.
Any meals/snacks after your second post workout meal should be smaller and contain (in my opinion) less carbohydrates and more protein with another mix of healthy fats.
Nutritional timing certainly isn’t an easy task. I work on it each and every day to maximize my potential and goals, so I hope this information opens a new door into your fitness journey and intrigues you to find out how your body reacts to nutrient timing.
4. Fear of fats
Too many dieters have a unfounded fear of fats. Yes, one should avoid fake fats at all costs and remember to keep track of their fat intake (1 gram of fat has twice the amount of calories than a carb or protein); however, fats are not evil. Your body requires fats for healthy brain functions and a host of other tasks as well. Consuming fats from eggs, grass fed beef, almonds, nuts, avocado’s and fish are a important key in a balanced/healthy diet/life style.
5. The “Cheat Meal Excuse”
The proverbial white elephant in the room when it comes to dieting is the “cheat meal” and frequency of which one may have one. Cheat meals for those dieting and in general for overall wellbeing should be once weekly, NOT whenever one decides. Sticking to a healthy life style can be challenging and I am not questioning that. However, it will always be someone’s birthday, cake, pies, drinks at the bar – you simply cannot start justifying a slice here, or a drink or five daily.
I really hate when I see people who train their heart out in the gym then go home and eat a bag of chips. Dieting/training takes a great deal of mental discipline, removing yourself from situations is one way to avoid these temptations but often times they are unavoidable, I usually carry a few healthy snacks on my person at all times for these occasions.
Since I train Monday-Saturday and I use Sunday as a “refeed” day. Some might call it a “cheat meal” – I don’t go ape crazy with my food, but I do not count calories and loosen/broaden my food selections (sweets usually), allowing myself to indulge this day to avoid slipping during the upcoming week.
“Eat clean, train dirty”
- The Anabolic Nutrient Timing Factor, Bodybuilding.com