This time of year I get all sorts of questions about what my opinion of what a person should eat, how they should exercise, what they can do to spice things up and start seeing faster results.
Well, the doctor is in:
Rule 1: Extremes work extremely well…for a short period of time. Have a plan for beyond that time frame.
Rule 2: Decide right off the bat if you’re the type of person who does well with extremes. If extremes set you off for things like binge eating, getting sick and injured from over training, etc, be smart and settle on a more moderated approach.
Rule 3: Intensity always trumps duration. That’s assuming you’re doing something already. If not, start there. Hell, even a 30 minute walk a day could change your life.
Rule 4: You could use some more muscle!
Rule 5: Find your arch-nemesis. I’m a firm believer that every one has 1 thing/1 habit that ruins 90% of all of their goals and dreams. If you could manage/change that one habit you’d be on the right track. SO STOP ARGUING OVER THE MINUTIA!
Okay, with those rules out-of-the-way:
1. If your main goal is to lose fat, I fall in the opinion of fat loss being an all out WAR! Extremes work best. EXCEPT IF YOU FALL IN THE CATEGORY OF RULE #2!! I personally think that very strict diets will help you achieve more in far less time and teach you some important lessons. What kind of short-term are we talking about: 28-45 days. What strict dietary plans I’ve done and seen work best: Rapid Fat Loss by Lyle McDonald, Velocity Diet by T-Nation, and to a lesser extreme: Eat-Stop-Eat by Brad Pilon (only extreme because the thought of fasting to most people is radical!). Those results you see on the Biggest Loser and similar shows of 4-10lbs of fat loss a week, depending on where you are currently (meaning if you have 10-100lbs to spare) are totally possible in these situations. Just prepare for an all out war with yourself if you chose to go this route. On these sorts of diets the workouts you perform should not be super intense!
2. If your main goal is a sane approach to fat loss with some muscle gain I suggest you work out two details: which dietary approach are you going to cover and which workout program are you going to follow. A good choice on the diet end is Tosca Reno’s Clean Eating books or Metabolic Cooking and as for programs, well, you really should see a trainer and have them walk you through and build something specific to your needs. But if you are going to go for the pre-packaged plan then the P90X route ain’t a bad way to go (because of its intensity; not because I wholly agree with the programming).
3. A good bunch of you fit into the “skinny fat” category. Which basically means your main focus should be Rule #4: gain muscle, eat clean while doing so and the fat will come down while you do. In this case I suggest you opt for an eating plan closer to what Wet Wolf could recommend to you. Another good way to go is via a workout program like this one for guys or this one for the ladies and a diet program designed for you by Scott Abel because face it, you really don’t know what it would take to see a 6 pack or your perfect bikini – this is quite simply a lack of education that you need and then need to apply with some good old-fashioned hard work! The cookie cutter programs won’t work for you.
Oh, and in case anyone doesn’t understand what I’m trying to tell you, this picture should clear it up (note the time difference! This ain’t an easy road as it’s very similar to #4 below):
Weigh more, look better!
4. If your goal is to get absolutely jacked, huge and ripped, well you need a coach who specializes in that. For that I personally turn to the work of Christian Thibaudeau. He’s a major brain child over at T-Nation.com. I think the best programs he’s put out are Mechanical Drop Sets or HP Mass. Follow his diet, training and supplementation recommendations and you’ll be more than happy with your results. But it’s not an easy road. In fact, muscle gain is the hardest of all roads! See rule 1 and rule 3!
Pick a path, and from experience, stay on it as long as possible. It’s after 12 weeks when things all come together!
And for those that missed it, the doctor above is actually Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychology. Trust me, this fat loss, weight gain, become healthy endeavor is as much about your psychology as it is about your health! Just sayin’.