This time of year, perhaps moreseo than all others, marks a time of change. After the holidays, copious intake of sweets and cookies and all the celebrations and time spent with people it’s pretty natural to want to take a moment for yourself. And in doing so that probably includes a long stare in the mirror both for the reflection as much as to hear what is being said behind those eyes of yours. I have a sneaking suspicion the voice starts talking about change, both of your body and of your life going forward. I’m going to see if I can help you with both.
First, let’s get to your delusions of grandeur regarding fitness, aesthetic goals, reduction of physical pain as well as weight optimization.
Well, yes sir, you did. But perhaps you “succeeded” all too well!
If there’s any one thing people just NEVER seem to understand well enough it’s this: 90% of the fat loss equation happens in the kitchen. And over the next few weeks the proof of this will come as I’m about to receive dozens of emails, phone calls, Facebook messages and text messages all asking for one thing: “Adrian, help me dude, I packed on the holiday pounds and I need to get back in the gym to lose it.” Listen, closely:
I’m not the answer. I’m not the solution.
Well, minus the plastic containers as only a fool would ask for good meals like this alongside a fair dose of xenoestrogens. If you don’t know what a xenoestrogen is you should: READ, READ, READ, READ and go learn about these suckers that are in everything from your shampoo to your antiperspirants (oh and xenoestrogens absorb 10fold through the skin!)
Back on track. If your major goal is fat loss: DO NOT call me for assistance in fat loss before you first contact this guy (my first choice) or this guy (my secondary choice). I’ve already told you why when I wrote THIS.
For years upon years I’ve been doing my best to dispel the myth that spot reduction is possible. There may be an ever so slight chance of it, but likely it’s all hogwash. And whatever amount it may possibly happen is quite simply not worth focusing on. You have to understand one simple FACT: YOU CANNOT FLEX FAT. Despite the minute scale in which spot reduction is possible you can’t turn fat into muscle. You can’t flex your bingo wing. You can’t flex your love handle. You can’t flex your saddlebags. And despite Dean Somerset‘s epic picture, you cannot adduct your inner thighs into the greatness you so desire.
Body fat is nothing more than excess fuel storage. While hormonal patterns may partly determine where you may store this excess fat don’t take that to the extreme and go buy the latest fad supplement that supposedly targets cortisol sites therefore it will magically erase your kangaroo pouch. There’s far more evidence suggesting biotyping is a myth as well. IT JUST AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN.
Look, does your car burn fuel right at the site of the gas tank??? NO!
It burns it in the engine’s process. So what is the engine of the body?? The answer is your muscles.
Again, you can’t flex fat. You have to burn it off. Your muscles burn this fuel. So work them, hard and often! And know that targeting fat is a bloody waste of time. Make the whole machine work harder and you’ll be on the right track. Which leads me to the next…
What’s the biggest muscle in your body? Hint: it’s not your chest, nor your biceps. It’s your glutes!
What’s the next largest muscle group? Hint: it’s still not your chest, nor your biceps. It’s your back!
Oh, those painful knots in your back are the highlighted muscle (the rhomboids) and the main reason they hurt so much is your shitty posture is overstretching them as you slouch all the time. So say it with me now: “I _____ (insert your name) shall always prioritize back training over chest training!”
What’s the next largest muscle group? Hint: Nope, still not your chest, nor your biceps. It’s your legs!!
Should I even continue? The next would arguably be your core/midsection musculature followed by your upper arms/shoulder combination. AND THEN finally, last and least: your chest and biceps (and well, calves but let’s not go there).
What’s my point?? Look, I’m all about looking pretty in the mirror, I like pumping my chestceps and biceptorals into oblivion like the next guy BUT if your main goal is fat loss, which means you’re gonna attempt to burn off the excess fuel hanging around the various sites of your body (pinchable body fat) that means a smart person would have already deduced the best chance of that happening in the gym (refer back to Delusion #1) is to work those muscles in that order. Glutes, Back, Legs, Core/Midsection, Shoulders/Arms, Chest and if you insist, biceps. Doing this backwards is the complete idiots guide to failure! But, Adrian, you ask: “What about cardio? Should I perform fasted cardio 3hours every morning 8 days a week?” Look, do proper cardio if you want but muscle training always matter more! The bigger the engine (meaning the more muscle you build) the more fuel that sucker is gonna burn off. A 550 horsepower V10 engine is going to burn WAY more fuel than a 250 horsepower 4 banger, even when sitting idle in the driveway (your periods of inactivity).
So ladies, when you ask me why I keep making you do so many squats, drag and push the sled up and down the gym and why I’m training your glutes so aggressively understand the above and know it’s not because I have a gluteal fetish. Oh, wait, I do but that’s besides the point. I don’t care about your tricep area fat. We’re gonna burn that better by moving your biggest body parts – all the time!
And gents, if I see you walk into the gym again wondering what you’re going to train (you’re supposed to be following a training program anyway) and you decide on chest and biceps instead of legs, glutes and/or your back I will kick your ass with a barbell and then make you squat with it! If you still insist at least do something like a push up plank as a work-rest between sets. That would at least make some minutia of sense. Or just throw a push up streak into your weekly/monthly/yearly training programs.
And if you still don’t understand how strength training can equate to fantastical fat loss well, Nick Tumminello’s book is set to arrive soon enough!
You can work smart, not hard. Nope! Lies. I cannot even begin to go off about the hundreds of stories about folks in the gym busting their ass ALL WRONG. I mean, there’s even an epic Facebook page dedicated to this. But oftentimes, moreso than I’d care to admit to my clients: those working the hardest in the gym are the ones usually seeing the best results.
Exercise technique is of paramount importance, do not get me wrong there. And I am in no way advocating horrid exercise as being okay because you’re “working hard.” Trust me, an injury will slow your roll in the near future! But if you haven’t grunted, if the color of your shirt has not visibly darkened in the time you have been in the gym (for the love of the petri dish that gyms already are bring a damn towel with you!), if you haven’t gone through 1L of fluid during your workout or haven’t sworn to either me or yourself a good half-dozen times: YOU ARE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH.
Work hard first. Then seek the expertise to help you learn how to work smart and hard! There is always a better way but it never means you’ll be working any less hard. In fact there is a nice little slogan I see floating the interwebs often:
It IS your fault. Period. You look and feel the way you do because of no one but you!
There is a reason why I wrote this on my gym walls forcing you to read and reread it every time you walk in!
Not a single soul is going to get you where you want to go except for you! Sure, there is assistance out there but you have to move, you have to workout, you have to prep your meals, you have to eat them, you have to go to bed on time, you have to de-stress.
I will endeavor to get to the details of the formula as I have written on the walls (the above pic) to help you understand where you need some changes. But basically the formula is: NEPA (non-exercise physical activity) levels. You’re probably not moving about enough in your day. And I hope for your sake you’re not sitting too long. Nutrition: are you eating enough (so many overweight people simply starve themselves yet oddly enough get confused as to how they aren’t eating enough)? Are you eating the food types and in the amounts that match your goals? Again I’ll refer you here for more info on that and eventually tell you to contact this guy (again, refer to Delusion #1). Does your exercise frequency and type fit your goals. It’s quite likely despite me telling you prior that you need to work harder that right now you might be working out too often! Are you getting enough rest (sleep included), downtime and finding ways to lessen the stress you face in your life? I definitely do not. And a friend recommended I order this book which I did today so I may work on this aspect. Are you doing the small things daily that recharge you so you may be the better version of yourself? I also neglect this so I went out and finally bought a sweet set of headphones to drown myself in the music that rejuvenates me.
Again, I’ll get into that formula in a near-future blog but know that if you feel lost there are always professionals out there that can help. You don’t cut your own hair (well some of you do but usually that means you don’t have any). You shouldn’t do your own taxes. You don’t fix your own furnace when it blows up. And I doubt you change your own car transmission. There are experts in every field and you may need their assistance. And while this journey and its successes are 100% dependant on whether you get it done, part of that means being smart enough to recruit, hire and ask those around you to assist.
Conclusion: No More Delusions
I will leave you with this final question and the wonderful source I found it (trust me, spend the 35 minutes of your life to watch this video uninterrupted and in one go!!!):
What seperates the successful from the unsuccessful?
For 2014, I will implore you this: work more on debunking your delusions than you do talking about all the things you’re going to achieve this year. Via that you shall certainly see your goals come to life! As my buddy Rob King always says: “Go F*^king Get It!”
BTW, you can now find me on:
Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”
or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org