Larry makes it as simple as it can get.
- Calorie Counting
- Figure out how many calories you burn per day and stay below it.
- Water, Black Coffee, and Tea are your friends
- Soda must be purged from your household.
- Certain foods can really creep up on you in terms of calorie count
- A lovin’ spoonful of Rice and Beans is often a little too lovin’…
- Cute little cupcakes are 250+ calories each…
- Pasta is a big offender as well
- Consider replacing pasta in your household with spaghetti squash, you get the same texture effect but with a lot fewer calories.
With the holidays and new years coming up, I thought I would post about a subject that seems controversial and frankly extremely confusing. Diets, nutrition, Paleo, Zone, high carb, low carb, iso caloric, meal timing, post workout nutrition, supplements, what are we supposed to do about nutrition? Of all the “physical” disciplines nutrition is the toughest. It is the toughest because we have to deal with it 24 hours a day, every day of our lives. We have unlimited choices of what to eat and we can eat almost anything, any time of the day. I am going to make this as simple as I can, not easy, but simple. I am going to dot point this for simplicities sake. Most people pay attention to their nutrition because they want to lose fat. People who say they want to do it for health are, for the most part, lying. You don’t have to buy a pamphlet, just read the dot points and implement…simple in theory, hard in practice.
*Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of calories you use just living. Use this calculator: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/ to get a fairly good estimate of your BMR.
*BMR is lower than you think and similar for people of the same height. I am 6’0” and my BMR is about 1800 kilo-calories (kcal). If YOU are 6’ your BMR is approximately 1800 kcal.
*BMR is mostly composed of organ function. Muscle contributes about 5 calories per pound. That’s a hell of a lot less than bro science would lead you to believe.
*Unless you are juiced, you don’t have 40 pounds of actual muscle mass above the average dude. If you did, you would burn 200 more kcals than the average dude…200 calories, that’s NOTHING!
*You don’t burn as many calories exercising as you think you do. Heart rate monitors and exercise machines are wildly inaccurate when it comes to calories burned. They also don’t account for the calories you would have burned doing something else, like watching TV or just surviving.
*Don’t even worry about exercise calories. Use cardio to develop conditioning, not lose fat.
*Afterburn, increased calorie burn after intense exercise, is largely bullshit.
*Thermic effect of food is true (eating protein uses more calories than carbs and fat to digest) but the difference is so small, that it doesn’t really matter.
*There are a ton of theories of why we get fat: insulin, trans fats, fat, etc. They are THEORIES. Here’s one…you’ve been eating too much.
*The laws of thermodynamics actually friggin work.
*All successful diets control calories, they just don’t say they do. EATING LESS FOOD ALWAYS WORKS.
*Basically every health marker improves as you lose fat, regardless of method.
If you are in a caloric deficit, your body will use it’s fat stores to make up the energy deficit. If you are in a caloric surplus, your body will store the excess energy (regardless if it’s from fat, carbs, or protein) as FAT, if you are in energy balance (calories in = calories out) you will maintain weight.
*Metabolism is not effected by not eating, until you are DAYS into a fast. Ethiopian type starvation effects metabolism because organs and muscle tissue are damaged and lost.
*You don’t have to eat every 4 hours to stoke your metabolism. This is complete and utter bullshit. You will not lose muscle if you don’t eat.
*Muscles “grow” because of SAID (specific adaptation to imposed demands) not because you are eating protein. .08 grams per pound of body weight is a good start.
*After juvenile muscle growth…every pound of muscle is a pain in the ass to develop.
*Five pounds of muscle makes a huge visual impact…so does 5 pounds of fat.
If you lift weights while dieting, you will not lose muscle mass.
*You have to be a lot lighter then you think to be ripped. At 6’ and 182 pounds, I still need to lose 5 or 6 pounds or so to see a defined “6 pack”.
Bodybuilders take about 1000 pictures the day of their show (photo studios are set up back stage, by supplement companies to facilitate this). They take the pictures because they can only keep that look for mere hours. They will use those photos for a year (or longer). That ripped, bodybuilder look, is very transient. Using them as inspiration for what you could actually look like, day to day, is delusional.
Let’s filter all this stuff into a workable action plan:
*Eat less on a weekly basis. How much you eat under your BMR will determine how fast you will lose fat. I could include exercise calories, but don’t.
*I use 2 – 24 hour fast a week to lower weekly calories. This allows me to eat more when I’m not fasting and still stay in a weekly deficit. Some of you Nancy boys don’t want to fast…ok, just find other ways to eat less.
*An average daily deficit of 500 calories is fairly doable. That gives me 1300 calories a day to work with. If I fast 2 times a week, I could up the calories on non-fasting days.
*You could skip meals to compensate for excess. Have a few drinks a burger and fries on Saturday night…don’t eat breakfast and have a very light lunch.
*You could eat 5 small meals a day…but it kind of sucks and makes you look like a tool carrying around a cooler everywhere you go. I do two three or one meal a day. Don’t overcompensate before or after a fast, just eat normally.
*Breakfast is important…if you’re 8 years old and go to school. If you are an adult, you don’t HAVE to have breakfast, unless your mom makes you.
*Look for ways to cut calories but still have foods you like. When cutting I will have 2 scrambled eggs and a piece of fruit in the morning. When maintaining I may go for 4 eggs, fruit, and oatmeal. Eat less, half a sandwich, small piece of pie, etc.
*You want to eat paleo, zone, south beach…go for it. If you eat 5000 calories of cheese, eggs, and beef, your gonna get fat, you still have to control for calories.
*8 ounces of Coke is 100 calories…8 ounces! Friggin stop drinking this shit, on a daily basis, multiple times. Once in a while, ok.
*You are not a special snowflake (except for Paul Sharp), if your calories are low and you are not losing weight…lower them some more. Food calorie information is screwed up. Portion sizes are screwed up. We underestimate how much we eat. We under report how much we eat.
*Drink coffee, tea, and water, chew gum to deal with hunger between meals or during a fast. Oh, and man up, seriously man the F up…losing fat is not fun, you’re gonna be hungry and irritable. It’s simple, not easy. Anybody who says it’s easy is lying to you.
*Special foods are bullshit. Fat burning supplements are bullshit.
*For a few days measure your food and use calorie counting software. You are going to be surprised at how little you should eat.
*Drugs are not bullshit. If you want to use drugs, to manipulate your body fat and shape of your body, have at it…I won’t judge…
*If I put a gun to your head and told you, you had to lose 8 pounds in two weeks or I blow a hole in your head, would you eat a specific mixture of macronutrients or…just not friggin eat at all? See, it’s pretty simple.
*My son went from a fluffy six foot 194 in the summer to six foot and a lean 170 by October for wrestling…he did it by not eating a lot and exercising a lot. He barely ate for a month, 13 other varsity wrestlers did the same thing (the heavy weight laughed). My son and his buddies are not doctors or nutritionists. They figured it out and it worked…I know, impossible, insulin was high when they drank Gatorade and had pancakes, guess it’s just magic.
*Use the scale, mirror, and clothing size to determine if you are on track. The scale will lie due to water weight fluctuations, make sure you are trending down. If not…lower calories.
*I used to eat nuts (almonds, walnuts, you know good fat profile nuts) and wondered why I had a hard time losing fat. Look at the calories in a handful of nuts. Keep them for maintenance.
*Supplement with D, fish oil, creatine (if you want to). I’m looking into vitamin K2 and like what I see so far. That’s it.
*You could pretty much eat anything. It is more filling to eat meats, vegetables and fruits, but I eat a few hard pretzels almost every night. I also have ice cream and alcohol on a weekly basis. Somehow the inflammation has not killed me or shown up in any health markers.
*This is for fat loss. If you want to eat only for “health” restrict yourself to only eating grass fed, organic, paleo, blah, blah, blah…you will eventually break and go crazy and I will find it amusing. Seriously, you want to be so dogmatic that you will not eat a piece of your kids birthday cake, you want to be “that guy”, have at it…you were warned.
*THIS IS HARD. Two pounds a week is brutal. Having a goal, like a wedding or better yet a BJJ or other weight class sport competition will give you the motivation to not make an ass of yourself. If you want to do a transformation competition (where dudes examine your hairless, tanned, and oiled after photos), I guess that would work too (Nancy boy).
See, the hard thing about this is having the discipline to lower the amount of food you shove in your mouth and deal with being hungry. Looking at this as a week long problem, rather than a day by day problem, helps. It allows me to compensate for indulgences. For Thanksgiving, I ate anything I wanted…but only during dinner. I did not eat breakfast or lunch, I fasted the next day. Going out to drink with the boyz….don’t eat until you go out, now you could drink all your calories and get really wasted.
If you are celiac, have issues with lactose, or are allergic to foods, don’t friggin eat them. Seriously, if you don’t have grain issues…a friggin piece of toast or oatmeal is not evil.
Guys, I don’t want to argue theories here. I really don’t care and have read Good Calories, Bad Calories, the Zone, Atkins, The South Beach Diet, The Anabolic Diet, Body Opus, etc. etc. I have tried pretty much every diet for fat loss and performance. I also have a degree in exercise physiology, which I ignored in lieu of bro science, and have taken Master’s level nutrition courses. I’ve come back to the realization the whole scientific evidence thing is pretty valid.
If you calculate out the calories in a typical Zone, paleo, Protein Power, or Atkins, diet, you will find the calories run towards a deficit for most people. If you want a structured diet, follow one of them. I like paleo. I think it’s unrealistic, dogmatic, and amusing that some of the paleo dudes sell bars and protein powders. but whatever, it might change your life and you too could join the cult. If you have questions, please fire away. If you want to post studies and argue that a calorie is not a calorie and that human physiology is not as simple as calorie in calorie out…frankly, I don’t want to go there. If you are interested in this…Google it, there are thousands of Internet flame wars going on regarding this very subject. I am not arguing health, I am talking about fat loss. You will naturally find eating meats, vegetables, and fruits will be more filling and nutrient dense.
Extreme contest prep and weight cutting are completely different subjects which has been covered in another post. They involve water manipulation, low carbs (to manipulate water), and playing with super-hydration and sodium.