Workout mistakes: Part 3 – You’re not eating to support your goals

In part 2 of this series, I covered the fundamentals of training and physique transformation to help get you focused on the things that matter most. In this post, we explore nutrition and eating to support your training goals.

Eating is an emotive subject, much abused in the industry with terms like “clean eating” and “eating healthily”. They make sense as abstract statements, but they do little to help you translate that into practical advice.

How has something so simple as eating to meet your needs become a veritable minefield and major cause of confusion for so many people?

Bombarded with vague, misleading and sometimes purposefully incorrect information, more and more people are struggling with diet and nutrition.

There always seems to be some new diet or eating protocol to follow, and even the common sense approaches have now been sufficiently debased so as to leave the most pragmatic among us confused.

Well I’m here to help, and with this post I plan to cover:

  • Energy balance
  • Understanding your maintenance calories
  • Food quality
  • The importance of consistency

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I owe you an apology

I just wanted to say sorry, James.

When we talk of diet and exercise, we often joke about bulking and cutting and generally have a bit of a laugh. It’s what we do.

And yet, deep down, we know there’s a more serious part to the conversation; I mean, health matters.

But mostly, we just let of steam, using humor and hyperbole to lighten the conversation and color our daily discretions.

But the other day, I let you down. You. My son. Someone I love more than life itself.

After poking fun at each other as we often do, the conversation changed. You were being sincere about wanting to shed a few pounds, lose some weight, get fit. You started to describe some perfectly reasonable steps as to how you’d do it, and I shot them down.

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Exactly one month into the cut

IMG_20150607_085456It’s been almost a month to the day since the end of my last bulking phase. If you recall, I ended the bulk at 187.75lbs, a couple of pounds shy of my 190lb target. Truth be told, I have far from mastered the art of the bulk, and I was grateful to see it end. Still, we’ll do better next time.

As bodybuilders, we say a lot of things that need added context to make complete sense, especially to the novice trainee. For example, consider some of the things I say regularly:

  • “I’m not even dieting yet”
  • “I don’t do any cardio at all”
  • “I don’t track my macros”
  • “I pretty much eat what I want”

All of these things are both completely true, and yet, very misleading without context and some added narrative.

Hence, the goal with this update is to be very specific about what I’ve done during the last month, and evaluate where we are as we head into the second half of this cutting phase.

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Bodybuilding diets made simple

Bodybuilding Diets Made SimpleI see a LOT of posts every day about the minutiae of dieting; macros, calorie tracking, food journaling, nutrient timing, feeding the anabolic window, fasting, carb cycling … the list is possibly endless. And, truth be told, I’ve tried some or all of these techniques over the years as I work toward my physique goals.

However, over the last six months in particular, I’ve come to the realization that bodybuilding diets are, in fact, incredibly simple.*

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Progress update: Week two of the mini cut

Today marks the end of the second week for my cutting phase, and I was both pleased and unnerved at the result. I weighed in at 184.5lb on the morning scale, that’s about 3.5lb down from the start of the cut.

Pleased?

Well, this is a cutting phase after all, so seeing the scale move is both desirable and appropriate. I was also largely happy with the number. While 1.75lb per week is a little on the high side, I’d expect to see that rate of loss drop-off in later weeks… at least not without another significant change.

But why unnerved?

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The journey to 190lb is over… for now

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.51.46 AMAs most of you are are now painfully aware, I’ve been pushing hard on this latest bulk to reach 190lb. Alas, my window closed this morning with 187.75lb showing on the morning scale.

Still, I’m not disappointed.

I’ve learned a lot about my body this last six months and managed to add quite a bit of size to my frame. Said differently, I’ve created a really solid foundation for the upcoming cut, and ultimately for another run at size in the new year.

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Top tips to help you reach your physique goals

arnoldAs those of you who follow me know, I am VERY passionate about health, fitness and in particular, bodybuilding. You’ll also be quick to note that I am no expert, and I am certainly not yoked (at least not by my own high standard).

However, I have learned a lot from working with and following some of the industry’s leading authorities (like Adam Bornstein and Bryan Krahn), and perhaps, most of all, through wide experimentation.

In fact, of late, I’ve even had modest success, pushing my lean body mass to its highest point yet while holding an all-time personal-high bodyweight of 180lbs. And as I begin to flirt with success, a number of friends and family have asked for a little help and guidance in pursuit of their own physique goals… something I am more than happy (and flattered!) to do for them.

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Progress, workouts, nutrition and more

Sunset at Lafayette reservoirGiven I started Testosterone Replacement Therapy on Thursday, I just thought I’d share a quick update on progress.

First-off, let me start by saying that I have no real sense of what to expect. Some things I read say common symptoms start to improve in 3-6 weeks, with some taking perhaps months to improve. That said, I did feel like my general mood and outlook had lifted somewhat yesterday, and I also had a storming workout at the gym.

Was the influx of Testosterone responsible for this seemingly noticeable improvement in mood and performance, or was that just hope personified… the placebo effect of having just taken something and literally willing it to work? I honestly don’t know, but I guess we’ll find out over the coming weeks.

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The secret to your success?

Confused?Over the last six months, I’ve read more articles on diet and fitness than I can count. Unfortunately, most aren’t worth the pixels they’re painted on.

Why?

Because they are largely all written in such a way as to be absolute.

Do this in exactly this way to achieve this outcome. The one way, the specific thing, the exact protocol.

And it doesn’t seemingly matter if you want to be bigger, leaner, faster, smarter, better in bed, better at life… there’s always a secret, a shortcut, an easy path to whatever outcome you seek.

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This is how change happens

There’s an old adage that says you are what you eat, and in spite of the great many diet fads that come along each year, this simple advice has largely withstood the test of time. Of course, you are free to interpret this simple statement however you like, but for me it boils down to this: all things being equal, your quality of dietary health is largely the sum of what you let pass your lips.

Increasingly of late, I’ve discovered the same is true in other areas of our lives too, such as the friends we surround ourselves with or the people from whom we are taking our advice.

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