If you are a fitness pro, you have probably heard an infinite times something like: “So, my goal is losing weight only.” I understand my clients because they think that number on scale is almost the only indicator of everything correlated with well-being (it makes sense), and I feel the urge here (like any conscientious fitness professional 🙂 ) to explain why they shouldn’t put this goal like the primary one.
We know that most of our clients don’t care about health when they finally make decision to visit some gym (New Year and Monday resolution stay there for the reason. “If you don’t train today – Monday wins.” – T nation). Only seniors and older adults think about health more because they’ve been having problems with age and they are aware of the need of putting more effort because medicaments don’t work when it comes to healing. Younger population think about nice look only and this probably will never change.
“The majority of what you want will come from the minority of what you do.” – Perry Nickleston
Fortunately, most of clients think that exercising will give them more energy, better feeling and better body function in general so they put that goals immediately behind losing weight. So, I am glad they are a bit aware of how important something similar to long term health is.
First and foremost, how they look is crucial here! You can lose “a ton” of pounds and still not satisfied how you look in front of the mirror. Yes, we live in 21st century but I think that mirrors are still among the best “testing tools” in the fitness industry. When it comes to self-esteem testing tool, mirror is definitely the best one considering to physical appearance part! So, the essence here is in a proper (healthy) body composition. By gaining muscles and consequently losing fat you will not only look great, you will also feel a lot better and energized, move a lot better, and perform any task a lot easier and better! So, when people know how much muscle tissue valuable is – they immediately start to think like: “My primary goal is gaining the muscle mass!” I don’t mean here on “crazy hypertrophy” for sure 🙂 … The main goal of everyone should be to get stronger because life is much easier if you are stronger, it’s that simple! Even losing fat is tougher if you’re not strong.
“You simply can’t go wrong by prioritizing strength, no matter what your goals are.” – Charles Staley
“Going to the gym to walk on a treadmill is like going to a prostitute for a hug.” – T nation
“They removed the ellipticals at my gym. Now I have to find a new way to look like a giant pussy when I work out.” – Kyle McDowell
“Women should not be squatting and deadlifting unless they want to be insanely sexy.” – T nation
“New exercises usually aren’t needed. But if the “new” keeps your training motivation up, go for it. Just don’t forget the “old” and proven.” – T nation
By gaining muscles (it takes a lot of time, so girls don’t be afraid of becoming bulky because it could take a multiyear effort and special methods – and many girls just stop to train before muscles even start to grow), your body becomes leaner because muscles have greater density (they are more compact) and they’re closer to bones and look so “compacted” comparing to fat cells (fat cells look so flabby and fluffy, and have less density – they can be almost everywhere on the body). When you are losing pounds fast, you are probably losing “water” and muscles and that’s the reason why you don’t like when look at the mirror (I mean you can be leaner but body shape is still horrible). Furthermore, by gaining muscles your scale can show no progress (or you can even gain some pounds) and that can be really frustrating for the “scale believers”. But in front of the mirror you are getting leaner (and shape becomes desirable) and you can fit the old clothes again. Toss the scale, mirror rules 😉 ! Focus on performance, not aesthetics!
“If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, what difference does it make what the scale says?” – Vince Gironda
“Lose 10 pounds of fat, gain 10 pounds of muscle and you will look and feel great. But the scale reflects “no progress”. Toss the scale.” – T nation
“Use mirrors, not scales!” – Dani Shugart
“I’d rather look terrible and weigh a specific number on the scale than look incredible and not know my weight. – Most women, sadly.” – T nation
“The Apple Watch will tell you if you’re not exercising enough or eating too much. You know, like your mirror.” – T nation
So, we have agreed that most of PT clients have one primary goal – losing weight. As a fitness professional – movement specialist, my only goal is healthy/smart training. Because if they lose weight fast they are in trouble with health. If they train smart, losing weight will maybe not occur (or will be small, it depends on how overweight someone was and some other factors) but something the most important will – healthy BODY COMPOSITION (gaining muscle mass and losing fat – not weight). It will take a time (especially losing a midsection fat because it’s there to protect sensitive organs from cooling – don’t expect to lose fast something you have been “building” from your childhood) but high quality things always take a time and more effort (what comes easy, won’t last. What lasts, won’t come easy)… But once you gain the habit, everything will be much easier. Like Ryan DeBell said: “What it takes to make a visible change is invisible.” A little progress each day adds up!
“Put in the work, don’t expect things to happen overnight, and don’t be afraid to fail. That’s how you GET BETTER.” – Tony Gentilcore
“Getting a great body isn’t just about the hour you spend in the gym. It’s about the decisions you make the other 23 hours of the day.” – T nation
“Don’t look at what big guys are doing now in the gym. Look at what they’ve been doing ALL THEIR LIVES to get where they are.” – Christian Thibaudeau
“Suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret!” – T nation
“Habit and routine are more effective than motivation. Develop the skill of doing what you don’t feel motivated to do.” – T nation
“Being comfortable with hunger is essential for fat loss.” – John Berardi
“To make progress you have to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.” – Martin Rooney
Now, just a word-two (shortly) about hormones: “In addition to aiding in the building of muscle mass, Growth Hormone has several other physiological roles in the body including decreasing glucose utilization, decreasing glycogen synthesis, increasing amino acid transport, increasing the utilization of fatty acids, increasing fat breakdown and increasing the availability of glucose and amino acids, along with several others. Epinephrine specifically increases both the breakdown of glycogen in muscle and the breakdown of fat in adipose tissue, which means magnifying the release of catecholamines through strength training would be an asset for those clients wishing to lose excess body fat. A simple high volume program with short rest periods that targets large muscle groups will elicit a large catecholamine response.” – taken from the website (www.smartfitnessonline.net).
Here I need to mention something really important. You simply can’t choose where you lose fat. Don’t be obsessed with isolation work because the organism will choose where he will burn fat from. In most cases, he will burn from the spots where he stores the most (and other parts the same time – but less) and gradually almost everywhere else step by step (it also depends a bit on genetics). And compound multijoint movements (functional m.) will help you to burn more calories (because of more muscles included), which means more fat (beside stored carbs) if your insulin isn’t “turned on” because you ate something immediately before training has started (in that case an organism will burn that circulated energy first). And even more important, gaining muscles will boost up your metabolism so you can burn some energy while you are resting. That’s why the muscle tissue is almost the most valuable tissue in the human body.
I think that you have already realized why most of diets doesn’t work. Who knows what tissue you are losing by practicing them (water, muscles…), and “Yo-Yo effect” comes always like a consequence because your body has defending mechanism – “If you restrict the food so much I will slow down metabolism and store almost everything you intake like a fat because I won’t die still!” Not to mention the lack of some important nutrients (minerals, vitamins, amino acids…).
“Don’t do a low carb diet. Don’t do a low fat diet. Do a low shit-food diet.” – Dani Shugart
“Eat to support your training, not to fulfill an emotional need.” – Jim Wendler
“And the best “detox” plan iiiiiis – stop eating crap!” – T nation
“The best AB exercise is 5 sets of stop eating so much crap.” – T nation
“The best AB exercise is pushing away from the dinner table. And then lifting the table overhead and walking with it. And then slamming it into the ground repeatedly.” – T nation
Of course you can dinner some “light proteins” mixed with salad but stay awake at least 2 hours after 🙂 .
“Lifting weights make women huge. False. Cupcakes make women huge!” – T nation
When it comes to general population, the proper food intake worth maybe more than exercising by itself (3 meals per day with around 5 hours of no food between, some healthy snacks could be “in the game” as well). Without proper food intake, 3 times a week of exercising can’t do the whole magic.
“If you want to see your ABS, eat better. If you want your ABS to work better, move better.” – Gray Cook
“Guy: will I see results if I just do the workouts with you but don’t watch what I eat? Me: Yes you’ll definitely see results. Bad results.” – Ben Bruno
“You know that guy in the gym that looks the same month after month and year after year? Don’t be that guy. If you are that guy it’s probably your diet.” – T nation
“Losers diet. Winners build habits.” – Jim Wendler
Last but the most important:
“Beach bodies are built in the winter. GO TRAIN!” – T nation
“Train hard, eat right – have sex with the lights on 🙂 .“ – T nation.
Let’s conclude. People are so obsessed with scales. Healthy BODY COMPOSITION should be their goal. Gaining muscles and losing fat. Weight is just a number (you are realizing now why the BMI index sucks also…). Perform strength training at least 3 times a week (around 1 hour long session) with no too long cardio at the end of each session (or longer like a separate session) and you will get the healthy BODY COMPOSITION. Long cardio after strength/resistance exercises can negatively influence on strength/muscle gaining and that’s so bad. Keep always in mind that you need overall daily activity on a high level if you want to help the process of getting a proper BC. Just keep being active (I mean on brain and body both) the most of your day (it’s even more important for fat loss than just 2-3 times a week of some shorter cardio).
Fix everything that can be fixed because: “TRIGGER WARNING – you are fat because you make bad choices!” – T nation
“If you “have to” do tons of cardio to stay lean, then your diet sucks. PERIOD.” – T nation
Last (I promise now 🙂 ) rows are always good for some motivational finishers:
“Determination starts where motivation ends.” – T nation
“You don’t need more motivation. You need more DEDICATION.” – T nation
“If you can’t fly, then run; if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“How to get motivated to train: 1 – get naked, 2 – turn back to mirror, 3 – hold phone overhead and take photo of your backside, 4 – be horrified and go train!” – T nation
“Women who look great in yoga pants do more lifting than yoga.” – T nation
“Always needing motivation to train is behavior of newbies. The motivation comes after a set or two.” – T nation
“Any workout can make you tired, but a good workout program will make you better.” – T nation
“If you want to be successful, be consistent.” – T nation
“Discipline always trumps motivation. Discipline doesn’t care how you feel. Discipline will drive success.” – Jim Wendler
“Success comes from loving the process and always focusing on getting a little bit better. You must love the grind and the discipline to keep going day after day.” – Jim Wendler
“Training teaches us that there’s a causal relationship between hard work and reward. Sometimes you get lucky in life and experience rewards that you haven’t earned. But this never happens in the gym. Hard work and good things happen. Don’t work hard and good things fail to happen.” – Charles Staley
“Most people give up right before the big break comes – don’t let that person be you.” – Mike Boyle
“Training: You do it, it sucks, and then one day it doesn’t suck anymore and you love it. The space between is where you learn who you are.” – T nation
But remember: “You will not lose weight every day or even every week. The scale WILL spike up (even after a “perfect” day (or 5) of eating/nutrition). Do NOT let the scale discourage you. The scale is NOT the end-all be-all of progress. Check the mirror. Your measurements. Pictures. Clothing. How you feel. The scale is a great tool but not THE tool. Don’t let it get to you. It doesn’t fucking matter.” – Jordan Syatt
So… fat %, fat mass and lean mass are 3 important anthropometric measures – don’t over complicate things with testing (and when it comes to anything in general – you will make your client’s and your life easier). Some trainers like to impress their clients with a bunch of often useless tests.
Always keep in mind: “Athletes EAT and TRAIN. They don’t DIET and EXERCISE.” – T nation
“THE CURRENTLY FAT: Not my fault. It’s society, genetics, my feelings… THE FORMERLY FAT: It was all my fault. I accepted that, took responsibility, and changed.” – T nation
Thanks for reading and all the best,