Bodybuilding is the only sport in the world where the participants are required to, and are able to repeatedly and systematically burn off all their bodyfat.
Now, you may not want to look like a bodybuilder. But, people who train regularly using a perfect blend of resistance training and cardiovascular work in addition to a carefully crafted and executed fat loss diet are the only people on the planet who know and do exactly what it takes to lose bodyfat quickly.
What you also need to understand, is that those guys you see photographs of, ripped to the bone with huge muscles in places you didn’t even realise you have muscles…. didn’t just wake up like that one morning it takes YEARS of dedicated EFFORT and consistent sacrifice.
Professional level bodybuilding is a completely different ballgame with a very obvious difference in desired appearance. But the common aim between them and you is the desire to LOSE BODYFAT, is it not?
OK, they want to lose ALL of it, you may only want to lose a little of it, or maybe even most of it….but their protocol is PROVEN!!
For me as a recovering anorexic this was the most important point when deciding how to go about recovering. I still hated having “fat” on my body. But I couldn’t handle any more starvation, guesswork, fad diets or “miracle pills” which may or may not work (nb: it is always “not”).
I wanted a lean body, and I wanted it for definite, and I wanted it as soon as possible. So what makes sense to do? Die another slow death….with yet another attempt at some god-awful, overly promoted, restrictive weight loss diet or fitness class alongside every other desperate, struggling, depressed, over-fat health-industry victim? Or…simply look to those who know how to combat the very issue that was the bane of my daily life and the measure of my self worth!
I chose to stop killing myself, of course.
And from then on, my life changed. I realised that getting great results meant putting in a great amount of effort. There was no easy to swallow “Magic Answer” pill. So I adopted the following motto:
“To look like an athlete, you must live like an athlete!”
There is nothing more true!
Many of the competitive athletes you see, and perhaps aspire to or even secretly envy, were “born” fit and have always enjoyed sports. This gives them a great start in life, and in having a lean fit body. Their bodies are primed for perfection.
Those of us less inclined to be found outside early on misty weekend mornings chasing a ball….have a harder road to follow! It is us poor comfort-loving folk who actually have to live it harder than the rest! We have catching up to do. If you want to look like somebody who has been fit for 10-15 years…then you better be prepared to make up for lost time 😉
The problem is, those fitness models and those sports personalities are often used to promote gadgets and products that promise to deliver the same results as a decade of healthy living in one single purchase.
Please accept that it is NOT that easy. But neither is it complicated. And it is definitely worth it.
It helped that I figured out early on that what I needed to do FIRST was to repair my metabolism. 10 years of starving myself had left it battered and bruised and in dire need of resuscitation. Funnily enough, your muscle mass has a massive correlation to your metabolic rate (both at rest and during exercise!) as muscle tissue requires energy to exist and perform, where bodyfat does not. So, beginning a weight training programme was an absolute no brainer for me. I needed that muscle back in order to be able to burn off the foods I was going to have to eat in order to become healthy and fit.
So I changed my strategy.
Instead of waging a daily war against your intake of calories and trying to clock up as many minutes on the treadmill as you can….take the opposite approach.
Use the muscles, ignore the fat.
Feed the muscles, starve the fat.
A fitter body burns more calories day in day out. A body with more lean tissue burns more calories even while asleep! (Bet you can’t burn calories on a treadmill while you’re asleep…!)
Far too many people believe that it is effective “doing time” in the gym in order to “burn calories”. What about going to the gym to improve your metabolic engine (your muscle mass!)? Shifting the focus away from “weight loss” can often transpire into effortless body re-composition. By finding something you enjoy, and pushing yourself to the max – your body will be forced to better itself, and you’re more likely to actually want to go to the gym! Nobody performs well when they feel forced, or bored.
Calorie Counting & Excessive Cardio is REactive (Defensive/Damage Limitation)
Resistance Training + Smart Fuel Ingestion is PROactive. (Offensive/Taking Preventative Action)
No football team ever scores a goal without an offensive strategy; the best result they could realistically hope for is a NIL DRAW (or a fat loss plateau). Who wants that?
I know what you’re thinking. All This Sounds Crazy….It is the total opposite of everything you ever thought you knew! Will it really work for you?
The first thing you need to know about Metabolism is: YOURS IS NOT BROKEN!
It may be malfunctioning, or running a little sluggishly – but that is not a curse, it was earned. (sorry!)
However, it is within your power to resuscitate your internal engine.
And here is how:
Firstly, realise that your metabolism is NOT a fictional entity residing within your body whose sole mission is to sabotage your fat loss efforts.
It IS however, an accumulation of many many internal and external factors, in conjunction with the functionality of ALL the systems within your personal physiology (your body).
Variations in the following ALL affect how “fast” or “slow” your metabolism functions. How many of these aspects are you currently addressing?
1: Your Body Composition (how much of you is fat mass vs. lean tissue)
2: Your Hormonal levels, ratios and responses (how your body responds to the outside world and how its internal systems are functioning)
3: Your Neurotransmitter production and activity (how your brain perceives things)
4: Your Thyroid function (a common scapegoat for an alleged underperforming metabolism)
5: Your Digestive health (are you even able to receive your nutrition? Because if not…you’re scuppered!)
6: Your Genetic Potential and Gene Expression (What is your natural body type, and are you reaching your potential, or sabotaging it?
7: Your Dieting and Physical history (What abuse has your body suffered? Over/Under Eating? Stress? Injury/Illness?)
8: Your Activity Type (What type of moving do you do?)
9: Your Nutritional Level, Macro and Micro Nutrients (What are you eating?)
10: Your Activity level (How much do you move about?)
Your Energy intake (How much are you eating?)
If you are experiencing weight loss resistance, I’ll bet just one or two – the last two being the most likely.
If you are chasing FAT LOSS, you need to tackle as many of the other factors as possible for best results.
Take Home Notes:
1: Follow a proven protocol
2: Behave as if you were trying to maintain your hard-earned goal. Because what it takes to maintain your goal, is what it takes to deliver it. “To look like an athlete, you must live like an athlete!
3: Switch to an OFFENCE not DEFENCE Strategy
4: Repair and Heal your Metabolism
5: Lift Weights!
More Next Time….About the Importance of Nutrition, and the Fallacy of Calories.
by Jen Cargill