Summer is around the corner – that means beaches, bikinis, board shorts, and hopefully the body to go with it!
Right around now you will begin getting bombarded with “8 week challenges”, templated diet approaches, and other promises of “six weeks to sexy” that are guaranteed to do nothing but make you hangry, destroy your metabolism, and leave you searching for a bigger (not smaller) size in that aforementioned bathing suit.
Well jeez, that wasn’t a nice intro the blog…
I’m sorry – but sometimes I just have to keep it real 🙂
The truth is that the fundamentals of transformation are not sexy…
They do not happen in 6-8 weeks…
And they cannot templated.
But have no fear, as always – I’ve got you covered!
If you are really ready for a transformation this year, keep reading – I will break down exactly what you need to be considering, and how to move forward successfully 🙂
Stress and Adaptation
Induce a stressor, create an adaptation – to be perfectly honest, THAT is the fundamental of change (if it were only so easy, huh?)
However, when I say the word “stress,” you likely view it as a negative…
Pump the brakes, not all stress is bad stress!
Training in the gym is a stressor.
A calorie deficit is a stressor.
Neither of those, when controlled, are so bad, are they?
What truly must be considered is the AMOUNT of stress that an individual can handle, and subsequently adapt to.
Do you really think that a Fortune 500 CEO and a stay at home parent have the same base level of stress? OF COURSE NOT
Why are we building them training and diet plans under that assumption? WE SHOULDN’T BE!
Perform a lifestyle inventory.
How much pre-existing stress do you have?
Do you sleep 8 hours?
Do you have stress in your house when you are home?
Does your job cause you additional stress? Or maybe the commute to your job causes additional stress?
Are you mentally stressed that it is tax season?
Consider everything that brings you stress, and try to understand your base level of stress.
Fat Loss OR Muscle Gain
Now that you understand how your lifestyle will affect your transformation, let’s begin looking at how we should be building out your plan.
First – what are you goals?
One of the most common “goals” that I see in client intake forms is “gain muscle, lose fat.”
Awesome – me too.
But a brief review of physiology tells us that to lose fat we must be in a calorie deficit, and to gain muscle we must (usually) be at a minimum of caloric maintenance, if not a surplus (this article is not meant to argue neurological adaptation phases, recomposition from special situations, or otherwise – yes I recognize them, but that is not the point here).
Therefore, I will ask again – what are your goals?
If we revisit the time of year, and the desire to look good on the beach, your goal is most likely best described as FAT LOSS while MAINTAINING as much LEAN TISSUE as possible.
Setting Up Your Plan
Armed with the knowledge that fat loss comes with a calorie deficit, and with an awareness of our current stress profiles, we can now get to work.
There are two “schools of thought” when it comes to fat loss:
“Eat less, do less” and “eat more, do more”
Both create a calorie deficit, and both can be effective, but choosing the right approach will come down to your stressors outside of training and diet.
Regardless of your approach, your goal should be to minimize the degree of the calorie deficit you are living in.
Most articles will tell you to start with a 500 calorie deficit. While that isn’t awful advice, it certainly should come with the caveat “assuming all things normal.” It should also include that a deficit can be created either directly from reducing food, or increasing exercise, or a combo of both.
Personally, “a combo of both” is my preference.
Next week’s blog will go much deeper into detail about the dietary set up, but here are the things you need to consider now:
Your stress profile (done above)
Your metabolic history (diets you have tried, and the effect they have had on you)
How much you can train and not have it become an excessive stressor in your life
Your current dietary intake
A potential deadline for this transformation
While this article may not be “the sexy stuff” in terms of building a diet, and extreme fat loss protocols, it is EXACTLY what is overlooked by most diet articles out there.
Take this week, truly assess what is needed for a successful transformation, and PLAN for success.
Next week we will get tactical, and we will CRUSH this process together.
Have a great week 🙂