Fat Loss Advice That Doesn't Suck: Planning For Rainy Days
The same ol' fat loss advice you see on ad-filled, infomercialed websites: Eat less, and exercise more. It's almost an insult at this point to even trumpet that message to you these days. As a fitness professional, I apologize that your eyeballs and emotions have to endure such a sophomoric marketing message.
Aren't you even a little frustrated with this message?
Eating less and exercising more gets pounded into your ear drums or constantly appears in front of your eyeballs, but if you've struggled losing fat all while following that advice, it can make you want to throw in the towel altogether.
Related: Pocket Guide to BMR, Calories and Daily Intake Requirements
I don't blame you. If you feel like you're doing everything right and following directions, it human nature to expect results.
The back-side of this advice carries some collateral damage that often gets overlooked. This pattern of eating less and exercising more sends you down a black hole - a point of no return. It's something like a person running down a steep hill unable to stop where he desires - being pushed down a lot farther than he expected being under the control of his momentum.
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Unfortunately, even while the normative advice gets a lot the attention when it comes to fat loss, the process requires strategies that penetrate the dull message of eat less and move more.
I'm not claiming that these two things - dieting and exercising - aren't of value when it comes to fat loss. However, on their own, the approach can prove incomplete at best and damaging to your health at worst.
Think of dieting and exercising as the hub of a wheel. The strategies you that follow are the spokes. Each need each other in order for the wheels to optimally function.
Here are a few things I emphasize in my writing and in my coaching to make sure your fat loss is achieved and sustained. In other words, what follows is fat advice that doesn't suck.
How to Lose Fat - The Power Of Planning For Rainy DaysWhen it comes to fat loss, stringing up enough days where you stay on track is the golden juice of success. Therefore, you plan your attack with an idealistic angle.
Be honest. You've done it.
You plan to workout six days a week for 70 minutes at a snazzy gym that's a 25 minute commute each way. In the first few days, maybe even weeks, everything goes accordingly to the master plan.
Tom, your manager, doesn't hold you late at work. The highway doesn't have you pulling your hair out with soul-crushing traffic. You're meal prepping is on ninja-level. The baby has been taking naps and sleeping through the night.
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It's in this place where you must prepare to win. If you you break momentum on your fat loss journey, and it makes that much harder to jump back on the train. And with enough stop-and-go attempts to crack the code of fat loss, it's only a matter of time before you become despondent and hopeless.
Fortunately, there is a simple fix: Plan for rainy days in the form of a contingency plan. In other words, have a back-up plan to your plan A. This will allow you to stay on track even if you can't execute the ideal plan.
There are a few areas to craft your contingency plan:
Fat Loss WorkoutsYes, we'd all love to have 15 minutes to warm up with mobility drills, 60 minutes for heavy lifting, and 10 minutes for some bonus ab work at the end of each training session. This type of workout is over an hour and when you factor in commute time, you could be looking at two hours total.
At certain times in life, trying to fit this in the day is laughable.
But it doesn't mean you toss out the idea of exercising completely. Instead, have a 15-20 minute workout in your back pocket at all times. This workout should be a circuit that can be done anywhere or with minimal equipment. Here a few examples:
- 15 AMRAP
- 10 Push Ups
- 10 Squats
- 10 Sit ups
- 15 AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)
- Run 100m
- 15 push ups
- 15 kettlebell swings
If you've got a cardio machine in your garage, spare bedroom or basement, here is a deceivingly spicy fat loss workout.
15 minute total time:
- 20 seconds of intense work (80%+ heart rate)
- 40 seconds rest/easy pace
- Stationary bike, rower, ski-erg, assault bike, or a treadmill will work.
But the point is that you punched the clock and got your workout in.
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Fat Loss NutritionWhen things are going good in the meal prep department, you feel on top of the world. Feeling prepared at all times serves as a buffer to those unexpected temptations that hit you during the day (like the mid-day doughnut or three at the office).
Similar to training, when life squeezes you and limits your time to meal prep, taking a few hours to chop veggies, steam rice and grill some protein is simply not going to happen. This can leave you vulnerable in the concrete jungle. At every turn, it may feel like the world has conspired against you - aiming to derail your fat loss efforts.
But, food companies that serve food that pack on the pounds don't care if you eat the food or not. They simply are in business to make money.
This shifts the responsibility to you.
The real solution is how and where you spend your money. Lets be honest, if you don't meal prep, your dollar is going somewhere else. And therein lies the value of preparing for a rainy day when you don't have time to meal prep. Here are a few ways to use your money in a way that supports your fat loss instead of hindering it.
Invest in a meal prep serviceThis is probably the most costly suggestion. However, you either spend money to save time, or you save time to spend money. In most cases, you probably don't have time to meal prep, so spending money is the next best option.
Meal prep service companies are sprouting all over the country for good reason - they are solving a problem. Some of them have you pick up and some of them offer delivery (obviously this is a premium that you'll pay for).
Office sweep and swapOutside of your home, your workplace is where you'll spend the most of your time. This means you're going to be making a lot of food decisions at work.
Here's a question to consider: Does your personal work environment match your goal of losing fat?
Sure, I understand that overhauling the entire company probably isn't in the picture. Replacing the vending machines with Snickers, Coke and hot Cheetos with a young fox who serves green smoothies isn't going to happen.
But you can control your personal space. Take a look at your desk. If you've got little treats stashed everywhere within an arms reach, you're basically saying "no" hundreds of times each day. At some point, your willpower gets depleted and you give in.
Instead of stocking your space with snacks that make you crumble, invest in snacks that support your goal. Here are a few ideas:
- Mixed nuts
- Citrus fruit
- Almond butter and sliced apple
- Protein bars
- Any type of jerky
- Veggies and hummus
- Protein powder
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Identify 3 healthy eating optionsLets face it. There are going to be times when you have to go out for lunch or pick something up on the way home from work.
That's the first step - relieving yourself from resisting the idea that you must only eat that you cook. Secondly, it's imperative that you find at least 3 dining options that fit your needs and goals. Ideally these options will be in the groove of your normal lifestyle.
Meaning, choose restaurants or take-out options that are near your home or in the vicinity of your work. This is advantages for two reasons:
First, you make the decision before you make the decision. When your blood sugar levels drop and you start feeling haaangry, your decision making capacity dips faster than Usain Bolt's 100m time.
Translation: Pizza wins.
But if you've made the decision on where to go before you have to make the decision when you're hungry, you automate the outcome.
Translation: You win.
You don't have to wrestle with the decision, it's been made for you.
Secondly, this saves your cognitive capacity for things that actually matter. Ya know, things like creativity and work performance. It also saves you from a boatload of frustration. There are few things more annoying than playing ping-pong decision making when it comes to deciding on where to eat. The narrative usually follows something like:
"Where you do want to eat?"
"I don't care. Where you do you want to eat?"
"Dude. It doesn't matter to me. Just pick a place."
This strategy is more powerful than you think. It hits home when you expiereince it real time. So, do it now before you read on - pick at least 3 places you can dine when you have no time to meal prep.
Wrapping UpRegardless of how complex or beautiful the plan, it must provide results. Moreover, if the perfect plan doesn't have any back ups when the storms of life hit, you're doomed for frustration form the start.
But now, you have a toolbox worth of contingency plans in your workouts and in your nutrition that uo can rely on when things get thought and you want to veer away from the things you know you should do.
Say goodbye to staring over and over again when it comes to fat loss - with these strategies you can keep momentum and sustain progress all the way to your goal.
Good luck. And don't give up - you've got what it takes to build your best body.