Weight Management, Part IV: – Mastering the “Basics”

Hey all, hope the weekend went well. We’ll hop right into it today, continuing our series on weight management, today talking about what I consider to be “the basics” of weight management. Just like in anything else involving in life involving mastery, if you don’t have the basics down, you have no reason at all to go onto something more advanced.

Before we begin though, in case you missed out, here are parts 1-3:
Part 1: “If You Do What You Always Did, You’ll Get What You Always Got”
Part 2: Setting Emotional Goals
Part 3: Start Easy, Build on Success

So, without further ado, I bring to you:

Top 5 “Basics” of Weight Management**:

(before I go on, it is to be understood by the reader that consistency is the key variable to control for in incorporating these strategies with your weight management program. Bottom line, if you’re not consistent  80% of the time, then you should not feel let down that you’re not making progress you desire in your program.)

1) Perform Progressively Overloaded Compound Movements
If you’ve read my blog posts in the past, this should come as a no-brainer. There is far too much research showing the benefits of progressively overloaded resistance training with regards to achieving a more positive hormonal profile, lower body fat percentage, and smaller fitting clothing to ignore its positive impact on those who partake in it. Strive for at least 2 days (progressing up to 3-4) a week where you’re challenging large muscle groups in an progressively overloaded fashion that gets increasingly more difficult week by week. Moves like weighted squats, deadlifts, lunges, and a plethora more for the lower body, as well as pull-ups, push ups, rowing variations, on-ground function, and overhead press variations for the upper body will all do the trick. If you feel uncertainty about your form or if you have pain when you are doing  a specific exercise, see a movement specialist to see where the issue is coming from.

2) Stay in a Negative Caloric Balance at LEAST 5 Days Out of the Week
This is a bare minimum, folks, and is a huge factor that is very underappreciated by individuals attempting to lose weight. 3500 calories = 1 pound of body weight, no matter how you chop it up, and every calorie counts. While you can get a lot of these calories burned from working out, the unfortunate truth is that most people DO NOT have the physical capacity to exercise at a rate that will burn enough calories to induce fat loss while not making any real changes with their current daily caloric consumption. Start keeping a food log to see where the portion of excess calories you don’t need are coming from, and make a vow to be better about not putting unnecessary calories in your body. You’ve got goals, remember?

3) Eat Whole, Real Food!
While quantity of calories consumed is important, as Aristotle says, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. In other words, you could eat 1500 calories of refined, processed, junk, and still have trouble losing weight, because you’re not getting actual NUTRITION that your body needs to help enhance metabolic reactions in your body.

For example, think about how much better an egg would be for you coming from a free-range chicken, able to do whatever it damn-well wants throughout the day, not having a care in the world, vs. a chicken walking around in its own crap, inside of a cage stressed out of its mind? I know they’re cheaper, but what is an extra couple bucks to you? A healthier immune and endocrine system, for starters! For more information about the benefits of free range eggs, and tips on how to eat whole, real foods, just check out anything by Jon Berardi or Brian St. Pierre at www.precisionnutrition.com.

This is definitely one that is often overlooked. Lets face it… life can definitely be challenging sometimes, and road blocks will get in your way from time to time. One of the most often claimed excuses for stopping an exercise program is that things got “just too busy to keep up”. Work, family, the bills (c’mon now…), Family Guy was on (ok, understandable….wait a sec, I mean, hey! c’mon now…)… I get it. You have stuff going on. But do you really not have 20 minutes to spare to do even a metabolic bodyweight circuit, or better yet, prepare a couple quick, decent meals for the next few days? People who hit goals don’t just put things off til the next day; they set a goal, do everything in their power to fit their goal-activity (resistance training, preparing healthy meals, stretching, etc.) into each day, and grind away at it no matter how long it takes.

5) Get to Bed at a Decent Hour!
Since you’re trying to master the basics, you’re eating right, working out regularly, staying in a negative caloric balance… you’re body is being exposed to what most likely is a very atypical environment that it hasn’t been in a while… even if it is the “right” thing for it! This will inevitably cause some stress to the system, which will subsequently mean that you need to allow your system enough time for rest and rejuvenation so you will have enough energy to continue the process. At the bare minimum, 6 hours of sleep a night….and for most people, that is not enough to be able to maintain optimal physical and cognitive function. Most people need more along the lines of 7-8 hours on most days of the week, so make sure you’re catching your Z’s on a more regular basis. Is the extra hour(s) of TV at night really worth it?

These are the basics, folks, so if you aren’t willing to incorporate these strategies on a regular basis, you really have no business trying out any supermodel diet that incorporates taking “shots” of whoever-knows-what of no more than 500 calories/day for 21 days. Our society’s problem is that too many individuals have never had any base level of success with tried-and-true methods of diet/training that have stood the test of time, because they either:

– Never went through with it at all, therefore don’t know what it “feels” like
– Went through with part of it, maybe a few weeks or few months, but ended up stopping before any real success occurred, subsequently writing it off as ineffective.
– Went through with it, had success, but didn’t continue with it for whatever reason, and sought an easier way out.

It all comes down to making decisions, working hard, and staying committed to put forth the effort day in and day out. For those that I’ve trained that were able to fit these strategies into their everyday lives consistently had the most success in hitting their goals.

So, as your life inevitably gets busier, are you going to let your goals go by the wayside? If not, what are you going to work on today? Remember, start easy, build on success….

Have a great day!

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