Each week we run induction seminars for new people joining our Group training program. We start by asking them why they are here? What they hope to achieve and what they have done in the past to try and achieve these things.
95% of females that come to us want to lose weight, look toned and feel better (have more energy, better sleep etc) 95% of them all give the same answer when we ask them what them what they have done in the past to achieve this:
6-12 week challenges (which consist of the below) OR
Low calorie diets
No sugar diets
Low carb, high protein diets
All combined with 5-7 days a week of training: boot camps, lifting weights, cardio, RMP or pump classes
Did they work initially? Yes…….Did they lose weight? Yes…….how long were they able to keep it off? Every single person had put most of the weight back on if not more. How did they feel doing it? Most said initially they were fine, then as the weeks went by they started to feel tired, had food cravings, sleep started to suffer, they woke up tired and had mood swings. We get client’s to track their food for a period of time before they join, most females are eating under 1400 calories a day! These are females that have kids, have jobs and train – WTF!
The fitness industry weight loss model:
Reduce calorie intake – eat less food
Increase calorie expenditure – do more exercise
Why on earth would you want to do that? It would be like driving your car across Australia but only filling it with half a tank of fuel. Would you make it? No…….Now your body is not like a car, somehow it continues to run even though you haven’t put enough fuel in. How does it do this? Your body is a survival machine. It is built to survive. It will always sacrifice long-term health for short-term survival. So when it’s faced with this scenario it considers it a major threat to its survival.
As soon as the demand for energy is greater than the supply the alarm BELLS go off. The stress response is triggered and two hormones are produced, adrenalin and cortisol. These two hormones mean your body can continue to operate and survive even though you are not putting enough fuel in.
All of the cells in your body run on glucose, it’s their preferred energy source. As soon as your energy supply drops adrenaline is released. Adrenalin finds stored glucose in the muscles and liver and uses it first. When that runs out adrenaline signals the release of fat from your cells to be burned for fuel, this is called lipolysis.
A lot of people think burning fat for fuel is a good thing. Not in this scenario.
When you burn fat for fuel under the direction of adrenalin it is very inefficient. It uses 3 times as much oxygen to make even less energy than when burning glucose.
You don’t get as much energy but it keeps you alive. It also creates less carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of energy production in your cells. Carbon dioxide is a good thing, it helps to remove calcium and sodium from your cells which keeps them stable, happy and lowers inflammation.
Then comes cortisol. Cortisol’s only function is to break down your thymus, skin and muscle to release amino acids. These amino acids are taken back to the liver to be converted to glucose to be used for fuel. This process is very inefficient and stressful on the liver. You are creating an environment where your body has to use itself for fuel. It’s trying to survive. It’s a stress response. When you do this you are forcing your body to live in a state of chronic STRESS.
So you lose weight, but what you’re actually losing is muscle as well as fat.
You diet down, your calories get lower and lower, you do more and more exercise…
The result is you end up a smaller fat version of yourself.
So when you take the quick fix diet approach it destroys your metabolism and burns off your precious muscle. You get hungry, you start to feel tired, you get cravings, you binge eat and you can’t sustain it. You stop training 5-6 days a week, you go back to eating normally and you put all the weight back on if not more. Now your metabolism is even slower.
Your body is smart; when you reduce calories and increase output it reduces thyroid function, resting pulse, temperature and digestive juices so it can survive for longer on less. When your stress hormones are constantly elevated you will get: hormone imbalances, PMS, low libido, sleep issues, digestive issues, skin thins and, wrinkles, mood swings and Cravings. Have you ever experienced any of these things?
The first time you go on a diet you lose weight but the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time you do, it doesn’t work. You have to eat less and do more to get the same result. So you get to the point where it doesn’t work and you start to gain weight.
This strategy is killing you. So what should you be doing? You need to change the way you think about nutrition and training. At NuStrength instead of focusing on weight loss, we focus on body composition change. We are specific. We don’t want you to come into our gym and do a whole heap of random exercises and hope you get a result.
1. We track and measure your training,
2. We track and measure your nutrition
So that we can get you to your desired body composition goal. So what does that actually mean?
Lets take a look at two females, both are 65kgs, one is 18% body fat and the other is 35% body fat. Who looks better? Who do you think can eat more food? Who do you think is stronger? Who do you think has more muscle?
The one with 18% body fat of course. Even though they are the same weight on the scales one has more muscle and less body fat. So the weight is irrelevant, it is the body composition that matters. So instead of focusing on the number of kilograms lost on the scales your goal should always be body composition change which means: you always want: more muscle and less fat. This means you will have a better metabolism, you will look better, feel better and you will be able to eat more food and maintain your body weight without doing hours of exercise and starving yourself.
The other things we track and measure are: sleep, energy, mood, digestion, skin quality, menstrual cycle (females), libido, resting temperature and pulse. It’s ok to have a goal and want to look great but not at the expense of your health and well-being. I have come across many females that maintain low levels of body fat and while they might look great, they don’t sleep through the night, they are tired; they have terrible digestive issues as well as painful periods and PMS. I guess its about finding that balance.
The majority of people that come to our gym have been on the yo-yo diet train for many years. They have a lot of body fat to lose and have little experience lifting. Imagine building a house on a shitty foundation, what would happen? You would have to go back and rebuild it eventually. The same thing goes for building a great physique and a healthy metabolism. We take the time to teach people how to lift and we gradually work on building up their calories and building muscle – now this can be a slow process for some, but what we are doing is building a great foundation. If it took you 5 years to get to where you are now, how can you expect to get back in 12 weeks?
Invest in your most important asset – you! Find a coach that can teach you how to lift, that can help you build a solid foundation. A coach that will teach you about food, not just give you a meal plan. Someone who doesn’t just tell you what to do, they educate you and hold you accountable. Stop wasting your time with quick fix dieting, invest in the long term game, get disciplined and in 12-18mths time you won’t be looking back with regret, instead you will be well on your way to building a very solid foundation and be off the yo-yo dieting train for good!