If there was a way to explain to people the secret of fat loss no one would believe me, but because I care so much about sharing the truth I will try my best.
More exercise is typically not the answer. It usually comes down to the right kind of exercise. I’ve written about this over numerous of times in the past, but to simplify my explanation of what you should do I will do so in one phrase.
“you should do what you do least of.”
Of course things are usually more complicated than that, but that’s how it works for exercise. Not everyone has the experience and the scientific background of how everything works, but I’ll argue you know about 70-80% of what to do stay healthy and fit. Maintain a reasonable weight and low body fat percentage.
The advantage of working with a coach / personal trainer (or being a fitness nerd) is how to optimize things. When you read stuff online (like this article), most of the time the article has to be general and appeal to a specific audience.
If you’re into the crossfit games and a Rich Froning fan (which I shamelessly admit to being) the information in this article will be stuff you’ve heard of. I know this because I’m an advocate of the a paleo diet and truly believe in evolutionary science. I also follow the infamous Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution.
Here’s the deal, what’s the secret to weight loss and getting a six pack abs and ripped like a high level crossfit games competitior?
The answer is in our genes and our hormones. There isn’t much we can do about our genes but there is a lot we can do to manipulate our hormones.
One of the main reasons that sedentary people lose body fat and gain muscle quickly is because they make a very positive and dramatic shift in their hormonal environment. They they become more insulin and leptin sensitivity which leads to using sugar better and burning body fat more easily. Second, testosterone and IGF-1 get a big natural boost from strength training. If a person doesn’t exercise and starts doing cardio they will get a big human growth boost.
For people who are in the middle of the road, that exercise relatively regularly won’t see the same dramatic improvements a sedentary person will. It’s fact, the more out of shape you are the faster in shape you will become. If you’re already in shape or have decent conditioning (remember this is relative), dramatic progress will only come from smart workout programing.
Essentially, you need to know what you’re doing if you want to make a big shift in changing your body.
One major shift that will get you in shape is to eliminate all the things in your life that cause you too much stress. You know, like bills and your day time job.
Oh yeah and of course sleep more.
Don’t get up to an alarm clock.
Sleep in every night,
and wala, the pounds will start shedding off your body and you’ll feel better.
Okay let’s get back to reality. We all have real world obligations that cause us stress. The average American gets less than 7 hours of sleep a night. Most of us wake up to an alarm clock and many of us have demanding work and family lives.
When you’re stressed out, sleep deprived and under nourished you’re body goes into a sort of “starvation mode.” I know this is not accurate, but most people will get it. Your body will want to reduce caloric expenditure and conserve energy. It will want to destroy muscle and cripple your immune system. At this point, your body cares less about losing body fat as it does more care more about getting back in balance.
This is why people can’t lose weight. This is why people get stuck.
You know how they say everything in moderation?
Well, this applies to exercise. Working too much is a stressor that will cripple your ability to get/stay leaner. Some of my co-workers at the gym are examples of that. I’m an example of that.
There’s a sweet spot for everything and you need to realize that you’re sweet spot for getting lean and ripped like Rich Froning is different. Keep in mind that there is a huge genetic component to how your body looks.
The main point I want to make is that getting to looking lean and ripped comes from balancing your hormones. Insulin is fairly simple to control; reduce or eliminate carbs (of course not forever). Leptin sort of manages the way you burn calories, it’s also a huge appetite control mechanism of your body. Many believe that processed food and sugar play a roll in screwing up our leptin sensitivity. Lack of sleep and too much stress amplifies the effects of our hormone system. This in turn wrecks our ability to perform well in our workouts and lose body fat.
Stress from too much business / work and family “stuff” also screw all this up. Some people blow up like balloons by gaining weight (and can’t lose it), others lose muscle and get weak. Digestion is also another sign of poor food quality and too much stress.
The solution? Sleep more and exercise reasonable amounts. Eliminate processed foods and eat carbs as it makes sense for physical activity for the day. Just remember that there is no one size fits all approach. Did I mention that alcohol affects your hormone production and also wrecks your ability to get good sleep?
Okay enough. Sorry if I have a lot of punctuation errors. If I didn’t get this out, I would’ve never have posted it.
thanks for reading.