We unfortunately live in a society where clothes are mandatory. That comes with a caveat of course. Peering at the average waistlines of America these days makes one feel grateful that beach season only comes around a few months a year accompanying the depressing fact that Joe American is more likely to be found with a six pack of Bud than abs that could cut granite.
But I digress. Summer is right around the corner and I want all of you to look damn good naked. After all, what’s the point of having the body of your dreams if you are sitting at home cupping spinach leaves in your mom’s basement on a Friday night? Here at Show Me Strength, we want you to work hard to get what you want and then damn well you better show it off.
You may have a sharp laconic wit but let’s be serious, whose catching the hot blonde’s attention at the beach first?
‘Nough said. Here’s part 1 of our series where I’ll give you training, nutrition, and lifestyle tips to help fuel your pursuit of looking fanfuckingtastic when the lights stay on.
Tip #1 Avoid fatty food while drinking
No, this isn’t the most important tip to getting some abs or sweet curves but let’s be honest here it’s a party foul that almost everyone commits. It’s the summer and unless you’re the guy I described above (you goddamn better not be) then you’re not going to be drinking water at the beach or when you’re out and about.
Our inhibition falters when we drink so while you may adhere to the strictest diet in the world you’re still going to be craving a pizza while you’re drinking that zero calorie vodka tonic. And even if you’re like the “most normal non-anal oh my god I gained 3 oz last night” person, chances are greater than good that you’re going to have that pizza, maybe two.
Sure, one time isn’t going to kill you nor will the 3rd or 4th occurrence but over time this nasty habit that everyone’s guilty of will start to make itself known in your efforts to drop fat.
Here’s a brief primer on why:
Fat storage is an ongoing process as fatty acids are constantly entering and exiting fat cells throughout the day. As you eat protein and carbs, insulin rises and fat oxidation stops as you use the protein and carbs for fuel. Once insulin levels drop back down again, fat oxidation ramps back up as your body’s preferred source of energy. How much fat ends up being stored is regulated by caloric balance.
Alcohol changes the game. While protein and carbs do not directly contribute to fat loss in any meaningful way (yes, carbs don’t make you fat), the combination of alcohol and dietary fat will do some damage. Because alcohol is converted into acetate (poison to your body), it takes first priority in the metabolic hierarchy, meaning protein, carb, and fat oxidation cease until all the alcohol is burned up by your body.
Glass of wine here and there with some grass fed beef at night. Sure, no problem as the wine will metabolize quickly giving your body ample time to take care of bodily repair during sleep preventing any major fat gain.
Pizza, french fries, along with 12 beers is going to be a problem over time as all the dietary fat you eat you’re going to store that night.
My recommendation which I stole from Martin Berkhan: Enjoy yourself and when you choose to booze, keep your fat intake low that day.
Tip #2 Lift to maintain strength, diet to lose weight
We are slaves to our evolutionary roots and biology dictates the rules of survival. Understanding that context will make this maxim much easier to understand.
Most people take the opposite approach: work out like crazy and hope it makes up for their crappy diet. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work as performing more cardio actually just makes your body more efficient at handling the extra workload (reduces your metabolic rate so you actually have to do even more work to burn the same amount of calories).
During hunter-gatherer times, we only burned significant amount of calories during times of extreme stress (escaping danger from a predator or food scarcity). Thus, it would be counter-productive to survival to induce greater rates of fat loss during times of extreme stress making the former approach to fat loss the wrong one.
A more appropriate way to achieving extreme levels of leanness is to train with emphasis on strength and muscle maintenance while gradually reducing calories to effect greater levels of fat loss over time.
For example, a training day that we utilize with clients in our coaching program would look like:
A) Barbell Bench Press 5×5
B1) DB Bench Press x5
B2) 1-Arm DB Bent Over Row x5
C1) Feet-Elevated Pushups x10
C2) Inverted Row x5
B1-B2 and C1-C2 are density based circuits where you rotate between the exercises for ten minutes as many times as possible
Tip #3 Compete with someone better than you are
The leanest I’ve ever been in my life came the summer when I challenged my college roommate that I would come back in better shape than he was.
Side note, if you’re interested in just how lean I was, check my tinder. Just kidding, well. I wonder if my girlfriend reads what I write. Matters.
Only problem was that my roommate was a college wrestler and probably the most ripped bro I’ve seen in person.
If I wasn’t dedicated to the cause, I would have no chance and that’s exactly why I succeeded as well as I did. He was better than I was which forced me to raise my level of preparation and dedication to the craft of losing body fat.
Though I regularly consumed over 500+ grams of carbs three times a week (does that count as dieting?), the fact that I had to eat absurdly well wasn’t a challenge.
Pizza on a low carb day? No chance, every day, every meal matters.
Body’s not feeling so hot so I should probably take it off huh? That’s what my wrestler buddy is saying when he’s three hours into a four hour workout. I’m sure he’s going to stop. Not. So I had to fight on.
There was no monetary value predicated on who came back in better shape. In truth, I signed a professional contract midway through the summer so I never got to find out if I would have come back in better shape. Winning a prize or inflating my oversized ego wasn’t what drove me.
I set a meta goal of achieving something that would be difficult and require unforeseen dedication to my diet that I had never put in before. I knew just how good I had to be so it was so easy not to cheat or give in to my temptations when they arose.
It’s summer time. We all have friends trying to get into beach season shape. Find someone that’s starting out in a better place you are and make it a point to beat him to the finish line. Whether that finish line is getting chiseled or finally feeling comfortable in your own skin is something you got to decide on your own.
“Being realistic is the quickest path to mediocrity”. – Will Smith
Click here to learn how we can coach you into a seriously awesome human being and get you into badass shape this summer > Show Me Strength’s exclusive online training and lifestyle design programs.
Embrace. Fight. Prevail.