If you’re not already a fan of MFF on FB… you’re missing out! Every month or two, I’m gonna open up my bulging brain and let you poke around for answers to any and all burning fitness questions. Like us on Facebook and keep your eyes peeled, and I look forward to providing you some guidance on the path to optimal health and hotness!
Richard Dery: What is the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for sodium intake when working out? I have seen conflicting info on the Internet.
MF: While there’s a lot of viewpoints out there, the generally accepted RDA is 2300 mg, with 1500 mg being the ceiling for folks with blood pressure issues.
Eric M Ruiz: What about “powering through” when you’re sick vs. taking a break completely… And when is it okay to start working out again if rest is the answer?
MF: As a rule of thumb, I recommend giving the body a break when you’re sick. When the body is trying to devote its energies to healing, it’s best to let it do just that. High intensity workouts also depress the immune system, which is not the best when your body is recovering.
Now there COULD be a place for training as you start to feel better. This is where you have to play a round of “Ninja Know Thyself”; while there’s no exact algorithm, once you’re on the path to recovery, a low intensity workout can help stimulate the immune system.
Keep word is LOW intensity. A lot of folks have a hard time not going crazy, and if that’s the case, it’s better to wait until you’re fully recovered.
Charlie Owens: What about working the core? Can you do these exercises every day or is there a way to split core workouts?
MF: Once again, there a lot of different viewpoints here. At MFF, we tend to train the core every workout (3-5 times per week for most folks), but we also focus on core exercises based on resisting movement. In other words, if we’re training the core directly, we’ll use moves like plank variations and generally steer clear of traditional ab training like crunches and sit-ups. More info about that here!
It’s also worth noting that free weight exercises done properly almost always have a core component. So when you’re doing technically proficient squats, lunges, push-ups, deadlifts, etc., you’re also getting a core training effect!
Jacqueline Baligian: I am confused about what I should eat before & after taking class. Protein, carbs?
MF: This depends to some extent on goals, but we do have some general guidelines. We generally like folks to train with some food in their system (unless we’re using sexy nutritional Intermittent Fasting strategies), but generally we want protein before, and carbs and protein after. If someone’s looking for muscle gain, we’ll often recommend carbs and protein before AND after.
Evens Joseph: I keep reading about HIIT workouts. What’s the deal?
MF: HIIT is an acronym for something called High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is essentially an interval-style training modality that alternates shorter periods of balls to the walls with longer periods of recovery from slapping your balls against said wall.
Although there are many variants, a classic interval would 30 seconds of “FUUUUUCK!” followed by 90 seconds of “holy fuck that was intense…” Practically speaking, one example would be hill sprints followed by a light jog or power walk.
HIIT trains a different energy system than traditional steady state cardio (keeping a consistent moderate intensity level) and has been shown to be way more effective for fat loss, for both absolute fat loss and time efficiency.
Stella Ferezy Kaufman: Out-train your diet? Still not a thing??
MF: Due to the pesky laws of science, it’s STILL not effective to try to out-train your diet. That said, I’ll be the first to let folks know if the universe somehow starts operating under different laws and humans are suddenly able to offset epic ice cream consumption by training their asses off! In the meantime, we’ll still need to be mindful of nutrition if we want optimal health and hotness, alas…
Mara Litzer Ruttger: Nutrition is my biggest obstacle. I know what I should/shouldn’t eat, but just can’t resist temptations!! Help!!!!
MF: Another very common concern! When the issue is execution as opposed to knowledge, the psychological elements become the most important focus. While fully addressing this is beyond the scope of a quick Q and A, this often boils down to finding the deep motivation to choose what we want MOST over what we want NOW.
At MFF, we call this the “WHY.” Getting crystal clear about WHY it is that someone wants to achieve their fitness goal is usually the first crucial step to developing the will power to adapt the necessary behavior!
After that, it’s key to set yourself up for success. Getting buy-in from friends and family and finding social support and accountability is an important but underappreciated part of the process!
Leslie Henstock: I have two. 1) Fruit. I like fruit. But it puts me over that carb number so fast! And yet I feel like I’m only eating fruit! Not the french fries I want! So I guess I wonder about the good carb vs. bad carb thing. 2) For somebody with a CRAZY, all-over-the-place schedule (hint…her name starts with an L and ends with an eslie.) is Intermittent Fasting (IF) really possible? If some days I’m out and going at 8am and others I’m not even awake until 11am, I wonder if IF is realistic for me to try. Thoughts?
MF: 1) Yep, fruit’s delicious! That said, like all foods, fruit does have calories. While I will be hard pressed to tell anyone to cut back on their fruit intake, I have on occasion seen folks go so completely overboard with fruit that they hinder their physique goals.
While I don’t necessarily believe in “good carbs” or “bad carbs,” some carbs are more or less helpful from a health and hotness perspective. For example, highly processed carbs are generally not gonna be your friend for either goal. And while I will generally categorize most unprocessed whole food sources like fruit as “better” carbs, you still have to be mindful of total caloric intake if you’re looking to lose body fat.
2) Intermittent fasting is indeed an option, even if your schedule is nuts. If you’re looking at Brad Pilon/Eat Stop Eat once or twice a week 24 hour fasts, obviously it’s no problem at all.
If you’re looking at daily fast variants like Martin Berkhan/Lean Gains, 8 hours of eating/16 hours of fasting, it can still be doable, but may cause you a bit of grief as your body won’t ever get into a rhythm if you’re changing your eating window every single day. When you do the same window every day, your body adjusts after a few days and you usually won’t be hungry until it’s “time” to eat. When you vary every day, it never quite gets its bearings and you may find your tummy growling.
It’s also worth noting that while IF is AWESOME for a lot of folks, we’ve found many women anecdotally seem to have a harder time with the daily variations, presumably due to the stress it can place on the system. As always, your best bet is to try shit out and see what works!
Erin Sjostrom: What are your thoughts on monitoring your alkaline levels? I saw a presentation on a Low Alkaline diet once and it sounded SO amazing to me (like… the cure to cancer AND obesity amazing)… but that could have just been because the people were amazing salespeople and they wanted me to buy their algae pills. Is it a real thing or just a fad?
MF: To be entirely honest, I don’t know a lot about this, but my bullshit detector starts going off the charts when someone is looking to sell a single product and claiming that it cures cancer and obesity. So while I’m opening to hearing more about it, and while I fully concede it’s reasonable that alkaline levels will affect health, my instinct is its importance is being overstated.
As is a common topic of conversation at MFF, humans are often understandably desperate for a reductionist ANSWER. While our hearts crave the comfort of a magic bullet, we live in a multi-factorial world with many shades of grey. As a general rule of thumb, when someone is a zealot for the ANSWER, I’m automatically skeptical. Particularly when they make a profit of selling the ANSWER. :)
Thanks for the great questions guys! Look out for more opportunities to pick my brain every month or two!!
5 Rules for Fat Loss Nutrition: Part 4 of 4
VIDEO: Fat Loss For Idiots Part 2: Training
And NOW, the thrilling finale to our Fat Loss For Idiots series. If you missed the previous entries, you can check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 by clicking those links!
RULE 3: When using training to burn calories and speed up the fat loss process, prioritize variations of metabolic resistance training (MRT).
Once you’ve got your heavy lifting in order, your next best use of time is to use weight training to create a heart-thumpin’, calorie-burnin’, ab-shreddin’ inferno.
For those used to traditional cardio, I want you to think of this as cardio performed with resistance exercise. We want to once again prioritize full body movements, but now we want to use relatively lighter loads. When we’re having MRT fun, we can start to employ short rest periods and circuits or supersets (going from one exercise to another with no break).
We don’t need to use a lot of weight, so bodyweight exercises and lighter dumbbells and kettlebells are great for MRT. Power exercises are also great here, but most folks will do better with non-impact variations. Properly executed swings and medicine ball throws tend to be easier on the joints than jump squats or clap push-ups, though more advanced trainees should season this to taste.
Specific rest periods, rep ranges, and total workout length will vary wildly based on your current fitness levels, but to keep it simple, you want to keep your heart rate elevated, work hard enough that you hate your life a bit, and always prioritize form.
Since you’re looking to kick some ass, you’ll be pretty fatigued. While this is necessary for MRT, remember to always prioritize technique so you don’t hurt yourself on the path to health and hotness. Remember: there’s nothing cool about orthopedic injury!
Fat Loss For Idiots Takeaway: After your 1-3 Heavy Ass-ish workouts, prioritize 2-3 metabolic resistance training workouts.
RULE 4: Traditional forms of cardio aren’t wrong per se, but don’t prioritize them as they’re not the most effective modality for fat loss.
In yet another bizarre twist for those seeking health and hotness, the old fat loss mainstay of cardio on the treadmill or elliptical is the poorest use of your time. Studies have shown time and again that steady state (or aerobic) cardiovascular training is ineffective for fat loss.
When you stick to one modality like jogging, it will work a bit at first, and then the body adapts. While the heart benefits are still rad, your body figures out how to jog in a calorically efficient manner. This is good for your jogging abilities and long distance running from zombies and/or killer robots. This is NOT the best for your fat loss efforts.
Excellent use of steady state cardio
MRT (metabolic resistance training) is a superior choice to traditional cardio. It allows us to use a full range of motion, it’s less likely to lead to muscle loss, and studies show it’s more effective for fat loss. Additionally, as compared to running, there’s a lot less impact on the body, so it tends to be kinder to your joints.
If you do decide to employ a more traditional modality, you can still get good fat loss results if you use high intensity intervals. While there are again many ways to do this, you basically alternate a shorter period of hell on earth, followed by a longer recovery period. Repeat!
In other words, instead of jogging at the same medium intensity for 45 minutes, you’ll actually see some great fat loss if you use intervals. A classic template here would be a 30 seconds of PUSHING IT and 90 seconds of recovering for 5 to 10 rounds. Even with a 5 minute warm-up and cool down, you’ll notice that HIIT (high impact interval training) is much more time effective than steady state cardio.
If you love love LOVE running or the doin’ the elliptical, I can’t they’re “wrong.” But if you hate doing traditional cardio and your joints hate you…STOP. There’s better uses of your time for health and hotness!
Fat Loss For Idiots Takeaway: After you’ve fit in your desired amount of Heavy Ass-ish workouts and MRT, add in 1-3 HIIT sessions if desired.
RULE 5: Since you can’t lose spots in specific areas by working the underlying musculature, focus on creating a full body training effect for maximal fat loss.
One of the reasons fat loss can seem confusing is your body often behaves in a counter-intuitive manner.
Gyms across the world are filled with people doing endless crunches to burn body fat on their stomach. This makes kittens everywhere very sad…
While this makes perfect sense in theory, the body can’t spot reduce fat. This means you can’t burn body fat in specific areas by working the musculature underneath said body fat. You have to create a caloric deficit through nutrition and training to encourage the body to burn fat for fuel.
This is a total mindfuck. It’s hard to accept that working your trouble spots won’t lead to burning bodyfat. The body, however, has a way of doing its own thing and doesn’t really care what it “feels” like. It simply responds to the stimulus you provide!
And unfortunately, the body takes fat from where it likes. For most of you, your “stubborn fat” areas are the body’s final reserves. Since your body cares more about “not fucking dying” than it does about six pack abs, this can be frustrating. That said, most people can get reasonably lean with eating quality foods, creating a deficit, and training.
For those who are already pretty abby but wanted to get SHREDDED… your journey will be a bit more complicated and will require some different strategies. Happily, the vast majority of you will kick major ass and transform your body by sticking to these rules!
Fat Loss For Idiots Takeaway: Instead of trying to train specific areas of the body for fat loss, focus on creating a full body training effect to get the best results.
Knowing Is Half the Battle
… but it’s only HALF the battle. Now you have to go apply these rules to reap the rewards!
As a closing thought, remember, more is not better. More is more. More is sometimes worse. Enough is plenty.
For most people, we like to max out the training at 5-6 total workouts per week. After this point, you’ll often see little extra results, but a greater risk of injury. Since the body is in a deficit, it’s important to not KILL YOURSELF with the training part of the plan. Make sure your getting 7-8 hours of sleep, eating your veggies, drinking water, doing soft tissue, and thinking happy thoughts!
I hope you feel empowered to kick some ass with the Fat Loss For Idiots rules. If you dig this info, please pimp us out like the whores we are and spread us like an STD to all your friends!
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5 Rules for Fat Loss Nutrition: Part 3 of 4
VIDEO: Fat Loss For Idiots Part 2: Training
Trusty reader, hello to you!! Let us pick up where we left off, and once again bravely venture into the world of Fat Loss For Idiots. If you missed the 5 Tips for Fat Loss Nutrition article, clicky clicky.
As we seek to live the MFF mantra of “as simple as possible but not any simpler,” allow me to once again serve as the Virgil to your Dante. In a world of overcomplicated nutrition and training protocols, this is the straightest path to your goals. For folks new to training, I hope to get you started on the “big rocks” that will determine 80% of your results. For health and hotness veterans, I hope to steer you away from needless minutiae and save you some time and frustration!
Please enjoy Fat Loss For Idiots Part 3: 5 Tips for Fat Loss Training!
RULE 1: Don’t try to out train your diet. Seriously though.
WTF?? That was rule one for the Fat Loss For Idiots nutrition principles!
I know. It’s actually that important. Anyone who knows anything about fat loss knows that there’s no way to lose (substantial) body fat with training alone. As previously discussed, you’ve got to create a caloric deficit, and training alone can never undo a subpar diet.
I’m totally on board with folks starting with training and then layering in nutrition after they’ve established exercise as a “habit.” It’s not uncommon to see pounds lost and physique improvements in the beginning, particularly for those who had previously been pretty inactive.
But we can’t rely on this. And we CERTAINLY never want to fall into the trap of thinking we “earned” a pint of Ben and Jerry’s because we trained that day. Nor do we want to futilely attempt to undo our weekend of nutritional indiscretions with extra training. More is not better. More is more, and often worse. Going from one to two hours a day won’t erase the buffalo wings. It will only needlessly subject you to overuse injuries.
If and when you fuck up, I want you to give yourself a life affirming hug and move forward with an open heart. Tomorrow will be a new day and into each life a little pizza must fall. You’ll do better this week!
Fat Loss for Idiots Takeaway: Don’t try to do with your training what you’re failing to do with your diet. Abs are made in the kitchen!!
RULE 2: Your biggest fat loss benefits will come from lifting heavy ass weights and building or maintaining strength.
You’ll want to prioritize the training activities that will provide the biggest health and hotness benefits. Although it may seem counter-intuitive lifting heavy ass weights will be the best use of your time.
We already know our fat loss is primarily a function of our nutrition. We will best served by using our training to maintain our muscle so the weight lost is mostly fat. One of the best ways to do this is to focus on building and maintaining strength. As an added benefit, folks new to training will often be able to achieve the holy grail and add muscle WHILE losing fat (don’t worry ladies, you will NOT get bulky, I promise).
Training veterans will need to be more strategic and pursue one goal at a time. If you want to add muscle AND burn fat, you’ll have to choose. A good rule of thumb is that you should have at least an outline of abs before you begin to pursue muscle gain. (And dzuh, I’ll of course create a Muscle Gain For Idiots series in the near future!)
Since our goal is muscle maintenance and not burning a ton of calories, don’t feel the need to get super gassed in these workouts. As always, focus on excellent technique and progressively getting stronger on full body movements. Squats, deadlifts, bench presses, rows, pull-ups, and combo movements will be superior to isolation work (bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, twerking, etc.).
And don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with heavy weights! In fact, it’s key here. Heavy is of course relative, but for folks with some experience, I like sets of 3-8 reps (and leaving 1-2 in the tank; DON’T go to failure on these). It’s ok to have the heart rate elevated, just don’t get so winded your strength and/ or technique plummets!
Fat Loss For Idiots Takeaway: Depending on your goals, you should spend 1-3 workouts per week prioritizing heavy(ish) lifts.
But wait, there’s more!
In our final installment, I’ll be giving you the low down on the final 3 rules of Fat Loss For Idiots. On to Part 4!
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Ladies and Gentleman of the Ninja Clubhouse, I have the great honor to introduce you to MFF’s newest Fitness Ninja/ Rockstars, the amazing Stephanie Wilberding and Amanda Wheeler!
Stephanie and Amanda are total badasses, and I’m OBSESSED with them. Let’s take an opportunity to find out a bit more about then and work on our friendships, shall we?
Name: Steph Wilberding
Hometown: Piqua, Ohio - about 30 minutes north of Dayton, Ohio.
Fitness Background: That’s just it…my fitness was always in the background…until my 30’s when I realized…I can totally do this…I packed it on with the choices I made…I choose to take it off…all off!!!!!!!! And this worked for a while…then I turned to insanity…not the workout video (but yes, I’ve done that, too)…but for real insanity - I kept doing the same things over and over expecting a different outcome…hello!!! Truth be told, I had no idea what to do…and then I got Snatched! From the moment I read my first email from Mark Fisher I knew (whether I liked it or not at the time) that my body and my health HAD to give up background work and step into a principal role. I needed new tools and Mark help me find them and rediscover the ones I already had that I just needed to dusted off. And now I have the privilege to help others do the same thing. I am proud to be on this team! THANK YOU MARK FISHER!!!!!!
What drew you to MFF’s style of crazytown? You walk in the front door and every quirk, trait, and nuance that makes you YOU is 100% celebrated. MFF is a place where laughter and sweat compete for screen time and in the end…the health and hotness of our Ninjas is at the TOP of the list…all the while embracing the land of rainbows, unicorns, and ridiculousness…how could I not be drawn? Crazytown is populated with Ninjas that are constantly trying to get better…1% every day! Did I mention we laugh a lot?!
What are you most excited about now that you’re living dreams in the Clubhouse? To know that every time I walk in the Clubhouse I will witness betterment. To know that my journey and skills can be used to help others pave their own individual roads to GLORY! To know that I am in “the arena” with others that have my back NO MATTER WHAT, everyday, because we are all there trying our hardest to Get. Better. Every. Day.
I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!!
What’s one fun fact we’d never guess about you? At 13 years old I was was one for the Top 10 Free Throw Shooters in Ohio as competitor in the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Competition…ALL NET BABY!!!!!!!!!!
Name: Amanda Larraine Wheeler
Hometown: North Branch, MI (actually a village, no stoplights, 4 churches, 2 gas stations, mostly dirt roads, farms, hunters, and closeted gays)
Fitness Background: I started playing sports at age 5 and was a year round athlete through out high school, focusing mainly in basketball. After tearing my ACL and meniscus my senior year and sweeping my dreams of dunking on Lisa Leslie under the rug, I started lifting weights. I got my first PT certification in 2006 and started working at Bally Total Fitness (On Friday nights, undercover cops would be stationed in the men’s locker room to catch the sauna circle jerkers - way to ruin the fun!!). After being there for a year, I was offered the opportunity to help create a PT program at the Metro Detroit YMCA. I jumped on it, and around the same time I made the transition to the YMCA, I found Crossfit. I immediately fell in love with the competitive (with yourself) aspect and started learning as much as I could. Within two years, I opened New Species Athletics in Royal Oak, MI with a partner and started doing Crossfit full time. After moving to NY in late 2011, I jumped into a ton of classes all over the city, but have yet to find anything that compares to MFF, and I’m STOKED that this is my fitness present.
What drew you to MFF’s style of crazytown? If by crazytown you mean such an intense awesome that I have to wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from the rays of pure magic that shine out of everyones ass, then I guess you could say I was drawn in. What’s not to love?! Ninjas, unicorns, mangina, dance parties, costumes, serious fitness, name game, drag queens, Mark’s hair, the hottest gay trainer in NYC, serious fitness, porn star, jock straps, theater, shake weight soft tissue, and serious fitness.
What are you most excited about now that you’re living dreams in the Clubhouse? I’m most excited to meet every ninja and to dive in to the incredible community that we have!
What’s one fun fact we’d never guess about you? I was the homecoming queen (please refer back to “hometown”).
There you have it all! Check out these superheroes on the May schedule to sample a sweet taste of their coaching genius. Much like Carnation Instant Breakfast, you’re gonna love ‘em in an instant!
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Are you hardcore?
Like… are you super, super hardcore? Do you LOVE challenges and thrive on displaying your physical and emotional grit?? Maybe while listening to deathmetal???
Then do I have the exercise for you… WALKING WHILE HOLDING HEAVY WEIGHTS!!!! IT’S SO HARDCORE!!
No? Not what you had in mind?
I love deadlifts as much as the next guy. I love getting my ass kicked in a killer metabolic resistance training circuit. And while I don’t really listen to deathmetal per se, lemme tell you… you haven’t LIVED until you’ve done that final set while blaring “Ease on Down the Road” from the Broadway musical The Wiz!
But sometimes simpler is better. And some exercises have a way of keeping you safe, because you can’t really fuck them up (much).
Self-limiting exercises can do amazing things for movement quality. When loaded appropriately, you literally can’t complete the movement wrong.
Most gym veterans have experienced pushing through a few ugly reps in a bench press at the end of a set. But when you’re WALKING WITH HEAVY WEIGHTS HARDCORE!!!! you’ll just drop the weights if your grip gives out.
Another value in using self limiting exercises is the cost-to-benefit ratio. You’re more likely to get injured when highly fatigued. And if you’re training for fat loss and creating a full body training effect… you’re gonna be fatigued sometimes.
This is NOT the best time to do a technically demanding exercise that allows for sub-optimal movement. However, self limiting exercise can allow you to enjoy the calorie-burnin’, ass-kickin’ you crave, all the while reducing the risk of orthopedic injury. Hooray!
Carries are a very well named exercise. You carry shit!!
Simple? Yep! But don’t conflate simple with easy. Carries rose to prominence thanks to the fitness industry’s Warrior Philosopher Poet King, Dan John. Based on how and where you load them, they offer a myriad of benefits.
If you load one side, it becomes a walking side plank. If you load the weight on your chest, you’ll have to resist the body’s desire to lean back. If you load the weight overhead, you’ll have to find a good shoulder position (which means having enough mobility in the first place, desk jockey be ware!).
You can use carries to warm-up, and you can use them to kick your ass as a finisher after your workout. You can also use them as fillers in fat loss circuits. If you load it up right, it’s gonna be a cardiovascular challenge.
Another important benefit of carries is developing mental grit. It’s not easy to fight through fatigue and finish a set of carries, particularly if you’re already gassed. Once again, self-limiting exercises allow us an opportunity to develop mental fortitude safely.
You can certainly develop some grit doing 200 burpees in a row, but I’d be nervous for your joints. Carries let you demonstrate your Inner Ninja, but don’t nearly pose the injury risk. Winning!
Crawling patterns are another useful tool.
Without getting super geeky, crawling patterns allow you to use your upper body in a way that’s very different than push-ups, rows, or bench presses. While one arm is stabilizing, the other arm reaches. This can lead to better mobility then always doing exercises that require a stiff upper or thoracic spine.
And I know that’s kinda boring for you. But appreciate this; if you shoulder and upper spine get super tight, it could lead to fucked up backs and/ or shoulders. No bueno!
By varying your point of contact with the floor (hands or elbows, feet or knees), playing with the direction (forwards, backwards, sideways, rotating), and altering your point of contacts proximity to your torso… you can do some crazy shit! So fun!
You know how there’s that silly game where you go to an island and you can only bring one exercise? My exercise choice is “getting off the fucking island exercise.” My second choice may very well be the Turkish Get-Up.
TGU’s are old-timey and bad ass. Although I’ve seen various theories as to its exact origin, this move is old school and has recently come into prominence as a go-to choice in progressive training circles. And with good reason!
The simplest way of thinking about a Turkish Get-Up is getting up off the ground while holding a weight over your head. This is laughably simplified but… that’s kind of the gist of it.
To do the movement properly, you’ll need to display a reasonable amount of mobility and stability throughout the body. Furthermore, you’ll quickly become hip to any glaring asymmetries as you work through get-ups on both sides of the body.
Although a detailed analysis of TGU form is beyond the scope of this here post, you can check out this YouTube series with MFF adjunct faculty member Neghar Fonooni to get you started. NY Ninjas can keep your eyes peeled for a TGU workshop coming up in mid-June with another beloved adjunct, Clifton Harski!
I hope these exercises got you a little boned up about adding some variety into your workouts. Self-limiting exercises are an important piece of an overall training regime. Not only do they keep you honest when training under fatigue, but they’re an excellent way to check in with your body’s current limitations and movement needs.
Also, you should seriously workout to “Ease On Down The Road” from The Wiz. Soooo fucking hardcore…
“I used to be a Broadway Dancer. My body was my tool and I took great care in trying to maintain a body that was genetically… a challenge. Thank you Grandma for these terrible hips and feet! It took quite a toll over the years and eventually I left the business after continual injury and physical obstacles seemed ahead of me. I entered the culinary world and tried, now and again, to get back in shape, but repeated back injury would slam me back to the ground.
“After years of feeling like my once in-shape body would never get back to the strength and tone I once had I discovered Mark Fisher Fitness through my husband Christopher, who experienced life altering changes through their Snatched in 6 Weeks program.
“From the moment our program began I knew I was in great hands. The entire team knew my physical history, were out to make me feel safe against re-injury, but more importantly gave me the reassurance to move beyond my fear and move into confidence again. The social network was a net to help each of us when we were feeling doubt. Not only has my view on diet been turned upside down, but my stale, boring past history of “working out” has been blown out of the water! I looked forward to class every day and growing that much stronger with such an amazing and inspiring group of people, each on their own unique journey, but all facing the Mountain to Rebirth together! Group 3 and our Bear Crawl Cries will always be in my Soul!!
“Thank you Mark, Brian, Staci and the entire, wonderful MFF Team for creating such a welcoming, judgement free club where everyone can feel like they are Home!”
5 Rules for Fat Loss Nutrition: Part 2 of 4
VIDEO: Fat Loss For Idiots Part 1: Nutrition
Finally! A sequel that doesn’t suck! If you missed the first part of our Fat Loss For Idiots series, click this link and get your learning on. Then come right back and we can stick it in deep!
RULE 3: Get sufficient protein.
When health and hotness are the goal, sufficient protein is a must. This is particularly important while in a caloric deficit.
By providing your body with sufficient protein during your fat loss adventure, you reap three advantages.
1. Satiation: Protein fills you up! Consuming protein means you’ll be less likely to be hungry and eat Churros.
2. Muscle Retention: Remember, the goal isn’t weight loss, it’s FAT loss. By providing your body with sufficient protein via your diet, you’re more likely to burn body fat than muscle tissue. This is super important if you want to avoid the “saggy potato sack on bones” look. (And as will be covered in Fat Loss for Idiots Part 4, weight training will factor in here as well.)
3. Protein Burns More Calories During Digestion: Without getting too geeky, the different macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) require some energy burnin’ in the digestion process. Because protein is a total badass, that mother puts up a fight and the body has to burn calories just to break her down.
How MUCH protein should you consume? The sports nutrition standard is 1 gram per pound per day. There’s nothing magical about that number, but it’s easy to remember, sufficient for hotness, and completely safe. If you’re not counting calories, no prob! Just make sure you anchor your meals with a big ass serving of protein!
Fat Loss for Idiots Takeaway: To burn fat, chow down on protein!
RULE 4: Cook Most Of Your Own Food.
Although everyone needs to find their own path, most folks will have to suck it up and learn to cook. If you have the willpower to ask for modifications every time you go out to eat, you might do ok. For most people, this is neither logistically or financially feasible.
Unfortunately, fresh, healthy, and delicious food prepared by someone other than yourself is generally not cheap.
And if you do decide counting calories is your preferred way to go, it’s always hard to guesstimate just what you’re getting when you eat out. Once in a while is no prob, but if you eat out every meal, you’re rolling the health and hotness dice.
One of my favorite tips for fat loss: if you’re planning on working out 5 hours a week and don’t have time to cook and prepare food… you’d be better off working out 3-4 hours a week and spending 1-2 hours a week on food prep.
If you live live LIIIIIIVE for food, you’re gonna need to invest some time learning how to make some food that’s yummy. If you fucking hate eating it, you’re unlikely to stick with it. Take the time to learn the basics of cooking and food prep, and find some recipes you love so you have some go to meal choices that support your fat loss.
Fat Loss for Idiots Takeaway: If you’re serious about burning fat, make time for cooking. If you don’t know how, learn!
RULE 5: Try shit for 2 weeks at a time and see what works. Then adjust!
The final rule of Fat Loss for Idiots is about assessing your progress and making adjustments. Once you’re trying something for two weeks (either calorie counting OR principles-based deficit with sufficient protein that you mostly prepare yourself), check your metrics and see how your body is responding.
WTF is wrong with you people.
Do your clothes fit differently? Do you look different in the mirror? Has your waist and or hips measurements changed from when you started? Did the scale move? (NOTE: This last metric is my LEAST favorite, as weight won’t take into account muscle gain that offsets fat loss.)
Remember, training is like farming. For most folks, 1-2 pounds per week is a realistic and sustainable goal. We’re just looking for signs that things are moving in the right direction.
If NOTHING is moving… no prob! Change something. Generally this will mean you’re either eating too much food for your body to lose weight, though in some cases, it may mean you’re actually under-eating and your body is getting pissed.
Although the specific possibilities and appropriate tweaks are outside the scope of this article, you should be seeing some sort of change. While that can be frustrating, at least you know something needs to be altered to get things moving!
Fat Loss For Idiots Takeaway: Don’t keep doing the same thing for weeks on end unless there actual demonstrable results. Track what’s happening, then adjust as needed!
Keeping It Simple
As the saying goes, fat loss isn’t complicated. It’s hard.
Sure, getting down to 5% body fat is gonna require some more complicated rules than the ones provided in Fat Loss for Idiots. But for the goals of most people simply looking to flatten their stomach or finally get rid of the winter weight gain, it’s really not rocket science. Follow these rules and you watch your body respond!
Don’t forget to check out Fat Loss for Idiots Part 3, where I detail some rules for approaching your training!
5 Rules for Fat Loss Nutrition: Part 1 of 4
VIDEO: Fat Loss For Idiots Part 1: Nutrition
In our never-ending quest to make the road to health and hotness as simple as possible but not any simpler, today I’d like to share with you some of the most fundamental and important principles for fat loss.
In the first of four parts of our Fat Loss for Idiots series, we’ll address some nutrition basics. While both training and nutrition serve a purpose, nutrition is of the utmost importance in getting your ass glitter-thong-ready for the summer months. Unfortunately, fat loss is often made more complicated than it needs to be, so today I’d like to gently steer you to the shit that really matters.
So before we begin, let me be clear: I do NOT think you’re an idiot. I think you’re fucking awesome. I merely love you so much I want to make this “as simple as possible but not any simpler.”
That’s a quote from this guy. He was not an idiot.
Stick to these 5 rules and you’ll be nailing it!
RULE 1: Don’t try to out-train your diet. Seriously though.
The first rule of Fat Loss for Idiots is that you can’t out-train your diet. Period. It’s just not gonna happen.
We’ve all tried it right? We’ve all accidentally eaten pizza after we inadvertently drank seven beers and then punished ourselves with an hour of cardio a day while holding our fat rolls on the treadmill or elliptical in a bizarre mea culpa. (Sadly, traditional cardio isn’t even the most effective choice for fat loss.) While our hearts are in the right place (… sorta), it just doesn’t work.
You can only burn so many calories while training. While there’s a lot of debate as to exactly how much you can burn, we can all agree it’s approximately “not as much as we want.” If we reward ourselves for our workout with some french fries, we’ve generally undone all the work we did.
I will concede that folks brand new to the health and hotness lifestyle will often lose a few pounds if they’ve chosen a decent fat loss training modality. And for behavorial change reasons, I don’t mind folks just starting off by adding training, then looping nutrition into the mix later.
But sooner or later, optimal health and hotness will be profoundly affected by nutrition. The very first thing we need to own in our hearts is that we cannot out-train our diet!
Fat Loss for Idiots Takeaway: Don’t try to do with your training what you’re failing to do with your diet. Abs are made in the kitchen!!
RULE 2: Consume less energy than you use.
Ah, the joys of science. Due to the pesky law of thermodynamics, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Consequently, the second rule of Fat Loss for Idiots is: you’ve got to burn more energy than you’re consuming.
You basically have two choices on the path to fat loss: you can count calories OR you can make food choices based on principles. In a future article and video, I’ll go into more detail about the specifics, but both paths have some pros and cons that must be weighed against your personal preferences.
Now this is where folks will sometimes say things like “counting calories doesn’t work.” L to the O to the LZ. Is counting calories a pain in the ass? Yup! Does everyone NEED to count calories to get leaner? Nope! But can it be useful in a lot of situations? Hundreds of Ninjas’ success stories suggest it can.
If you’re successful in your fat loss efforts, you’ve found a way to consume less calories than you’re burning to maintain your current body weight. The reason the body will burn its own fat stores is because it needs to get that energy somewhere. If it’s not getting it from your diet, it’ll get it from your love handles. Hooray!
Now we’re keeping it simple here. The Fat Loss for Idiots approach means getting into a caloric deficit (less calories consumed than burned), but there are some other factors.
The quality of your food will very likely affect the speed of your fat loss (not to mention your health; it’s not as fun to be hot if you’re diseased). Furthermore, the human body is not a closed system. Undiagnosed allergies or hormonal issues will also have an impact on that once your body’s consumed some energy from food. But in keeping it simple, creating a deficit is indeed our biggest rock for fat loss.
Fat Loss For Idiots Takeaway: Consuming less calories than your body needs to maintain it’s current body weight is non-negotiable for fat loss success.
More to love!
Alright Ninjas, there you have the first part of our Fat Loss for Idiots nutrition principles. Don’t forget to check out Part 2!
Let’s talk about shame, shall we?
Specifically, I’d like to address the shame folks feel when they fall off the fitness wagon. Fitness, like most of life, is rarely a linear pursuit. When seeking to make health and hotness lifestyle into a habit, it’s only natural that there will be fits and starts. Unfortunately, all too often, people give in to all-or-nothing thinking and long delay their return due to embarrassment.
This is too bad, as irregular patterns are entirely normal when folks inch towards making fitness part of their life. It’s rare for someone to start working out for the first time and never fall off the wagon. And I’m not even talking about the ebbs and flows of in-it-to-win-it 5 times a week and the barely-maintaining 2 times week. I’m speaking about working out consistently for 2 months… and then taking an unexpected 3 month complete hiatus from fitness.
Now is this ideal? Maybe not. Is it normal and something that happens to many people? TOTALLY.
I myself experienced much the same thing my first 5 years of training. From the time I picked up my first weight just before my 18th birthday until the summer of my 23rd year, my fitness adventures were sporadic at best. Due to the hectic schedule and relative poverty of my early twenties, those first five years were characterized by 6 months on, 3 months off, 1 year on, 9 months off, 6 weeks on, 6 months off, etc.
Again, is this ideal? Nope. But it happens. It’s actually pretty normal! The people who are able to totally overhaul their lifestyle in one fell swoop are few and far between.
All too often, I see Ninjas get jazzed about working out, go all in for a few months, then start to backslide a little bit, and fall off totally. This wouldn’t be a problem in and of itself. Shit happens, life happens, new jobs happen, we get it. Unfortunately the Ninja in question often compounds the issue with shame. Shaaaaaaaaame. SHAME!!
Now, instead of coming back when they’re ready, they push it off because they’re embarrassed.
“What will the trainers think? They’ll judge me because I’m weaker now.”
“What will the other Ninjas think? I’ve gained some of the weight back.”
“I can’t bare to start all over again as square one. I’m so mad at myself for throwing away all that hard work I did. I guess I’ll eat this burrito and watch Real Housewives of Guam…”
NINJA! You are not alone!
Here are some things to keep in mind if and when you find yourself in this position.
1) This is NORMAL. The journey to optimal health and hotness isn’t linear. The universe moves in spirals. Two steps forward are generally followed by one step back. Happily, one step back is often followed by two steps forward!
You’re not as far gone as you think. You did NOT waste all that work. The knowledge gained is still there. The tricks and strategies for training and nutrition are just waiting for you to employ them again.
Furthermore, since you’ve already laid the foundation once, you’ll have to do less brain-work since you already have a lot of knowledge. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to layer on new and even better strategies now that you know more about how your body does (or does) not respond to certain training modalities or nutritional principles. It’ll take much less effort to use the recipes you had already mastered, which means now you’ll be able to spend time expanding your healthful culinary repertoire!
3) Your body will be happy to get back to where it was, and probably will do so quicker. While repeated bouts of crash dieting seem to negatively affect metabolism and slow down future weight loss efforts, if you did it the right way in the first place, your body may be more responsive than you think.
And for exercise, this goes double. You may have lost some strength and endurance, but it’s not uncommon to find even better technique after having take some time away. Now if you’ve taken months and months off, you should expect a little bit of lag time as you dust off your neural circuitry. That said, once again, you are NOT back to square one. Far from it. You’re much better situated than when you first began and a new peak of health and hotness is closer than you think!!
So if you’re someone who went ballz to the wall for the first six weeks of 2013, and you’re feeling a bit embarrassed that you’ve taken the last six weeks off, take heart! If you’re someone who finally got on the fitness train in 2012, and now you’re trigger shy to dive back in after an extended break, I encourage you to take the leap!
And if you happen to be a Ninja and you feel like I’m talking to you personally… I probably am talking to you. Yeah, you. While this information applies to gym-goers everywhere, MFF is not a normal place (SAYS CAPTAIN OBVIOUS). Anyone who lives dreams in a Ninja Clubhouse is part of the fabric of the Ninja Army forevermore. You are valued. You are missed. You will find you will be welcomed home with open arms.
Seriously. You’ve been away long enough. Come baaaaack. No one is going to judge you. We’ll just be happy to see you. You’re totally normal and it’s not at all uncommon to “accidentally” take an extended break.
As always, you do you. No pressure. We respect your right to be the captain of your own fate.
But the unicorns miss you and we long to hold you. See you sooooon!!