Happy New Year Everyone! This is the time of year that people start thinking about making change to their exercise and nutrition habits. New Year…new you! Why? I even find this especially true with people that are in great shape already and have all their ducks in a row. Folks are so fixated on restriction! Restrict calories, restrict carbs, restrict water…and the list continues. As you all know, I’ve been working with many of our CFN athletes and their diets over the last couple months, and here is some excerpts from some conversations I’ve had lately:
“I think my diet is going well. I managed to lose 5 lbs over the holidays, but I don’t think I need as many carbs as you have me eating. My body usually responds better to having a limited amount of carbs in my diet..maybe we should think about lowering them.”
Wait…..so you’re telling me you lost 5 lbs the past 14 days eating lots of carbs on days you exercise and you ate what you wanted during the Holidays? Hmmm….and you want to restrict carbs? Why? Carbs are not all evil and we really have to get past the dogma that eating them at the right times may have some negative impact on our body comp. This is definitely not true for most people. Now, I am a fan of lower carb days on rest days, but for most healthy active people…..why restrict? You’re fine….now just proceed.
“I feel like I need to do a mini-cut, maybe 4 weeks of reducing my calories a bit. I just don’t feel as lean as I was a few weeks ago”
So you’re maybe 7 or 8% body fat and you’re eating at a prescribed maintenance level with lots of calories….and lots of diet flexibility. What could be better? Oh and it’s the winter, last time I checked its 5 degrees out and we are staying pretty covered up for quite some time. Remember, our year should have cycles of eating at a caloric maintenance, surplus….and yes…a deficit. So WHY the desire to cut? Take this time to work on your strength and performance….you need calories for this. You are at a point with dieting where you can have your cake and eat it too! Not everyone can do this….but you can…so do it!
“I’m reversing out of this diet and adding back in some calories, but I gained 11 pounds! Do I need to cut back my calories? Maybe we should take them back a tad and see what happens.”
I get it. You got down to the lowest body weight and body fat percentage you’ve ever been in your life, but we cannot stay in a deficit forever. Staying in caloric deficit can slow down your metabolism and get you into a real rut with food and your training. RELAX! Eat some food and put on some pounds. If we do this the right way you will gain some fat, but you will also gain some valuable muscle that will be uncovered the next time you lean out. Remember….those abs and pecs you saw in the mirror…they will be back. I PROMISE!
The more and more I do nutritional coaching, the more I realize that this world is filled with restrictors. Dieting has got such a bad rap. Don’t get me wrong….we will be suffering at some point when our goal is fat loss. But these are short term phases and most of our year should be spent at a caloric maintenance or above. This is such a hard theory to get restrictors to understand. Long term planning is the key in my opinion. Set a goal for a phase and stick with it. I find that these folks get frustrated while hanging out in maintenance, eating way more food, and having slightly less abs in the mirror. But these times are crucial to long term body composition goals. A good practice is to to really think hard about what you want out of your diet and understand that the year will have its cuts, surplus, and maintenance. All of these phases have an impact on that image you see in the mirror. So stop thinking because you had an easy workout that you need to cut the calories in the middle of a caloric surplus phase. How many times have you worked out really hard and thought…..Did I eat enough calories? I’m sure you thought it…but restrictions don’t pull the trigger and eat more calories, but they will be the first to shrink dinner up if they feel they didn’t get the crap beat out of them in the gym. Stop that! Plan, write it down, talk to a nutrition coach. You all have my contact info.
Till next time….
Coach Matt (AKA G)