Archive for October, 2011

Pessimism can make you lose weight faster


If you’re reading this blog right now, I’m sure that there’s at least one point of your life where you have felt that reaching a certain travel destination takes longer than it is to go back. For many years, many researchers have speculated that this phenomena happens as a result of getting familiar with the places/ roads that we have seen along our travel. Until recently, they have come up with a more accurate reasoning which was detailedly explained here.

Granted that you may be wondering why the heck am I writing this blog for in relation to weight management. Well, I think that the same logical context can be applied in weight management. We all know that improving fitness takes time be it weight loss, muscle mass gain or what have you. Therefore, many people forget to train their patience along the process of weight loss for example. One of the main ingredients of successful weight/ fat loss or any fitness goal is consistency. Without consistency, there’d be no patience. However, many people fail to achieve their fitness goal as a result of lack of patience. It is so easy to say that one simply needs to be patient enough to see their desired fitness results but I think that the real problem there is our optimistic mentality that makes us feel that our fitness destination takes too long.

In the context of weight management, optimism can be our enemy cos we tend to look forward to see results be it everyday or on a weekly basis. As long as there is an applied calorie deficit for weight/ fat loss(assuming that there is really a calorie deficit), our weight/ fat loss progress will not accelerate it’s rate if we constantly think about it. Sometimes, it’s really our expectations which hurts us the most. While pessimism is a negative attitude, if it’s applied at this specific context, it can give us a feeling of having a faster progress. Imagine going back home from a vacation or a cruise for example, it gives us the feeling that our travel time is much faster because we are becoming pessimistic about going back to reality(going back to work, do household chores, etc.) In the context of weight management, this mentality can be adapted in order for us to create that feeling as if our fitness progress rate has gained some acceleration.

The pessimistic approach

The key is here after proper diet and training has been established is to keep ourselves busy in order for us to divert our attention. Anyway, we have daily demands and jobs to do that we should think about other than worrying about fitness stuff. If you don’t have much things to do then kill some time playing video games. I explained in the blog how playing video games can make or break a diet. In fact, I was applying the same concept at this moment because I’m preparing my physique for the Halloween.

I’m not saying that we should be a complete pessimists about life in general but in this context especially if you’re the type who easily loses patience. I believe that if the same pessimism can be applied just like in our trip on our way back home, it can be useful.

I’m not just carving a pumpkin for Halloween


I promised my kids that we are going to carve some pumpkins this coming Halloween. They were so excited that my two boys are already counting every nights passing by because they are also excited to wear their costumes. Luckily, I found out that I will be off from my nightshift job this Halloween that’s why I decided to dress up on October 31st of this month. Personally, I like the spirit of Halloween; aside from remembering our loved ones who have passed, it’s also the day where we get to get to dress up as whoever we want to be on this day. That’s why upon finding out that I’ll be off this Halloween, I immediately searched the internet for the costume that I wanted.

And I’m not dressing up as a Jersey Shore cast

But the other thing that I will carve is my physique

My costume is already on it’s way from shipping but I’m going to keep it as a secret but my costume would be inspired by a popular video game character since I’m an e-warrior myself. The costume that I ordered is a little daring to wear that’s why I need to adjust my dietary & training variables in order for me to look good in the costume. I’m not saying that I got fat right now but I’m just not as lean as I wanted to be for the costume. Of course, I want to look good on the pictures also. I have mentioned in the blog that one quick way of creating an illusion that you have gained muscularity is to lose body fat.

A photo of me from 2009 Halloween where I dressed up as Spidey

As far as I remember, I only weighed like 110 lbs. in that picture above but I’m not saying that I wanna be at that weight again but rather acquire the same level of leanness for my Halloween costume. I weigh 132 lbs. at the moment so in my rough estimate, I probably need to shed 5-6 lbs. of pure body fat while maintaining my existing lean muscle mass to reach the same look only with more muscularity since I weigh a lot more now which means that I have increased my muscle size as well. However, the only problem on gaining weight is that you also gain some body fat along the process. The ratio of the LBM gains versus body fat gains will be dictated by a person’s p-ratio. In other words, during hypercaloric diet(consuming more calories than our body needs), it’s inevitable to gain some body fat but there are various ways that can be manipulated to minimize the body fat gain. I’m not going to write it down here in this blog though because this blog isn’t all about p-ratio.

How am I gonna do it

Okay, so I have remaining 27 days to shed some body fat to get down from lean to extra lean. As far as my training is concerned, I will still keep using Lyle’s generic bulking routine. Don’t be carried away by the name of my program because just because a program is designed for hypertrophy, it doesn’t mean that you should change your entire program for fat loss. In this context, I will simply adjust my training variables such as decreasing the number of sets or training frequency or both. I will keep the intensity(weight on the bar) the same to preserve my existing LBM while losing fat.

As far as my diet is concerned, this’d be the tricky part because I will have no problem on tracking my calorie intake while my bodybugg SP will aid me on monitoring my calorie expenditure even though my daily physical activities aren’t linear. So, thermodynamically speaking, I should be all set but it’s my lifestyle of being a rotational shift worker that is the big problem itself because shift work can negatively affect my hormonal environment. A lot of people don’t realize that another reason why it’s hard to achieve the flat stomach is because of the various chemical reactions in our body. The law of thermodynamics applies to humans but this law only applies to total body weight of a mass(including living organisms) but it doesn’t define it’s subcomponents meaning our body is in constant flux of converting incoming energy(food) into a different matter. Studies have shown that rotational shift type of work can cause hyperinsulinemia to shift workers which mimics a prediabetic state. Don’t jump into conclusion that insulin is already the bad guy for fat loss because it’s not.
However, on a dieted down person like me(as opposed to a naturally lean person), my body will opt to fight back from making myself even leaner that I am simply because nature designed our body for survival.

In this context, I need to control my insulin levels because even a tiny presence of insulin elevations in my blood can suppress lipolysis. I’m not going to eliminate my insulin, I will simply manipulate my diet so that I can minimize my insulin response. One reason why it’s harder to diet down once a person is already lean is due to the fact that once we become lean, we also improve our insulin sensitivity. Now, that insulin sensitivity increase can sometimes be a hindrance to promote further leanness that’s why in this context, it’s better to promote insulin resistance to fat cells to redirect the incoming calories from entering the fat cells.

I will still use my intermittent fasting eating pattern wherein I will fast for 16 hours then I will eat my allotted calories within my 8-hr. feeding window. I will use cyclical dieting approach to optimize the benefits of nutrient timing. I will use the EOD eating approach as a template that i will modify based on my results. Among all the macronutrients, carbohydrates especially the starchy carbs are the most insulinemic although protein can also raise insulin response so I’m going to cut down my starchy carbs to zero servings on my non-training days and on my training days, I will drive my starchy carbs intake to my workout maybe an hour or two before and after my workout. The closer it gets to my workout, the better but not too close to create any gastric upset. Since I will be decreasing my carbs intake during non-training days, I will have to increase my protein intake even more during these days to promote gluconeogenesis.

I will also limit my saturated fat intake(not total fat intake) during my training days but I will rather exchange those saturated fat calories into monounsaturated ones like olive oil because saturated fats combined with a simple carbohydrates can even raise the insulin response even more. I will still of course take my fish oil daily because it also aids on nutrient partitioning. You may have noticed that I pay too much attention to small details(I really do) because I have to! It always depends on the context of application. Some diet gurus/ fitness experts may have told you that details don’t matter, well it just depends. There’s a middle line between becoming a minimalist and an extremist. Whether one should use the basic principles of fitness or small minutiae just depends on the context of scenario.

My NEAT activities will remain the same because my job gives me the opportunity to do a lot of NEAT so I will leave it as it is. As far as my stubborn fats are concerned(my love handles and lower back fat) are concerned, I will use some of the SFS book protocol. I may have to supplement on Yohimbine HCL if I have to.

That’s it for now. Wish me luck!