Why hire a fat loss coach?


I am going to be direct and Frank in this blog. Whether one needs to hire a fat loss coach or not strongly depends on the context specificity of a goal. I am not fond of giving black and white answer because context is always important; it is the ultimate judge in almost every decision making process in life. To answer this question ore precisely, I will enumerate the potential pros and cons of hiring a fat loss coach/ consultant. This is one thing I have learned in life which allows me to predict a better outcome.

Pros: (assuming that you hired a good coach who knows what he/ she is doing)

Note: I don’t do contest dieting folks. I can probably do it but I have no experience in doing so.

1. Results can be faster, therefore both of your time and energy are conserved.

2. Paying someone to be accountable for your progress can be advantageous to your diet and training compliance. Research has even shown that money is the best tool for fitness motivation. When you pay someone to coach you, you as a consumer is more likely to comply to the protocols to get your money’s worth.

3. Hiring someone who is familiar with the turnarounds fat loss is the same as hiring a tour guide during a trip/ travel abroad. Like what I’ve said in #1, it saves you time and money. While there are tons of free information online, if you are clueless about fitness information, you may suffer from information overload. It is very difficult to classify a good or bad advice. Why? Because most of these advices do not provide the context specificity. No matter how good an advice is, if you cannot follow it, it will just be as bad as a bad advice.

20140306-021010.jpg

Let us take this client above for example, my coaching service is good for 8 weeks, but in the 7th week of the process, I was able to deliver the client’s goal. Talk about efficiency.

4. Hiring a coach who is familiar with fat loss can easily troubleshoot your fat loss stall for example. Sometimes, people panic when they fail to see any weight loss on the scale while it could simply be water retention masking the true fat loss. Sometimes, or perhaps most of the time, dieters tend to underreport their true food intake which sabotages the calorie deficit.

5. If you are a dieter who is aiming to become lean on a specific date for a special occasion (wedding, reunion, etc.) for example, the goal is more likely to be accomplished if you hire a good coach.

6. A good fat loss coach can provide psychological reinforcement. This is important while dieting.

7. A good fat loss coach can help you resolve a dieting behavior. A coach isn’t there just to provide you with a calorie/ macronutrient recommendation; they’re also there to ensure that you can be lean once they’re not there for you anymore.

Cons:

1. It can be expensive. Depending on who you hire, the price highly varies from hundreds to thousands of hard earned cash.

2. It is kind of difficult to look for a

good coach

because even if someone can refer you to a good one, they might have a long waiting list which means you may have to wait or they may not even accept you at all.

3. I have heard of some

bad coaches

out there who simply provides you as a client with some cookie cutter diet plans. Worse case is that you fail to hear anything from this coach upon paying them. A good coach should keep in touch with you frequently. I don’t know how others do it, but personally, I always keep in touch my clients on a daily basis. Thanks to the internet!

These are some of the benefits and risks of hiring a fat loss coach. I may have forgotten to list some other stuff, if you can name some, please post them in the comment section below. Rather than answering this question as black or white, like anything else in life, the key is to critically think about it by weighing the positives and the negatives.

Share and enjoy!

http://calorielab.com/news/2013/03/19/money-is-the-best-weight-loss-motivation/

Advertisements

How anal do I need to be in counting my macros?


IIFYM is basically eating by numbers which is pretty much a more detailed way of tracking calories. Why not just count calories then? This is because total calorie intake simply applies to the body weight alone and does not necessarily predict your body composition at a given body weight. If one really seeks an optimal way to reshape their body composition, tracking macros is the way to go! Eating by numbers is certainlynot the only way to go; some people aiming for some simple weight loss could simply use simple ways of calorie restriction. Now, back to the original topic. First of, Lyle McDonald of bodyrecomposition.com wrote an excellent article with regards to how detail oriented you have to be which basically applies to both principles of dieting and training.

Many people have been associating IIFYM with flexible dieting; the truth is that IIFYM is not necessarily a flexible diet. What makes it flexible or not simply depends on the context of the scenario. What are the factors that affects the flexibility of the diet? To make the story short, the amount of given calorie budget based on a specific goal will determine whether an IIFYM diet can be flexible or not. You cannot compare a physique competitor’s macronutrient budget vs. a recreational dieter’s. Obviously, the latter will have higher calorie budget in general therefore, he/ she can be more flexible in her food choices. As a person gets leaner (about >12% body fat for men, and about >18% for female), the leeway for mistakes in the diet becomes less meaning, the leaner a person becomes or depending on the level of leanness a person aims for, the more he/ she has to pay attention to their macronutrient intake compliance. This is due to the simple fact that a lean person has a smaller calorie deficit than a heavier person. This is why sometimes, eating clean foods becomes a necessary evil for an already lean person seeking further leanness because aside from the fact that most so-called clean foods are more satiating, they also happened to contain macronutrients in isolation (it has less tag along macros in it). For example, a 4 oz skinless chicken breast contains 120 calories with 26 grams of protein/ 1 gram of trace fat and 0 gram of carbs whilst if a person has more room in his macro budget, he could getaway eating fattier cuts of meat such as skinless chicken thigh which has about 23 grams of protein, 4.5 grams of fat and 0 gram per 4 oz serving. The point is, the leaner a person becomes, the tighter the calorie/ macronutrient budget gets, the more restrictive the IIFYM diet gets.

But of course, not everyone is seeking for the next level leanness nor is planning to compete on stage. As the IIFYM becomes more mainstream, more and more recreational dieters and trainees are jumping in the IIFYM bandwagon. However, I’ve noticed that many newcomers to IIFYM seem to ask the same repetitive questions all the time. Asking question is good because it is a part of learning, but learning to catch your own fish than being handed out with a fish bowl is a more integrated part of leaning. This is what inspired me to write this blogpost.

If you are already on IIFYM, by this time, you should have a food scale on hand and a calorie app of some sort. Here are few guidelines to follow:

1. The higher your body fat is or the more weight you have to lose, the less you need to worry about hitting your exact macros. For as long as you are hitting your protein needs, the ratio of fats and carbohydrates can be flexible enough for as long as it fits your allotted calorie budget. You don’t need to be a perfect dieter especially if you are just a recreational trainee who simply want to have some freedom in their diet while staying lean.

2. The leaner you become or the leaner you wanted to be, the more you have to comply to your calorie/ macronutrient budget.

3. If something is working still, don’t change it. Just be consistent and patient enough, results will come for as long as you have a correct number setup working in conjunction with your activity pattern and exercise.

4. One of the most FAQ is whether an IIFYMer should get a free meal/ cheat meal whilst on IIFYM. While having a free meal is highly optional, if is inevitable in real life to come across with foods that don’t come with attached nutritional information on them. So in this context, call it a free meal. Free meal/ cheat meal or whatever you wanna call it (although the former term is better due to psychological reason) are uncontrolled foods which means, you are clueless about their calorie/ macronutrient content. If you choose to be OCD about it, either skip it and suck if up completely or if it makes you feel better factoring it within your numbers, I explained the tips here.

5. As far as vegetables intake, depending on how flexible you wanted to be in your diet, you don’t have to track the calorie/ macronutrient content of green, leafy fibrous veggies like spinach, kale, lettuce, cabbage, etc.) with the exception of if you are eating several pounds of those veggies a day which obviously would matter in that context. Generally speaking, it is the starchy veggies that you need to be more concerned about like corn, potatoes, etc. because even if you eat a small amount of it, it can be pretty calorie-dense.

6. What about sauces like ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, etc? Same rules applies like #5. If you are consuming amounts that would affect your numbers significantly, factor them! To be safe with salad dressings, track them and log them in your calorie app.

7. So you wanna eat a calorie dense food like ribs but your calorie/ macronutrient budget is tight to begin with? The key is portion control. If the serving size is let’s say 6 oz, you don’t have to eat the entire serving size. You can eat half and still be able to meet a good compromise of not depriving yourself while still complying to your numbers.

8. Wherever you get your starting macros from, keep in mind that these numbers are solely based on estimates. Your given number may or may not work in real world scenario, so it may or may be adjusted. If it’s working, leave it alone. Changing something for the sake of change is just as bad as not changing something when it needs to be changed.

9. What about alcohol? While it makes sense to just factor the alcohol calories, already lean people are better off using Martin Berkhan’s guide to alcohol. This is because from energy substrates standpoint, this is the superior strategy to be implemented when maintaining low body fat levels. If you’re just a recreational dieter who is not really concerned about walking ripped everyday, just factor it within your calorie budget.

For now, these are some of the basic tips that I could think of and I will constantly update this blog. If you can think of other tips, please post them in the comments section below.

Share and enjoy!

How to make time for exercise


20140114-015526.jpg

In our modern lifestyle, including a regular exercise program can be another job for most people. It seems like it is a luxury only few people can afford. Well, this is at least how most people perceive the proper implementation of exercise in their lifestyle. Exercise is important, but one doesn’t have to revolve their lives around it. We often hear fitness gurus perpetuating training hard which is a very vague phrase to begin with.

You know, there is something that I realized at the end of year 2013 and this is hard work is important; but perhaps, working on the right thing is more important than working hard alone. We often hear successful people saying that they are successful due to hard work which is probably true. But they often forget the fact that they are successful because they also worked hard on the right thing.

Now, let us translate this in the fitness world. Many people whose New Years resolution is probably to become fitter, achieve a healthier, a fitter body or what have you, but they always neglect to factor the importance of context specificity! What is context specificity? It simply means having a goal and selecting the proper methods to meet the requirements for that goal be it diet or training or both. See, this is important because you can name so many people who are training hard in the gym yet they are going nowhere. This is simply because for several years, we have been brainwashed by many fitness bullshits what real training hard means in reality. Backpedal long to what I said above, training hard is important. But training for the right thing is more important than training hard alone.

Many people up to this date believe that they need to spend 6 days a week in the gym to achieve results. Unless you are an athlete or someone who doesn’t have responsibilities outside the gym, this is impractical in reality! This is perhaps one of the reasons why people were afraid to venture into a fitter lifestyle; they are afraid to be committed. They are scared on the fact that they will start and will eventually quit. Personally, I work double jobs, I have a family to support, I also get tired yet I still manage to incorporate exercise in my lifestyle. Your exercise program doesn’t have to be a chore itself. For body recomposition goal, 2-3 times a week doing some heavy weight training is sufficient enough for most people to see drastic changes in their physique.

In terms of diet, modern technology is making dieting even easier that is why I eat by numbers. In my context, this is just the most appropriate method to meet my personal fitness goal. In case you are wondering, it only takes me extra 2-3 minutes a day to both weigh and log my food intake. It’s not as difficult nor complicated as most people think. Take advantage of technology.

Now, before you sign up for the next Zumba class and your goal is to become lean and toned, think about reassessing your plan instead. The problem about finding time for exercise is actually not finding time itself, but the way people perceive it’s real life translation. Unless you are a real couch potato who has no other physical activities outside the gym, then going to the gym everyday may apply to you.

Share & enjoy!

How to become a flexible trainee


It’s been a while since the last time I wrote a blog simply because if I decide to write one, I wanted to aim for a subject that is original from the rest of other fitness articles out there. These days, flexible dieting is becoming more and more popular. This is good because it liberates the dieters from restrictive dieting as I have explained here. However, everyone seems to talk about how to become a flexible dieter whilst the diet part is simply one part of the equation for successful body recomposition. The other half?

Become a flexible trainee

When I say flexible trainee, I am talking about recreational trainee in terms of bodybuilding, fitness or what have you. Who are considered recreational trainees? By definition, one is considered a recreational trainee if you are an average person with average job or lifestyle, and is simply exercising to either look better or become healthier without making fitness a priority. I think this is one of the biggest misconception many people believe that one must exercise everyday and diet religiously in order for them to reach their fitness endeavor. This is simply not true; if any, unless you are a 100% couch potato with no means of increasing your physical activities outside the gym, there is no need to exercise daily being a recreational trainee even if your goal is weight management. In the context of fat loss, regular exercise is good but is overrated in terms of energy expenditure. In reality, if you really want to increase your energy expenditure without severely restricting your calorie intake, increase your NEAT. Successful weight loss maintainers have consciously maintained their high physical activities on top of their regular exercise along with a sound diet.

Flexible training

Let’s face it, majority of people who jumps in the fitness bandwagon wants to be more aesthetically pleasing. Whether one aims to build muscle or lose fat, the same concept of flexible dieting also applies to flexible training. Take note that I am not talking about training when you only want to train. Flexible training is settings realistic training frequency based on your own lifestyle. It could be twice a week, thrice a week or what have you. In my experience, two-three times a week doing heavy weight session seems to be enough to maintain or prevent losing muscle. While we don’t have an access to muscle biopsy at home, we can only use strength as a proxy whether we’re losing muscle or not. Just like what the old saying says, “life is full of compromises indeed. Incorporating fitness in your lifestyle is not the same as making your life revolve around it. Of course, there are some exceptions to this principle because there are truly some people out there who does fitness by profession. If you are reading this blog, you are not one of them so by technical definition, you are a recreational trainee.

Yeah, it’s based on my personal anecdote

20131209-015015.jpg

But I made it work. For five consistent years of being married with three children while working two jobs including night shifts, I must say that I have successfully learned how to fit fitness in my lifestyle no matter what obstacle life brings me. How do I do it? I am citing my scenario because it leans towards the extreme: two jobs, sleep deprived, whacked circadian rhythm, chronic stress and not everyone’s lifestyle is like mine. Am I whining? Absolutely not. This is my personal choice and I was just using this example to prove that it can be done. For many years, I have been practicing flexible dieting and so far, I haven’t found any other more systematic approach than eating by numbers. But of course, if one cannot stick to eating by numbers, obviously for that person, it is not the optimal choice.

I have also learned how to listen to my body. In paper, I would like to set my training days on M-W-F, but the ideal is not what always happen in reality. I just make sure that I at least train 2-3 times a week maintaining the intensity (weight in the bar) during my lifting sessions. I also try to sleep whenever it’s possible because recovery and rest is just as important as diet and exercise. Diet and exercise work in conjunction to each other because regular exercise makes a person adhere more to his/ her diet. However, many people are commuting the repetitive black or white thinking or all or none principle. So to them, it’s either I exercise daily or not exercise at all. The ultimate key is consistency. Shit happens in real life scenario; we get sick, we are busy with work, with our family and realistically speaking, we need to make time for them also. If you skip training today, train the day after. Part of being consistent to get back on track when you missed it.

Share and enjoy!

Generic flat stomach diet for women


20130910-015111.jpg

I can understand that not everyone wants to be anal about their diet thus people will always find the simplest cookie cutter with the least amount of effort. This inspired me to formulate a very simple no calorie counting nor macronutrient tracking diet. Exercise is even optional! If you can incorporate some exercise, good! But if not, then that’s fine too. People will always attempt to diet anyways so I’d rather create something that should work in the context of most average women seeking to have a flat stomach.

*Disclaimer*

I do not guarantee that these protocols will work for everyone. You as a dieter will use my unsolicited advice out of your own will. Therefore, I will not be held liable for any outcome it may deliver. If you’re pleased with your results, you can send it to me. Before using any diet, it is best to consult a medical professional first

If you want me to design you a more detailed precise fat loss program, you can hire me as your coach here.

How it works

You’re going to eat 4 times a day and you will follow this eating pattern as written below. Basically, you will eat a typical breakfast, lunch, a snack and dinner so in reality, the only thing you’re about to change are the amounts of foods that you will eat, the ratio of nutrients (I’ve already taken care of this part for you) that you will eat, and just be consistent to it –as simple as that.

Food plan

Breakfast:

Menu 1: 2 hard boiled eggs, 2 slices of bacon, a glass (8 oz) of fat-free or low fat milk, a piece or a cup of fruit of your choice, 1 1,000mg fish oil pill

Menu 2: 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt, 2 slices of ham, 2 slices of bacon, a piece or a cup of fruit of your choice, 1 1,000 mg fish oil pill

Lunch: 1 chicken leg quarter or a palm size piece of steak, or pork chop, any fish of choice, a side salad (go easy on the dressing),and a cup of fruit, 1 1,000 mg fish oil pill

Snack:

Menu 1: Greek yogurt and a small salad
Menu 2: 28 pcs. almonds and a cup of fruit
Menu 3: 1 cup low fat cottage cheese and a cup of fruit
Menu 4: a piece of string cheese and a small side salad
Menu 5: 1 scoop of whey protein powder mixed with either water or fat-free or low fat milk and a cup of fruit of your choice

Dinner:

Menu 1: a palm size piece of lean cut of meat of your choice (pork chop with trimmed fat, a top round steak, skinless chicken breast/ thigh, fish, etc.), 1 serving of starchy carbohydrates of your choice (a cup of rice, 1 small potato, a cup of pasta, or 2 slices of bread) and a side salad, 1 1,000 mg fish oil pill

Menu 2: 1 scoop of whey protein powder mixed with an 8 oz cup of fat free or low fat milk and a banana, 1 1,000mg fish oil pill

Take note that dinner menu 2 can be less satiating than dinner menu 1. You should ideally use menu 2 for convenience i.e. you have no appetite to eat, you’re too busy, etc.

Once a week, you are allowed to eat 1 free meal (some people call this cheat meal). You can eat whatever you want which means you are entitled to eat anything that I did not laid out above. I suggest that you gear your free meal during the weekends, or during a special occasion. As far as beverages with calories in it, skip them except milk. You may drink black coffee sweetened with nutritive sweeteners, plain tea, diet soda, and other beverages with no calories in it. For supplements, it wouldn’t hurt to take a multivitamin pill as added insurance of micronutrients.

Share and enjoy!

What to learn from the video game Limbo


20130711-035146.jpg

LIMBO is a 2D puzzle/ plat former game which I think is a very artistically designed video game. It only uses a black and white palette with some shades of gray in the background. The gameplay is similar to any simple 2D plat former mechanics: the player can walk, jump, climb and push/ pull interactive objects.

LIMBO and fitness stuff

To many people getting involved to any fitness of some sort, they tend to think just black or white. From nutrition folks to exercise enthusiasts, the number of folks who practices this kind of cognitive distortion simply adds more confusion to their already confused peers.

In terms of diet/ nutrition, here are some examples:

-it’s either just low fat or high fat diet
-it’s either just low carbs or high carbs diet
-with or without rice diet
-low salt or high salt intake
-eat this, avoid that diet

… And the list goes on to virtually anything that preaches extremes to both ends of spectrum.

Same illogical advice applies to exercise movements:

-everyone must do squats without considering the context
-one shouldn’t do any joint isolation movements for as long as he is training using compound movements
-lift light weight for many reps for cutting and lift heavy weights during bulking
-cardio is for fat loss, lifting weights is for muscle building
-cardio is bad, cardio is good; it depends on the context again

… And so forth.

See where I’m going here? People always forget the gray part. There is always a middle line between black and white thinking. If you play this game LIMBO simply just by looking at the black and white images on the screen, you will die, a lot! This game is a brilliant game in my opinion to teach us how to think outside the box; this game will help us use our imaginations. This game might just be using only black and white colors, but if you use your analogy, the objects on the screen will be more lively on it’s own. In fitness, it’s not all about all or nothing principle. If you practice this mentality, you will not only limit yourself with options, but you will also set yourself for failure in the long run whatever your fitness goal is.

Rewarding yourself in your fat loss accomplishment


Let’s face it that any weight/ fat loss diet that works take some work to be effective. Any task even outside any diet that requires effort can be energy depleting, and no one in their right mind who can keep their sanity by just producing output (work) without receiving any trophy of appreciation. Here comes the importance of reward.

Reward

I came into a great realization today why I’ve been buying a lot of new clothes every time my family and I go to the malls. This is because I want to reward myself for working hard doing three jobs. Coming from an overweight background, upon dieting down to where I am right now, that probably contributed to my retail addiction to make myself look more pleasing. Hey, I earned it! I wasn’t able to wear all the clothes that I wanted to wear when my body was still covered with layers of fat. It is also undeniable that it makes us feel nice whenever we receive compliments from the people around us how great we look in certain clothes.

20130627-011253.jpg
While context dieting solution makes you look good shirtless, we don’t walk shirtless all the time.

Sine we spend most of our time wearing clothes, then make it a fashionable/ stylish one. Even if you’re not a fashionista, wearing clothes that compliments what you worked hard for — something that fits you well can make us feel better.

20130627-011716.jpg

20130627-011734.jpg

What separates the models or celebs from the rest of us is that they always keep themselves in top shape that’s why they could wear anything they wanted to wear, or they can pull whatever hairstyle they wanted to do to themselves.

Buying new clothes as we lean down may be a short term reward; but it can surely create a temporary happiness which boosts motivation and self confidence to improve ourselves. In fact, one of my clients even said that buying smaller clothes will even keep him more accountable, from not going back to where he were before.

Or perhaps, reward yourself a trip and party in Vegas once you reach your ultimate fat loss goal…

20130627-012853.jpg