Getting our clients to think big picture and setting their program up for long term success versus short term results via quick fixes is one of the more challenging aspects of my job. In a society predicated on instant gratification it’s absolutely understandable. Nobody wants to be told that they are NOT going to get their dream body in 90, 60 or even 30 days like some of the more popular yet misleading infomercials may promise you. Or that some magical new supplement will get you amazing results without requiring any effort on your part!
In fact, when we screen our clients, sometimes there is a mutual understanding that it just isn’t meant to be. No harm, no foul…but we would both be better served by working with someone else.
We here at One Rep At a Time want long term results making this the LAST TIME you have to get into shape! This means we look at things big picture versus immediate gratification. The quick fix is just that – it will make that new client happy in the short term, but after those first few initial months they are going to be frustrated beyond belief as they see their progress stall, and often times, give up completely to forever blame their genetics as to why they can’t get into shape or lose that extra weight.
Look, we as a whole don’t have a weight LOSS problem…….we have a weight GAIN problem.
What do I mean by that?
Well, anybody can lose that first 10, 20, hell even 30 pounds. But keeping that weight off is a totally different story. It’s your typical “yo-yo dieter” scenario that is unfortunately so common these days. The best example of this who everyone knows is Oprah. I am not calling her out, I am not talking bad about her, she is just one of the more prominent public examples of this.
We’ve already discussed how one should progress with their workouts over time as well as why we want to emphasis following the whole minimum effective dose concept when it comes to exercise and nutrition. If you haven’t read those posts already I highly recommend doing so.
When it comes to working with men and women, there typically (but not ALWAYS) is a different mindset as to what each want as far as instant results. I am not saying it is a black and white situation, or that one is better than the other, I am just saying that typically there is a difference that I’ve noticed from my own personal experience.
Let’s tackle each scenario and illustrate what the quick fix is versus thinking big picture and why we should emphasis the later:
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Typically women want a certain amount of weight loss and expect to see results by the end of month 2, if not sooner.
THE QUICK FIX MINDSET: We can immediately drop your calories to lower than what you are currently eating and therefore eat below maintenance, as well as put you through a lot of interval circuits and cardio to amplify your caloric burn.
Doing so will only increase your caloric deficit leading to quick weight loss of say 5-15 pounds depending upon how drastic we get with cutting calories and the frequency of exercise.
NOTE: Eating below maintenance, which is known as a caloric deficit, is referring to when you are eating less calories than you burn, and are therefore, not eating enough to maintain your current weight.
THE BIG PICTURE MINDSET: We emphasis slightly increasing your calories, especially your protein which is often times down over the course of those first 2 months, as well as emphasize “heavy” resistance training. Interval circuits can be incorporated, but not as the primary method of exercise, which once again, we want to be resistance training.
This most likely result in the woman getting significantly stronger, eating more than ever before, and most likely seeing an increase in total body weight of say 2-8 pounds.
NOTE: “Heavy” is a relative term so there is no comparison of one person to another.
WHY THE BIG PICTURE MINDSET IS BETTER: Plain and simple we are leaving, or in some cases, creating, “wiggle room” for the future to ensure consistent progress over the long-term.
THE PROBLEM WITH THE QUICK FIX: Whenever we drastically lower calories our body doesn’t know we are wanting to lose weight to “look good naked.” It simply perceives that there is some sort of famine going on. In response, it slows down our metabolism and starts to hold onto body fat tighter than a jar of peanut butter at a squirrel convention.
Not only that, solely focusing on dropping body weight through lots of cardio and interval circuits is not specifying what TYPE of weight to lose. When given a choice, our body will lose loads of muscle in addition to fat as muscle requires many more calories to maintain even when we are sitting still than it does to maintain fat. We are signaling our bodies that there are not enough calories to maintain our current weight and that any type of tissue can go.
Those first 5-15 pounds will seemingly fly off, but your metabolism has significantly slowed to adjust for the lack of calories as well as the lost muscle tissue further exasperates this issue resulting in a further decrease of your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR: the amount of calories it takes to keep your body functioning at rest).
You have essentially put yourself in a position where the only place left to turn is to increase your activity and/or decrease your calories further. Neither of those are going to be fun or healthy, especially for someone new to their fitness journey. The best example of this? The Biggest Loser…….just look up the stats of long-term success for their contestants – not the one or two shining examples from each season, but the majority of their contestants.
WHY THE BIG PICTURE MINDSET WORKS: While the initial weight gain is often times frustrating and the exact opposite of why an individual hires a trainer, it’s actually the correct way to approach things.
The “heavy” resistance training has built muscle which has increased your basal metabolic rate (BMR) as well as the resulting metabolism boost from each resistance training session has you eating more calories than usual while only seeing a slight increase in weight.
Let’s not also forget that muscle has 18% less volume than fat so while we might not see the change on the scale one would expect, you better believe there is more muscle on your physique than prior to where you started. You have unknowingly been achieving something that is EXTREMELY difficult to do as a natural lifer – body recomping – where you are simultaneously losing body fat while building lean muscle tissue.
All this combines to mean that in essence we have created a “reserve” of calories to pull from in the future which prevents us from backing ourselves into a corner that’s seen with the quick fix approach.
Here is a poorly drawn graph by yours truly to emphasize this point:
And trust me I get it, I am asking you take a huge leap of faith with me by following the big picture approach. But let me ask you this? How has it worked out doing things your way following the quick fix? My guess is probably not as well as you would like. So…what the hell do you’ve got to lose giving this a shot? Potentially setting yourself up for long term success while maybe seeing a temporary small bump up on the scale doesn’t appear to be that absurd anymore now does it?
Stay tuned for part 2 as we dive into the typical men’s side of this equation
Until then remember, we can achieve anything we want to.
It happens One Day At a Time.
One Meal At a Time.
One Set At a Time.
One Rep At a Time.