Why do people fail? Because people do crazy things, crash diets, short-term fixes and then return to their old ways. Here are the most common mistakes that I see people make:
Excessive Caloric Restriction:
For the gradual fat loss approach, one of the worst mistakes is to start out too aggressively by drastically cutting calories. There is a thing called metabolic adaptation: after a period on a certain caloric intake, your body will adapt and initiate “countermeasures” that will make it harder to keep losing fat.
Lots Of Hard Cardio From The Start
Of course cardio is not the devil. In reasonable amounts it won’t eat away at your muscles. The problem comes when people do too much cardio or HIIT. The body can adapt to excessive exercise like it does to excessive caloric restriction. Over time, the same amount of exercise has less and less of an effect on fat loss.
If you started out at 60-90 minutes of steady state cardio per day, 5-6 days a week on top of your lifting, where do you go when fat loss stalls? Do you up it to two hours a day on top of your lifting? Then what? Add another hour?
Going Low Carb AND Low Fat
Your body needs an energy substrate and you need to consume it. What are the efficient energy substrates? Fats and carbs. Losing fat is an emotion-driven process. We hate what we see in the mirror and we want that fat gone now! So, we tend to diet aggressively and cut both carbs and fats.
No fat intake plus no carb intake is a disaster for your hormone levels, stress management, and psychological well-being.
Not tracking your food or workouts
When fat loss slows, you either increase physical activity or decrease caloric intake.
If you decide to increase physical activity, you can go from 20 minutes of cardio up to 25 minutes. Or add 2-4 working sets to your workout. (There are warm-up and working sets in a workout. Working sets are the ones that drive increase in strength and/or muscle – BWG note). That’s easy to do because you know how much you’re doing.
But what about reducing calories? Well, if you don’t know how much you’re eating, how can you adjust? It’s impossible!
Christian Thibaudeau (Canadian Olympian who gained fame in the 90s as a contributor to the online bodybuilding magazine, the Iron Mag – BWG note) says: Yes, measuring sucks. It’s boring and takes time. But from experience, those who measure have higher success rates during fat loss phases than people who don’t.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Sometimes being kind is more important than being right. Sometimes what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a human heart that listens and understands.