Time to jump off the conventional diet bandwagon. Then burn the wagon!

I talk to a lot of people about food and working out. It comes up all the time, no matter where you are.

And I’m not afraid to give people crap for feeding themselves poison.

I’m also not afraid to tell people what I think about conventional dieting or traditional “womens workouts” versus “mens workouts”. I don’t bullshit.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE food. I love eating (see? link, link). I love the food I cook. It’s delicious. It makes me feel really good. And I don’t have to eat all the time to enjoy myself. So I save money too!

Now to the meat of the issue (mmmm. meat!)

Conventional dieting doesn’t produce the right results. It doesn’t optimize health quite like a nutrient dense Paleo diet does. Conventional dieting also, for the most part especially where women are concerned (and I think they are the biggest victims of this) doesn’t advocate heavy weight lifting or the importance of lean muscle mass for long term health. Just. Look. Around.

To demonstrate what I mean I need pictures. So here’s some before/afters.

Well, they lost weight. That’s all well and good if your aim is to be nothing but skinny

For comparison, here’s a couple of examples of the proper way to do things. 

Ah, much better. Not only do these gals have great body composition and shape through attaining more muscle, but they set themselves up to maintan the good looks and optimal health for the long haul, as I’ve written about before, [here] and [here].

Note: I’m not advocating that a six pack for women is necessary. On the contrary, once women go below a certain BF% it can have deleterious health consequences, like no period or thyroid problems. 

It’s the overall picture we’re looking at, including the ability to lift heavy shit over your head! That’s phat! (and functional). Not just for the mechanical advantage it provides, but for the massive health advantage it provides.

In the first photo of the conventional calorie-cutters you’ll notice a few things right off the bat. There’s no definition. No real “figure”. Just kind of “stick figure”. Their skin kind of hangs there with no supporting background. No sense of that person being a strong, capable human being for a long long time. They have successfully attained a lower level of obesity.

If losing weight per se is your goal, you performed perfectly in this scenario. It’s a shame that this is the mainstream goal for women stuck following the conventional weight loss guidelines.

Why do women get treated so much differently in this regard? It puts them at such a disadvantage right from the get-go. The magazine bodies they oh-so hope to attain are unattainable via the conventional methods!

You see, we need to get away from the weight loss convention, and change the way we think. We need to think in terms of muscle first, in order to get rid of the excess fat, and keep it off.

Let’s do a Google image search for Weight Watchers results. Go ahead, click on it. Yes, there are a lot of good looking folks who made a lot of difference. But they just aren’t completely there yet. And chances are, since cutting calories per se, and starving yourself isn’t sustainable, ever, most of these folks will bounce back after they stop dieting. A compounding factor to that bounce-back is their lack of lean muscle, which, as I’ve written about before, [here] and [here] is vitally important to maintaining healthy weight, and providing the foundation for long term health and human ability.

How did the gals in the bottom photo do it?

A combination of eating only nutrient dense real food (i.e. Paleo diet) and lifting heavy weights (Crossfit for example). A quick Google image search reveals many many good looking people who crossfit. Everyone improves composition from the intense heavy lifting, but you see a combination effect as soon as Paleo diet is followed concurrently.

And a site I like to frequent, Mark’s Daily Apple. Here’s a plethora of success stories of Paleo dieters who lift heavy things. Even those people who chose not to lift heavy things have a better body composition than those conventional calorie-cutters above. Know why? 80% of body composition is determined by diet! Want more icing on the cake? Look how many of them are over the age of 50! Then look how many of them also cured their chronic health problems! I don’t know about you, but I fail to see an equivalent track record from Weight Watchers or anything similar.

A few seconds of looking at those photos, and you quickly realize that almost everyone else has been doing it all wrong.

For the love of Paleo! we gotta stop treating men’s and women’s health as different entities. We should all train equally hard and eat real nutrient dense food! It’s the only way.

If you care about your long term health, and want to optimize your life, don’t sell yourself short by looking for a quick-fix. Paleo is for life, because it’s sustainable for life. Same goes for lifting heavy weights. Muscle mass does not decline as a function of aging, it declines as a function of dis-use! THINK ABOUT IT!

~ Dan

How To FAIL At The Gym (There Are No Shortcuts) II

This is Part II. Make sure you read Part I and Part III.

The sooner you understand this one simple concept, the sooner you can thank me.

I see this every time I go to the gym. The people that HALF-ASSEDLY do any “workout”, incomplete, poor form, partial range of movement. They don’t track their progress. They don’t follow a consistent routine. They don’t fucking lift anything heavy. Explain to me how that can POSSIBLY do you any good? How can you PROGRESS without pushing your limits? You have no idea where you are going or what you are tryng to do, picking up random weights and swinging things around as if you’re actually working your muscles properly.

It goes the other way too. Huge guys come in, who got huge by eating everything in sight. They may have made progress, but their body composition is in the shitter. Yah, sure you can bench 220 for few reps, but your fat ass still hangs out of your shorts. Then there’s another guy, with a 55 pund dumbbell in each hand, swinging his body back and forth violently, as he completes half-assed reps, barely working his full range of motion, and definitely NOT really lifting that 55 lbs. These guys might be big (looking), but its mostly fat on top of muscle, and I don’t see them losing it any time soon.

It might be easy to blame the rag-mags, or the media for the mis-information. The conventional wisdom promoted by the “professional”. You want the real culprit? YOU are at fault for your laziness. Yah, the truth hurts. Now do something about it! Educate yourself, get some biology in ya! I consider it my duty to my body to understand how it works, reacts, grows, heals, and thrives. Besides that, it should be COMMON SENSE that the only shortcut to better body composition is HARD WORK.

Hard work creates progress that you can see and feel. Hard work is the only shortcut.

Hard work means pushing your limits to make your body adapt. Hard work means following a consistent routine that causes measurable growth and fat loss (including diet). Hard work means good form, heavy weights, and pushing yourself to 100% failure.

Hard work does NOT mean doing endless reps with little weights. Your body is a reactionary mechanism. It adapts and heals as a reaction of the stressors you place on it. (Your immune system is a perfect example). Lifting light weight does not create functional strength, because you are not forcing an adaptation. Doing 100 bicep curls with a 5lb weight will do nothing more than reinforce your ability to lift……can you guess?………FIVE POUNDS! Holyfuckamoly Batman! What use is that in your everyday life? What use is that in an emergency situation? (It is really useful for wasting a lot of time at the gym, though).

Hard work does NOT mean lousy form. If you have to use swinging momentum to curl that 50 pounder, you aren’t doing work, YOU ARE CHEATING. Don’t be a wuss! Stop trying to show off. You’re not impressing anyone. (I’ll get into gym etiquette with another post). Find a weight that allows you to use proper form, and you’ll find out how strong you actually are. Push yourself to failure within the anabolic rep range. Eventually you WILL grow and be able to curl that 50 punder the right way!

Hard work allows you to minimize your time at the gym, so you have more time for the fun stuff; sex, playing music, fixing your car, or writing a blog….

Women AND men should focus on functional strength. Strength is sexy.

It’s attractive. Muscle ALWAYS looks better than fat. (Muscle forms the foundation of your outward appearance, and you can control which aspects you change. Muscle enhances your metabolic flexibility, immune system, endurance, and resistance to injury). Now, I’m not saying that I’m attracted to women who are jacked like bodybuilders. I’m talking about natural shape, aesthetically pleasing form, that can deadlift AT LEAST their own bodyweight, or perform a handfull of decent pull-ups. That’s not asking too much, is it?

Now ladies, don’t get all worried about “blowing up” or “looking like a dude”. Women naturally have less testosterone than men, so it’s naturally more difficult for them to build muscle and burn fat. That means women (for the most part) who train just as hard as men, given a similar amount of work, will see less results than men. Why would you want to fuck around wasting time at the gym, when you can do it faster and better with HARD WORK? Once you reach your desired body composition, you can maintain! Trust me, you won’t just wake up one morning looking like the Hulk. Progress takes time, but it takes less time when you follow the right method!

Ah, the perfect example. Stacie Tovar, CrossFit champ. She lifts heavy and pushes her limits. This shows her change after going CrossFit.

Take a look at Lauren Plumey. She’s a good lookin’ CrossFitter too.

Now leave some love! In the form of comments. I also accept other forms of love. heh.

This is Part II. Make sure you read Part I and Part III.

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them.