Why is it that some people can put in the minimum amount of exercise, have below average eating habits, sleep 6 to 7 hours per night, and still look and feel like a varsity thoroughbred athlete?  Was that person benevolently blessed with a body from the Gods??  Well, I think if we both think long and hard about that person, we might want to consider where their advantages come from?  . One, that person may be in possession of a few physiological attributes that seemingly gives them an advantage. For example, certain body types tend to prevail when it comes to losing fat, and gaining lean muscle easily.   These particular body types are the mesomorhph (more athletic build, V-shaped, gains lean muscle easily and tolerates carbs well) , and the ectomorph  I-shape,  thin-boned, highest revving metabolic rate, very good carb tolerance, and a nervous system wired to keep everything lean with a good lifestyle and eating habits.  Both  these body types have a propensity towards higher metabolic rates, better carbohydrate toleration, (they can eat almost any carbs without gaining fat) and a revved up nervous system, along with a more favourable hormonal system that works in conjunction with their lifestyle. Yep, you guessed it, these are your average athletes.    A second point to consider is that these people with these body types might also work exceptional hard in their exercise program and possess good nutritional habits. Three,  that person picked their parents well with great genetics,  and Four, they are the offspring of Zeus himself.

Dara Torres–Swimmer, age 42 at the 2008 Summer Olympic games.

For most of us who discover one day that the years haven’t been kind to their body, and that we have a little more “body-goo”  on our frame than we’d care to admit, there has to be better option than literally working yourself to the bone to get lean and the body you want?  (regardless of your body type)  By the way, I don’t want to leave out the last body type from the somatotypes, and that is the “endomorphs”. (O-type)   This body type is blessed with a larger-framed bones, a slower metabolic rate, the least tolerant for carbohydrates, and tend to carry the most body fat.

As a coach and having worked with many different people and body types, I’ve learned of few things about fat loss and recomposing the body that I would like to share with you. These next three points will propose you to consider other ways of acquiring the healthy, body composition and energy levels you’ve been looking for.

  1. Consider your nutritional level or age?   You probably know your chronological age, right?  Maybe you even know your age in dog years? What about your physiological age?

Do you know your nutritional age? ( This concept is suggested by our nutritional mentor, Precision Nutrition- PN)

Here are the main points about  your nutritional age:

  • What do you know?
  • What do you do?
  • How good are you at both knowing and doing on a regular basis?

PN goes on to explain that nutrition age is more about bringing moderate changes in health, body composition, and performance in level 1, which  is about feeling just a little bit better.   Level 2 is about getting significant changes in health, body composition and performance.  Level 3 is about earth-shattering, jaw-dropping changes to our health, body composition, and performance.

The more knowledgeable, skilled, accurate, and adherent you are, along with the more precise or dramatic your body transformation is, the higher your nutritional age.  Click here for the PN article    to learn more about your nutritional age.

Why do we need to know about our nutritional age?  Why is this important?   Well, mainly because most of us (coaches included) fall into in the Level 1 nutrition category and can benefit from the simple and fundamental habits and practices that the level 1 advocates.  And yes, this even applies to the guys who want to get “jacked up” and train hard.

For example,  maybe you eat better than most of the people you hang out with, and although you think that you’re at an advanced level, according to other standards, your really a “beginner”.    On the other hand, say you hang out with a bunch of “nutrition geeks” who seem to know what they’re doing, you may think that you’re a beginner, when perhaps  your more at a “intermediate or more advanced level.  Another important distinction of the different levels of nutrition, isn’t about what one knows, its about what they practice consistently, and what the body reveals as evidence for their consistent nutrition practice. In contrast, you might never have read a single nutrition book before, yet your practices put you at an advanced level.

Spectrum Coaching respects where our clients are currently at with their nutritional level, whether it be level 1, 2 or 3.  These levels or categorizations are based on how your body looks, performs as well as your specific nutritional habits.  Now, even though the nutritional levels of broken down in three categories, each of which requires more advanced nutrition practices, your nutritional level has to be accommodated to your goals and aptitudes.   Meaning, if your looking to win a bodybuilding show, you better get real comfortable with level 3 practices, or more commonly, if your looking to lose a little “goo” off of your mid-section, then level 1 practices are really all you need.

Do you you ruminate about your daily calories, and how many of them come from your carbs, proteins and fats, or sweets?  Do you wonder what kind of proteins to consume, exactly 34 minutes after your workout?

Instead of being stressed about the minutiae of your “macros”, focusing on the practices in level 1 nutrition is the least stressful and most productive.  For example, people in level 1 learn that the main focus is making better food choices, and controlling energy balance (without counting calories, etc)  Level 1 clients improve at a steady pace while managing their practices without using fancy or overly-advanced protocols (carb cycling).

People practicing level 1 habits also need to consider what they can realistically accomplish within their current lifestyle?  Which brings me to my second point for addressing your stalled fat loss?    We know that a body transformation involves change, right?   Making changes to your lifestyle, eating habits, and mindset can be tough, but not necessarily.  Ultimately, if you’re contemplating making changes in your eating and lifestyle habits, you need to consider learning a new set of skills. Like anything in life, if you’re aiming to achieve an outcome, i.e make 100k in a year, run a 4 minute mile, write a book, or drop about 15 pounds, this outcome can be broken down into a skill set,and executed!

Based on the evidence from PN,  body transformations (or just getting in better shape) propose the idea of how, ready, willing and able  you are for change? Once we get a sense of what is required from our “change-bank” , its important to appreciate what we can directly change in our life.  Are we outcome-oriented or behaviour-oriented??

How ready are you to change?

Think about what brought you here today. Are you sick of the status quo? Or are your old routines still working pretty well for you?  Then score yourself in the questionnaire below.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “Too soon! Not ready yet!” and 10 being “Totally ready! Bring it on!!” how ready are you to change your existing nutrition and health habits? This score will give you an indication about how “ready” you are for change.

How “willing “are you to change?

Think about how open you are right now to changing your mindset, habits, and routines. Are you willing to just flow with the Spectrum coaching process? Or do you hate being told what to do?   Go ahead and score yourself in the questionnaire below.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “No change! I’m digging my heels in!” and 10 being “Change me! I’m putty in your hands, Spectrum Coach”, how willing are you to trust the Spectrum coaching process and let change occur (or purposely challenge some of your existing ways of doing things)?

How “able” are you to change?

Sometimes we want and hope for change, but something is preventing us. What’s preventing you from changing right now — a tough work schedule, loss of a loved one,  an unsupportive environment…?

Then score yourself in the questionnaire below.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “Right now, I simply can’t change” and 10 being “I have all the tools and support I need,” to change.

Of course, at Spectrum Coaching, we examine how ready, willing and able you are for change at the beginning in your consultation, before you even start to work with us. This saves a lot of grief between Coach and Client if you haven’t even considered or made the necessary mindset shift towards change just yet. Ok, “what if I”m curious about where this program can take me, and I’m contemplating “change”?  My reply is, “this is a great question, and a great place to start!”  Even if your contemplating change, its good for your mind to go a few rounds with what change would feel like.

Let’s face a hard fact:  if you’re not ready to take on some new behaviours,( exercising regularly),  ones that will lead to change, then the outcomes (losing 4 inches off my belly)  you seek, will always be out of reach.

My third and final point asks you to weigh-in on where you’re at with exercise, purposeful training, and/or overall activity level.?  Do you walk, run, lift weights, engage in high intensity interval training, bodyweight training, run 40 km per week, obstacle course training, cross-fit, etc, etc.  So, as we can see, the gammet of exercise options shouldn’t be limiting you, and for some people, they hinge their entire body transformation campaign on an exercise strategy.   Whether you’re just beginning by throwing on those sneakers for the first time in years and going for a 20 minute walk in your neighborhood, or attending your regular sessions with your friendly neighborhood “trainer or coach” with whom you have entrusted the bulk of your “purposeful exercise” to be completed under close supervision and guidance.   I use these two “entry points”  into the world of exercise and training, because they are quite common for many people.   Many people who want to lose weight have asked, “ok, is this mission a DIY (do it yourself)  or do I need to recruit someone to get me through the first week of training without imposing any major bodily harm to myself??  Seriously though, these are both valid and important questions to ask.  For most people that I work with, they are happy to defer to a seasoned and experienced professional who understands how difficult it is to put a complete program together while maintaining the motivation and accountability to see it through, using a workable plan of action that incorporates all the necessary components (exercise, nutrition, lifestyle habits) all required for success, and finally having the support system required to make the necessary lifestyle changes to not only achieve your goals, but also maintain them for the rest of your life.  Does this sound a bit lofty for a DIY project?  You might be right?  We already have enough evidence working with hundreds of people that when it comes to fitness and getting older, its always recommended to defer to a trusted and experienced professional whose got your back!  This professional should also teach you eventually, how to become more independent with your practice of exercising.

Back to the “exercise alone strategy”!!    For many people, all they need to do is to add to the negative energy balance (more calories out than in) in order to achieve their goals.  And, maybe this will work?  Generally speaking, if you’ve been unhappy with your body for a while ( 3 to 5 years), chances are the exercise-alone-strategy effectiveness declines rapidly.

You can out-traIn a bad diet!

 Abs are built in the kitchen!  

We sweat in practice, so that we don’t bleed in battle!        

Lovely little euphemisms that I”m sure we’ve heard before.   Motivational slogans, shout-outs!!!   But, are they true!  Perhaps these might be examples of using humour or mild sarcasm to get one’s point across??  All kidding aside, we don’t presume to motivate you with a trendy slogan, but we also need to keep things real by saying that most exercise-alone-strategies fail or don’t get the entire job done!    Just so that I’m clear, my general recommendation is that any exercise program needs to supported by a strategic nutrition plan that meets you where you’re at.  Does that mean using meal plans, or going Paleo, or using perhaps the ketogenic diet?  Any diet that presumes to know your food preferences, your schedule, your nutritional needs, and how you like to eat your food, may not be sustainable or even motivating.

I recommend that if you’re going to invest sweat and energy into your exercise program, then don’t forsake this investment by deferring to eating someone’s else’s idea of what you should be eating.  Learn the skills that will lead you to achieving the goals you seek and the outcomes/results you want!

That said, are there better training programs for beginners?  Should I expect to see the instructors of my bootcamp ready to bring over the “puke-buckets”  labeled “give generously”?   Or, should I join a gym where the personal trainer performs a minimal assessment, doesn’t consider my nutritional habits or needs, is “coach-centered’  vs. “me-centered”,  and has expectations of me when it comes to performing in the gym? Does this sound familiar?   Am I the only one who doesn’t get a “warm-fuzzy” from this ” trainer’s” categorization??      When it comes to exercise, here at Spectrum Coaching, we believe that it is important to teach the “student first, then the skills”.   In other words, making it clear that we are teaching you, a human being,  and not just a skill set that we believe will deliver you to “the promised land”, aka, your goals. Over the years, we have found that using functional training applications allows the client to explore their movement options and qualities within their body so as to get a sense of their joint mobility, muscle flexibility, and related core and joint stability and stiffness. Oh, and of course like to throw in some strength and muscle enhancement training as well.

 

 

In summary, its important that you understand just how simple a body transformation, or getting in shape can be, if you take the right steps??  So many of us don’t appreciate that change starts with our mindsets and attitude towards making changes in our routines, and lifestyle.  This is why we recommend starting our at your own nutritional level and applying strategies and skills that are appropriate to your preferences, schedule, nutritional needs, budget, etc!

Our associations, addictions, preferences and triggers for food and drink all begin in our minds,  It is  therefore important to at least give your own mind a fair inventory of how ready, willing, and able it is for change. Appreciate that using a good exercise program means meeting you at your fitness level, and using a client-centered program that will enhance your performance, improve your body composition, and minimize injury,  The adaptations (muscle building, fat loss)  from this exercise program must be supported and built into good, sustainable, nutritional habits that will pay you back the return you’re looking for from  your investment.

For more information how you can learn about a more comprehensive and tailored approach to your fitness and nutrition lifestyle, you reach us at :     jean@ancasterpersonaltraining.com, or call us at   905-580-4047 to set up a free consultation to find out how easy “un-stalling your fat loss can be?   You can also check us at :  ancasterpersonaltraining.com   for more information about our coaching programs and nutritional education.

Yours in health and fitness,

Jean

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