At least 95% of guys at your gym aren’t making any progress. They’re just spinning their wheels.
They get to the gym, run on the treadmill for a bit, hit the bench press, and grind out a few curls before calling it a day. They might follow a routine. They might even go through periods of watching their diet (whatever that means) or buying supplements that are supposed to burn fat and build muscle fast!
But it’s all bullshit. Be honest: how much have you improved your body over the last six months? The last year? The last two years?
The problem is that almost everyone is taking shots in the dark. They’re combining something their friend told them with something they read on the internet. And then they’re adding in a tip or two from the personal trainer or buff bro at the local gym.
They combine all of these things and end up with a big mish-mash of garbage, when what they really need is a simple approach that they can put into place and forgot about. Yes, exercise science is progressing, but not at an astronomical rate.
I promise you’d be better off if you picked a single basic, fundamental approach and then followed it for the next year. During that year, you must ignore every tip or article that’s shared with you on Facebook, emailed to you by a friend, or offered to you at the gym.
So while program hopping, excessive dietary tweaking, and all-around fitness ADD might be the single biggest mistake guys make, I want to share some more specific fat loss mistakes I see all the time.
1. Going too heavy on the cardio
Cardiovascular exercise has become synonymous with weight loss for most people.
And while cardio does have various health benefits, magical weight loss is not one of them. Going hard for 30 minutes to an hour on the elliptical, bike, or treadmill every day of the week isn’t going to melt fat away. But it is going to burn you out mentally.
Furthermore, the metabolic benefits of cardio are minimal. This means that the amount of calories you burn over the course of the day (while not doing cardio) isn’t going to increase much, if at all, from increased cardio.
So that leaves the actual calories you burn during a session of cardio as the main reason for doing it to lose weight. And let’s be completely honest: it’s WAY easier to not eat a Snickers bar, a bag of chips, or a couple slices of bread (all about 300 calories) than it is to run on the treadmill for 30 minutes (to burn about 300 calories).
My point is that dietary restriction is far more effective than cardio in regards to weight loss.
2. Not lifting heavy weights
I can’t even count the number of times a buddy of mine stopped lifting weights or chose to lift only light weights because he wanted to lose fat.
I think it’s because we associate heavy weights with building muscle. When you decide your goal is to cut weight (and not gain muscle), you naturally assume that you need to stop lifting heavy.
First of all, that’s terrible logic. Second of all, foregoing lifting heavy weights while losing body weight will result in your body shedding muscle along with the fat.
This is because your body doesn’t have a reason to hold onto the muscle. You aren’t activating a maximal number of muscle fibers or motor units if you aren’t lifting heavy. This means that your body will have no reason to maintain your muscle mass, and begin to shed it along with the fat.
It takes a lot of time and energy to build muscle. The last thing you want to do is give up your hard earned muscle during a period of weight loss. Not only will you be weaker afterwards, but you’ll look like shit. An aesthetically pleasing body combines ample muscle mass with a low body fat percentage (i.e. you have muscle and there’s only a small layer of fat covering it).
When you take away the muscle along with the fat, you begin to approach skinny fat (a heinous condition marked by small amounts of both muscle and fat – skinny, but without definition). Trust me: you don’t want to be skinny fat.
3. Obsessing over the scale
I get it. You have some extra belly fat that you want to get rid of. Who doesn’t?
But you must be careful. If you get obsessed with seeing weight drop off the scale you run a high risk of unhealthy weight loss.
Starving yourself and going heavy on the cardio is definitely an effective way to drop weight fast. But remember, dropping weight shouldn’t be the goal – cutting fat should be.
You must combine the almighty scale with the mirror and the weights. What I mean is that if your weight on the scale is dropping, you’re seeing more muscle definition in the mirror, and you’re not getting weaker in the gym, then chances are you’re cutting fat and maintaining muscle. This is the goal – keep it at the forefront of your mind.
This is an excerpt from my new book Shredded Beast, released this week on Amazon. To get it click here.
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