Over the weekend, as I watched my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates tank in the waining days of July, I decided to shift my focus to making a pie chart about fat loss.
Yes, the Pirates played that poorly.
But I also think that journey to fitness and fat loss can be so overwhelming and confusing, that there is merit to keeping the focus as simple as possible.
In terms of flat out fat loss, some might argue that 20% is a high number. It doesn’t matter what avenue you choose when you begin training. It could be Crossfit, Insanity, yoga, or running. Where we tend to get lost is wondering which method is going to burn the most calories and get us the best results. It’s so easy to hyper focus on the method of training that you can almost paralyze yourself with indecision about which approach is right.
The best approach is the one with which you can build the most consistency. Yes, I'm a fan of strength training for all of the many benefits (increased bone density, muscle mass and independence to name a few), but you need to find one you and enjoy and stick with it. Which brings me to my next slice of pie.
This number also might be a little low. Patience is the part of the process where you stay the course. Choose one method of training and stick to it. Choose one nutrition approach and stick to it. It’s tempting, even for fitness professionals, to jump from program to program when someone else releases a new product or we find something new. It's tempting for non-fitness professionals when you start a new bootcamp program and then find out a friend lost 50 pounds doing insanity and another lost 30 pounds by joining the new gym down the street. The next thing you know, you've jumped to so many different programs that nothing has worked.
Choose an approach - choose a gym, choose a coach to work with, choose a nutrition approach and stick with it for six months.
You’ve heard this before and you’ll hear it again - you can’t out-train a bad diet. It doesn’t matter if you burn 1,000 calories in a workout, fat loss won't happen if you aren't keeping your eating habits in check. Nutrition is so important that you don’t even need to train to lose weight. If you are on point with your nutrition, and on point is different for everyone, then you will lose weight regardless of what you do in the gym.
40% Kindness to yourself
I think I need to be clear about something here:
Kindness to yourself is not apathy. It’s not a free pass to say I’ll eat what I want, drink what I want, and throw in the towel on this whole process because it’s just not working anyway.
That’s apathy and I can promise you from experience, that’s a dangerous place to be. (Click here for a post on apathy.)
Kindness is caring enough about yourself to make the best choices for you on a given day. Kindness is where you take into account your stress level, mood, and life demands and make the decision, especially in regards to the intensity of your workout, that is best for you.
Some days your body might feel so wrecked by a lack of sleep and life stress that you need to make careful choices about your self-care. Maybe it's a nap, maybe it's a massage, maybe it's 30 minutes in a Starbucks with your headphones on and a good book. Maybe it is a kick ass workout. You need to be the judge of that.
Kindness is most certainly not beating yourself up more when life is already taking its punches at you. Because beating yourself up for what you did or didn't do the day before serves you no purpose.
There are a number of different pieces to figuring out which approach to fitness and fat loss is best for you. But I firmly believe that if you focus on nutrition, are patient with your approach, self-aware of your own needs and kind to yourself about those needs, and do some type of training, good things will happen for you.
And that is my hope for you.