Quick Tips

Gung fu is based on simplicity; all techniques are stripped down to their essential purpose without wastage or ornamentation, and everything becomes the straightest, most logical simplicity of common sense.  Being wise in gung fu does not mean adding more but being able to remove sophistication and ornamentation and be simply simple — like a sculptor building a statue not by adding, but by hacking away the unessential so that the truth will be revealed unobstructed.  True refinement seeks simplicity. — Bruce Lee

If we had 10 minutes, and we knew we would never see you again the rest of our lives, here is what we would tell you about losing body fat and building a beach-ready body.  Keep in mind, there are many different effective methods, this is just what we believe to be the most efficient.  If you feel strongly otherwise, “it’s no sweat off my sac”, or Kalai’s ???  We wish you the best in your journey either way.

I. NUTRITION GUIDEPOSTS

Dropping fat is more about what you DON’T eat than about what you DO.  In other words, you will get far better results by cutting the crap (sugar, transfats, refined foods, etc.) than by looking for magic pills or miracle nutrients.  Tough love is necessary in these times of laziness.

  • Cut out most modern, man-made, refined, processed, and packaged foods.  Ditch the muffins to ditch the muffin tops.  Eat REAL FOODS.
  • Despite marketing campaigns and mainstream fitness myths, cut out processed “health” foods — whole grain breads and cereals, fruit juices and smoothies, flax and other refined oils, yogurt and other dairy products.  You can’t beat NATURE’S FOODS.
  • Think “CAVEMAN NUTRITION” as the basis of any diet geared towards improving health and slashing fat — if it was around in caveman times, you can eat it.  If man made it, don’t eat it.  That alone is 90% of what you need to know about nutrition.  If you want to walk around with just a leaf covering your goods as a show of appreciation for my wisdom, I’m cool with that.
  • Emphasize relatively lean animal proteins and plants as the foundation of your diet.
  • For added energy nutrients, eat whole food fats (for low carb, healthy fat-based diets): nuts, avocado, coconut, OR low fructose, no gluten, natural starch foods (for lower fat, carb-based diets): yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice.
  • A lower carbohydrate, Paleo-style Diet is a good template for sedentary, obese, insulin resistant/type II diabetic populations.  Relatively lean animal proteins, vegetables, whole fruit, and whole food fats.
  • A carb-based, traditional Japanese Village-style diet is a good template for active strength trainers/anaerobic athletes, which is basically a Paleo-style Diet with the re-introduction of some rice and root vegetables to refill depleted muscle glycogen reserves.  If you drive your car around, you need to fill up the tank, if it sits in the garage, not so much.  The Okinawans and Kitavans are other good examples.  Google them if you have no idea what I’m talking about.
  • Use the “Caveman/Evolutionary” theme not just for food choices, but also for diet structure — meal frequency and food distribution patterns.  Human beings evolved on a fasting/feeding cycle.  We spent the majority of our existence actively tracking, hunting, and gathering our food during the day.  We spent the evening relaxing and feasting on whatever we could catch.  Most cultures that don’t obsess over “dieting” naturally do this as well.  Its our instinct. You should do the exact same thing if you want to make dropping fat as easy as possible.  HUNT AND FEAST my friends.
  • Eat lighter while hunting during the day (whether for food in the wild, business deals in the boardroom, butt kicking training sessions in the gym, or a queen/king for your palace makes no difference), and eat the majority of your calories at night while relaxing or socializing in order to refuel, recover, and prepare for the next day’s battles.
  • Think of it as two distinct nutritional periods.  During the day hours you eat lighter so you remain in a fat burning, energy production mode (hunt mode).  During the evening hours you provide your body with the raw ingredients it needs to build/maintain muscle, store energy reserves, recover from the demands of the current day, and prepare your body for the tasks of the next day (feast mode).
  • Numerous scientific studies have shown that if you control for food choices and total calories, meal frequency is irrelevant in terms of body composition change, metabolic rate, and the thermic effect of food.
  • Since that’s the case, you can build your diet plan around your lifestyle, natural tendencies, career demands, time and food availability, etc. You can make the diet fit your life as opposed to the other way around.
  • Eat your main meal — with the majority of your calories and carbs – at dinner.  After that, what you do the rest of the day is flexible, and is largely dependent on trial and error and what works best for you.  You can eat the fitness-style 4-6 small meals/snacks (although that is completely unnecessary, and impractical for most), you can eat the traditional 3-meals a day (I’d go with a protein-only breakfast, Paleo-style lunch, and Japanese Village-style dinner), or you can intermittent fast (skip breakfast, eat a Paleo-style lunch, and then feast).  Me and my clients have followed all three with great success, although these days I’m leaning towards reduced meal frequency for practicality and functionality.
  • For sustainability and sanity, eat a cheat meal of whatever you want once a week for both psychological and physiological benefits.

II. MOTIVATION GUIDEPOSTS

Changing the world, saving a life, influencing a generation, building a business, or establishing a legacy all require unique skills, incredible courage, and an extraordinary spirit.  Getting a six-pack just requires the right knowledge, some daily practical application, and a little bit of discipline.  Don’t make it out to be more (or harder) than it truly is.

  • Other than a few special circumstances, genetics is not an excuse, so stop whining about them.  We have skinny-fat dude and fat chic genetics.  Learning, and then applying consistently, makes up for a lot of shortcomings in life.  You may not become a world champion, but we believe anyone can improve from where they are at and build a decent physique.  In other words, if we can do it, you can do it too.  If you want to give me a virtual hug now, I accept.
  • Set a short-term goal with a concrete time frame for motivation.  This will prevent procrastination, and the ol’ “stopping and starting over” again and again uselessness.
  • START NOW, there never will be a better time.  Something left undone today will remain so for an eternity.
  • Tell at least one other person about your goals or intentions so someone else is holding you accountable to their pursuit.  Its harder to give up when you know someone else is going to bust your figurative balls (or female equivalent ??) if you quit.
  • There are no REAL excuses.  If something means enough to you RIGHT NOW, at this moment in time, you will find the willpower and the way.  If you can’t get going, re-evaluate if its something you really want.
  • Getting in shape is a PROCESS you must go through, not a PRODUCT you can buy.  There are no shortcuts or magic pills, so stop looking for them.  The answers to all of your problems has, and always will, reside in you, not in some outside entity.  Accurate knowledge and consistent application is what you need.
  • Know your kryptonite, know the situations that throw you off track and pull you further away from your goals. Avoid or reduce your exposure to them.  We both have Irish blood, so we stay away from the bars when its time to reach peak shape.
  • Overcome negative inertia.  The greatest amount of leverage and effort are necessary in the beginning to break bad habits and make tough changes.
  • Harness the power of momentum.  The hardest part is getting started. Once you get going, it does get easier.
  • Make it automatic.  We believe success (or failure) all comes down to establishing good (or bad) habits.  Discipline is finite.  The more healthy training and eating habits become automatic, the less you have to think or struggle with it, and the easier they are to maintain.

It is not how much you have learned, but how much you have absorbed in what you have learned — the best techniques are the simple ones executed right. — Bruce Lee.

We hope these quick tips shatter myths, demystify fat loss nutrition, help you see the truth, and help you reach your physique goals.  Maybe you’ll want to join us down at Da Beach some day.  I’ll be the one prancing around in my Euoropean Man-Thong like an idiot (gosh, I hope you know that is a joke).  Take care.

13 thoughts on “Quick Tips

  1. natemiyaki

    Dairy is a huge debate in our industry, with smart and fit people on both sides of the fence. With Asian and Loren Cordain-style Paleo-bias, I lean towards no dairy foods. With “added” fats in general, I think with the low carb trend, people are going overboard with them in general. Some fat is good, but unlimited fat will not get you lean. For satiety reasons, I prefer people get the majority of their dietary fat from real, whole foods = animal protein sources.

  2. trojan02

    Nate – what’s your opinion on consuming organic grass-fed butter if one is trying to follow your quick tips. (gain lean muscle, get ripped).

    I pretty much have 2 tablespoons of butter with my eggs every morning. I only eat “training” carbs (brown rice) after my training window (weight training/crossfit) and no other time. And carb veggies all the time.

    Thanks!

  3. trojan02

    You definitely need a visually appealing infographic e.g., (bulletproof diet, greateast.com’s coffee + tea, Gary Taubes’s ‘why we get fat’ graphic)

    people can pinterest it and build more awareness.

  4. Robin H

    Nate –

    Great Article, Loved the book. Looking forward to seeing what you do next.

    This style of eating fits with my own experience of food allergies and sensitivities. But I still struggle scheduling in a reasonable way. My work and training schedule is more than a little unusual.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. Sonsoles

    I was impressed by your comments on sugar and fruits in general (I read your book last year), which sounded counter-intuitive…. Well, you are quite right. A recent commentary by Lustig and colleagues (Kalai may know them!) published in tomorrow’s issue of Nature (482:27-29, 2012) compare the deadly effects of chronic fructose exposure with those of alcohol.

  6. Tina

    Well put my friends – simple to plan, but take commitment to follow through – and so well worth it! Keep up to positive info and messages, we will change the world if only a few at a time. xx – T

  7. Jamie G.

    Yeah… agreeing with everyone else… this is a great article… lots of great stuff packed in a little package… if people could just master this simple list, they’d get the body they dream of.

  8. Blake

    Does full-body split = Comprehensive upper body workout followed by a comprehensive lower body workout such that you work each muscle group only 1 x per week?

    Very, very grateful for this article…

  9. Sue

    I like your style. Amen to ‘execution’ being the hard part!

  10. Chris

    Nate, this was an incredibly solid article — thanks to you and your wife for the post. Also, any future articles written centering around Gung fu principles would be great. It appreciate the directness of it; just much more true . . . no fluff.

    Have a wonderful evening.

  11. Alex

    Nate-
    Great post man. A couple (nitpicky) areas that might warrant some additional clarification:
    Refined oils. What is the definition of this? For example, olive oil is refined; but I’m guessing you would agree it’s okay; whereas canola oil is refined, and I’m guessing you would agree that it’s NOT ideal.
    You say to eat lean animal proteins but also say an obese person should get the majority of their energy needs from fat. There’s no reason to avoid fattier cuts of meat if the animal is grass-fed. This will supply more omega 3’s, CLA, etc. which could help burn fat. Lean meats are better if it is “factory farmed” to limit the toxins (hormones, antibiotics) stored in the fat.
    Carb cycling/calorie cycling could also be worth experimenting with for someone who puts on fat easily but also wants to do some strength training.
    Can you call it a Japanese style diet if there’s not sea vegetables and fermented food?
    On the dairy topic, I think it is more individual. For example, fermented dairy such as kefir tends to be better tolerated. Also, raw and grass-fed milk and cheese is good stuff and well-tolerated by many. Cream also contains almost zero lactose and a little in some coffee is delicious.

    Anyways, not trying to be a dick or anything. I agree with the vast majority of the post, just think there is a little more wiggle room for some people and everyone needs to experiment to find what works for them. Thanks for the post.