One week. Two nutrition talks. I can say that speaking in front of live audiences with a wide variety of fitness levels, knowledge bases, and goals has forced me to simplify my educational approach and content. That’s a good thing, because a large percentage of the health & fitness industry purposely over-complicates things to sell you a bunch of sh*t you don’t really need. And yes, many advanced athletes are just as information overloaded, and suffering from paralysis by over-analysis, as the beginner. Fitness, and life in general, is simple baby. It is we who over-complicate it.
So here is kind of a summary of what I presented. I’ve always viewed the steps to achieve your fat loss and health enhancement goals in terms of a hierarchy of importance. It took about 10 minutes to go through a rundown of this hierarchy. Dispelling myths took about 2 hours (or until I had to take a piss = the second talk).
1. FOOD CHOICES
Food choices are #1 in your quest for dropping fat, looking good naked, preventing disease, and improving your overall health and wellness.
Moving away from modern Y2K eating by cutting out processed, man-made foods; and returning to our evolutionary, ancestral, or cultural pasts by eating more real, natural foods (wild animals and plants) will take you 90% of the way in achieving your goals, automatically, without all of the over-complication, confusion, and misinformation in the health & fitness industry.
2. DIET STRUCTURE
Choosing the appropriate diet structure FOR YOU (meal frequency and food distribution) is about making your plan as realistic, functional, and sustainable as possible, given your lifestyle, career demands, and goals.
Most approaches (eat 6 small meals, starve at night, etc.) are impractical, and are based more on fitness tradition than scientific necessity. There is no one right Way. The best structure is simply the one that allows you to most consistently stick with your plan.
I believe our hunter-gatherer evolutionary past again provides us with clues. Eat lighter while active and “hunting” during the day, and eat the majority of your calories at night while relaxing or socializing. That’s not the only way, but it is one of the easiest ways, because it goes with our natural instincts, which is to feast at night.
Many do this naturally, albeit with poor food choices. It is the poor food choices that are the problem, not the diet structure itself. Correct the food choices and you correct the problem, that’s why food choices always remains #1.
You can attain a good level of health and fitness, and a natural bodyweight, with steps 1 & 2 alone. Simple — not easy — simple. So quit saying it is so confusing. It’s not. Confusion and complication comes from not doing what you know you should be doing, and looking for an “easier”, magic-pill like way.
3. DIET DETAILS & ADVANCED PRINCIPLES
Detailed dietary calculations (calories, protein, carbs, fat grams, etc.) and principles (calorie/carb cycling) are more for advanced athletes trying to attain higher-level performance or physique goals. Take care of the big picture basics first — eating real foods and finding a sustainable diet structure. Then dive into the program details if you want to get ripped.
4. EVERYTHING ELSE
The majority of the fitness industry’s focus, and most of the stuff being sold to you (miracle supplements, magical detox plans, etc.), are “extras” at best, and probably account for less than 5% of real world results. And most of this stuff just makes you “feel” like you are doing something good for yourself, even though you are not. The best way to detox is to stop eating crap. The best ab exercise is to throw away your sugar and refined vegetable oil, etc.
Alas, I wish I had something more new, flashy, innovative, and cool to tell you, but in this real life battle against body fat and poor biomarkers of health, only the best weapons will do. And the best weapon I know is the tough love truth.