I train 6 days a week, so why am I still fat?

“I train hard so I can eat anything I want”. The statement has to be true right? I mean calories in vs calories out is simple math. I burn the calories by exercising and being fit. So I can eat what I want. Of course! Makes perfect sense right? Right? Well, maybe, let’s talk about it.

The proof is in the pudding. “Pudding” in this case is what keeps giggling after you stop moving. Not sure what I mean? Here is a honest experiment that isn’t for the faint at heart. Strip naked in front of a full length mirror (preferably in private, or in front of your spouse should you have the guts). Now jump up and down a few times. Your “pudding” will reveal itself to you. NOT fun, but very straight forward. So how are you doing? Is your “eat whatever I want” philosophy working for you? If so, keep it up! If not, it comes as no surprise and no, you are not broken. Oh, and very seldom are your genetics or hormone levels to blame. So quit making those excuses. If you keep eating what you are eating, you can expect no change. If talk of body fat makes you antsy, then it might be time to re-engineer your nutritional philosophy.

Here are a few things to consider:

Paradigm shift: If you are to achieve top physical condition, your diet will play an 85% role. 85% of what your look like is directly associated with you eat (and drink). So you can train till the cows come home and your body will only be influenced 15%. If you were an investor, would you put your money on a 15% ROI (return on investment) or a 85% ROI? Of course on the 85%, but the majority (including the press) push for the 15%. I mean I read the child obesity reports in the press, and all of them include pushing physical activity as the solution. “Our youth are couch potatoes, they need to exercise.” Yea, that is about 15% of the issue. The other 85% is that fast food and junk food consumptions are higher than ever. Take a look at the adult onset diabetes epidemic in America and talk to me about  exercise? IT IS DIET DRIVEN! Physical activity is only 15% of our health. Yet most of us are absolutely committed to our training because we still think it is the 85% answer? After 4 years in a gym teaching training and nutrition, I saw many gym rats stay the same until they changed their diet. Body builders are the most amazing example of this. They train hard all year with a pretty solid diet to empower their recovery. Then 3 months out from “show time” they re-engineer their training and diet to shed as much “pudding” as they can. Man, can they get shredded, and they need to be ripped. They are the ones that are accountable to the show stage where they are to be judged while standing mostly naked in front of their piers! Ask them or read a blog and you’ll hear from someone who really knows the deal. 85% of what you look like is nutrition based. Pro cyclist who train 4-7 hours a day have to carefully watch their diet for the same reasons. Fat loss and recovery are both optimized because elite athletes don’t buy the “eat whatever you want” philosophy. Instead, the thought is more like, “I train hard so I am choosing the best nutrition to recover”. Turns out the best energy and recovery food choices lean you out too- BONUS!

So it is time to get personal and get checked out. Step 1 is identify and quantify your pudding! At MVP we measure the amount of  fat as a percentage of your over all weight. Pounds on the scale is a measure of gross weight, but it really doesn’t take into account how those pounds are composed. You might have lost 4 lbs in two days on your new diet. Sorry, but your fat % will not have dropped much in two days. The pudding is still there, look at your self. The 4 lbs is likely water- sorry to tell you this, but several low carb diets get notoriety for the fast lbs loss. So you start the diet, lose 10 lbs in your first week, and feel like your winning the war. Sadly, you’re not winning, you lost water weight. Each Carbohydrate has 4 grams of water attached to it. Cut the carbs, and your water weight dumps. Scale says your losing, but it is water. Point is, the scale is NOT the best measure of your progress. So we put a caliper on the fat folds and directly measure your fat level. Got a pudding issue? Lets quantify it. Ask one of our trainers for a complimentary body fat % test. Very unlike lbs., your fat % is an excellent measure of progress.

OK, now you know your body fat %. How are you doing? Is it time to do some re-engineering?

Last thought:  I tested 100’s of gym members body fat % and most were higher than they wanted. They asked what they could do to change it. This is where I sometimes chuckle. The gym really blew me away and forced my “existing paradigms die hard” conclusion. I told the Gym members what I am telling you here, and found that they had a 90% chance of investing in a 15% ROI approach. Why? They were already comfortable with the gym so most simply decided to add more cardio. Bottom line, they stayed in their comfort zone and got 15% ROI type of results. For roughly 90%, that is enough. For the other 10% of you it is not enough. When you are serious about change, a 15% chance will not do. There is a 100% chance for change when you put training and nutrition together. The whole package works every time someone is motivated to work it. Question is, are you ready to get in the best shape of your life? In 3 months you can do the mirror Jump test and be happy with what you see. If your are a triathlete or cyclist you know it is about being super lean because fat is a non contributing “extra baggage” factor that is best not strapped on you. Leaner is faster and healthier. Setting KOM’s on Strava or PR’s in 10K’s is often more about fat% than anything else. Is it time to shed ballast? Here are four action steps to take:

  1. Get a complimentary body fat test at MVP Sports Center.
  2. Start a nutritional log. Write down what you eat and when. Include as much calorie detail as you can for at least a week. If you eat it, write it down. Don’t cheat.
  3. Hire one of our trainers to re-engineer your exercise program. You’ll want to optimize your training to compliment your objectives.