1. Make Wants Stronger Than Cravings

I’m often asked about how I personally eat. Usually I avoid answering. 

For one, I don’t have a gimmick to sell, unless you can trademark high protein, moderate carbs & fat, and calories to match the goal

The other issue is, it can become a real sinkhole.

People grossly overcomplicate basic nutrition, likely because doing the basics (tracking, counting calories) is tedious. 

It’s far sexier to believe you’re some weird metabolic anomaly who doesn’t respond to food and metabolism normally; someone who must resort to biohacking or backloading to get lean rather than just eat better, consistently.

So when the food question comes up (especially when I’m out & about) I’ll say something dismissive like “I basically eat what I want.” 

It’s not a lie. But it is misleading. 

Because people confuse what they ”want” with what they CRAVE.

Here’s what I mean. 

I want a healthy, lean, muscular, strong body. So I want whatever foods help me achieve that. Beef, eggs, rice, chicken, potatoes, veggies, fruit, blah blah blah.

While I enjoy those foods, I eat them so much that I don’t really CRAVE them. It’s just what I want to eat. 

When I do get a craving its for OCCASIONAL treats like hamburgers, pizza, donuts, and peanut butter. Especially peanut butter on donuts. 

Now clearly my cravings are not exactly physique friendly. 

So here’s the deal: 

* Wants are healthy foods you enjoy eating that clearly transfer to your goal. They can be foods you eat every day. 

* Cravings are the yummy calorie bombs we wish we could eat every day but can’t.

* Every meal every day, take care of all the wants first. If you do and still wind up experiencing a craving, first see if you left any holes in your want game. If thats not it and you’re just craving a damn donut, then indulge.

2. Exercise choice matters

Not all exercises are created equal, and you should NEVER perform a lift that hurts. 

However, it’s important to understand the principles and goals behind the workout or the whole program. 

Because once you do you’ll see that in some cases specific exercises aren’t special — they’re just tools to complete a job. Think hammer curls instead of reverse curls for biceps/brachialis in a bodybuilding program. Go for it.

But other times the exercise choice clearly matters. In a strength-focused program you wouldn’t replace squats for 6 sets of 3 reps with leg extensions. 

Nor in a fat loss program built around super-sets and high reps would you place the more challenging exercises like squats last. Instead you’d program them first and save smaller, easier drills or energy system work for the end.

3. The Number one diet killer?

It’s not lack of effort.
Or zero willpower. 
Ot too many social arrangements
Or even hunger. 

Its anxiety. 

Specifically worrying if this is the right plan for you and whether you can be successful. 

Think about it. You start on a popular fat loss diet a few weeks ago and everything is going great. You feel good, perform well, and fat is slowly coming off. 

But then you run into Vicki from accounting. She’s lost a TON of weight following this diet off the internet where you eat Keto during the week and pound junk food on the weekend. 

She’s super passionate and her results seem impressive. 

Maybe you should follow her plan?

After all, while your current plans working and you’re getting into rhythm, it would be nice to lose fat 20-30% faster. 

And what if this new plan was more fun, more social? 

Why not?

And thats it. A perfectly good program that was working, scrapped for the shiny new object.

Don’t do that.

4. The trendy soundbite “diets and meal plans don’t work” is bullshit.

It’s trying to follow SOMEONE ELSE’S diet or meal plan that rarely works.

To that end, I find the most effective way to help someone eat better is to just take how they currently eat and, well, make it better. 

That means let them keep their food choices (within reason), their preferred meal pattern/size/frequency, even social trappings and vices (again, within reason). 

And then just SLOOOWLY make changes. Quantify amounts. Prioritize protein. Cut back or even eliminate any really awful stuff. Ensure veggies, fruits, good fats, good carbs, water.

Catch is to keep it slow, easy, and repeatable.

5. Put on a Sweater and Put on Some Weight

Something I’ve noticed the past few years just came up today in my coaching group. 

Guys who are undersized (their opinion, not just mine) try to stay too lean or ”Instagram-ready” year round.

While I believe that everyone should pursue the body they want, if you feel small and frustrated by glacial-like progress, I’d definitely re-think this approach. 

I’m not saying everyone should spend months every year in fat pants and boat neck sweaters (especially if you have a real job), but a normal dude can’t expect to add significant amounts of muscle while eating like a pre-contest bodybuilder. 

Now a guy with a well-established muscular foundation can afford to cruise year round at around maintenance calories and play with refeeds and anabolic voodoo to add icing on their cake. 

But someone still looking to add 10 or more pounds of lean mass? Food is number one. 

So why so much resistance to having an off-season?

Stan Efferding blames social media. Guys are so obsessed with documenting their physiques every damn day that they don’t give themselves the space to get a little ugly and gain a little weight, and actually make improvements in their bodies.

Complicating matters further is a pervasive concern among guys about getting fat, or more accurately, getting fat again. 

I totally get it. Especially for those who’ve battled weight gain issues their whole lives, they certainly don’t need to be pressured to go on a Mega Mass 2000 blender-bender. 

So to that end, let me sum up. 
– Any guy (or girl) who wants to add muscle to their frame should consider a 10-16 week bulk. 
– This is not a extended binge. Its eating 500 calories or so above maintenance and training like a machine.
– Those with childhood weight issues or the like should not bother 
– Accepting some fat with the weight is non-negotiable
– Have a cut off wait and waist in line and stick to it
– If you do this for an extended period, 2 weeks of VERY LOW calories every 8 weeks or so can mitigate fat gain and perhaps improve insulin sensitivity. 

If you start off sorta lean and in 12 weeks pack on 5 pounds of muscle and 15 pounds of fat, thats a win. 

Fat that packs on fast, takes off fast. You could ditch that 15 pounds of easy chunk in 8-10 weeks, revealing 5 new pounds of steak. 

Sounds worth the chipmunk cheeks to me.

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