Let me describe a story with which you’re probably already familiar. It starts when someone wants to lose weight.
Here are the steps:
1. They decide to start “exercising.”
The very first time someone decides to lose fat they typically start with cardio. Usually they land on something we’d call steady-state: jogging, biking, rowing, or aerobics classes (remember those?).
They’re consistent, but alas: it doesn’t work that well because their diet isn’t in check.
2. They latch onto some fad diet.
When that fails (and it always does) they add some form of fad dieting, one that if followed creates a less-than-sustainable calorie deficit.
And that… actually seems to work—sort of.
Sure, they can only eat cold cuts and Diet Coke popsicles (during a two-hour eating window) but the weight flies off for awhile.
But again: it wasn’t every truly sustainable. Willpower could get them to push through things for awhile, but after one bad breakdown at a bakery the weight flies right back on.
This dieting cycle might go on for months until, battered but determined, they finally add weight training to their mix.
Now things start happening!
3. They add weight training.
It might be a terrible program or The Best Program Ever™, but if they stick to it and don’t get freaked out by what’s happening (compare, “Oh no! The scale number is going UP!” to “Holy ***, I’m getting HUGE!”) their body starts to take shape and good things happen.
This can be an a-ha moment. A watershed. They realize that weight training “to get huge” is actually the key to getting lean. (If they’re one of those people afraid of “getting too muscular,” they soon start to realize that, well, there’s not really a big risk of doing that accidentally.)
4. They revisit their diet.
Next, they revisit the diet intelligently. Instead of weird, arbitrary rules about grapefruits or 30 lbs of bacon fat they just get calories and macronutrients in check with healthy foods. Maybe they’re counting calories, maybe they just have a consistent plan.
It doesn’t matter. The point is they’re not using some arbitrary fad or weird set of rules as a stand-in to avoid just plain getting their **** together and dealing with their diet.
Now things REALLY start to move:
“Wow, this is great. Now how do I keep the ball rolling?”
5. They revisit cardio.
They want to keep things going, so even though now they’re doing it on some bodybuilding forum or website, they’re back to reading about all the cardio options that are out there. They land on something like steady state on days off, intervals after the workout. Cool.
Hit the junkyard on weekends and flip tires. Is that a cow? Let’s tip it for max reps.
They’re doing something five, six, or even seven days per week.
They’re getting lean! Jacked.
And then — crash.
* * *
Because even if you’re doing “the right things” YOU CAN’T JUST KEEP ADDING.
Everything has a cost in terms of time, energy, focus, and motivation.
And everything you do or make time for is like writing a cheque from your Recovery Bank Account.
Oh, all the other stuff in your life? Work, kids, school, arguing online about masks and freedom?
Those all write cheques too. So it’s not long before you’re into overdraft and then bankrupt.
What to do instead…
I’m obviously not the kind of guy who’s going to tell you to get rid of the weight training. That stays. But what else are you gonna do to maybe burn some calories, not overdo your recover, and heck: maybe actually improve your recovery or your day-to-day rhythms and health?
The thing is, there actually is something that burns calories, creates structure and rhythm, reduces stress, helps recovery, and basically acts like a DEPOSIT into your Recovery Bank.
It’s called walking.
Walking is to exercise what celery was supposed to be for calories. Even though walking expends energy, it GIVES BACK MORE in return. Obviously, it doesn’t burn as many calories as jogging or HIIT, but those other guaranteed dividends more than make up for it.
There are only a few ways to add money to your account. Walking and sleep are two very big ones.
And the nice thing is, walking doesn’t cost a dime.
But a dog sure helps.
– Coach Bryan