The Back Story
Once upon a time, there was a man who trained hard, ate clean and STILL couldn’t get lean. Well, he could, but it was brutally difficult and depressing to do so.
That man was called Dan Mitchell.
He was a bit of a joke of a Personal Trainer really.
He could never really get people in the shape he really wanted to.
It was all HIIT training and clean eating for everyone.
It was what he believed at the time.
Following the Wrong people
I remember now just why I found it so hard to get in the shape that I thought would eventually make me happy.
It was because I was following the wrong people.
Those people, had and still have a huge influence in the industry sadly.
Of course, like a little sheep that I was, thinking “They’re in shape, they MUST know what they are talking about!” – I followed them and their methods to a tee.
One PT told me I was Carb sensitive, (pretty sure it was meant to be insulin resistant), from the Biosignature tests that were ran on me (double lol).
For those of you who don’t know what Biosignature is, basically its another piece of Pseudo-Science bull system to make people money.
I fell for that too.
Basically, I was informed, at 98kg, that carbs are not good for me and I need to eat a Ketogenic diet!
Of course, I mean, that’s exactly what I’d give a stressed out, 30 year old bloke who trains 6 days a week.
Makes total sense to me.
*sarcasm often doesn’t get relayed in text format, so you can take it from me that I am being sarcastic*
So I did that and yep, I got lean alright.
I’ve also been a Clean Eater, Paleo Dieter, Carb Cycler, Low Carber and a couple of others no doubt (probably blocking them out subconsciously).
I had got leaner, but it was so brutally difficult to do so.
It was miserable.
I didn’t eat with family or friends.
I didn’t enjoy alcohol – which for those who know me, I like a little too much of.
Now, as we should now know, all of these dietary protocols will work, however, did they really fit for me at that time?
Of course they didn’t.
Drink Less Beer
That’s all that was really needed at that time.
Even swap to something a bit more calorie sensible.
I ate “clean” already.
I didn’t even need to track, I could tell you now, that I was maintaining weight, so if I’d have just cut the calories from beer in a week, then I would have cut fat comfortably.
Of course though, a Ketogenic “clean” diet was the way forward.
I’ve since learned that this is a Nationwide thing.
My client Isla, who placed 2nd last year in a Bikini show ended up on a Ketogenic diet and being told she wasn’t eating clean enough.
Fast forward to an absolutely terrible association with food and bingeing.
We spent a fair whack of time sorting that out.
Successfully, I might add.
Extreme’s are extreme and are not necessary BRO
So its still going round the gyms, that you have to eat CLEAN and train MEAN to get LEAN.
Well, that’s crap.
I know its crap.
We’ve got 14 trophies as our evidence.
The above statement is a bit of a joke really.
It’s like saying, “I’m big and shredded, therefore I know best, because I am big and shredded.”
However, all jokes aside, getting people lean is far better if you do it the right way.
Which is to promote adherence long term.
It’s been proven time and time again that eating with flexibility, makes more sense.
It’s easier to adhere to, promotes a better attitude towards nutrition and the diet can last longer.
Going extremely clean, doesn’t make sense.
Funnily enough, when I started eating with more flexibility, my results improved.
Also, I stopped thinking sweet potato is better than potato.
It doesn’t matter.
Also, potatoes are amazing and far more satiating anyway. So there’s that.
Training Like a Queg
If you’re American or whatever, that might not make any sense.
However it means training like an idiot.
There’s no doubt that a lot of bodybuilders have got in great shape.
Hence they are bodybuilders.
However, it doesn’t mean that their way makes sense.
Especially so for the natural trainee.
I changed the way I trained from a Bodybuilding style body-part split, and moved to a volume equated training plan.
Namely Layne Norton’s PHAT training. You can find that here: PHAT Training
At the time, this suited me so well as I’d just started coming round to the evidence based approach to things.
Magically, backing off training when I felt like crap, seemed to make me get better results. Who knew!
I stopped training to failure, started to record my workouts and increase and improve my lifts.
Lo and behold, I grew the most appreciable amount of muscle I’ve ever seen.
Things that were uber-positive:
Squats went to 220kg 1rm
Deadlift 260kg 1rm
Bench 130 1rm (lol don’t judge me)
Pull Ups went from 25 over 4 sets to 48.
My calves didn’t change of course, because well, they never will.
Before I was training to failure and never really making any progress.
I had some muscle though for sure, as I was lean at about 85kg, which isn’t too bad.
The Go Hard or Go Home attitude went, and so did my lack of progress.
A weird thing, I applied this to my clients that I had started to get, and magic! They started making serious progress.
Now I like to use the RPE scale to manipulate training volume and load based on fatigue and stress.
Thanks to Mike Tuchscherer for bringing this in to the world.
Failure can be used, but I only ever really use this on isolation movements, or to get ze pump with clients these days.
Cardio will kill all your muscle
I was told and I believed it also, that cardio would kill all my muscle.
I didn’t have a massive amount.
It wasn’t bad, but it was hiding under a fair whack of body fat.
As evident in the picture above.
Now, I realise that this is absolutely ridiculous.
You can look in great shape and do exercise you enjoy.
Obviously there are some crossovers, its going to be pretty tough to win a bodybuilding competition and do 100 miles of cycling each week.
However, for most people, enjoying some decent cardiovascular work whilst weight training too is going to show some good benefits.
I’ve been cycling religiously for the past 14 months.
My legs have gained a lot of muscle mass!
I am not really able to train in the gym lower body due to injury.
BUT MY LEGS HAVE GAINED MUSCLE.
What is this magic?
Here is a picture of my new found passion in the last year. She’s definitely pretty.
It’s all about me, it’s all about me baby
I know this is a post that documents a lot about me, however I am the perfect example of how NOT to do things.
I wrote a blog for Shredded By Science a while back about how people can evolve in the fitness industry.
Called the Evolution of a Flexible Dieter.
Check it out: SBS – Evolution of Dieting
However, this can apply to training and overall attitude to the fitness lifestyle.
I started off following the people who literally do this for a living:
Sleep for a bit
Good for them.
Then I ended up following, after a LONG time the people who make sense.
And I ended up in a better shape.
Not just in terms of physically, but mentally.
I can enjoy beer, wine, pizza, vegetables, a social life, ice cream, experimenting with food, gains, strength, activity that doesn’t include lifting and still get the main thing I am looking for, with ease.
Hell, that’s what we’re all after in the first place right?
Doing it the way that works for someone else is usually going to end up in tears.
Doing things the way that works best for you – ie the sensible most flexible and tolerant way is going to end up with the best results.