How a human body will respond to effective training and appropriate nutrition is pretty easy to predict, most of the time. You wanna know what’s tricky though?
Brains. Brains are tricky. Our minds are what make us truly unique individuals, all seeing the world a little differently to each other. All with a unique perspective, unique experiences that have shaped us, different tastes and preferences, and different sets of circumstances. We will excel under a certain set of conditions, and struggle with another. The next person along may prefer the opposite conditions entirely.
There is no “right or wrong” and no “better or worse” in any of this.
In training for a goal of changing your body condition, you require an effective training program first and foremost. To enable performance and a positive adaptation to training, you require appropriate total energy and macronutrient intake. In other words, “enough, but not too much” food.
Everything else is merely a means to achieving that end of training regularly and effectively, and habitually consuming a suitable amount of energy and nutritional resources that encourages your body to preserve lean mass at the expense of adipose. Muscle and bone at the expense of body fat.
Now… there are a bunch of ways a lot of people think you are supposed to do this. Especially when people get into the business and set up shop as a PT, there’s a certain mold we tend to think we need to fit into. The same goes for people who are influenced by guilt or shame driven marketing approaches, we’re given a certain standard we’re expected to measure up to, and that’s what it takes to earn results and make a physical transformation as per your goal.
So… think for a moment of all the habits and behaviours you might associate with a person who has successfully gotten into (or perhaps just always been in) great athletic shape. Some you might consider extreme and obsessive, and be thinking to yourself “hey I do want to get into shape, but I don’t want to turn into one of those people”. Others you might consider admirable qualities that you feel you should aspire to being more like yourself, because that’s what it takes to achieve your goal, right?
Well, not necessarily.
As we discussed; to achieve your goal body condition requires two things. An effective training program, and appropriate total intake. All other factors are only important in that they may offer a strategic advantage in maintaining enthusiasm and consistent adherence to your training program and intake targets.
We’re all different. We’re all wired a little differently in the brain, and what might be advantageous in maintaining enthusiasm to one person might be a pain in the arse to another. What might be the most convenient time to train or to eat for one person, might be entirely undoable for someone else. The foods that I like to eat and find easy to fit into a plan to meet my requirements might be entirely unappealing to you, not to mention that my requirements are likely to be very different to yours in the first place.
The Strategic Advantage Of Flexible Dieting
I’m a Flexible Dieting coach and advocate as you know. Obviously, I believe that actually knowing what your total energy & macronutrient requirements are likely to be is enormously advantageous. Knowing what those targets are, you can plan to meet them with the choice of foods that best suits you, without fearing that any particular choice is going to spoil your chances of progress due to some inherent “badness” it supposedly has.
There is more to Flexible Dieting, however, than just flexibility in your choices of foods. The flexible nature also extends to the timing of meals as well. Research has shown that the frequency and number of meals consumed is of no significant importance so long as total intake is appropriate and training is effective. All of the “6 small meals a day to keep your metabolism running” and “no carbs in the evening” type of myths are just that, myths. While they may offer some people a strategic advantage in maintaining an appropriate total intake, there is no scientific credibility to any claim that any particular meal schedule is “the best” much less “only” way of doing things.
What is important is that total intake is appropriate, and you can set the meal schedule that offers you the best strategic advantage as an individual, taking your own circumstances and preferences into account.
Leave the “supposed to” and “moral judgement” type stuff out of it.
What is necessary is effective training and appropriate total intake. What is advantageous is a strategy that is conducive to consistent enthusiasm and adherence.
If that means training first thing in the morning, then that’s great. But training in the evening or the middle of the day is just as good. If it means a bowl of cereal and a cup of tea for breakfast, or a veggie omelet and a glass of fruit juice, those are both fine choices and there are probably a hundred more you could also consider. If you prefer 3 meals a day, do that. If you prefer 6 meals a day, that’s perfect too. If it means meticulous meal planning and preparation, that’s awesome. But if you prefer to wing it a little and still stay on track, that’s fantastic as well.
There is no sense in knowing what will suit you best, but choosing something else on the grounds that it’s what we’re “supposed to” do. Other people may insist or try to persuade you that there’s one “right” or “morally superior” choice than another… but that is just down to their own ego. Make no mistake, they are doing what best suits their personality… it doesn’t mean anyone is less deserving, or less likely to succeed for preferring a different approach.
So what does it really take to make a physical transformation?
Effective training. Appropriate total intake, with a suitable balance of macronutrients, enough fiber, and plenty of fruit and veg. Everything else however best suits you. That’s all.
You can register for VIP Access and a bunch of information about my Flexible Fueling Program right here, or via my brand new website by following this link.