Monday, October 3, 2011

Why Paul is Successful with His Weight Loss

My new client Paul L. is killing it with kettlebells.  He is down 15lbs in less than one month.  Here are the reasons that he is successful:

1) Show Up:  He shows up ready to work in every session!  He is not late.  He didn't just come from a pedicure and can't wear shoes.  He doesn't call in and say he is sick, tired, or sore (even if he is sore).

2) Open-Minded:  Even though he has experience with iron, he listens to everything I have to say.  He doesn't have false pretenses of being elite (And by the way, you can't be elite on a treadmill or doing half squats).  He doesn't complain about joint mobility exercises being awkward.  Case in point, after 3 sessions, Paul could do a below-parallel squat.  After a month he could hold a Happy Buddha pose for 30 seconds.  After 2.5 weeks he could do an overhead PVC pass through after start with not being able to get the elbows past the ears.  He didn't ask why we practiced these on a daily basis.

3) Diet:  He is making changes to what happens in the other 165 hours of the week.  He ASKS if he has any homework.  He keeps a food log.  One of the first things I learned in fitness is that if:
- Someone is overweight and
- They are not keeping a food log
==> They will be completely delusional about their food intake.  Here is a typical conversation with one of these people.

Faizal:  Hey, how is the diet going.  I know you talked about it on Facebook.
Person:  Not bad, not really losing weight though.
Faizal: Oh, maybe I can help you.  Do you have a food log.
Person: No, but I know my diet is perfect (whatever the frack that means).  I know everything about nutrition.  I don't know why I am not losing weight.  I must being gaining muscle.

Here are the fallacies in this conversation:
a) What is a perfect diet.  Even if one existed, there is no way that you know what it is.

b) You can't know everything about nutrition.  Not even the nutrition people know everything about nutrition.  In fact, look at how much nutrition has changed in the last 20 years.
1991 - Low fat (remember "high volume, low fat" eating?  Bonus points if you can recognize the pitch man for this crap)/Eat every three hours/Exercise in the oxidative zone, etc.
2001 - Low carb/Atkins/Zone/Interval Training
2011 - Paleo/Organic/Warrior Diet/ESE/Functional Fitness/etc.

This is not just "learning new stuff and getting better".  This is "that stuff we told you earlier, we had our heads up our collective asses when we told you that.  But now we know that you should do this, trust us this time."  Also, if you do the same thing with fitness programs and certifications, I will think you are full of shit too.

c) If you diet is not working for you, it sucks!  Period.  You can only eat for yourself, not the general population.  Any diet program that doesn't not allow for individual differences is garbage.  If you want to learn about a diet program that caters to you as an individual and more importantly works quickly, contact me

d) Diet is more about execution than selecting the right diet.  I know sooooooo many people that pontificate about what is good and bad to eat ("Faizal, you are eating bread?"), but they don't even follow their own advice.  I would rather have you follow an imperfect diet, log it, then make adjustments than imperfectly follow a perfect diet.  In fact, I would say that logging and tweaking your diet is the only way to find out what works for you.

4) Triangle of Truth:  He is focusing on how he LOOKS, how he FEELS, and how he PERFORMS.  There is no compromise on any of them.  All three should be improving for general, sustainable fitness.  For underwear models and athletes, you may trade off one for the other two, but for the general population, absolutely not.  Not to get off topic, let me clarify the term athlete.  And "athlete" is someone that plays a sport.  Doing bicep curls in the squat rack is not a sport.  Doing Crossfit's workout of the day, while maybe hard, is not a sport.  Running on a treadmill, stair stepper or an elliptical is not even running, much less a sport.  What makes it a sport?  Winners and losers.  Poker is a sport. Golf is a sport. Bowling is a sport.  10,000 swing challenge is not a sport.  Fran is not a sport.

5) Gear:  He has the correct workout gear.  This includes appropriate footwear, water (not Crystal Light, Vitamin Water, Gatorade, Diet Coke, etc.), towel, notebook/pen, hand care, etc.

These shoes don't suck

6) Educating vs. Annihilating:  He actually LEARNS from his sessions.  When Paul trains with me, he is not looking for someone to motivate him.  That kind of motivation is short-term.  He motivates himself.  He is looking for someone to educate him.  Don't get me wrong, experiencing a lung-blowing workout or a heavy weight is part of "eductation."  Clients should pay for just ass-kickings or being put through a tough workout, they should pay for knowledge.  If you don't feel you need a notebook in a trainer session, you are wasting your time with that trainer.

7) Relevance:  He doesn't ask questions that don't matter AND he doesn't feel like everything has to be explained to him before he takes action.  No inane stuff like "Shouldn't we be doing sets of 15 for fat loss?" or "What muscle does this isolate?"

8) Priorities:  Paul has never told me about a TV show he watched, a bar that he went to, a porn that he watched, a website that he wasted hours on.  Focus!

9) No complaining:  If I give him an exercise that is hard or that he doesn't do well, he doesn't complain.  He never says a session is too hard, or that he didn't sweat enough, or that he doesn't like an exercise.  Also, complaining increases cortisol and decreases T-levels, both of which are bad for fat loss.

10) Entitlement:  Paul understands that he has to continue to work for everything.  Some of the pounds will be easier than others, but he is not entitled to anything.  Time does not entitle you to it.  Paying doesn't entitle you to it.  Previous success doesn't entitle you to it. Touching a kettlebell doesn't entitle you to it.  A well-respected RKC Team Leader once told me "Some of the RKCs have to lay off the pastries."

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