“I want to lose weight!!”

No, you want to lose fat.

Bro science always taught us we had to eat every few hours or we get catabolic.  We now know this is not true.  However, what about long distance running?

Quick – find me anyone who has won a marathon over 175 pounds.  And….go.

I love running.  I LOVE biking.  I love swimming.  But these exercises are exactly the ones that over time, you could lose muscle with.  Or not?

I do them because I love to do them.  I’ve been reading Mark Sisson’s book “The Primal Blueprint” and it mentions something in there I must have been guilty of.  Get this – I’m addicted to the exercise because it releases “feel good” hormones.  For example, I trash my body on a long, hard run and your body secretes a hormone to numb the pain.  However, it’s like a pain pill, and your body kinda sorta reacts the same way.

Do I really love these sports or do I chase the candy?

While this is unclear, what is clear-er is that I will be hanging around mostly the zone 2 type of training when I do it.  My volume had increased to a point where most of January I wasn’t training due to lower back pains.

I’m now experiencing a plateau….but this is NOT unfamiliar.  This is usually what happens when I stop running.  I’ve been doing running for the better part of 6 months.  First, I was training for my 5k in November, but over the Christmas holidays I ramped up my volume and tried dialing back to zone 2 but the volume got me.

So the weight hasn’t moved much in awhile.  Today I’m at 225, and with Fasting Friday going to happen this week, I am looking at a 222 check in on Saturday with the trainer.  That’s about a 3 pound loss this month.

I’ll take it.

Why?  Because for the next 10 weeks or so, I’m going back to basics of walking and weight training.  Yes – I WILL do lots of running in my future, but again – I don’t think any of you should run for FAT LOSS.  You should run because you love it.  I can tell you, I’ve been doing this now for 2.5 years.  I am my own n=1.  Here are some things I’ve noticed:

  1. Weight training will help you lose fat better than ANY low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio.  In fact, when done right, weight training can be cardio.  Try doing some super sets.  I took mostly 2 years off from running and dropped a fuck ton of weight.
  2. You do not need to hit the gym 6 times a week.  This was a mistake I made my whole life, and one I will never make again.  I do full body work outs for about an hour, once or twice a week.  All of those “bro” splits?  Not necessary.  Who does need it?  Guys who are trying to get huge and have 200-300g of protein per day.
  3. When I increase my running, my fat loss initially is good – then my body holds on to weight for dear life.  I believe this is some form of cortisol event telling my body that I’m stressing looking for food and I need to slow my shit down and hold on to everything I have.
  4. Walking = fat loss.  The weight training built a strong frame on me and continues to preserve my lean body mass.  However, the secret sauce is walking.  In my early days on here, I posted a decent amount of pics while I was walking through parks.  Well, what I didn’t show you was the 435 times I walked my dog.
  5. My eating patterns are right for me.  About 7 months ago, I chucked the calorie counting.  Some of you might still need it.  I don’t.  All of my dials and gauges work properly these days.  I eat out like once a month, if that, and 95% of what I eat is comprised of “whole foods” with minimal ingredients.  I eat when I’m hungry.  And, my hunger is very manageable.  This, as compared to 3 years ago when I couldn’t control my hunger.  People think that fat people just sit around eating donuts all day long.  I can tell you, their dials and gauges are broken.  My hormones were telling me I was hungry, and the hunger was not manageable.  I would eat these foods until my belly burst.  Today, I can stop eating easily.

 

What types of exercise should you do for FAT loss?  Here are my thoughts:

  1. Walking.  Walk your dog.  Walk up the stairs.  Take 5 minutes every hour at work to stretch your legs.  Walk over lunch.  While I think calorie MATH is a fuzzy science, there’s no doubt on the physics end that there is energy balance.  The problem is, no one can really do the math EXACTLY.  What I can tell you is that our hunter/gatherer ancestors were moving around a lot.  While the standard American Diet (SAD) sucks these days, being sedentary on top of this really hurts us with the calories out part of the equation.  I do a decent amount of walking at work.  Sometimes rather than sending an email, I’ll go over and visit one of my teams to check on a status of a project.  I am finding that I am talking with my hands more these days.  When you are chill and not moving a lot, it’s your body’s metabolism screeching to a halt.  This could have you watching movies a lot, talking slowly, and even BLINKING slowly.  Hand gestures decrease.  I’m up and about most days and my hands are flying around.
  2. Weight training.  My goal is to PRESERVE lean body mass.  Some of you want to GAIN MUSCLE.  I’m not opposed to maybe 5-10 pounds of muscle gain, but that is NOT my primary goal right now, it’s FAT LOSS.  Yes, you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, but it’s a fuzzy science.  When you are talking to someone who was nearly 400 pounds and was always the largest person in the room, he simply wants to blend in and wear a size medium or large shirt.  It’s very possible I hit 185 with 13-15% bodyfat and then I work for a year to gain 5 more pounds of muscle and lose another 5 pounds of fat.  However, that might just be for vanity to see how far I could go.  I think when you get to 12% or so it starts to become much more difficult and this is where you are trying to go after things like “vascularity”.  Unknown if I will ever try it, but the point is that my goals in weight training are not to be 195 pounds with 6% bodyfat.
  3. Hiking.  This is walking, on steroids.  You are adding complexity with balance and elevation.  I just did a nice 2 hour hike the other day
  4. PiYo.  Pilates/Yoga.  This is amazing.  I thought of yoga as just skinny vegan girls in tight yoga pants doing this.  OK.  That’s hot lol.  However, I’ve been watching some of my fitness influencers on YouTube doing this and gave PiYo a try over Christmas.  I love this.  Pretty challenging, and you use your own bodyweight, tension, and stretching.  I dig this and will do it every chance I get.  My local JCC has it for free to members, but it’s only on Mondays from what I’ve seen.  I work on Mondays except on holidays.  So – unclear how often I will get there, but LOVE it.

 

Fat loss

Here’s what hiking did for my fitness tracker on Monday.

IMG-4481

I do not believe it was 995 calories.  Maybe within 200 or so, plus or minus.  But the problem is, no one REALLY knows.  It could have been 600.  Or 400.  Maybe I was fasted and it was more because it had to work hard to break down fats.  Maybe I ate berries before it and it was easier to burn immediate glucose in the liver and the calories were less.

I want you to stop sweating about slow weight loss.  Your body will lose weight on its own clock, if you’re doing the right things.  I pushed my running too much, which forced me to go back to what works.  But today, people expect to run and then see 5 pounds per week weight loss.  Let me tell you, your body is a very very smart piece of machinery.  If you want to lose weight, shoot for 1-2 pounds per week.  My weight loss over 2.5 years is just shy of 150 pounds.  Hoping to hit 222 on Saturday and make it officially 150.  So get this – take 147 pounds and divide by 29 and you get – 1.27 pounds per week.  My weight loss initially was closer to 2 pounds a week interspersed with water gain, muscle gain, and body recomp.

-2 pounds of fat + .5 of water + .25 of muscle = 1.25 pounds lost.  I’m exaggerating a little, but you get the idea.  WEIGHT LOSS does NOT EQUAL FAT LOSS.

You see the scale go down 5 pounds in one week, the next 2 weeks it doesn’t move at all.  You are FINE.  Your body drops and adds water all the time.

Recently, I’ve been talking to someone close to me doing keto and they were worried about the scale not moving.  Running 5 times a week and lifting 3-4 times a week.  Instantly, I’m thinking “excessive water being held due to cortisol”.  I advised to take 4-5 days off.  Wouldn’t you know, the scale dropped like 4 pounds.

If you are ACTIVE – you may be holding some water due to inflammation.  I can tell you I’m holding a few pounds now from the hiking/piyo.  I think I even had remnants of my triathlon as I went all out for an hour.  I mean red lining everything.

I weigh in once every 4-5 weeks at the gym.  It keeps me honest.  I know with the weigh in coming up, that I have to be sharp.  I’ll also take the last 4 days off of activity prior to weigh in because I will drop about 4-5 pounds of water that I’m holding all the time as part of my recovery.  If you do creatine?  Add another 3-4 pounds.  If you are highly stressed and sleeping like shit?  Maybe add another 1-2 pounds.

The scale is just telling you the force that is pushing down on it.  The more fancy scales will tell you water weight, Fat Free Mass (FFM), and fat.

Don’t sweat your number daily.  If you are needing the scale, do an official weigh in on a Friday or Saturday once a month.  For 4-5 days prior to your weigh in, STOP EXERCISING.  Let your body flush out some of the inflammation. Get good sleep to clear the cortisol.  Take magnesium baths to promote relaxation.  Up your magnesium supplementation to evacuate anything lingering – like that giant steak you had on Wednesday night.

Once a month can be a good gauge.  But look at my numbers above.  While my scale says 147 pounds down, it didn’t happen in 6 months.  It’s a process.  It’s a lifestyle.  It’s my life changing event.  It’s not an episode of the Biggest Loser where you try to lose 20 pounds in a week by nearly killing yourself.  It’s the long game.  I spent 40 years destroying my body, I figured it might take 3 to fix it.  I’m literally about 35 pounds above my goal weight of 190.  I figure I can get there by the end of summer just in time for my Triathlon in early August almost 5.5 months away.  6 pounds per month?  That’s 1.5 pounds per week.  I have found that:

  1. In the warmer months with more dog walking, sunlight, biking, and jogging, weight loss is higher
  2. In the colder months with less walking, sunlight, and increased running, my weight loss is less.  This is two winters in a row I’ve been dealing with slow weight losses.

When I get home from work in December/January, it’s 30 degrees and dark.  Not walking the dog.  In May, I’m walking the dog 1.2 miles then biking for an hour.  So yeah – my calories out are more during the warmer months.

Work the process.  Find activity that is challenging that you love.  I’m falling in love with hiking.  Listening to music and enjoying the scenery.  I bought a trails book at the book store a few weeks ago and will be visiting some and bringing you back some pictures!

 

It was 42 degrees with high winds to take me to maybe 25 wind chill.  When in the woods, it cuts all wind to next to nothing, so if you’re worried about temps, dress in multiple thin layers and get a hat/gloves, and whatever the fuck you call that thing over my mouth.  That has helped me a ton with activity over this past winter by a LOT!

Drumsticks…

“Keto is too expensive”.

Bullshit.  I do keto for about $70-$75 per week for me.  Maybe a tad less.  I also buy most of the food for my wife too, so my bill is usually about $100-$125 a week for both of us.  That is $500 per month for food for 2 people.

When I was a large, large man, I would also play that game.  A box of pasta was like $1 or $1.50 and sauce was cheap.  I could eat that for 2-3 days.  But I also ate 3 meals a day.  I ate out a LOT.  Then – how much does heart disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes cost you?  I am 100% certain (always a bad sign) that “metabolic disease” is what is causing all of our problems today.  And this starts with belly fat.  Mostly, from high levels of sugars/fructose.  People listened to the “food pyramid” their whole lives, and this has led to millions of people living much shorter lives than expected.  By a lot.  I spent a lot of time on ancestry.com over the years.  Most of my relatives lived to about 90-94.  Most of them died from “old age”.  This average life span of 40 or some shit was due to high childhood mortality as well as a lot of people dying from shit like a cut and not having soap.

But I digress….a box of pasta is cheap.

But so is a head of lettuce and 1/2 pound of meat.

I buy a box of chicken drumsticks for like $7.  This is 14.  I can eat a bunch of these, but let’s say I eat 5 or 6.  That’s maybe $3.50 for a dinner for me.  Remember, I eat OMAD.  So maybe 1-2 nights a week I have a cheaper dinner.

The secret I’m finding with cooking GREAT chicken drumsticks is to cook them to 185 degrees.  Chicken is “safe to consume” at 165, but I’d go with that for chicken breasts.  For the drumsticks, you have a lot of other stuff going on.  Too cook it right, get it closer to 185.  At 425, this took me nearly an hour in the oven.

First, I put some butter in the pans and let it melt.  When I turned the drumsticks, you get a nice butter coating on them and this leads them to get a little crispy.

While that’s going on, I got some seasonings, threw them in a bag, and shook the drumsticks to coat.  I used garlic, salt, paprika, Italian seasoning, thyme, and a little cayenne.  I was making two types of drumsticks.  HOT and BBQ.

 

Put them in at 425 and maybe about 20-25 minutes in, flip them.  Insert a thermometer into the deepest part of the thickest drumstick.  Cook that to 180.  All others that are smaller will be closer to 185-190.

Take them out, throw them into a mixing bowl.  Add your sauces and cover for 10 minutes to let the meat rest, get the juices locked in, and get your drumsticks coated with your sauces.

I made up two sauces on the stove – I didn’t want to put cold sauces on them.  One was Primal Kitchen BBQ sauce.  LOW CARB.  I simply put that on low and let it heat up and put a little cayenne in it.  For the HOT ONES, I used Frank’s red hot buffalo sauce (it’s not hot at all) and fired in the chili powder, 2 TBSP of butter, and lots of cayenne.  For the hot ones, you can dip them in ranch for some cooling.

Store leftovers in bags with their sauces.

Enjoy!!