Tag Archives: transformation

Do something already!

We read about the why people think they fail in their fat loss goals and then we read about why fat loss is truly simple… and now comes the most important part.

Its not all or nothing!

Say you want to go from point A to point B. Will you ever get to point B if you don’t ever leave point A? More specifically, if you want to go from fatburg to fitshire, irrespective of how long your journey is, will you ever get to fitshire if you won’t ever leave fatburg?

My point is, most people lose the battle cos they refuse to fight it! The most important step towards reaching your goals is to not do the right thing but to…

do something!

If you know you’re in bad shape or want to get in better shape, well, do something about it already! Stop complaining. Stop whining. Stop finding excuses. Stop waiting for the best opportunity. Just freakin DO SOMETHING!

And what is something? Honestly, anything other than nothing is something. Off the top of my head, here are a few ‘somethings’ you can do.

  • Drop junk. Start by reducing the frequency of junk consumption.
  • Eat more protein. If you’re vegetarian read this article.
  • Make a conscious effort to eat more vegetables and less starch.
  • Drop wheat and other potential allergens for the most part. i.e. dont fear wheat, but don’t make it a staple either.
  • Dump vegetable oils at home. Enjoy your ghee and butter and coconut oil and save the vegetable oils for the unavoidable situations.
  • Move some weight. Doesnt matter if these are barbells or bar stools. Move em!
  • Do pushups, squats and chinups if you can do them. If you can’t, feel ashamed and work on getting strong enough to do them.
  • Stay mobile. Don’t sit if you can stand. Don’t stand if you can walk. Make a decision to walk 15 min today. Walk for an extra 2 min every day and in a month you would have found enough time and heart to walk 75 mins a day.
  • Sprint. If you don’t know how to sprint, run as fast as you can for a short distance. Rest for a couple of mins and repeat a few times.
  • Work on developing some common sense. No seriously. Pizza doesn’t make you obese. Sugar doesn’t kill. Stupidity resulting in frequent uncontrolled gluttony is what messes you up.

It is not all or nothing folks… its never all or nothing. You don’t have to do everything I recommend (or anyone else does). Find what works for you at this very moment and start with that. You can make further improvements later.

As a matter of fact, as you read this line right now, make a decision to do something. Small, big… doesn’t matter. Make a decision… quick! Confused? OK here is one I recommend – throw out the junk from the house. All of it. If you want junk, you can walk to the store, buy some and eat it there. We’ll figure out the rest later. Just do this for now.

Don’t refuse to start cos its all too intimidating.

I now eat a diet that is 70% grains (rice or wheat) with some vegetables cooked in vegetable oil, some low fat dairy, fruit juice and snacks. You want me to dump all grains and fruit juice? Ok that’s 80% of my diet gone! And you want me to dump vegetable oils? Ok… thats another 10% gone! And you want me to eat only whole organic dairy? Wow Raj! You’re telling me everything I eat is wrong. Your approach is too intimidating! I’ll get to it when I am in a better place in life.

I get this all the time and I totally understand where you are coming from. But remember, it took you 20+ years to be able to earn and support yourself and a family. Imagine doing this when you were 13? Scary shit right? Same deal! Making a complete dietary change might be too hard and intimidating for you. If that is the case, take it slow. Make one change at a time. Transition into eating real food. It is much easier than you think it is.

There is money on the table!

Too many people fuck around too much and end up doing nothing. This is truly the story of everyone’s life. I understand there is so much information about fat loss and health (all claiming to be legit) out there and it is equally easy to be overwhelmed with all this as it is to stay ignorant. But, seriously, cut the crap.

Listen. I know berries have more fiber and anti-oxidants than bananas. Yes, ghee is better than butter. And yea, sprinting is more beneficial than low intensity cardio. But these are minutiae! If you can reduce your consumption of junk food, industrial seed oils and allergenic grains (wheat, quinoa etc.) to once or twice a week,  eat more organic vegetables, fruits, meat and good fats and stay active in life by moving some, playing a sport and/or training smart 2-3 times a week, you are 90% there! In other words, these are money on the table! Just pick em up! Figure out the rest later.

Truth is, you will always find one excuse or the other to put this away. Why? Because transformations are hard and you, naturally, will find reasons to avoid doing it. Explains the astronomical success of the supplement industry in the recent years doesn’t it?

Stop waiting for the most perfect diet or the one pill that will make you look awesome or everything in life to line up so you can start eating well ‘cos these things won’t ever happen! Be it “I work 12 hours a day” or “I don’t want to shower twice a day” or “My gym is too far” or “I don’t know how to cook real food”, they all mean the same thing – “I don’t have the will to commit to making a change. I’m weak. I’m not efficient enough to make time for my and my family’s health. I’m full of excuses!”

You and only you can make a difference to your health and it is up to you to do so. Or let’s make this 937 word article short and just say…

Suck it up and do something already!

Peace out.

Advertisements

Why you fail – Real people, real reasons

As we all know, there are a million training programs and a zillion diets out there all claiming to be effective with respect to fat loss and/or health. Honestly, if you think about it, even if half of these diet/training programs work even 1/4th as effectively as advertised, we would have very few fat people… at least very very few fat people lurking the internet. But this is definitely not the case. As the number of diets and programs and health foods increase by the day, we, as a population, are becoming fatter and fatter by the day. As nutrition & fitness experts, food manufacturers and smart business minds (ha!), continue to come up with simple and easy ways to lose fat, we, as a population, are continuing to head towards obesity and disease.

Something doesn’t add up right. Something is wrong somewhere. And to me, the concept of these two diverging lines – success of diets/health foods/gyms and failure to successfully reach fat loss/health goals – has always been interesting. Sure we can end this with simple answers like ‘People are not committed’ or ‘Most diets are BS’, but that would only qualify as an aloof answer from someone who doesn’t care enough to invest the time to study the “why” behind these physiological and psychological patterns. Being someone who cares, I decided to look into this a little deeper and starting today this is what I will be addressing for the next few weeks.

I will be talking you about why you fail to reach your goal, why diets work/don’t work, why certain programs produce transformations while certain other produce only injuries, why some people succeed in the exact same training and nutrition plan as yours, why you feel like dog poop when you try to lose fat, why you gain everything back, why you are unable to commit, why fat loss seems like a never ending battle for some people etc etc etc. And in-addition to that (possibly once all the whys have been answers), I’ll address the hows – how you can stick to eating right for life, how you can safely and sustainably accelerate during a 10-12 week fat loss period, how you can train very less and get very much, how you can not obsess about food and stay fit and healthy, how you can stay motivated, how you can motivate people around you, how you can make a change and stick to it for life… without having to sacrifice the little pleasures.

First step of any research is data collection and thats exactly what I did. I asked the fine folks in my FaceBook group (What the hell do you eat Raj?!) the following question…

Sticking to a nutrition and/or training plan for a very short period of, say, 10 weeks. Assuming this will produce visible results and quite literally change your life wrt health & fitness…

Why can’t you do it? Why do you break? Why is consistency a problem?

We are pretty tight community and people are very approachable, love to share their experiences, struggles, problems and knowledge and are at all times ready to help each other out. And not surprisingly, I ended up getting some truly awesome responses. I am publishing them here verbatim with only the member’s names removed to protect their identities. If you would like to know more about who said what or if you would like to contribute, please join the group and do so.

Because when I go to buy electronics at the so called ‘electronics mall’ the first shop that I see as I enter is the donut store that has 23 different kinds of donuts. and the whole mall smells of freshly made waffle.  Because my hotel management thinks I would love to see free chocolates / cookies on my hotel bed everynight.

ROTFL.

But its all in the mind and its about giving way to temptation. If I may give an example – its like quitting smoking – I have so i know what i am talking about. Really need to focus on the reason why you want to do it and shut everything else out. I had never crossed 7 days without a cheat meal until this month (been trying for > 3 months).I have now gone 20 days of zero sugar (+ only real food) and counting. Looking to do a 30.

I think lack of time is a big one. Take my case for example: I travel on average 3 hours everyday. Minimum time spent at work is 9 hours, sometime 12. Thats 12 hours of your day gone, just spent on work. the remaining time has to pack in – spending time with family(esp in kids r involved), cooking(sticking to the diet), meeting friends, errands like shopping and sleep. And the easiest thing to sacrifice here is sleep (I have been doing it for the past 10 weeks, I should know). And running on minimal sleep and trying to catch up on weekends becomes a nightmare.

Fitness training is fine, but nutrition/eating is a problem…sustainability is the key to this, right ?? but sustainability involves cheating; so, the more I cheat the more sustainable my plan becomes 🙂

let me explain:

instead of having a big cheat meal every <watever>, I eat a small portion of ‘acceptable junk’ (e.g. chips or some dessert but not wheat) more frequently (say few times a week). This works for me because I don’t wait for the cycle to eventually break; because when it does break, all bets are off 🙂

makes sense, no ??

Raj, how we wish there was a magic formuIa! I think people get superexcited in the beginning and try to change everything all at once -eating ,exercising sleep patterns – it can get overwhelming. Too much stress on any other front in life is a barrier for most – even if it may help to reduce the stress finally.

Also people focus too much on Results (which can only be incremental ) and feel that if they have fallen off the track -its of no use. But that is so untrue.Like bad eating patterns good eating patterns also need a fair amount of time to get ingrained. As another commenter says rightly there is no premium on virtuous eating except in forums like these . We wd be major party poopers anywhere else 🙂

In my case, it all boils down to my lack of seriousness/committment. Yes, there is lack of time, stress due to too much work in a traveling job that requires me to stay 2-3 days per week in a hotel, managing a kid etc etc. But inspite of all this, I know if I was serious enough, I would get it done. I am probably living under this huge illusion that I am healthy enough. I have not yet been jolted out of this illusion with something alarming, like say I was diagnosed with diabetes or some such thing. So as long as my “normal” life goes on without a hindrance, I am too cozy in my comfort zone to even make real serious effort to change.

But I must say I have started taking efforts like exercising/eating healthy etc thanks to following your blog. Also slowly getting into the mindset that it is better to be strong and healthy instead of discovering one fine day that things are seriously wrong and out of control.

Habits, boredom & friends for me….. Let’s say you are working from home and worked out in the morning, and the tummy is grumbling for the next something to get in to you… At that instant, I don’t make a mini-decision to reach for the fruit, salad or cottage cheese from the fridge and instead reach for the cheese crackers in the pantry(that I originally got for my toddler) …. It hardwired in the brain to reach for the option you have been trained to do since you are a kid…

Or when your friends call up to meet at the Mediterranean restaurant for dinner, and it’s winter time when your other outdoor activities have been to a minimum, it’s hard to pass up on the dinner invitation ….. And ofcourse you are so busy chatting, having a good time and distracted enough to forget about your original eat-out rules you drafted for yourself( choose the better options from menu and keep it to minimum) …. If you obsess over eating clean, you are constantly reminded that there is a long list of untouchable food options around you…. If you don’t obsess over it you sometimes go with the flow and forget to remind yourself ‘at the very instant’ the decision is made to eat or not eat something…….

No problem in terms of working out. But nutrition is a big problem for me, especially in India. I have borderline Aspergers. I need my routine and alone time. Both are impossible most days here. I get worked up very easily and rely on carbs to overcome stress. Rice is my vice.

Adjusting eating patterns, for me. If I were living alone (which I was, a year ago) it’s easier to cook the sort of food I want to eat – I like cooking, so that wasn’t much of an issue. Now, when my mum is the main cook and she is cooking for 4 people (and also rushes to work in the morning), it’s hard to demand multiple food options/ get access to the kitchen in the morning. Eating the right food is made easier when there is variety and its not always easy to come by. Also, the fact that when the hunger pangs hit, I have very limited ‘quick food’ options (given I am not a big cheese fan and am not permitted to eat fruits and nuts).

I sacrifice exercise over sleep. I prepare for diet during the weekend. The wife does help a lot. Sometimes I do exercise for a few weeks, then sleep starts to get affected. Probably something to do with the Adrenal. Then I get off exercise and sleep becomes easier. The exercise goes like a yo-yo :-(.

In my case, I am just lazy and need someone to kick my behind to get me to workout. I am not sure why that is the case with workin out ‘coz my diet was relatively easy to fix and I don’t need someone constantly reminding me to eat right! Also, another thing is that I easily get bored of workouts that I do. I never ‘want’ to workout.

I think its the number “10”. No, seriously, when you embark on a short term goal, its very easy to go astray if you don’t start to see results in week 2 or earlier. It’s a psychological thingy.

I think my problem is that I do not enjoy exercising alone. I try not to effect my sleep. Gyms are not an option because they are quite bad these days, they are full of equipments with no space for exercise. Quite a bit of my time goes into tackling my baby’s sleep issue. Only way I exercise is running on stairs carrying shopping bags in the weekends. But I take care of my nutrition quite well.

For me one the following has wreaked the consistency before. (1) Marking a workout time and if you cannot do it then skip it (2) coming from work in evening feeling tired and thinking of restaurant..(3) cheating more than once due to occasions like office get together or friends get together (4) If because of too much work and deadlines if workout missed 2 consecutive days then it goes all the way downside………This has been the case till now but now since my whole health depends on me sticking to this I am trying to workout whenever time permits it may morning 7 am or eve 9.30 pm…always try to prepare some real food and put it in fridge….but still long work day+ restaurant food and cheat meals are the worst factor that shake my discipline badly…….

In my case there is no problem working out, thanks to the quad I have a proof of this as I’ve not missed a single class. Initially accepting that I had to change my diet so very drastically was a problem, I am sure you remember my whiny mails and a BIG THANK YOU to you for setting me right and telling me I had no options, after which I started enjoying cooking the new all real meals(?body=https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150405031515700.407929.571385699&type=1&l=5322fac3a0&subject=What%27s for dinner?).

My main hurdle is one that what another commenter also mentions 1. Getting late at work and coming back and thinking of alternatives to cooking a good meal, so the alternative isn’t necessary a restaurant, it’s a combination of a restaurant, easy meal such as Varan Bhaat (http://the-cooker.blogspot.com/2007/06/varan-bhaat-amti-bhaat.html) and take aways. I really like eating real food but after 12 hours at work, I just don’t have the energy to cook.

Living in a joint family with different food likes and dislikes, it becomes difficult to follow even a doctor-recommended diet when you’re recovering from an illness. So a full-fledged 10 week over-haul becomes impossible. Plus a job and two boys to run after make time management difficult. And unless someone MAKES me exercise, it’s just so easy to say, “Nah, tomorrow!”

My biggest problem is sticking to my goals / objectives. I don’t function well left to my own devices. Food-wise, I am an all or nothing kind. As long as I don’t touch contraband, I am golden. But the minute a small slip happens, I cannot put it aside and move forward – I can only go headlong into disaster 😦

 I had the whole of today away from home. Nothing but a cup of coffee before I left in the morning. Because I was doing someth I love with like minded people I never had any craving or hunger. But that’s not the case everyday. Responsibilities, worrying about my son drive me towards carbs. That plus the weekly get-togethers with friends who junk all day spells disaster. Before having a baby I made good food choices, but now very less will power left I have impulsive bad judgement in terms of nutrition.

According to me food is ’emotional’. It has the power to make/change my mood. If I feel happy, I want to celebrate with something delicious.. if I am sad, all I want to do is eat some junk/comfort food to make myself feel better. We all have plenty of memories associated with food – so it makes you give in to temptation and eat something you’ve always thought of as delicious. I remember an ice cream ad from the 80s – ‘you make me lose, lose my self control’ 🙂

Unless one has an extremely stress free life and a good support system in place, it is difficult to eat right all the time.

For me, eating right is the easier part. I hate sugar/anything sweet, so will never get tempted seeing any sweet. Fried foods are my nemesis though. Even then, as long as I don’t cook some fried stuff, I don’t crave it. I am fine eating veggies and real food all the time. The husband however loves junk, and it is on days when I make something like bajji/vadai that I go out of control as well. I am certainly not at a stage where I can cook junk and skip eating it! Working out is another story altogether. I am yet to find something that motivates me to get over my laziness.

 I think motivation is the key. I didn’t have it badly enough earlier, and its not something I could have even talked myself into, with all my reasoning and logic. A death scare or a sudden hyper love of life is an excellent motivation!

Boredom, I think. Altho, that would have been an old excuse. Nowadays, i try and snap out of de-motivation ASAP. May I recommend Rupaul? There’s nothing like a 6’4″ legendary drag queen telling you that ‘You *better* work!’. And I’m being serious.

On the exercise front, I decided to at-least try going out for a 20min walk during the lunch break. Day 1 and Day 2 were good. Day 3: Someone in my office till 12:30PM … so skip. Day 4:Meeting went on till 12:15… so skip. That’s about it. No exercise whatsoever after that. Basically this is boiling down to the priorities in life and I know I am choising the wrong one !

 I too think it’s priorities.There was a time when I would consistently workout 5 times a week. But now, running behind a super active toddler is exercise enough. Exercising ranks way below taking care of his needs. I know the two are not mutually exclusive, I just need to figure out a way to manage my time effectively to fit in exercise.

If you got up to here, you are certainly interested in the topic. What do you think? Why do you break? Why do you fail? What are your experiences? Share it in the comments section.

Peace out.

Success Story: Change is the only constant

Listen up. No one said this was easy. I told you this was simple and simple it is. If you want something, you’re going to have to work for it. Don’t expect to chill the crap out and get results. Be it your health or business or relationships. You’ve got to work to make it good. You’ve got to work harder to make it better. And you’ve got to work your butt off to make it awesome.

Every single person who has achieved anything respectable has worked bloody hard for it. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay didn’t just randomly loiter around and find themselves on top of Mt. Everest. There was passion. There was dreaming. There was planning. There was years of hard work. There were many many sacrifices.

The same applies to you. If you want something… you’ve got to work for it! And work means consistency, sacrifice, learning, planning and… CHANGE!

You know what insanity is? It is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time. If you want to work with me, if you want to make a difference in the way you look/feel/perform… be ready to change things.

If you have been eating a grain dominant diet I will ask you to drop grains, if you have been eating a zero carb diet I’ll ask you add in carbs, if you’ve been doing too much cardio I’ll ask you to drop it down, if you’ve been doing no cardio I’ll ask you to move you butt.

You want results? You need to embrace change!

1. Result of  sitting on my ass all day and eating junk (August 2007)

2. Result of  running 40-50 miles/week and eating fat free  junk (Jan 2009)


3. Result of lifting 3 days a week and eating real food (Nov 2010)

You think I went from 1 to 2 to 3 without making changes to my diet/life? You think I wasn’t made fun off for ‘weird diets’? You think I just magically shrunk in size and gained muscle? You think this did not need sacrifices? You think I lose fat quickly? You think I gain muscle easily? You think I think I don’t have to make any more changes? Think again. ‘Cos this ain’t over. Change is continuous… health and fitness are for life!

Be open to continually changing ‘cos change is the only constant! If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done!

– Peace out.

How I went from Fat to Fit in 10 Weeks

OK I have to agree that the title is a bit over the top. I wasn’t really ‘fat’ to start off with (just flabby with a broken elbow and wrist) and I’m not really ‘fit’ now… or at least not as fit as I’d like to be. That said I’ll try to list out what I ate and how I trained during the course of the past 2.5 months.

By the way, if you’re just tuning in, be sure to check out some background.

How and what did I eat?

  • I ate a 90% paleo/primal diet per guidelines from Mark Sisson/Robb Wolf and did Intermittent Fasting per the Leangains (Martin Berkhan) protocol. This had a huge part to play in the success of my leaning out. Richard Nikoley was another source of awesome information!
  • Total calories per day – Did not count. Best guess ~ 1500-2000 cals.
  • Number of meals – 2 (1-2pm and 8-9pm).
  • Protein ~ 150-180 grams per day.
  • Carbs – All from vegetables. At least 2 lbs of vegetables everyday.
  • FatsMostly saturated (coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut milk, butter/ghee etc.). Nuts were minimal.
  • I ate some form of protein ice cream/pudding/cake everyday (I’ve got about 10 delicious protein rich dessert recipes if anyone is interested).
  • Supplements: Fish oil, Multi-vitamin, Vitamin D3, Magnesium, Whey Protein
  • Beverages: 1 Cappuccino/coffee everyday. 4-5 liters of water everyday.
  • Cheat Meals: About every 10-14 days depending on when I started craving sugar.

What was my training like?

  • 5-6 days of training per week. Mostly 3-on-1-off schedule.
  • Strength training: 3-4 days/week (squats, deadlifts, presses, pull-ups, rows).
  • Conditioning: 3-4 days/week (tabata protocols, sprints, rowing, crossfit metcons).
  • Yoga: 2 days/week.
  • The longest distance I ran: 1 mile
  • The longest ‘cardio’ workout I did: 15 mins
  • Weekly routine: See sample below.

Monday:

  • Squats – 2-4 sets of 5 (AM)
  • Lower body assistance work (box jumps, front squats, step ups etc.) (AM)
  • 10-15 min Conditioning Workout (PM)

Tuesday:

  • Presses – 2-4 sets of 5 (AM)
  • Core work – planks, knees-to-elbows etc. (AM)
  • 10-15 min Conditioning Workout (PM)

Wednesday:

  • Yoga/Walking

Thursday:

  • Deadlifts – 2-3 sets of 5 (AM)
  • Dumbbell Rows – 3-5 sets of 6-10 (AM)
  • 5-10 min Conditioning Workout (PM)

Friday:

  • Bench Press – 3 sets of 5 (AM)
  • Weighted Pullups – 5 sets of 3 (AM)
  • Upper body assistance work (dips, towel pullups, rope climbs, ring pushups, dumbbell presses etc.) (AM)

Saturday:

  • 2 sessions of 10-15min Conditioning workouts (AM)

Sunday:

  • Yoga/Walking

Results:

  • Elbow fracture ~ 95% recovery
  • Wrist tendonitis ~ 90% recovery
  • Lower Body Strength – Maintained (I did lose some strength by week 7 but successfully regained it in the last 3 weeks).
  • Upper Body Strength – Maintained (I did lose some strength by week 7 but successfully regained it in the last 3 weeks).
  • Endurance – Considerable improvement
  • Range of Motion – Considerable improvement (Yoga works!)
  • Weight loss – Total 13 lbs in 10 weeks
  • Body Fat % – Visible improvement (See comparison pictures below)

Day 0                                                                            Day 70

Next Steps:

  • End leaning cycle: I’m comfortable with this level of leanness. Chasing lower than current body fat levels requires that I make some diet and health related sacrifices which I am not willing to make right now. Continuing to lean out will also result in affecting my athletic performance negatively which is not desirable.
  • Focus on performance: Specifically strength, strength endurance and speed.
  • Maintain food quality. Increase food quantity. Add-in starchy vegetables post workout for faster recovery.
  • Increase training volume (probably a 5 x 5 protocol) and hit each major body part at least twice a week (HFT)

Goals for Oct ’10:

  • Set PR for 400 m and 1600 m sprints.
  • Set PR for 250 m and 500 m row.
  • Set PR for Weighted Pull-up, Max Bodyweight Pullups and Deadlift.
  • Grip/forearm training everyday.
  • Sept PR for Max plank hold time.

Next Update: Last week of October ’10

Peace out.

%d bloggers like this: