I’ve been lucky enough to interview a LOT of my peers for the 30 Plus Men’s Fitness podcast.
I always collect a few nuggets from each recording and there’s been a handful of things that I’ve been told this year that have really resonated and made me think about what I promote, advise and teach.
One of the things that really stood out was from my recent interview with Phil Learney when said to me that if a coach gives a client a diet plan and the first they think when they look at it is ‘can I sustain this?’ – then that plan is simply not for them.
It took me back to when I first took my methods online at the end of 2012 promoting more of a paleo approach with restrictions on various carbs, sugar and dairy.
This was a method I had learnt about on various courses and after applying it to myself and losing weight I was extremely passionate about promoting it.
And of course my clients got results on it and felt great, this, at the time I believed was down to them eating ‘cleaner’ foods – it turns out it was because I virtually got them to cut out one entire macronutrient (carbohydrate) and move more using my home bodyweight and KB workouts.
The problem was however, time and time again I would have clients pop up a few months later saying that they had ‘fallen off the wagon’ gained all the weight back and needed to go clean again…
You see it wasn’t just me in the vicious cycle of not being able to stick to my diet, failing, binging, feeling guilty and having to start every Monday stricter and more restrictive than ever, it was a lot of my clients too.
Being a man who has always tried to do the best by my clients, preach what I am passionate about with info I truly believed in, this didn’t sit right with me.
I have become a fan of more of a flexible approach in recent times and it’s definitely something (I believe) my clients are more sustainable and do able in the long term.
Flexible dieting has had a bit of a bad rep due to many fans of it posting about being able to eat pizza and ice cream and still get shredded – yes you can lose weight eating these foods but only if you are sticking to a calorie deficit and eating these things in moderation. It’s what the fitness models on Instagram aren’t telling you.
The truth is, most people doing flexible dieting correctly are eating ‘clean’ ‘whole’ foods 85% of the time, hitting their protein requirements, adhering to a deficit and squeezing in the odd ice cream or slice (or two) of pizza – or at least they should be to maintain health.
As Phil also said ‘Moderation really is the answer, but it’s not sexy and it doesn’t sell’ – how true is that right?
The thing is, the general public are always looking for the next cool diet to try – it seems that the ketogenic diet (zero carbs, moderate protein and high fat) is cool again right now. But let me ask you just how sustainable cutting carbs out in the long term is gonna be.
I mean are you never gonna eat out again? Not ever have a beer or a glass of wine again? Shit your pants and if feel guilty if you cave in and eat a slice of the kids toast?- how fucking miserable is that?
It’s why in our online programmes these days we are advising and guiding people on how to track their calories and hit protein requirements and in doing so not have to sweat over every other minute detail.
Don’t get it twisted we still and always will encourage men to make improved food choices, opting for real, unprocessed, whole foods for the majority of the time but no longer is that ultimate rigidity and restricted approach given as a stand alone message.
Look if we can get guys torching timber on our plans by moving more and making improved food choices whilst still squeezing in a glass of wine or two, a little chocolate or the odd burger then I truly believe we can get guys out of the ‘on or off the wagon’ mindset and easily adhering to our programmes moving forward.
I can safely say it’s taken me a while to fully embrace this new way of thinking but my gosh it feels so good not to live like I used to (or try and live like I used too). I’m also very close to the lightest I’ve been in years using this new approach.
So – no more food labelling lads, it’s a disordered way of thinking.
Some foods we previously labelled as junk should now be known as ‘slightly higher calorie and less nourishing foods’ – but lets face it they taste so good.
So if you can squeeze these foods (and drinks) ‘occasionally’ into your daily / weekly calories and that keeps your adherence over a sustained period of time then surely that has to be a better option right?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.