"Can I Gain 20 lbs In 16 Weeks ?"

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I was sitting in the the Westin Hotel conference room in Las Vegas this last weekend with a group of 46 other personal trainers and nutrition coaches looking to level up and make an impact on the health and fitness industry.

At the front of the room was our business coach and mentors Jason Phillips and Chasity Snowden.

I was in the “hotseat” going through my goals and actions for the next 120 days discussing an idea I had to purposely gain weight and document the journey. 

The purpose of this weight gain experiment is to step into the shoes of so many people who lose and regain weight, and better understand what they've been through. 

As a result of this vicious weight loss and regain cycle a lot of people develop a negative mindset around their body, an unhealthy relationship with the scale and a fear of food. 

I want to understand this mindset from the inside out , and help those of you struggling with this to overcome it once and for all. 

My mentor and coach Jason asked me “Exactly how much weight are you going to gain in the next 16 weeks Alex”

We were being pushed to challenge ourselves and set big goals, and honestly without thinking I said “20 pounds”

Immediately when I said 20 pounds a few people looked over at me with that have you lost your fucking mind look…

Jason wrote  “Gain 20lbs” on the whiteboard, and immediately I tensed up  when I saw the number written down, in the back of my mind there was a big “Ohhhh shit what did you say” moment happening between my ears. 

So I said out loud exactly what I was thinking “Damn after seeing you write it that number makes me a nervous.”

“Why does it makes you nervous” Jason asked me

“Because that’s a lot of weight, and I’m going to gain a lot fat”

That’s statement of being fearful of gaining body fat is one I’m sure a lot of you can relate to.

What helps to explain this fear for me is that I grew up a chubby kid with crooked teeth and struggled in school.

Not exactly the best recipe for booming self confidence.

I was very self conscious about my body body, and had really low self esteem and very little confidence. I used to be the class clown to divert attention away from my struggles in school a lot. 

I was hesitant to take my shirt off, especially around girls...I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about.  

As I got older went through my own nutrition and fitness journey I became more educated in nutrition I started to change how I ate and then got into jiu jitsu and thai boxing in my mid 20's.

After putting my knowledge about nutrition and training to work I started to lose a lot of weight, and was getting lean enough to see an abdominal muscles and started to feel a lot more confident as a whole.

Those  changes in my body came with big changes in my mindset and confidence.

Even years later I still have fear of returning to that fat kid I once was.

I still  associate that low self esteem and lack confidence with how I felt when I was fat, and that’s a big reason for me to tackle this fear head on and take you all along for the ride with me. 

Over the next 16 weeks I’m intentionally leaning into that fear and gaining 20 pounds ...

I need to lead by example and let you know that I’m just like you and have a fear of gaining weight again, and show you exactly how I’m going to overcome this fear along the way. 

I’d be lying if I didn’t say this scares me, but to gain a better insight into your journey’s and make one of my own I need experience this first hand.  

I’m going to head through this all while being totally transparent with you guys about what I’m experiencing... the food, the highs, the lows, mindset and body image changes and emotions. 

This will be tough, and you see me at some vulnerable and raw times in these next 16 weeks.. Which is exactly why the weekly vlog about this journey has to happen!

In the vlog I’m going to give you an insight into my weekly nutrition, training, struggles and vulnerable moments to let you know you’re not alone and we have our own struggles!

Stay tuned as episode 1 of the Beyond Bulking: The Transformation blog series drops on Monday!










 

Is Fat Loss What You Really Want ? Probably Not…

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You’re likely thinking “Alex what the hell are you talk about ? of course I want to lose body fat!”

“I’ve struggled with fat loss for years, I’ve tried all the diets under the sun, have been confused, frustrated and overly restrictive”

“I counted every grain of rice I ate, and every calorie”

“I did the intense workouts, extra cardio and tracked how many steps I took each day.”

But I’m guessing even with all that you still didn’t  get results that you were happy with.

No matter what number you saw on the scale or how you looked in the mirror, something was missing.

Fat loss is difficult and absolutely requires dedication and patience

However fat loss doesn’t mean jack shit on it’s own if there isn’t a meaning behind it.

Let me explain…

You think you want fat loss..

In reality what you’re chasing is what you think fat loss will give you as a person, and make your life better.  

Will  fat loss will give you...

Confidence ?

Self esteem ?

Accomplishment for doing something difficult ?

Feeling less judged ?

Setting a better example for your kids ?

Being healthier so you can show up for others ?

Not wanting to die early or have health issues as you age ?

Breaking the cycle of being overweight in your family tree ?

Prevention of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease..

Those answers above are all real life examples from clients I’ve worked.

They got honest about why they really wanted to lose body fat, and a result they did!

The reason you’ll continue to stumble and fall flat on your face with fat loss isn’t with fat isn’t the macros, calories or what diet you haven’t done yet.

What you’re chasing is hollow..

You haven’t been honest with yourself about what you really want, and why fat loss matters beyond the surface level.

And that’s why your nutrition always falls apart when you face a fat loss stall, plateau or challenge

You end up giving up, and  go back to your old habits that got you here in the first place.

You could have a great method, but until you get the mindset pieces down you’ll struggle.

But…

If you want to achieve fat loss so you feel more confident in your own skin, set a better example for your children and show them what’s possible… that’s a very different reason to change than getting abs.  

When you discover your honest and vulnerable why behind your fat loss goals, then the  how part of the equation becomes simple.

If you’re interested in simplifying your fat loss, and are tired of spinning your wheels, putting in the work and never seeing the results you deserve then it’s time for a new approach.

An approach that fits your nutrition to you lifestyle, doesn’t make you feel overly restricted with food and allows you to stop fearing food, and get back to enjoying it.

Click HERE, fill out the form and let’s discuss the best way to get you results in way that finally lasts and fits your lifestyle without stressing you out!
 

I Asked “Did You Overeat By 10,500 Calories ?”

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This last week I was chatting with a nutrition client on the phone who was feeling frustrated that  the scale was three pounds heavier than a few days before…

I could hear the frustration and anxiety in her voice.

I asked her “ Did you overeat by 10,5000 calories this week ?”

She replied “ No, of course not!”

Now I knew she hadn’t gained three pounds of body fat.

Before we chatted I looked at her food log for the week, and she was on point with everything, so now my goal was to support and educate her on what was really going on.

“We know it takes roughly 3,500 calories to create a pound of body fat, and you didn’t eat 10,500 extra calories so know its not body fat. What else do you think could be causing the scale to be higher today”

I knew why her scale weight was up, but I wanted her to understand  the difference between weight fluctuations on the scale and body fat.

Most importantly how you can gain weight, but still be in a calorie deficit and losing body fat... 

She said “ I’ve been pretty stressed at work and home, and I had a few meals out, but they were built into my plan so I know those  didn’t cause me to go over my calorie targets”

“Yeah, you’re doing absolutely great with hitting your targets, and we have those meals built in to make sure we keep you on course. At these meals out,  were they different from how you normally eat?”

She replied “Yeah the meals had more carbs, and a lot more salt I think”

Bingo!

We spent the next five minutes discussing how stress, more carbs and salt can cause her to hold more water which leads to a higher scale weight.

Again weight, not body fat.  

I could hear the light bulb go off once she was picking up what I was putting down

“Yeah that makes total sense, the carbs, salt and stress together made my body hold onto more water, and that's why the scale is up three pounds”

Bingo number two!

I said “Give it three days and let me know where we’re at, I bet you’ll be right back where you were”

Two days later she texted me letting me know she was right back on track, and actually a pound lighter than before!

You see a big part of my job as a nutrition coach is to help people structure their nutrition plan in a way that takes their lifestyle into account to achieve their fat loss goals. 

But another less spoken about aspect of  nutrition coaching is helping clients to understand the process we're going through together to get them to their goals.

This also encompasses support and accountability while teaching them the principles behind their goals, and removing as much confusion as possible. 

I want everyone to feel more empowered and less confused on their health and fat loss journey, because once you understand the principles of your goals you'll have the solution to your problem.

Once you have and understand the solution you don't need any more ebooks, special diets or nutrition coaches, and you're free to resume enjoying food shame and guilt free. 

I'll help you learn and implement those principles and strategies to reach your goals. We'll remove the food restrictions and you'll learn all you need to know so you can get back to living and stop worrying about nutrition. 

Click HERE to gain back your food freedom and start removing the confusion and frustration of dieting for fat loss. coaching application HERE

 

You’re Not That Fragile...

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You’re not that fragile.

Neither am I, and our ancestors were as far from fragile as you can get!

Because if they were too fragile, neither you or I would be here.

Our ancestors just like you and I are built for adapting to stress.

I mean real stress, not the kind when you only have three bars on your cell phone.

Our ancestors didn’t have a granola bar in their pocket because they were afraid of their blood sugar crashing, and getting hangry.

They weren’t guaranteed a well balanced breakfast everyday because they were scared of their metabolism slowing down.

Organic… If you’re hungry enough you’d likely eat dirt in those days.

It was GMO free dirt if you must know though...

Those rustic folks before us didn’t know exactly how many carbs they needed before, or after their workouts.

Their workouts weren't workouts it was to stay alive, not build muscle they don’t actually need to look good in a schmedium T-shirt.

There’s a bit more meaning behind that last rep when it could mean life or death huh ?

What I’m trying to get across here is you view yourself as too fragile, and as a result of this fragile thinking you avoid stresses that help you grow. 

Those mechanisms that once were used for survival are still there but our environment has changed so much that we don't have the same kinds of stresses, so instead we worry about mundane things that don't matter. 

I’m not proposing that we go back to the stone age, but I am saying that from time to time you might need to prove to yourself how resilient you really are. 

Stress is actually good for us, and when you do something stressful or difficult you earn credibility with yourself. 

We grow under stress, not comfort.

Any health or fat loss goal you have is a game of stress causing the adaptations you want to achieve your goal. 

Building muscle… the stress is lifting heavy weight which results in the adaptation to grow more muscle so when you lift again it’s less stressful.

Lose fat… the stress is a calorie deficit, the adaptation is you tap into stored body fat, and over time you lose more and more body fat. 

When something isn't a stress anymore you need to find a way to create new stress to make the body adapt to. 

Without these stresses or stimulus there is no adaptation.

To accomplish what you want in health, fitness or fat loss it’s going to take you getting uncomfortable, and using stress to your advantage. 

If you continue to see yourself as fragile instead of resilient you’’ll crumble when things get a little uncomfortable and stressful. 

This fear of how fragile you imagine yourself will keep you from actually seeking out those stresses to improve your health and fat loss. 

You're too afraid of doing something wrong thinking the result will be far more catastrophic than it will be in reality. 

Your brain plays tricks on you to keep you in the comfort zone where things are easy, not stressful. 

How can you strategically insert some stress into your life to earn credibility with yourself and learn you're not as fragile as you think ? 

Skip a meal from time to time…

Don’t eat breakfast and see that nothing bad happens…

Try a workout on lower carbs…

Used to low rep heavy workouts, go with lighter weight and tons of reps... and vice versa

Do a brutal conditioning session..

Expose yourself to cold showers and the heat of saunas…

Completely change the way you eat for a few weeks...

Or don’t eat and try a 24 hour fast to see that a lot of hunger is mental…

You’re more resilient than you think, and if you keep treating yourself so fragile you’ll never accomplish what you’re truly capable of.

You won’t accomplish your goals without stress.

With the right amount of antifragile thinking though you might just recognize you’re capable of way more than you think.

Once you break your fragile thinking, there’s no turning back!

 

The Purple Elephant Effect

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After you read the title of this blog you thought about  a purple elephant didn’t you ? 

I Did too. 

Everyone does. 

It's due to the way our brains are wired, but this concept doesn’t just apply to purple elephants. 

In a very real sense this purple elephant concept applies much more directly to your food choices, especially when you create restrictions and forbidden foods.

We all inherently want what’s off limits. 

Or what we try to restrict.. and food is no different. 

This is why some people get stuck in the endless restriction then binge like behavior cycle trap with food, they're living out the purple elephant effect. 

This is why unnecessarily eliminating entire food groups or swearing off certain foods you enjoy when trying to set up your nutrition is leaving you more likely to hit the restart button shortly. 

I’ve seen this time and time again with my nutrition clients... They go keto and their cravings for carbs go through the roof

A new client who was drinking five nights out of the week before we started working together wanted to try cutting out all booze.

Suddenly her sugar and alcohol cravings were much much higher than before. 

If you realize that a food is getting in the way of your nutrition or fat loss goals start by reducing that food first.  

You can still enjoy eating some more indulgent foods in reasonable portions while losing body fat. The majority of your diet should be mostly whole foods though. 

Honestly this flexibility to have these foods within reason, will make your diet significantly more enjoyable and sustainable.

If reducing certain foods isn’t working, and you’re still overeating/drinking it on a consistent basis this is when you’d want to try removing it for a period of time.  

If you jump straight to removing a ton of different foods from your plate you’re likely left with a nutrition structure you won't be following six months from now.  

I had a past client who came to me drinking nine cokes a day, I knew that removing all for those sodas was a recipe for disaster.

So we chatted about him replacing three to four cokes with coke zeros, suddenly he was consistently losing a pound of fat week from that small change.

I honestly don't think he would have been willing to give up all those cokes he was drinking right away  because he'd been doing it for years on end. 

Always think of how you can make your diet more inclusive rather than exclusive of foods.

Reduce, then remove if it's necessary, but here’s no need to remove a food entirely if you enjoy it and can eat it in moderation.