Summer weekends are upon us, and you know what that means… you hit pause on your fitness goals and try to undo the damage when the leaves start to fall in September.
Wrong. It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can enjoy a summer of fun and still make progress on your fitness goals with the strategy I’m about to share.
But, first, let’s face facts. This may not be breaking news to you, but losing fat is hard. It goes slower than you want (bet on it). Sometimes it feels like it isn’t happening (it isn’t just you!). It happens gradually over months, not weeks, and requires diligence to succeed.
But, here’s the thing: You can’t mess this up as long as you don’t throw in the towel completely and do nothing over the next couple months. Because it’s your cumulative habits that change you over time, not ‘being perfect’ every day or every week. Fitness is full of plenty of grey areas.
So, here’s how you’re going to do it, starting with an analogy (or is it a metaphor? I lift weights for a living, cut me some slack)
Picture this: You’re digging a calorie ditch all week only to over-fill it on the weekend. Then you have to start digging it from the top down again on Monday. Same hole, dug no deeper than it was last week despite your efforts some of the week.
But there is some good news…
That moderation you’re looking for, where you can go out to eat and order something fun or have a few drinks with friends?
You can do that in the middle of a diet with some forward thinking. I’ve been experimenting with a unique way of manipulating food intake during the week so I can have flexible weekends of fun.
First, though, a disclaimer. I’m not claiming this is the optimal, healthiest way to lose weight. But the point is to prove that when it comes to weight loss, calories over time matter most. Weight loss happens gradually over time, and it’s near impossible to lose or gain pounds of fat over-night.
You don’t have to cut carbs to zero, buy a detox supplement or cardio your face off. It starts with one thing: how much you’re eating over the course of a day, week and month relative to how much calories your body needs to maintain its weight.
According to a review on Examine.com, “A negative energy balance (consuming fewer calories than your body needs) is responsible for weight loss.”
The scientist who survived on Twinkies
In case you don’t believe me or the fine folks at Examine, take it from Mark Haub, a professor of nutrition at Kansas State University.
Haub limited himself to 1,800 calories a day, eating Twinkies or another treat every three hours instead of meals, while consuming a protein shake and some vegetables over the course of the day.
Haub not only lost weight but improved all biomarkers of health along with it. His LDL, considered the bad cholesterol, decreased, while his HDL, or good cholesterol, increased by 30 per cent. And he reduced his triglycerides by 39 per cent.
Yes, an extreme example, and I think you know there should be some balance considered to make any diet successful over the long haul, but the point should be clear. Calories matter most.
Introducing Calorie Cycling
Here’s the nuts and bolts of this approach if you haven’t angrily closed out your browser thinking I’m off my rocker.
Let’s say you’re 200 pounds and don’t want to gain any more weight this summer, but you have a full social calendar now that restrictions are lifting and want to enjoy life.
I’d tell you to aim to eat between 1,600 and 2,000 calories a day (start by multiplying your body weight by 8-10) during the work week and to hit a minimum of 160 grams of protein each day (0.8 to one gram per pound of body weight in protein).
That is a fairly sizable calorie deficit which will elicit weight loss for most at that size. Then you can bump up your calories on weekends, to as much as 2,400-3,000 per day (that’s simply bodyweight x 12-15), allowing for more flexibility.
Some Ground Rules To Make This Work:
- Keep Moving
Don’t pair your weekend eating with inactivity. That’s a recipe for disaster. Instead, commit to getting in some activity every day. If you’re out at the lake, swim every morning. Go for long walks. Take a bik ride.
Too often people associate weekends with downtime, choosing sedentary activities that involve food and drink. But activity can give you a little fail-safe in the event calories do exceed your planned intake.
- Plan Around Parties
If you have a special event you know will tempt you, your calorie intake in the early part of the day should be modest at best. Two food choices that always fill you up nicely without being too high in calories are lean protein and fibrous veggies.
On the day of your party, keep your protein choices lean and fill up on cooked veggies for breakfast and lunch.
It’s the ditch analogy I mentioned earlier. Eat light leading up to the party so you have a “buffer” going in. Even if things go off the rails, you shouldn’t be in too bad of shape at the end of the day.
When your weekend fun is finished, get to the grocery store and prepare to get some solid, home-cooked, nutritious meals in you the next day so your healthy habits resume.
And, don’t, whatever you do, weigh yourself the morning after. Wait a few days. The excess stomach content, water weight from additional carbs and possibly whatever sorcery travelling and stress does to your body can falsely skew your scale weight.
It’s temporary – if you follow the rules above and get back on the horse the next day. After all, weight gain is caused by eating like crap all summer long, not just a few nights here and there.
Here’s to finding the balance fun and fitness this summer.
For reading this far, I want to reward you with a bonus training that ties it all together.
I’m inviting you to a free training on Monday, July 13 called…
How You Can Lose Stubborn Belly Fat, Increase Energy and Destroy The Dad or Mom Bod WITHOUT Cardio or Crash Dieting This Summer (yes, it’s a mouthful)
In it, I’m going to show you a few things:
- Unique WEEKDAY versus WEEKEND training & nutrition to promote simultaneous fat loss and muscle gain (or at the very least, muscle maintenance).
- How to workout less and for shorter time with better results
- How getting called THIS in high school led to where I am today
- Finding the right motivation (has something to do with burning buildings)
- How Twinkies can fit into a diet plan that shreds fat
- & Much More…
The link you need is below…
>> Grab A Spot On The Free Training << (it only takes 10 seconds to register)
During the training, these secrets will be revealed:
- Secret #1 – How I got fat eating chicken and broccoli, and instead got lean with a weekly 5 Guys burger and fries
- Secret #2 – How ditching Crossfit and training less led to MORE muscle and LESS fat
- Secret #3 – How I overcame ‘fat kid’ genes and can now maintain/diet on 3,000 calories
>> Grab A Spot On The Free Training (limited to 100 spots)
Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Obese in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds himself ad now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life. Need help dropping the Quarantine 15? Grab a free diet guide at mitchcalvert.com or inquire about Mitch’s “Summer Sprint” program to help you drop 10-15 pounds and a pant size while still enjoying plenty of fun on weekends.