I've talked about why diets don't work in the past. They are too restrictive and can't be sustained so you come out of the diet (typically by binge eating) with a suppressed metabolism.The weight comes back with a quickness because this lowered metabolism isn't ready for the influx of calories you are giving it. The diet does not work if this newer and lower weight can not be maintained. You can only keep up with super low calories and tons of cardio for so long. You have to understand that something else is happening that you probably don't even notice when calories are low. Yes, your metabolism is lower which means less energy is being burned throughout the day but you are also moving less as well. Most dieters do not realize this very important occurrence. You are moving less! Your energy is lower so without realizing it your body is making you do less to conserve energy. It doesn't sound like a big deal but it is. Your workout is 1 hr. maybe 1.5 hr. tops. What are you doing with the rest of your day? It plays a huge role in metabolism and it's called NEAT. Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis can make up to 40%-50% of calories burned for the day so when this drops the number of calories you are burning drops. It's this double whammy that ends most dieters efforts. They can't drop calories any more or they'll pass out. They can't do anymore cardio because it would take up too much of their day AND they would pass out. Worse case scenario? They disregard how shitty they feel and add a fat burner to the mix or crank up the pre-workout to heart bursting levels. This gets weight loss moving again but at this point it's all muscle loss and they are just delaying the inevitable. So what's a better plan for sustained weight loss? How do we avoid this pitfall? A little change in mindset.
A fat loss plan in actuality is really a muscle maintenance plan. The amount of muscle you have, you can gain, and you can maintain is of monumental importance for fat loss but the best you can hope for when you are in a calorie deficit is maintaining it. 100% newbies to weight training are the exception to this rule but you guys still listen up if you fall into this category because newbie gains don't last forever. When calories are lowered the goal in the gym should be to maintain your current fitness level or try to slightly improve it. This does not mean just go through the motions because you can't really improve that much at this point. I routinely train in the 85%- 90% range of my maxes when in a deficit to make sure I am keeping muscle and I may even push it a little higher after an off-road meal to take advantage of the extra calories. Metcons and any other forms of conditioning are super short and hard. 10 min tops. I know that I have worked too hard to lose any muscle and I know you guys have too. Our muscle mass directly correlates to our resting metabolic rate. The more muscle we have the more calories we will burn when resting (not exercising). So why sacrifice it when you know it's going to hurt your chances of fat loss when that is the ultimate goal? Let the calorie deficit handle the fat loss. Let the diet dictate the waistline. You don't need to do endless amounts of cardio to increase the calorie deficit. Really focus on pushing the strength training. Be strong. The goal of exercise should always be to be better at exercise. To be more fit.
The main reason I bring this up now is because fat loss is the goal and it's the holidays and little binges will happen. If you looked at this scenario as a derailment of sorts you would probably try to correct it by doing a crazy long cardio sesh to erase the calories consumed. Never mind the fact that an uptick in calories means an uptick in metabolism and you are using this "boost" in the worst possible way. Erasing the extra calories takes you back to square one so no improvements were made to body composition. You are back to where you were before you ate all the pumpkin pie! What if you looked at this increase of food and calories as an opportunity to make some headway? This is the perfect opportunity to really push a strength training workout and get you some "gainz". Squats or deadlifts anyone? Over head presses, cleans, snatches, strongman movements, anything that would be considered a compound movement or just hard as shit in general would be ideal. You can be "Jacked" Frost this Christmas or you can be "Snacked" Frost. It's up to you!