When a client comes my way, we discuss goals. Nearly every time, the primary goal is the same —> to lose fat. Look good naked. Get rid of their belly, or their pooch, or their baby weight, man boobs, whatever.
So, we have a bit of back and forth. We discuss some things.
We decide on a few items – best training plan, best nutritional plan, macronutrient settings, food preferences, possible supplementation regimen………..that sort of thing.
Some paperwork moves back and forth, payment is taken care of, you know. The whole 9.
And then the parameters of our program are discussed, and the client is given a good amount of information. And given the assignment to read through it and ask away with any questions they may have.
There are generally a few, which get tackled. Things are generally good to go by Sunday, and the program begins on Monday. (Don’t they all?)
And about 95% of the time, during the first week, I’ll get a very specific, food-related question.
“When I’m looking for sirloin, am I looking for 85% beef, or 90% beef?”
“Do I need to account for the splash of milk I generally put in my coffee?”
“Do I need to track the beans I put in my chili?”
“Should I count the carbs in my cottage cheese?”
You know. Stuff like that.
Our program has lots of simplifications. In essence, it’s a macro-counting and carb-cycling system coupled with heavy resistance training. That’s pretty much the long and short of it. It’s Leangains.
But with a bit of a different packaging wrapped around it.
While Martin Berkhan’s main clients were bodybuilders and the fitness elite, it’s blatantly obvious that………well…………that’s not me. I’m not in the fitness “elite”, nor do I aspire to coach the fitness “elite”. And those who come to me? Regular folks. Teachers, engineers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, etc. Just normal people, looking for a simple, straight-forward way to get lean and stay lean. Without the hassle or the empty promises of a pill, potion, or powder.
So, although it would likely provide the optimal results to count our broccoli, our onions, and our peppers………we just ain’t got time for that. We’re going to be using some rather large, systemic simplifications in order to make Leangains applicable and POSSIBLE for anyone. Or for “anyman”. (Sorry. That was cheesy, I know.)
So, this leads me to the most common question asked by our new clients.
“Is (veggie/fruit so-and-so) on the freebie list?”
And to all of these questions, the answer is nearly always…………………..(wait for it)……….
Me: “You make the call. It won’t matter either way.”
Which is totally understandable. So, how does this work? How does their coach set up the parameters, and then when there’s a question on those very parameters, say the parameters don’t matter? Is he daft? What’s his deal? Just answer the damn question.
Well, it works like this:
If there’s a client that is following along so closely, so religiously, and trying so hard that they are obsessing over the exact fat content in their beef, or the bit of milk in their morning coffee……….the chances that they are consuming Ho-Hos by the boatload after their macros have been hit……………………are slim to none.
As a coach, you attempt to teach behaviors. And improve behavioral patterns. And accidentally causing irrational food fears by being overly obsessive about exactness of your meal composition and frequency is not a good idea.
The milk in your coffee never made anyone fat.
Eating an extra apple never made anyone fat.
Eating squash at dinner never made anyone fat.
Having beans in your chili never made anyone fat.
And having me set up restrictive, stupid rules and patterns is a very good way to miss the forest for the trees.
Your behaviors over the long haul are going to determine your successes or your failures, not your choices in the moment.
Which is why it makes no sense to stress about the optimal macronutrient split for your training time, the perfect carbohydrates to maximize your post-workout gains, or the perfect pre-workout powder to stave off catabolism.
The rules for long-term success are simple:
1. Lift hard.
2. Emphasize protein.
3. Be in a deficit if trying to lose weight and a surplus when trying to gain muscle.
4. Do the first three items on this list 24/7/365.
And the last time I checked, tracking florets of broccoli and fiber content in your asparagus didn’t make the cut.
Sorry ’bout that.
Yours in true health,