Alright, stop what you’re doin’, ‘cuz I’m about to ruin,
The image and the style that you’re used to,
I look funny, but yo my tips are money, you see,
So yo, world, I hope you’re ready for me…
Shock G, (probably)
Friday, Coach J here from Anyman Fitness – and welcome to the latest edition of The N.W.A. Newsletter.
Each Friday’s N.W.A. Newsletter will have 3 parts:
- A Nutritional Tip to help make your diet healthier and easier to stick to.
- A Workout Tip to help make your training sessions more effective and fun.
- An Attitude/Mindset tip to help you strengthen your greatest asset – your mental toughness.
I will also give you my single favorite piece of social media content from AF over the past week and link to it on either Instagram or Twitter.
Without any further ado… let’s get started, shall we?
N.W.A. Nutrition Tip Of The Week:
Fasting is red-hot these days.
It seems everyone and his/her brother is on the intermittent fasting bandwagon, trying to fast their way to a trimmer figure and a leaner body.
The idea behind fasting is simple: You only eat your food during a certain time period of the day to bring down your overall calorie load and (hopefully) create a proper and consistent calorie deficit.
I often see people ask “how to fast properly” on the internet. This always makes me smile. Fasting is simply “not eating”. This means the question “how do you properly fast”… is kind of dumb. You just don’t eat, and then you’re “fasting”.
Fasting can be a solid tool for dietary compliance. I used intermittent fasting from 2011 – 2015. I found it enjoyable and sustainable. I’ve never been much of a breakfast person anyways – my appetite doesn’t start ramping up until later in the day. It was almost effortless to sip on a cup of black coffee in the morning and just wait until lunch before I started eating.
Fasting comes in a number of different formats, including but not limited to:
- 16/8 fasting: You eat for an 8 hours per day and fast for 16 hours. (This is the most popular fasting format – simply skip breakfast and you’re there).
- 5/2 fasting: 5 days per week you eat normally, and 2 days per week you eat only a small dinner and skip breakfast/lunch.
- 24 hour fasts: As stated, you skip a day of eating. This can be tough if you’ve never fasted before or you have blood sugar issues, so know yourself first before you try 24 hour fasts.
While fasting can be a great tool to improve your health, be sure you understand its limitations.
For some people, the format just doesn’t work. They end up feeling anemic/low-blood sugar. Their energy levels tank. They can’t focus, etc.
Also, from a muscle building perspective, fasting isn’t a good idea. Eating is anabolic (it helps you grow more lean tissue). The more frequently you get protein and carbs into your system, the more effective your muscle gaining results will be.
This is why I personally stopped fasting – I wanted to build and keep as much muscle as I possibly could.
Please also understand that fasting *itself* doesn’t cause fat loss.
You can fast for 16 hours and only eat for 8 hours, but if you eat more calories than you need in those 8 hours, you’ll still gain weight.
Trust me… I’ve done it before… 🙂
But fasting proponents highlight something important: the power of psychology.
Many people begin fasting because they think it’s “magic”.
They heard how you can eat anything you want and as long as you fast, you’ll get killer results (not true, by the way).
Here’s what actually happens when someone thinks fasting is “Magic”:
1. They first read about fasting and get all hyped up, thinking this is the answer to their prayers.
2. They start skipping breakfast, which brings down their overall calories.
3. They go “all in”, reduce their snacking, eat more whole foods, and stop drinking their calories.
4. A consistent calorie deficit is *finally* achieved.
5. Boom. Weight loss.
This is exactly what happened to me a decade ago…
It’s not “magic”.
It’s simply that you’re eating less calories, and you have a system to follow for your diet and nutrition, which is powerful in and of itself.
Once upon a time, I bought into the “fasting = magic” hype myself.
It wasn’t until I dropped my biases and experimented on myself and clients before I realized that fasting or not, it’s all about your total calories consumed, the macronutrient breakdown of your diet, and the quality of foods you eat.
If you’d like to see if I recommend fasting for you, see if you meet my criteria in this article, “Should You Use Intermittent Fasting For Fat Loss?”
N.W.A. Training Tip Of The Week:
I regularly get asked what I do to train my abs.
And people are always shocked when the answer is “nothing”.
I also frequently have new clients who hop on board with our coaching and one of the first things they ask is “Hey, Coach J – where’s the core workouts and ab blasters and 6-pack secrets full of planks and leg raises?”
And again, they’re often confused when the answer is “there are none”.
Let me explain…
I’m not a big fan of direct core work. I used to do lots of direct core work.
I stopped once I studied fitness closely and realized how much time I was wasting.
Check this picture out – this is me at 30 years old v me at 40 years old:
Believe it or not, 30 year old me did CONSTANT ab work.
I would save 20 minutes at the end of every workout and do loads of sit ups, bosu-ball crunches, pikes, planks, leg raises, etc in an attempt to rid my belly of unsightly fat and (hopefully) bring out my abs.
You can clearly see from the picture on the left that it didn’t work.
The me on the right – 40 year old me – never trains his abs. There’s no need.
I lift hard and heavy. I always push my sets within a rep of failure, and occasionally, I’ll go all the way to failure with a spotter.
This means I’m always training my abs isometrically. Isometric means you’re bracing your core hard, even though you’re not *directly* performing an ab exercise.
An example of this would be the deadlift. If you perform the deadlift, you’re going to be bracing your lower body and abdomen in order to stabilize the weight you’re lifting. If you try to deadlift with a soft/unbraced core, you’re going to throw out your back and get injured.
The same holds true of pull ups, rows, bench presses, squats – all compound movements (movements that use 2 joints such as your shoulder and elbow) hammer your abdomen if you’re lifting with intensity, close to your maximum output.
But that’s not the biggest reason why I rarely program direct abdominal work into my client programs.
The real reason I’m not a fan of ab work is it distracts you from achieving your actual goals.
You see, your abs are a set of muscles, just like any other set of muscles.
What do you think would happen if you started training your biceps for 20 minutes every time you worked out?
Would they get bigger?
Yes, of course they would, we all know that, right?
A ton of curls = bigger biceps.
Common sense stuff…
Soooooo, what do you think will happen to your midsection if you start doing abs for 20 minutes every time you work out?
Would your stomach muscles get bigger?
YES! OF COURSE THEY WOULD!
Yet, for some reason people forget this.
I’ve seen so many people do the “90 Day Ab Challenges” you see floating around the ‘net, only to end up with a BIGGER and THICKER midsection after the 90 days is up!
And they’re always confused… and wondering why their stomach got bigger instead of smaller…
THAT’S the main reason why I’m not a fan of ab work.
Because 99.9% of people do ab work in an attempt to make their stomach smaller and burn the fat off of their midsection.
That’s just not how this works, Fam… that’s called “spot reduction” and it’s a total myth.
We can’t pick and choose where we lose fat from. It’s determined by your personal genetics.
The only way to lose the body fat in your belly is to lose body fat overall.
And the only way to do that is to be in a consistent calorie deficit over time.
You could do a zillion crunches daily – if you’re not in a calorie deficit, you aren’t losing any stomach fat.
Therefore, fixing your diet is always your best bet against flattening your belly.
NOT doing crunches.
And doing those crunches, planks, leg raises, and ab wheel rollouts could actually be making your abs *bigger* instead of smaller.
As I said, I’ve seen it happen many times.
The equation to a 6-pack is simple.
Not easy, mind you, but simple:
1. Consistent calorie deficit.
2. Plenty of protein.
3. A minimum of 3 days per week in the weight room focusing on getting stronger in the main movements – pushes, pulls, squats, and hip hinge/deadlifts.
4. A metric f*ck-ton of patience (because it takes a loooooooong time to get there!)
Not a single crunch is listed above… 🙂
If you enjoy ab work, by all means, knock yourself out!
But if you’re doing sit up after sit up in the hopes of a flat midsection, I gotta tell you… you’re wasting your time.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m not a big fan of wasting time in general…
N.W.A. Attitude/Mindset Tip Of The Week:
Society is not “out to get you”.
I see this constantly on social media.
It’s common to play the “us vs them” mentality in order to get engagement online.
I hear quotes like:
“They want you fat, depressed, and weak!”
“They want you walking around like a zombie!”
“They want you with low testosterone so you’re a listless wuss!”
Etc, etc, etc.
While those quotes might help you get a few re-tweets and followers, they’re pretty silly if you ask me.
It’s not like there’s some Grim Reaper character following you around, trying to jam their Honey Buns down your throat…
You’re always in control of your choices.
You get to choose what you eat, what you drink, and if you exercise.
Sure, sometimes things come up and you need to call an “audible”, but the fact remains, what you do is always up to you.
Society is going to show you all the options out there – that’s what happens in a capitalist society.
It’s an unintended consequence of capitalism that most of us choose comfort over discipline.
It’s easier and more pleasurable to grab take out than it is to plan and create a home cooked meal.
It’s more enjoyable to grab the bag of Doritos and a beer after dinner than it is to head to the gym and smash a proper workout.
These are just facts – most people prefer to take the easy way out rather than focus on what’s best for them and their futures.
But again, this doesn’t mean everyone is trying to make you fail.
That’s a shitty mindset to have.
It’s not “you vs the world”.
It’s not “you vs society”.
It’s not “you vs the left/right”.
It’s just “you vs you”.
Nothing more, and nothing less.
I don’t think you should be blindly following in lock step with everything everyone does.
You should think for yourself and make intentional choices which improve your life.
But if “victim mentality” is an inherently bad thing (and I think it is), we need to stop playing the victim, right?
You’re always in control of yourself – you are the only one who gets to determine your fate.
Just keep that in the forefront of your mind at all times and your overall sense of peace and wellbeing will be vastly improved.
One Favorite Social Media Post Of The Week:
Good morning to everyone!
Except for that *one guy* who keeps hocking loogies in the gym drinking fountain and leaves them there without washing them down.
F*ck that guy…
I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Anyman Fitness N.W.A. Newsletter.
I’ll be back next week.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
I recently sat down with a colleague of mine, Sam Forget, and had a KILLER podcast conversation with him.
We discussed so many topics in this podcast it’s not even funny, and dropped some serious gems to help you out.