“Paleo helped me get over my food sensitivities and lose 30 pounds.”
“Intermittent Fasting led me to the leanest physique of my life!”
“Eating 8 small, “clean” meals a day ignited my metabolism.”
“Once I started doing cardio, I lost weight like it was nothing. Cardio is by far the best form of exercise.”
“I’ve been training with barbells for years, it’s the best way to gain strength and if you’re not training with them you’re wasting your time.”
I could go on for awhile here, but do we see the commonalities with these?
These examples highlight a very black and white approach, because the example has gotten hooked on one method of nutrition/training, because they’re unaware of the principles that make those methods successful.
I want to be the objective educator here, and inform you on what the reason behind these successes are.
Know The Processes At Work – Nutrition
Say you’re trying to lose weight and you choose to stick to the Paleo diet, and you lose 30 lbs and no longer have any food sensitivities present.
Paleo didn’t necessarily save you, it’s not the true cause of your success, but there is a correlation.
What happened is A.) there was a reduction in caloric intake that was via the reduced amount of food options you have on a Paleo diet, and B.) Paleo is essentially an elimination diet, where you eliminate most of the foods that can cause sensitivities. When you’re not eating dairy, grains, sugar, processed foods, legumes, and alcohol – you won’t suffer from sensitivities to those things…because you’re not eating them anymore, dude.
The IF cult can be overwhelming.
If you strike up a casual conversation at a get-together and someone brings up IF, there will be a zealot in the mix who will aggressively tell you your ancestors would thank you for employing IF, it’s “the only, and best way,” and will continue to ramble about it’s simplicity, and how it’s great for gains.
IF for Fat Loss & Performance
If IF was a fat loss success, you successfully limited your feedings, to the point where you weren’t able to consume as many calories as you were because you were only eating 1-3 meals a day, in a certain 6-8 hour window.
There’s no magic, it’s just subtracting options for you to overeat.
If IF has been successful for your training, and making gains, you’ve probably had trouble consuming enough food consistently, the focus on the smaller feeding allotment has forced you to be more meticulous, and you’ve prepared your large meals accordingly, and if you’re training hard, you’re probably training in the afternoon-nighttime, and you’ve become very regimented (if you’re fasting till midday, training in the AM while not eating for hours will leave you feeling a prisoner)
The IF cause of fat loss, was limited caloric intake, therefore being in a calorie deficit eliciting fat loss.
The IF cause of performance gains is due to your new discipline, and regimen in relation to your training and nutrition. You’re limited with time, so you plan ahead, and large meals work for you. You’ve aligned your training to fit the window, and because of your new found structure, you’re consistent.
These are examples of nutrition correlations that are misconstrued as causation. If all the variables are the same, and then we change to paleo, or IF, Vegan, “Clean Eating,” and so on, and we see results, that would be causation.
What is really happening is these wonderful tools, or – methods, are providing us with a way to make the necessary changes in order to elicit the responses we’re looking for.
If we kept the calories, macronutrients, sleep, training, supplementation, and stress levels the same and then we switched from Vegan to Paleo, and we noticed a positive change in body composition, then you could say Paleo was the cause of success (probably by way of protein quality – jus’ sayin’).
Know The Processes At Work – Training
In the training realm, this can be a huge detriment:
Training to Failure.
Bradlee has been training to failure since he was in high school. Why? Because he got strong as shit in high school.
Did training to failure provide him with the most optimal “getting strong as shit” results? No, training in general provided him great results because he was a hormonally raging high school boy, who’d never exercised – any training with intensity would result in great results because of his “newbie gains.” So Bradlee’s been slowly chugging’ along for years thinking it’s all about that hard work, grinding, and pain, because that’s what got him to where he is. In a way, he’s right, and it’s an admirable mindset, because he’s doing the work. BUT, now that he’s years into training, he’s hindering his potential for more gains.
Bradlee’s strength was correlated with training to failure, but the cause of his strength gains were result of him training in the first place, since he hadn’t prior.
Cardio or Die.
Think of the guy or gal who never really exercised, and then bought a treadmill, elliptical, or bike, and started training regularly. They lost some weight, tasted the success, and they were all in. That’s awesome, but – they’ve become a disciple of cardio, when it wasn’t the cardio per se that gave them the results. It was the caloric deficit that the cardio provided.
The cardio is correlated with the weight loss, but the cause would be the caloric deficit provided by it, by way of increasing their daily energy expenditure.
That’s what tools do, they provide you with an easier way to achieve a desired outcome.
You can for sure screw your shutters in with that caveman’s screwdriver, but I think a superior tool would be a drill, bub.
You started going to Crossfit. You leaned out – you can spot your abs now, you’ve added some muscle, and you’ve started to feel great about yourself, even athletic!
You’re all in on the Crossfit style WOD’s, and you’ll ride or die with those Metcon’s and Amrap’s.
And from now until you’re old & cripple – you’ll be doing burpees, stealing row machines from soccer mom’s, doing goddamn KB snatches on the gym floor, and convulsing from a bar right before you make a lap around the place like your crotch is on fire.
The cause of your fat loss, muscle gain, and athletic output is your energy expenditure, muscle stimulation, and exercise selection. You’re burning more calories, likely in a calorie deficit many days leading to fat loss. You’re training your muscles numerous times a week, you’re sending them the response to grow by firing them often. And you’re doing box jumps, broad jumps, jumping rope, climbing ropes – all of which will make you feel more MVP than hitting the elliptical.
Crossfit is correlated with your success, but the causation would be the aforementioned.
I have no disdain or ill-will towards any of these methods, I am merely using them as common references.
I employ almost all of these tools myself, because I know how they can serve me to get a desired outcome.
It’s essential to understand the principles beyond these methods, because that’s how we prevent yo-yo dieting, disordered eating, distorted body image, inconsistency, psychological strain, and gullibility.
Fitness is HUGE. Everything you see, click, or read is trying to grab your attention, sell you on something, get you to signup, and promote their ideologies – they have leverage on those who do not understand.
So, let’s educate.
Thanks for reading 🙂