In last week’s article The Four Key Components of Your Transformation I went pretty deep into breaking down some core values here at SHJ.
This week will, in a sense, be a follow up to that article, but from a different perspective.
The Four Key Components all came off as pretty good news, and the basis of the article was bringing us back to:
- Fitness Does NOT Have To Suck
- At SHJ We Cut Through The BS in The Fitness Industry and Unleash our Inner Superhuman
- Sustainability, Effectiveness and Efficiency are Priorities
In this article we’ll be sticking to the foundations we talked about there, and we’ll even be discussing more of the same topics, but I’ll specifically be talking about what people do WRONG that holds them back from losing weight, gaining muscle and/or unlocking the superhero physique.
So things may get a little sticky at some points….
I know it’s not easy being told “No. That is not the problem. This is. You are doing this wrong (even though you are sure you’re not), and it’s causing a big shift in your progress.”…because I’ve been there!
Which means you’re going to have to trust me, stick around, and learn a little bit more about just how easy this can be if we focus on what matters and forget about the BS.
Fitness doesn’t have to suck!
Are You Overthinking Your Hiccups?
Just like our The Four Key Components of Your Transformation article, we’re going to start by talking about some of the things people ask or think is holding them back (even through they’re not important).
And the reason we’re doing this is so you know that these examples are NOT the reason for your hiccups, failures, or anything else that may mean lack of weight loss, muscle gain or transforming.
Don’t worry, don’t worry, I’ll keep these examples different than the last one to switch it up and keep it fresh for you (which also means if you want more examples you can go back to the other article).
Some questions people ask to learn about their lack of weight loss, mass gain or transformation:
- “If I add sweetener to my coffee will it break my fast and cause me to not lose weight?”
- “Is it better to go low carb or low fat?”
- “Do you think I’m not losing weight because I’m not eating enough?”
- “Does it matter if I do cardio first or should I train first?”
- “Insert 1 million other unnecessary questions…”
If any of these, or the slew of other questions I mentioned in the last article sound like something you may be worried about….you’re avoiding the real issues and taking advice from the wrong people.
I can answer all of those questions, and I do, but none of them are why you are not losing weight, gaining muscle or transforming your physique.
And, in this article I’ll be specifically talking about the MAIN two reasons why people fail.
The craziest part about it?
Almost everyone thinks they’re doing both of these things, which causes them to search elsewhere for issues, when in reality it’s just a lack of really zoning in on the main key points hard enough and taking the time to make sure you’re perfecting them.
So today that stops….!
I’m Just Like You…But I’ve Learned My Failures and Other Superhumans
As I usually promise before telling a story: they get better each time I tell them, so even if you think you’ve heard all my stories, stick around!
This one is actually about the fact that I am nothing special….
I am no different than you.
The only difference between you and I is the fact that I’ve now researched over 500 celebrities and top performers and devoted my work and lifestyle to SHJ and what it stands for.
No super powers, no super soldier serum, nothing.
What it really comes down to is knowledge and a lot of trial and error…!
BUT, before all of that trial and error, and before all of that research…..I was just a 16-18 year old kid who happened to be super into weightlifting and trying to obtain a superhero physique (specifically superhero because I was also a huge nerd…and still am).
I tried it all: typical bodybuilding style, powerlifting, CrossFit, and so much more.
Nutrition too! Paleo, keto, Atkins, Hamptons, Low Fat, High Fat, Carnivore, Vegan, all of it! (And more…)
The answer is: there’s no secret.
ACTUALLY, not only is there no secret, but we actually spend so much time looking for one that we begin to focus on things that aren’t actually making a difference while neglecting the simple solutions that DO make the changes.
I know this is the case not only because through all my trial and error (I had both amazing high points and super low “What the hell is going on?!” points), and I too questioned the secrets and set out to figure them out (here we are at SHJ years later with the secret that there’s no secret)!
I also have now seen HUNDREDS of members and even coaches go through the same struggles before realizing it really comes down to The Four Key Components, and not overlooking the two main reasons for failure….
Which is exactly what we’re going to start talking about right now!
So buckle up and get ready, because they’re soooo simple it might actually be painful to realize it.
1. Tracking Your Calories and Protein
I know what you’re thinking….
“What in the hell!? THIS is the big secret I’ve been reading and waiting for!?!?!”
Well, technically I already told you the secret is that there’s no secret, so I apologize if you were hoping I was about to inject you with some of Cap’s good stuff, but we’ll have to get over that and move on if you’re going to begin seeing some insane progress.
I am going to make this super…SUPER clear for you:
Tracking is the NUMBER ONE reason people fail to lose weight and/or gain muscle and unlock a superhero physique.
I even made those words nice a big because outside of that I have no idea how I could make this more clear for you.
Now that’s not to say you don’t have to combine all Four Key Components if you want to succeed at sustaining your transformation and successfully transforming in the first place, BUT, this is the number one reason people DO NOT succeed.
And it’s not completely your fault.
There are a few factors to take into account that make tracking your calories and protein quite hard (outside of the fact that it is just hard to form the habit of tracking in general).
Here’s a couple things to consider:
- There are a bunch of variables that can come into play that can make it super frustrating to get the right numbers for your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate/metabolism/rest cals.), Activity Level, Nutrition Content Per Food, and more!
- More on this below. We’ll break down some of these exact variants and how we combat against them.
- Tons and tons of resources online will try to sell you on different macronutrient splits like keto and low carb diets, paleo and specific macro splits, and even low fat/high carb for some specific training methods.
- I TOO know that these diets can be extremely effective. Actually, for years I worked with members using strict restrictive diets to START their transformation and form habits (sometimes restrictions WITH tracking overall calories and proteins are great to form healthy eating habits), but at the end of the day it comes down to overall intake and energy expenditure.
Now, I know the headline is about tracking both calories AND protein, and that’s because it’s a general statement about tracking.
In reality the main reason comes down to tracking overall intake (AKA overall calories), but protein is a huge portion of how we’re going to be able to build and retain muscle, so if the tracking is off, the protein is likely off as well.
Luckily for us, if you read The Four Key Components article you already know overall calories and protein tracking make it easy to allow our other macronutrients (carbs and fats) to fall in place and have indulgences the way we want and crave on a daily basis.
Alright, but now let’s actually pull a piece from that article and talk about some of the variants that come along with tracking…
Here’s a handful of variants that can make tracking hard:
- Nutrition Labels can be wrong up to a certain percentage
- Companies are trying their best to get better at this, but there’s just no possible way they can be 100% right.
- We can’t get an absolute 100% correct reading on your personal BMR
- Regardless if we hooked you up to machines and surrounded you with doctors we’d still have a chance at being up to 30% off.
- Activity Trackers can be up to 93% WRONG!
- Stanford did a study and found: “Even the most accurate device was off by an average of 27 percent. And the least accurate was off by 93 percent.”
- Tracking takes a while to get used to…
- Tracking can just be hard in general. I’ve had members insert the wrong item for something like chicken breast (quick click without thinking about it) and end up making their cut a bulk because of how off the numbers were!
These things can make tracking EXTREMELY frustrating.
I understand that and I’m with you.
BUT, once you realize that your tracking is likely the culprit you can begin to take a look at each of those variables and figure out which is causing the problem.
This immediately cuts that 27-93% activity variable and allows us to zoom in on your daily tracking and BMR.
Obviously this is just one of the many things we’re doing to try and make tracking easier, but I do acknowledge that it can be hard.
In our SHJ Nutrition System we have over 50 recipes (and 2-4 more added each week), I share the best fast food orders, and even my own personal “go-to” daily meals to make your initial tracking and planning easier.
At the end of the day you’re going to have some trial and error to get through on your own.
But knowing that this is the most common reason people struggle to lose weight and/or gain muscle is a HUGE step in the right direction because you can stop looking for that secret to nutrition/dieting and begin using that time and energy to perfecting your own tracking skills and habits.
And….speaking of habits….that leads us right into the second most common reason people struggle to lose weight/gain muscle.
2. Adherence To Your Programming and Nutrition
In The Four Key Components I called this one “Stay Accountable and On Track”.
This time it’s coming in with a new title being that we’re taking a look at it from the reverse direction.
Not being able to stay on track or adhere to the programming and nutrition is EASILY the second most common reason people struggle to lose weight and/or gain muscle and unlock a superhero physique.
Another issue that comes with it (from a coaches perspective) is that people are embarrassed to admit when they’ve messed up or “cheated”.
Of course our nutrition systems in our Core Programs allow for daily cheat meals and indulgences, but they’re built around staying within our caloric ranges and protein goals each day so binge eating is unfortunately off the table…!
We took a look at a weekly chart breakdown last time that involved some weekend splurges and it showed a great example of how staying on track Monday-FriDAY but cheating Friday night through Sunday can really alter your entire transformation.
Here’s what I shared:
Assuming 2,000 calories would allow us to lose 1 lb. per week of targeted fat:
- Monday: 2,000
- Tuesday: 2,000
- Wednesday: 2,000
- Thursday: 2,000
- Friday (Night out drinking): 3,500
- Saturday (Family Dinner): 3,500
- Sunday (Football Sunday, bro): 5,000
Where does that leave us?
Well, we WOULD have been 3,500 total calories under (which is equivalent to 1 lb. of weight loss), but we were OVER 1,500 calories Friday, 1,500 Saturday and then 3,000 on Sunday.
That means our weekend of an extra 6,000 calories actually not only voided out our weight loss, but it actually turned our cut into a bulk by putting us 2,500 calories OVER our BMR and nearly tacking on 1 lb. of fat instead of the loss we were shooting for.
This time I want to do ANOTHER chart (okay not a chart, but a bunch of calculations) but instead we’ll talk about adhering to our training as well.
Another issue that can be tacked ON TOP OF the above chart is tracking around a specific program but then not adhering to it (but still eating as if you ARE doing it).
For example, if I am following our Superhuman System or Behemoth Programs my caloric intake (cutting based on my BMR calculations) is around 2,000 a day.
BUT, if I’m not training (and closer to sedentary) then I should be eating roughly 1,500.
That’s a daily difference of 500 calories!!!
500 calories every single day for seven days is equivalent to 3500 overall calories for the week.
Do you know what 3500 calories is equivalent to?
ONE POUND of fat or muscle.
I don’t think we even need a chart for me to explain to you what just happened, but I’m going to spell it out one more time anyway:
If you do not adhere to your programming (which will also give you a metabolic boost and support a healthy metabolism and get us closer to an accurate BMR reading and alleviate some of the stress we get from the pain tracking can be) you can EASILY null and void all progress even if you’re dieting [to what you think] is perfect.
Instead of losing a pound of fat had you stuck to your training and shredded and toned closer to the superhero physique you’re striving for, you could easily tack on some fat with just a slight miss-track throughout the week due to not adhering to your program.
So adherence and staying on track can go both ways.
Obviously this also is a big factor when it comes to toning and tacking on muscle as well, but either way overall adherence can be a huge factor in both your nutrition AND your training.
It’s okay to be honest with yourself and “cheat” sometimes, in moderation, as long as you’re right back to it the next day.
The issue is, most people end up either binging or turning one cheat that takes them off track into a big long week full of “Well, screw it, I already messed up, so I’ll just start again next week”, and boom you’ve not only lost a week of progress but also put yourself into a deeper hole to start from.
The main two reasons YOU (and most people) can’t lose weight or gain muscle and unlock the superhero physique are extremely simple.
Tracking your nutrition intake and adhering to your plan.
You do not need to go looking for the secret to all things being shredded and superhuman.
Fitness doesn’t have to suck.
Zoom in on The Four Key Elements of Your Transformation, and if you hit some bumps in the road you can then zoom in even further to these two reasons before looking elsewhere.
And, of course, all of our Core Programs are built around sustainability, cutting through the BS within the fitness industry, and making sure we train with the most effective and efficient methods without sacrificing our humanity.
So I’ll either see you in there, or I look forward to getting an email about your transformation.
SHJ’s Nick Fury
Join The Superhero Academy and start unleashing your inner SuperHuman.