How To Gauge Fat Loss Progress Accurately

First off, we ought to be focusing on the process based goals rather than results based goals.

Why?

  1. It keeps us sane
  2. It keeps us honest
  3. It keeps us moving forward consistently, and consistency trumps everything.

We have zero control over how fast results happen. This means focusing solely on outcomes is inherently problematic and inaccurate.

That said, some folks work really well with periodic result analysis. Furthermore, it’s not an either/or situation. You can focus on the process, while still using measurements to analyze the efficacy your fat loss strategy.

The point of measurements is to find the gaps in your game–to discover the way forward. The goal is to get information, not validation.

We should only take measurements, and I’m more or less quoting Coach Stevo here, “if we can look at them with the same objectivity as if we were counting the white cars in the parking lot”.

There needs to be zero emotional investment in the outcomes of the measurements for them to be an effective tool.

Now in my last post, I discussed the infamous fat loss plateau. I even gave some general tips on how to break through a plateau.

Today is about figuring out what to change specifically to conquer a plateau. Keep in mind, there isn’t one single way to take good measurements. This is just the way that makes sense for me and the awesome people I work with in my Online Fat Loss Groups.

Here we go

Pick 3 types of measurements. Every measurement method has a degree of uncertainty to it. We can lessen this degree of uncertainty by taking multiple measurements.

Here are my recommendations. These are based on the information they can yield but also convenience and accessibility.

Measuring Tape

Why: When my clients ask how to gauge results I often recommend paying attention to how their clothes fit. That’s what we want anyways, right? For our clothes to fit better? To be able to fit into the jeans we wore in college? This method is working on that same principal, except with numbers.

How: Wrap the tape around the belly button, belt-line, upper arm, and mid thigh. Or even just pick one of them. Record your measurements.

The grain of salt: The tricky part here is taking the measurement in the exact same spot. Do your best to measure the same point every time.

The Scale

I’ve talked a lot of shit on the scale in the past. I still do. However, it’s a tool that can be useful. A hammer is great if I don’t drop it on my foot.

Just to be clear, don’t take these measurements if they make you feel crazy.

Why/The grain of salt: The scale tells us whether or not we’re eating for weight gain, weight loss, or maintenance. That’s it.

Regardless of our body composition, consuming more calories than we burn causes weight gain. Note that I didn’t say FAT gain. The scale tells us nothing about body composition–whether the weight is fat or muscle.

The scale tells us if we’re eating too many calories or not enough.

Weight fluctuates for an insane amount of different reasons. Try to be mindful of this. For example, weighing yourself on your period will yield zero useful information for your fat loss goals.

How: First thing in the morning before you have consumed ANYTHING. For more accurate readings, weigh yourself 3 days in a row and take the average.

Calipers/Skin-Fold Measurements:

Why: Here we’re dealing with the muscle to fat ratio. This is what fat loss really boils down to. I’ve had many clients confess they don’t care what the scale says if they looked and felt leaner. So that’s what happens.

How: Make a C with your thumb and index finger. Pinch a piece of skin and pull it out a little. Clamp the calipers onto the fold of skin. Record your measurements.

My recommendations for locations to test are on the stomach (one inch to the right of the belly button), the front of the mid-thigh, and the bicep.

The grain of salt: You’re not going to be pinching the EXACT same spot each time you take these measurements. Just do the best you can.

When to take measurements and what to do with your findings

Take measurements every 3 weeks. 3 weeks is enough time for stuff to happen. It’s enough time to know if what we’re doing is working.

If at least 2 out of 3 tests say we’re getting results, we’re good. Stay the course. If we get 1 out of 3 or less we need to reassess.

Next week, in Part 2, I’ll show you what to do if our measurements tell us we need to reassess our fat loss strategy.

The first time you take measurements serves a unique purpose. The first test only serves as something to compare your other measurements with.

But remember, no emotion. None. Be a robot.

1a 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook “Insanity Free Loss” 🙂

P.S. For further reading on this topic, check out Josh Hillis and Dan John’s book Fat Loss Happens on Monday. Full disclosure, I don’t get a cent from this. It’s just really good information.

I borrowed, and by “borrowed” I mean shamelessly stole, a lot from this book for this post. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

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Finding Your Knight In Shining Lululemon: 3 Traits To Look For In A Workout Partner

Everything is better with a buddy– going out to eat, hiking, orgasms. You name it. Pretty much everything is better when you have somebody to do it with.

This is ESPECIALLY true with fitness goals.

Enter the accountabili-buddy. This person is someone who helps keep you accountable. You do the same for them because you’re a good person.

We grow and change our behaviors most effectively in groups. Just look at how well Crossfit(ers) is/are doing.

That said, not just any group will do. Finding the right person(s) to join forces with can be a silver bullet for sustainable fat loss.

silver bullet bill

For that wonderful life-changing growth to happen, your buddy needs to needs to meet some criteria.

1. We ought to have similar goals

Losing 20 lbs of fat and gaining 20 lbs of muscle are two completely different pursuits.

While the workouts for each goal have some overlap, the nutritional part i.e.the HARD part, is vastly different. That’s not to say a buddy with different goals won’t ever be helpful. However, it’s better when your buddy shares the exact same arduous adventure with you–minutia and all.

2. We ought to be at a similar point in the journey

Maybe they’re a little better at some things. Maybe you’re a little better at other things.

This is ideal.

We don’t want someone who is so advanced we feel intimidated or awkward. We don’t want to feel like we can’t keep up.

We don’t want to be on the other end of that dynamic either. We don’t want to wait for someone to catch up before we can move forward as a team.

It works better when both of us are at the same point in our journey. That way, we can work through the same struggles feeling like equals. We feel safe enough to have some friendly competition.

3. We ought to have something else in common besides fitness goals

Awkward silences aren’t great for building accountability.

We should have something to talk about besides fitness. The stronger the human connection, the more successful we will be.

An important side effect of a good accountabili-buddy is that you start looking forward to going to the gym, hanging with your buddy, and lifting some stuff.

Boring and uncomfortable social situations aren’t exactly conducive to enthusiasm.

 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook 🙂
P.S. if you want to join an army of accountabili-buddies for maximum results, I have 5 slots open in my Online Fat Loss Coaching Group for those looking to lose between 10-20 lbs.

The Answer Is Always David Bowie

When I lived in Oakland, I would do pub trivia with a few friends every Tuesday.

We never won.

We got pretty damn close though. At one point we were getting 3rd place semi-regularly.

The music round was always fun. We had to guess the artist for the song blaring on the loudspeaker. When we didn’t know the answer I would shout “DAVID BOWIE! DAVID BOWIE!!!!!” with earth shattering consistency. Then one fateful day, “The Width of a Circle” played. I lost my shit and a hearty guffaw was had by all.

bowie-2

There’s nothing wrong with wrong answers. In this case, the wrong answers were right in their own way. Not objectively, of course. But I’d rather contribute to a running gag than have all the right answers.

We can’t know all the answers all the time, to anything. Is there any benefit in beating ourselves up about it? Nah.

I had no way of knowing which songs were worth knowing. Getting pissed at myself for not listening to music I don’t listen to? Where would that get me?

Nowhere. And I wouldn’t be laughing.

We might as well make light of this inevitable condition, the inescapable dynamic of life:

We can’t know what we don’t know yet.

And if we’re doing something different, something outside our comfort zone, there’s A LOT we can’t possibly know. Every new pursuit is like learning a new language– Not knowing comes with the territory. In fact, not knowing IS the territory.

That’s not to say that I can just laugh off any mistake I make. Far from it. I’m just as susceptible, if not more so, to being really fucking hard on myself. Consciously, I realize it’s silly to beat myself up for things I have no control over, subconsciously is another matter.

We will never know what the awaits us on the path ahead. We have no choice but to figure things out as we go. This is the culture my online coaching groups operate on: Progress is all one big experiment and we’re all figuring things out as we go.

Next time you feel bad about a mistake, I encourage you to look in the mirror and say “David Bowie”.

Sometimes the wrong answer is the right answer, if for no reason other than a good laugh.

 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook 🙂

Weekly Fitness Reads: 4/18/16

RTS Coaching: The Reaching Deadbug

I love me some deadbugs! Here’s a great variation to break up the monotony of standard deadbugs. 

Shut Up About Toxins

You may have heard of 10,000 hour rule. Imagine how many hours your liver has been “practicing”. Hint: Humans first appeared on the seen between 8 and 6 million years ago. i.e. the liver is pretty damn good at it’s job.

Simple Tricks To Make Hard Things Easier

I don’t normally share my own articles on here, but this one has been getting a lot of love lately. Apparently people like it. I hope you do too!

 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Get in touch at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/

Conan Knows Best

What is best in life?

I don’t agree with the last bit, but I think Arnie might be onto something with the first two points.

“Crush your enemies. See them driven before you.”

Now, to crush our enemies, we must know who they are!

conan the barb

What are our biggest obstacles? What is the BIGGEST thing that is getting in the way of reaching our definition of “being fit”?

We all struggle with fitness at times, myself included. Usually there is one major hurdle that holds us back. We’re complex creatures; it’s never just one thing. However, there is often one obstacle that stands out.

Today I’d like to help you crush a few common enemies.

Here are some examples common enemies and the habits that can help us crush them.

I’m too busy!!

A busy work life doesn’t just take up time. It consumes energy and drains our willpower reserves. This makes building new behaviors tough. However, we can work with this hand we’ve been dealt.

One way to deal with this is do shorter workouts. A solid workout can be done in 15 minutes. Hell, a 5 minute workout is better than nothing. Even a 1 minute workout is amazing relative to a 0 minute workout!

If you don’t have 5 minutes a day, stop dicking around on Facebook. A few minutes here and there adds up. There are plenty of apps that tell you how much time you spend on your phone. I haven’t tried any of these myself so I unfortunately can’t recommend any specifically. Yes, I understand the irony of using an app to learn how much time we waste on our phone.

It’s a hassle to get to the gym

This one’s fairly straightforward. Sign up for a gym that is more convenient, one that you can walk or bike to. The gym that’s far away might be cheaper. However, if we never go because it’s inconvenient, then we’re throwing money away.

Another option is to exercise at home or in a park.

I need someone to keep me accountable

A good accountabili-buddy is an immensely powerful component for fat loss. It might be the most important external factor in determining success. You’re onto something big in recognizing this obstacle.

Humans grow in groups. Always have. That’s why Crossfit is so huge. Say what you will about Crossfit, but they’ve done an amazing job of building community and getting people excited about lifting heavy things.

Now, finding a tribe that lines up with our values and goals isn’t always easy.

How do we find a group of like-minded, supportive individuals to help guide us and hold us accountable?

Luckily some spaces have opened up in my Tribe of Badassery online coaching group. It works like this:

  1. Join Tribe of Badassery
  2. Foster the most awesome version of yourself
  3. Feel confident as fuck in a swimsuit

Spots are extremely limited and I’m only looking for 5 who are ready to make a change today.

To apply, fill out the form and I’ll be in touch if there is space available

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1urzzCutYCekPsdKrUxzTtA9rhkOQQ3iMBliFljcnbLQ/viewform

Weekly Fitness Reads:12/28/15

Ermahgerd! This is the last Weekly Fitness Reads of 2015! I don’t know about you, but I’m excited. My prediction is that 2016 will yield some pretty kick ass content, which I will continue to share with you, the awesome reader. Anyways, hope you enjoy this week’s list!

https://www.stumptuous.com/are-we-destined-to-be-fat

This was a nice overview and summary of the immensely complicated topic of obesity and genetics. It seems there is certainly a connection between the two, but like everything it’s not cut a dry. A discussion about genetics has nuance. Go figure, right? 😛

https://www.t-nation.com/training/operation-barbell-10-money-exercises

I’m pretty much always down for ridiculousness, necesary or otherwise. Ridiculousness worked into an article strength training? I’m in.

https://medium.com/@jillfit/8-ways-to-be-an-anti-perfectionist-in-2015-13a30bd8b48c#.6310e9mes

Perfection is the natural sworn enemy of success, like goats and chupacabras. Perfectionism is also a very tempting and easy trap to fall into. But there is hope. There are ways to tackle our perfectionist tendencies. In fact, there are at least 8 ways to rid ourselves of the stagnation perfectionism brings.

 

Oh hey! Don’t forget to reserve your spot in my online coaching group before January 15! Fill out a short form to get on the list!

Danger at the Deli

I have a strange problem.

I can’t seem to eat a sandwich without somehow managing to cut my lip.

blood on the sandwich

To my knowledge, this is not something that happens to normal people.

The whole thing is baffling. Unless my sandwiches are getting laced with glass shards I really have no idea how this keeps happening to me.

Yes, I have a weird problem. This one is particularly wacky, but I have a lot of problems that other people don’t have in addition to the standard boring problems of the majority.

It’s OK to be weird.

It’s normal to have problems that are abnormal. Everyone’s experience is different. Naturally, the problems around our unique experiences can be just as unique, and odd.

We’re all weirdos.

Don’t get me wrong, it feels great when we meet people who are going through the same things as we are. It’s a powerful thing. However, we can take solace in knowing that our weirdness unites us, even if we’re weird in slightly different ways.

It’s easy to feel like we’re broken and fucked up in some way. The funny thing is that everybody feels like that. Doesn’t mean we are of course, but the feeling is a common one nevertheless.

Finding others who share the same struggles is huge in overcoming those struggles. Finding your tribe, or community, is extremely powerful. We can overcome tough struggles much easier as a group than we can on our own.

I want to help you find your tribe.

I am now accepting applications for my online coaching group. The group will be a community of fit folks looking to get leaner in a non-obsessive, sustainable way. No yoyo dieting, no strict dietary restrictions, just healthy, stress-free habits.

Coaching will begin on January 15 and spots are limited. Fill out a short application  to reserve your spot.