I thought I'd share what I've done the past two months to get lean for Burning Man, in case any of this advice helps you gear up for whatever important event you have coming up. And if you don't have something fun planned, then plan something. You deserve it!
K, back to how I think about getting lean.
First, I've prioritized nutrition. When I'm slammed for time and have to make tradeoffs between nutrition (ie meal prep or finding clean food) and going to the gym, I always put nutrition first. I've found that I can get lean by just changing my diet. Most personal trainers will tell you the same thing, so I'm not just sayin this because I run a meal prep service! If you just want to shed fat, the foundation of that change is diet. Because very few people are fit and strong enough to be able to exercise at an intensity that might "cancel out" poor food choices (for example, the ultra marathoners who can barely eat enough food to sustain themselves).
Second, I eat out once a week. Eating healthy isn't about being perfect 100% of the time, it's about being better more often than you were previously. I eat whatever I want at a meal once a week and am able to change my physique. Because eating out once a week is still better than eating out four times a week and keeps me from bingeing or dreaming about food. Also, just as important, it's fun! I don't want to live a life where I can't ever eat out just to go down by 1-2% body fat. Not worth it to me.
Third, I focus on maximizing minerals and nutrients and don't count calories at all. Because I find that this minimizes stress and cravings, two things that can definitely get in the way of weight loss. Maximizing minerals and nutrients means eating the most nutrient-dense food possible and eating as much of it as my body feels like it wants, without thinking about calories. Sometimes this means eating an entire avocado in one sitting. The important thing is to be in tune with what healthy foods my body wants and to eat until I feel satisfied and not beyond that point. Some of the nutrient dense foods I love eating a ton of when I'm trying to get lean are pastured egg yolks, organic greens, organic avocado, organic coconut oil, organic cacao, wild salmon, grass-fed collagen, grass-fed ghee, and grass-fed beef. Loading up on nutritious foods like these eliminates cravings because my body doesn't crave food as long as it's getting enough nutrients. Remember this: when you crave food it's not because your body needs that specific food, it's because your body needs more minerals and nutrients. You'll also notice that my diet isn't a low fat diet. I've personally found that low fat diets make me feel tired and give me insane cravings, so I just don't do low fat eating anymore. Maybe low fat diets work for other people but they definitely don't work for me, so I don't do it. If your diet leaves you feeling tired and hungry, then you definitely won't stick with it long term, so you should experiment with other types of food until you find out what works for you personally. There is no one perfect ideal diet that works for everyone because all our bodies are so different. Men and women need different things. Runners and bodybuilders need different things. Asian and European people need different things. The list goes on and on.
Fourth, when I exercise I do short, high intensity workouts that build strength and power. I do three 30-minute workouts a week. These workouts, despite being very short, leave me drenched in sweat by the end and include exercises like heavy lifting, box jumps, and burpees. I'm currently obsessed with Kayla Itsines' 12-week bikini body workout. No, I was not paid to endorse it. I really do do it and love it. Three 30-minute workouts like these a week definitely reshape my body.
Those are the only things I've done and I have my pre-founding-Methodology body back. The scale hasn't changed but the clothes is fitting completely differently. And all these things combined take really little time. Three 30-minute workouts a week. Methodology meals, hold the starch. And one meal out a week to make sure I don't feel deprived.
Lastly, I thought it might be helpful to make a list of the questions you should ask yourself if you want to figure out whether you're eating the right foods for your body.
Instead of just looking at the scale as your primary metric, here are some other things you should consider instead:
- How does your clothes fit?
- How energetic do you feel all day?
- How well do you sleep?
- How often do you have cravings?
- How long can you go between meals before feeling hungry again?
- Is your skin glowing and clear or is it dry or oily?
I promise you that if I can start a company that requires insane work weeks and get lean, I'm sure that you can find a way to get lean, too. And of course the whole Methodology team is here to support you! :)
Have questions? Our Wellness Coaches are here for you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.