Consider this the first of a two-part guide on How to Manipulate Your Macros. For the second part, the practical application, to make sense it’s imperative you read this.
Why Online Calculators Don’t Work
So you’ve gone to an online calculator, plugged your all your relevant information, out pops a couple of sets of macros for your rest and training days and you proceed happily on your diet. Then, some weeks later you stop seeing any changes and appear to have stalled. Why could this be the case?
Now, before I begin I don’t want to come across as critical of the people who have spent great time and effort to create these calculators to help people. They are good tools to get people going (my “How to Calculate your Leangains Macros” article remains the most popular post on this site nearly 2 years later) but they are not going to get you all the way.
The problem comes when people start thinking that such calculators can predict a diet’s progress accurately. – It says you should be losing 1lb of fat per week because you have calculated a perfect x000 kCal deficit, and so when that doesn’t happen people start to freak out. – How can it be? Did I not calculate accurately?
I first met Rog at an industry conference in the US last summer. It was good to meet people in the industry outside of Japan and confirm that, contrary to my suspicion, internet people are actually real. A likeable fella, I invited him over to Japan to stay if he ever had chance to visit, which he did just last week.
The greatest things in your life won’t happen by chance, they’ll happen by choice.
In the article What is the Value of an Online Diet Coach? I talked about the specific benefits I think working with an online coach holds vs one you can hire locally.
This article focuses more on the specifics of what I personally do and my thoughts on what I feel a good coach does.
The online diet coach/trainer is a new concept. There are very few online coaches, each with their own methods. I can’t speak for them. I only talk here about my own views.
Most personal trainers you’ll meet at your local gym want you as a customer for life. I don’t. I think that is a shitty business model. – Keep you confused, never explain things fully, always make it seem difficult so that you feel that you need them and keep coming back… Reminds me of the Hostess industry here in Japan where the hostess will drag out the relationship for as long as possible to get the most money from the client before she either sleeps with him or he gets bored and moves on…. It has to end somewhere and invariably that ending is not a happy one.
A Little Story: All around the world people are waking up hungover, gulping down gallons of water, looking at the holiday damage in the mirror and thinking, “Gotta get in shape!” [You have that moment this morning too?] The problem is though people’s intentions are good, the plans they make are doomed from the start and I don’t want yours to be.
A very good friend of mine, Keith, spent years trying many different diets before eventually losing 100lbs (45kg) made the following observation.
“There are two voices inside every fat mans head. They both whisper in your ear, and they both screw with your dieting, only in different ways.
“The ‘skinny man’ is the one that orders you to get your arse off the couch and exercise 6 days a week, eat only broccoli and chicken breast and not touch a drop of alcohol.
“The ‘fat man’ is the one that decides you you’re not making progress, convinces you what you’re doing is futile anyway, and makes you say “Ah screw it!” eat a whole pizza and quit your diet.”
Both these voices will screw things up for you, the former less obvious than the latter, so today I would like to talk about how the ‘skinny man’ does this.
In most gyms you go to nowadays you will find a few of the membership take steroids. It’s a fact of life. Though sometimes it’s obvious, rarely will anyone admit using them so you end up guessing who is on them.
The unfortunate side of this is that many members look up to these guys at the gym. They may ask about training or diet advice, or simply copy what they do, inevitably leading them down a path of frustration. Why? Steroids allow people with even the shittiest diet and training routines to gain muscle and lose fat. – Their advice is irrelevant and their size doesn’t make them qualified to give it to a natural trainee.
Let’s say your rich uncle dies and leaves you his Gallardo. On your first track-day you get spanked. To make matters worse it’s by guys in cars half the price. They are laughing. Do you get out your spanners and start fiddling with stuff in the hope this will make it faster, or do you learn how to use what you are given?
Same logic doesn’t seem to apply with dieting. Have a look at the following comment:
“Hey, so I’m going to lengthen my fasting window and add in a couple of 24 hour fasts and go all paleo for my carbs. Do you think this is a good idea?”
Is this person looking to experiment with the method out of curiosity to compare results with the ones that have already had, or are such ideas spawned out of frustration with their own lack of results and nutritional understanding? Having patience is not as fun as thinking up wild ideas of course.
Sometimes you may need to deviate from the standard plan. If you’re going to do that though, then you need to have a little wider understanding.
“Can I lengthen my fasting window?” “Can I do fasted training without BCAAs? I’ve heard they spike insulin and are bad for the fast.” Two consistently reoccurring questions. A few points need to be considered.