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  • Anthony Mychal 10:12 pm on January 11, 2018 Permalink  

    Why “listen to your body” is stupid advice that’ll make you fat and lazy 

    My eyelids are closing as I type this. I got two hours of sleep last night. My body is telling me to go to sleep. I should listen to my body.

    “Listen to your body.”

    You hear that phrase all the time. It sounds… right. It feels right, too. After all, the human body has doing it's thang for millions of years now. It has to know a thing or two…

    …right?

    Maybe not.

    YOUR BODY WHISPERS

    The premise behind “listening to your body” is such that your body has some sort of knowledge that your conscious mind doesn't have. The only way to access said knowledge is by listening to your body's whispers. But there are a few problems with this…

    FIRST: SIGNAL AND NOISE

    What if your body isn't trying to tell anything? Put your head up to your stomach as it digests food and you'll probably hear some gurgling and swishing. But that doesn't mean those noises are but… noises. DON'T CRACK YOUR KNUCKLES, SONNY.

    Problem: if you try to listen to your body too deeply, you're likely to turn noise into signal and risk misinterpretation.

    SECOND: DIFFERENT LANGUAGE

    Assume your body is trying to tell you something. What makes you think you can understand your body's language? How do you know you have the right translation?

    Pain is a negative, right? A sign you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. Wait. What about that whole “pain is weakness leaving the body” thing? What's the difference between discomfort and pain? I'm confused already.

    Problem: the translation you have for what your body is trying to tell you isn't universal. You're likely to rely on what you think your body is telling you, and, quite frankly, what you think might be wrong. 

    THIRD: PLACEBOS

    Listening to your body insinuates that your body works from inside of a vacuum. But your expectations greatly influence how your body functions. If you're used to eating lunch at 12PM every day, you'll probably be hungry at 12PM even though your body, deep down, might not ACTUALLY be hungry.

    This is where the placebo effect lives. The placebo effect, in a nutshell: your body feels how you expect it to feel.

    Problem: humans are creatures of habit and expectation, and sometimes those aren't helpful to an end goal. 

    FOURTH: EVOLUTION

    If you believe current evolutionary theory, then humans are pain and risk averse, meaning we're always going to be pushed towards comfort.

    What if comfort isn't ideal?

    If you're trying to stop smoking, your body doesn't really want you to stop smoking. If you listen to your body, you're gonna grab a smoke.

    Also, our primitive software isn't terribly suited to the modern world. We're afraid to take risks because our body codes stressors as ZOMG I'M BEING CHASED BY A LION, but, in reality, you're not being chased by a lion. You're just deciding whether or not to dump your shitty girlfriend that cheated on you.

    Problem: the way the body functions is a matter of context. We evolved in a world different than ours, which means what our body tells us might not match reality.

    FLACCID PLATITUDES

    I could continue with more examples. Continuing with the thread above, evolutionary theory also says that humans are misers. We conserve and hoard energy. If you listen to your body, you're going to die of Pizza the Hutt Syndrome and eat yourself to death.

    pizza the hutt

    Look –

    I get the sentiment. Listen to your body. I'm not saying you should ALWAYS ignore your body, just like I'm saying you should ALWAYS listen to your body. And because the door swings both ways, the phrase “listen to your body” is just another fancy yet flaccid fitness platitude.

    The post Why “listen to your body” is stupid advice that’ll make you fat and lazy appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 10:12 pm on January 11, 2018 Permalink  

    Why “listen to your body” is stupid advice that’ll make you fat and lazy 

    My eyelids are closing as I type this. I got two hours of sleep last night. My body is telling me to go to sleep. I should listen to my body.

    “Listen to your body.”

    You hear that phrase all the time. It sounds… right. It feels right, too. After all, the human body has doing it's thang for millions of years now. It has to know a thing or two…

    …right?

    Maybe not.

    YOUR BODY WHISPERS

    The premise behind “listening to your body” is such that your body has some sort of knowledge that your conscious mind doesn't have. The only way to access said knowledge is by listening to your body's whispers. But there are a few problems with this…

    FIRST: SIGNAL AND NOISE

    What if your body isn't trying to tell anything? Put your head up to your stomach as it digests food and you'll probably hear some gurgling and swishing. But that doesn't mean those noises are but… noises. DON'T CRACK YOUR KNUCKLES, SONNY.

    Problem: if you try to listen to your body too deeply, you're likely to turn noise into signal and risk misinterpretation.

    SECOND: DIFFERENT LANGUAGE

    Assume your body is trying to tell you something. What makes you think you can understand your body's language? How do you know you have the right translation?

    Pain is a negative, right? A sign you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. Wait. What about that whole “pain is weakness leaving the body” thing? What's the difference between discomfort and pain? I'm confused already.

    Problem: the translation you have for what your body is trying to tell you isn't universal. You're likely to rely on what you think your body is telling you, and, quite frankly, what you think might be wrong. 

    THIRD: PLACEBOS

    Listening to your body insinuates that your body works from inside of a vacuum. But your expectations greatly influence how your body functions. If you're used to eating lunch at 12PM every day, you'll probably be hungry at 12PM even though your body, deep down, might not ACTUALLY be hungry.

    This is where the placebo effect lives. The placebo effect, in a nutshell: your body feels how you expect it to feel.

    Problem: humans are creatures of habit and expectation, and sometimes those aren't helpful to an end goal. 

    FOURTH: EVOLUTION

    If you believe current evolutionary theory, then humans are pain and risk averse, meaning we're always going to be pushed towards comfort.

    What if comfort isn't ideal?

    If you're trying to stop smoking, your body doesn't really want you to stop smoking. If you listen to your body, you're gonna grab a smoke.

    Also, our primitive software isn't terribly suited to the modern world. We're afraid to take risks because our body codes stressors as ZOMG I'M BEING CHASED BY A LION, but, in reality, you're not being chased by a lion. You're just deciding whether or not to dump your shitty girlfriend that cheated on you.

    Problem: the way the body functions is a matter of context. We evolved in a world different than ours, which means what our body tells us might not match reality.

    FLACCID PLATITUDES

    I could continue with more examples. Continuing with the thread above, evolutionary theory also says that humans are misers. We conserve and hoard energy. If you listen to your body, you're going to die of Pizza the Hutt Syndrome and eat yourself to death.

    pizza the hutt

    Look –

    I get the sentiment. Listen to your body. I'm not saying you should ALWAYS ignore your body, just like I'm saying you should ALWAYS listen to your body. And because the door swings both ways, the phrase “listen to your body” is just another fancy yet flaccid fitness platitude.

    The post Why “listen to your body” is stupid advice that’ll make you fat and lazy appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 5:51 pm on November 28, 2017 Permalink  

    the 2 things (and only 2 things) a skinny-fat dude needs to do in order to build a better body… (NUMBER TWO WON’T GO DOWN EASYLLOLOLL) 

    You're here because there's a spark in your brain that bursts when you see the words “skinny” and “fat” sexed together as one. “Skinny-fat.” But, really, what is skinny-fat syndrome? What does it mean to be skinny-fat?

    I could get specific, citing my own feelings: I had cheerio sized wrists, chunky love handles, string bean arms, a sunken upper chest, and, uhhh, oh, yeah, them there moob thingies.

    (By the way, I still have cheerio wrists. I can wrap my hand around my wrist and touch pinky finger to thumb. I also like to take pictures of myself during awkward hair phases, terrible tan lines included.)

    skinny fat thin wrists anthony mychal

    I felt like a combination so unique that only Emeril Lagasse could have cooked up such a magnificent blend of lanky and muffin top.

    But there's no need to continually gouge my ego with an ice pick in order to describe skinny-fat syndrome. Skinny-fat syndrome is a product of two things. And if you tame these two things, you win.

    Skinny-fat syndrome is a byproduct of these two things

    If you set aside all the superfluous shit — genetics, body type, somatotypes, waffles, gords — skinny-fat syndrome is simple. It's a tug-of-war between two physical entities: muscle mass and body fat.

    If you don't want to be skinny-fat anymore, you need to do two things.

    • Lose fat
    • Build muscle (in the right places)

    Most skinny-fat dudes own up to needing to lose fat. But I know some of you are thinking, “I don't think I need to build muscle. I just need to be a little more toned and defined. I don't want to be a bodybuilder or anything.”

    If that's a thought ricocheting in your cranium, here's what you need to do: throw any idea of “muscle tone” or “muscle definition” you have into the toilet and flush.

    Don't be afraid to let your ego join the ride, because you can't train for muscle tone or definition. I wrote about this before here.

    Why skinny-fat dudes need to build muscle 

    Perhaps you're not sold. Good. Because I'm selling. Pretend — relative to your current state, assuming no other changes — you suddenly have 5% body fat. What do you look like?

    You might think you look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club. But you don't. You look more like Christian Bale in The Machinist.

    skinny fat lose fat no muscle

    Not bad if you want a Halloween costume that delivers shock value. But something tells me the whole I MIGHT DIE TOMORROW look look isn't exactly kitsch otherwise. (I just used the word “kitsch” in a sentence. You know I mean business, now.)

    Skinny-fat Dudes estimating his muscularity (and fat)

    Skinny-fat dudes tend to overestimate how much muscle mass they have. And, on the flip side, they underestimate how much fat they have. I see it all the time.

    Skinny-Fat Dude weighs 180 pounds. Skinny-Fat Dude thinks that, at 160 pounds, he'll be ripped and jacked. He loses weight. Gets down to 160 pounds. Still has a little stomach pudge. Gets self-conscious. Doesn't want to lose more weight because he'll then weigh as much as a prepubescent boy.

    To make matters worse, every family member tells him he looks ghastly enough to drop dead any second — a sentiment that is reinforced by Skinny-Fat Dude feeling as shapely as a dry towel on a clothes line.

    Skinny-fat dudes afraid of losing weight

    Skinny-Fat Dude feels like he'll turn into a pile of sawdust if he loses any more weight, so he concludes that he must have been losing muscle instead of fat. While that's possible, the odds are that Skinny-Fat Dude never had much muscle to begin with.

    As the great Scotty Smalls once said, “I haven't had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?”

    sandlot-smalls

    Skinny-Fat Dude is simply revealing the truth of his body, which is: a bunch of bones that were formerly covered in body fat. Now, with the body fat gone, he's just a bunch of bones.

    His ego made him think he was more muscular at his previous weight, but he confused Taking up more space with Being more muscular. Or, even worse, he confused Weighing a certain amount with Looking good naked.

    Building muscle in the right places

    Alright. I'm done selling. Muscle is important. But I'll concede… slightly. Because I'm not talking about becoming a bodybuilder or anything. Ten to twenty pounds of muscle goes a long way, especially if it's built in the right places.

    For instance, I look at a guy like Noah Kagan and think, Wow. Great transformation. You did good. But you fucked up, too. You should have done more pull-ups or something because you upper-body is still shaped like a pyramid.

    noah kagan skinny fat

    But I'm no one to judge Mr. Kagan. Maybe he loves his ‘△' framed upper-body. Not everyone shares my penchant for an x-physique and its inherent ‘▽' framed upper-body.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll write about this x-physique thing (and how to create an illusion with your physique) later. Don't wanna let the horse assfuck the cart, or something.

    Back to the two things

    We've ended up back where we started. I has to take the detour above to weed out those that are going to fail anyways don't jive with what I have to say.

    Tug-of-war. Muscle and fat. If you're skinny-fat, then fat is winning the tug-of-war. No bueno. If you want to shift the power dynamic, you need to keep reading.

    Coming soon…

    This is the end of Part 1. Part 2 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    → Click here to signup


    P.S.

    My love for building muscle extends beyond aesthetics. It's also the reason (probably) I'm able to drink more craft beer than any person touting “fitness” probably should. But this'll unravel in time…

    The post the 2 things (and only 2 things) a skinny-fat dude needs to do in order to build a better body… (NUMBER TWO WON’T GO DOWN EASYLLOLOLL) appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 10:23 pm on November 27, 2017 Permalink  

    if you’re trying to “Lose Weight” then you’re going to wreck yourself before you check yourself 

    you know a lot less than you think you do when it comes to energy, intake, energy output, deficits, surpluses, and all of the thermodynamic shit related to weight gain and weight loss.

    don't worry. i'm just as dumb as you are. to light this bouquet of roses ablaze, read Part 2. if Part 2 doesn't make sense, then read Part 1. i'm not feeling clever enough for a more spunky introduction. this is Part 3 and thus a fetus of the first two Parts. eat the placenta.

    this here Part 3 starts with an argument of semantics that makes me want to scoop the corneas out of my eyeballs with a gardening spade.

    a lot of people say they want to lose weight.

    fuggggg.

    why “weight” is bogus

    “i want to lose weight.”

    using the word “weight” allows persnickety punks like me to crawl outta' our caverns, slowly slide sun shades up our septums, click our tongues, and then (intelligently) declare:

    No, sire. You do not want to loseth weight. if that was alleth you wur concerned aboot, simply chop off thine arm. now if you'll excuse me, i'm going to get my butt hole waxed. thanketh.

    alas, i know what the phrase “lose weight” means. when someone says they want to ‘lose weight', they want to lose fat. duh. it is known.

    so persnickety punks like myself are out here majoring in the minutiae… or so it would seem. but, well, sometimes words matter. actually, most times, words matter.

    otherwise, language would be retarded.

    (C WAT I DID THUR?)

    you don't want to lose weight

    perhaps the biggest point persnickety punks like me try to make when qualifying this “weight” thing isn't about chopping off limbs, but, rather, clarifying the fate of muscle mass.

    cue stage right, to the Instagram chick with a before and after picture to showcase the bat shit world of “weight” in relation to body composition.

    • the before picture, 150 pounds and fat.
    • the after picture, 150 pounds and ripped.

    the difference? in the before picture, the weight was fat. in the after picture, the weight was muscle.

    (true story: in order to bolster my Instagram chick claim, I Google searched ‘Instagram muscle versus fat‘ and, no surprise, most of the search results were chick pictures.)

    “weight” can be muscle or fat. if your sole focus is on scale weight, you won't be able to tell which biological mush you're losing. as the Instagram chick clan can tell you, this is certainly no bueno.

    smaller problems with weight loss

    this phenomenon, your body being able to melt muscle instead of burn fat, shouldn't make much sense.

    we have to return to the car analogy i created oh so long ago in Part 1, because the car analogy tells us how surpluses and deficits are handled.

    intake more than your immediate tank can store? fuel goes inside of the red canisters in the trunk, our backup fuel cells. need 2000 calories, eat 3000 calories, then 1000 calories go into storage.

    output more than what your immediate tank has? the red canisters feed the fuel lineneed 3000 calories, eat 2000 calories, then 1000 calories get taken outta' storage.

    hihihihi

    you've probably took the intellectual leap (long ago) and paralleled the red canisters to body fat, even though I never made the connection. in fact, i went out of my way to avoid that connection, which is why, in Part 1, i only mention “weight” and not body fat.

    although body fat is like fuel inside of red fuel canisters, so are other bits of your bytes. muscle, too, can also be fuel inside of the red canisters. and, while we're at it, why not mention bone and organs?

    although the red canisters do represent body fat, they, in total, represent all of your “body stores” — tissues available for breakdown in times of need.

    hihihihi

    the initial logic unlocked by the car analogy was very… homeostatic. meaning, there was one variable regulating the system.

    TEMPERATURE DROPS, THERMOSTAT FEELS, HEAT KICKS ON; ENERGY DROPS, BODY FEELS, FAT IS UNLOCKED.

    this makes things nice and easy to understand, but, well… nah bruh. things don't work that way. your body is much more allostatic. meaning, there's a host of variables that can be manipulated to deal with the situation at hand.

    the heat doesn't have to turn on if you're cold. you can change into warmer clothes. you can throw a blanket over yourself. do a shot of tequila. drink hot chocolate.

    there's rarely one option.

    and, truth be told, this whole “body stores” thing is just the tip of the smirnoffberg.

    hihihihi

    i'm going press pause on current train of thought because it leads down a dark alley i'm not sure you're ready for. just kidding, i'm not ready for it. because it'll take us off the topic at hand, which is the downsides of focusing on “weight.”

    and i'm not done with that. here are some other things to think about…

    A. People have weight goals, but don't have weight ambitions.

    People want to lose weight and gain weight. That's what they decide to focus on, as a goal. Lose ten pounds, or whatever. But no one looks at the number 140 and says, “I want to look like that number.” They look at people and say, “I want to look like that.”

    cc: BradPitt@FightClub.com

    People want to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club because of the way he looked, not because of how much he weighed. I know this because 99% of the people that say, “I want to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club,” will not know how much Pitt weighed when filming the movie.

    well…

    do you?

    so there's a disconnect. you want to look a certain way, but your metric for success isn't looks. it's a number.

    B. People aren't equipped with the right numerical expectations.

    Just about anyone that wants to lose ten pounds probably really actually just about needs to lose thirty pounds… of fat, of course.

    unless you've dieted down to a low body fat before, there's a good chance you're underestimating how much weight you really need to lose in order to be lean. this fucks with expectations. and expectations are everything.

    if you think you only need to lose ten pounds to get shredded, and, after losing ten pounds, you aren't shredded, maybe five of those pounds were from muscle..?!?1?!?1?1?!1 WHAT ILLUMINATI IS IN CONTROL OF MY BAWDI?

    or maybe they weren't. maybe you were just fatter than you thought you were. don't be upset. happens to all of us.

    C. People attach an irrational emotional connection to certain weights.

    I see this all the time. People say, “I'm losing fat, but I'm afraid to keep going because I don't want to drop below 150 pounds.” (Or whatever weight.)

    why?

    you're holding two conflicting ideas. on one hand, you want to be lean. on the other hand, you don't want to weigh less. it doesn't make sense.

    if you're afraid of dropping below a certain weight, its likely because you feel like you're too thi,n (read: non-muscular). and you're probably non-muscular because you're focusing on WEIGHT LOSS as opposed to… well, just keep reading!

    i exclaimed that last sentence. did you see that? exclaim. i never exclaim. John Romaniello would be so upset.

    zee Mathematization of Humanity!

    weight is a number. usually measured by a bathroom scale caked in one too many pubic hairs. don't worry, the inch of dust expertly preserved atop the scale garners more attention.

    you are a human. not a number. yet many people choose to see themselves as a number, for body composition purposes. I get the sentiment. but this is a Mathematization of Humanity. it seems innocent, but it's not.

    combine the three things above and your body becomes mayhem and mystery. people want to look a certain way, but use numbers as their sole success metric. it just doesn't make sense.

    why care about how much you weigh when you don't have a fucking clue how much the people you want to look like weigh?

    now, to clarify…

    i'm not anti-weight checking. weight is a powerful metric to use, a great source of fast feedback. but it shouldn't be the SOLE success metric. it should be one of many.

    unum e pluribus

    okay, so that's round one

    the Mathematization of Humanity causes some problems. and here's where we can link back to the BIG issue I started this on: “weight” versus body stores.

    I said that when regulating, body has options. fat isn't an absolute guarantee. and, to make matters worse, this goes much deeper than body stores.

    suppose now is the time to cut the umbilical cord and let a new life begin.


    This is the end of Part 3. Part 4 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    → Click here to signup

    The post if you’re trying to “Lose Weight” then you’re going to wreck yourself before you check yourself appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 3:29 am on November 23, 2017 Permalink  

    How to “slim down” your holiday dinner to avoid unwanted fat gain 

    You don't wanna be mistaken for one of the floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the days following holiday festivities. You want to know holiday season diet secrets like:

    Serve steamed green beans instead of green bean casserole, ohhhh!

    Serve butternut squash instead of pasta, aaaahhhhhhhh!

    Serve smashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, woooaaaahhhh!

    Your corneas are already overflowing with cheat codes! But I'm just getting started. Ready for the real secret?

    The best way to slim down holiday dinners

    The real secret — the absolute best way to slim down your holiday dinner, eat guilt free, and prevent unwanted fat gain, is as follows:

    Don't fuck up what you eat the other 300 days of the year so that you can eat thirty sticks of butter (or whatever the hell else you want) during your holiday feasts without consequence. 

    Because here's the deal:

    One day (even an entire weekend) of feasting won't make you fat. It just won't. If you want a lackluster explanation as to why, click here. What'll make you fat is treating every weekend (weekday?) as if it were a holiday.

    So I have an idea for you. But before I tell you this idea, lemme drive my point home a little further.

    The low down on holiday feasting

    Obsessing over the healthiness of your holiday dinner doesn't make sense because…

    If you eat like you're supposed to most days of the year, you can eat whatever you want for the 1-3 day long holiday stretch without consequence. Won't affect your fat loss or muscle building ambitions.

    If you accept this, then…

    The only reason to care about what you eat during the holidays hinges on not eating like you're supposed to eat most days of the year.

    And if you're not eating like you're supposed to eat most days of the year, then…

    You're already fucked.

    Therefore…

    You should eat whatever the fuck you want during the 1-3 day holiday stretch.

     

    Here's an idea

    Given that the only way your holiday behaviors will matter is if you're fucking up most other days of the year (and fucking up most other days of the year means your holiday behaviors won't matter anyways), here's my idea.

    Instead of looking for ways to slim down your holiday dinner, do this instead:

    Capture the vigor with which you're finding ways to slim down your holiday dinner. Use it, instead, to find out how to “slim down” the 300 other mundane days of the year so that you can apologetically drink, eat, and be merry when its time to drink, eat, and be merry.

    Because if you're slimming down your holiday feasts, your shit is backwards. Your “diet” and your mindset are broken.

    holiday dinner anthony mychal

    The post How to “slim down” your holiday dinner to avoid unwanted fat gain appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 4:54 pm on November 22, 2017 Permalink  

    What you need to know about “overnight” (short-term) changes in body composition 

    i used to be afraid of getting too muscular. i didn't want to be a lump of bodybuilding sludge, unable to scratch my back.

    i always wanted to be sleeker. probably because, as a skinny-fat nerd turd, i always felt like the Cartman of the group.

    so when my friends (all four of them) and i played multiplayer video games, i always wanted to be the small quick dude. GAUNTLET. the elf. i was never the slow clunky barbarian.

    gauntlet nes

    funny. the dude that always was the clunky barbarian is huge now (muscularly). pretty sure he does steroids, too.

    people share similar thoughts, only they take them one step further.

    i don't want to get too muscular… OVERNIGHT.

    the same “overnight” concept bleeds into muscle loss and fat gain, too.

    I didn't train — oh no! — I don't want to lose all all my muscle overnight!

    I need to slim down my holiday dinner, I don't want to get fat overnight! 

    common thoughts.

    that need smeared with shit.

    brushing up on energy balance

    in order to put these short-term body composition changes into perspective, let's talk about energy. specifically, energy balance.

    if you haven't read my collection of farticles on energy balance, click here. the TL;DR being: your body uses energy every second of every day, and you eat energy every day to stay alive.

    the amount of energy you eat is measured via calories. The standard example, the reference point, always seems to be 2000 calories. in other words, you need to eat 2000 calories every day to maintain your current weight.

    the 2000 calorie thing is 100% not accurate for 99.9% of humans, but, for the sake of this conversation, and to avoid more percentages, and commas, let's assume that it is. you need 2000 calories every day. if you eat this amount, you stay the same weight.

    Mediocristan and Extremistan

    this 2000 calories, the energy you need in order to maintain yourself, exists within a Mediocristan domain. perhaps the best way to understand a Mediocristan domain is to first understand an Extremistan domain.

    (FYI, I'm stealing the concepts of Mediocristan and Extremistan from Nassim Taleb. Consider this a paralagiarismphrase of ideas that appear in The Black Swan.)

    EXTREMISTAN

    in an Extremistan domain, one instance or output can greatly unbalance the average. so imagine lining up 1000 middle class people and finding their average income.

    chances are, the largest deviation from the average won't be HUGE. and, if you added another middle class person into the lineup, the average wouldn't change much.

    but now imagine throwing Bill Gates into the lineup. suddenly, with Gates, the largest income deviation from the average IS huge. and thus, the average changes immensely.

    this is Extremistan in a nutshell.

    MEDIOCRISTAN

    in a Mediocristan domain, one instance or output can't greatly unbalance the average. so imagine lining up 1000 people and finding their average body weight.

    just as before, the largest deviation from the average won't be huge. and, if you added another person into the lineup, the average wouldn't change much.

    but here's the difference…

    even if you now add the largest living human into the lineup, the new adjusted average still won't change that much… even if s/he weighs three or four times the initial average.

    this is Mediocristan in a nutshell.

    what WON'T happen overnight

    as mentioned, your energy intake exists largely in a Mediocristan domain, meaning one single input (day) won't have a devastating consequences on the extended average.

    meaning none of these things

    • losing a meaningful amount of fat
    • building a meaningful amount of fat
    • building a meaningful amount of muscle
    • losing a meaningful amount of muscle

    will happen overnight, even if you use the most EXTREME measures possible. you can play this out with numbers.

    you can't lose fat overnight

    assuming you need 2000 calories every day to maintain your weight, that means you'd eat 60,000 calories in one month.

    even if you starved yourself and ate nothing in one day, you're not greatly affecting the overall monthly average intake.

    • all days @ 2000 = 2000 daily average
    • one day @ 0 = 1933 daily average

    to put these numbers into some perspective, the rule of thumb is that one pound of body fat “contains” 3500 calories. in other words, even if you did the most extreme thing possible (starved yourself for the day), you wouldn't lose one pound of fat.

    you can't get fat overnight

    likewise, even if you ate as much as you could in one day, you (probably) wouldn't greatly affect the monthly average calorie intake.

    “probably” is in parenthesis because there's greater deviation potential when it comes to overeating.

    when you starve yourself, there's a bottleneck: zero calories. when you gorge, the bottleneck is your stomach's capacity to hold food.

    in today's age, food is hyper palatable, flavor enhanced, and calorie dense — designed to hack your satiety circuitry. you might be able to eat, say, 10000 calories in one day.

    • all days @ 2000 = 2000 daily average
    • one day @ 10000 = 2266 daily average

    this has a bigger affect on the monthly average calorie intake. given a pound of fat “contains” 3500 calories, it would seem as if you gained two pounds of fat overnight.

    but the body isn't a nematode.

    the meat sweats

    if you slurped up 10000 calories in one day when, usually, you only eat 2000 calories, it seems as if you've consumed +8000 calories. but the body isn't static and linear. the numbers wouldn't shake out like that.

    ever have the meat sweats? you eat so much food, your body temperature jacks through the roof? when you eat more food, your body burns more calories.

    in other words, you wouldn't really be +8000. granted, you'd still end up with a calorie surplus. but it wouldn't be as severe as +8000.

    numbers dawg

    you might still be wondering… “Well, even if it is +5000, I've still gained a pound of fat though, right?” meh. maybe. probably not though.

    this world of numbers we've created in regards to how our body functions is nice and all, but there are a lot of things we have no quantifiable frame of reference for.

    for instance, your daily metabolic rate is tied to your bodyweight. so if you did gain a pound of fat, you also have to assume your metabolic rate changed ever so slightly which BUTTERFLY EFFECTS OMFG I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M TGALKINGB BOUt

    feelings, undereating and overeating

    screw the numbers. what about feelings? if you chucked back 10000 calories in one day, you'd certainly wake up the next day feeling fatter, right?

    absolutely. but the feeling wouldn't actually be a byproduct of gaining body fat. most short-term feasts make you feel fat because:

    1. You have a bunch of food sitting in your stomach, which makes you feel bloated.
    2. Your feasts also contain high sodium foods, which means you're retaining more water than you normally do.

    Both of these make you feel (and look) softer and puffier. typically, a day of two of “regular” eating will autocorrect this feeling.

    similarly, when most people don't train for a day (or a week) and feel less muscular, they aren't really losing muscle. the feeling is a byproduct of short-term adaptations, like your body carrying less muscle glycogen — something that will also autocorrect after one or two training sessions.

    conclusion

    in the end, your body won't make meaningful metabolic adaptions in 24-hours. it just so happens that both body fat and muscle mass fall under the “meaningful metabolic adaptations” umbrella.

    if you want to lose fat, it takes more than a day EVEN IF YOU DO THE MOST EXTREME THING POSSIBLE AND STARVE YOURSELF; if you're afraid of gaining fat, it takes more than a day EVEN IF YOU DO THE MOST EXTREME THING POSSIBLE AND GORGE YOURSELF.

    if you want to gain muscle, it takes more than a day EVEN IF YOU DO THE MOST EXTREME THING POSSIBLE AND STRENGTH TRAIN NON-STOP; if you're afraid of losing muscle, it takes more than a day EVEN IF YOU DON'T MOVE A SINGLE JOINT. 

    your body composition is a product of trends, not fads.

    your body isn't Yikes pencil, is what i'm saying.

    The post What you need to know about “overnight” (short-term) changes in body composition appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 1:16 am on November 14, 2017 Permalink  

    How much WEIGHT do you have to LIFT in order to BUILD muscle? 

    You have what little muscle you have (HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY OR SO I HEAR) thanks to gravity. If you want to be more muscular, you need to hop into a hyperbolic time chamber and overcome supergravity.

    In other words, you need to create and move against more resistance than what Earth's gravity already provides. Wrote about this in Part 2. I'll add to it in the future, but you're sitting pretty now because you know enough to face the question at hand:

    How much resistance (weight) do you have to move (lift) in order to build muscle?

    I could be blunt.

    Likely, at minimum, 60% of your one-repetition max (1RM). Or, if numbers scare you, just think: sticky movements.

    But, well, you know me. I like to explain things, which is why I'm going to undo my bluntness and dive into the deep. If my blunt answers weren't enough (or were confusing), you're welcome to suffer along with me.

    The RPG analogy to end all analogies (or my sanity, haven't decided)

    Imagine that you're a character in an RPG. Your ability to overcome “load” (established in Part 2) exists on a spectrum that goes from Level 0 to Level 99.

    overcome load level spectrum

    When you're Level 1, you can barely overcome Earth's gravity. Level 99 represents your biological ceiling. The maximum load you've ever be able to overcome.

    (You aren't at your biological ceiling. Even the greatest athletes in the world improve slightly from year to year. Don't worked up about where you are in relation to your ceiling. You just need to know that one exists.)

    For gits and shiggles, let's assume you're Level 20. (You're obviously not Level 1. If you were, you wouldn't be able to move.) With this Level, and every Level, comes certain realities dictated by the rules of the RPG.

    First, you have a magic spell for every Level. So you have a Level 1 magic spell, a Level 2 magic spell, a Level 3… all the way up to Level 20.

    Second, your maximum magic capacity is your Level. Since you're Level 20, you have 20 magic points available.

    Third, each spell uses an amount of magic commensurate with its Level. If you use a Level 5 spell, you use 5 magic points.

    Fourth, after you use a magic spell, your magic points slowly regenerate over time.

    Fifth, the higher Level you are — the more robust and powerful you are — the more resources it takes to keep yourself afloat. You have more everything so you need more everything to accommodate for said everything.

    If you aren't a video game nerd, the above analogy won't stick well. Sorry I'm not sorry. Consider this the wedgie you always deserved but never got.

    How your spells influence you

    You're Level 20. You use your Level 1 magic spell. It only requires 1 magic point. Considering you have 20 magic points available, the overall impact on you isn’t huge. You still have 19 points available.

    But say you use a Level 18 spell. You now only have 2 magic points left, which means the overall impact on you is huge. The fact that you only have 2 magic points left makes you vulnerable. Even a peon enemy can beat you because you can’t use stronger spells (until you recover).

    So a Level 18 spell is stressful on a Level 20 character. It’s stressful from a resource standpoint (it uses up a lot of magic points relative to your overall capacity). It’s also stressful from an impact standpoint (after you use it, you’re vulnerable because you can't use higher spells).

    You are a moist machine

    The not so general rule of thumb: higher Level spells are more stressful than lower Level spells — an important factoid because your body isn't a huge fan of stress. Your body is a much bigger fan of stasis, which is to say: equilibrium and balance. When you're stressed, your survival is compromised.

    So say you're Level 20. You constantly find yourself throwing Level 15 spells. In other words, you're undergoing chronic stress. You're always in a weakened state.

    If your body were a regular machine, the only thing it'd be able to do is recover and repair as much (and as quickly) as possible in between spells.

    Fortunately, your body isn't a regular machine. Your body is a moist biological machine with… abilities. It can adapt, change, and become a creature better able to survive certain situations. In other words, your body can Level Up.

    How to Level Up

    When you're Level 20, throwing Level 15 spells is stressful. But what if you are Level 30? Or Level 40? Throwing those same Level 15 becomes a much less stressful experience.

    So if you're Level 20 and you find yourself going through the chronic charade of throwing Level 15 spells, your body can make a calculated decision to Level Up.

    Leveling Up might not seem like a difficult decision to make. Your body doesn't like to be stressed, and, by Leveling Up, your body won't be as stressed.

    But there are downsides to Leveling Up. Remember, being a higher Level requires more resources. Requiring more resources is also a “vulnerability” because you become less energy efficient. As mentioned, in Part 1, your body doesn't fuck around when it comes to energy.

    The big juicy RPG analogy flaw

    If your body is stressed from chronically throwing high Level spells, it can Level Up. This is the nugget nectar, the reason we're here. But before we eat the nectar, I have to first mention a big juicy flaw in this RPG analogy.

    I created the flaw on purpose to make things less complicated, but now it's time to undo it and make things more complicated.

    Initially, I established linear rules for the RPG. Your magic spell uses an amount of magic commensurate with your Level. In other words:

    • Level 1 spell uses 1 magic point
    • Level 6 spell uses 6 magic points
    • Level 18 spell uses 18 magic points

    If you plot this out on a graph (magic points vs. Level), you get a nice straight line. One step east takes you one step north. The stress of your spells increases linearly; a Level 2 spell is twice as taxing as a Level 1 spell.

    linear level spectrum

    But, in reality, there's a nonlinearity to stress. In other words, one step to the east won't always take you one step to the north.

    How to break your leg in style

    You stand on a one foot high wall and jump off. Then you stand on a two foot high wall and jump off. Then you stand on a three foot high wall and jump off. The idea: the higher the wall, the rougher the landing.

    In this sense, it seems that jumping off a wall plays by the same linear rules established five seconds ago. But it doesn't. Here's why.

    Imagine jumping off a one foot wall twenty times. You can calculate the impact as (ten impacts @ 1 foot = ten feet worth of impact).

    Imagine jumping off a ten foot wall one time. You can calculate the impact as (one impact @ ten feet = ten feet worth of impact).

    Despite both situations adding up to ten feet worth of impact, you know, intuitively, that each situation is a lot different, which is why you'd rather jump off a one foot wall ten times.

    Say hello to my little nonlinear friend

    The increased severity that comes with jumping off the ten foot wall is a product of nonlinearity. When you plot nonlinearity on a graph, you end up with a curve instead of a straight line. This curve has an inflection point —  a point where the line heads north at a more rapid rate.

    nonlinear level spectrum

    Establishing nonlinearity is important because it gives you a more accurate depiction of how stress correlates to certain Level spells.

    Earlier, you might have concluded that twenty consecutive Level 1 spells was “equal” to one Level 20 spell. But now, if you overlap this nonlinear curve atop the Level spectrum, you can see that a Level 1 spell might only use fractions of one magic point.

    Ceiling versus comfort 

    The presence of nonlinearity enables a comfort zone on the Level spectrum in relation to your ceiling. (Your ceiling is simply your current Level.) Given your current Level, there's a cluster of spells you can use regularly without excessive stress baggage.

    ceiling versus comfort level spectrum

    At some point, however, the comfort zone fizzles, and the spells get exponentially more stressful… which is exactly where you want to be. In case you fell asleep, let me tell you why.

    Leveling Up and building muscle

    If you want to build muscle, you have to Level Up. Making your body Level Up is the point; muscle mass is a byproduct of Leveling Up.

    In order for you to Level Up, you have to throw spells beyond your comfort zone. You have to stress your body, otherwise, you body will have no reason to upgrade.

    This brings us to the question we've been mining from the start. At what point does the comfort zone break down? At what point do the spells become stressful enough to get the body thinking about Leveling Up?

    Gravity as an enemy

    Time to shift from RPG to reality. Hopefully the transition'll be smooth. We're all fighting the same enemy (same load): Earth’s gravity. This is like always fighting a Level 3 enemy.

    If we were Level 3, we'd be constantly stressed out bonkers. In order for us to face a Level 3 enemy on the regular, our body has to adapt to a point where a Level 3 enemy is safe and comfortable.

    In other words, our ceiling — our real Level — has to be higher than Level 3. When you’re Level 20, Level 3 enemies aren’t a big deal. And that’s what your body wants; your body wants stasis. Balance. Ease.

    The, uhh, Nazi salute…?

    Take any single movement you can think of. Let's use the Nazi salute as an example, just because it's offensive and I was told that offending people would get me more followers.

    This Nazi salute, without weight, is a Level 3 spell according to our analogy. In other words, we're coasting in the comfort zone.

    Now, slowly add weight to the movement by the pound. You're making your hand heavier and heavier. Eventually, you'll hit a point where you'll be unable to lift your arm in the air. This weight represents your one-repetition max (1RM) — the amount of weight you can lift one single time.

    This 1RM represents your current max Level, which anchors the nonlinear curve. The sweet spot, the point at which you comfort zone fizzles, is somewhere around 60% of your 1RM.

    So if you want to build muscle, if you want to stress yourself, you should be lifting at least 60% of your 1RM on a regular basis.

    Another analogy!

    If you want to build muscle, you need to go beyond your load comfort zone. There's now a number attached to this concept. Hurrah! Everyone can go home now.

    Just kidding.

    I'm going to take things one step further and explain something I've already explained… a slightly different way. Surprising, right? Who would have expected such a thing?

    Me.

    I would have expected such a thing.

    Because I know me.

    Atop this Level spectrum, we can consider yet another spectrum. The SPRING – STICK spectrum.

    Springing and sticking

    You can contract your muscles. You can relax your muscles. In the end, this is what every movement boils down to. But, funnily enough, you can't move when you're 100% in either extreme.

    • Total relaxation, you can’t move.
    • Total contraction, you can’t move.

    Overcoming load is a combination of contraction and relaxation, with movement being biased towards an extreme.

    CONTRACTION

    Contraction based movements are sticky. Grindy. Friction. In order to be sticky, you have to contract. If your car breaks down on the side of the road and you have to push it, chances are you’re going to be all sorts of sticky moving.

    RELAXATION

    Relaxation based movements are springy. Bouncy. Ballistic. In order to be springy, you have to relax. If I ask you to throw a baseball as far as you can, chances are you're going to be all sorts of springy moving.

    Stick stick sticky

    On the Level spectrum, there's an inherent flow from SPRING to STICK. In other words, the maximum load you're able to (consciously) overcome is inherently sticky. Consider this your aforementioned 1RM, your ceiling.

    As you reduce the load, you become less contraction based. Eventually, you'll reach a point where you're able to comfortably relax and spring under a given load.

    Surprise, surprise…

    This transition from stick to spring is likely somewhere around 60% of your 1RM.

    In other words, if wondering how much resistance you need to overcome in order to build muscle and you don't want to drown in calculus, simply ask yourself: are you performing an honest sticky movement?

    Honest sticky movements

    It's worth qualifying the “honest” adjective I used. Be honest: did you cheat on me? I need to know. Was it me? Was it my fault? I can't change, baby, but I can sure as hell put on a façade and make it seem like I can (and will) even though I won't; we'll be back in the same spot two years from now; it'll be a recurring loop and we'll die unhappily ever after.

    You decide to walk slow and sticky up the steps, but you could leap and bound quickly up those same steps. So walking up the steps, no matter how you do it, isn’t an “honest” sticky movement.

    A good marker to judge honest sticky movements: if you tried your hardest, could you be springy or leave the surface of the earth? If you can't (to a huge degree, or for a long time), you're probably in an honest sticky zone.

    How to not build muscle

    So. Finally. We've made it. Muscle growth is a byproduct of Leveling Up. Leveling Up is an adaptation in response to chronic stress. Otherwise said, constantly facing 60% 1RM. Or, constantly overcoming a sticky load.

    I realize how lol that last sentence sounds, and it's a bit too lol for me to care.

    But as one door closes, another opens.

    You can train at 60% of your 1RM, be sticky as all hell, and struggle to build muscle… for a few reasons. The one I want to tackle next: exercise selection.

    There are better and worse exercises. Not surprisingly, a lot of people tend to do the worse ones.

    Coming soon…

    This is the end of Part 3. Part 4 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    → Click here to signup


    P.S.

    I realize there are flaws aplenty within this analogy. My use of “stress” only occurring at 60% of your 1RM is sketchy because it neglects load load explosive work that can be immensely stressful.

    The post How much WEIGHT do you have to LIFT in order to BUILD muscle? appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 5:17 pm on November 10, 2017 Permalink  

    Why counting calories is a game for idiots that are… idiotic. Pretend this sentence is a yo mamma joke, I’m out to offend. 

    If you're trying to lose fat and build muscle, you probably know a thing or two about energy and calories. Or maybe you don't, in which case you need to read Part 1.

    If you're too lazy to read Part 1, the following recap'll have to do.

    • Your body needs energy.
    • You're using energy 24/7.
    • You get energy from food.
    • Energy is measured in calories.
    • There's intake and output.
    • Output > Intake = Deficit/Loss
    • Intake > Output = Surplus/Gain

    Sounds good.

    But its shit.

    For two reasons.

    The first reason is the sexier of the two, which is exactly why I'm saving it for later. Grandma's rule. So let's start with the second reason. (I hate myself.)

    Introducing: counting calories

    Energy balance dictates body composition through the “rules” listed above.

    • Output > Intake = Deficit/Loss
    • Intake > Output = Surplus/Gain

    For all intents and purposes, we can say that, if you're using the “rules” above, you're using a strategy known as “counting calories.”

    Counting calories entails (a) finding out how many calories you burn in a given day, and then (b) finding out how many calories you eat in a given day.

    You then use the “rules” above to hack the system.

    • If you want to gain weight, you make sure you're eating more than what you need.
    • If you want to lose weight, you make sure you're eating less than what you need.

    This is the same concept I established at the end of Part 1, I'm just giving the art itself a name for easy reference.

    Counting calories: truth versus practicality

    Forget about the “rules” supporting the calorie counting infrastructure. Instead, look at the practicality. Counting calories is only a viable strategy if you can do two things:

    • Reliably calculate daily energy output.
    • Reliably calculate daily energy intake.

    You HAVE to be able to do these two things and get reliable values for each, otherwise you're playing a game of chess against an opponent using invisible pieces.

    If you think you're eating 2000 calories per day, but you're actually eating 3000 calories per day, you've got some problems. Likewise, if you think you're burning 3000 calories per day, but you're actually burning 2000 calories per day, you've got some problems. So this whole “data reliability” issue is something to look into.

    No big deal. Lots of people would say you can reliably calculate your daily energy intake and your daily energy output. People do it all the time. Right?

    Wrong.

    I mean, you can.

    But you can't.

    I mean, here's what I mean.

    The LOLWTFBBQ of estimating calorie (energy) output

    Let's start here: calculating daily energy output. In other words, finding out how many calories your body uses every day — your average daily metabolic rate.

    Most people use calculators on the Internet to find their average daily metabolic rate. Google search ‘metabolic rate calculator’, and you’ll find hundreds of different calculators.

    Some of them estimate your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of energy you’d output if you did nothing but rest in bed all day. Most of us do more than rest in bed, which is why there are total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) calculators.

    (I'm going to assume you aren't sinking in a confusing sea of acronyms even though I realize the possibility.)

    So check it out. I want to count calories. I need to know my daily energy output (metabolic rate). I do some Googling. I find three different BMR calculators.

    I give each website the same pieces of information (height, weight, age) and here's what happens:

    • active.com: 2,123 calories per day
    • calculator.net: 1,998 calories per day
    • bmrcalculator.org: 2000 calories per day

    How can each calculator poop out different results despite using the same information? Gah. Oh well. The variance between each result isn't huge. I'm fine. Right?

    Part dos of the LOLWTFBBQ of estimating calorie (energy) output

    I have my BMR. Or what I believe to be my BMR. But I do more than watch Netflix in bed every second of every day. And, hey, I'm smarter than the average sasquatch. I know a bunch of things influence my daily metabolic rate.

    I know that my physical activity is a factor; if I move around more, I'll use more energy. I know that my body composition is a factor; muscle is more metabolically active than fat, which means a 200 pound person with 10% body fat will have a higher metabolic rate than a 200 pound person with 30% body fat.

    I don't want to ignore these things, so I look for a TDEE calculator. Google takes me to tdeecalculator.net. I punch in my activity level and body fat percentage. I’m told that my TDEE is a whopping 3,691 calories per day.

    lolwut.

    Not long ago, I was working with a 2000 calorie per day BMR. Now I'm being told I can house 3,691 calories per day. In other words, every day I can eat six more Snickers® bars than I originally thought I could.

    TDEE, BMR, and LOL

    Considering my BMR is the amount of calories I'd burn if I were decomposing in a nursing home, I'm going to use my TDEE estimation for calorie counting purposes. (Because, uhhh, I'm not dying. I mean, I am dying. We're all dying, but…)

    VOMIT.

    Here's the deal…

    Although many things do influence your metabolic rate, more often than not, accounting for every known variable gives you an illusion of control more than actual control.

    BODY COMPOSITION

    Your body composition does influence your metabolic rate. But, chances are, the body fat percentage you think you have isn't accurate.

    Home body fat measurement tools like bioelectric impedance scales are terrible. They’re overly sensitive to hydration. Drink a glass of water, your body fat goes up five percent. Wait, what? Body fat calipers also have big error in untrained hands.

    In general, most ways to measure your body fat percentage in the comfort of your own home are bogus. If you want a real estimate, you have to be getting results via hydrostatic weighing, BodPod, or DEXA.

    PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

    Physical activity also influences your metabolic rate. But, often times, defining your physical activity is a crap shoot. For instance, the TDEE calculator mentioned above gives five different activity categories:

    • Sedentary (office job)
    • Light exercise (1-2 days/week)
    • Moderate exercise (3-5 days/week)
    • Heavy exercise (6-7 days/week)
    • Athlete (2x/day)

    But these categories don’t even define the type of exercise being done. And, to make matters worse, us humans suffer from all sorts of cognitive biases that make us overestimate just how active we really are.

    Meaning I'm going to report (I did report) that I exercise vigorously, when, really, REALLY REALLY, I probably only exercise moderately.

    Part w/e of the LOLWTFBBQ of estimating calorie (energy) output

    Let's hop back to the TDEE calculation. I was estimated to have a TDEE of 3,691 calories. But, well, I was using estimates to get this estimate. If using estimates in order to estimate something sounds like a recipe for estimation error, that's because it is.

    I plugged in values for both body composition and physical activity, neither of which were 100% accurate. In other words, the likelihood of my TDEE being 3,691 calories isn't great.

    To make matters worse, things get hairier than an Italian man's arms. For instance, non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) also impacts your metabolic rate. NEAT is the energy you use when you're macromoving, but not exercising.

    Are you sitting upright, or are you slouching? (Sitting upright uses more energy.) Are you shivering right now? (Uses more energy.) Picking your nose? (Uses energy, unless you eat the booger.)

    No metabolic rate calculator overtly accounts for NEAT. In other words, the likelihood of my TDEE being 3,691 calories is even less great than it was two paragraphs ago, before I mentioned hairy Italians and boogers.

    Part finito of the LOLWTFBBQ of estimating calorie (energy) output

    The only way to know your true metabolic rate is to lock yourself into a vacuum sealed room that's able to measure all of the heat that escapes from your body.

    You don’t have access to one of these rooms. Gaining access to one of these rooms is useless unless you also plan on abandoning your life and living inside for a few days.

    Point being: any quantification you have of your energy output — your daily metabolic rate — is a baby born from a soupy estimation orgy.

    I'm going to press pause and shift focus. Before I get to the implications, I have to break down the flip side of counting calories: measuring energy intake.

    The LOLWTFBBQ of estimating calorie (energy) intake

    Calculating energy intake is a two-step process. First, you measure how much food you eat. Second, you find out how many calories are in said quantity of food. There are two ways to find out how many calories are in any given food: food labels and the Internet.

    Do you hear it coming?

    The shit storm?

    Unfortunately, calculating energy intake is just as flawed as calculating output. Because, uhhh, bacon.

    Yes.

    Bacon.

    You find out there 80 calories in two cooked strips of bacon. This is what the bacon package says. So you put two strips of bacon in a pan. You cook 'em up.

    From experience, you know that grease yield is correlated to bacon crispiness. In other words, the longer you cook the bacon, the more grease cooks off.

    How does this factor into the 80 calorie estimate? If you like under-cooked chewy rubbery bacon is there more calories in those two slices?

    Good question.

    I don't know the answer.

    The calories you eat aren't the calories you absorb

    Nutrition labels are vague by necessity. They are based on averages. Perhaps you ate 100 calories worth of bacon instead of 80 calories.

    Seems trivial, but imagine if this margin of error replicated. For every 80 calories you thought you ate, you actually ate 100 calories. At the end of the day, you'd sleep thinking you ate 2000 calories when, really, you ate 2500 calories.

    According to an article in The New York Times, food labels can be wrong by up to 25%. Not because of bacon blunders, but, rather, because the amount of calories you pour down your gullet isn't necessarily the amount of calories your body absorbs.

    Here's an explanation. Or three.

    ONE

    Each macronutrient requires a different amount of energy to break down and digest. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF).

    For instance, it takes more energy to break down proteins than it does fats. So eating 100 calories of fats yields more energy than eating 100 calories of proteins.

    TWO

    Cooking and processing make foods easier to absorb, which means we expend less energy in an attempt to digest them. Its like the difference between hammering down a brick wall and blowing over a tepee.

    So if you eat a 100 calorie non-processed food, your body will spend more energy to digest it as compared a 100 calorie processed food. In other words, your body absorbs more of the processed food's calories.

    Or two.

    Headlines get your attention

    I could go on. There are more reasons why counting calories and measuring food intake is a crap shoot. Bottom line of all this being:

    • We don't really know our energy output, and estimating it is tough.
    • We don't really know our energy intake, and measuring it is tough.

    In other words, despite energy balance and thermodynamics ruling the world of body composition, hacking the system is impossible.

    But…

    BUT…

    I'm a piece of shit.

    Piece of shit is me

    I'm a piece of shit because I'm nitpicking. On purpose. Putting the appropriate spin on things because headlines are everything… or something. Pretending to be smarter than I really am.

    Because, despite it being impossible to “hack the system,” the only way to navigate this alphabet soup is to… hack the system.

    Calculating your energy output is flawed. Measuring energy intake is flawed. Counting calories as a strategy is imperfect. Very imperfect.

    But you still need to do it.

    Why you need to count calories

    Counting calories is the only hand you have to play with the cards you've been dealt. You just have to understand one thing (that most people don't): everything is a shitty imperfect estimate.

    Too many people approach calorie counting as if they are holding the law in their hands, which turns things into one shitty game of cops and robbers. You do the work, you have the numbers in front of you, you go HAM, and things don't work as expected.

    What's wrong? Why isn't this working? I'm eating less than I'm burning. Why can't I lose weight? Must be my genetics. I knew I wasn't built for this.

    But that's not the case. You're just getting duped by the world; you weren't equipped with the proper expectations and mindset, which is that (a) everything is an estimate, and (b) we know less than we think we do.

    The answer isn't to get more specific and detailed in an attempt to gain control over the situation. That just screws things up. The answer is to zoom out. To go broad. To not be as anal with calorie counting (because there is error all over the place anyways). To embrace trial and error. To use real feedback to guide the process.

    The first, sexier

     

    You might now be wondering… How? How do you take the last paragraph and put it into practice? I'll get to this sooner or later. I want to stay focused and connect with something I mentioned earlier.

    I said there were two reasons why all of this energy balance talk is shit. Above is the second reason. Thermodynamics (and energy balance) is true, but hacking its source code isn't as easy as it appears. A lot of people get duped by the numbers because they associate them with certainty. But there is none, initially.

    Now its time for the first reason. The sexier reason. The reason why the people that say “I want to lose weight” are doomed.


    This is the end of Part 2. Part 3 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    → Click here to signup

    The post Why counting calories is a game for idiots that are… idiotic. Pretend this sentence is a yo mamma joke, I’m out to offend. appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 2:33 pm on October 30, 2017 Permalink  

    An incredibly long and somewhat useful guide to understanding energy balance and body composition 

    A lot of dudes trying to get ripped and jacked anchor their ships in the energy balance model of body composition.

    If you don't know what energy balance is or why its important, don't panic. This guide will teach you everything you need to know.

    Including the fact that 95.9% of the people anchoring their ships in the energy balance model are going to end up swimming with the sharks.

    Part one

    How to eat Twinkies and Doritos and lose weight

    Haub. Energy use and exercise. Cost of living. Eating and Birdman. Calories and capitalization. Vacuum cleaners and cords. Intake and output. 

    → Click here to read Part 1

    Part two

    Coming soon…

    If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    → Click here to signup

    The post An incredibly long and somewhat useful guide to understanding energy balance and body composition appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 2:31 pm on October 30, 2017 Permalink  

    How to eat Twinkies and Doritos and lose weight 

    On Sunday nights, you'll find me shoving a bunch of junk food down my esophagus to ignite an insulin induced coma.

    All of my (First World) problems fade. My body can't give my brain the blood it needs to feed my anxiety. My blood, instead, is diverted towards my intestines in a feeble attempt to deal with the bolus of food crashing towards my colon.

    dodgeball movie junk food

    A nutrition professor at Kansas State University named Mark Haub ate nothing but junk food for ten weeks, but for an entirely different and even more outlandish reason: to lose weight.

    And he did.

    Haub lost a total of 27 pounds over those 10 weeks.

    His specific strategy went something like this: eat assorted Hostess and Little Debbie pre-packaged cream filled somehow stay fresh forever snack cakes every three hours. He mixed in Doritos and other junk food.

    Because, variety.

    Haub was out to prove that weight gain and weight loss wasn't about eating healthy. It wasn't about how many meals you ate, or how frequently you ate. Nor was it about when you ate what.

    It was about one thing. And this one thing allowed him to eat junk food and lose weight.

    Sounds too good to be true. What is this one thing? SORCERY? CHEAT CODES? WIZARDRY? MANA? And can anyone use it to lose weight?

    Let's find out.

    This is Part 1 of the Energy Balance Blueprint. Click here to go to the table of contents. If you don't want to miss any updates to this series, signup for my weekly email column here.

    You aren't special

    There's a car parked in your driveway. This car is energy because all matter is energy. Oh the wonders of physics. This car’s parts can (and will) be broken down and transformed into other sorts of energy by Mother Nature and Father Time.

    You're no different. You are a living breathing biological organism, but, realistically, you're just a molecular mess of energy trapped inside of a skin bag. When you die, your skin, bones, and reproductive organs will undergo a magnificent feat of cosmic recycling.

    Your eyeball could very well be recycled matter from Plato’s penis. And your penis could very well be recycled cosmic matter from Plato's brain, which would make you one smart dickhead.

    You need this, or else you die

    It’s one thing to be energy. It’s another thing to need energy. A parked car is energy, but it doesn’t need energy until you turn the key in the ignition. The car needs a certain amount of energy to turn on and stay on.

    Humans are no different. But your relationship with energy intake and energy output is probably broken because of McFitness propaganda. A lot of people think that, when they are in the gym exercising, their engine is on. Oppositely, when they aren’t in the gym exercising, their engine is off.

    • Exercise, on.
    • Non-exercise, off.

    BzzzZzzZzzzZ. Gringo buzz. Wrong. Because according to Dr. Peter Attia, if your body stops recycling energy for just one second, you die. That's all. Just one second. Death.

    So, right now, you're using and recycling energy. Unless you're dead. You’re obviously not dead. At least, I hope you aren't dead. Because then I’m dead, too. Is this a parallel universe?

    Mom…?

    Dad…?

    They’re here.

    poltergeist girl

    You never stop exercising

    Your body is always doing things you don’t consciously think about doing. But now I’m asking you to consciously think about the things that your body unconsciously does that you don’t consciously think about doing. (I’m more confused now than when I tried to read Gödel, Escher, Bach.)

    • Your heart beating.
    • Your brain thinking.
    • Your kidneys filtering.
    • Your intestines digesting.

    These processes aren’t free. Your brain accounts for 20–25% of the energy you use at rest. Digesting food? Another 10–15% of your energy use. These processes not only require energy, but they’re also essential processes. Meaning: without them, you die.

    You may not always be macromoving, which is to say: moving to the visible eye. But you are very much micromoving. Take a look at yourself under a microscope. You cells are partying like it’s 1999.

    So even if you've been watching TV for so long that the fabric of your couch is now one with your body, you're still “on” and using energy. You're just not “on” to a high level. You're idling in the driveway.

    When you enter the world of macromovement, you output more. You're taking joyrides. You're cruising the Autobahn.

    I can't think of a clever headline

    You always output. And output demands intake. Doesn’t matter if you’re parking in a driveway, or driving on a parkway. Something needs to support your output, otherwise you run out of energy, die, and become food for the raccoon living in the backyard.

    And thus, you feast.

    For millions of years, humans knew they had to eat. They probably didn’t understand much about the who, what, when, or why. But they were smart enough to listen to their gut.

    Or maybe they weren’t. Maybe they thought they were BirdDddDddmMmaAan and they sat in the sun to satisfy their hunger. And then they died. Natural selection at its finest.

    Cavemen were able to handle the relationship between intake and output by using wonderful internal feedback mechanisms, like hunger pangs, food cravings, and satiety loops.

    But science has pushed us beyond the primitive reality. Food isn’t a magic unknown anymore. Food is a number. Food is calories.

    Calories aren't fattening

    Many people think calories are “fattening” or “sugar,” or so it would appear based on those hidden camera TV shows.

    Guy asks, “Do you count calories?”
    Person replies, “Absolutely.”
    Guy asks, “What’s a calorie?”
    Person replies, “Me like for you to cheese unicorn turtle.”

    The same thing happens if you ask someone about gluten. Don't take my word for it. Try it out.

    Calories are measurement of energy, much like a degree is a measurement of temperature. They weaseled their way into the food industry when some totally (in)sane person put food inside of a contraption known as a bomb calorimeter.

    The calorimeter lit the food on fire (or something), which allowed said (in)sane person to calculate the energy content within foods. The discovery: each of the thee primary macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) always had a certain caloric value.

    • Protein = 4 calories per gram.
    • Carbohydrate = 4 calories per gram.
    • Fat = 9 calories per gram.

    (One gram of alcohol contains 7 calories. If you’re in the paleo crowd, I’m sure there’s something worth mentioning here about exogenous ketones here, but I’m not going there because I don't know how to go there.)

    Calorie capitalization

    I should mention the difference between “calories” and “Calories” to prevent trolls from coming of their troll hole and asking for the troll toll so they are able to pay their way into the boy’s soul.

    troll toll boy's soul

    The “calories” you’re familiar with are big c Calories. Technically big c Calories are kilocalories, or 1000 small c calories.

    For practical purposes, you can ignore everything written in the last paragraph. And, if you’re not American, you might measure food energy in joules. But I’m going to do the American thing and pretend like the world revolves around me and not talk about joules.

    Quick summary before more confusion

    I'm going to bring together the ideas mentioned thus far before spewing new ones into your cerebrum.

    Your body uses energy (output).

    Your output is made up of both macromovement and micromovement. You can also think of output as a combination of deliberate energy use and non-deliberate energy use.

    • When you go to the gym and move your body, you're deliberately deciding to use energy.
    • When your intestines are tearing down the six bean burrito you just muscled down your esophagus, not so much.

    But what if, like, you get up and walk to the bathroom right now? You're, like, moving and stuff and you're choosing to get up, but, like is that deliberate or, like, non-deliberate?

    I, like, hate, like, everything.

    On the flip side, your body requires energy (intake).

    Your intake consists of the food you eat.

    Life is a delicate juggle between performing actions and functions needed to sustain life, and also getting the materials needed to perform those actions and functions.

    If I had the confidence of Nietzsche, I'd spend paragraph upon paragraph talking about the ouroboros and the fact that, in order to get the energy you need to sustain life, you have to expend energy. What a fooooiiiine paradox. I'd take that paradox and do nasty things to it MmmhhmMhhMmhMmhhm.

    Let's talk vacuum cleaners

    I own a Shark vacuum cleaner. Thing is a monster. Sucks the cat hair out the carpet fibers like its turning tricks.

    This vacuum works via the same process I've been describing. There's energy intake, there's there's energy output. Just like a car. But there's one big difference: the vacuum needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet in order to get the energy it needs.

    Imagine if cars were built the same way. Bitches be trippin', yo. No, seriously. Everyone would be tripping over the electrical cords. They'd be everywhere.

    Fortunately, cars have a gas tank. They are able take in more energy than they immediately need and store the excess for later use.

    Humans are similar. You don't have to eat 24/7. You eat a bunch of food, then go about your day. Your intake is sporadic because you're able to store energy.

    Car analogy getting into car wreck

    This car analogy has treated us nicely thus far, but, as you'll see, it'll eventually go to shit. I need to add a few remaining details to it, for it to serve the temporary goal at hand. The implications of these details will be more important later rather than sooner.

    Your car has its immediate gas tank. Okay. Wonderful. Now pretend there's a bunch of red fuel canisters in the trunk. These red fuel canisters are hot wired into the car's main fuel line, and they abide by following automation rule: once the immediate fuel tank goes empty, begin dispensing fuel into the main line.

    On the flip side, for this analogy to do its eventual job, you also have to pretend that gas stations aren't predictable from both a location and yield standpoint.

    You don't know when you're going to reach the next gas station, and you don't know how much fuel the gas station will have available.

    Given this, when you reach a gas station, you tend to extract as much fuel from the gas station as you possibly can. Makes sense, right? You don't want to run out of fuel. If you never know when you're going to stumble across another gas station, you better extract as much fuel as you can when you can.

    So say you have a 10 gallon immediate fuel tank. You have 5 gallons of fuel remaining, but you reach a gas station that has 7 total gallons of fuel. You'd fill up your immediate tank with 5 gallons, and then put the remaining 2 gallons in the red canisters.

    How about an example?

    Now you have all the details necessary to push forward with an example that'll conclude this car craziness.

    You have a 10 gallon gas tank in your car. It's filled with 5 gallons of fuel. You have 200 gallons of backup fuel in the red canisters in your trunk.This is your baseline. your frame of reference.

    5/10 – 200/?

    From here, we can ask: how many gallons of fuel are in your tank 24 hours from now? Ignore the specifics. Forget about how many trips you took. Forget about how often you fueled up. Look solely at a snapshot.

    Imagine the snapshot says, over the past 24 hours, you used a total of 10 gallons of fuel and filled up with 11 total gallons of fuel. So you have now have 6 gallons of fuel in your tank and 200 gallons of fuel in backup.

    6/10 – 200/?

    Again, ignore the specifics. It's totally possible you drove 10 miles without filling up, meaning you dipped into your red canisters for a brief period of time. But that doesn't matter because, at the end of the day, you replenished what was used… and then some.

    So, relative to the starting point, you're in an energy surplus. You have more fuel in the tank than what you started the day with.

    If, perchance, the snapshot revealed you had 1 gallon of fuel in your immediate tank and 200 gallons in reserve, you'd be in an energy deficit because you have less fuel than what you started the day with.

    The energy balance backbone

    Instead of thinking about cars and fuel, think about human and energy. The relationship between intake-output and surplus-deficit remains the same.

    If your daily energy intake exceeds your daily energy output, then, at the end of the day, you have a surplus of energy. You have more energy than you started the day with, meaning you're prone to weight gain.

    If your daily energy output exceeds your daily energy intake, then, at the end of the day, you have a deficit of energy. You have less energy than you started the day with, meaning you're prone to weight loss.

    Using this logic, the keys to weight loss are as follows:

    • move around more
    • eat less energy

    This can be fleshed out further with a specific example. Assume you normally output 2000 calories per day and intake 2000 calories per day. (This is arbitrary, but it works.) At this rate, you break even.

    Now consider two different scenarios.

    Moving more and weight loss

    Say, you move around more. This raises your daily energy output. Instead of burning 2000 calories, you burn 2500 calories. If you keep your food intake the same, you're mismatched.

    You need 2500, but you only feed 2000. your body has to compensate for that fuel. Lucky for you, your body has internal energy stores (otherwise, you'd be dead), which it uses to cover the deficit. A byproduct of this: weight loss

    Eating less and weight loss

    Go back to the original situation. Need 2000. Feed 2000. Now say you eat less. Eating less energy lowers your daily energy intake. Instead of eating 2000 calories, you eat 1500 calories. This means you're -500.

    Your body has to compensate for the fuel. Lucky for you, your body has internal energy stores (otherwise, you'd be dead), which it uses to cover the deficit. A byproduct of this: weight loss

    Haub's little secret ain't so secret no mo

    How was Haub able to eat shit food and lose weight? Simple. He adjusted his energy intake and made it less than his energy output. He ate shit food, but he ate less energy than what his body needed.

    Sure, he could have added exercise. He could have moved more. But didn't need to, because he was able to tip the scales in his favor simply with the food factor.

    Of course, this makes “energy” and energy balance the king of weight control. Doesn't matter when you eat. Quality of food doesn't matter, either. The only thing that matters is energy balance.

    And with an anecdote like this, it no surprise the vast majority of people see fat loss, muscle building, and physique transformation through this Haubian energy balance lens.

    But it's shit.


    This is the end of Part 1. Part 2 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    Click here to signup

    The post How to eat Twinkies and Doritos and lose weight appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
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