In today’s special solo episode, we uncover 5 of the most common mistakes people make during their fat loss journey.
As someone who is 8 weeks into my own 12-week fat loss phase, I can empathize with these challenges and offer guidance on what to avoid and how to successfully navigate your next fat loss phase!.
Drawing from my daily experiences with clients who have also faced these common struggles, I share practical advice to help you overcome them and make the most of your health and fitness journey.
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Welcome to the Wits & Weights podcast, where we discuss getting strong and healthy with strength training and sustainable nutrition. I'm your host, Philip pape, and in each episode, we examine strategies to help you achieve physical self mastery through a healthy skepticism of the fitness industry, and a commitment to consistent nutrition and training for sustainable results. Wits & Weights community Welcome to another episode of the Wits & Weights podcast, I thought it was time for another solo episode, where we sit down just you and me to talk about the things that you have asked to learn more about in the realm of health and fitness, so you can upgrade and optimize your body composition. But before we get into the show, I just want to say that I hope you've enjoyed all the value packed interview episodes with guests that we've had over the last few months, guests from across the industry. And what I'm super excited to announce right here right now is our upcoming lineup of evidence base experts this year, and they include none other than Brandon the crews, Andy Baker, Jeff hain, Dr. Ron McLean, Cody McBroom, Eric Helms, and Greg knuckles, to name a few. So make sure to follow the show in your podcast app to automatically download these episodes. today for this very special solo episode, I came up with five of the more common mistakes that people make during fat loss. This topic is top of mind because I personally am just a few weeks away from completing another fat loss phase. So I can both empathize with these mistakes. I've made them in the past. And they're a good reminder of what not to do, and what to do instead, so that you can gracefully navigate the eight to 16 weeks of your next fat loss phase. I also have the opportunity every day to work with clients who face the same struggles and have learned to avoid them. So here we go. Number one is just going too fast, even if you are within the evidence based range of 0.25 to 1% of your body weight per week. And this is the range that is intended to minimize your muscle loss. Even if you're within that a lot of people will try to push that to the upper range, the point seven, five of the 1%. Thinking that okay, well, if that's the most I can go, I'm gonna go all the way and diet as quickly as I can. But here's the problem, when you do that, you're in a bigger deficit. And a bigger deficit means fewer calories to eat. And if you're already in a position where let's say you didn't have a lot of muscle mass, or your metabolism just isn't as high as someone else, you just may end up with very low calories, even from the beginning of the fat loss phase. So if you're only burning, say 1800 calories, and you pick a rate that puts you at 1100 or 1000, that just right off the bat, even in week one may not be sustainable for you. What I would rather you do and I do this with clients is pick something more conservative, it's still, it's still aggressive enough, such that within 12 weeks or so you're going to have a meaningful amount of fat loss. But pick a number where Yeah, I can eat, I can eat these calories, no problem at the beginning. And knowing that my metabolism will adapt downward during the diet, and I'm actually going to have to eat less and less most likely, where I can still sustain the calories that I end up with in the last few weeks of the diet, just assume your metabolism is going to go down over that phase. And think that way so that you can be successful, I'd rather be successful, then try to be aggressive and then fall off the rails on week two, or week one. So do the math, decide what target this is going to get you at to be at a realistic calorie deficit and set that as your goal. Even if it's not your final final final goal, you have to understand that it might take a few phases to get there. But the point is to make progress and actually get there eventually. So if you set a target like that, here's the thing you can do. As you get going, if you feel like Hey, I just said my target for 1600 calories, but I really have no problem eating 1600 I could probably eat 1500 a day or 1400 a day, just go ahead and go for 1400 a day. Despite that the target says 1600. So if you're using an app, like macro factor, which I highly recommend, I use it my clients use it. I have a discount code, Wits & Weights, that'll get you an extra free week. I'll put that in the show notes. But if you use an app like that, it's going to tell you the amount of protein fats and carbs you want to get and go ahead and get the protein but undershoot on the fats and carbs if you have no problem doing that, and that will also speed up your results without it really pushing too far past The upper range of what the evidence says. So that's number one is going too fast, pick the right number and stick with it. Number two, is having this all or nothing mentality. Now you've probably heard this a lot, right? All or nothing as in, if I fail, then I'm just going to say what the hell and I'm going to eat the rest of the pizza or the rest of the box of cookies. And then the rest of my week is shot. I'm not actually talking about that so much as the dieting mentality overall, are you using a rigid approach, or a flexible approach, because a rigid approach will eventually inevitably lead to an all or nothing result? Let me explain what I mean. So if you have a meal plan given to you that says, Eat exactly these foods every day, well, as soon as you do something slightly off of that, you've just failed, right? At least in your mind, and somewhat in reality, right? Because you were expected to stick to this exact plan. If instead, you take a flexible approach that gives you some wealth, flexibility, but not just that some permission, right, some grace, some allowance to make the choices that you want to make within your lifestyle, then you have a significantly lower chance of, quote, unquote, failing, because there's this y tolerance of success. And so let me explain what I mean. There's, there's flexible dieting that we talked about in this show, which, of course, is simply sticking with a certain calorie and macro prescription, and then choosing the foods to meet those numbers. But then even within that, there is additional flexibility, things like diet breaks, where you just stop dieting, and you go to your maintenance calories for a day, two days a week, a month, whatever makes sense, to break the mental fatigue of dieting, there's something like carb cycling, where you have some days that are higher carbs than others. And so you could just swap off your carbs, right, I had a client this week who she was talking about her performance in the gym going down and a fat loss phase, she felt kind of tired for her workouts. I said, Why don't we shift the carbs to front load them mostly before your workout in the meal before you workout. And we can even steal from a day when you're not training. And that's a traditional approach called carb cycling. But you don't just want to do it indiscriminately, you want to tie it to your workout timing. So that's meal timing. Then there's also other nonlinear dieting approaches like having two higher calorie days and five lower calorie days, where the weekly calories are the same. One of my clients recently, we had been steadily progressing through her diet, and she was on consistent calories every day. And she kept struggling with the weekend. And she wasn't really failing to hit her targets. She was very, very disciplined and held yourself accountable. But she kept telling me no check ins, like, I'm just not enjoying the weekends, I really want to be able to let loose a little bit. Because the routine is different. We're going out and so on. But I've been keeping it under control because you're my coach, and I'm trying to get to a goal. I said, Okay, well, that's great. I love your discipline. But how about we try a nonlinear approach. If your weekdays are pretty boring and routine and you're busy, and you're just eating at home, and you have lots of vegetables, and you have lean meats and things like that? Can you eat 200 fewer calories a day in the weekday? She's like, Yeah, no problem. In fact, sometimes I forget, and I don't even eat as much as I am supposed to eat. So okay, good. So we're going to steal the calories from the weekdays, I'm going to put them on the weekends. How's that sound? Oh, I didn't realize we could do that. That's awesome. I think that'd be great. And then immediately after one week, we realized that this was what she needed. It gave her the psychological break on the weekend, the ability to go out to enjoy yourself, put her weekly calories are exactly the same. So think about creatively, how you can have a flexible approach to everything you do. So that all the things that tripped you up in the past are now accommodated within your week. Hey, this is Philip Pape. And if you feel like you've put in effort to improve your health and fitness, but aren't getting results, I invite you to apply for a one on one coaching to make real progress and get the body you desire. We'll work together to figure out what's missing so you can look better, perform better and feel better. Just go to wits & weights.com/coaching, to learn about my program and apply today. Now back to the episode. All right, number three, too much cardio, or too much high volume training. Now I talk about cardio a lot on this show, you know that I'm not a huge fan of too much cardio. I like to use the metric of you know, don't do more than half of the time you lift as cardio. So if you lift four hours a week, no more than two hours a week of cardio. But the reason we don't want to use too much cardio during a fat loss phase is because cardio or two walking, running high impact movement, lots and lots of medium or high intensity movement is, is stress is a stressor, right? It's an overall stressor on your body. Unlike for example, walking, which is not, it can also impact your recovery and your muscle building, it can impact it physically, when you are using those same muscles that you're trying to build. And now you're causing some micro tears, and you're impeding their recovery from your lifting session. But there's also a metabolic aspect metabolic adaptation aspect to cardio where if you do too much of it, your body is programming itself for this calorie efficiency and actually burns fewer calories. And it's a conflict between this endurance mode and this strength are holding on to muscle mode, well, we want to be into that preservation of muscle mode. So this is why if you don't like cardio, or you don't want to do much, you really don't have to, even in a fat loss phase, I want you to do a lot of walking. Yes. And I want you to lift really heavy, but too much cardio can be could could interfere with what you're trying to do here. Some cardio is okay. And sometimes we want to add in cardio or hit sessions later in a fat loss phase if you're a more athletic client who's going for a more extreme level of leanness, and it could be helpful, in which case, you're making more of a compromise between that and preserve your muscle. So I'm just talking about the general population here. The other thing we want to avoid here is the high volume training, meaning if if my clients telling me that they're constantly sore from the workouts, and then working with a personal trainer, you know, they're not working with me on the training side, for their direct programming. And they're like, I'm constantly sore, one of the first things I ask is, let me see your training logs and your programming, because it sounds like you might be doing a high volume program. And we don't want high volume during fat loss, we want to modest level of volume with high intensity, a high weight on the bar, I'd rather you be doing low to moderate reps with a very high weight for like three movements a workout. So you have tons of recovery and rest. And you really take care of yourself during a fat loss. But you send that muscle building signal to your body so that you continue to replenish your muscle tissue and don't lose that very special tissue. We want to lose fat, we don't want to lose muscle. So look at your training and make sure that it is not something causing too much recovery interference, too much. Stress, right? So high volume training and cardio will do that. Number four mistake Mistake number four, not tracking progress. Okay, and this could be whatever you want it to be. But in my world, at least with my clients, we're talking calories, and macros, we track our weight, okay. And we can go off a whole discussion about the importance of tracking weight every day, but not not caring about the daily weight. We track it every day so that we have the trend of weight over time. body measurements, like your circumference measurements, I can't tell you how many times a client says help me the weight is not going down. I'm trying to lose weight and it's not going down. And we just started training. We just started all the things we just started a fat loss phase. And I say, Well, let's look at your waist measurement. Oh, it went down by two inches. That is huge. How do you feel? Well, I feel great. I mean, my clothes are fitting better. You know, I look better in the mirror. But my weight has gone on like, okay, let's, let's get our priorities right here and think about what the data is telling us. If your weight is the same, but you feel better. If I told you that you can feel exactly what you want to feel and look great for the rest of your life. And you're going to do it 10 pounds heavier. Would you rather be 10 pounds lighter and not feel that way? Or would you take that extra pounds knowing that you actually got the result you wanted? Right? That's kind of what it comes down to. So it's all the things of progress, the food, the measurements, the weight, and then biofeedback, which are slightly more qualitative measures, but they're not really qualitative in the sense that you know, your body and week to week to week if you track these things, you can tell how they're changing. Things like hunger, stress, sleep, recovery, energy, mood, right? Also, all of my clients when they check in with me, whether it's weekly, bi weekly, whatever their checking cadence is, they fill in a short form that looks kind of like a journal where they document their wins for the week. Their lessons for the week, right aha moments revelations, the roadblocks that got in their way. Okay, these are problems that tripped them up or could have tripped them up that we can come up with solutions for and momentum builders. Momentum builders are the solutions that you might have come up with yourself. Or maybe I dropped an idea during the week and said try this and you did and all of a sudden it unlocked something and created momentum. So it's kind of like a journal. All of this is is tracking. Right now if you want to learn about all the ways that we can measure progress, go back and check out episode 21. And it's titled 21 ways to measure progress and crush your fitness goals. Number five, the number five mistake is not learning from your mistakes. This is obviously not exclusive to fat loss, health and fitness, or exclusive to anything really we all do this. But if you are tracking your progress, like we just talked about with Mistake number four people don't do that if you're tracking your progress, that is giving you the feedback, you need to identify where your actions lead to certain outcomes. And then to change your actions next time. That's learning from mistakes. That is the closed feedback loop. When I joined Toastmasters over 10 years ago, I was a terrible speaker, I was nervous, I didn't know what I was doing. Well, through a process of speaking in front of people, and having people tell me what they observed, I was able to very quickly within months, significantly improve my ability to speak. If that's how skill works. Well guess what? Fat Loss is a skill, it's a bunch of skills. And if you're not tracking, if you're not doing all these things, you're never going to know why you failed, why something happened, okay. And we're gonna assume that if you're listening to Wits, & Weights, you're doing all the things you need to do, and following an evidence based approach to fat loss. But still, something's going to trip you up, I get tripped up. I mean, this time during the fat loss phase, there were little things that tripped me up like, a few weeks in a row, my metabolism went way down. And I plateaued a bit. And I realized it was because my step count wasn't where it needed to be. Well, that you could look at that as an opportunity mistake, whatever you want to call it. But I track my steps. So because I track my steps, I could look through all my data and say, Hey, what's different? You know, the funny thing is, when you're in a fat loss phase, sometimes you just move less without realizing it. And by the way, it's winter, here, it's snow, working from home, you know, there's definitely lots of reasons, excuses, whatever you want to say, where you just might not walk as much. And as you get lighter and a little bit weaker, a little bit more tired during a fat loss phase, you tend to just move less anyway. So that data was a wake up call to me, oh, I need to get my step count back up. And so I went back up to my normal average of like 10 to 12k. And lo and behold, my metabolism responded. And this week, finally, for the first time in about a month, I actually have about 100 more calories a day to play with during my fat loss phase, which feels like a feast honestly, in relative terms. So learn from your mistakes by tracking, and then using that information to change your actions for the future. Alright, there are obviously more than five mistakes that people make during fat loss. But these are some of the big ones. And if you want a full walkthrough of the entire process of preparing for executing and coming out of a fat loss phase in the best shape you've ever been, and you have a decent amount of weight to lose, go back and check out episode 25 titled lose 30 pounds or more the right way and keep it off. Now, even if you don't have a lot of weight to lose, there were several episodes I did back around that period, around the whole process of building muscle losing fat, how it all links up together. And wherever you are, there's something for you. So let's recap the five mistakes. Number one going too fast, even if it is within the evidence based range, just going too fast that it's not sustainable. Number two, using a rigid approach instead of a flexible approach, so that you can avoid the all or nothing mentality. Number three, doing too much cardio or high volume training, instead of focusing on high load train to build or hold on to muscle. Number four, not tracking progress, whether calories, weight, body measurements, biofeedback and so on. Number five, not learning from your mistakes using the data to see how you can change our actions and thus change the outcome. Wits & Weights community if you're interested in a free 30 minute call, where I don't sell you on anything whatsoever. And I answer whatever questions you have about your personal journey to upgrade and optimize your body to finally look and feel great for the rest of your life. Just check out the link in the show notes. As always, stay strong. And I'll talk to you next time here on the Wits & Weights podcast. Thanks for listening to the show. Before you go, I have a quick favor to ask. If you enjoy the podcast. Let me know by leaving a five star review in Apple podcasts and telling others about the show. Thanks again for joining me Philip Pape in this episode of Wits & Weights. I'll see you next time and stay strong.