Today I have the pleasure of talking to Brandon DaCruz for his second appearance on the show. Brandon is an online nutrition and physique coach, educator, internationally published fitness model, and National Level NPC competitor. He uses an evidence-based approach to help his clients achieve their goals sustainably.
On episode 58, we talked about energy flux and the high energy flux lifestyle, which is a way of eating more, burning more fat, and building more muscle. If you haven't listened to that episode yet, I highly recommend you check it out. It's full of practical strategies to improve your health and body composition.
We're going to talk about how to make fat loss feel easier to get and stay lean. We all know that losing fat can be challenging, so we're going to discuss some strategies and scenarios that can help you overcome the obstacles and make dieting more manageable and sustainable.
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Today you’ll learn all about:
[4:33] Personal struggles with fat loss and fitness modeling
[15:01] The importance of energy balance in fat loss
[20:02] Proactive dieting vs reactive training
[27:20] Energy density and comparing food sources
[31:34] The importance of food choices and satiety
[39:20] Constructing fat loss diets with whole foods first approach
[46:47] The importance of viewing food choices holistically
[52:53] Setting clients up for success in fat loss
[58:10] The importance of tracking in body composition progress, and improving awareness and relationship with food
[1:05:30] Self-monitoring techniques and weight maintenance thresholds
[1:09:35] Energy intake, expenditure, and movement
[1:15:15] What Brandon is up to now and where to learn more
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Although fat loss sounds simple on paper, which is why many people will just tell you that all you need to do is eat less and exercise more. That's a statement that's truthful, but it isn't helpful for many, which is where I really think that it's, you know, focusing on the nutritional aspect of that loss is pivotal because let's face it, 99% of us do not have the time and energy to create a deficit purely from exercise and to out exercise a poor diet.Philip Pape:
Welcome to the Wits& Weights podcast. I'm your host, Philip pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self mastery by getting stronger, optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition. We'll uncover science backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in. Wits& Weights community Welcome to another episode of the Wits & Weights Podcast. Today I have the pleasure of talking to Brandon to Cruz for his second appearance on the show. Brandon is an online nutrition and physique coach, educator, internationally published fitness model and national level NPC competitor, who uses an evidence based approach to help his clients achieve their goals sustainably. Back on episode 58. We talked about energy flux and the high energy flux lifestyle, which is a way of eating more moving more burning more fat building more muscle. If you haven't listened to that, go check it out, Episode 58. It's full of practical strategies to improve your health and body composition. Today we're going to talk about another topic that many people struggle with how to make fat loss feel easier, because we all want to get and stay lean. We all know that losing fat can be challenging, especially if you have a busy or high stress lifestyle. So we're going to discuss some strategies and scenarios that can help you overcome those and make it more manageable sustainable. Brandon, thank you again for joining me on the show. I'm super excited to dive into this topic.Brandon DaCruz:
Phil, thank you for having back on the show my man. It's an absolute pleasure. You know, I always look forward to speaking with people, but especially like minded individuals like yourself. And it's really cool to connect again, and be returned guests on your show, especially as I know, You've been working hard. Like we've been chatting off scenes, you know, in DMS and emails and things of that sort. I know you've been really working hard to continue to grow the show. And you've had a stack lifts of guests since I've been on last time. So you've had a lot of some of my mutual friends within this industry and people that I really respect mentors like Alan Aragon and Eric Helms and guys like that. So I feel like I'm in good company first and foremost. But it's also nice to see your growth. Because podcasting is something if you look statistically most people don't make it like most podcasters don't make it between a beyond like the three to five episode mark. Because it's such a saturated industry, a lot of times it's hard to gain momentum, both in terms of your own ability to present information, especially when you do it on a one on one format. Also your ability to connect with people get them on to podcasts, just like you know, I'll be completely I'll admit it and be completely transparent that schedule with me, it's really difficult because I have such a busy schedule. And so as a podcaster, and a podcast host yourself, you have to be really flexible, working around people's schedule. So a lot of people behind the scenes like listeners, they don't realize, and I know this now because I was I was talking to you off air about this, but I've done you know, close to 200 podcasts at this point. But at this stage on that episode 70 of the chasing clarity podcasts, which is my own podcast, but you know, the other 130 I've been a guest, so I never had to worry about the back end stuff in terms of setting things up scheduling, editing, everything that goes beyond, you know, behind the scenes, these, this is a lot of work that people put in like yourself, which I respect. And I hope that the audience really appreciates that. Because we go above and beyond what we could be doing other things, but we really try to get back and make an impact on the community as a whole.Philip Pape:
Yeah, man, it is so true. And you do get better and better at this, the more reps you put in, like anything else, I go back and listen to my first five episodes, and I'm almost like embarrassed, you know, like, I don't want anybody to hear them. But that people will come back and say, you know, really doesn't matter. Because the content, you know, came out what you're saying was genuine and it taught me something that I didn't know before. And really, that's what matters. So that's why we put in the reps. And yeah, you I think you were the first I'll say like big name, person I had on the on the podcast, if you will, but I have no problem reaching out saying yes, or asking you guys, knowing the worst I can get as a no. And the best I can get is to connect with people that I also appreciate and follow. So anybody listening, there's probably a lot of folks listening who are also super busy, they have these kinds of lifestyles, they run their businesses, and they're like, I I can't also, you know, binge a million podcasts and learn everything that that Brandon knows about nutrition and fitness. So they want to hear it straight, right? They just want to hear kind of here's what you do. And so we're gonna get into some of that today, Brandon with the topic. I'd like to make it personal at first though, for you, because I think you can relate a lot to the listener or vice versa and your clients. So what is your personal experience with struggling with fat loss and then maybe even making it more difficult than it needed to be in the past?Brandon DaCruz:
Man, that is a great topic to start out with because a lot of times people you know if you go to my profile now you will get some of my photos whether it be from photo shoots or from contest preps, a lot of times people will say, Oh, you must have always been lean or it must Easy for you. And when it comes to my personal experience with fat loss, I believe the reason that I've become so interested in this topic of fat loss, and I have made so much content, and so many podcasts and been on so many other individuals podcasts like yourself about this is twofold. And first, it's because it's a goal that I initially struggled with to achieve early on, especially when I first got into fitness modeling, because I started with fitness modeling in college prior to going into actual competitive bodybuilding. And I found myself trying every single popular approach at that time. But due to the limited amount of quality information that was around at that time, what I was doing was definitely suboptimal from all aspects to be honest with you. So we're talking suboptimal from nutrition from training from fat loss and a muscle retention standpoint. And during my first few years of fitness modeling, I literally tried every single popular diet approach, like even fad diets, like things that I'm, I'm honestly, you know, embarrassed to admit to, but I also think that it's good to be aware of our failures, some of the things we've done, the past mistakes we had, and also be transparent about those things so that other people realize, Hey, listen, you know, 15 years ago, I was exactly where you are. So, you know, I did everything. You know, I first started fitness modeling in 2010. So we're talking 13 years ago, and I did every fad diet you could think of we're talking keto we're talking cyclical keto, we're talking intermittent fasting, I did rapid fat loss diets via Lyle McDonald. And at the time, I don't even know if his rapid fat loss book was out. So I think I got it from the boards itself from his his body composition website, I did bro bodybuilding diets were literally all I ate. And this scores me to this date, all I eat for 12 week was tilapia, and broccoli. That's literally the only things I still cannot eat tilapia to this day. And then I also did your If It Fits Your Macros, where I tried to fit in all the fun foods that I loved into my diet, which was literally a disaster. So basically, you name it, I tried to in during those first few years, I noticed that I either struggle to achieve achieve the Lean book that I desired. Due to struggling with an inability to manage my hunger for I had a little bit of the opposite, I was able to get lean, but I quickly regain all the weight that I lost. After as at that time, you know, if I really go back there, and I think about it, we're in such a privileged state. And a lot of people don't realize that if they're just getting to finish, but realize we're in the age of information. So there are so many evidence based outlets for information, whether it be research reviews, or podcasts like we do, where you can get really evidence based and experience backed practices towards fat loss towards muscle gain. There was none of this when I was getting into this. So there was no such thing as a post diet, reverse, or recovery dieting approaches, and there's definitely no such thing as maintenance phase. So I found myself during this time, you know, weight cycling, like a lot of other people who are probably listening to this can relate to so I remember, I worked with a popular bodybuilding coach who was known for turning many guys Pro and for my first contest prep, and this was in 2014. And it was the first time that I had truly gotten shredded. And granted, those were the days where we do like the dirty bulk prior to a prep. So I needed to lose over 50 pounds. So I want people to realize that I've been overweight, I've had insulin resistance, I've had terrible bloodwork, like I've been through the gambit of these things. And now I take a much different approach. But that came through the experiences and failures of my past. And so I remember the day after my show the morning after you know, I'm a young guy, it was my first contest prep, I did really well. And I wanted to know how to improve going forward. So the day after my first show, I emailed my coach, and I asked him how I should approach my nutrition going forward. And he literally told me to go right back to how I was eating prior to the 12 week prep that I did. And he told me that the intention behind that was to take advantage of the quote unquote post show rebound. And the reason I'm doing quote unquote, is because now many of those those fallacies and things that we used to think you know, these myths that we used to be told by coaches and people will distort during that time, I've done many podcasts on about how that's literally the opposite of how our physiology actually responds. Because honestly, if anything, you're primed for an adipose rebound, not a anabolic rebound in terms of muscle gain, you're more primed to regain fat after a fat loss phase than you are to regain lost muscle tissue. Now, mind you, I was dieting on less than half the calories by the end of my prep that I was getting prior to starting the prep. So within the first week, I had gained back around 10 plus pounds. And I continue to gain fat at a rapid rate. And I literally felt like a failure after this first contest prep. I put in all this work to get stage lean. And within a few weeks, I looked like I hadn't prepped at all. And honestly, you know, it's excuse my language, but it was a mindfuck to see at least like it really struggled with my body and with my my desire to go forward my motivation, all these different things. So after that experience, I started diving into why this occurred. I really wanted to know, why did my coach telling you to do this? And why didn't I respond? Because at first I thought there was something wrong with me. Like I followed his instructions to a tee I was very diligent on the planet and exactly the calories and the macros that I had eaten prior to that I didn't understand why was my body now that I had went through a fat loss phase not responding the same way that it did 12 weeks prior when I weighed 50 pounds plus and you know, obviously now we know about metabolic adaptation, and all these other physiological changes that occur during a deficit. However, I didn't do any of that. But, you know, I was lucky in the fact that I was really following evidence based practitioners at the time so I had just recently attended a muscle camp held by Leigh Norton. So I was following all his stuff at the time and keep in mind And there was no, he wasn't doing YouTube and all that kind of stuff. However I went in person, but at that time he actually had, and I'm sure if any OGS our in the audience, you have done this for a long period of time you have a podcast with Sophie Lee, that was called physique science radio. And one of the episodes he had on Eric Trexler. And honestly, at that point, I believe this was so early on, we're talking 2014. So I think Eric Trexler has had been a master student, he wasn't even a PhD. But they were talking about metabolic adaptations that physique athletes go through during a prep. And that's what he, you know, kicked off my interest in metabolism, metabolic adaptation of that most physiology, which obviously, I've continued to dive into this day. So basically, my initial fat loss phases, were disastrous, be frank with you. But by making mistakes and experiencing failure, it made me gain a greater interest in learning not only how to get lean, but how to stay lean and maintain more of the progress I had made. And at that time, you know, going back, you know, close to 10 years ago, I was about 10. I was about one year into coaching. And because I had gotten lean, I had so many people at my gym, and on social media asking me for help with their own fat loss efforts. And I initially was able to get them to achieve their fat loss goals if they could stick to the diet. And the issue here was that we would only do 12 week coaching phases. And it would just be a 12 week package, and then they go on their merry way, we didn't have this continuous dieting program, it was really just like this one off thing. So I was able to get clients lean, and then we'd stop working together. And a few months later, they'd contact me and say that they had regained all the weight that they lost, and they wanted to go back into a diet. So at that point, I realized that there had to be a better way. So since that time of around 2014 to 2015, I've researched, studied and experimented with as many evidence based strategies as I can find, and I've trialed them all myself and collected data. And then if they've proved to be a successful strategy with myself, I would start utilizing them with clients. And I've continued to refine my methods over the past decade, I've been coaching. So I know that last time that we spoke about the high energy flux approach that I take with my clients, but you know, honestly, that actually came way before the term energy flux was even in existence. So I actually started doing that. Because around 2015, I looked at a study in literature from Rosenbaum and Leibel, where they showed that around 85 to 90% of the decreases, we see in total daily energy expenditure during a deficit come from me. So I got a Fitbit. And I started tracking my steps. And then I started having clients do the same. But initially, I didn't start with them, you know, setting a step target, I just had them track it on their own. And I just let it fall where they did naturally. And I noticed that during diets, I'd have clients that were saved between eight to 10,000 steps during a building phase, that we're now taking like four to 5000 steps during a fat loss phase, which would equal you know, a few 100 Calorie decrease in energy expenditure. So that's when I started to set step counts for them on a daily and weekly basis. And I noticed that their fat loss progress was much more consistent and predictable. So over the last 10 years, I've done 15 contest preps, and I've also done over 100, photo shoots, and all of which I've had to get very lean for it, whether it be to contest shape, or at least photo shoot, shoot. So believe me when I tell you, I have done more diets than most people could ever imagine. And through those experiences, as well as through working with, at this point over 1000 individuals, 1000 clients, I've been able to refine my skills, my approaches my strategies towards fat loss, both for myself and then for clients. So that fat loss feels easier, and maintenance is more attainable. And this isn't to say that losing a significant amount of body fat is ever easy. But in comparison to how I used to do things, and how many other clients and certainly other individuals within our space, have approached it in the past, I've found both approaches and principles that I can tailor to an individual to help them get to their goals in a manner that's far more sustainable and effective. And that feels easier, especially in comparison to what they've done previously.Philip Pape:
Man, this is this is incredible, because I know the average person goes through over 100 diets in their lifetime easily. And like you said earlier in your story, people might mistake you for being this lean, shredded guy your whole life and it comes easy. But because of your physique goals over the years, you've actually probably deliberately tried to do fat loss in quote unquote, the right way. And many, many different times even more, with more iterations in the average person. I would say I think the average person will will try things but you went to that that next extreme yet there's a lot of relatable things there. So just just to list them out again, so people who are listening, you know, the the trauma with your tilapia, like eating the same thing over and over, strikes me as you know, it's in the bucket of is this sustainable, right? Can we just eat a certain diet that you cut, cut foods out, your ability to get lean, but then gain it all back? Again, yo yo dieting, weight cycling, body fat overshooting all of those concepts, the fact that physiology is really really important here that we can't just think in terms of a deficit, we can't just think in terms of right the the calories that were primed to regain fat more quickly, the mental and psychological aspects. And then I like most of all the in there you talked about kind of the hierarchy of evidence, not just the people you follow and the things that you read, but experimenting on yourself, and then even experimenting with your clients, them allowing you to do that and trusting you through that process. So this is a great segue. because when we talk about making fat loss easier, we're not talking about doing it quickly necessarily. We're not talking about making it quote unquote simple in terms of like, just do this. It's more of let's make it easier on ourselves so that we don't have all of these negative consequences, especially the longer the duration, and the more we have to lose. So what does that mean, then? To make it easier? Why is that important? And we can segue into the specifics.Brandon DaCruz:
Absolutely. So really, when it comes down to making fat loss easier, I really think that this comes down to nailing energy balance, which is the key principle that governs fat loss, meaning we need to look at both sides of the energy balance equation, because a lot of times when we talk about dieting, people only talk about calories, they only talk about the food, but they're not talking about both aspects. And really, we will focus on calories and food because that's going to be the main intention. But I do suggest and encourage those out there to listen back to our high energy flux podcast, because that's going to focus more on the calorie expenditure side of things. So when it comes to losing fat, effectively, we basically have two main levers that we can pull, we can increase our calorie expenditure, or the amount of calories that we burn per day, which is best done through increasing physical activity and meat as we've covered in the previous podcast. And we can also decrease your calorie intake, and you hit the nail on the head, Phil, where you said that this isn't simple. So the thing is that, although fat loss sounds simple on paper, which is why many people will just tell you that all you need to do is eat less and exercise more. That's a statement that's truthful, but it isn't helpful for many, which is where I really think that it's, you know, focusing on the nutritional aspect of that loss is pivotal, because let's face it, 99% of us do not have the time and energy to create a deficit purely from exercise and to out exercise a poor diet. And even if we did, doing so wouldn't help nearly as much with hunger and appetite management as focusing on our diet, which is the main issue as to why people struggle with losing fat and keeping it off especially so one of the biggest struggles most of us have encountered or will encounter and experience during a fat loss phase is dealing with increased hunger and issues with appetite and satiety management. And hunger is one of the most common feelings dieters experienced during a fat loss phase, this hunger is a natural response to an energy deficit. So this is an inherent part of that loss process. But how we approach our diet and the hunger management strategies and tools that we do or don't use can make or break our ability to successfully get lean and stay lean. So the issue with hunger is it generally builds and increases the longer you diet and the leaner we get. As you you know, as you move more and more body fat, the more of an increase in hunger, you'll notice that the more of an increase in appetite you will experience, which can threaten your ability to stick to the diet and adhere to the calorie deficit needed to continue losing body fat, which will continue to go down. So we have to make sure that we're thinking about the long game. It's not just about what you can do, you know, in terms of the calorie deficit, you can induce in a day or week, we have to think, what is the trajectory? What is the long term, let's let's back cast, essentially, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, let's look at this as if we're doing you know, 1% of, you know, point five to 1% of weight loss per week, and that comes out to one pound for you. We need 16 to 20 weeks. And this is you know, we look at hunger, we look at appetite. This is a completely natural and evolutionary response to being in a deficit. And it's a sign that you know, when you're you know, a lot of people get scared when they're hungry. But honestly, feeling hunger is a sign that you're losing body fat and depleting some of your body's energy source. So experiencing hunger isn't a bad thing. But it is something that we need to focus on managing. And this is why I've spent so much time and energy focusing on learning how to manage hunger and mitigate its effects. Because this is something that I've personally struggled with, and I know that many others have as well. So by implementing a different nutritional approach to fat loss diets and adding in certain hunger management strategies within my clients plans, I've been able to enhance my clients adherence to the diet and ability and improve their ability to get lean and stay lean. So really, when it comes down to making fat loss easier or feel easier, at least, I'm focusing on different aspects of the diet, such as the calorie density and food volume, I'm looking at taking a protein centric approach, I'm ensuring sufficient fiber intake, and I'm modifying the tolerability and processing level the diet by doing what I call simple foods swaps. So really, what that means is we're using a whole food first approach, which are all individual topics we can dive into as you know, I know that part of this podcast, you really want to look into the importance of like things like food selection, food quality and satiety during a fat loss phase. And these are all aspects to diet that I focus on when constructing a fat loss diet. That's both of high quality and provides a ton of satiety per calorie, which is what is going to help make that loss easier because the number one detriment to fat loss it you're the one number one bottleneck or anchor that stands in people's way or presents a challenge or even holds people back from getting as lean as they want is dealing with issues with hunger, and thus, the downstream effect that hunger and appetite has on their ability to adhere to the diet.Philip Pape:
Yeah, so I'm really curious then about behind the scenes, right if if a client was working with you, and let's say they have the basics down, you've got them primed for the fat loss phase already. They're training they're moving, they're tracking in some way tracking calories, check tracking macros. We don't have to get into too much detail about the fact that that's going to be it necessary to an extent how do we develop an awareness of the hunger? And what to do about it? And do we get ahead of it? As we get into the fat loss phase? Do you have a plan for those substitutions? Do we have a plan for If This Then That, our tracking, biofeedback, all those things, because what approach is, start to diet, get some results, get some wins, and then deal with hunger as it comes up for that person, because some people have more hunger than others. And another is let's just get way ahead of it start substituting right from day one. What do you think about that?Brandon DaCruz:
Yes, so I'm really something that in terms of dieting, I'm proactive, and when it comes to training, I'm reactive. So what I mean by that, let me extrapolate out on that is that when it comes to dieting, I know that there are an inherent physiological implications and ramifications that all people experience, we see that when we lose body fat, we see a decrease in leptin, we see an increase in ghrelin. So essentially, what that means is we see a decrease in satiety and an increase in hunger. And that is a natural and inherent part of fat loss dieting, and I'll tell you, Phillip dieted hundreds of individuals, I've never had someone that has told me when they're losing a sufficient and a significant amount of body fat that they had an experience hunger, so I like to get ahead of that. And really, how I do that is I look at several dietary factors that I focus on to increase satiety and manage hunger for clients who are in fat loss phases. So generally, the first thing I'm looking to do in terms of food selection for fat loss, dieting, is looking at the calorie density of the foods we choose during a diet, because really, what I want to do is I want to create the most satiating plan for them to be able to manage hunger throughout the entirety of the phase and I have a thematic approach to this. So you'll see as I go more into like the methods that I use, that it is a periodized approach. So yes, there are different tools and different strategies that I use throughout the fat loss diet that become, you know, they garner more benefit as we get leaner and leaner. But there's things from the start that we can educate clients on. And we could focus on from the from the bat. And so these are things that I'm utilizing. So for instance, calorie density and food volume are strategies and areas of a diet that I'm utilizing to set a client up for success, because here's the thing, you know, we could forecast that this diet is going to take 12 to 16 weeks. But if a person isn't able to get past the first three or four weeks due to lack of adherence and dealing with hunger, and the big thing that I find that's an issue is that a lot of people only focus on the calories and macro aspect of dieting. So what do they do? They take their existing diet, they know they have to create a 500 calorie deficit and all they do is portion control, meaning that they use the same hyper palatable energy dense foods that they have, and just eat less of them. So say that they eat, you know, higher fat, you know, meat sources, they have, you know, a ribeye every single night. You know, they went from a seven ounce ribeye to a five ounce ribeye, well, all we're seeing is yes, you're you're decreasing the calories, but you're also decreasing food volume. So a lot of times when people think eat less, and exercise more, they think you have to eat less food, which really, I'm going to go through this, but a lot of my philosophy is I want them to eat more food weight and food volume, but less calories. So really, the first thing that I look to do is calorie density. So within calorie density this is also referred to as energy density. But this is the amount of calories contained in a given weight of food. So essentially, it breaks down to how many calories are contained in one gram of a food source. And I like to leverage the calorie density of the food that I use in a fat loss phase. So as we get deeper and deeper into a diet and experience more hunger and a heightened level of appetite, we're consuming more low energy density, high volume foods that provide a ton of satiety per calorie and are more filling and help to manage hunger better so that we can get as much fullness per calorie within the treats of our current target calorie budget. And the best way that I found to do this, when going from say a building or maintenance phase to a fat loss phase is to transition from high calorie density food sources to lower calorie density food sources. So this could look like going from fattier cuts of meat and poultry and dairy to lower calorie leaner sources of protein and, and to include more low calorie density items like fiber containing vegetables, fruits and whole grains that provide a ton of fullness, yet less calories than their higher energy density counterparts. So by making this switch, we're able to get more bang for our buck in terms of the amount of fullness and satiety of experience from the amount of calories we need to eat to continue losing body fat. And it's really important to be able to distinguish between low energy density and high energy density foods, not only for constructing your regular baseline diet that you're going to use, you know, Monday through Sunday dirt, you know, when you're locking your fellow skis, but also we have to think about this, that I now you know, I've previously worked with a lot of professional athletes, a lot of competitors. But at this point in my career, I've worked with a lot of lifestyle clients, a lot of business owners, people that are busy, and that have other priorities other than fitness. So I'm always trying to make fitness a part of their life, not their entire life. And that includes the nutritional aspect of fitness. So if someone wants to lose that, we need to be able to navigate and also look ahead and see what are going to be certain bottlenecks or certain anchors in their way or are certain obstacles essentially. So one huge obstacle is eating out. And so within that, if you're able to know and you have awareness around the energy density of different food sources, you know when you might not be able to always weigh and measure out every portion size of foods that you're able to eat, whether it be you're at a restaurant where you're eating At a family member's house and you're not able to prepare and wear your foods. However, you can use the calorie density of different food sources to make food choices that are more in line with your goals and help you more easily maintain a deficit. So for instance, I'll give you an example. When I go out to eat, the first thing that I look at on the menu is the protein options. And I know that lean sources of protein such as grilled chicken, turkey, burgers, and tuna are going to have a lower energy density than things like fried chicken, your bacon cheeseburgers or ribeye, so I'll go with a leaner protein source. I've already saved hundreds of calories there. Then onto Corp. I'm gonna look at you know, when it comes to different port sources, I'm looking at lower energy density cartridges that are more satiating. So I'm looking at something like a baked potato or veggies instead of your fries, your potato skins, your pasta with cream sauce, like things that are going to have, you know, 1000s ofPhilip Pape:
extra calories on the appetizer menu. Absolutely. So as you know,Brandon DaCruz:
I knew in my mind that a baked potato and veggies both have a lower energy density, but for the same amount of food we as those other options, but also from a satiety index perspective, they're much better at increasing fullness. And I also like educating clients and making them aware of high calorie density items that can we can reduce from the diet, especially when going out to eat that will help them to spontaneously or easily reduce the amount of calories that we eat in a meal so often advise them to revolve things like your dressings, your cream sauces, your oils and your butters and high calorie condiments and spreads like say barbecue sauces, or mayo, as all of these are very high in calorie density however, so so they pack a ton of calories to a meal, but they provide little to no satiety benefit. So you're getting all these calories, but you're getting no fullness from this. So this is just I don't want to say wasted calories, but think about it in the constraints of a budget. It's almost like if you had a financial budget, and you knew that, you know you had certain expenses, you have bills to pay, you're gonna prioritize that. But you wouldn't like frivolously spend on things that are just a waste of investment that provide no return on investment provide you no satisfaction, no fulfillment, no enjoyment, you will make smarter investments, the same thing can be said with our food choices. So we can even switch from using like high calorie condiments like Korean based sauces and condiments to lower calorie condiments like yellow mustard or hot sauce and save hundreds of calories in the process. And these are really simple simple swaps and having the knowledge of the calorie density of different foods from having spent time tracking can really help you make better food choices during a diet in terms of getting more bang for your buck in terms of food volume and satiety for your calorie budget. Now, next, the next strategy that I like to use, and I can do this from the start.Philip Pape:
Yeah, but before we get there, just just so some more practical strategies for folks. If someone is completely uncertain as to calorie density, what's what's an easy way to do it? Is it is it a calorie per gram type of deal where you just kind of compare it that way. Is it a satiety index? Is it a guide, where you just have here all the cuts of meat from highest to lowest protein density? You know, what do you think? Yeah, soBrandon DaCruz:
honestly, the best method that I found is I always tell clients, because technically, if you look in the literature, energy density is defined as calories per gram, one gram, but no one eats one gram of food. So that's unrealistic. So this is how I like to look at it. I like clients to think about a 100 gram serving, because 100 grams of a vegetable or fruit or even, you know, 100 grams of a protein source is a sufficient amount. So I like them to compare the calorie density of different food sources within the same bracket. So for instance, if we look at something like, I know this because I often had this conversation with clients, but additives to protein shakes. So a lot of times I have clients that want to utilize like, they want to do a protein smoothie, or right now Creek ninja cream is really popular. So everyone's doing those ice cream concoctions with like whey isolate, and they want to add things in. So they're always asking me about sides. So I know this off the top of my head, because I've went through this, like so many times with people and I always try to compare different energy densities of food. And here's the thing, just because the food is healthy does not mean that it's it fits your diet or that it has a low amount of calories. So for instance, the best example I can give you with this is in terms of what to add to protein shakes, or even to Greek yogurt, and things like that, or to your oats and things, you know, things like that. And so the two most common things were additives or signs are going to be your fruit or it's going to be a nut butter. And so the greatest example I can give you with this as 100 calories of strawberries, or 100 grams of strawberries is 36 calories. Now for that same 100 grams of peanut butter, which keep in mind, it's the same amount of food week, you're getting the same thing. But if you were to measure 100 grams on a food scale of peanut butter, it's going to be far less than food volume, far less fiber, it's going to have less micronutrients, less poly phenols less of all these beneficial antioxidants and you're gonna get less fullness because 100 grams of strawberries is a nice cup of strawberries. So keep that in mind. However 100 grams of strawberries is 36 calories. 100 grams of peanut butter is around 632 calories. So that's a massive discrepancy about 20 times difference between the two however, you added the same thing into your shake. So really, when we look at energy density, I like going by 100 grams. So you can do that in terms of protein comparisons. So you can do 100 grams of grilled chicken skinless chicken breast versus chicken thighs, where you can do even more drastic, you know, manipulations for comparisons and just really feel and just look at it. And I always like looking at things like a budget because I tend to work with a lot of First typing individuals and then very business oriented clients. So I have a lot of other coaches that I coach, a lot of other fitness professionals, gym owners, you know, you name it that I work with, especially from a fitness professionals perspective. But these are business owners, these are busy people. And they're also those that are invested not only into their fitness, but into business. So when I always when I, when I go back to these financial budget analogies, it always makes sense for them. So I'm always trying to go back to the fact that would you make if you had a certain monetary budget in each month, and you needed 50% of your, you know, if we're going to do financial investments, you would spend on your the things that you needed necessities, and you would always prioritize those? Well, that should be your nutrient dense whole food sources, that should be your low energy dense food sources that are going to give you a ton of satiety per calorie. And then if you had like this other little discretionary income, so say the 10 or 20%, then it could go towards higher energy density, tastier foods, but you shouldn't make that the predominance of your diet. And that's really looking at the energy density of foods, and really doing a comparative analysis because we can look at 100 grams of fruit compared to 100 grams of chocolate, the chocolate might, maybe more, you know, preferential towards an individual. So a lot of my women, they love chocolate, a lot of my female clients, but I always tell them, Listen, we shouldn't be making the decisions, which are going to leave you feeling hungrier and less able to stick to the diet because you're you're, you're prioritizing those options over the things that could really provide you with the best bang for your buck in terms of fullness per calorie satiety per calorie, your micronutrients or fiber intake and all these other important and building blocks. These are the big rocks of your fat loss phase first and foremost.Philip Pape:
So here's an interesting thing. Speaking of a budget, we all have our calorie budget, do you set try to compare that to grams budget for those calories, like x calories per gram total for the day? Do you ever do it in that way? Like so if your budget as 1800 calories? You're gonna say, however many grams, well, would that be like one and a half would be extremely high? Extremely low density? And then more than that, you get what I'm saying? No. So I just think they're too complicated. SoBrandon DaCruz:
no, no, I've never I do know those statistics off the top my head. So for instance, we look at things like carrot we look at Strawberry, we were looking at point six calories per gram, or under in terms of energy density. When we actually look into the literature on energy density, I never get into these nuances unless it's like a fitness professional. But we see that we don't have an ability to moderate our intake physiologically. So naturally from a hunger and appetite and satiety perspective, over 1.5 grams, or 1.5 calories per gram in terms of our actual response to energy density of foods. So we see that all of the hyperplane edible foods are at a way higher spectrum of those. So if you look at like condensed fats versus one gram of a fat source is going to be nine calories per gram. So really, even if we do a calorie comparison between like a whole food, carbohydrate and a fat source, that's why we see a huge discrepancy in terms of energy density between these items. So for instance, 100 grams of butter is going to be far more calorically dense than 100 grams of sweet potato. And so I never do those, because I know that they gets really into minutiae with clientele, I don't give them like, I don't want a black and white perspective, I really want them to think of things as what is more conducive for my goals, like what foods choices are going to suit my goals best, and what are more conducive foods and less conducive foods. So if we're looking at really low energy density, food source, your vegetables, your fruits, your whole grains, your main protein sources, these are going to provide a ton of satiety and very low calories for the amount or a very low amount of calories for the amount of grams and the food weight that they provide us with. And then if we have extra in our budget, just like we would have with a discretionary income, then we can allocate towards some teacher foods. But you'll see as people get leaner into the diet, I'm gonna start prioritizing different things, because that's where really, I guess my expertise comes in both from, you know, working with so many people being through, you know, getting so you know, lean so many times myself that that's where you really have to get very specific with food choice, palatability, and different aspects of that. But even before that, I get into different nutritional and nutrient aspects. So from here, generally, what I do is, I first focus on energy density, and then I'm giving them certain targets to hit but it's not just from a macronutrient perspective, because like you mentioned, they already have the basics nailed. They had their calorie intake They've tracked, they have their protein, carbs and fats, and that's what everyone in this industry talks about. And those are important, don't get me wrong. So the one thing I do want to hit on that the rest of the industry does is protein intake, because the next strategy that I use to increase satiety and manage hunger during a diet is to utilize a high protein diet as protein is the most satiating macronutrient, so it helps us feel fuller and manage hunger better. And there's this theory called the protein leverage hypothesis, which describes why protein is so important for satiety his research on the protein leverage theory has found that we eat until we get enough protein and we will not stop until we hit that point. And so we need to reach this this threshold essentially, when we're eating aluminum to reach our natural level of fullness. And there's also research that has found that increasing the protein intake of a diet from 15% of calories to 30% of calories led to a spontaneous reduction of over 440 calories per day throughout a 12 week period. However, the best thing about this Study is this was an ad libitum diet, or this was an ad libitum study, he was not a dieting study. So these individuals created close to a 500 calorie deficit just due to feeling fuller from eating a high protein diet, which is why privatizing protein is a major key when dieting for fat loss. Now we know that in terms of that is something that we should all be doing. However, beyond that, then I'm looking at different nutrient values of things. So yes, I'm telling individuals, here's your, your calorie budget, here's your protein target or your protein range. Those two things are what most of the industry do. The next thing I focus on, instead of going to carbs or fats, that's not really what I'm focusing on, what I'm focusing on, is fiber intake. So what I want to make sure is to ensure a sufficient vibrancy. And besides protein, the other main nutrient or the other food component that I focus on, that's been shown to be highly filling, you know, aspect of the diet is fiber. So this is another aspect of the diet that I look to leverage. So hyper fiber foods can increase fullness and reduce hunger, as high fiber foods generally provide a ton of food volume. So we're getting back to that energy density aspect with the food volume for a low amount of calories and the allow us to feel fuller during the meal, but also after, and the delay or gastric emptying rate so that we feel fuller for longer periods of time, and we don't feel, you know, the worst thing in a diet is where you've had a really tasty meal. And it's been incredible, it tastes great. However, you're just as hungry after that meal as you were when you started. That's not the intention of food, especially when dieting a lot of people eat and make these macro creations. And they do this macro Tetris and stuff, where the food tastes great in the moment, but it drives them to want to eat more. The intention of eating fruit, especially during diet is to manage your hunger well enough that you're actually full after a meal. And you can go a few hours and not be completely food focused. But when we actually look at research on fiber, there's research that has found that for every 14 grams of fiber consumed, it decreases someone's ad libitum calorie intake by 10%. So this is significant. And usually the more fiber that you have in your diet, the fuller that you will feel. And it's also a good sign that your diet is nutrient dense as most of our dietary fiber should be coming from food sources, whole food sources, essentially, like your fruits, your vegetables, and whole grains, which are also packed with micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and cofactors. So this is where we get into the food quality aspects like we can't neglect that a lot of times when we only think about macros and isolation, we think about your protein, your carbs and your fats. We don't eat macros in isolation, we eat food. So we really got to focus on other nutritional aspects look, let's look at the fiber. Let's look at the micronutrients. Let's look at the vitamins the poly phenols the the minerals that are contained in these foods, which is really why you want to be getting your fiber from whole food sources rather than from protein bars or fiber supplements or these, you know high carb you know high fiber tortilla, you know, things that a lot of people use. So one thing that I specifically like to include in my diet is one big salad in all my fat loss diets for salad packs a ton of satiety per calorie. So with every bite of a salad, you feel fuller, despite taking in such a low amount of calories. And a salad helps to slow down your eating rate, which is another thing of literature that we actually see that slower eating rates actually induce greater feelings of satiety. But when you eat processed foods, if you look at like Kevin Hall's research, you see that higher ed rates are with processed foods are associated with a much higher calorie intake. And so we want to not only eat things that are going to make us feel full, but are also going to help us slow down and practice some mindful eating techniques. Because a lot of reasons why people have issues beyond just the fat loss phase itself, but in just general life and they over consume calories is because they eat mindlessly, they're distracted. They're not in the moment, they're not focusing. And they also consume foods that allow them and exacerbate that effect. So if you have fast food, yes, it's fast, because the delivery to you is fast, but also because you can eat too much tonic calories before you ever get through satiety signals from your stomach to your brain that you're actually satiated.Unknown:
My name is Tony I'm a strength flipped or my 40s Thank you to Phil in his Wits & Weights community for helping me learn more about nutrition and how to implement better ideas into my strength training. Phil has a very, very good understanding of macros and chemical compounds and hormones and all that and he's continuously learning. That's what I like about Phil, he's got a great sense of humor. He's very relaxed, very easy to talk to. One of the greatest things about Phil, in my view is that he practices what he preaches. He also works out with barbells, he trains heavy, not as heavy as me, but he trains heavy. So if you talk with him about getting in better shape, eating better, he's probably going to give you some good advice. And I would strongly recommend you talk with him. And we'll help you out. Thanks.Brandon DaCruz:
So another thing that's great about high fiber foods, they generally tend to be lower energy fancy food sources that contain a great micronutrient profile. So they have, you know, they're low energy fancy, but they have a rich nutrient density and provide a ton of volume and are highly satiating as a result. And then I think this is the last aspect that we can get into that you may be most interested in because this is where we really get nuanced with things and where there are very specific nutrient manipulations. So this was when something gets really lean. So at the beginning of a diet, I almost do like this hedonic, you know, descent down a staircase, and really what that means is we're going from more palatable foods to less palatable foods throughout the course of a dieting phase because as you get leaner, it's going to be harder and harder to stick to a deficit. So really when it comes down to it, another aspect of constructing fat loss diets that I found a massive benefit from, which not only increases satiety, but makes dieting for fat loss, far easier is modifying the palatability and the processing level of the diet by making simple food swaps and utilizing a Whole Foods first approach. So as we get deeper and deeper into a diet, and we get leaner, a few things happen that magnify our hunger levels, and increase our likelihood of veering off the diet and not being able to hit our calorie macro targets if we don't manage them properly. And that's the fundamental thing, we could talk about all these nuanced aspects of nutrition and training and movement and all these other things. If you can't adhere to the plan that you're on, you're never going to be successful. So that is what we have to ensure. And that's why I like to get ahead of them with the other three strategies that I employed and that I discussed. However, when things get harder, I always have levers, I always have tools in the toolbox to be able to integrate into the diet to make things easier for my clients at that time. And so when we get deeper into a diet, we get leaner, we see certain things happen. So we see leptin levels decrease source or satiety levels decrease, or ghrelin levels increase, which increases our drive to eat. And then we also see that our food focus increases, all of which make energy dense hyperplane. Well, delicious foods more appealing. But it also makes it more difficult for us to moderate our calorie intake from these items. And this is because the more palatable or more tasty essentially, a food is, the more this food triggers the reward center in the brain, which increases our likelihood to, you know, over eat that food. And this is where being too flexible with food choice can be a slippery slope, because a lot of times when you're including these tasty foods, as you get deeper and deeper into that, when you get leaner and leaner and your calorie budget becomes more and more constrained, these things become more and more tempting. And so if you're playing macro Tetris, and you're fitting super tasty, hyper playable processed foods into your diet, you're going to be more likely to slow down or stall your fat loss progress due to you know, lacking adherence, but also over consuming calories, even if you don't need to. And this is what's referred into literature as passive overconsumption meaning this wasn't done purposely, this is just a drive to eat. And sometimes you don't even realize because like I said, a lot of people eat mindlessly, or they eat distracted, or they're busy. So they don't even realize that he took down, you know, 800 calories in a meal instead of 400 calories. So really, when it comes down to it, I often have these conversations with clients, especially when they're getting leaner and really have to get down to the brass tacks. And we say that although you can eat whatever you want, so I'm not trying to put like this pink elephant in the room, or this dichotomous relationship with food. I'm always like, listen, although you can eat whatever you want, and lose fat isn't realistic once you get leaner. So just because a food fits your macro targets, doesn't mean that you should try fitting it in, especially on a daily basis. Because if you constantly include and expose yourself to higher plateau, playability foods, you're going to need to use more willpower, you're going to need to use more discipline and a lot of more mental currency to try to not over consume them. So you're in this constant battle with yourself, you're really hungry. And now you're putting yourself in a situation. It's almost like, you know, negative exposure therapy, essentially, where you're kind of just torturing yourself. It's almost like if you had a temptation food that you always need to binge on, like utilizing that in a diet. It just makes no sense to me. And this is why I find that a great way to mitigate the situation is you simple satiating and less palatable food services, which include more whole and unprocessed foods to be really beneficial during a diet as they provide more fullness per calorie, yet less calories per serving. And they also don't inherently drive up our appetite so that we want to eat more of them, like hyperplasia and processed foods do so to manage hunger throughout the course of a diet. I'll often lower the palatability of the foods I'm eating as hyper palatable. Ultra processed foods are less satiating per calorie first and foremost. And they also have been shown to drive up this passive overconsumption, which is why we're more likely to overeat on them. And this is where I've really found sticking with minimally processed Whole Foods to be highly beneficial for both myself and clients, especially as we get leaner. Because these are going to provide us with more satiety per calorie, they're going to help us feel fuller for longer, while eating less calories and being in a deficit and they also help me managing our calorie budget more effectively as they're easier to moderate or consumptions of. So generally, the advice that I give to clients and I would even give to anyone that asked me for this type of advice is if your goal is to lose a significant amount of body fat aim for especially as you get leaner, eat for satiating, yet, you know, simple yet satiating foods, that suit your goals can fit their calorie budget, to help manage that budget like you would your bank account. So I'll tell you how I go about this, because I do do these financial analogies a lot. And it's something that I realized that it often speaks to people and it kind of sticks with them when I look at it like this. So this is personally how I go through my own fat loss phase. So we discussed some of my fat loss failures, but then also my successes. This is the mindset that I've utilized towards that loss that has made me successful up into this point. And so how I personally look at this one I'm constructing my own fat loss diet is my total daily energy expenditure determines and dictates my calorie budget. So how much I'm moving and how much my basal metabolic rate and all these other components of my total daily energy expenditure, that is what dictates how many calories I can eat, and still afford to lose weight. And I need to manage my calorie intake like I do my financial budget. And to do so I weigh the calorie costs of each food choice in terms of the satiety provides and the calories it contains, and then make choices that most closely aligned with my goals and my budget, because in order to improve your body composition, you need to make sure the food you choose fit your budget as your choices can either make or break the bank. And we also want to look at like the difference between hyper palatable foods and food processing and all these different levels of things. We have great data that shows the vastly different effects that the two have. So we have, you know, metabolic Ward research from Dr. Kevin Hall that specifically looks at the different effects of diets containing either mentally process Whole Foods versus a diet of ultra processed foods on body composition. And this study found that when they provided participants with meals that were matched for calories, and they match all the macros, so we're talking protein, fiber, carbs, and fat. And then they allowed clients eat to fullness, these individuals ate an average of 500 calories more per day when their meals were comprised and made up of processed foods as compared to when their meals were simple and made up of whole foods. So when they were on the ultra processed IBS, they naturally over consumed calories and green fat. Whereas when they were on the minimally processed whole foods diet, eat 500 calories less per day and lost body fat without even purposely trying to do so. And what's really interesting about this study is that they looked at the satiety levels, and they asked, you know, individuals to subjectively and objectively measured these different levels of appetite and satiety. And they found that they had the same level of, you know, satiety and fullness, however, it took 500 more calories per day, to reach that same amount of fullness with the processed diet, as it did the whole foods diet, which shows how less satiating these ultra processed foods are, as you know, compared to Whole Foods, and why we're more likely. And so, you know, it happens so common that we overeat them. So, you know, one cookie turns into a dozen, you know, all these things, it's like a downstream spiral. So it's important to be more intentional. And also, when you approach that last item to be really informed, but also intentional about the food choices and the selections you make.Philip Pape:
We can we can take that entire clip brand. And that will literally give you everything you need to know about why you're making these choices during fat loss. And you don't want to mention that it's, quote unquote, healthier, good, bad, you know, all the traditional tropes of these things that, you know, make people think that they have to make a moral choice rather than something that's in line with their physiology. I mean, I took so many notes, and I've heard all these in bits and pieces before but the way you put it together, how Whole Foods versus processed foods stack, the benefits stack on top of them on top of each other time. And again, when you talk about the fact that we get fuller, right, and we will eat to our natural fullness, the how fiber helps with this as well. The, you know, you said having the salad every day again, that salad I was also thinking about fruit when he talked about cravings and you know, fruits this off limit thing for some people, it's kind of insane, you know, in the fitness industry, but I'll tell you what I want to fat loss phase, man, give me the sweet cherries, give me the bananas give me the blueberries. And it's like almost like eating, you know, highly palatable food that's actually not. SoBrandon DaCruz:
I really actually want to hit on that because a lot of times when I do discuss this with clients, or I've done presentations on palatability and modulating and modifying the palatability of food sources, sometimes people are like, Man, why would I want to switch from like all these tasty foods to plain foods. And here's the thing, we have to view things, we have to stop viewing things. dichotomously foods are not good and bad, tasty and disgusting, you know, gray and bland. Like we have to stop looking at it like that. First of all, we're blessed to be able to pursue a goal like that well. So this is a choice that you made, no one has forced you pressured you nothing. This is an active choice that you've made to better your body composition, better your physique, better your metabolic health, there's so many downstream benefits of fat loss sighting that go from the physiology to also the psychology. So a better, you know, body image, a better confidence level, you know, feeling better about yourself, just feeling better in your clothes, how you feel around your family, really impacting people around you, whether it be your children or your spouse, whatever it may be, there's so many positive benefits. And if you weren't in the privileged position where you could pay and hire a coach to help you get to your goal, you are one of the very fortunate individuals out there. So I always want to make this apparent. I always tell clients about this, especially when I have someone that has had a really tumultuous relationship with dieting in the past, they've been through chronic dieting cycles, where they feel like a failure, and they feel like they're just going to compete. Continue to repeat their mistakes in the past, I always tell them listen, this is a fresh start. Just like for instance, if you were to slip off your diet, you're always just and I want people to really understand this and I'll say it twice if I need to. You're always one meal away from being back on track, you are always one meal away from being back on track. If you slip up, don't just say f it. Just like if you had a flat tire in your car, you wouldn't slash all other three tires. Because of that incidence, you would you know, hopefully what you would do is call someone or you'd replace that tire and you keep it moving. And so really when it comes down to it, we shouldn't look at these things through this dichotomous relationship. You know, this rigid restraint mindset where we look at things as black and white good or bad on diet off diet. We should look at these things as shades of gray This is a spectrum so what I talked about with palatability meaning you went from a building phase where you were hypo or hyper caloric you were eating in a surplus you have more than enough energy availability, good sufficient amount of calories and probably by the end of it, you're at your highest body fat point first and foremost, you're also your leptin is high your ghrelin is really low. You probably have no appetite like your it's almost like a tree For to get these nails down. And we've all been there that have really pushed ourselves for muscle growth, where we've really had to push calories for a prolonged period of time, then you go into a dieting phase. And as we get leaner and leaner and our calories go down, we just make better food choices. We make simple food swaps, we switch to more, you know, whole foods that are going to micronutrient dense, because remember, when you're in a calorie deficit, you're more susceptible to micronutrient deficiencies, because by proxy, if you went from eating 2500 calories, and now you have the 2000, we're now you know, you're three months into a diet and you're at 17 or 1800 calories, you have lost a considerable amount of your calorie budget and also your micronutrient budget. So let's make every single calorie count. And really, when I say that, I mean that from a satiety perspective, a fullness perspective and enjoyment perspective, you know, making this from an adherence perspective, but also from a micronutrient density perspective is really, I do a lot of expensive blood work with clientele. And I have a lot of people come to me that I can't even express how many times I have, especially females come to me, that has many nutrient deficiencies, I do a full analysis on micronutrient profiles when someone comes to me and does a consultation and decides that they want to onboard with coaching with me, and I'll tell you, I've been a coach for 10 years. And I will say that maybe one out of 100 clients that new clients that comes to me, in the course of the year does not have inherent micronutrient deficiencies from a lack of food quality from a lack of supplementation from you know, lifestyle, especially if you're a chronic Dieter, but this is especially susceptible when you are in a fabulous space. And here's the thing. For instance, if you had your a deficiency of three cofactors, let's look at selenium, iodine, and zinc, those were all down regulate thyroid production. But if we look into literature on those with full thyroid hormone, it can decrease your basal metabolic rate, which accounts for 50 to 60% of the calories you expend per day, a low thyroid level. So clinical hypothyroidism can decrease your BMR in the literature by up to 25%. That does not mean that every single person that's hypothyroid sees a 25% decrease in their total daily energy expenditure. But you have up to that. So let's look at it from this component. If BMR makes up 60% of your total daily energy expenditure, and now you have a 25% decrease, that means your total daily energy expenditure is decreased by 15%, because of multiple inherent problems, and one of the many reasons that I see that people come up on lab work as being hypothyroid is because of nutrient deficiencies, high stress and chronic dieting. So these are things we have to work on. On the back end, we have to be very intentional, you know, this industry, it's really interesting. This industry has gotten so into macros and calories that we've neglected everything else. And really, if you're a nutrition coach, or you're a nutrition professional, we need to speak about nutrition because people don't eat macros. They don't calories, the food. And so we need to talk about food quality, food choice, food selection, really educate people. And that's where I really tried to take this modifying palatability approach because I want to leverage these different tools to be able to set people up for success. And here's the thing, the reason I do it almost in like a descending curve is the leaner, you get the hungry, get the leaner you get, the more your appetite goes up, when you get them, the longer you've been on a diet. So the more diet fatigue you have, the more mental currency has been drained, more willpower that you're lacking. So we need to employ different strategies towards the tail end of the diets a ensure that when you're at your hungriest, we're utilizing strategies that are going to ensure that you're as full as possible. Now hunger is an inherent part of dieting, so I'm never going to tell someone, you're never gonna experience hunger because honestly, if you're in an energy deficit, and you're liberating, and oxidizing body fat, that's, that's just par for the course, we're all gonna experience hunger, but it's about making these, this approach as minimal as possible. And when is that most essential, it's not only during the beginning, it's also towards the end, where you're at your highest susceptibility to just veering off the rails and falling off. And that's why a lot of people, they start that while sights, but they never actually get to their goal. So we see that in the literature, that seven out of eight individuals that go on a diet will lose weight, that doesn't mean they hit their weight loss goal, but they will lose a significant amount of body weight. So around 86% of individuals that go on a diet will lose weight. Now here's the thing, when we look at the diet recidivism rates, we see that within three years of having died, most people 95% 90 to 95% of people will have regained all that weight they lost. For more we see, you know in terms of or more, we look at 33 to 66%. However, let's look at the dieting rates per year. So if you actually look at the dieting rates per year, in westernized countries, industrialized countries like US, UK, Canada, we see that between 42 to 63% of the population reports going on a diet every single year. These are the same individuals going on a diet every single year to lose weight. And why is it so on is happening so constantly and so repetitively because a lot of people Yes, they'll lose a couple pounds, but then they regain it, they go through these the cyclical fashion, they never get to their goal. So really what I'm trying to do is utilize methods, I'm doing educate clients, I'm utilizing things that are going to help them in that moment and through that phase, so that they can get to their goal and we could utilize that 12 to 16 weeks phase to get them to their fat loss goal, get them lean and then focus our other time on recovering from the diet, maintaining living to learn it maintenance and then focusing on building muscle and going into a state of abundance in terms of energy availability, focusing on fueling our training and getting out of this mindset. They always have to be in a energy deficit you always have to be in fat loss it because so many people look at fat loss as like this permanent state this permanent phase. That's all they do because they never get to the goal. So really what I tried to do is set my clients For Success, which is why I never put a client right into a fat loss phase, we always go through a primer phase verse, you know, I believe the healthy bodies responsibility. And that's the way the method that I used to get there. So I set them up for success at the start, then we go on to say their, their goal is fat loss. And we've done our lab work, we've seen all their physiological markers or psychological markers, they're in a great place, we've eaten sufficient calories for an extended period of time, they've been out of a deficit for a prolonged period of time, we've reversed any negative metabolic and hormonal adaptations, as you may have seen from previous sites before coming to me, then we go into a deficit we're trying to get in and we're trying to get out, that doesn't mean Rapid Fat Loss, what that means is effective fat loss, meaning 1216 20 weeks, whatever your goal necessitates. Let's get in. And then let's get out. And let's focus on recovery, getting back to maintenance, reversing these metabolic adaptations, and then going into a state where we're focusing on performance, and fueling your training performance, which is really going to drive your body composition progress moving forward, so that the next time you do die, see that's a year down the road, or 1618 months down the road, you're going to be a better version of yourself, because the next time you get leaner, you're going to be more muscular, you're gonna have much better habits, you're gonna have been out of a state of being in a deficit. And in the state of both physical and mental restriction, we're now you're looking forward to it. Because I'll tell you, there's been so many times that a female has come to me and has done diet after diet after diet, and to get them into a state, a mindset of abundance. So we're doing the high energy flex model, they're moving more, they're eating more, they're getting used to the fact that they can maintain their body weight on much higher calories, you know, then we go into a fat loss phase, we get them lean, but then we focus the next year on building muscle. And the next time that they go to the diet, they fear they face for less challenges, because they haven't been in this restricted state all year. So it's not like they're feeling like they're the first week of the diet, they're already like in hell, or they're in Purgatory, because they've spent so much time in a state of being in a surplus. And so it's almost like something that they're encouraged to do as well as they're, they're really excited to get into a deficit, because you're like, listen, you've been pounding food down my throat, this whole phase, I really want to get into a state where like, I'm, you know, I'm not feeling full all the time, I just kind of want to feel light on my feet and like, then you're looking forward to these things. And that's really where I'm taking a phased approach and utilizing nutritional periodization, going from one phase to another, making sure each phase is as effective as possible. And the same thing applies. So the palatability of foods, I'm lowering them throughout the course of that last night, however, then when we get out of there, and we get into a state of abundance, and I've gotten you back to maintenance calories, and we've reversed a lot of the metabolic adaptations, we can start increasing availability. And so it's never a permanent thing. This is a transient state, just like metabolic adaptation, a lot of people look at this as metabolic damage, which has been disproven 10 out of 10 times in the literature. However, these things that you face the situations, you go through the fact that you have to, you know, sustain an energy deficit, that's a temporary state, and no, we should, it should be a temporary state to get your goal. And then we focus on maintaining that by utilizing more sustainable habits going forward.Philip Pape:
And your energy is so passionate about this brand. And I couldn't agree more with everything. But what I really love about this is, even when you talk about being in that energy deficit, even when you talk about food choices, it's really keeping you in the highest energy state you can be getting through the diet with without having to constantly interrupt it, maybe take breaks, refeeds, whatever, potentially, and getting it over with and I agree, like if you can build for most of the year and get support, you're taking these mini cuts, and it's hardly a blip in your life, that that's where people want to be regarding the palatability and all that. I think you talked about body composition and the overpass of overconsumption. I think recently, you also talked about how thermic effect of feeding could be higher. And you just mentioned how nutrient deficiency could cause a reduction in expenditure. So these are all really good things for people to think about how just the food choices could make it easier to diet. Besides the hunger and the satiety, which is awesome. I want to respect your time. I know we're bottom of the hour, we probably have to wrap up Do you have a few minutes, let's you knowBrandon DaCruz:
what let's do the principles to track I know that that will probably tie us up in a really good situation.Philip Pape:
Let's finish principles of tracking. Let's do it. Alright.Brandon DaCruz:
So I'm a big believer that what isn't measured and tracked isn't managed as well and manipulated to truly yield optimal body composition progress, especially when we're in a fat loss phase where it's really challenging to induce and maintain an energy deficit when we aren't tracking. So a few principal areas that I like to have clients track are their food intake, your body weight, your step count, other sleep and our stress levels. So we really have to realize and I often say this to clients, because I have a lot of people come to me and they've never tracked in their lives. And I know that they're a little bit I guess averse to it or you know, it's really an introduction, I always try to meet people where they're at, but I always remind them listen, whether we count calories or not, they always count. So regardless, if you count your calories, they still count. But if you've never tracked your calories, you're gonna have very limited awareness around the calorie density like we just discussed previously how important that is, you know that very little awareness around the calorie density of foods, which can lead you to making food choices that don't align with your calorie budget and your goals. Which is why the most effective way for most individuals to improve their body composition is by real body composition by losing fat gaining muscle or recapping this attractor dietary intake. So that's the first fundamental component that if I'm gonna have someone track, the first thing we're looking at is food intake, because that's really where I find a lot of bottlenecks in the system. You know, someone might have some issues with training, but it's not like it only is inherently coming down to the fact that they don't log your lifts like yes, logging your and tracking your lifts can really go a long way. But often what I noticed is, I have a lot of individuals that are advanced trainees that are intermediate or to death, they've been training a long period of time. So they track their lives, and they have all these spreadsheets, but they've never tracked your calories and macros. And so that's really where I try to introduce them to this, especially when it comes to a fat loss phase. And really, when it comes to tracking, you know, we want to know what's in the food you're eating from a macro and calorie perspective so that you can account for it, and to see if your dietary approach is getting you closer or further away from your physical. Also, another reason why we should track is because intuitively, our brain doesn't know how many calories we've eaten a meal. And this is because satiety is delayed sensation. And it takes different nutrients, different amounts of time to digest and send satiety signals to the brain to tell us to terminate a meal. And really when it comes down to it or stomach since food weight and food volume, not calories. So if you don't make a meal, say you know high energy dense meals, so say we do like something like a sandwich, we do a peanut butter and jelly. So we have bread, we have peanut butter, and we have jelly, it's going to take much more calories from a PB and J to get hold them from a whole food meal that consists of something like chicken breasts and sweet potato. And this is because our stomach or you know, our stomachs have gastric stretch receptors that sends pressure when we eat. And when these receptors sense a lot of food volume and stretch, they send a signal to our brain that we've eaten enough and are full. And the great thing is there's a lot of low energy density foods that provide a ton of food volume for a low amount of calories, which allows us to get a lot of satiety per calorie or fullness per calorie. And these include these food sources include things like your vegetables and your fruits, especially those with a high water content like your salads. And even like we were talking about BERRIES BERRIES are perfect strawberries a great option for high no low energy density, high volume foods. So if you include more of these low energy density food items into your diet, you'll naturally eat less calories than if you eat highly processed energy dense food items that can override our hunger and satiety signals. Just like we saw on the Kevin Hall study when they eat processed foods, it just overrode their natural ad libitum eating habits where they eat 500 calories per day more per day. And so when it comes to tracking food intake, there are a lot of you know, a ton of benefits, spending at least a significant amount of time learning how to track can provide us with such as the fact that tracking improves our awareness around what you're eating and your habits and behaviors around food. This is really important from like on mindfulness perspective, because a lot of people they have like these mindless habits where they have, you know, tastes, looks, the bites looks and tastes and little things that they don't even realize unless they're tracking things. And that's where they really say, oh, Brandon, you know, I didn't even realize how many times I just took a scoop of peanut butter or Aida a handful nuts or I took a snack in the kitchen or I eat my kids chicken nuggets like the rest that were on the plate. So you know, it teaches us about the calories the macros and micros different foods provide, it also allows us to discover what foods are higher or lower in calories and what macros they provide. And it helps us determine what foods are more or less conducive for your current goals, which is extremely helpful when trying to lose or maintain weight. And another aspect of tracking that a lot of people don't hit on a lot of times, you know, there's this dichotomous relationship with tracking where a lot of people within like the intuitive eating space essentially are adverse people that are non dieting, you know, he's moving and stuff someone's gonna say, you know, tracking or dieting, it causes disordered eating. First of all, we don't see that in literature, if you do not have a predisposition or an existing eating disorder, we do not see tracking, increasing your likelihood of experiencing that. And there's clinical trials and, and very rigorous data that has looked at that if you are someone that is dealing and currently has a clinically diagnosed eating disorder, then tracking could exacerbate that. Those are two different things. When we're talking about clinical pathologies and normal physiology, they're two separate entities and we really have to be able to differentiate and not pull data from one and then try to apply it to another. And this is something I'm really big on. You know, oftentimes I speak about research, but if I'm talking about a female specific topic, I'm only looking at research that was done on females, I'm not taking it from male data and a pie into a female because they have a different physiology. So we really have to be intentional with the information that we provide. But we have to realize that often, you know, I actually find people develop a better relationship with food, when they're able to track and become aware of what's in their food. And this is the reason why I felt the thing is a lot of people had only what they've heard from pop culture from the media, they look at foods as black and white. These are good foods and bad foods, they know nothing about nutrition, but they they know about these demonized seed oils, or they know about you know, you know, artificial sweeteners or sugar or, or fruit like you said, like fructose of the devil, and they feel that they cannot eat these food sources. And they, you know, essentially exclude those from their diets. And they have these really, you know, highly, you know, for instance, we'll have people that come to me all the time, they've never tried a macro or calorie in their life, but they're, you know, they're gluten free or dairy free or free. They're sugar free, every free that you could think of, but they haven't been able to attain their goals and they're living a extremely restricted lifestyle and have a poor relationship with food. They have a very limited food list that they can work off when I get them to track and I show them what's in food, the benefits of different food sources, and it's not that you have to eat everything you have to Know that you can eat pretty much anything unless it's the only thing. I don't demonize any food on this earth, except for trans fats, because there's enough clinical data that shows cardiovascular disease risk, just from a 3% intake of stock, you know, trans fat. SoPhilip Pape:
that's the only thing that will be nice. But besides that, it's all par for the sport and for the most part anyway, exactly. AndBrandon DaCruz:
so when it comes down to tracking, that's one thing that I really like having people do. And then from there, you know, other than having them track their diet, I liked doing scale, we and I know that's another controversial topic. But there's a very specific reason that you're notPhilip Pape:
on here, right and not on here, your listeners are all on board.Brandon DaCruz:
Perfect. So you know, you know, this is something that I have most clients track and take multiple times per week, and even up to daily, as this is a great tool for a determine a client's energy down status. So whether they're in deficit, threat maintenance, or they're under surplus, and it's a great awareness tool over habits and behaviors around nutrition activity levels, which can help us determine if we're moving closer or further away from our face specific goals that we're working towards. And self monitoring techniques, like frequent weights have been shown in the vast majority of literature to lead to better weight loss outcomes, as well as greater success with weight loss maintenance. So it's a habit that increases that awareness. If you see your your weight ticking up and trajectory going up, it's something that can easily help you reel back in your habits are making certain adjustments to realize, hey, maybe I'm over consuming things, or maybe I've been a little bit too loose with my diet, let me clean things up. So I can get back to a weight stable or weight maintenance threshold, you know, what's comfortable for me, where I feel good, I'm healthy, and it's within my goals, you know, subset, essentially, then anotherPhilip Pape:
frequent word is important that you said, it's not just random every once every few weeks or something.Brandon DaCruz:
No, it's actually the meta analysis that we have on this, we have several of them wing has an incredible meta analysis on this, this is she's looking at daily weighing, or at least multiple times a week. And here's the thing. So when you actually look at successful habits, weight loss dieters, we have, you know, information from the National Weight Control Registry that shows us we have wing is one of the researchers that has done an immense amount about successful weight loss, and then weight loss maintenance. She's also the person that came to the industry with diet breaks. So she was the first person to ever, you know, introduce diet breaks to the industry in 2003, with her wing and Jeffrey steady. So just a little, you know, food for thought or just like a little A fun fact about wing, but she's done incredible research. And what she has shown is there's this discrepancy, or there's relationship between vein frequency and weight loss outcomes and weight loss maintenance success. So what the she her research has shown the meta analysis she's done, and the systematic reviews on the literature has found is that when people go during a fat loss diet, and they weigh in more frequently, they're more successful with their weight loss. When they maintain those habits, they're more successful with weight loss maintenance. However, when someone decreases their frequency of self monitoring habits, like self weight, like food tracking, physical activity levels, so at that point in the literature, they weren't really utilizing step count, but it was like minutes per week, when they decrease any of those three aspects of self monitoring techniques or tools, they see a regression, meaning that they're regaining more weight than those who have maintained and sustained the habits that got them there. So really what it comes down to and weight loss maintenance, a lot of people know, they see that the statistics of weight regain are so high, but it's really about maintaining a lot of the habits, and making them and putting them as a component of your new lifestyle. So it's not that you stay in an energy deficit, we increase your food intake. Absolutely right. Outside of the deficit, we're done with the fat loss phase, let's get right back to maintenance. However, let's maintain a lot of the positive habits that lead you to success. So that's things like monitoring your food intake, weighing your foods, tracking your food intake, doing nutritional habits, even if it's stuff like listen, you're not going to track every single meal, let's make sure we get an adequate amount of protein with every single meal, let's make sure that we have a sufficient amount of fiber per day. So when we really look at it, statistically, Americans reading between 11 to 18 grams of fiber per day, if we actually looked at nutritional overseeing bodies, the recommend 30 to 35 grams per day. So really, we're getting 1/3 to one half the amount of fiber we ship per day. So vast majority of individuals are clinically they're essentially deficient or insufficient in fiber intake. And actually, fiber is one of the four nutrients of concern that the US has put out in governing bodies and guidelines that this is something we have to pay attention to. So these are just little simple things, making sure that you hit a vegetable and fruit minimum per day. All these little habits are things that we can track, even just habits and this is something that sometimes I have clients that are super busy, or they're not a data type of individual and I have a lot of work with a lot of professionals. A lot of business professionals love it guys, things like that. They love the data tracking, but then I have your busy household mother that doesn't like that. So I had to do it have a checklist, where it's protein intake per day reading three to four servings of a sufficient bolus of protein, we're making sure to get either a fruit or vegetable with each and every single meal. We're eating mostly Whole Foods, we're going on post mill walks, you know, we're we're taking you know, a certain minimum amount of supplements like vitamin D things that they're deficient. And so these are we can really scale up the amount of things we track but it doesn't have to be like all or nothing. It doesn't have to be like I track things or I don't track anything at all. It can be expectrum Essentially, this the shades of grey. Another component that I'm going to track and this is because I am such an advocate of the high energy flux lifestyle is I track you especially with clients whose goal is to lose body fat I'm going to track you know their daily step count as a proxy for me and their overall off his activity levels. And this is because being a deficit causes an unintentional and subconscious reduction in our NEET levels. And this is a natural part of the processes. It's one of the many defense systems and mechanisms that our body has in place to reduce our energy expenditure exactly during a deficit, it's trying to conserve energy. So it's going to do that in any single way. However, the the insidious thing about me is that this reduction happens subconsciously. So often, you won't even notice that you're burning less calories per day throughout the process of dieting. So reductions in meat are generally proportional to the amount of energy deficit you put yourself in. So the larger the calorie deficit you create in your diet, the less you'll move as a result of putting less energy in the system. So we have to realize that energy intake and energy expenditure are intrinsically tied. So as energy intake goes down. So it is your energy expenditure. So we have to offset that in some type of capacity. And so there are a couple of ways to combat this. First, I want people to track so through aware of they're aware and conscious of their daily activity levels. But also I like to intentionally increase movement activity, seeing as the amount of subconscious movement you're doing sucks, you're fidgeting, you're standing, you're walking, you're blinking is going to be reduced. So let's offset that by making sure that you're moving around a sufficient amount. And then the last kind of component that I track with all clients is there sleep and stress levels, both through objective and subjective ways based on the client that I'm working with. So sometimes I'll have been tracking reporting their sleep quality and sleep quality, as measured through a device like aura, which gives us more objective readings. But then sometimes I have someone that doesn't do well with data tracking. So we always have to, you know, fit the methods. So I had many checking sheets that it's really going towards, you know, it's not a one size fits all, not everyone's getting the same check in form. For me, it's really based on the individual themselves. So sometimes I have an individual they don't do well, without a tracking. There's actually something in the clinical research or literature called ortho Samia, which is where people actually inhibit their sleep quality because they're so worried about getting insufficiency. So it's, it's almost like orthorexia, or any of these these issues, anything with ortho in front of it, is they're becoming obsessive about the quality. So it actually inhibits these things. So tracking that with an individual like that, that's really worried about sleep quality would actually be a negative, it would do the opposite. So in that case, I'll simply have them report on a scale from one to 10, how well they believe they've been sleeping, and how they feel in terms of energy levels, and how rest and refresh they feel when waking up. And it also really believed that we can't separate our psychology from our physiology. So I tend to ask a lot of lifestyle questions from clients. And I try to build a very like open and honest line of communication between the two of us, I really think that coaching is a relationship. This is a friendship that we've we've garnered together that we've built up and it's really something that I like to get this open line of communication around, especially around their stress levels, as oftentimes just looking at some objective markers, like their calorie intake, or their skill weight, or their training performance doesn't show us the full picture of what's really going on. So I really feel that one of my main roles as a coach is to be a detective, and to dig in deeper to peel back the layers of the onion, to find out some of the bottlenecks and some of the anchors in a client's life that go far beyond just what they're doing in the gym or in the kitchen, that could be potentially causing a slowing in the rate of fat loss progress, or a plateau and fat loss. So if I didn't have these conversations, maybe I would always think And dude, I've been doing this 10 years, I definitely don't have this, this, this mindset at this point. But often, if we only looked at the spreadsheets, if I only looked at scale weight, or calorie intake, and things like their pictures and just objective markers, if I only looked at the data, as it was without really considering the individual client that I was working with, maybe I would think, Alright, they sold this week, it could be metabolic adaptation, it could be a lack of adherence, let's just slash the calories even more, let's bring down the macros like, you know, make these adjustments. It's just this, this excellent knows of calories and macros and you know, training sets and reps. Instead, I really need to dig in deeper to the person that they're dealing with stress issues, if we're seeing stress and you support, you know, cortisol return card, cortisol induced water retention, if I'm seeing that they have really hectic life, so maybe it's time that maybe physiologically they've only been dieting for three or four weeks, they don't need a diet break. But psychologically, they do need it. So we have to consider both sides of the equation and really realize we're working with humans. This isn't just data analysis. This isn't just data collection, and just spitting things out like an algorithm, which is why I really think that things like aI coaching and chat GBT and all these different things, they're going to be revolutionary for a lot of industries. But really, when it comes down to coaching, this goes for like quality coaching goes far beyond the X's and O's of just nutrition in terms of calories and macros. And in terms of training with sets and reps, this is about digging deeper getting to know someone really customizing your approach to that individual that you're working with. And really being a guide in your life and looking not only to help them make physique transformations, but lifestyle transformation. And that's something that no AI device, no app, no chat GPT is ever going to replace us for.Philip Pape:
That is so true. And it's like you could have an entire huge Encyclopedia of all of this data that you just talked about. We can have the exact answers for every possible scenario and no matter what you do, the human body and the psyche are so complex, and knowing that person and having that relationship with them in the compassion and understanding and listening, active listening, so important to say, You know what, over this, this other thing has been happening in your life. It's not reflected in the numbers, but it's causing something downstream. And I get what it is. So let's understand it together. Man, this is so awesome because you just peel back every layer and people listening just have a ton to go with. So I'm gonna probably be touching on multiple, multiple of these concepts in the future. Brandon, I always learned something talking to you. Is there any last thing you want to say? Or if not, you just let listeners know what you're up to now and where they can find you.Brandon DaCruz:
Absolutely my man. As always, I first and foremost want to say that I'm very appreciative to be on your show, I always appreciate the invite to share information, and really provide a positive impact on this industry. When I got into this when I started in the actual fitness industry 14 years ago, and I remember where it was at. And always my intention with everything that I've done, since the beginning of my career, I've always lead with integrity lead with a real drive and purpose and passion. But also my intention within everything that I do is that I'm going to leave this industry better than I found it. And when I find individuals like yourself, that that seem like motivation and drive and passion, I really only respect and I know that recently I had reached out to you and just commended you on that. You're doing an incredible job with the podcasts, you're building things, you're really putting out great information. I respect that first and foremost. And also, I kind of mentioned to you off air, that we're one of the good guys in the industry, we're one of the few and this industry is getting saturated, but unfortunately, it's not saturated with great individuals. So if we're able to just align with ourselves in terms of a group where we're able to share evidence based information, but also experience anecdote like real, like client led coaching, and what we've learned in the trenches, it's going to help this industry as a whole. So I have an immense amount of respect for you for your show. And I'm appreciated beyond here. For anyone out in the audience. If you guys liked this podcast or you're interested in any other further information, please be sure to check out my own podcast which is the chasing clarity health and fitness podcast available on Spotify, iTunes, or even YouTube. Then also find me on Instagram I post daily content literally I'm someone I'm Mister consistency, so I would not miss an educational post one day since 2017. So you will find you know, an immense amount of posts and always like things like this will be on there. I'm constantly sharing podcasts that I'm on, you know, whether it be a guest or even things that I do on my own. And so that is going to be on Instagram at Brandon Cruz underscore and if anyone has any inquiries, questions or any you know things that they want to follow up with, feel free to reach out to me on my private email, which is betta Kristin email@example.comPhilip Pape:
And your and your podcast Jason clarity for anybody listening, definitely follow it and listen all the way through because there's gonna be something you learn every time every time so definitely check it out. Put the idea put the email in there. I really appreciate the words about me that you just said Brandon that that means a lot. I appreciate it and look up to you and all the guys in the industry like that. I agree. We all want to line good guys unite and women and help each other out. So thank you so much for being on the show. It's a pleasure.Brandon DaCruz:
Absolutely, man. We'll be happy to be back whenever you want to happen. Absolutely.Philip Pape:
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