Myth #1

With just a few small changes, a weight loss supplement, and 20 minutes of exercise a day you too can have 6 pack abs, tight glutes, and look like a fitness model.

Myth #2

Getting healthy and losing weight involves extreme restriction, deprivation, and massive changes that are impossible to stick to and overtake your whole life.

Reality #1

The leaner you want to be, and the lower body fat percentage you want, the harder it is. The process to lose the first 10lbs is very different from the process to lose the last 10lbs. If you want to be ‘elite athlete lean’ it comes at a cost most people aren’t willing to pay.

Reality #2

Small changes and healthy habits, compounded over time, do create significant and notable results. Even small goals, like working out twice a week for 1 hour, will result in getting healthier and help you lose weight if you consistently stick to them.

Most people fall on the spectrum of wanting Reality #2, they want to feel better, be healthier, and lose weight but don’t need those washboard abs. What does it really take to achieve weight loss results? A study published by Precision Nutrition (the #1 fitness nutrition program out there) followed 1,000 people for 1 year and found that women and men who were less than 50% consistent with their nutrition and exercise goals lost an average of 11lbs. Women who were 50-79% consistent, lost an average of 12lbs, men in this range lost an average of 15lbs. Women who were 80-89% consistent with their goals lost an average of 15lbs, reduced their body fat % by 9%, and lost 4 inches off their waist. Men who were 80-89% consistent lost 24lbs, 11% body fat, and 5 inches from their waist. It goes up from there, women who were 90-100% consistent lost 19lbs, 10% body fat, and 5 inches from their waist and men lost 24lbs, 13% body fat and 6 inches from their waist.

Healthy Weight Loss

The bigger picture for all of this information is; the more consistent you are the better the result, but it takes less than 50% consistency to see some results. The sweet spot for most people is 50-80% consistency. Keep in mind these numbers are averages. Someone starting an exercise routine for the first time is going to have very different results than someone who is already consistently exercising and someone who is 50lbs overweight is going to have very different results than someone who is 15lbs overweight. Let’s say your goal is to eat more whole fruits and veggies. If you average 21 meals a week (3 meals per day) you only have to incorporate whole fruits and vegetables into 10 meals a week to start seeing some results. If you incorporate whole fruits and veggies into 90% of your meals that is 19 meals each week, which only leaves two meals each week to skip this goal. You will see more results if you are successful 90% of the time, but better is better. That means if you are consistent 50% of the time, that is better than none, and if you are consistent 70% of the time (but your goals is 90%) that is still better than 50%. Better is better.

So what does it look like if you want to be ‘elite athlete lean’? You will need to exercise 60-90 minutes per day, 4-5 days per week and get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. For most of us that is already a tough schedule to stick to but on top of that you won’t have much time for social interactions outside of exercising and will struggle in social situations involving food and alcohol. The diet portion is even more regimented because you will have to restrict yourself to 1 or 2 caloric beverages (beer, lattes, soda) every 1-2 weeks and processed carbs/dessert 1 or 2 times every 1-2 weeks and limit overall carb intake at EVERY meal. The leaner you want to get the more regimented and restricted you will have to be, including counting calories, macros, and measuring all your portions.

In order to lose 1lb per week you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 per week. This is pretty easy when you first start because that is only 500 calories a day you either need to burn off or remove from your diet. Most people will burn at least half that with an hour of exercise and you can easily remove 500 or more calories a day by removing one caloric beverage a day (most Starbucks lattes are about 700 calories). This caloric deficit becomes harder and harder as you lose weight because you have to become more and more precise with your diet and caloric intake. This is why the process to lose the first 10lbs is very different than the process to lose the last 10lbs.

The main point is anyone can get healthier, lose weight and look and feel better by starting to make small, manageable changes and building on those over time to create healthy habits. If you want to look like a fitness model you will have to drastically change your lifestyle to accomplish that goal. Neither side is wrong, it just depends on what you want.

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