Hey, how’s it going?! Here’s a challenge for you to really consider taking up for the new year of 2016. Not only for your health and mental state of well-being, but for your freakin’ confidence!
According to the dictionary, confidence is defined as a feeling or belief that you can do something well and competence is defined as the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. But what do confidence and competence have to do with each other? Well, just about EVERYTHING. In his book “Confidence”, by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic Ph.D., a business psychologist at NYU, he makes it extremely clear that the ONLY effective way to gain confidence is through getting competence.
Yeah of course, anybody can fake confidence and put up a front as to how confident they really are, which is what the vast majority of people are doing in today’s society. However, Dr. Premuzic has found through numerous amounts of research that there comes a lot of toxic effects with having too much confidence such as making people more arrogant, lazy, complacent, and thinking they’re better than they really are which ultimately harms self-development and growth. Having been born in 1996, I’m quite familiar with over confidence since my generation, Generation Y, happens to be reported as the MOST narcissistic and entitled generation to date. (Lol, true story…)
But what does this have to do with this month’s challenge? Well, knowing that competence is the only sure-fire way to confidence, we’re going to be attacking competence head on. And the medium of choice that we’ll doing this through? … FAT LOSS.
Why fat loss? Good question… well because this subject is something I know MANY people, including my own friends and family, struggle with because it truly seems like a hopeless cause because of the insane amount of fad diets out there that are just WAY too restrictive and psychologically damaging for anybody to adopt them as sustainable lifestyle habits.
But through my own personal experience and having been taught on the subject from many research orientated fitness figures, I managed to figure out a few key guidelines that will allow ANYONE who wants to lose fat to do so in a sustainable long term fashion. This may only be a one month challenge but the true intention behind it is to give lifelong knowledge as to how EASY it is to lose fat while loving life in the process and for you to begin a totally new way of thinking towards food and getting fit. (Trust me, your life WILL change).
The picture above(sorry for the low quality), showcases my own personal body transformation. I managed to lose close to 20 pounds of fat within the past few months while gaining strength and muscle without having to cut out ANY kind of foods and going through with this challenge will set you up to do just the same or even better!
Also, deciding to take this challenge perfectly resonates with the competence-confidence loop which you can see in the picture above. You’ll be gaining competence (the ability to do something successfully or efficiently) by having completed the month’s objective and the results from the scale, waist measurements, mirror, and other people’s compliments will give you feedback to show you that YOUR EFFORT was successful.
Before we get into the guidelines for completing the challenge. There is one HUGE key thing to know. Losing fat is simply a matter of CALORIES IN VERSUS CALORIES OUT. Huge emphasis on simply because there are an insane amount of people in this world who believe a boatload of scientific myths out there who think it’s their age, metabolism, eating carbs, eating at night, or something else that is making them gain more fat than they would like.
While such extraneous variables can indeed have a factor in how well you burn fat, they are NOT going to determine whether you can get the body of your dreams or not in any significant way. (Click here) if you care to get a quick read on a human nutrition professor from KSU who set out to prove the calories in versus calories out principle. He went on a diet consisting primarily of twinkies, nutty bars, powdered donuts, and other “junk” in order to prove that when it comes to fat loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most. He ended up losing 27 pounds in TWO months as well as having his health markers surprisingly IMPROVE from the fat loss.
On my own journey of losing fat, I had chocolate bars, ice cream, pizza, burgers, and almost any other “junk food” you can name almost every… single… day… And I STILL do.
However, I think we can all agree that eating processed and sugary foods as our primary source of food isn’t going to be the best way to go about our fat loss goals which will be addressed in the following 8 guidelines. So with that being said, let’s get into the objective and changing our lives!
JDY One Month Fitness Challenge
Societal Norm We’re Challenging: You HAVE to eat “healthy and clean” food only in order to lose a significant amount of fat.
Your Month’s Objective: Successfully lose at least 5 pounds of fat, WITHOUT removing ANY of your favorite foods from your diet by the end of the next 30 days.
Guideline #1: Take Day 1 Measurements And Pictures.
In order to take your measurements, you’re going to need a bathroom weight scale, tape measure, and body fat caliper. (Click here) to buy both the tape measure and body fat caliper (that I personally use) as an all-in-one low priced set from Amazon. The caliper included will give you a very good approximate of your body fat.
As for your pictures, simply take a front, side, and back picture NOT flexing. After getting your body weight(with no heavy clothes on), waist measurement, body fat percentage, and pictures, be sure to store them somewhere so you can look back after you’re done with the challenge and feel like a boss!
Guideline #2: : Know your WHY and write it down.
The reasoning behind the objective being 5 pounds of fat loss is because with a daily 500 calorie deficit, you are guaranteed to lose at least 1-2 pounds of fat a week making 5 pounds of fat loss this month a very reasonable goal. Just in case you think 5 pounds of fat in a month isn’t much, here’s what it looks like!
Next step is to write down the date you are deciding to take this challenge and set the end date as 30 days from then. This will be the challenge’s time frame. Not only have I seen the power of writing goals and tasks down on paper for myself, but there is a ton of research that shows how doing so will not only make you more committed and likely to follow through, but also to give you an even greater sense of accomplishment for completing whatever you wrote down.
Be sure to write the objective on a post it, in your phone, or anywhere you’ll see it on a consistent basis along with WHY you want to take the challenge. When thinking about your WHY, you should really try to get in touch with your emotional reasons for wanting to complete the challenge. This is because we as humans are all primarily driven by emotions and getting your WHY to be aligned with them will make all the difference.
Guideline #3: Calculate your caloric deficit
Please keep in mind. Just because fat loss occurs with a caloric deficit, that doesn’t mean that you can starve yourself silly and eat close to nothing on a daily basis which is what many people try doing, which ONLY results in both psychological and physiological damage… Your body is smarter than you may think and has all kinds of mechanisms in place to alter your behavior to eat more if there’s too big of a calorie deficit. Your body doesn’t give a damn that you want to get lean or fit. You’ll have to find that sweet spot of a caloric deficit per day that allows you to lose fat while not triggering any of your body’s starvation defense mechanisms.
So with that being said, I did the work for you of finding the most efficient yet simple caloric deficit calculator on the web. (Click here to use it!) I suggest to select the 500 calories less or the “slow but steady” option for the calorie deficit section. Although the calorie deficit number you end up with is just an estimate, it’s a very good number to start off with and you can easily adjust it as the weeks go on.
Guideline #4: Prepare To Track Your Food Intake
Now this is probably going to be a very radical lifestyle change for most people. But with it, you will gain a TREMENDOUS advantage in losing fat. When you don’t know how many calories you’re having in a day or how many calories are in the food you are eating, you put yourself in the worst position possible to be losing fat because of how calorically dense some foods are.
Luckily, we’re in the 20th century and we have FREE apps like MyFitnessPal that have a whole database of almost every single food you can think of as well as being able to log what you eat. So for example, let’s say I decide to grab a burger from in-n-out (they’re delicious, I know). I simply go to MyFitnessPal and quickly search up “IN-N-OUT cheeseburger” and add it to my daily log. If MyFitnessPal doesn’t happen to have in it’s database the food you’re looking to add, you can simply google it and find a good estimate. I also know some people who prefer to get a small notebook to write down what they’re eating throughout the day to log their calorie intake. Also, keep in mind that apps like MyFitnessPal are not 100% accurate on their calories. This is fine! Tracking calories is not an exact science.
If you’re new to interpreting the nutrition facts of food packaging or need a quick recap, please watch this quick 2 minute video. It’s really NOT as simple as it seems!
If you can’t even bother to track what you’re eating throughout the day to improve your health while getting fit, then there’s nothing more to be said and I sincerely apologize for wasting your time.
What you’ll probably realize as you begin to track your food intake is how much the snacks and other stuff you eat when you’re not even hungry can add up into A BIG CHUNK of your daily calories. Which brings us to the next guideline.
Guideline #5: Set up a FLEXIBLE meal schedule
When it comes to meal timing, the time at which you choose to eat your meals or food is totally up to you and will NOT affect the rate of fat you will lose or cause you to lose muscle in any significant way as long as you’re in a moderate deficit and getting sufficient protein. There are A HUGE NUMBER of people out there, including big names and trainers in the fitness industry that will have you believing that you need to be eating every 2 or 3 hours to “keep your metabolism up” and a bunch of other bs. This is by far one the BIGGEST myths circulating the fitness industry right now.
Read this paragraph if you don’t believe me: On the subject of eating having to eat every couple hours, take this article(click here) from WebMD as just one of the many examples out there. The article is a review on “The 3-Hour Diet”.It preaches that you HAVE to eat breakfast within an hour of waking, that you HAVE to eat every 3 hours, and to STOP eating 3 hours before bedtime. But, Dr. Melinda Ratini, who reviewed the diet stated explicitly in response that “Research has not shown that eating frequent small meals increases weight loss success” and that “The key to this diet’s success lies in portion control”. Hell yeah Dr. Ratini! It’s all in the “portion control” A.K.A. calorie deficit. That’s it folks!
With all that said, once you’ve used the calculator provided in Guideline #2 to find your deficit number, what you want to do next is take into consideration your lifestyle and preferences in order to figure out when you should have your meals. I personally experimented with intermittent fasting for a couple months which is basically skipping breakfast, having some coffee, and having 2 BIG meals spaced later into the day. I’d HIGHLY recommend you try it out for yourself and see how you like it. This allows for you to have bigger meals later in the day because of the more calories you have to work with. Also, there’s a ton of research that shows the myriad of benefits from intermittent fasting. But if you try it out and don’t like it, it’s all good! It’s all about finding the most enjoyable way for you to hit your calories.
Your meals should be well balanced with proteins, fats, and carbs for proper hormonal balance and muscle growth. Once again, carbohydrates will NOT make you gain fat if you’re in a calorie deficit and are extremely important for giving us energy and regulating our mood. I won’t bother getting into more heavy explanation but feel free to (click here) if you believe fats or carbs are going to hinder you in a negative way.
Oh yeah, and just to key it in. ENJOY YOURSELF! Have the sweets and “junk” IN MODERATION. I’d recommend you use the 80/20 principle of having 80% of your daily calorie intake come from whole non-processed foods while you can have whatever you like with the remaining 20%. So let’s for example say my deficit number is 2000 Kcals. Applying the 80/20 principle, that means 1600 of my calories for the day should be coming from whole foods, fruits, and vegetables. Which leaves me 400 calories to eat whatever I like as long as it fits within my calorie range!
But there’s no need to be deadly strict with the 80/20 rule. There’s days when my caloric intake consists of a lot more “junk food” and there’s days when I have almost none. In the end, it’s all about balancing your meals in a way that’s most enjoyable to you in order for you to hit your number.
Guideline #6: Pick a weekly exercise routine
Firstly, note that cardio is NOT at all necessary in order for you to lose fat no matter what anybody tells you. Click here if you want to read more about cardio and fat loss. I personally did almost no cardio whatsoever when I dropped my fat. Although it can be great for cardiovascular and general health, cardio is only beneficial for fat loss in that you will be LOSING/BURNING calories in the process, which in turn makes your calorie deficit larger. Also, intense running like HIIT can also spike your hunger heavily so I”d even suggest against it. But if you really enjoy cardio, feel free to run wild or just take some brisk walks that extra calorie burn and to stay active.
In the way that a calorie deficit is imperative to fat loss, strength and resistance training are imperative to maintaining and improving muscle development. When it comes to weight and resistance training, 3 days a week is all that is necessary for optimal muscle gains. I’m also well aware that this goes against the idea that “you get what you put in” applies to strength training. However, proponents of this idea fail to account for the neuromuscular fatigue that high volume lifting induces. In other words, if you don’t allow for a rest period of approximately 48 hours for your nervous system, you’re not going to be able to make the most of your next workout session. But, once again, it is up to you to determine what you can handle and what you prefer when it comes to your workouts.
There are all kinds of workouts you can find online for free that will provide you with great results so pick and choose accordingly. However, I’d highly recommend you check out the workouts from Kinobody, which is a program thousands of others including myself have had awesome and sustainable results with. Whether you’re a man, woman, beginning, or advanced lifter there will be a program from Kinobody for you. Click here to check it out. Please note that I am in no way shape or form receiving any type of commission for this referral.
If you don’t have a gym pass, simply google some bodyweight programs that you think you’ll enjoy the most! There’s all kinds of free ones out there that you’re sure to like. However, if you’re willing to pay the extra buck for an extremely well developed bodyweight course, click here! Once again, I am NOT receiving a cent of commission for these referrals. The guy just knows his craft and he’s got the credits.
Guideline #7: Get your self-image in check!
Now here’s an essential psychological concept you’ll find extremely fascinating and necessary to utilize on the challenge which is the idea of “self-image”. You’ve probably heard of the term used in all sorts of loose ways, but what’s interesting about self-image is that modern psychology has proven that we as humans literally CANNOT do anything that contradicts the way we see ourselves.
In his best selling book “Psycho-Cybernetics”, Dr. Maxwell Maltz states that our self-image regulates our behavior in the same way that the auto pilot mechanism of a plane corrects the plane’s trajectory when it strays off course.
So if you tell yourself like I used to that “I’m a procrastinator”, or “I have bad memory” or “I’m just a lazy person”, you will be perpetuating a self-image that will alter your behavior in a way that you will take on the characteristics of a non-productive and procrastinating lazy person with bad memory making it significantly harder for you to actually change for the better.
How does this relate to fat loss? Well, if you start to lose fat and make results throughout the challenge, but you still have the self-image of an overweight person, you’re going to get thoughts coming to your head whether you want them to or not bringing up ideas like “I’m getting too small”, “Screw this, I looked fine and I felt fine before”, or “I’ll try again next month” which are all false voices of reason from your self-image trying to maintain homeostasis. This is also why many people with great bodies and physiques are never happy with how they look.
So what is one to do?! You must first become aware of why you’re getting these false voices of reason in your mind, which you now know why, and you must be willing to not attach yourself to them. This is going to be the toughest and most uncomfortable part of the challenge. You’re going to really have to learn to appreciate yourself and your body every step of the way. At it’s core, losing fat or changing one’s body for the long term requires behavioral and personality changes which we as homeostasis driven humans HATE.
The best tool I can suggest to you in order to regulate your self-image is to begin meditating and practice mindfulness if you don’t already. As woo woo and weird as meditating sounds, it has amazing, that’s right, AMAZING benefits for emotional, physical, and mental health. Once you begin, you’ll start to realize how bombarded your mind is from unconscious and degrading thoughts ALL DAY that drain you of your energy and will power that contribute to the development of a negative self-image. Here’s a great video to help you get started! But if you really don’t like the idea of meditation, then hey, all good, let’s move on!
Guideline #8: Make adjustments AFTER the 2nd week
So you’ve gotten your measurements and pictures, written the goal and your reason down, got your caloric deficit number, got tools to track your food intake, and have an exercise routine in place. Great! From here, you should get a notebook or use one on your phone to track your weekly weight and workout progress. So let’s say for example you’re starting on Sunday. It is best to weigh yourself in the morning because throughout the day, eating and drinking water can cause your weight to fluctuate a lot. Come next Sunday morning, you should weigh yourself again, take your measurements, and review your week’s exercise progress and diet.
The reason you should make adjustments after the 2nd week is because you can expect to lose a lot of weight the first week mainly due to water retention reasons. However, after the first week, your weight loss should steady and your fat loss should start to level steadily.
If you’re around 10-15% body fat, you should be dropping 1-1.5lbs of fat a week. If you’re 15-20% body fat, you should be dropping 1-2lbs a week, and if you’re over 20% body fat, 2-3lbs a week is a safe range. If you find yourself losing weight too fast, increase your calories for the week about 250-500 and see how that does for you. If you find yourself barely losing any, decrease calories moderately by 250-500. It’s really all about experimenting to find what works best for you.
And there you have it! All 8 guidelines for successfully completing the challenge
*Key Things To Keep In Mind:
– Have your diet primarily consist of whole foods that keep you full and don’t UNDER eat, your body doesn’t want to get fit so you need to work with it
-We as humans have limited willpower(this is proven), so try not leaving snacks and food around where you can see them often. That way, you won’t waste your willpower trying to resist the temptation to eat when you’re not even hungry.
-Be careful of becoming obsessed with the weight scale because of how easily it can fluctuate. Get your primary feedback of your progress from the measurements, mirror, and workout numbers.
-The research and effort put into creating this challenge was to show people losing fat and getting in shape was a reality they can very much experience without having to kill themselves in the process. Stay committed for one month and believe it for yourself.
– Expect to receive some negativity from friends AND family for becoming more conscious of your diet and trying to improve yourself. As crazy as it sounds, even the people closest to you will try and dissuade you in all sorts of subtle ways from improving if they aren’t progressing in their own lives.
– Always remember the positive intentions you started this challenge for and to remain grounded in your position WITHOUT feeding negativity back to your naysayers.
– Try and get a partner or friend of yours to take on this challenge with you for extra accountability and motivation. However, this isn’t necessary. After all, it’s YOUR challenge.
The groundwork has been laid out for you and now it’s all on you! You probably will need to go back and review them, but by making the choice to follow these guidelines and take on the challenge, you are GUARANTEED to be on your way to getting that fit body you’ve always dreamed of while having completed the confidence-competence loop! Good luck(even though you won’t need it) and remember what Confucius said…
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
Feel free to send an email if you have any further questions or concerns through our contact page.
*References(Not in order):