Losing weight can be a challenging and frustrating experience for many people. While the fundamentals aren’t complicated, they require a significant amount of time, effort, and discipline.
However, there are several lifestyle “hacks” that can help make the process of fat loss easier and more sustainable. These are small, simple changes that you can make to your daily routine that can have a big impact on your weight loss journey.
In this podcast, Paul Revelia and I explore some of the most effective lifestyle changes and habits for easier fat loss that you can start implementing today.
In case you’re not familiar with Paul, he’s a natural bodybuilder and fitness coach, and the founder and CEO of ProPhysique, a coaching and consulting company that helps individuals achieve their fitness and body transformation goals. With over a decade of experience in the fitness industry, Paul has worked with a diverse range of clients and is a well-known figure in the natural bodybuilding community, with a large presence on Youtube in particular.
In this interview, Paul and I discuss . . .
- The relationship between body fat and body image
- The dangers of “cheat days” and what you should do instead
- The importance of mindset, realistic expectations, and planning ahead when eating out
- How to include more cardio, even if you’re a busy parent
- Why you should try to find a community for support towards your goals
- And more . . .
So, if you’re looking for strategies to adjust your lifestyle and help you reach your goals faster and more easily, listen to this interview!
0:00 – Please leave a review of the show wherever you listen to podcasts and make sure to subscribe!
08:14 – How to get shredded in 6 hours?
15:55 – What tips could you share to help integrate into my cuts?
22:33 – What’s your advice for fat loss when it comes to setting the right expectations?
33:58 – Is community an important aspect of a better lifestyle?
36:01 – How do you help people through the difficulties of people close to them that aren’t supportive?
38:25 – Save up to 50% during our Spring Sale! www.buylegion.com
40:08 – Have you faced problems where people don’t want to plan and track what they eat?
45:08 – What are your thoughts on cheat meals?
48:58 – Can you elaborate on re-feed days and diet breaks?
47:40 – What are your thoughts on cardio and speeding up fat loss?
57:56 – What are your thoughts on eating out?
01:05:48 – Any advice for busy parents?
01:14:18 – Where can people find you and your work?
Mentioned on the Show:
Save up to 50% during our Spring Sale! Go to buylegion.com and use coupon code MUSCLE to save 20% on any non-sale items or get double reward points!
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hello and welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. I am Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today. If I sound a little bit funny, it’s because I have a cold and I have a cold because I also have a five year old daughter who goes to school with other five year olds, and there always seems to be at least one of them, who is at least a little bit sick coming to school because their parents are dickhead.
These are the people who go to the grocery store, sick and cough on the produce and go to the gym, sick and cough on all of the equipment. These are the people who would hide a zombie bite. Anyway, moving on to the topic of today’s episode, which is simple ways to make fat loss easier, because while fat loss is straightforward, it is simply sustaining a calorie deficit over time, consistently eating fewer calories than you burn over time.
And if you want to lose primarily fat and not muscle, you also want to eat enough protein. That is all it requires. There are many ways to make that easier or harder when you get into the details specifically of how to eat, how to exercise, how to supplement, and so, And in this episode, you’re gonna learn about some simple ways to make the process of fat loss a lot easier.
Some small changes that you can make to your fitness regimen that can have an outsized impact on your fat loss, the amount of fat that you lose, how quickly you lose it, and how enjoyable the experience is. And today you are going to be learning from Paul Riveria, who I’ve had on the show. Paul is a natural bodybuilder and fitness coach, and he is the founder and c e o of Pro Physique, which is a coaching and consulting company that helps people get into great shape.
And I wanted to get Paul on the show to talk about this because he not only understands the theory and the science underpinning of what we’re gonna be talking about, he has a lot of practical in the trenches, as they say, experience. Paul has been coaching people for over a. He’s worked personally with thousands and thousands of people, and he has worked with a diverse range of people as well, which is important because somebody who is brand new to all of this stuff, who needs to lose, let’s say 30 or 50 plus pounds to reach a healthy body composition is very different than somebody who is, let’s say, fit, trying to get to super fit.
And if you don’t know how to meet those people and everyone in between where they are and give them a prescription that they can actually follow, then they are going to fail. And so in this episode, Paul and I talk about the relationship between body fat and body image. We talk about sheet days and why Paul does not recommend them and what he recommends.
Instead, Paul talks about the importance of the right mindset and the right expectations when you are starting a fat loss phase. He also talks about eating out and how he incorporates that into his diet so he can enjoy restaurants and enjoy different types of food without blowing his diet and more. Mr.
Revel, it’s nice to see you again. What up Big
Paul: Mike? Good to see you, man. Yeah, it’s been a while. I hate to use the word OGs, but I feel like that’s us.
Mike: That’s, I never thought of that, actually. That’s a good point. I, I just, the other day somebody had asked me, so like, how long have you been doing the, the Mike Matthews thing?
11 years now. Is it
Paul: Body for Life? Is that what it’s called? So
Mike: it started with, uh, bigger. Leaner. Stronger. That was a book that I published back in, yeah, 2012. And that’s how it started for me was with that
Paul: book. And then you did what the female version, right? Yeah.
Mike: And then I did a, then I did, because I had a lot of women reading it, and then they would reach out to me and they would.
Want to know if they can do this too, even though they don’t really want to. A lot of ’em are like, bigger is not quite the word that I’m going for. Maybe like fitter, but a lot of this stuff seems to be applicable to women, uh, working out calories and macros. And
Paul: I get the same comment when I do like a video, does this work for women too?
And I’ll, I always say like, there’s very little difference between the sexes, you know, like as far as response, men might respond better, but same principles apply. Yep,
Mike: yep. And then, um, so eventually I was like, guy, you know, I should really take this book and make it as. Feminine as possible, meaning, okay.
All the examples are for women, which it is easier for women than to understand because I’m talking about body weights that they can relate to and calorie ranges and macros that actually relate to them, um, and pull out some of the information that’s really just for men. Replace it with information that when you’re having this type of discussion with women that I is going to come up and so put some of that female specific information in.
And then with the programming, it’s a bit different just to reflect the differences in priorities for most men versus women.
Paul: saying women don’t want huge Ps So here’s my theory on that. You can literally replace glutes and pecks and it’s the same program.
Mike: You might maybe a little bit less biceps in In the women’s program.
Paul: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But guys, not many, many guys are like, oh, cool. Glute day. Like that’s not, yeah.
Mike: Although I’m seeing more of that must be purely driven by social
Paul: media at this point. I mean, we’re running outta body parts. The train, I mean, Brett Contreras basically came along and invented glute training and then like built an industry around it.
There’s even gyms now that are like glute specific gyms. I’m like, wow. You know, like it’s crazy. I didn’t know that. Oh yeah. Look at, I mean, Brett’s brand is built around that, but I’ve seen multiple gyms now pop up that are like, you know, Build your glutes, you know? I’m like, wow. Like,
Mike: well, uh, it’s marketers just taking a trend to its most, I guess it’s, it’s logical extremes.
And then eventually it burns out and then something
Paul: else pops up. Oh, there’s Jim, not too far from my house now I live in Tampa, so I think there’s a lot of trendy stuff, you know, that’s coming to Florida and, but it’s like they have a machine and you basically join you, you go in and you just go through the, the machines and then you walk out and I’m like, you know, for like busy professionals, I’m like, Hey, like there’s a market for it.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if and if it gets people into the gym who maybe otherwise wouldn’t do any strength training whatsoever, I guess you could make an argument. For it from that perspective, even though it might be kind of goofy from a programming perspective that all you do is train your glutes and you don’t, maybe you’re not even squatting either.
It’s really just like glute isolation.
Paul: Yeah. I definitely think having a physique goal definitely helps every aspect of our lives. I mean, you know, that’s something we can talk about if we’re gonna focus on like lifestyle people, but being in the gym or being active is just, it’s gotta be something that everybody does, just makes life better.
Like we were built to move. Like sitting on the couch is, and driving in a car all day is just not conducive to like a quality life. Yeah. Yeah. I mean,
Mike: it’s very modern to be able to get outta bed, shuffle to your closet, put some clothes on, shuffle to your kitchen, shuffle to your car, drive, shuffle to your desk.
Just sit there all day. Shuffle to the bathroom here and there. Shuffle back to your car, back to your kitchen, back to your bed. Rinse and repeat
Paul: forever. Yeah. Cuz that those hours where you’re working can be exhausting and drain mentally draining. So you’re just waiting to get home to relax. And I think when they started coming out with like step trackers, like the Fitbits and that stuff, that was eye-opening to me.
There were some days I was getting like 3000 steps. I’m like, damn dude.
Mike: why I have this bike back here because, uh, I do go on a few walks. I’m prob I’m probably on formal walks, maybe 45 minutes a day, 30, 45 minutes a day. But I mean, what is that? That’s probably 4,000 steps or so. And aside from that, I’m, uh, sure.
I, I drive to the gym because it’s too far to walk to the gym. It’s, it’s a 10 minute drive. I’m, I’m not gonna walk an hour or whatever that would be. But, and in moving around a little bit in the gym, but that’s mostly just, you know, strength training. I’m not moving much otherwise. And the rest of my day is sitting here in this chair, corralling kids at night and getting them to bed and sitting over there on a couch for at least 30 minutes to try to relax
Paul: before I go to bed on the other side of this, Camera that I’m looking at is my treadmill with a tv.
So I walk every day, watch a TV show, and that’s my like, movement. Well, let’s
Mike: segue into what I wanted to bring you onto the show to talk about today, and that is to repeat something that you joked about before we started to how to get shredded in six hours, right? That’s, uh, that’s today’s promise. And, and step one I’m guessing is, is to start
Paul: shredded well.
So, so here’s, I’m gonna give you a little funny story because I think it’ll actually explain, because when someone hears the term get shredded in six hours, they think six hours from now, I don’t think that’s, Applicable. I think it’s six one hour lessons, right? So I read a book, oh gosh, in the nineties on how to build a website and it was called Web Design in 24 Hours.
And I thought, oh, I’m gonna build a website in 24 hours. You don’t realize how long 24 hours is. It was 24 separate one hour lessons. So you would go through the chapter and you would type on the computer and you would learn some programming, some HTML code, right? And at the end of each hour, you would be building on top of the previous hour.
Well, it took me like two weeks to complete this, but by the end of it, I could design websites. I mean, this is basic websites before Java and all that nonsense, right? You know? But the hack was like, in my brain it was 24 hours, so it was like this time tomorrow. No, because you can’t do 24 hours straight.
So when I, when I joke around about how to get shredded in six hours, I’m like, well, if you spent one hour going to the grocery store, learning how to scan your food and learning how to be accountable, that’s one hour of very valuable time. It’s not the six hours that elapses in the next day. It’s literally six one hour lessons that you could then use to get shredded.
You make things more palatable for that. Something that seems intimidating. You want six pack abs. For some peoples, that’s like, that’s impossible, right? But you break it down into going like, let’s just take this one thing that we’re gonna do. We’re just gonna start learning about nutrition. What’s in that stuff, Hui?
Then you see the wheels turning when they start tracking. Oh, I didn’t realize this had 60 grams of fat in it. I thought it was healthy. Cuz it’s br, you know, it’s a muffin or something. I mean, we can go down this rabbit hole, but I think the carb fear is the biggest pet peeve I have and that this en insulinogenic.
Obesity model, which is just ridiculous in my mind because insulin is anabolic. Mike, me and you grew up like people were trying to spike their insulin right? Post-workout. Like, so for me, insulin is just a hormone that has positive impact. I
Mike: think you can, you can possibly even still make an argument that one of the reasons a high carb diet is better for muscle growth over time is the effects of generally higher insulin levels and how that suppresses muscle, uh, breakdown rates.
But it wouldn’t be a, a major factor, but it certainly is not
Paul: hurting well, and I, I mean, I think carbohydrates are jet fuel for people that work out. If you’ve ever gone a couple, a couple days of low carbs, you go to pick up a weight, you’re like, why is this so heavy? Right? So the idea that insulin is somehow evil and that a lot of people are passing off this idea that like, oh, if you do a, a diet low in carbohydrates, you keep your insulin low.
False. You can store from fat much easier than from carbohydrates. Your body does not have to convert that to adipose at all. Carbohydrates are actually quite difficult to convert into fat. This notion that one simple thing is the reason you’re fat, right? Go through the grocery store aisle and look at the magazine every time you go through and every week it’s a different simple liver detox.
Lose 35 pounds this month.
Mike: I if it involves 600 calories of like lemon juice every day. Yeah. Then certainly you can, you can lose a lot of weight
Paul: and I mean that’s ultimately where you see those, those things fall apart is they go, well, the, you know, if you avoid eating all day, yeah, your insulin’s low, but you’re also not eating any calories.
That’s the reason you’re losing weight, not because your insulin isn’t present. It’s comical to me, but I just think of it as like job security.
Mike: Yeah, it’s marketing. Some people believe in that model of obesity, but then other people who I would. I would better are a bit smarter and a bit more educated.
Sometimes it’s not necessarily intelligence per se, it’s just education. Some people are ignorant, not stupid, just ignorant. They just don’t know. And I get into, you know, I understand they get into this space and they go on Twitter and here’s some Harvard educated MD who is promoting this model of obesity and explaining it in a way that makes sense.
And using science-y terms, and maybe even referring to research that purportedly proves this is how it works. It’s understandable that a lot of people, even smart people are like, okay, sure, I’ll give that a go. I mean, this guy has credentials. He’s clearly smart, he’s well-spoken, seems to be evidence-based, and I’m supposed to just give up a lot of these carbohydrate rich foods that I like to eat, but sure, I’ll try it out.
Paul: that. Well, the simple test is ask the person that’s afraid of carbs, what foods they associate with carbohydrates, and they’re usually gonna say like some candy, some donuts, some pizza, something like that, when those foods are actually higher in fat than they are in carbohydrates. I
Mike: actually just tweeted about this, uh, high protein quote unquote, for people just listening in, scare quotes, high protein foods that really shouldn’t be labeled high protein foods like 80 20 ground beef.
Yes, it is rich in protein, but it also, it’s like 70% of its calories are from fat and going down the list of quinoa and beans and named off other foods, where 70 to 80% of the calories in those foods is carbs plus fat. So yes, they contain nuts, for example. Sure these foods contain protein, but they’re not efficient in terms.
Grams of protein per call it 10 calories or whatever kind of arbitrary uh, ratio you wanna
Paul: set. My first coach gave me a macro plan, right? And, uh, the first week I was like, how the hell am I gonna figure this out? And it took me literally a week of going on nutrition data websites to, to look all this stuff up.
But the, I remember the first time I looked up the nutrition information for cheese, I was like, dear Lord, why would I ever eat cheese? Like, look at how much fat is in cheese. That kind of, because I always thought like cheese has a lot of protein.
Mike: Avocados delicious. It’s healthy, but it is a lot of calories.
If you’re eating one to two avocados per day, you’re gonna have a hard time losing weight because you’re not gonna be very full for all of those calories.
Paul: Right. Well, like imagine you go to a, a restaurant and you get chips and guac, like the chips are. The guac is fat. You know, you’ve had seven, 800 calories before your food arrives, maybe
Mike: even before an appetizer.
That that might just be
Paul: the Oh yeah, that’s the pre-app. I mean, we’ve all gone to a Mexican restaurant and been full before the food gets there.
Mike: Correct. That’s exactly what I thought about, uh, is the last time I was at a Mexican place with my parents and it was chips and cheese and guac. And again, that was before any actual plated food.
Paul: in a throw in a beer. Yep. Well,
Mike: why don’t we, I mean, we’re kind of talking obliquely about some points, I’m sure that are on your list of things that are lifestyle. I mean, you could word use the word hacks, talk about marketing, buzzwords, whatever, but lifestyle maybe modifications for. Effortless fat loss is maybe a little bit exaggerated, but let’s just say for easier fat loss, I, I’m just gonna let you go wherever you want with that, you can start with other diet related things, exercise related things, but I just thought it would be a good discussion to talk about cuz we can assume that a lot of people listening understand the basics of meal planning.
They understand energy balance, they understand why tracking calories or weighing and measuring food can be useful. Maybe you don’t want to do it forever, but certainly for a period it’s useful to help calibrate your understanding of proper portions of food. Or if you really need to be precise with your calories, of course that’s the best way to do it.
However, what tips would you share for them? Again, things that they can integrate into their cuts that are low effort and. Low pain that provide maybe disproportionately positive benefits?
Paul: Yeah, so I’ll think back to when I used to, you know, work coach, a lot of lifestyle people and, and essentially like even some that were quite overweight, you know, even be considered obese because although I’m like in the physique realm, I compete and all that stuff, you gotta meet people where they’re at, right?
I can’t give somebody who’s never even been in shape a body building plan. They’re gonna be overwhelmed and get burned out too quick. So the first thing I would do would be like, Give me a diet recall with no stress on them. I don’t want you to change what you’re doing and tell them like, I’m not judging, I do not care what you’re eating, but just simply doing a diet recall.
And what always would come out from that was a lot of people would consume their calories from liquids.
Mike: And by recall, do you mean you’re just asking them, Hey, run me
Paul: through a normal day? Yeah, or just I’d say, Hey, reach back out to me in three days. Just start putting in your notes on your phone, what you, what you’re having.
And so like orange juice, a couple cokes, a couple alcoholic drinks, and I’m like, if we just start getting zero calories from fluids, That’s gonna be a big shift, right? So, you know, I think most of us that are like trying to be bodybuilders and are fit, I do not like getting my calories from drinks. Almost all my drinks have zero calories, right?
Unless it’s a, a libation or something. So that’s one of the easiest ones is just say, Hey, let’s just swap out all your drinks for zero calorie options.
Mike: Now, something that people probably ask you, I know, they ask me is diet soda. There’s controversy over artificial sweeteners and so many people will ask, is it okay to have diet soda?
Especially people who like soda. So, you know, somebody who really likes to have those two or three cokes per day and going from that to no soda whatsoever just makes things significantly more difficult.
Paul: You know, in my experience, diet soda for me is a lifesaver because it gives me some satiety. It’s got some sweetness to it.
It’s obviously. If not zero calorie, very low calorie. And you know, as someone who’s pretty close with very smart people, there’s zero danger in the consumption of artificial sweeteners. And actually, a, a study just came out that, that was reported on where they basically equated zero calorie drinks with other options.
And the group that was on the zero calorie, you know, something like this actually lost more weight. The false reporting out there is that it makes you hungrier. Yeah.
Mike: Or it makes you crave sweet things. People will say that as well.
Paul: Yeah. I, I completely disagree with that. I mean, I, but then again, I’m also including things that are sweet in my diet as I need them.
Right. So I’m not avoiding, and I think maybe that’s where there might be some issues. So that’s why I, I won’t even talk. What foods to avoid early on with a person who’s just trying to get started. You know, that’s the fear everybody has. Oh, to lose weight, I gotta eat chicken and broccoli and I can never have pizza again.
I think that’s the rabbit hole. They go down that where they don’t even want to try. Whereas you go, no, you can. You can have pizza, you just can’t have the whole pizza or every day have a pizza. Right? And so then you start to, to work on that. So for me, the diet sodas are kind of a placeholder between my meals, but that’s typically the leaner I get.
You know, hunger signals kind of pick up. Another one would be like the rate of fat loss. You know, some, I’ve had people check in and be down three pounds in a week and be severely disappointed. Well, my friend lost 10 pounds. Because they cut out carbs and I have to explain to them that they did not lose 10 pounds of body fat.
They lost 10 pounds of mostly fluid retention, a lot of that intramuscular and that now they’re not gonna lose any more weight and they’re gonna feel like garbage. Helping them understand the actual process and process what’s happening really helps with fat loss setting realistic expectations, which is why I love doing the YouTube videos.
Cause I can show the journey of a person that took multiple years to lose a hundred pounds, but they’re keeping it off. That first one of just being accountable with what’s going in your mouth with beverages is huge. My next one would be, If you can get them to walk. So, I mean, if someone’s really overweight, they don’t wanna set foot in a gym, they’re gonna be like maybe embarrassed.
Or maybe they’re not even physically fit to go in a gym, but they should be able to walk. And if you can start somebody walking, that benefits their digestion, that reduces their hunger. That can also increase their, you know, right now everyone’s going through this phase of like mental health and mental.
Walking is wonderful for that. It can be time for you to like, reflect. There’s just so many benefits to walking. And so those two things alone can really have a huge impact on just getting someone to do it. And then it doesn’t have to be, you don’t have to go for a walk for an hour every time you do it.
You can, every time you eat a meal, do a little 10 minute walk, right? Stand up for eating. Made a great video about that years ago, how it improves digestion and just keeps your energy higher. You know, you don’t get the crash after a meal if you get up and, and take a 10 minute walk. So I, you know, I, I used to work in a office.
Getting out in
Mike: the sun too is good for helping manage your circadian rhythm. It’s just good to talk about mental health. It, it’s kind of cliche these days, but it, it really does give you a little boost in your mood to get outside, get. Sun on your skin. Look at some trees. Yeah.
Paul: Depending on where you live.
The more time you can spend outside, the better. I mean, I, I’m fortunate to live in Florida where, you know, when I go outside it’s usually nice and if I really want to go outside, I can drive over to the beach, you know, and there is just something beneficial about being near the water or near the beach or the, it’s just, it just feels good.
And I think we do lose that. We lose, you know, from when time we’re kids. We’re on our bikes, we’re outside running around. And then our lives tend to become more and more indoors as we age. Right. Responsibilities, jobs, very few of us work outside. Taking some time for that is a huge part of, you know, making this journey or making this process of changing your body composition much more palatable for the average person.
Like, it doesn’t have to be like, you take these huge steps, you can just start adding multiple little things and then realizing, okay, now I’m seeing the benefit of my efforts. And then they’ll start to say, well, what else can I do, coach? Like, what’s the next thing? After this, and that’s when we can get into digging.
But those first two things, and then just learning some accountability. I mean, you can get people in great shape just doing those things.
Mike: Let’s go back to the rate of fat loss. What, um, advice do you have for people in, in terms of setting the right expectations, and do you differentiate between the beginning phase of a cut and then.
Middle end phase in terms of approach expectations. For example, the reason why I ask this is there’s a, I wouldn’t say it’s so much of a debate. It, there’s just a, an ongoing discussion because there’s a lot of individual preference here of what, what is the best way, or even if we get, say, to specific people, finding the best way for you to manage a cut, would it be more appropriate for certain people to start up very aggressively?
And an argument for that could be, oh, okay. If somebody’s very overweight, they can lose multiple pounds of fat per week and feel fine. It might look like a starvation diet from the outside, but if it’s set up appropriately, And it’s not continued for too long, then you just get a lot of fat loss really fast, which is motivating.
And then you move into the middle phase, which is less aggressive. But then some people will argue against that and say, no, you should really never try to maintain a 1000 calorie deficit every day. Or even maybe more extreme in the, in the case of like protein sparing, modified fasting, and you should always just go for something that is sustainable for the long haul.
What are your thoughts on, on those things?
Paul: Yeah, I think the first rule is you can never say always. You know, you have to meet people where they’re at and where they’re at mentally. My company does a 90 day transformation challenge because I feel like 90 days is kind of a magic window where people can go all in for three months, right?
And then once you get them to make a transformation, once you give them a community, once you give them a gold date, that’s really gonna be powerful. I think the most important thing is having a deadline. The idea of like, I wanna lose some weight by the summer. Eh, not gonna happen. Give yourself a date, give yourself a deadline.
You know, you and I have done photo shoots and body building competitions and these kind of things where like you get up in the morning and you have a purpose to your day. If you wake up in the morning and your purpose is just like, I wanna lose some weight over the next couple months. Sorry, you can start that journey tomorrow.
You can worry about that. That’s, that’s next week’s problem, right? So how aggressive you start, it just depends on the person. Like if they are very overweight, you can be in a more aggressive caloric deficit because they’re gonna burn more calories. Somebody that weighs 300 pounds just going for a walk, it’s probably gonna burn more calories per hour than 130 pound person running a marathon, right?
Their bodies are just gonna be much less efficient. But you know, it diminishes. And the way I like to start my fat loss journey is when I’m getting ready for a bodybuilding show. I don’t start off day one and contest prep thinking like I’m going all in. I start. Whittling down my window, right? I start eating less junk, I start taking more walks, I start being a little more accountable, and then as weight loss gets harder, I get more and more accountable until I get to the end where I’m damn near perfect with my meal timing, my supplements, my sleep, right?
But I don’t start off like that. It just, the focus narrows as you lose body fat and you gotta remember it’s all relative. You have less body fat to lose. You’re gonna lose less body fat. But one pound of fat loss at the end of a diet has more visual difference than the first 20 or 30 pounds, right? You can literally start to see every little thing in your body changing.
So it gets more exciting, the leaner you get. But for those first few months or weeks, it can be more about the scale. You’re like, yes, I’m down five pounds. You might look in the mirror and think, I don’t see it, but you can see it on the scale. So when people tell me that the scale is not a valuable tool, I say, you know, it’s one of the, you know, I use pictures, measurements, and the scale.
Those are the three things at my disposal. At the end of a diet, the scale might not be the most important thing because fluid fluctuations, muscle soreness, all these sign in for women their cycle. But at the beginning, yes, you should absolutely be seeing the scale make significant changes, especially if you’re over 20%
Mike: body fat.
And I agree with that and I’ve seen many people on social media place all of the focus on just establishing the right habits and issuing any and all forms of measuring anything. I think that’s a mistake. Just a, a psychological mistake because it’s motivating to see, and I, and I’ve seen it and you’ve seen it working with so many people.
I’ve seen it working with so many people over the years. It’s motivating for somebody to start out very overweight and when they lose five pounds, as you said, they see no difference in the mirror and their clothes fit more or less the same, but they know that they’re moving in the right direction because they saw it on the scale.
And that’s motivating. Eventually, they may not need the scale anymore because they get to a point where they actually are just looking in the mirror, taking pictures, looking at those every week or two, paying attention to how their pants are fitting. Yeah,
Mike: a big one. We, I mean, it is a big, but it actually is, as you know, it’s a pretty good indicator of body fatness.
If your waist is shrinking, you are getting
Paul: leaner. Oh, if you have to, if you have to go to the store and buy bigger. That’s a problem. Like that’s, that’s an indicator. There is no, you, I mean,
Mike: you’re just getting fatter. If you’re okay with that, then that’s great, but just know that’s what’s happening. It’s not bloating.
Paul: There’s no waist muscle. You’re not big boned. You are getting fatter. I think what, the first time I ever dyed, actually, you know, I pictured myself, I played college baseball. I was into body building, and after about a decade after college, I saw myself in a picture and I had a, my face was round and I was like 240 pounds and I thought, God, I look terrible.
Like I just don’t look healthy. And I’d never seen, and, and sometimes it took that picture to shock me because in my mind I was an Adonis, but pictures told me otherwise. And so I was like, yeah, let’s tighten this back up.
Mike: You know, that’s interesting you say that. I think of a, a study that showed, it was on the reasons that people make drastic lifestyle changes, and this was related to body composition.
One of them was seeing a picture of them and being. Shocked or horrified, like for some reason seeing a picture gave them perspective that they just didn’t have looking in the mirror every day because we look at ourselves in the mirror every day and
Paul: it’s so gradual in the mirror, like cuz you see yourself every single day, multiple times per day.
So yeah, it is a very gradual process. Even fat loss is gradual in the mirror. Like Yeah, I was
Mike: just gonna say that it, it can work against us even, I don’t know if, I’m sure you’ve experienced this cuz you’ve gotten super lean and unfortunately that’s the curse, right? Once you’ve been super lean, anything but that.
But I’m sure you’ve experienced where, what you see in the mirror, you kind of, you nitpick and you’re not very happy with, but then you see a picture of you for whatever reason, maybe your shirt’s off and you. Actually, I look pretty good. Or you see a picture of you at that time later when you were not very happy with what you saw in the mirror.
And later you’re looking back going, what was I saying? I looked great.
Paul: I’ve talked about this before. I think there’s an inverse relationship. When you have more body fat, you focus on your positives. Oh, I’m stronger, my shoulders look bigger, my chest looks bigger. The leaner you get, you focus on the negatives.
Oh, I have lower back fat. The probably the most common comment I get on my YouTube channel are direct messages, cuz I answer questions in there is like, Hey, I’ve lost 30 pounds and I’m, I’m like 16, 17% body fat. How do I get to this next thing? Now that they’ve lost all this weight? They’re like, wait a second, I still don’t look what I want it to look like.
And they’ve gotta go through that next phase. And so understanding that the body composition that you see of someone that’s like lean, that is way lower weight and less body fat than you imagined, we walk around. You know, more body fat than we think. And you know, that’s something that I’ve learned to deal with cuz I’ve gone through it now so many times for competing that I’m very comfortable in both.
But the first time I went through that it was very tough to like see the body fat go back on. And like you said, I would, I would take pictures during the diet and think, God, I look terrible. And then months later I would look back and be like, Man, I was messed up. I thought I looked bad on this day. Right?
Like, because all I saw was that one little spot on my lower abs that still has some fat there. I didn’t see the whole picture
Mike: or the vein going up. Your abs seems to have ended a little bit lower than the other week. Yep.
Paul: Yeah, no, you only see the flaws. The leaner you get to a degree, you tend to focus more on the positives, the more body fat you have.
So I, I, you know, you and I know this, fat loss is more of a psychological battle than anything else. Everybody here knows what to do to lose weight. If I told you that your dog needs to lose 10 pounds, what are you gonna do? Take ’em for more damn walks and don’t let ’em eat Table scraps. That’s what we gotta do.
But human beings are much more complicated than dogs. So we have to like, understand the psychology of fat loss for that reason. Or
Mike: we need, uh, a master to regulate our food intake. And then it’s not up to us anymore. We, if we were in a gulag, uh, work camp, then we would be super shredded.
Paul: Oh, I mean, those studies from the fifties that they don’t even allow them to do anymore.
The Minnesota starvation experiments, the most famous one, I mean, they, they were trying to figure out how to make people healthy that were in the concentration camps and had been starved. Near death. They were trying to figure out what to do with them once they came out. And so they literally put these people on like 1200 calorie diets and made them work 12 hours a day.
And these people, like, you wouldn’t even be allowed to do this study anymore. But what they learned from that study was just amazing. People’s mental focus shifted. A bunch of the people that were in there like escaped to get out of the study. Some of the people became professional chefs after they changed careers.
Like it literally changes who you are when you lose a lot of body fat. If I remember
Mike: a call, at least one of the participants, like severely injured himself to get out, like mutilated his finger or something? No, he like inflicted a, a pretty serious injury to himself just to get out and, and for people listening, if you’re not familiar with this study, these men volunteered for this as well because.
I mean, you could say that wasn’t exactly their freedom of choice here, because they had two choices. One was they could ship overseas and fight. Or two was they could go be a, a prisoner of war in this study, and I’m guessing the third choice was go to prisoner something. So there really were just two choices.
But these men did say, all right, fine, I’ll go. You can go. You can starve me and work me for six months or however long it lasted, because I don’t want to go die in a ditch
Paul: somewhere in. Yeah, so I mean, you know, obviously those kind of studies, they can’t do them anymore, but the most valuable studies are studies like that where they’re under controlled conditions.
You know, when you ask someone to tell you what they ate or what they did, you’re trusting that person. But all the studies that are done in like metabolic wards where they feed them and anytime they exercise, they track their calories burned. Those are where you get a lot of the insight. They’re also very, very expensive to perform those, and at this point
Mike: there’s not a good argument for the need to perform more of them.
We, we have enough of that data. What are we gonna learn by spending a lot of resources to do it again? Well and
Paul: honestly as a coach, you know, going through it myself so many times, and then also going through it with clients over the last decade. I’ve amended how I do things. I’ve amended how I talk to my clients, put it in my content.
You know, we’ve got a staff of 30 coaches now that we’re meeting people where they are. So we’re, we’re understanding more of the psychology. It’s not just a here’s a plan, good luck. It’s creating a community. There’s a lot of aspects to changing your life that we don’t really take into account. For the most part that are so important.
The community aspect is huge because most of us don’t have someone in our life that is gonna support what we’re trying to change. Right? So for my first time dieting down for a body building show, I didn’t have someone in my immediate presence. Luckily, the internet was coming along then, and I was on these message forums, bodybuilding.com forums and talking to people.
And so it was like I would look forward to updating them on my progress and I would look forward to seeing their, their progress. And I didn’t realize it at the time. I wasn’t consciously going, cool, I’m in this community. It was more like, it kept me motivated, right? Because I was checking in with someone other than myself on a weekly basis, and I didn’t wanna be like, oh, sorry guys, I had a crap week.
So contest prep isn’t going well. I was excited to see how those people were doing. I’ve tried to recreate that environment for, that’s what our 90 day challenge is about, because bodybuilder.com used to have an amazing transformation challenge. Every year they would get hundreds of thousands of people in it.
That provides a platform for people to talk to each other. Like, you know, for our transformation challenge, we have a private group and they’re supporting each other. They’re posting pictures, they’re sharing meal ideas. You know, they’re saying, Hey, I know you had a rough week, but keep going. And, and I’ve done podcasts with the winners of my challenge afterwards, and it’s not the diets we provide, which are great, we provide vegan and blah, blah, blah.
It’s not the training programs people know how to work out. They always say the most valuable tool was the community of like-minded people. Of like, I had a bad day, but I knew I had to go in there and and talk about it. And then they got support. And so I think, you know, obviously we’re living in a more modern time where it’s less necessary to be in a community, but it’s probably more important than ever.
So, you know. Yeah, like I said, like with a dog situation, we know walk more, eat less. If you tell a person to move more and eat less, you might make them more depressed because the time that they eat might be with their friends. Right. And the time that they’re playing video games. On their phone or on their video game devices might be their time to be social.
So you’re gonna create depression, right? So you’ve gotta find ways to give people support towards their goals. How do
Mike: you help people through the difficulties of people close to them who are not supportive or who even seem to be trying to sabotage, or at least that is the net effect of what they say and how they behave toward this person who’s working to make, uh, a
Yeah, I mean, honestly, sometimes we change, you know, we go through. You know, I definitely had a different group of friends. Not that they aren’t my friends anymore, but you know, when I decided to start dieting down and doing body building competitions, my social circle definitely changed because that’s who I was spending more time with, was the people that wanted to go to the gym that were interested in tracking their diet.
I still had my friends and I’m still friends with all those people, but you start to shift and if you have somebody that’s very close to you and they are causing problems with you, I’ve seen many people leave relationships and this and that. So sometimes as when we grow as people, we have to leave the situations that were keeping us down.
Again, that’s a very personal discussion from situation to situation. I, you know, I’ve worked with people that, like their wives hated that they did body building, and I’m like, man, it’s just not gonna go well if the person you’re closest with hates what you do every day. Yeah, because
Mike: inevitably that turns into hating you as an individual.
I mean, you can’t get away from that.
Paul: You know, sometimes you can have a really good heart to heart conversation. You know, my wife knows, okay, the last couple weeks before a body building show, I’m gonna be a little bit selfish. So sometimes we’ll plan a vacation for a few weeks after my last show of the season and go, we’re gonna go on an all-inclusive vacation and just have some fun and get away.
Because I don’t like the word balance. I think that gets thrown around too much. You’ve got kids, you’ve got a business. There’s no such thing as balance man. But there can be harmony. There can be periods where you are more focused on one thing than the other, but because of the communication and you know your people closest to you and you explaining yourself, you can absolutely have harmony with all those phases.
And this is what coaching comes in. Like this is what coaches do. They work with people on this aspect of the process. It’s not just like, here’s your diet, good luck. It’s no, let’s have a conversation and maybe I can give you some pointers. We actually have a mental. Health specialist on our staff. So if I have a client that’s struggling with eating issues with motivation, I’ll set the phone call up for them and they’ll get on and you know, I’ll find out really what’s going on with them if they’re not willing to open up to me.
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Paul: I saw this years ago and it just always stuck in my head.
There’s one thing that people do that are successful in losing weight and keeping it off. One thing that they do that other people don’t do that is they plan their meals in advance. They’ve got their meals set aside, so they’re not waiting until they’re hungry, going to the fridge or driving through somewhere and getting food.
They already know what their next meal is and you know, you and I know what it looks like. It’s a Tupperware full of, you know, in the fridge we’ve got chicken, we’ve got steak, we’ve got potatoes, we got rice, we got eggs. At any moment I can go downstairs and make myself a meal, or I already have it made.
Or I can work with a company like Icon Meals, who you. Sponsors me so I get free meals. So there’s lots of great food companies out there. The nice thing about Icon is they ship it to your door Flash frozen, but that’s the solution, right? So if, if you can’t afford to get your meals sent to you, you can learn to cook.
But that’s really the simplest way to make it successful is to actually have your meals planned ahead. Because like you said, it can be stressful. I even get stressed out when I’m trying to hit my macros for the day and I don’t know what I’m gonna eat when we’re busy and I can just run downstairs, grab a meal, come upstairs.
While I’m reading something, man, that makes my day so much less stressful to not have to think about food. So a lot of reducing the stress of fat loss is preparation. Be ready in advance for any situation. Bring protein powder and beef jerky with you to the airport. If you’re going to a city that you don’t know what the food’s gonna be like, or a work conference, go to icon meals.com and have some food delivered to your hotel or to your, you know, your Airbnb.
I can’t tell you how easy that makes things to not have to think about. Cuz we all gotta eat. And once you’re hungry, all bets are off. Man. There’s been many times where I’m so hungry, I’m like, I don’t care. I’m going to Wendy’s.
Mike: It’s funny, I just recently, uh, I had the same thought. It was just, I thought it was just kind of funny given how long I’ve been living this kind of lifestyle.
So I, I tend to eat the same stuff every day. It’s stuff I like and when something gets boring, I, I just make a change. But I don’t mind eating more or less the same types of meals for long periods of time, so long as I still enjoy it every time. Once I am forcing myself to finish the vegetable slop dinner that I made.
All right, it’s time to change. It’s time to change something. So there were a couple of times, just because of circumstances in the last couple of weeks where I wasn’t able to eat what I normally eat and I had to stop and think like, all right, so what, what am I going to eat then? And do I want that? Not really.
Do I want this? I guess I could do this. That’s kind of a weird dinner. And I, it just occurred to me, imagine. Going through that. According to one study, the average person makes upward of 200 decisions per day related to food. So, you know, I was just thinking about, imagine going through this, uh, yes. No, maybe this, maybe that.
Do I really want that? Oh, I really want that. But no, it’s too many calories. Is it too many calories though? Like, just going through that multiple times every day that
Paul: costs energy. Well, and that’s fatiguing. And I think, you know, this is something that our, our mental health specialist talks a lot about is that decision making can be fatiguing.
And when do most people. Lose their diet nights and weekends, right? When the fatigue has just set in and you don’t want to think and you don’t want to act, right? So that’s when you need to have your meals planned out. You know, how many times have you been in a diet and you walk in the kitchen, in, in the pantry and you don’t even realize you’ve done it.
You’re just standing in there going, what am I doing here? So if you don’t have that next meal planned
Mike: scanning, just scanning the pantry
Paul: and you’ll convince, I mean, I’ve done it, you know, we’ve all done it. I’ve convinced myself that, you know what, no, I need a burger and fries. I need some good fats to help my diet.
Whatever. You know, you start to convince yourself of the things you need. And so you’ll go through those phases. But if you have a meal down there ready to eat, that that’s on target and something you enjoy and you know, maybe you can, this is something that happens to me every time I dye it down. And I do it every couple years.
I dye it down and get dead on stage. I have something that I, I just get attached to like every prep. There’s been a little different meal that I’m like, I remember one prep, it was like an I would end of the day, every night for like six months, I would make an egg white omelet with lean ground beef, put some salsa on it, and I could not wait to eat that every day for six months.
And I have not had it since.
Mike: It makes me think of pregnant women who have stories like that. There’s some weird thing that they just have
Paul: to have. Yeah. Because, you know, we’ve got three kids and I tell my wife, the only time that I can relate to what it’s like to be a woman is when I’m like 5% body fat.
I’m cold, I’m moody, you know, like I’m, I’m in and out. You know, my hunger moods. You get hangry. You have
Mike: to have your egg white omelet or your
Paul: entire week is ruined. Oh. Like, yeah, like if you go in the fridge to make your egg white omelet and someone is eaten your egg whites. That is a cause for a fight, but not for normal people.
Normal people would not do that, but of course we would. You know, like what are you crazy? You ate my egg whites, that’s my last meal. I didn’t know that you psycho, but you know, it makes sense in the moment. What
Mike: about quote unquote cheat meals or cheat days? What are your thoughts on off plan eating and right and wrong ways to go
Paul: about it?
Yeah, so the way I like to rephrase it as a free meal because the term cheat right there implies like, okay, I’m off, I’m off my plan. Let’s just go hard. I went
Mike: with something that rhymes. I went with treat, let’s call it a treat.
Paul: Yeah, I like treat. The thinking isn’t because I’ve never really had eating disorder behavior, so I didn’t understand it at first.
When I have a client tell me like, oh coach, I was off my plan on Friday, so I just went ahead and ate like a jerk for three days and figured I’ll get back on track on Monday, and I, I would, I would always ask them, why, why, why don’t you just have that meal? And they’d say, well, because I know. That once I’m off my plan, I gotta get back.
So I’m just gonna get it all in until I go back on my plan. So it’s the mindset of like, oh, I’m not on my plan. So really learning to reframe that there are no bad foods, that we can be flexible, that we can eat whatever we want within the realm of hitting our daily goals. Or sometimes it’s even a two-day goal or a weekly goal, right?
Like not trying to be perfect every 24 hours can really help change the way people think about food. So the free meal, the idea is that we’re gonna focus on something that we’re craving and I’ll tell them, go out and what are you craving? Oh, I’m, you know, I really want a burger on fries. Cool. I want you to go have a burger on fries.
Don’t track it. Replace your last meal and then tomorrow just get back on track. But the rule is, You end it there. Okay. Don’t have a burger and fries, and then also stop and get a piece of cake on the way home. And then, so then the
Mike: day would be a bad, A treat day would be a bad idea as well, where it starts with, well, I, I want to have the pile of pancakes for breakfast, and then I want to have the burger and fries for lunch, and then I want to have the wings and beer at dinner, and then I want to have the dessert.
Paul: you, I mean, it depends on where they’re at in the process. But I mean, I think people underestimate how quickly you can put on body fat, especially if you’ve been dieting for a long time. Our body’s basically become a fat storage machine. Your hormones, your hunger, you, I mean, at that point, depending on where you’re at in the diet, I don’t know, you can back this up.
There are times when I’m dieting where I eat a meal and it makes me hungrier and angrier than I was before the meal. That’s not a good place to be when you have a free day. You know, I’ve never tried the 10,000 calorie challenge because I don’t have that big of an appetite, but I promise you, I could probably cush 20,000 calories at the end of a prep because you literally, your hormones and your hunger signals are so out of whack.
That eating does not provide satiety, it actually increases the hunger. I’ve
Mike: experienced that just being not stage lean, but maybe photo shoot lean, maybe 7% body fat or so where even I was impressed with how much food I could eat in one sitting without feeling stuffed. Like what it took just to make me feel full was ridiculous.
It was like a joke around the office. It, it was between me and another guy who also at that time was quite lean and we would have eat offs when we’d like all go out and eat as a group because the amount of food that it took for me to actually be like, All right. I, I’m not stuffed, but I’m definitely not enjoying the food anymore and I’m definitely full was several thousand calories.
It was ridiculous.
Paul: Yeah, so that’s really the danger in the full day sheets. And I used to get concerned, I don’t really have this issue anymore cuz I have some tools in my toolbox when I’m getting people shredded to set them up for success when the diet’s over. But prior to that I would have a lot of people get on stage or get to their photo shoot or you know, do their transformation challenge and say I just want to eat intuitively for a couple weeks.
And I knew. I’m gonna see you in a couple weeks. You’re gonna be up 15 pounds and you’re gonna be sad. I’ve developed some tools to help people before they reach their goal. Things like diet breaks and, you know, refeed days really set people up for success once the diet’s over. And don’t go to an all-inclusive or go on a cruise the day after your diet.
Like, don’t, don’t put yourself in that situation. Can you
Mike: speak to the refeed in particular for, I mean, you, you can, you can also cover diet breaks briefly if you’d like, or depending on time. I have one or two other questions I’d like to ask you before we sign off. People can also, I, I’ve written and recorded some stuff on diet breaks, but if you wanna briefly describe how you go about that and then refeeds in particular and how the refeed differs from the treat meal.
Paul: Yeah, so a refeed is a plant day and you know, this is the way I frame it, of increased carbohydrates. So when you’re getting leaner, Dieting down, getting shredded carbohydrates are the biggest variable, and so once carbohydrates begin to become restricted, you can suffer performance in the gym. So instead of a free day where someone might eat extra fat, I wanna focus on restoring muscle fullness so that we’re not losing muscle.
It’s typically a day or two days per week where we’re. Increasing carbohydrates quite a bit, but focusing on just that. And then we might even be lowering fats and protein a little bit to kind of account for that. But for the most part, it’s just a controlled increase in carbohydrates. And before anybody gets excited, that doesn’t mean donuts and pizza, that means potatoes, rice, rice cakes.
In some instances I’ll even use like, you know, kids cereal or candy bread. Pasta. Pasta has a ton of protein. So if you up your pasta, sometimes you take away some steak or chicken. So it really comes down to personal preference. But yeah, I mean, I’m Italian. I, I love my pasta, but yeah, that’s essentially what a reet is.
What a diet break is. It’s not a break from dieting. It is a break from being in a deficit. And if you’ve ever dieted down and gotten shredded, it becomes fatiguing. Low body fat. You’re doing a lot of cardio at times, low calories. It can kind of drain you and you’ll just reach a breaking point where even though you should be losing body fat, you’re not, because you start to really conserve energy.
Your digestion becomes a problem. Hormonally, you become a problem. A diet break is where I bring calories up, you know, it’ll be up to maintenance. It might be, you know, 30% increase in calories, probably gonna be in the form. A lot of carbohydrates. Cardio will drop as much as 50%, and we just wanna maintain kind of our homeostasis for the week.
But what happens is sleep improves, recovery improves, digestion improves, hormones improve. And most of my clients, especially the closer they are to stage weight, will actually drop weight during a diet break. So it’s not that they necessarily lost fat, although it might be a little bit of that, it’s that they dropped some inflammation, their sleep improved.
So their metabolic markers are picking up at the same time that we’re still being very diligent. And we might even still be in a slight deficit. But mostly because the things that are improving around the diet, because that that calories in, calories out equation. Well people don’t understand is the calories out equation is so dynamic.
Calories in as simple. Just what you eat, calories out is impacted by your hormones, by your digestion, by your meat, by your sleep. So when you improve all those little funny things, The calories in seems like, wow, I should not be dropping weight. I’m eating more and moving, doing less cardio, but you’re actually burning more calories.
So that’s a very nuanced part. That is not something that I typically will see with a lifestyle client. But you know, when that Matador study came out, there does seem to be a benefit for people that are very consistent with their diet and cardio that you can give them breaks throughout a fat loss phase.
And I find it, it sets them up for a lot more success than just grinding through.
Mike: Yep. And cardio is one of the last things I wanted to ask you about. We’ve spoken about walking and that’s obviously a, a good place to start. Probably you could just say a good foundation of cardio is get out there and get outside and walk.
You know, the 10,000 step target is more just marketing than anything else, but it’s not a bad target. It represents what, like an hour and a half, maybe two hours max of walking. In addition to that though, what about cardio workouts? You know, in a formal sense. Doing cardio to speed up fat
Paul: loss. The word cardio has a bad connotation with it, but the definition of cardio is just a rhythmic exercise that increases your resting heart rate.
So walking is cardio, right? But the most calories we burn throughout the day is in the form of neat or non-exercise activity, right? So when you’re losing body fat, sometimes you’ll start to conserve energy In other areas of your life, you might get up from your desk less. You might stop playing ping pong.
You don’t even realize it park closer
Mike: to the entrances, and sometimes you would take the stairs. Right now you’re like, eh, I’ll
Paul: just take the elevator. So that’s why I love the step trackers because it now, it’s accountability for your movement. Because the worst thing you can do is tell someone to do more cardio.
But then they just augment that by doing less basketball. They’re like, oh, I’ve got another half hour of cardio to do, so I’m just gonna stop playing basketball. Well, you’re just wasting your time. So with accountability, you can probably lose weight without actually doing cardio. If you love to do something like basketball, if you like to play Frisbee golf, or if you like to just get out and move, Cardio is just a tool to create a caloric deficit along with your diet, right?
So I think the idea, when I hear people say like, oh, you shouldn’t do cardio to lose weight. Well, I could never get shredded without cardio. I could not eat low enough calories to get shredded. The cardio helps me create that deficit. And having tried it all different ways, I’ve done the high intensity cardio, I’ve done all these things.
The walking for me is just, it reduces the risk of injury. It’s easy to do, and if you can make it easy, like I have it in my house. I would much rather eat more and move more than do no cardio and just be on starvation macros and there’s research
Mike: to support the benefits of that approach too. Energy flux.
I’m sure you’ve spoken about that, and we don’t have to get into the details here, but. The takeaway really is that for the purposes of maintaining your body composition, you know, preserving muscle and just maintaining your health and maintaining your sanity, it is best to eat as much food as you can and move as much as you can and use that movement to drive, to create that calorie deficit.
That’s just a far superior approach to moving a lot less and being like, well, I’ll just eat a lot less. You certainly are gonna lose fat, but it’s gonna be a much harder experience and you might lose more muscle doing it that way.
Paul: Yeah, and I mean, anyone that tells me like, well, I’m eating 1200 calories and I’m not losing weight, you’re either not tracking that or once a week you’re just having a 5,000 calorie day, and so you’re just spinning your wheels because instead of having a moderate approach of say, 1700 calories, you’re just getting the same amount of calories in a week as someone who’s on 1700, but you’re just getting ’em all at once.
Yeah, this, the
Mike: selective memory comes into play where they’re quick to remember the thousand calorie. Mondays and they conveniently forget about the 5,000 calorie Saturdays. Yeah, like
Paul: eating is mindless. We associate eating with certain things, like some people will eat when they’re in their car. Some people will eat while they’re talking to a friend.
And so when you start tracking with an app or like writing things down, you know, there’s been days where I was like, oh, I forgot that I had that bag of chips. Man, like it’s so easy to just eat something and move on and just completely erase it from your memory. So that’s where the accountability really comes in, especially when you have
Mike: food all around.
Right. Especially with kids, you know, you have to have food ready for these, that’s how it is here for their lunch boxes every day. And so the fridge is all, I mean, it’s, even though it’s nutritious stuff for the most part, but still like, oh, there’s a bunch of cut strawberries, uh, that looks pretty good.
There’s a bunch of blueberries that looks pretty good. There’s some, uh, hard builded eggs, and then there’s some snacks in the pantry and you’re, you can’t get away
Paul: from it. I’m not proud. I give my kids Oreos and Poptarts cuz I’m, you know, my kids are active as I’ll get out. So like, I’m not throwing away a pop tart if I’m not in prep, you know, like, I’m gonna, I’m gonna finish that sucker, like, you know.
So being the family, Hoover definitely changes things. That’s why like, honestly, I have to kind of tell myself I’m in prep or I’m dieting to not do those things. You know, I have to have a reason. A lot of that’s what it comes down to. What is your reason for dieting? That’s why I like the deadline, because without that deadline, that’s tomorrow’s problem.
That’s tomorrow. Paul’s problem. I’m gonna eat the poptart today. I’ll figure to rest out tomorrow.
Mike: I’ll juice some more cardio.
Paul: No, I mean I think the mentality of like overeat over cardio, that’s a big common thing, especially with competitors. They’re like, well, I’ll just eat this today and I’ll just work it.
And the worst thing that can happen is they start to lose weight doing that cuz that is a slippery slope. Then it kind of reinforces the behav. Yeah, reinforces that like, okay, I can just eat this and I just outwork it tomorrow. But there comes a point where you cannot outwork binge eating behaviors, and then even if you reach your goal, now you’ve got this association with binge eating that can be very detrimental for your long-term mental health.
You know, I’ve had clients come to me that were on such restrictive plans that they would hide in their pantry and eat so that their husband wouldn’t see because they were embarrassed that they were off their plan and their husband wouldn’t have given a crap, but they felt guilt eating in front of someone because they knew that they were supposed to not be eating that.
So, come upon an hour, but I had
Mike: one more question. Oh, I’m
Paul: good for another 10 minutes. Okay,
Mike: cool. So, well then maybe we can fit in the last two scenarios that I wanted to get your thoughts on. One is eating out, which is again, something every. At least new-ish to this struggles with
Paul: at some point. Yeah. My rules for having someone eat out is I try to get them to look up the nutrition information for something they want before they go.
Sometimes trying to decide in the moment is stressful. The, the waiters in a hurry, the kids are acting up and you’re, yeah,
Mike: especially if you’re trying to, you’re on your phone trying to figure out, wait, what, what Is this a thousand calorie meal? Or is it a 500 or a 2000? I have no idea. I
Paul: will say most restaurants now, like we went to a place in Tampa the other day called Rock and Brew, me, the wife, all the kids, and I was like, great rock and brews.
What are they gonna have that fits my diet now? They had grilled chicken, broccoli, and rice, like they had a low calorie menu and it was actually good. So I just went right to the low calorie section on the menu. So if you don’t have it planned out, and it’s kind of, you know, on the fly, you can also just ask for simple things like no oil, no butter, you know, I still season the hell out of things with salt and pepper and all that stuff.
So you don’t have to like, have bland food, but oils and butters, that’s where you, you know, and cheese, that’s where you get a really like, A lot of calories from that. Like the fat calories add up so quick and they’re not gonna fill you up much. So eating out, I try to encourage people to do that, especially if they’re not like against the deadline for a body building show, if they’re just in a phase of fat loss.
Because what I want to happen is I want them to learn the behavior of like, I can still be social because I don’t want them to associate fat loss with suffering. Let’s make fat loss inclusive. Also, they can then have a positive impact on the people around them. You know, because you and I both know when you lose weight, people around you start to go, oh, what are you doing to lose weight?
Are you doing keto? And you’re like, no. Are you avoiding carbs? No, I’m just tracking my macros. So you can eat these chips in a diet soda? Yes. And then they go, oh, okay, maybe. Maybe I could do that. Right? So if I’m encouraging them to make a change, they might then become the person in their social circle that shows other people how it’s done.
For me, eating out is, You know, I, I try to cut it out the closer I get to stage lean, just because the unpredictable nature of like, just because it says it’s this many calories, whatever the chef decided to do, that day is not up to you. I start to make all my own food the leaner I get. But if I’m just trying to maintain or lose a couple pounds, I’m gonna go to Chipotle and just avoid sour cream and cheese and get my nice steak bowl.
Am I a couple hundred calories off? Who cares? I’m still being accountable. So it just depends on meeting that person where they’re at in their phase. Yeah.
Mike: that point of how close to your daily target, your daily caloric target, are you trying to be, I’m guessing that if you were missing it by a couple hundred calories, let’s say two to 300 calories consistently, you would wanna reign it in.
But if it’s here and there, Who cares. Again, especially if you’re more flexible with either your deadline or how you need to look by your deadline, to your point, there’s a big difference between wanting to be beach ready or summer ready and stage ready.
Paul: Totally different. Yeah. And some people, like they did a really interesting study where they increased, they took a a group of people and they forced fed them an extra 400 calories a day and a couple people actually lost weight and they went, what the hell?
Why did you lose weight? Well, they just became more active. Their neat went up. So they were actually just, it gave them more energy to do more stuff. So they were just burning it off. You know, some people would say, oh, they have a great metabolism. You know, the longer I’ve been doing this, the more I’ve realized that no one has a great metabolism.
They move more. A metabolic rate is just a function of how many calories you burn throughout the day. You can bring your metabolism down by like low calorie dieting and terrible lifestyle habits. But you know, the times that we associate, we had a really good metabolism. We were just moving a lot. Why did we have a good metabolism in high school?
Because we got dropped off at school. We walked from class to class, we had pe, we might have walked home, went and played with our friends after school. We ate whatever we wanted and we associate that with a good metabolism. But actually we just never sat. Still
Mike: fast forward to now in college and let’s say playing sports and walking everywhere and eating whatever you want.
Yeah. Cuz again, very active. These
Paul: are the things you think about when you’ve been doing this a long time. But I think of, you know, the freshman 15 is a big thing. So what changes from college? Most of the people that I know that go to college, they no longer walk to class. They drive. Right now, they’re going out drinking on the weekends.
You know, like little things like that add up quickly. You just, you, it’s not your metabolism. Like I always say, there’s no stubborn metabolisms. They’re only stubborn people.
Mike: Yeah. I guess that’s the other end of the spectrum, right? Because we also then, I’m sure you’ve heard, I’ve heard from many people over the years who didn’t experience the freshman 15 because they were very active.
But once they got out of college, that’s when the weight started piling on. Cause they didn’t understand that their appetite didn’t care that they weren’t burning 10,000 calories a week just in their sports.
Paul: Yeah. You really get comfortable with your diet and then you change, you know, same thing with people that go into the military and come out of the military.
They put on fat very quickly because they’re no longer doing their performance tests. Unless they keep up with that activity, the foods that they were eating are now gonna put them in a surplus. So, you know, these are the things that we don’t necessarily think about when we’re looking at our overall goals because it’s been so easy for so long that we don’t understand it.
And you know, you don’t usually gain 15 pounds in a week. It’s like a pound a month, two pounds a month, you know, what do they say that after 40, the average, you know, guy is gaining a couple pounds per year, three four pounds per year. That’s almost impossible to notice. You know, you’re going from a size 32 to a size 34 genes, no big deal.
Next year it’s a 34 to a 36, no big deal. But then five years you’re at a 40 gene and you’re like, hold up. Okay, let me get this off real quick. Let me get it off in six months. Well, you just spent five years putting it on. It’s gonna take a little time. And you know,
Mike: research shows that many people, they gain most of the weight that they gain.
On weekends and holidays. So a lot of people, they just kind of maintain their weight throughout the week, eating well, right? And then that’s what they remember. Like, I just don’t see how this happened cuz I eat, well, it’s like maintenance throughout the week. And then they get a little bit fatter on the weekends by eating too much food, drinking alcohol.
And then you have the holiday periods, which are the weekends on steroids to use a, a relevant cliche. So then they gain all this additional weight during the holiday. And maybe they lose a little bit after, but not all of it. And they just rinse and repeat that process over the course of many years. And one day they don’t recognize what they see in the picture or they’re horrified
Paul: by what they see in the picture.
Absolutely. Yeah. It’s a gradual slope. And there’s a lot of reasons why we gain body fat, whether it’s like moving less, eating more through. You know, one of the things that I’ve noticed is that I’m old enough now at 47 to remember like going to a store and I wasn’t checking out and there was a thousand snacks and a thousand sodas at every.
I mean, why do they have snacks and sodas at the auto parts store? And literally every store you go to, you are bombarded. And so many times I’m like, oh, combos sound good. Oh, a, a soda sounds good. And I’m like, what am I doing? It’s, we’re bombarded with snacking instead of making. Sugar the problem. Maybe snacking is the problem, you know, but that’s just me.
Mike: suspect that apples wouldn’t sell as well. Apples and
Paul: water. Yeah. Oh, I love when I see, like the gas station has bananas by the thing. You know, like fruit to me is like a magical source of, of food because. Not only does it come in a package like an apple and a bananas, like in a package you can eat the package.
You know, maybe not the banana, but, and also if you eat less
Mike: sugar, fruit gets more delicious.
Paul: Oh, it’s very sweet. I, you know, like, cause I’ve been dieting for a little while now and I bought some cashews the other day. I love cashews and I was eating them and I’m like, man, these tastes really sweet. And I was like, oh man, I’ve been dieting for too long.
If I’m cashews, taste sweet to me.
Mike: That’s funny. Alright, last question. If you can just give a quick, quick hit on it, and that is busy parents as a parent, I don’t know how many kids you have, but it’s multiple, so it sounds like it’s three now. Okay. Yeah, I was gonna say it sounds more than two. Uh, I’m sure you’ve heard from many people, especially new parents who now are not sleeping the way that they are used to sleeping.
Their routine is all screwed up. A Any advice for parents in particular?
Paul: Yeah, I mean, so if I’m working with someone who’s a parent, I’ll tell you the thing that most. Successful parents do. I guess it could apply even if you’re not a parent. But if you’re a parent, you have to do this. I get up before anybody in my house and I get 80% of my work done, right?
I get up, I do my cardio. I make my first meal. So I’ve already gotten so much done by the time my kids get up, all I gotta do is go to the gym and eat a couple meals, right? And so my time is their time. Before I had kids, I was a night owl. I would stay up till two, three in the morning. I would sleep till eight or nine, maybe even 10.
But I had the whole day to myself. You know, my kids are up at seven bed at eight, like that’s their window. So if I wanna see them, you know, I’ve gotta be available in those hours. And you know, sleeping in until 10 when my kids get up at seven A. For most people, that’s not gonna be. My wife and I, you know, definitely share duties there.
A lot of the time she takes on the majority of the burden, but I don’t wanna be sleeping for two, three hours of their day, especially in the morning when they’re happiest. Like they’re great kids in the morning, you know? So like I love spending those morning times with them. So when I am talking to a parent, I’m like, I know people that get up at four in the morning, they go to the gym, they do their workout, they come home, they eat, they’ll do a little cardio, they’ll practice their posing.
It’s seven o’clock, their kids are getting up and they’ve already had all their stuff done. That is a very empowering thing, you know? And even to like my business stuff, I like to get a lot of stuff done, work caught up so that I can enjoy that time and not be sitting there with them thinking like, oh man, I gotta get to work.
Oh, I’ve gotta do my cardio. When am I gonna talk to this person? When am I gonna do this podcast? Right? So getting a lot of that stuff done and out of the way is the biggest thing. Meal planning, I always say this, busiest people are the people that are the most successful because they’ve learned how to be busy and still get shit done.
A lot of the people that that I coach are parents, business owners, they play guitar, they play in a volleyball league and they still have time for body building, right? Like they get it all in because they’ve learned how to get things done. And I think first thing in the morning, you’re not getting text messages, you’re not getting phone calls, hopefully, you know?
So that would be the biggest hack for busy people is just learn to get up. You don’t have to be four in the morning, but just find that window that works for you. Yeah. Yeah.
Mike: Great tip. And for people with newborns or where again, that beginning phase when you are not getting much good sleep, what do you
Paul: tell those people?
Yeah, so when my kids were. I’ll be honest, that was for them. That’s their time. I’m not trying to be fit. I’m not trying to lose weight. That first six months, it’s all hands on deck. Like they sleep for a couple hours at a time. They’re very needy, but it’s also the time that you really bond with them. So I’ll encourage my clients, listen, we’re not dieting for a bodybuilding show or trying to, you know, put on a significant amount of muscle when sleep and all that.
Focus on your kids. Focus on the the family until you can get into a good routine, till you get to that phase where they’re sleeping through the night and you can have semblance of a daily routine that works for you. Listen, if you can afford nannies and night nurses and those things, great, but most of us can’t do that.
You know, me and my wife, we literally didn’t see each other the first six months. My son was born, my first son, because she would do the day shift, I would do the night shift, I would try to get some work done. She would try to get some work done, but it. So, yeah, I mean, it’s also about, like I said, harmony, because there’s no balance.
The first six months of a kid’s life, there’s not that balance. Now, my kids are in bed seven, eight o’clock, they get up at seven o’clock, you know, so I’ve got a little time with the wife. At the end of the day, the 5:00 AM shift is, for me, the middle of the day is for my clients and my, my business. And then, you know, there’s a couple hours that are for the kids in there.
But yeah, I, I think you gotta be realistic. Like don’t be an asshole. Be there for your kids.
Mike: Yeah, I think it’s great advice. That’s what I tell people is, hey, you know, hey, if you can sneak in one strength training workout per week, if that works out, you’ve slept and logistically, that’s okay. You can get away for an hour, go do that.
Go do a full body, just do a couple compound exercises. If you’re really lucky and you can get in two workouts, okay, great, do that. But just. At best, just trying to maintain just, just keep what you got and focus on getting sleep. Focus on taking care of your kids, on taking care of your relationship. There will be a time in the future when you can get back to making your fitness or your physique a priority, but I would not do it now.
Paul: usually what I tell. Yeah, especially with C O V I D. A lot of people. Started making their home gyms a priority. Right? A lot of people learned like, okay, I don’t need 30,000 square feet to get and stay in shape. All I had
Mike: was I had some bands, I had some adjustable dumbbells, I had a dip station and I, I didn’t even have, I couldn’t set up a pull-up bar because of the house I was in.
It would mess up the molding above the doors. And so I was doing pull-ups. There was a, a mechanical room in the basement, so this is Virginia where everyone has basements and there was an I-beam, like a structural I-beam that was exposed and I would do my pull-ups on the I-beam and just cause I could, you know, whatever I, it worked and that’s all I had.
I looked great. By the end of Covid, I think I lost eight pounds. Didn’t lose any muscle.
Paul: I got really lucky. We started building, I built a new building at my house, a separate office with a two car garage and the two car garage. While it was a two car garage, it was 100% a gym, right When Covid hit that finished, so I had actually.
A lot of my friends and employees come into my house to work out for like those couple months. So yeah, I got very lucky because it became impossible to find gym equipment at the beginning of that. Yeah, I
Mike: went looking too late, so I had what I had. I was like, well, whatever. I’ll make due. People
Paul: made a fortune selling gym equipment during that time.
Mike: Anyways, we’ve run over, so I, I want to be respectful of your time. Thank you again for doing this. Is there anything left though that you wanted to share? Anything I should have asked that we didn’t touch on
Paul: before we wrap up? No, I mean I think we covered it all. I mean, when I just think about a lifestyle and you know, trying to get fit, I think don’t put the pressure on yourself of being perfect and don’t put the pressure on yourself of you have to do something like you don’t have to go to the gym, you don’t have to do cardio.
You can go for a walk in your neighborhood. You can just find things that you enjoy and do that. I had one client lose a ton of weight cuz he started doing jujitsu and then he started going three, four days a week. Don’t look at it like this is how you lose weight. There’s no one formula. So find what really speaks to you.
Like, as much as I love body building, I don’t think it’s for everybody. You know, I know people that like, I hate working out and I’m like, that blows my mind. But then I see them working on the carburetor for their motorcycle for fucking three months and I’m like, That would drive me nuts. I’m just gonna go buy a new motorcycle.
Right? But that’s their thing. So find your thing that makes you want to do more. Hit a softball, hit a golf ball, Frisbee, golf, like whatever is in movement that you can do. My wife is doing tennis now and she loves it. She gets lessons and so I’m gonna have to actually start playing tennis now. But that’s my overarching theme is like tennis and not
Paul: bucking the trend. She likes to move, like she hates doubles in tennis. She wants to run back and forth. My wife was an athlete in college. She, she was on the track team at fsu, so she likes to move, you know, and we’re still youngish, you know, like we can still do it. So I think pickleball in the future probably, cuz I was watching them play the other day and I’m like, a lot of young
I, I wasn’t saying
Paul: that as like, uh, no, no. I, I’m like, I would dominate,
Mike: I see a lot of young people playing it as well just because it’s an easier, it’s like a little bit more activity than table tennis. And it’s easier than
Paul: tennis. Yeah. I mean, a tennis is just such a fun activity. There’s just, you know, we, well I live in a neighborhood with like, we have a tennis club with the true clay courts.
They’re just really nice. So, and we have instructors here, so they have ball machines so we can go. Obviously it’s what’s accessible to you. I think the thing, the nice thing about pickleball is that you don’t need, like all this stuff, they have these like little portable nets tape off the box and you got like a, a paddle and a ball.
Tennis. You obviously have to have a considerable amount more stuff, but yeah, find that thing that just gets you out the house and gets you doing something.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Great advice. Let’s end with that and why don’t we just tell people, if you wanna let people know, where can they find you, find your work?
Obviously you mentioned you have a coaching service, is, if there’s anything else in particular you want people to know about, let’s tell them.
Paul: Yeah. The big things for me are I do YouTube. I also do a transformation challenge twice a year. We do one in January, February, and then we do one in the fall, right?
Like right around August. And then we have our own podcasts. I have to have you on there to sometime called the Pro Code. We have guests, hosts all the time. So we have, among our staff of coaches, we have people with master’s degrees, you know, mental health specialists. We have a bunch of different topics on there.
We, we talk about contest prep, but we also talk about busy mom life, right? So we try to have a wide array of topics, but that’s it. I mean, you know, I’m the same as you. I’m just trying to get out good information for people that want to change their life in this world of like, Informative platforms that just, you almost feel like confusion and you have to find your tribe or your community that helps you focus and reach your goals.
And that’s what we’re trying to do.
Mike: Awesome. And you’re on social media as well if people wanna find
Paul: you. Yeah. Instagram and. You know, you heard it here first. I’m starting TikTok, but it’s a big learning curve. But yeah, so mostly Instagram and YouTube. Those are my, those are my bread and butter. Cool. Well, thanks
Mike: again for doing this.
This was great.
Paul: Thanks, Mike. Always a pleasure.
Mike: Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful. And if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you.
And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have, uh, ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share, shoot me an email. At Muscle for life.com, muscle f o r life.com and let me know what I could do better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.
I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.