I've had a few questions from readers recently, concerned that they may be going…
Paul has released a truly brilliant video on YouTube which you can check out here; I highly encourage you to do so. In the video he talks about how his clients would get themselves into serious trouble when attempting to lose weight. They would suffer severely, absolutely destroy their metabolisms, happiness, social life, and in some cases, their relationships, as they were pushing themselves too hard with cardio and calories.
I’ve said many times before that fitness is incredibly important, but it doesn’t have to ruin other areas of your life. It should integrate nicely into other areas. It does for me, and I’ve achieved some great things with fitness – strength & body fat wise.
These people end up not only ruining other areas, but they shoot themselves in the foot with fitness too. Similarly to Keto, Paleo, and other low-carb variations that are clearly unsustainable as you can’t go low-carb forever in this society, they regain all of their fat.
Dominate Your Calories
You should push yourself – achieving a great physiqe is NOT EASY. I don’t want anyone getting that impression. Getting below 10% is very very difficult. It takes discipline and hard work. But certain personalities tend to become more extreme and obsessive.
My brother, for example, never stays lean for long. He tends to cut too quickly and aggressively, rendering the diet unsustainable. To be fair to him though, his goals are different and he doesn’t care about regaining fat due to bulking and muscle gaining goals.
With him, and many other people that Paul talks about in the video, their problem is that they change things up too soon (before they have actually stalled with weight loss) as they’re impatient and/or don’t have enough time. This means they cut total calories too quickly, and they go below the “safe threshold”.
What is the safe threshold?
Paul reckons you should never go below 10* bodyweight in calories. This means that if you’re 200 pounds, you should never go below 2000 calories.
I 100% agree with this, and it matches my experience very closely.
Slowly lower your calories down, and never go any lower than that minimum threshold. If you cross that barrier, you’re in the danger zone – you won’t keep it up for long, you’ll bounce back, and you’ll make yourself miserable.
Dominate Your Cardio
It’s the same thing with cardio. This tends to be more of a Bodybuilder/gym rat problem than if you’re the typical Western dieter who thinks it’s clever to starve themselves from time to time, in order to:
“Look good for the wedding brah”, for two days, or;
“Look sick on dat beach mayyyyne” for a few days.
Pointless, at least in my very strong and experienced opinion.
Bodybuilders and gym rats are more likely to train themselves into the ground. But I’m aware that this isn’t always the case, and some of my readers are bound to have this problem, or experienced it in the past.
It’s the same problem but from a slightly different angle. Too much cardio leads to ridiculously high stress levels and general poor performance in the gym, and recovery from weight training sessions.
These stress levels and the lack of recovery will wreck havoc on your appetite and your muscle retention ability. Both are very dangerous during a fat loss phase.
Therefore, just like we set a lower threshold of calories based upon your bodyweight, we also need to set an upper threshold of cardio to perform.
Paul says that he is more flexible now, but for most people he doesn’t like them to go over 45 mins per day. I’m assuming this is LISS (I hope).
I am a bit more aggressive with my upper threshold for cardio. I believe that it has less of a tendency to really mess you up than a lack of food will. I think if you’re sensible with your food intake and food quality then you can get away with quite a lot of training (relatively speaking).
My personal upper limit in the past has been 5000 calories burned per week.
This is about 75 mins per day, to compare it to Paul. Ideally, separated into 2 separate sessions – one morning and one evening. If this sounds extreme, that’s because it is. For 95% of the diet, I would not even be close to this. Right now I’m at about 2000 calories burned per week – I have a long way to go until I hit full capacity.
5000 calories per week is an absolute maximum that I would not suggest crossing – it’s a lot of work, and everything else in your life needs to be perfect if you want to keep the diet sustainable and not get buried.
Although you should be pushing yourself and fat loss is very difficult – physically and emotionally, you should set limits and boundaries to both calories and cardio. This is a fantastic video, and you will gain a lot of information from it. He gives a perfect recommendation for calorie intake, and sensible numbers for cardio too.
I believe we can push it a bit more with cardio, time permitting, and lifetsyle permitting. But remember that this limit should only be approached after you have already lost a load of weight and you have stalled for the umpteenth time.
Get to work!
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