Why I Do Not Prescribe Meal Plans

“Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats forever.”

Giving out a meal plan is a temporary fix. Teaching a person to track their macronutrient intake and create their own meal plan if they desire, is a permanent solution.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 68.5% of adults are overweight. Of that percentage, 35% are considered obese. Nearly 32% of children and adolescents are either overweight or obese.

Here’s an excerpt from my article “Why Most Diets Suck,”

“Contrary to popular belief, we as people do not have a weight loss problem. Millions of people lose weight every single year. The problem is that we cannot keep the weight off.

Based off of the data that we have on dieting, it is estimated that roughly 80% of people regain the weight that they lost within 1 year. Of those 80%, about half will end up weighing more than they weighed in the first place. So, the data suggests not dieting altogether! ”

The University of California at Los Angeles investigated 31 long-term diet studies. They concluded roughly 2 out of every 3 dieters regained the weight they lost and more in a 4 to 5 year period.

What we are doing is not working.

Why do I think this is?

I believe it has a lot to do with the lack of practicality and strict guidelines in most diet plans.

“Cut out carbs!"

"Cut out fat!"

"No junk food!"

"No processed foods!"

"No sugar!"

"No alcohol!"

Sounds practical, right?

We are literally surrounded by food all day long, and not just spinach and chicken either. Pizza, ice cream, pasta, bread, candy, cereal…

Are we supposed to just never eat any of the things that we enjoy?

How is that working out for us? Based on the statistics, horribly.

In a perfect world maybe there would be no “junk food,” but we do not live in a perfect world— Far from it. Processed food, junk food, snacks, and all the other things we are surrounded by are not going away any time soon.

We must learn to adapt and be able to eat the foods that we enjoy in moderation.

If you are one of the genetically elite that can eat only chicken, rice, spinach, and broccoli every day for the rest of your life, my hat is off to you… Seriously.

But for 99.99% of people it’s just not practical.

Could I write you a meal plan that will allow you to lose weight, or gain weight, or whatever your goal may be? Absolutely.

Will you be able to follow it with 100% accuracy every single day? Probably not, but for the sake of discussion let’s say you can.

Even if you follow a meal plan I’ve written out for you with 100% accuracy, are you going to be able to enjoy yourself with family and friends? Are you going to skip every family dinner, every picnic, every special occasion? 

I hope not. I do not want you to.

Instead of giving you a meal plan and saying do as you are told, I would rather give you macronutrient guidelines and teach you a system of tracking your intake giving you unlimited flexibility.

You will be able to have a social life, eat the foods that you enjoy, and accomplish your fitness goals.

Will it take a little bit of time to learn this system? I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t. But, is a few weeks of learning a system worth an entire lifetime of being able to be healthy and understand how to make good, unrestricted food decisions? I believe so.

If a coach does their job correctly, you should not need them forever. They should have given you the skills to be successful on your own.

I do not want to see you become just another statistic.

Ready to make a change?

Click here to apply for flexible dieting coaching.

How Eating More Junk Helped Me Burn More Fat

“I cannot do this anymore. This sucks.”

I had just fallen off the dieting wagon for what seemed to be the 100th time.

I started rationalizing and making excuses for myself.

“I was not built to be lean.”

“I do not have the willpower to stick to a diet.”

Enter YouTube search:

“How To Burn Fat.”

I scrolled through the first few videos and heard everything that I already knew.

“You have to eat clean.”

“Cut out all junk food.”

“Eat solely lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.”

The truth was that I was already attempting to follow these guidelines, but my sweet tooth was not cooperating.

My diet consisted of chicken, rice, and broccoli.

Meal 1: Chicken, rice, broccoli

Meal 2: Chicken, rice, broccoli

Meal 3: Chicken rice, broccoli

Meal 4: Chicken, rice, broccoli

You get the picture…

I would prep my food out for the week, follow my plan perfectly for a few days, have a food craving, give into that food craving, feel like a failure, say “screw it” and eat whatever I wanted, and repeat.

What a life.

It messed with me physically… It messed with me mentally…

Back to the YouTube search…

I was just about to “X” out of my browser until I saw a video titled something along the lines of “Eat Your Favorite Foods And Burn Fat with IIFYM.”

I was both skeptical and intrigued. 

I had nothing to lose, so I watched the video.

It changed my life.

I learned about tracking my daily macronutrient intake with an approach of ‘if it fits your macros’, then you can eat it.

Huh?

You’re telling me that I can eat snickers bars and twinkies and burn fat?

"There’s no way," I thought.

But again, I had nothing to lose.

I downloaded the app MyFitnessPal and started that day.

I got some basic macronutrient guidelines (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) and tracked my food intake.

I did my best to get as close to those targets as possible, with my main focus being staying at or under my daily calorie target.

And of course, I took it to the extreme. I was fitting in as much junk food as possible. I was testing this method basically with the intention of disproving it.

“There is no way that you can eat junk food and burn fat.”

It went against everything that I knew regarding fat loss.

This is when I learned about thermodynamics and the law of energy in versus energy out.

Macronutrients make up calories.

1g of Protein = 4 Calories

1g of Carbohydrate = 4 Calories

1g of Fat = 9 Calories

So, by tracking my macronutrients I was by default tracking calories.

By setting macronutrient targets, it made the diet more well rounded as opposed to just tracking calories.

Macronutrients serve different roles in the body.

Protein is responsible for muscle building and retention.

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred energy source.

Fat helps with hormone regulation.

Protein, carbs, and fat are responsible for other functions in the body as well, but these are their main purposes.

So, according to the law of thermodynamics, as long as I was burning more energy than I was putting into my body I would lose weight.

And, if my protein was sufficient I would maintain my muscle and that weight would come from fat.

Simple enough.

So I did it for a few weeks and something weird happened…

It was working.

I was eating cereal, donuts, protein bars, pretzels, and chips on a regular basis and I was getting leaner and leaner each week.

It was unbelievable.

I was actually “sticking” to my diet and following the guidelines while simultaneously eating all the foods that I enjoyed and were a normal part of my diet up to that point.

I was a believer.

I started digging deeper into the science, learning more about energy balance and macronutrients.

I understood why it was working.

Here is what happened to my body when I started this IIFYM approach to dieting:

 
 

I was on cloud nine. Fortunately though, I kept digging on nutrition to learn as much as possible.

This is when I learned about micronutrients aka vitamins and minerals.

As it turned out, Mom was right about eating fruits and vegetables— they actually are an important part of a healthy diet.

I’ll oversimplify it by putting it this way:

Macronutrients are responsible for the physical changes to the body.

Micronutrients are responsible for the interal health and function of the body.

You do not need to track micronutrients, but you should be conscious of them and consume a lot of nutrient dense foods.

So, I slowly started adding more “healthy” food into my diet.

In learning it this way, I did not feel restricted from eating the “not so healthy” food, I just felt a desire to make healthier choices.

I started to find a balance of eating mostly healthy food without restricting myself from the other foods that I love.

This approach has become known as flexible dieting.

Flexible dieting is more structured than IIFYM, in that it encourages more healthy food options. Although a 'full out' IIFYM approach does work, for health purposes a diet should be built around micronutrient dense foods.

So, what is my current dieting strategy?

I utilize flexible dieting. A bulk of my diet comes from lean ground turkey, whole eggs, broccoli, mushrooms, strawberries, blueberries, yogurt etc.

But, I am by no means restricted to solely these foods. If I want something different, I will fit it  into my macronutrient requirements.

This allows me to have tremendous flexibility to crush cravings, enjoy family occasions, and eat while traveling without sacrificing my goals.

Want to implement this strategy for yourself, but not sure where to begin?

Start here:

Step 1. Download the free app MyFitnessPal.

Step 2. Choose your goal in MyFitnessPal (weight loss, weight gain, or weight maintenance) and the app will give you a calorie target. This will be a good enough estimate to get you started.

Step 3. In the app, set your macros to 30% protein, 40% carbohydrate, and 30% fat. These numbers are flexible, but this should serve as a moderate macronutrient distribution to get you started.

Step 4. Track your food in app and make sure to stay within your guidelines. 

Note: TOTAL DAILY CALORIES ARE MOST IMPORTANT. Focus on calories and protein first, and then once you get the hang of tracking you can worry more about carbohydrates and fat.

This process will not be perfect nor does it have to be.

If you consistently hit your calorie target and eat enough protein you will be moving toward achieving your body composition goals.

And, for health purposes try to consume healthy sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. As tempting as it is to go 'full' IIFYM, choose to utilize flexible dieting.

Flexible dieting changed my life and it can change yours too. 

I went from feeling restricted and like a failure to achieving optimal balance and a healthy relationship with food.

And, a beautiful things happens:

The more you track, the better you become at estimating calories and macronutrients.

Once you have a good feel for estimating, you can utilize intuitive eating without having to track your exact intake year round.

Trust the process— it works.

Want to work with me in developing a flexible dieting plan? Each month I take on a handful of new clients and by applying below you have a chance to become one of them.

Click here to apply. 

A Must Read

If you are struggling with nutrition and information anxiety, then this may be the most important post you'll ever read.

I speak with dozens of people per week about nutrition.

It's amazing to me how many "strategies" and "methods" that people are aware of— and half of the time they have to educate me on what these things even mean or where they heard them.

I hear things like:

"You have to eat a pre and post workout meal."

"You cannot eat carbs after 6pm."

"Fasting causes the body to use fat for energy."

"Eating 6 small meals per day is better for fat loss than 3."

These are all myths by the way.

Ironically most of the people who seem to have all the "cutting-edge" info are the ones who are struggling the most and confused as to why they are not making progress.

I know "where" people are hearing this stuff from...

Magazines, the news, their neighbor etc.

But, what has been stumping me is "why" do they believe it?

Maybe, it's because they are being tricked by the headlines from marketers... Oops sorry... I mean "doctors."

Maybe. But, I think it goes deeper than that. I think people WANT to believe all the "new-surfacing" and "cutting-edge" stuff because it gives them hope.

"If I just cut out carbohydrates I'll burn fat."

"If I just do this juice clean I'll lose 30 lbs."

But, here's the kicker— You know the real truth.

You know that burning fat and keeping it off means that you have to make a lifestyle change.

It means that you will have to change your habits.

And, that is scary.

It's not going to take 30 days.

It's going to take a complete transformation of the way you "view" food and the way you consume it.

It's not an extremist, rapid fat burning approach.

It's a slow approach of building good habits over a long-period of time.

There is nothing sexy about it.

While you know in the back of your head what the right thing to do is, you will continue to look for the "next best thing" that comes to the surface to put your hope into.

It's not coming.

I say this with complete empathy— You will spend your entire life looking for "the secret," just to find out that it did not exist.

Don't allow the fear of change to paralyze you from doing what you know that you need to do.

3 Best Ways To Lose Weight

My answers may surprise you…

You probably think I am going to talk about “bulletproof” science and practical information to apply to your life.

Nope.

I spend a lot of time talking about the scientific principles of fat loss.

Today we are going to discuss the 3 things (I have noticed anecdotally) that will give you the best chance at weight loss.

# 1. Partaking in a weight loss challenge with monetary rewards and prizes. You know— those gym or workplace wellness programs with prize incentives.

Pro: Money is a big motivator and we all like to be rewarded. The challenges are often times only a few weeks or months, so it does not appear as if it is a huge commitment. You can buckle down for a few weeks and work hard with an end goal in mind.

Con: Once it is over— it is over. The incentive to keep going is no longer there. Because it was only a few weeks or months, you likely won’t have developed the habits necessary to carry over into your day-to-day life, leaving you in a dangerous position for weight re-gain.

# 2. Having a date or deadline on the calendar.

Pro: Similarly to #1, it is much easier to hit a target that you can actually see. If you have a clear date on the calendar it becomes much easier to stick to the process. That date is not moving. If you have a competition, or photo shoot, or vacation that deadline is staring down your tracks every single day.

Con: Once the deadline (target or event) is over, you lose accountability and desire to maintain or continue pushing in your fitness journey. Again, this is a dangerous place to be, as it can leave you feeling purposeless and with no desire to continue. You can easily backslide and undo a lot of the progress that you made.

# 3. Hiring a coach.

Pro: Going off of the money example used in # 1, it is pretty simple. We do not like to waste money. When we invest money we want a return on our investment. If you are investing money into a coach, you now not only have someone consulting with you and keeping you accountable, but you also have skin in the game. That money is going to leave your bank account each month as a reminder as to how important your fitness is to you. There may not be a “finish line” per say, as it is more about the journey than the destination. But, you and your coach will set short-term and long-term targets to keep you moving in the right direction. And most importantly, by committing several months or years to the process, you will develop the long-term habits that you will need to lose weight, and keep it off.

Con: It takes a financial investment and a time investment. (But I think we can all agree that the pros outweigh the cons :) )

Here are some things that are NOT the answer:

- Trying to develop unbreakable willpower
- Seeking more and more knowledge (without application)
- Looking for the “next best thing”

In my experience, achieving weight loss success is less about how much you know and more about how much you apply.

It is not putting together the perfect macronutrient split, an amazing meal frequency plan, or a crazy fat burning supplement stack.

It is about being consistent to the process.

I think it is fairly clear that option # 3 is your best bet for achieving lifelong fat loss success. So, if you have been struggling on your fitness journey I highly recommend investing in a coach that you trust.

If you are a native to the Lewisburg or Shamokin Dam PA area, you can check out my friend Nisan Trotter's boot camp, Trot Fitness. I am sure that he would be happy to have you!

Or, if you are interested in 1-on-1 sustainable and flexible nutrition coaching, I’d love to work with you!

Click here to apply!

What Makes You Fat?

Contrary to what society is currently telling you...

  • Sugar does not make you fat
  • Carbohydrates do not make you fat
  • Sodium does not make you fat
  • Fat does not make you fat
  • Processed food do not make you fat

So, I guess a good question to ask would be, "What does make you fat?"

Eating too many calories. Period.

That's right— You can get fat eating chicken and vegetables and you can burn fat eating big macs.

Do not believe me? Test it for yourself.

  1. Use a calorie calculator to determine your daily caloric needs for weight loss.
  2. Track your food intake as accurately as possible by pen and paper or with a calorie tracking app (I prefer MyFitnessPal).
  3. Monitor your weight via the scale, take measurements, and take starting pictures that you can use for reference.
  4. Watch what happens.

If you are in a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. It's a scientific law. Energy balance is real.

And for this experiment, do not limit yourself to only "healthy" foods. Eat as your normally would, just make sure you're hitting your calorie requirements— And, if you really want to optimize this track your macronutrients as well (protein, carbohydrates, and fat).

An app like MyFitnessPal will automatically calculate your macronutrient percentages based off of your calorie target, but if you are looking for a place to start:

Men: ~40 % Carbohydrate / ~30 % Protein / ~30 % Fat
Women: ~40% Carbohydrate / ~25 % Protein / ~35 % Fat

I will forewarn you, this experiment is for the sake of the argument that if you eat the correct amount of calories and macronutrients for your goals your body will change accordingly in terms of weight loss or weight gain.

I by no means recommend or endorse the idea that eating wholesome, healthy, and micronutrient dense foods is not important for overall health.

I am simply trying to dispel many of the common myths and misconceptions around nutrition.

If you're looking for more information on nutrition, check out my article titled Nutrition 101 by clicking here.

If you are ready to save yourself a lot of time and energy and are ready for a system that teaches you how to properly eat for both your health and your goals, click here and you can learn about The HUNDRD Academy— Where we create leaner, stronger, and healthier individuals in a simplified and sustainable way.

You Are In Control

Want to take control of your life? Take control of your body.

I began lifting weights when I was 14 years old, but I started to take weight training seriously when I was about 17.

Ironically I started lifting solely for the purpose of it helping me become a better baseball player, but I ended up becoming more interested in the gym than I was baseball.

I was the scrawny kid who could not hit a home run through out most of high school and I hated it. So, I started working on my strength. I put in a ton of extra time outside of practice to become a bigger, stronger, and more powerful version of myself.

Truthfully, my goal was not just to be able to hit home runs, but also to look like the type of guy who could hit a home run.

I was tired of being the scrawny kid and I wanted to change my identity.

It always seemed like the muscular guys had it all.

The type of guys that were jacked and they knew they were jacked...

They walked with confidence. They walked with their chests puffed up.

"Must be nice" I used to think.

I realized that I could continue to complain about my situation (which I did a lot of), or I could actually do something about it.

So, I made a commitment to myself that I was going to learn everything that I could about training and most importantly I was going to be consistent with it.

At that time I was lifting with the weights that my dad had in the basement, but I was starting to outgrow what we had, so I signed up for a gym membership at Gold's Gym.

I can still remember the first day I walked into the facility... Scrawny, 17 year old Jordon walking into muscle head central at muscle head o' clock (the 5pm crowd at the gym is typically the dedicated meatheads).

Luckily I was meeting with a friend, so that took away some of the intimidation factor... But, not really.

I had never felt so out of my element. I thought for sure that all those guys just viewed me as an obstacle in their way... An annoyance.

But, something weird happened... They welcomed me in.

I'm sure they still had some chuckles as I was lifting very small weights, but they really made me feel at home.

I was super hesitant to sign up at Gold's Gym in the first place, but stepping out of my comfort zone and signing up at that gym was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I was hooked.

I never missed a workout. I took my nutrition seriously. I was seeing physical changes in myself and the people around me were too.

It was the first time in my life that I truly understood that work + consistency = results.

Taking control of my fitness changed my life.

I learned patience, I learned persistence, and I gained confidence... Not just in the way that I looked, but in my ability to achieve whatever I put my mind to.

It taught me a lot about life.

Knowing how impactful improving physical fitness can be on a person's life, it would be selfish of me to keep it to myself.

That is why I do what I do.

I am telling you right now, if you are thinking about starting your fitness journey or even taking it to the next level... Do it.

You are in control of your body and of your life.

Start acting like it.

Why Simplicity Matters

Let's talk about what I believe to be one of the biggest mistakes a person can make in their fitness journey—over complicating it.

If your goal is using fitness as a tool to maximize your life, then you should be trying to simplify the process as much as possible.

Focus on the big picture:

  1. Making sure weight training is progressive
  2. Hitting calorie and macronutrient targets

If these are new concepts for you, make sure you grab my free guide on how to build your dream body, where I breakdown and simplify what is important and what is not.

There is so much information out there that its hard to know what to follow... Especially because a lot of the information is conflicting.

As a beginner, I remember being overwhelmed and constantly looking for "better" approaches than what I was currently following. I just wanted to make sure everything that I was doing was fully optimized, but in reality it led me to constantly hopping around from one thing to the next and never letting a particular approach run its course.

I gained a ton of experience in my early years because I was trying everything. Somethings worked well and others not as well. But, my biggest takeaway was the more that I simplified the better the results that I got.

There are scientific, evidence-based principles that have stood the test of time. These things are constantly being tested in the lab and in the gym and they nearly always hold true. There's an old adage, if it's not broken do not fix it. For the most part, I agree with that line of thinking. Should we always be testing and questioning our approaches? Of course. It's important to not be so stuck in our ways that we're unwilling to look at new findings in the exercise science field.

But, what is more reliable, one study published in 2018 about a new approach that may work better, or 10 years of evidence to support a current approach?

Do not get too caught up in the bells and whistles.

Do not get distracted by the hype of the latest and greatest.

Again, whether it comes to training or nutrition, we have proven principles that work.

Focus on the big picture and utilizing these principles, not the tiny little details that may give you the slightest advantage.

The HUNDRD method is built around a lifestyle based approach to being your best self.

Unless you are a high-level athlete or competitor, do not get fixated on the details.

Always be looking for ways to simplify what you are doing.

Now, you may be thinking, sure that makes sense for a beginner, but what about when you become more advanced?

The reality is that the more advanced you get, the more you will learn about the details, and even then those who are most successful will be looking for ways to simplify everything they know.

I've been doing this for about 8 years, and the more experienced I get the more I appreciate simplification.

Ignore the broscience.

It's not about eating 10 small meals throughout the day.

It's not about inhaling a protein shake immediately post-workout in fear of missing your anabolic window.

It's not about doing a 6 exercise superset or 12 drop sets after your set.

Get the big principles in place. Be consistent. Be patient. You'll win.

Why Most Diets Suck

Contrary to popular belief, we as people do not have a weight loss problem. Millions of people lose weight every single year. The problem is that we cannot keep the weight off.

Based off of the data that we have on dieting, roughly 80% of people regain the weight that they lost within 1 year. Of those 80%, about half will end up weighing more than they weighed in the first place. So, the data suggests not dieting altogether!

What does this mean?

It means that the past approaches to dieting are not working. The past approaches include ideas like strict meal plans, ketogenic diets, liquid diets, and more. The moral of the story is that fad diets do not work for most people… 8 out of 10 to be exact.

So, what is the best approach to dieting? The best approach is the one that is SUSTAINABLE. This varies from each person to the next, which is why you must find a system that will work for you in the long-term.

Bottom line, if you cannot see yourself being able to sustain your current diet and make it a lifestyle, you’re on the wrong diet.

What is the secret?

 Now you know that restrictive diets are not the answer, as the more restrictive the diet the higher likelihood of a harsh rebound.

I know what you’re all wondering… SO, WHAT’S THE SECRET?

Well, I’m going to give it to you.

The secret is…there is no secret.

Bummer, I know. I wish I could tell you that there was a quick gimmick to get lean. I wish I could you that there was an easy way to put on muscle. But, the bottom line is it takes some work and consistency to accomplish these goals.

By now you’re probably thinking that there’s no hope, but I have good news for you. There is hope!

Although achieving health and fitness goals is not easy. However, it is simple.

Do not buy into the idea that in order to achieve your fitness goals you have to eat chicken and broccoli 6x per day, every day.

Don’t buy into the idea that you can never eat out at restaurants or enjoy a meal with friends and family.

Don’t buy into the idea that you need to exercise for 2-3 hours everyday.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THESE THINGS.

It is absolutely possible to live healthy, lean, muscular, whatever your goal is, without sacrificing your social life and overall livelihood.

You can enjoy a variety of foods and still look good and be healthy. And by eating a variety of foods I do not mean eating turkey instead of chicken, or rice instead of broccoli. I mean real variety – restaurant food, ice cream, pizza, fruits, anything you enjoy. How is this possible? One word: Moderation.

Moderation is key. It’s all about balance. Should you be eating nutrient dense whole foods more often than ‘junk food’? Absolutely. Is a pop-tart healthier than a sweet potato? The answer is no, but if eating a pop-tart to fill a craving will keep you from going on a 24 hour calorie binge due to being on a restrictive diet than yes, it actually is healthier.

Completely restricting foods that you enjoy from your diet is not the answer, and it never will be the answer.

Barring health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, for example, there is no reason you should have to completely restrict foods out of your diet.

This system of unlimited food restrictions has become known as Flexible Dieting or IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros).