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).

Nutrition 101

This article is just a standard nutrition overview. I’ll express my specific opinions, as well as what the data says on some of this content in later articles.

There are 6 classes of essential nutrients:

-       Protein

-       Carbohydrates

-       Fats

-       Vitamins

-       Minerals

-       Water

Macronutrients:

-       Protein

-       Carbohydrates

-       Fats

-       Water (USDA listed macronutrient)

Micronutrients:

-       Vitamins

-       Minerals

Let’s discuss the macronutrients first.

We’ll start with protein.

 Protein is an essential nutrient that forms important parts of the body’s main structures (muscles and bones), as well as blood, enzymes, hormones, and cell membranes.

Protein yields 4 calories per gram.

Examples of foods that contain mostly protein are meat, poultry, fish, egg whites, and cottage cheese

Some different types of protein are whey concentrate, soy, whey isolate, casein, hydrolysate, milk protein isolate, egg albumin, etc.

Recommended protein intake: Commonly, the most agreed up number is 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. Slightly less or slightly more is not going to hurt you, but it probably will not help you either.

Menno Henselman’s has a great article titled the myth of 1 gram per lb. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it is a myth, but it is a safe number and can work well for many people. Check out that article here.

Eric Helm’s and Menno debate protein intake here, and that is also worth checking out.

A lot of people overdo it on the protein in hopes of stimulating greater protein synthesis, but there is just very little data that I have seen to support substantially higher intakes.

Carbohydrates

 Carbohydrates are essential nutrients needed in the diet primarily to supply energy to body cells.

 There is debate as to whether or not carbohydrates should be considered an essential nutrient, because technically we could survive without them. As of now, they are still categorized as an essential nutrient and I do not see that changing, nor do I think it should.

Carbohydrates yield 4 calories per gram.

Some examples of foods mostly made up of carbohydrates are rice, potatoes, peas, oats, bananas, candy, and cereal.

Recommended carbohydrate intake varies greatly, because as I mentioned, you can survive on low amounts of carbohydrates. The USDA recommends between 45-65% of total calories come from carbohydrates.

It is really just going to come down to your energy needs. Some people respond well to high-carbohydrates, some moderate, and some low.

The two main categories of carbohydrates are simple and complex carbs.

Simple Carbohydrates are often considered “bad.”

-       Monosaccharide: Glucose, galactose, fructose

-       Disaccharide: Sucrose, lactose, maltose

-       Examples: Candy, corn syrup, cake, white bread, pasta

Complex Carbohydrates are often considered “good.”

-       Polysaccharides: Starch, Fiber, Glycogen

-       Examples: Brown rice, wheat bread, sweet potatoes, broccoli

Fiber is an important type of carbohydrate to note. The Institute of Medicine recommends women eat about 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should eat about 38 grams per day.

Again, this can vary slightly, but these are pretty standard approximations.

Fats (Lipids)

Fats are the most concentrated source of energy; they represent usable energy, they insulate the body, and they support and cushion organs.

Examples of foods containing fats are avocados, olives, nuts, fish, pizza dough, cookies, peanut butter.

The recommended fat intake is at minimum 20% of daily calories. Approximately 20-35% of daily calories coming from fats is pretty standard.

There are 4 major types of fats:

·      Monounsaturated

-       Avocados, olives, peanuts, almonds

·      Polyunsaturated

-       Walnuts, flaxseed, salmon

·      Saturated

-       Red meat, poultry, whole milk, hot dogs, salami

·      Trans fat

-       Cookies, crackers, cakes, popcorn, margarine, fried foods

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are generally what people consider “healthy fats.” Many people are still on the fence about saturated fat, and everyone knows trans fats are the devil.

Micronutrients

Vitamins promote (initiate or speed up) specific chemical reactions within cells

There are fat soluble vitamins, that are stored in fat cells and require fat in order to be absorbed, and water soluble vitamins that are not stored in the body thus need to be replenished daily.

Examples of fat soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, D, E, and K.

Examples of water soluble vitamins include Vitamin B1, B2, B3, and B5

Minerals help regulate body functions and aid in growth and maintenance of body tissues.

Examples of minerals are zinc, potassium, iron, and sodium.

You can find the recommended daily intake of micronutrients here.