5. 12 Hour Eating Window
If you have read or followed my content for any length of time, then you know that the 12-hour eating window is a staple in my approach to nutrition. It seems intermittent fasting is all the craze these days. However, you don’t need to adhere to the 16/8 regiment to gain the benefits of intermittent fasting. Especially when it comes to getting lean!
A big mistake people make that constantly derail and sabotage their efforts is late night snacking! After dinner is over, they continually sit around at night watching TV and munch on food, that in most cases, is not of the highest quality.
Here is the pro tip – whatever time you finish eating dinner, breakfast isn’t until that time the following morning. For example, if you finish eating dinner or your pre-bed snack at 7:30pm, then breakfast isn’t until 7:30am the next day. This full 12 hour fast done consistently every day will give you all the digestive benefits and physique benefits of the 16/8 – especially when you consider that most people cannot sustain and adhere to the 16/8 window for very long.
Consistency and sustainability are KEY.
For more detail, check out this podcast where I dive deep into this topic:
I already foreshadowed this one in the previous tip when I mentioned how people stay up late and snack. Because of our ease access to the world and constant supply of entertainment, people keep themselves awake longer and later than ever before. This is not good!
There aren’t many things more detrimental to not only your physique but to your overall health than not getting sufficient sleep. But this is good news because this is the easiest one to adhere to! No sweating, no hardcore fancy elimination diet – just get cozy under the sheets and punch out early.
Getting 8-9 hours of sleep CONSISTENTLY is one of the best things you can do for your health and body composition. Your bloodwork and hormone profile will greatly improve and the increase in energy will also allow you to have better workouts and be more productive over the course of your day – which over time will also aid in building more favorable body composition.
Its been proven through countless studies that getting under 6 hours of sleep has been shown to increase cravings and decrease the bodies ability to efficiently partition nutrients – especially carbohydrates. This leads to increases in body fat accumulation!
And just so we are clear and there is no confusion – if you go to bed at midnight and wake up at 6 you are not getting 6 hours of sleep. Once you account for the time it takes to completely fall asleep and enter your first sleep cycle, as well as the natural wake ups you have throughout the night as part of a normal sleep cycle (you don’t remember them but yes, they do happen) you are awake for 30-45 minutes of that time spent in bed – and that is being efficient! So, if you go to bed and midnight and wake up at 6, chances are you’re only getting about 5 hours of sleep if you’re lucky.
3. Strength Training
If I were to give a definition to “looking lean” or “tone” it would be having low enough levels of body fat to let the muscle underneath show through. Everyone always thinks being lean and tone goes hand in hand with being skinny, and in turn, they think endless amounts of cardio is the answer. This is not the case. Having a good amount of muscle is pivotal for having a lean and toned physique.
Having that muscle not only makes the final look of our physique, but it also helps us get there! Muscles are the single best fat burning tool we have at our disposal. The more lean, functional body tissue you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be. This is because unlike fat, muscle is metabolically active! It takes energy to use and sustain muscle.
Muscles also act as a place for glycogen storage which allows us to eat more carbohydrates. The more muscle you have, the more storage potential you have. This allows more freedom and wiggle room within our nutrition and makes it harder to put on body fat.
So don’t spend all your time at the gym spinning your wheels on the treadmill – GO LIFT. Build that muscle. This will make everything else you do cost more energy which will turn your body into a fat burning machine.
Now it might seem contradictory to follow up my last statement and tell you to do cardio, but it’s not just any cardio – it’s walking specifically. To be honest, I don’t consider walking as cardio – technically yes, it is, but only because the way society has evolved is why it is considered exercise. To me, walking is being human. We have evolved to walk very long distances very efficiently and it is in walking that we get the most bang for our buck when it comes to burning body fat.
The reason walking is superior to other forms of “cardio” is because of its intensity. Walking is a Zone 1 activity. The lower the heart rate during a given activity, the more that activity is fueled by fat burning rather than glycogen. This is why walking is superior to jogging. Yes, 30 minutes of jogging will burn more calories than 30 minutes of walking. BUT, because the heart rate is much higher during the jog, more glycogen is burned to fuel that activity. Not to mention, walking can be done for much longer and much more often than jogging without negative side effects of wear and tear on joints and needed recovery time.
Walk in the morning, walk after meals, walk in the evening. WALK. This is what humans were made to do. Do not sit for 16 hours per day. Walk as much as you possibly can, and I promise you the results will follow. 10,000 steps a day is the “gold standard” that has been set as the active goal, but I say this is too low of a bar. Shoot for 15,000 steps a day if you really want to see results.
1. High Protein Diet of Whole Foods
If this Top 5 List was a pyramid, then this tip right here would be the base. This is the single most important aspect when it comes to building a lean, healthy, and capable physique.
Quality food choice will move the needle faster than anything else when it comes to changing your body composition. Natural, unprocessed, whole foods need to make up 99% of what you consume – preferably self-prepared. These foods are what the body needs to operate efficiently and maintain its health – not to mention, it is next to impossible to overconsume them to the point of increasing your body fat levels (especially if you’re following the rest of these tips!).
The second part of this equation is eating a high protein diet – which could be considered anywhere from .75g per pound of bodyweight up to 1.25g per pound of bodyweight. This just depends on the individual and their specific goals.
The high protein diet checks multiple boxes when it comes to aiding us in our goals of improving our body composition. Firstly, protein will aid us in building lean body tissue – which is beneficial for all the reasons I laid out in the Strength Training tip.
Secondly, protein is satiating – meaning it fills us up. This keeps us from overeating other macronutrients and keeping our calorie content at acceptable levels. It also helps to improve blood sugar levels when eaten with higher glycemic foods. This improves the digestion and assimilation of carbohydrates and decreases the potential for body fat accumulation.
Each one of these tips work. I’ve seen it firsthand. All of them done together will work great and yield amazing results – but only when they are implemented CONSISTENTLY. The biggest mistake made by people is losing to their impatience.
This cannot be looked at as a program or a diet – this is a way of life. This is the way you live from here on out. If you look at these changes by having an end date to them then you will never be able to sustain the physique you want long term.
Learn them. Implement them. Live them.
If you need any help, I got your back.
Time to grind,