I just recently had my body fat tested and am really happy to report I hit the single digits. It was close as I just came in under at 9.75%, but that's still single digits. I could never have imagined it all those years back weighing 329 lbs.
Some people have told me getting to single digit body fat is a pretty big deal. I never really think about things like that. For me it's like my 600 lb raw benches and my 900 equipped bench. I just put in the work and they happened.
Hearing that caused me to reflect a little. Perhaps shedding a light on what I did can help others. The following were the most important takeaways from "MY" process.
PATIENCE - I wrote a blog post back in March about how I was dealing with some body issues. NEGATIVE THOUGHTS AND DEALING WITH BODY ISSUES Most of it revolved around some loose skin I had in my lower abdomen. Low and behold five months later and only a mere four lbs lighter, I no longer have that issue.
I have noticed that those little incremental changes really start adding up over time. All I had to do was stay the course and be patient. I honestly thought that loose skin would be there for life, but through time and hard work it has tightened up. In hindsight it was one of the greatest lessons in patience. Fat loss is not always linear. Sometimes it's just a grind. Also, patience is crucial because trying to rush the process can lead to muscle loss and lean mass is hard to come by.
EFFORT - I train really hard. It's never something I have to wonder. When I'm lifting I keep the intensity up in one of three ways. The weight gets heavy enough to where I can barely get another rep. Sometimes it's just sheer volume that makes it hard. I might have three sets of five reps written, but sometimes I'll just do more. I might do five sets of ten or an all out finishing set of 15-20 reps. Lastly, I use pace. Sometimes I will do my assistance work in non-stop circuit fashion in which I'm panting and short of breath by the time it's done. I pretty much feel hostile from pushing myself at the end of every session.
I have found effort is not just important with lifting, but with conditioning as well. My friend Harry Selkow once told me, condition like you train. For me conditioning was pretty much something I did half heartedly for aerobic and recovery work. However, now on my training days I kill it three to four times a week. I feel strongly this has made a huge difference in my body composition versus when I just mindlessly walked on the treadmill for hours on end.
By killing it I usually do a tabata protocol of some type. It's basically four minutes of hiit. You can Google it. When I want to really crush it, I'll do the airdyne. I have never been able to pin the speedometer for all eight intervals. Another tough tabata I use are squat thrusts with a hop (the pushup on the burpee beats me up too much). These are brutal as well. A few less challenging versions I use are jump rope and kettle bell swings.
Sometimes I'll do some other difficult exercises to switch things up. I'll do some sprints or hills. I also like doing heavy carries. For those I grab heavy dumbbells or plates and just challenge myself to see how far I can walk around my basement or around the house. These can be really taxing.
TRAINING CONSISTENCY - I don't take time off, ever. Well, that's not exactly true. I had to take time off after ruptured biceps tendon and ruptured hernia surgeries. Other than that, I train. Even when injured, I train around injuries. If there's a scheduling conflict, I work around it and make up the day. When on vacation, I train.
This concept may seem crazy to some, but I love to train. There are instances of course when I am just not in the mood. Those are the times I push myself to do it. Part of that is because of my work ethic. The other part is because I like the results. Never forget, you only get out of training what you put into it.
NUTRITION CONSISTENCY - Don't cheat! It's irrational to not to follow a program when you know it will get you where you want to go. Here's a big truth by the way, just because someone didn't see you eat it, doesn't mean it was never eaten. The only person you are cheating is yourself.
Regarding cheating, let's address cheat meals or as some people refer to them, reward meals. Either way, it's stuffing your face. I feel they are used far too often. At one stretch I went 13 weeks before having a cheat. The truth is I got fat eating cheat meals all the time so I had plenty stored up.
These cheat meals get too carried away. They often turn into cheat evenings or even entire cheat days. If you are going to cheat keep it under control. It's not an eating contest. Believe me, I learned the hard way years back. Epic cheats were setting me back days and even longer.
Instead of cheats I mostly use a high carb day to help regulate hormones. They are very measured. I feel great after having them, unlike big cheats. Plus it gives me that little mental bump of enjoying some extra calories.
DEDICATION - It's been really hard getting to where I am, especially considering from where I came. Dedication happens all the time in my book, not just when it's convenient. I'll sum up my dedication with this. I managed to hit single digit body fat over the summer one quarter of which I was away on vacations.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed myself. I usually went the whole day without eating and then treated myself to a nice meal out. For the most part everything else I ate was pretty light and controlled. I also brought some of my own food with me. Jess and I even walked to two miles each way to the big grocery store in Aruba.
I also trained while away. Jess and I walked a lot. We like doing it. We also did body weight circuits. It was a fun way of training in beautiful places while away. Our training in Aruba was even on the beach. You can't beat that.
To sum it up, maybe I'm nuts, but if you want extraordinary results, you have to put in extraordinary effort.