First let’s start with the first rule of putting on muscle and getting stronger, how much do you weigh? There is no single factor that matters as much as this when the goal is putting on lean mass (replacing fat in the process) so if you have never lifted a weight in your life and you are overweight you won’t just gain muscle, you will gain muscle in a big way. So being overweight at first is an asset. In fact, everyone that has muscle now will hate you because it will be so easy to gain muscle for you at that time. Let me give you an example of what I mean and I will post the picture below. From the first to middle picture my focus was fat loss to the point where I blew through a lot of muscle as you can see. Here is the funny part, in the middle picture and the picture on the right I weigh EXACTLY the same, 162 pounds. Sure, at 149 you could see my spleen but I also looked like a 13 year old boy which I can say wasn’t the goal. The difference between the two pictures is 15 pounds of muscle which I gained in about 6 months.
Knowing what I know now I kick myself every day for missing that opportunity that was staring me right in front of my face. When I started 12 or so years ago weight lifting wasn’t quite what it is now. I basically killed myself with cardio working out up to twice a day with not a whole lot of weight training. I fueled all of that work with 5,000 calories a day and that’s what ultimately became the idea for Eat To Perform. In fact, the only time I ate less than that was to get from 155 to 149 because I set this stupid time limit (reduced calories to 2000 calories a day for two weeks, I thought I was going to die).
I just saw a picture of a woman that is 260 pounds in a group on Facebook and she (rightly so) thought she had a lot of fat to lose so she was wanting to resort to an extreme measure to lose it. We had a client in the same boat, almost exactly and was just done dieting for a bit. In fact, she hasn’t lost a lot of weight and really isn’t motivated to do that even a couple of years later. In that time though she went from 120 to 180 pounds of LEAN MASS. Not only has every health marker changed for her but she literally couldn’t be healthier and she competes as a competitive weight lifter now.
If you knew that muscle meant so much to your health journey how would that change your point of view? I know for myself it would have changed a lot, I would have been more patient and really pushed the fitness and muscle side first since that was the lowest hanging fruit and once I became more capable then I could explore the food side of things. Too many people don’t understand this basic idea and put on a lot of muscle but get frustrated because they aren’t seeing weight loss because they are building so much muscle when they first start out the gate. Muscle is not fat but the fat layer might not change enough to really see a lot of change, so that can get frustrating but when your clothes are fitting better and you feel more in control overall, that’s the goal right?