Episode 62. Using Metabolic Circuits for Fat Loss

Episode 62. Using Metabolic Circuits for Fat Loss

★★★★★
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Show Notes

Are there alternatives to traditional cardio for fat-burning and metabolic optimization? In this episode we discuss Scott’s use of metabolic circuits of various kinds: when, why, and how, plus the history of their development.

Some Housekeeping / New Releases

Mike’s new book is out: The Journal Writing Superpower Secret is available at Amazon now. The book presents a variety of frameworks, structures, a ton of journaling prompts to help you set and achieve goals, stay focused, and deal with self-sabotage.

As well, you can pick up both Scott’s new Great Glutes “At Home” Metabolic Circuits, as well as Awesome Abs by Andy:

Habits

  • Technically speaking, habits never go away. You can’t “unwrite” them.
  • In Mike’s words, you can add links to the chain, but you can’t get rid of that chain.
  • It’s also worth remembering that a lot of habits are tied to very specific triggers. You might not be able to remove the habit, but with a bit of strategy, you can remove the trigger (or remove yourself from the trigger).
  • This also means that automatic neural reflexes are just that: automatic. If you have a certain habitual pattern of thinking, it doesn’t make you a bad person. That’s not you. That’s just a habit. It’s fine. The trick is to go through it, and then not worry about it, or not entertain or believe those thoughts. Let them come up, then let them go away.

Using Metabolic Circuits for Fat Loss

  • One of the most common questions we get has to do with cardio and fat loss, since Scott is very wary of cardio, but he does assign it. One way to partially address this is to discuss the metabolic circuit protocols he often adds “on top” of an existing program, almost just like cardio, but with bodypart-specific emphasis: abs in the case of Awesome Abs, and glutes in the case of Great Glutes.
  • Scott says he was influenced by changes in the industry from about 10-15 years ago, especially those brough about by JC Santana’s work on functional training. This influenced Scott’s 5-Day MET, Whole Body Hypertrophy, and the Ultimate Figure Program.
  • Mike pointed out that (good) programs have a kind of underlying internal logic to them. Once you understand the logic, you immediately get heuristics that you can use: would this exercise work here? Yes, it fits the logic, or, No, it doesn’t fit the logic. (Example: the second exercise of this a biplex calls for some kind of pushing movement in such-and-such plane of motion, but this exercise is pulling. Or, it is a pushing motion, but it is a big compound movement with too many work capacity demands, and the bi-plexes towards the end of the workout on this program should always be mostly isolation movements.)
  • When Scott first started getting feedback on his more metabolic programs, he found that the circuits and such were hard to do at big-chain, busy gyms. There are always grey areas here where the trainee has some responsibility to try to make things work, but at the same time, “I can’t do these circuits” can be totally legitimate feedback.
  • Although a complete train-at-home program is harder, it’s much easier to make this sort of thing work in a short metabolic circuit that’s just done one to three times per week in addition to the rest of that person’s training (which can be more traditional).
  • This kind of issue is becoming more of an issue, with traffic and increasing work hours, etc.
  • The idea for the currently released programs is to get a little something extra, metabolically and cosmetically in terms of bodypart emphasis.
  • Scott wants to emphasize that the magic isn’t isn’t the exercises; the magic is in the method. It’s not just “do a bunch of abs” exercises or “do a bunch of glutes” exercises. It’s in the sequencing and combinations. There’s a method. 
  • For both abs and glutes, most trainees won’t get “great” versions of these bodyparts with the standard exercises. Abs and glutes won’t just be developed via squats, for example. But with specific circuits can give you that extra emphasis these bodyparts can need.
  • Circuits like this can also be used to help you increase work capacity. For example, if you’ve never done a 5-day program, do a 4-day program, but then introduce a day of doing one of these circuits, as a kind of transitional “4.5” day program.
  • From a coaching perspective, these circuits are also good for trainees who think they “have” to do a bunch of cardio, when really they’re just driving themselves into the ground.
  • That said, cardio has its place: even in the Great Glutes and Awesome Abs programs, there are options in the “Rules of Application” to add 30 min of steady-state cardio at the end of a circuit session. The reason for this is basically to increase the trainee’s work and recovery capacity without exhausting them. It’s also active recovery, at a point in the program/circuits when you can’t really add more weight training without demanding too much from the trainee’s work/recovery capacities.
  • One of the reasons for the circuits Scott’s actually release is flexibility. If you look at something like 5-Day MET, that is very high-level. By contrast, these metabolic circuits can be done by both newbies and advanced trainees.
  • From a marketing perspective, Mike wants the goal to be a series of products that take the trainee up that ladder, from beginner, to advanced, to ultimate, and/or to expert (in the case of the Program Design Masterclass). Then, reasonable marketing communicates nad helps the trainee self-select what they need, and provides them the steps to move to the next level, and the next, and the next.
  • Note that Scott’s released the abs and glutes circuits, and yeah, they’re paid products, but there are free circuits he’s released: The Dumbbell Matrixstuff on his YouTube Channel, etc.
	
	
	

Episode 61. 5 Fat Loss Mindset Mistakes (…and what to do about them)

Episode 61. 5 Fat Loss Mindset Mistakes (…and what to do about them)

★★★★★
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Show Notes

Many new fat loss coaching clients that Scott tend to make the same sorts of mistakes when it comes to staying consistent. These are the thoughts and thinking patterns that hold you back, and what to do instead!

 

Mistake 1.

Focusing too much on what you’re trying to get rid of instead of focusing on what you DO want. 

  • What you focus on expands: focus on small wins, and make ’em expand!
  • Don’t use thoughts that emphasize weaknesses. If you focus on what you can do about ____, if your brain needs to address weaknesses, it will.
  • Scott likes the Einstein quote about problems never being solved at the level of thinking that created them. Focusing on the problem is staying at the same level of thinking that created the problem, instead of rising above it.

Mistake 2.

Catastrophizing, monkey mind, and scattered thinking

  • Scott likes that old Henry Ford quote: Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right! A problem, though, is people “think they can” but their focus is totally scattered.
  • Catastrophizing is thinking a small slip up is the end of the world. “Oh, I missed a meal” is not the same as “I blew my diet! It’s all over!”
  • Mike notes that our brains tend to catastrophize. You’re not abnormal because you think that way. It’s totally normal. The trick is to overcome it as a challenge.
  • Mike likes working with your beliefs. You can’t lie to yourself. If you have a limiting belief you can’t just replace it with the opposite belief – your brain will say, “Uh… no? I don’t believe you.” But what you can do is work with those beliefs by using words like “but” or “however,” where what follows the “but” gets you moving forward. (E.g., “I might have bad genetics, but I have truly given it an honest shot of seeing what my genetic potential really is.”)

Mistake 3.

Exposing yourself to things that disempower you, like social media, instead of exposing yourself to things you like and relate to more.

  • A trick here is being honest. Social media doesn’t seem seem like it’s disempowering to you, and figuring out whether it is, or how, or when and why — all of this requires being honest.
  • Mike likes “pre-frames” for this. So if you need to dig in and do an honest self-check in some kind of journaling exercise, do a “pre” exercise that digs into how honest you are, or asks you to think about how good at self-checks you are, or anything that will put you into the right state of mind to do that self check.

Mistake 4.

Not using thought boundaries and/or challenging your own thinking (constructive vs. positive)

  • Scott emphasizes that “positive thinking by itself won’t necessarily help. You need to be constructive in your thinking.
  • Mike emphasized that “challenging” your own thinking always requires a bit of discomfort and getting outside your comfort zone. This is true by definition!

Mistake 5.

Not letting go of specific outcomes.

  • Specific outcomes include things like a number on the scale, or a deadline, or things like that.
  • These are tempting because they can make abstract goals feel concrete, as well as create bright lines in your own head (Which, yes, can be useful, but there is a huge danger if you’re feeling awful because you’re not losing “weight” and now you’re going to blow your diet… even though you’ve been doing awesome and lots of good things are happening if you’d just let those processes keep going.

Episode 60. Deferred Gratification and Task-Oriented Thinking

Episode 60. Deferred Gratification and Task-Oriented Thinking

★★★★★
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Show Notes

You have a big, long-term goal that will take time. You can’t do it all at once. You can only do what you can do right now. So, how do you do that? Since Mike recently finished a long process of completing his PhD, we figured we’d talk about deferred gratification and task-oriented thinking in the face of those long-term goals that can seem overwhelming if you try to think about the whole thing.

Task-Oriented Thinking

  • “Ready, Fire, Aim!”
  • There’s a degree to which not knowing exactly what will be involved is a good thing, because if you could/can really imagine what it will take, you’d feel overwhelmed. But hey, once you’re 40% in, might as well dig your heels in and keep going!
  • There’s a lot of ebb and flow to your energy levels on an absolute level, but this is ALSO true to the various domains in your life. Brain is fried from X? You may not need to take an absolute break because you might be able to work on something else that uses your brain or body in a totally different way (physical vs. mental, logical vs. creative, etc.)
  • There’s a danger in fitness because they’ll lie to you. If you want to do a PhD and you walk in and say “I want to do it in two years!” you’ll just be told to get lost. Do that in fitness? Even if it is something that will take multiple years, there will be plenty of snake oil salesmen promising you, yeah, sure, you wanna do it in two months? No problemo!

Deferred Gratification: “The ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward in order to wait for a later reward. Generally, delayed gratification is associated with resisting a smaller more immediate reward in order to receive a larger or more enduring reward later.”

 

  • The Stanford Marshmellow Stud(ies) (LINK – it has its own wikipedia page!). These were done by professor Walter Mischel on children who had to resist instant gratification to get a higher-value reward. The wiki page has a lot of links to the actual studies, as well as to some of the follow-up studies years later.
  • A good complement to a wikipedia page on them is Roy Baumeister and John Tierney’s Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength
  • Scott told a story of just being overwhelmed in his first year at university. The idea of doing all these things: worrying about this year, next year, the eventual thesis he’s supposed to do, etc.. Finally, a prof took him out for lunch and explained what boils down task-oriented thinking.
  • At the same time, of course, you still should see the forest for the trees: if you don’t look ahead at all you’ll end up on a path to nowhere.
  • Mike like’s Stephen Covey’s habit “begin with the end in mind,” (from his 7 Habits book) where you literally think about your funeral, which almost instantly answers: are you doing things right now that will lead to that?
  • Both Scott and Mike mentioned instances of profs or figures they respected giving them some kind of challenge or reinforcement at pivotal times. But what about if you haven’t had that yet? What do you do? It can seem hard if you don’t know if/when such help will enter your life. For Scott, the answer is the application of task-oriented and useful thinking to the PAST. See small wins AS wins. When you overcome an obstacle, even if it’s small, acknowledge it, and BUILD on it.

 

Links & Resources

The Stanford Marshmellow Studies

Scott’s free book, The Mindset of Achievement

Episode 59. Lessons from Muscle Camp

Episode 59. Lessons from Muscle Camp

★★★★★
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Scott reminisces about some lessons learns from his time at Muscle Camp in 1989.

Assorted Lessons

  • One of the first lessons is that if you have a goal, sometimes the path won’t be what you expect. For example, Scott wanted to “make it” to the mecca of bodybuilding, but in the end, it wasn’t his physique that got him there, but rather his academic background, which he never would have expected.
  • One of the big things Scott notice was how big an impact environment makes. Being surrounded by thought leaders allowed him to see past some of the “small thinking” he felt he’d been surrounded by back home, where guys were focused only on the next show, or getting caught in the same small dreams, again and again.
  • Put yourself out there. Scott constantly put himself out there by talking to people, meeting new people, etc. Even something as simple as being on CBC at a hockey game was enough to get him half a dozen clients the very next day.
  • Real knowledge comes from experience. There were a lot of eggheads at the camp, but they weren’t accomplishing much. The guys who were in the trenches did. A good balance of the two sides was Fred Hatfield.
  • Lee Haney’s training was a huge revelation for Scott in terms of what training should be. It was hard, absolutely, but it was also like a dance, almost.
  • Guys like Lee Haney also handled themselves differently than everyone else. As in, their success in one domain was clearly indicative of how they handled themselves in everything they did.

Links & Resources

• http://thecycle.diet/
• The Innervation primer
• The Hardgainer Solution

 

 

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