Many people don’t know this, but I was once a fat kid, or as my Mom would say, “Husky”. Maybe I was husky or chubby or thick or extra fluffy, when I was a kid.
But as I became an adult and after 2 sports injuries to my knee – I got fat.
And I’m glad I got fat, because it was seeing myself at THAT point that forced me to want a real serious change. It’s what motivated the hell out of me to try anything to lose weight.
But that was also the problem, I would try anything. I just wanted abs so bad.
And that led to me making MANY mistakes at the beginning, from fad diets to supplement scams to daily fasted cardio, all “just because” (I had no real idea why).
A conversation sparked this thought for me the other day, so I wanted to share with you the 5 things I really wish I knew when I first started – because it would’ve saved me a ton of time, effort, and emotional energy.
1. IT REALLY IS, ‘JUST THE MACROS’.
Do micronutrients matter? Does health matter? Does fiber matter?
YES, YES, and YES. Of course. I’m not reppin’ the #IIFYM crew like that, I promise.
However when I first started, I NEEDED to understand that body composition changes did come down to this (macros) first and foremost – almost solely, in the acute setting.
Because I fasted, followed meal plans, ate clean, tried detoxes… shit I did it all! But none of them lasted or worked long-term.
Why? Because I had no idea where my macros were.
Therefore I didn’t know how to repeat it again afterwards OR how to adjust when I plateaued, because there were no metrics.
So when I finished every diet… I gained the weight back.
But this is exactly why our clients today see consistent results AND sustainability after they’re no longer working with us, macros gives us metrics. Plain and simple. It’s a way for us to track, see data, watch trends and correlate exactly what is producing what results – then we can adjust and progress.
It’s a foolproof system and ignoring it because the MyFitnessPal app is tedious, is like saying you don’t want to save money because having to transfer into your savings account annoys you… really?! You wouldn’t take just 5-10 minutes out your day to transfer and benefit down the road?!
My point is simple; macros make massive changes in body composition. It’s what allowed me to shift from “being in shape” to getting ripped.
And this also doesn’t mean you need to track forever if you don’t want to, but I can guarantee you that your result would be better and you’d reach it quicker if you spent time tracking macros to get there.
I spun my wheels; doing it all, before using this… don’t be me.
2. EATING AFTER 7PM WON’T MAKE ME FAT.
Daily intake trumps it all, so eating late at night won’t inherently make you fat – overeating calories will.
And in most studies that show late night eating leads to obesity or fat gain… guess what, there is also a massive correlation to poor lifestyle factors such as:
→ Shift working.
→ Lack of sleep.
→ Blue light stimulation at night.
→ Over consuming calories (from snacking at night).
→ Less activity through the day.
→ Fast food.
→ Smoking and drinking.
And the list goes on.
You can’t read a study and assume all things are equated because in this scenario especially, they’re far from it.
But this whole “don’t eat after 7pm” thing scared me into more restriction, less social flexibility, and way more frustration – when in reality, it wasn’t the thing holding me back AT ALL.
My Saturday cheat day (aka binge-fest) was the thing holding me back. And every time a Sunday came around, I was 4lbs up and needed to spend 6 days getting rid of bloat and a couple lbs. of fat… just to jump the scale right back up again after my next Saturday cheat meal.
The reality was that I was SEARCHING for an interesting thing that could be holding me back while ignoring the small details, happening repeatedly, which were actually stopping my fat loss from happening.
Why was I doing this? Because what I needed to change took me out of my comfort zone and meant I needed to change a set-in-stone habit, which happens to a lot of people. What needs to change is most uncomfortable, so you search for the easy things to blame the lack of progress on, while ignoring the culprit holding you back.
Don’t fall for stupid gimmicks and ideas that don’t add up when you do some digging…
Eating at night is one of them and unless you have a serious condition of acid reflux or fall asleep in bed while eating, you have nothing to worry about (especially not with fat loss).
3. HAVING MUSCLE MAKES FAT LOSS 10X BETTER.
I lost 45-50lbs when I finally used an approach that was sustainable.Was very successful and I’ve kept that weight off ever sense.
The one problem I faced…. I got skinny fat.
Because I did HIIT bootcamps, cardio, and only focused on eating “low calorie foods” (I didn’t prioritize macros).
I lost the weight but had no muscle underneath.
A coach helped me understand the importance of muscle growth between fat loss phases and muscle maintenance during a fat loss phase, so I spent a solid 16 weeks doing just that – building muscle.
Next time I got lean, I LOOKED LEAN (like I had originally imagined).
But it’s not just a matter of having to show for underneath that layer of body fat, it’s about being HEALTHY when you get there.
Studies show, time and time again, that having muscle mass on your body is much healthier than not, that it increases lifespan, decreases disease, improves immune system, boost hormones, and creates a faster metabolism.
So it’s not just about looking better once you lose the weight, it’s about SUSTAINING the lean physique once you get there. I can say with full certainty that sustaining a fat loss result is 2x easier when you’ve put in the work to build muscle first.
And I’ll reiterate the original reason I made this a bullet point, I LOOKED SO MUCH BETTER.
I work with a lot of people, I believe it’s been thousands at this point, and I see it time and time again, especially with women.
Too many people focused on weight loss versus fat loss.
Lose Fat → Maintain → Build Muscle → Lose Fat → Maintain.
That’s the periodization plan that makes sense for 90% of people.
If you’re starting from a place of needing to lose 30lbs or more, of course focus on weight still. But do it in a way that allows muscle growth in the process, you’ll be much happier and feel much better when you get to the end goal.
And when you do, even if you have some extra body fat to lose still… don’t be in a rush, because you can’t diet forever and THIS is where maintenance and muscle building phases should be interjected in.
4. IT’S NOT EASY, SO STOP TRYING TO MAKE IT THAT WAY.
I was searching for a quick fix, instead of just embracing the challenge of true fat loss.
It is hard.
It does take commitment.
It does take lifestyle changes.
It does take discipline and hard work.
And I did have to step out of my comfort zone.
But once I accepted all this, I grew as a person.
Hiding from the fact of difficulty made me weaker mentally.
And this isn’t a #TeamHardCore Bro Pep Talk.
It’s just reality.
I’ll be candid with you, I did every quick fix. All the fat burners, pyramid scheme supplement stacks, fat loss challenges, HCG, ultra low carb… you name it, I did it.
Because they all promised me a faster result and that’s what I wanted, something NOW. But that’s not how epic results are created and I’m grateful that I learned the hard way, because now people trust us enough to commit to a longer timeline.
Stopping, considering the smart path, and committing to the longer timeline was the smartest thing I ever did for my physical success – and it’s the most common trait of the best physiques we help create.
None of this means it needs to be miserable, because we help people enjoy the process and create flexibility inside their plans – just like we practice.
But it takes work and we’re upfront about that!
5. THEY’RE DIFFERENT THEN ME, SO ARE THEIR GENETICS, AND RESULTS. STOP COMPARING.
Studies show that 97.8% of the time, comparison serves nobody and produces zero statistical significance in total positivity levels.
Ok I’m joking, but that’s legit (probably 100% of the time).
I looked at others and questioned myself, only to destroy my motivation and work ethic.
It’s useless and if I could go back and give myself advice, I would tell myself to focus on me and stay in my own lane.
Accomplish YOUR best physique.
Because worrying about everyone else’s, will not burn the fat off your body.
No matter how hard you think about it, the brain doesn’t burn that many calories.
Now, this is much easier said than done… we all compare, we’re humans. We eat, sleep, poop, and compare. It’s just a part of our DNA, unfortunately.
So what do you do? Well, I know what we do with clients… we help them understand how to recognize bad patterns and habits. Sometimes it’s less about removing and more about becoming self-aware.
Because if you see if coming, you can at least stop it from tearing you down.
If you know it’s a habit, you can reassure yourself with self-affirmations more often.
If you understand that it’s inevitable, you’ll accept it and with acceptance comes growth.
Everyone’s situation is different. Hormones, metabolism, muscle mass, genetics, athletic capability, family genes, adherence… EVERYTHING. Literally every single thing. This is why we only produce individualized nutrition prescriptions, because you are different than the next client.
But the key is to remove the comparison that happens when looking at unrealistic measurements – like IG models and bodybuilders.
I remember when it finally hit me…
I asked my training partners at the time, who I’d been training with for 3 years consistently at this point, “Why are you guys so much more jacked than me?! I am in here every day doing the same thing and I actually watch my nutrition MORE than you both… what the hell?!”
I was pissed off and frustrated as hell…
One of them asked, “How long have you been training for?”
Me, “3-4 years now.”
Him, “Oh… I’ve been training for 13 years.”
End of discussion.
And this is one of the biggest commonalities of the people we see on social media, absolutely shredded or with massive booties who claim to have the special glute building program… they’ve been doing it much longer than they “forget” to mention.
So just remember, training age play as massive role in this game.
As do genetics, lifestyle, stress, athleticism, history, training, strength, hormones….
I’m not going to list it all again, you’re different and that’s a great thing. So focus on you, only you.
If there’s one thing I strive to do in this industry, it’s be a role model in order to help people navigate through the bullshit and find their path to successfully transforming their bodies (and lives).
I hope this article serves as that, for you.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes, so that you can avoid them.
Cody McBroom is owner and head coach of Boom Boom Performance. He’s a Strength Coach and Nutrition Expert located in Seattle WA. He coaches people in person and online, now internationally. His passion is helping individuals changing their lives through body composition transformation, as well as creating content across all platforms to help individuals and other coaches learn more about training and nutrition. Click Here Now to Apply For Coaching with Cody.