As many of you probably know, the “Freshman 15” is very real.
In fact, the “Sophomore 30”, “Junior 40” and “Senior I Stopped Counting” are all very real as well.
To throw some science on it, 70% of students gain weight during college. In one study’s group, the average was at least 12lbs – 37lbs, some being even more.
Countless studies have proven this theory that college students gain weight in their first year of college and throughout college. The real issue is that after that first year, things just get worse and most times don’t stop after graduation.
So many of us either went to college or had friends that went too college and we saw this happen right before our eyes. The late night snacking, day drinking, partying, and every other bad thing consumed during our college days, lead us to beer belly’s and apple bottoms – and not in the good way.
Shit, many of you reading this may just now be experiencing this epidemic of college weight gain. Lucky for you, it’s not too late to change. Well, it’s never too late to change but the closer you are to when your graduation was the easier it will be to reverse the symptoms of college weight gain.
For those of you who experienced this years ago, the issue you may have faced or watched your friends face is that the “Freshman 15” turned into the “Graduation 30”, which turned into the “Real Life Career 35” and then “The Daddy 50”.
At the end of the day, shit happens and we shouldn’t regret that. If you attended college and gained weight, each pound gained probably represents an awesome party, experience or good time and there is nothing wrong with that.
But I can guarantee you one thing, you’re not happy with it anymore.
That’s just reality, it was fun at the time and at first probably didn’t seem like much… But as you age and stop partying so much, it becomes something you do not like to look at in the mirror and you’re beyond ready to get rid of it.
The issue arises when you decide to make a change.
Because quite simply, you just do not know how to get rid of it. Most of the time the guys walk into the gym and do the typical “Chest Day, Arm Day, Leg Day…” etc.
And for the girls, you become cardio bunnies. You hit the gym do some crunches and then hop on the elliptical and stair stepper until you can justify that you’ve “sweated enough” for a good workout.
And this is not me hating or talking shit, it’s me spittin’ the truth and my experience. Because I was there and I did the bro splits every week and followed the session up with my slow ass cardio sessions.
So what are the issues here?
1.) These methods don’t burn significant amounts of fat,
2.) They don’t build real muscle size or strength,
3.) They do not benefit our hormones optimally,
4.) They do not increase our metabolic rate or capacity,
5.) They do not abide by the rules of proper frequency and volume, t
6.) They usually cause us injuries, and quite frankly…
7.) They’re boring as shit.
Now before I explain how you should be training and eating, so you can actually do all the things above, I need you to understand that a bro split and being a cardio bunny is much better than what most do.
So if you fall into one of those categories, don’t let that demotivate you. Because most people aren’t doing anything about their freshman 15 and being active in general is a HUGE first step for anyone who is trying to improve their body and health.
That being said, lets talk about what is optimal and what will get you lean again.
Because by now I am sure you’re tired of hearing the college weight gain one liner’s I’m throwing at you and are probably dying to know how the hell to boost your metabolism, build some lean muscle, burn some belly fat, and get back to the pre college days of feeling and looking great.
So before we get into changing your training at all, we need figure out what and how you should be eating because as we know, “Abs are made in the kitchen” (Had to throw that cheesy line in there, even though it’s not 100% true… Nutrition is a major key to this puzzle).
Before I give anyone recommendations here, I have to say that this is best approached individually because everyone is so different from their goals to body type to schedule and all of those things influence the diet we need to use, a ton.
[Because it’s so individualized, I suggest hiring a coach if you’re truly serious about getting results. To find out more about how I coach and get results for so many others just like you, click HERE to get on a FREE Discover Call within the next 24 hours.]
Step #1 in The Post College Fat Loss Process – Nutrition – Focus on The Big Rocks.
I’m sure you’ve heard the story a million times about the guy filling up the cup with the big rocks, then pebbles, gravel, sand…
The key here is simple, the big rocks represent the things that make a big difference in your life. So before you worry about the exact grams of BCAA’s needed intra workout to cause the most muscle protein synthesis around your workouts so you can get a cascade of gainz…
Focus on your calories and macronutrients. <- THESE are your “Big Rocks”.
This is the number one most important factor in losing or gaining weight and I don’t care what anyone else tells you, eating only organic everything means nothing if you’re eating above or under your caloric intake.
Science has proven this, countless times. Is eating real whole foods important, absolutely because we want to promote good health and if we do not have that, we will not perform or function well and that is HUGE for losing body fat and/or building muscle.
But at the end of the day, if you eat 700 calories over your calorie intake you will not lose weight. Whether that 700 calories comes from donuts or chicken and broccoli, over eating leads to fat gain and no fat loss.
That being said, many of you are not quiet ready to count calories and get super specific with how much protein/fats/carbs you’re eating on a daily basis.
[But maybe you are and you want to commit to doing so, in that case check out what’s included in my Online Coaching Program where I take care of it ALL for you and help coach you along the way]
My first recommendation is to follow the system I created a while back called, “The Handful Diet” (download it for free, HERE).
The key concept here is simple, you don’t need to track anything with food scales or nutrition apps – BUT you do need to be aware, conscious and consistent with what you’re doing while planning out your meals.
Without a plan, you will not see the results.
So how do you do that? Easy.
To start I would suggest eating 4-5 meals per day, there is no magic here and if you prefer 3 meals or 6 meals, it will product the same results assuming you adjust the amounts and portions of your meals accordingly. So for measurement purposes, we’re going to go with 4-5 meals.
This is going to produce a good energy balance, keep hunger at bay and distract us from bad cravings, insures we’re actually eating enough, gives us enough opportunities for food variety (key for health), and also provides the optimal protein synthesis response for recovery and muscle building.
Now, structuring these meals to be sure you’re hitting a good amount of calories and macronutrients (protein/fats/carbs).
This is very simple and first thing we will tackle is protein. You will plan to add a handful of protein in each meal you consume. Protein sources would be things like lean meats, fish, eggs, whey protein powder, etc. Your hand is a great measuring tool that is fit to your body size which ends up almost always being the portion of protein you’ll need at the end of the day, when eaten 4-5 times.
Next are vegetables, these will be the bulk of your carbohydrates for the day. The goal is to have a handful of greens in 4 out of 5 of your meals.
Then we move to colors, these are your fruits and colorful veggies like peppers, beets, carrots, etc. The goal here is to get one handful of fruit and one handful of colorful veggies in your day.
Next step is getting the right fats in. This one is pretty simple too, you’ll use your thumbs for the measuring tool this time because fats can be pretty calorically dense which can be a trouble with fat loss because it is easy as hell to run through a tub of almonds… But the calories in it are VERY high.
So here you’ll use 1-2 thumb sized portions of fats in each meal. This would be about 1-2 teaspoons of oil, small palmful of nuts, tablespoon of almond butter, 1/4-1/3 of an avocado, etc…
And lastly comes the good stuff, the real carbs! And no, I’m not referring to beer.
So when we think of carbs we have to consider what foods are carbs. So these will be things like potatoes, rice, quinoa, oats, bread, fruits, etc. When fat loss is our goal, the best time to consume the majority of these carbs will be post workout. If you need that extra boost for training, this is how I am as well, I would suggest a small amount of carbs from easily digestible sources about 1-1.5 hours before along with your protein/fat meal – this would be a great time to get your serving of fruit in.
Now for setting up that meal you will you once again use your hand as your measurement tool, if you haven’t guessed that by now.
Depending on your goals and body size, this will be between 1-2 handfuls of starchy carbs post training. For men you will typically fall under the 2 handfuls and women typically fall under the one handful.
May sound simple and too easy to be true, but the truth is that it works amazingly well. Even when I end up providing calories and macro’s to a client, they end up pretty close to these numbers unless they’re shooting for extreme results.
The point is to be simple, stress free and get results. This does just that.
Step #2 in The Post College Fat Loss Process – Training Routines
This one will be easier to explain and less time to break down for you, because quite frankly I see way to many people over complicating shit and forgetting to hit the basic movements – which happen to be our “Big Rocks” for training.
You should set up a routine and schedule that allows you to strength train 3-4 times per week. If you’re brand new to lifting, go with 3, and if you have some experience in the gym, go with 4.
Each day you will need to hit your big rocks before anything. The big rocks are going to be your heavier lifts and compound movements like the squat, bench, deadlift, and overhead press.
My suggestion is to have a full body routine and start with one of these movements and load them up as a heavy lift, shooting for 4-5 sets of 5-8 reps.
After that, you’re going to add in your assistant work – these are things that supplement the big compound lifts and support our goals at the same time. Think things like chin ups, rows, dumbbell presses, Romanian deadlifts, swings, lunges, push-ups, plank variations, carries, etc.
These movements will all be 3-4 sets of anywhere between 8-15 reps and my suggestion is to start with reps in the 8-10 range and save the 12-15 rep ranges for the end of the training session.
So quick recap: Full body strength training sessions 3-4 times per week, starting with a big movement at the beginning in the 5-8 rep range, then followed up by assistant work in the 8-15 rep range that supports the big lifts and your goals.
The reason this full body approach and these rep ranges is simple and proven by science. The key to growth in both strength and hypertrophy, which are the keys to a better physique, is frequency and overall volume and this is much more easier to achieve optimally with training all the muscle groups more often throughout the week.
Now, to make this even more valuable for you… I’m going to show you an exact example of what a training session like this should look like and the reasoning behind everything in it.
1.) Explosive Jump Squats – 4×5 (This could be slams, sprints, box jumps, etc. The point is to have an explosive movement at the beginning to prep your CNS for training hard)
2.) Trap Bar Deadlift – 4×6-8 (This is our “Big Rock” – AKA Compound lift of the day and it will change each time, could be squat or bench, etc.)
3A.) Bulgarian Split Squats – 3×8/side
3B.) DB Alternating Floor Press – 3×8/side
(Here we start to incorporate some assistant exercises, but keep it at 8 to allow heavier loads still. I believe everyone needs to incorporate unilateral work in their training at least once per session, for many reasons, which is why I chose the split squat and an alternating press)
4A.) BB Hip Thrust – 3×12-15
4B.) 1 Arm DB Row – 3×12/side
(Starting to ramp up the reps, more targeted towards hypertrophy and metabolic style training)
5A.) Sled Pulls – 3×50 Yards
5B.) Farmers Carries – 3×50 Yards
(Finish off with more metabolic and core specific work)
As you can see from above, we’ve hit all the movement patterns, which is key when designing a well-rounded program. People always think in muscle groups when we need to focus more so on movement patterns.
So above we’ve hit a hip hinge, knee dominant, horizontal pull, horizontal push, core specific, and a single leg movement. Now, on the next training session I would likely have more knee dominant because this has more hip dominant movements and I would also incorporate some vertical pushing and pulling, because this one stayed in the horizontal plane.
I may also have a more upper body dominant day and a lower dominant day, alternate the two for 3-4 days per week – of course, depending on the person’s specific goals.
And finally I will add that I always track volume to progress accordingly. This would possibly be a starting point, for an intermediate trained individual, and every 4-6 weeks I would slowly increase volume through poundage lifted, reps, sets, etc.
There is a lot that goes into progressing on my part as a coach, for more explanation check out my latest article “Are You Progressing?” – Literally breaks down everything you could possibly wonder about training progressions.
Now its your turn to take this and run with it, but remember to track everything you do so you can use this as a template to program your lifts into each day – switching out certain movements as you go, but focusing on using the same ones for some time so you can actually progress the movement over a 4-6 week phase. (If you choose trap bar deadlift as your first lift, STICK WITH IT! Don’t program hop, get great at the movement and improve it weekly before switching).
This article is literally the blueprint to achieving a lean, strong and fit body. Anyone can take this, apply it to their own training and achieve outstanding results….
So what are you waiting for?!
Lastly I will provide you with even more… I like to give, as you can tell.
If you want a low stress, done for you, system to knowing what to eat and when to eat it, with the foods to eat all laid out for you…
Check out my latest FREE e-book, “The Simple As S#!T Nutrition Guide To Getting Lean”
And of course if you want to achieve Real Results by having a program built for you specifically, from training to nutrition to coaching, Click HERE to get on a Discovery Call and find out more about my 90 Day Outcomes Transformation Program.