Finally getting that six-pack

I’m thinking more seriously about losing a little bit of weight / having a slightly lower percentage of fat (which is the real ‘problem’, weight is perfectly fine – it just should be muscle).

For that reason, I’ve read How Not To Diet, HNTD (and because Michael Gregor is just really good at communicating science and doing so much research). Based on that book, and some other recommendations, these are the tweaks I plan to add to my daily (food) routine.

You can see more about the (normal) food routines in this post – Eat for Health & Energy.

13 Tweaks

  • 0 soda drinks
    • Even 0 calorie drinks mess with your system and make you ‘sweet’ sense messed up, so just carbonated water from now on
    • Hot situation: when going out this is the most important time to say no and drink ‘spa rood’ (sparkling water) (and a beer sometimes of course, not that that’s good either)
  • 0 energy drinks
    • For the same reasons as above, and it’s quite the waste of money versus coffee at home
    • Hot situation: when in the supermarket I sometimes get an energy drink (and at 6.30 pm that is a good time for one), but instead I should just make a coffee at home if I really want that caffeine boost
  • 20 minutes eating
    • Spreading out the meal over 20 minutes should have a good effect of making you more satiated (even if eating the exact same amount of food)
  • 2x p/d weigh myself
    • This should not really do something besides making me more conscious about my weight (and if you miss one time, you still have the other time)
    • This is morning and evening (fun to see what the difference is)
  • 1 min cold shower
    • Have a cold shower (last minute) to activate brown fat (located in shoulders/back)
    • Brown fat is the one that burns/eats the other/passive fat
  • + Cardio
    • I will add 30 minutes of cardio (or more if suitable) to my workouts
    • Not HIIT, but just steady-state cardio burning some more calories
  • + Barn
    • When making bread I will add some barn (pieces of whole wheat, instead of milled whole wheat), because the fibers are less broken/ground-up and thus is better for your gut/health
    • (someday soon I will publish the bread recipe here)
  • + Carniferous Greens
    • Because that is one of the few recommendations from Gregor that I’m not consistently (daily, now 2x per week) following
    • This means leafy greens will be added (almost) daily, and that will be in a smoothie (see below)
  • + 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
    • Because it revs up the metabolism and is good in general (I guess the same goes for all/most of the points below, I defer to the book)
    • And they all go in the smoothie (most probably)
    • (could also be other type if this really isn’t bearable)
  • + 1/4 tsp black cumin
  • + 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • + 1 tsp ground ginger
  • + 1/2 tsp cumin (normal – kurkuma in Dutch)

The More is Less Smoothie

As mentioned above a few times, I will add some ‘good’ and metabolism stimulating greens/herbs to a smoothie that I plan on drinking every day (at breakfast). It will be a small (shot-size) smoothie and not a full (long-drink) smoothie per serving.

  • Spinach (400g bag of fresh leaves)
  • 4x the herbs/spices/vinegar as mentioned above

Appendix 1 – Counting Calories?

Based on food research earlier I’ve calculated the number of calories I would need. I think this is a useful first step, but after reading HNTD I think I’m not focussing on these numbers.

The main reason is that the ‘science’ is not that precise as we would like to believe. That relates both to how many calories are in foods (mislabelling), and how we process them in our body (earlier in the day – less calories absorbed, and for some food (with a lot of fibers) we poop out a significant 20% of the calories/food). And there are many more variables at play.

What I most want to focus on is knowing what I eat, if those meals are good and don’t allow/encourage me to snack in-between (aka cheat) and let me be healthy and full of energy.

That all being said, here are the calculations:

At about 500 calories in deficit (eating for instance 2800 calories) I would lose about 500 grams per week (MayoClinic).

(Fitbit update: Fitbit thinks I burn about 3600kcal per day, so that is even higher)

Or if you spread that out over a week it might look like this:

  • Monday: 3000 kcal
  • Tuesday (no sports): 2000 kcal
  • Wednesday: 3000 kcal
  • Thursday: 3000 kcal
  • Friday: 3000 kcal
  • Saturday (no sports): 2000 kcal
  • Sunday: 3000 kcal

The total would be a deficit of 4100 kcal or 585 kcal per day.

Appendix 2 – Sports at Home

Because the gym is closed (COVID-19). This is my new sports schedule:

Monday – Wednesday – Friday

General warmup and stretches. Three times the following.

  • 8 Halos (each side)
  • 10 Goblet Squats
  • 8 Overhead Presses (each side)
  • 15 Kettlebell Swings
  • 8 Bent Over Rows (each side)
  • 6 Front Rack Reverse Lunge (per side)

Tuesday – Thursday – Saturday/Sunday

  • Hiking (2 hours plus), or
  • Running (30 minutes plus), or
  • Outside workout (airsquats, pushups, burpees, etc) (15 minutes plus)

Next to this I will do a lot of stretches and hope to make my mobility better during this time. I will also continue to do some weightlifting practice, but alas I only have a PVC pipe at home (no barbell or weights – and live on the first floor so that is for the better).