Latest posts by Rich Thurman MA, CSCS CPT, ONNIT KB Specialist (see all)
- Steel Mace Training: 3 Exercises For A Bigger Bench Press - April 20, 2016
- Steel Mace Training: What Is It? - March 28, 2016
- 10 Most Common Fitness Training Mistakes for Beginners - December 28, 2015
Anyone who knows me knows that I love analogies, metaphors, etc… I’m a huge fan of lyrically creative and mentally challenging Hip Hop rhyme skills, which is lacking in most of today’s popular music.
But that’s another story for another day, on another website…
Today it’s all about weight and how to solve that incessant problem of trying to lose it.
Personally I prefer clients come to me with the goal of getting stronger, faster, more flexible, etc. However, weight loss clients are more often than not what we as general population coaches are facing regularly. And most of those clients want IMMEDIATE RESULTS!
So we face the challenge of guiding our clients towards achieving the results they WANT as soon as humanly possible while still helping them improve in the areas they NEED along the way.
So where does Algebra come into the equation?
See what I did there? Algebra…? Equation…?
Most people think they’ll never use Algebra ever again in their life.
Well I met an Algebra teacher while I was living abroad and he told said to me that most people think they’ll never use Algebra again in their life. He went on to say
“I use Algebra regularly. You know when my wife comes home from work there may be nothing out of the ordinary. We’re two sides of an equation and things are in balance. But some days one variable may be off and when she comes in she’s snappy and short with me. Being the math man I am and knowing that the equation is out of whack, I begin to search for this unknown that happened during her day that threw her side of the equation off.”
Genius, I thought… To relate Algebra to normal daily life in that way worked for my understanding that life is all about concepts and application.
So, recently a client was asking me about losing weight, so I said to him there are a few things that factor into your Weight Loss Equation and that your goal is just like an Algebra problem.
Remember this equation: y = mx + b which was the equation for a line and it’s trajectory?
The equation specifics are irrelevant really. What I was really after was a relatable concept to help reinforce what the goal is and how to achieve it.
The point is that equations have constants and variables. The more variables, the more unpredictable things will be. So eliminating variables and creating more constants is key to solving our problem.
My client had already taken one step towards removing one variable. ACTIVITY or Exercise. When my client hired me, he now had someone to be accountable to each week and could now be consistent with exercise.
CONSISTENT = Constant
Having been a Pre Med student, we ran A LOT of experiments throughout our school days and the one thing we tried to eliminate during an experiment were variables.
To prove that what you are doing is working, you need to operate in an environment with as few unknowns as possible.
How else will I know that what I’m doing is working or not?
Now this can be a little tricky because with exercise we need some variation in daily activity. There’s a Micro and Macro level concepts to exercise. We’re currently operating with this concept on the Macro level.
The Activity (regardless of intensity) has now become a constant in the client’s life. The Micro level of periodized workouts is deeper than I’d like to go for the sake of this article.
I asked my client what he eats during the day. He said, “breakfast is pretty much the same every day…”
Ok, now we’re getting somewhere. We can assess whether it needs to be changed later on down the line, but for right now we have a constant and that constant is “He has Breakfast”.
So I asked, what are you having at lunch. He said, “oh, they provide us lunch at work.” So in other words he’s at the whims of the lunchroom and what they have to offer.
That’s a huge, glaring VARIABLE…
How do we fix that?
He should pack a lunch and remove the uncertainty and variability of the lunchroom.
This is one of the major problems, particularly in the Tech scene in the Bay Area. I’m sure it presents itself elsewhere as well. Most of the companies here in the SF Bay Area provide lunch and because it’s free of cost, many employees choose to save money and eat whatever is offered.
But if you want control over your Algebra Weight Loss Problem, you’d remove that variable ASAP.
I could go on and on about each item and how it’s inconsistency and variability is impacting your Weight Loss Problem…
- Sleep Quality/Duration
- Stress Reduction Activities
- Water Consumption
- Fitness Tracking
but I think you get my point.
My point is that you must take a strategic and deliberate approach towards weight loss and at the end of the day remember that for purely Weight Loss, it’s about Calories in and Calories out.
Being at a Caloric Deficit Daily (by either eating less, expending more, or some combination of the two) for a consistent period adds up to Weight Loss.
The only way to do this is to Track and remove the variables, replacing them with constants.
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