So Why Should I Follow The Get Shredded Program?
One question I get all the time is: “So, why the hell are you dieting so strictly and trying to get your body fat so low?” Follow-up questions include: “Isn’t it unhealthy?” “What, are you going to put on posing trunks?” “Why not just stick with 10%? Won’t your performance be better that way?”
Here are my own personal reasons (psychological and physiological) for following the diet once every 2 years.
Reason #1 – To remember what it’s like – for myself.
As I’ve competed as a bodybuilder in the past, I know the level of dedication and discipline required to take your body from 10 or 12% to 2 or 3%. It’s extreme and many, many people do not have what it takes to go to these extremes of discipline and will power. Ever since I was young, it took extreme lessons to impel my progress. Mid-sized goals were never enough. I needed big ones. And I credit bodybuilding for teaching me that I had what it takes to achieve big goals. In fact, the lessons I learned from my bodybuilding days have kept me disciplined in every endeavor I’ve undertaken. So, every once in a while, even if I have no intention of competing, I’ve got to refresh my memory as to what it’s like to be that dedicated to something – and to remain dedicated to that thing even when every ounce of my body rebels against it.
Reason #2 – To remember what it’s like – for my clients.
As I work with hundreds of high level athletes, some of whom are physique athletes, I sometimes need to remember what it’s like to make large sacrifices in terms of personal comfort, in the pursuit of physical goals. The amazing thing is that it’s easy to forget. It’s easy to forget all the work that goes into our triumphs after they’re over. As humans, we glorify our victories and, although we wax philosophical about the pain and sacrifice that went into them, we forget what it actually felt like.
Therefore, as a coach, once I’ve forgotten, it’s easy to think my athletes are “wussing out” or are “just soft” if I have very high expectations and they fall short, complain, or look for short cuts. Perhaps they are, but maybe not. Rather, maybe I have to be reminded what it was like the last time I put it all on the line. And when I’m reminded, I end up being a better coach.
Reason #3 – To keep myself sharp
I find that it’s easy to get soft and weak-willed as you get older. You just have test yourself from time to time, especially as you collect a few more creature comforts and watch everyone around you “takin’ er easy” and getting weaker and softer in mind and body. Every once in a while you have to make it hard on purpose. Doesn’t matter if it’s in the gym or in the kitchen.
And while you have to be smart about things and stick to your goals, you also have to remind yourself that you’re a man. You have to remind yourself that when you make a promise, especially one to yourself, you’ve got to stick to it and not crumble like many do. You simply have to get in there and get it done – without complaint and without compromise. I wonder how many of the people I see every day stumbling down the street have ever pushed themselves really hard; have ever gone the distance, in anything in their lives. I know for a fact that some haven’t. And, to me, that’s not a life worth living.
Reason #4 – Calorie restriction may make me healthier
The Get Shredded Program isn’t unhealthy. In fact, it may actually be just what the doctor ordered. That’s right, let’s consider the potential health implications of short term (6-12 week), infrequent, nutrient dense, energy restriction phases. Wait a second, this plan sounds like a calorie restriction diet. And isn’t calorie restriction supposed to be very healthy?
Now, let me be clear. I’m not a fan of long-term calorie restriction. However, there are some compelling benefits associated with giving the organs an occasional break from the high calorie lifestyles most of us weight lifters tend to lead. So, if The Get Shredded Program behaves as many calorie restriction diets do in animal models, it might actually boost health and longevity.
And before the Pub Med ninjas get all huffy and assert how 3% or 6% body fat is unhealthy, remember the fact that The Get Shredded Program only takes you down to that fat percentage for short periods of time. No one’s saying that we have to get down to 3% for life. Rather, I’m saying get lean every 2 years and after you reach your goal, slowly transition back to normal eating and a more manageable body fat percentage.
Reason #5 – Body fat removal and detoxification
Adipose tissue is a major storage depot for various toxins. Studies have shown that when some individuals go on a fat loss program, there is an acute release of toxins into the bloodstream. In fact, one study from the 90s showed that a group of middle-aged individuals losing large amounts of body fat had high blood levels of certain pesticides that hadn’t been used in commercial farming since the 70s! So, what if we were to rapidly increase our rate of fat turnover and drop a good amount of body fat every two years? Wouldn’t that get rid of the toxins? And wouldn’t that be healthy to get rid of all those toxins every so often?
Reason #6 – Vanity and Being Consistently Lean
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there was a vanity component. I’m not afraid to admit that I like being lean and I want to stay right around 10% body fat for the rest of my life. No, I don’t want or need to be below 6% for the rest of my life. But, getting down to 3 or 4% for a few months every two years helps me keep closer to that 10% the rest of the time.
You see it happen all the time. People are young and fit. Then, their lifestyles change. Their eating changes. Their drinking habits change. They sit at a desk all day. And next thing they know, they’re fat and they don’t know what happened. Well, I know what happened. Although most people think the metabolism slows down to a large extent as we age, they’re completely wrong. In individuals who stay just as active and continue to eat just as well from ages 25-65, the metabolic drop is less than 0.5% per decade. Compared to the 5-10% drop seen in age-matched peers, that’s nothin’.
Reason #7 – Fat loss memory
Although I don’t have any evidence that this is the case – well, except for observation and experience with hundreds of middle-aged clients – I’m convinced that going through an extreme period of fat loss causes cellular changes that make it easier to get lean with each subsequent diet. I think of this as the body’s fat loss memory.
So, I make sure that every 2 years my body gets reminded of its ability to drop fat successfully. That way, in the future, I’ll always be able to successfully manipulate my body composition. With my middle-aged clients who have followed this plan every few years, this isn’t the case at all. They can still drop fat quickly and successfully.