It has been a while since the last episode and I apologise for the break. I had to take some time off from podcasting to work on other aspects of the Workday Physique brand. We have kickstarted our very own online coaching services. And you can now get coached by me personally to take your physique to its aesthetic peak.
But I wanted to get back to podcasting as soon as possible because this is where it all started and I really enjoy providing value through this medium. So without elaborating more on the excuse for my absence, let’s dive into today’s episode.
I want to speak of something which I see very commonly among lifters. And particularly in people who train to alter body composition. So if you are someone who has struggled with or currently are struggling with either gaining weight or losing fat, you will find this to be somewhat relevant.
Many people get stuck in a place in their lifting journey where they are no longer progressing towards their physique goals.
This usually happens after one has successfully gained or successfully lost a ton of weight. But they end up at a place where they weren’t exactly hoping they would be.
And now they can’t get out of it.
The mental block 🧠
Let me clarify this a bit. So if you are someone who was extremely obese at one point of time and you managed to lose a ton of that weight either through diet, or exercise or any other kind of means. You tend to get attached to that new skinny self of yours.
And this version not necessarily is what you wished to achieve.
You probably wanted some muscle mass, some shape to your body. But because of just a wrong approach or because you dieted too hard, you just ended up skinny.
On the other hand, maybe you are someone who started out skinny. Like me. Okay. And you were tired of being the smallest guy in the room and so you decided you will eat big to get big.
But in the process, you just ended up putting on a ton of fat and although you got big, you are now just obese.
Not where you wanted to be but you like this new identity better because in your mind, big is better than skinny. While in that first person’s mind. The person we spoke of earlier, skinny is better than fat.
But reality is that none of these are better than each other. And you know it. Because for a lot of people in this space, and I can say this because I have been there.
I have been fat and I have been excessively skinny at different points of time.
So for a lot of people in this space, in this state of physicality, they would constantly get comments like: “Oh you used to be skinny but now you’re just fat!” or “Man, you were so huge before. You lost all the weight but you look so skinny now. Are you sick?”
So you know deep inside that you just went from fat to skinny or from skinny to fat. And not from fat or skinny to your ideal physique.
And to correct things, you know that you’d have to put on a little weight but as a previously obese person, your new skinny self would be super hesitant to even gain a little amount of weight.
This is a mental block. And most people struggle to get out of it.
Skinny guys who just get really fat while trying to put on muscle, love that now they can take up so much space. They feel more dominant.
So when they realise that they need to lose some of that size to actually lean out and look better, they just can’t bring themselves to do it. This is a real problem.
I have had people with crazy high bodyfat levels asking me how to get abs and when I tell them they’d have to drop quite a bit of weight, they are just unwilling to do it.
They don’t want to lose the size they have built up over the years all the way from being scrawny to now just plain obesity.
They get too attached to being big even though most of their size is from excess fat and not muscle.
How to overcome this stagnant state 📉
So I wanted to talk of my personal approach to shaping my body and the kind of advice that I give to people who are struggling with such issues. Because like I said, I used to be very skinny and in my overexcitement to get big, I just ended up putting on too much fat one time.
And once you get bigger, it can be a real challenge to lean back down. Not because it is difficult physically, but because your brain associates it with your earlier skinny state. And you resist the process.
This can happen to anyone who has bulked for an elongated period of time. Or leaned out for too long. There is an inertia that doesn’t let them switch between the two when the time finally comes.
This is why some people end up perpetually bulking, also termed as permabulk. But this inertia in my experience is much greater among people who either lose or gain a ton of weight. So the more you lose or gain, the greater the inertia usually.
The way out of this problem is simple. It is simple but the difficulty lies in actually implementing it.
The solution is to completely remove yourself from the picture when it involves working with your own body. That’s right.
Stop associating your identity, your internal self with the externality that is your body. Stop saying things like “I am fat” “I am huge” “I am lean” “I am skinny”.
Instead associate those things with your body, which is a separate object. “My body is fat” “My body is skinny.” This change in perspective is everything.
The need to shift perspective 🧐
It puts you in a 3rd party position where you can look at and examine your body from a neutral place. Think of your body as a separate entity from yourself. Okay?
If it’s too hard to imagine this, imagine a clone of yourself or might I say a twin with your exact body. Look at them and objectively determine what the current state of the body is.
Is the body huge or is it just fat? Is the body lean or is it just scrawny? Use tools to determine this. Take measurements and read the numbers. The data doesn’t lie. Mirrors can be deceiving but measurements are for real.
Once you have this data in hand, now think of what you would actually want this body to look like? Be very objective about this. Put numbers to your goals. I personally use the grecian ideal to estimate my goal measurements.
Now determine the course of action that you would take to get this body to that place. Be objective about it. It is not about you. It is about this body that belongs to your clone.
Separate the body from your personal identity completely.
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The need for objectivity in your training and nutrition 🎯
Some of you listening to this may think I’m absolutely crazy for saying this. But to be honest with you, if you want objective results, your methods must be objective.
If I want to launch a spaceship to Mars, I can’t rely on how I’m feeling about the weather, what my gut instinct says, if I “feel” the spaceship is built with the right angles. No. I rely on the physics and the mathematics. I work with numbers, execute the plan with precision, and launch my ship. That is how scientists work.
And this is what drives results with certainty.
What you feel looks good may not necessarily look good to anyone. Humans are inherently wired to like certain patterns. It is biology.
Babies are attracted to more symmetrical faces, people are attracted to proportional bodies.
How you feel about it doesn’t change anything. So if you want to build a body that is attractive, you need to have objective goals. Not goals driven by what you “feel” looks good. So be brutal with your assessment of the body and keep your feelings out of the picture.
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Treat the body like a project ✅
Treat the body like a project. It is a piece of rock that needs to be carved. Would I get attached to how a piece of rock looks if I was a sculptor? Would I say “OMG! Such a big rock. If I carve it, it’ll just get smaller. But I’m a big rock person.”
No. I wouldn’t say that. I’ll be objective with my assessment and carve it to shape the sculpture that would be considered as a work of art.
If I kept the rock as it is because I became overly attached to the size of it, the art within would never materialise.
Your body is not you. Your body is a project that is separate from you. If your body was skinny and in your zeal to get bigger you just ended up with an obese body, your project is incomplete.
If your body was fat, but in your enthusiasm to lose fat, you just ended up with a super scrawny body, your sculpture is yet to materialise. Don’t associate your identity with that of the rock that is your body. It is a separate entity. It is an external project. Treat it as such.
Pick the tools that you need to shape your sculpture.
Would I use a paintbrush to chip away at the rock? No. I’d use a hammer and a chisel. So, it makes no sense when people do powerlifting styled training or crossfit styled workouts, when their physique goals are aesthetic.
Pick the right tools.
Design your training to emphasise your lagging muscle groups. Track measurements regularly and compare them with the goals you set earlier. Alter your nutrition to fuel your growth or to chip away on that excess body fat.
And throughout the process, look at the body as a project. Your goal is to carve it into a work of art and at no point in the process should you get attached to an incomplete piece.
This means that even when you bulk and feel the resistance to lean back down. Know that your goal isn’t yet achieved and ignore that feeling.
When you lean out and are hesitant to bulk afterwards because you’ll lose those abs, reinforce the thought that this is integral to the process of achieving your goal. Fight the resistance by separating yourself from the process.
The moment your feelings take over control of the process, your plan gets compromised. This affects execution and ultimately you don’t get results. It is this simple.
I understand that this ability to dissociate oneself from the execution is not something that comes naturally to all people. But if you consciously try to embody this mindset, with practice, you will get better at it over time.
Remember that your body is a machine driven by science. It doesn’t care about feelings.
To achieve maximal results with it, your process must be driven by objectivity. Feelings have no space in this process.
The sooner you embrace this into your training philosophy, the sooner you will be able to elevate your physique to the next level.
If you have been trying to reach your weight loss goals for a while now, but are struggling a bit in the process.
It’s probably because of a lack of consistency, a lack of guidance or a lack of support.
If you’d like a 24×7 support system to hold your hand and guide you through the process till you get to your goals, you should consider 1-on-1 coaching with Workday Physique.