Are you wanting to create a chiseled physique with a high-functioning metabolism, admirable curves in all the right places, and health in every part of your body?
STOP doing things halfway, when you could be manipulating your body very easily!! It pains me to see people like you putting in the effort, yet missing some critical pieces to the body composition shifting and health optimization strategy.
You may not like the word manipulate . . . it can come across negative. True, so let’s look at this way: we can change the variables which determine how our bodies function. The body is 100% directable. It’s an evolutionary object.
Yours CAN change, improve, and work better! You just need to know the 5 Levels of Energy and master them.
I recently met an individual who asked me a great question: “what are macros?” he said. “I haven’t had the time to really study that one yet.”
On that same day, I had a coaching call with a woman who asked: “how many calories should I be eating?” She had recently raised her level of exercise and wanted to know how to adjust her food input to keep her in the holy grail of the “healthy caloric deficit.”
Other people come to me with questions that show me they are beginning to think critically. I love when I see light bulbs come on as I learn the level of education a person has in health and body composition shifting, then fill in the gaps around it. I avoid the mentality that people are wrong; instead, the issue is usually that the person is lacking more education to connect all the dots.
I’m going to help you connect the dots today. Put on your thinking cap.
Let’s look at the 5 Levels of Energy Input & Output:
- Calories: calories are an intake of energy that determines whether a person is cutting, maintaining, or gaining.
- Macronutrients: macros determine the balance of the blood sugar, fuel to the brain, and energy to rebuild cells daily.
- Micronutrients: micros impact the integrity of every bodily process, including neurotransmitters which determine moods.
- Supplements: supplementation provides for the micros not being achieved through food in level 3.
- Exercise: exercise should work closely with level 1 to determine a non-stressful margin for cutting, maintaining, or gaining.
Too many people hyper-focus one or two of these areas and are frustrated that they’re not getting the benefits of all 5 levels.
It’s extremely rare to find a person who understands and integrates all five levels into their daily efforts and strategies. If a person does, they’re either a) most definitely my client as I can help them take that to the next level, or b) most definitely my client as they need some good education and learning to get them on board a strategic path to improvement.
When it comes to health and body composition shifting, we must first understand these are two separate efforts.
While there are some crossover benefits, I find we can focus better by separating them. We can quickly dial into the appropriate strategy for an individual when we understand their primary motivation, then fill in the gaps with their secondary motivation.
For example, the following generally matters to people with the primary goal listed. This directly focuses their efforts and the approaches with which they most align:
Calories: body composition & aesthetics, sometimes health & daily function
Macronutrients: body composition & aesthetics, sometimes health & daily function
Micronutrients: health & daily function, sometimes health & daily function
Supplements: body composition & aesthetics, sometimes health & daily function
Exercise: body composition, sometimes health & daily function
Here is an example:
A 40-year old woman who is working out 5x/week for 45 minutes a day doing pump or Zumba classes is trying to lose weight. She counts calories, eats a lot of low-fat and low-calorie foods, and restricts herself under 1,300 calories per day.
Strengths: She is focusing on Calories (#1) and Exercise (#5). This will definitely help her put her body in a caloric deficit to lose body fat if she remains consistent with it.
Flaws: She is not focusing on stabilizing her blood sugar and creating maximum fat oxidation with her macronutrients (#2). She is not getting the maximum nutrients of minerals and vitamins from power foods as she is eating reduced fat and low calorie, factory-processed foods (#3). She is probably not supplementing herself wisely (#4) to give her body what she is restricting due to her efforts in calorie restriction (#1).
Possible Outcome: This type of person will lose some weight, but then probably plateau about 2-3 weeks into her routine. She may get frustrated and push herself further, reducing her calories further, spending even more time in exercise than she already is to try to burn more calories. She will continue stressing her metabolism, creating a sluggish system that doesn’t know how to react when she falls victim to emotional eating. Stress from life will hit, her willpower in calorie restriction will drop, and she will overeat–and with a sluggish metabolism, she will store a lot of that fuel in the form of adipose tissue (body fat).
What about this example?
A 25-year old male wants to put on muscle so is spending 2 hours/day lifting weights in the gym. He does 30 minutes of cardio after lifting, drinks all of the mass gainers, creatine shakes, pre-workouts, and aminos he can from the gym protein shop. His friends told him to eat pizza and drink a lot of chocolate milk after training so he can “beef up.”
Strengths: He is focusing on getting more calories in than usual (#1) which is needed in a gaining process. That’s about all he is doing right (hold tight for my discussion on supplements).
Flaws: He is doing cardio at the end of his lifting (#5) which is unnecessary energy output. In a hard-gaining mode, restricting cardio–particularly for ectomorph body types–is critical to preserve the extra energy coming into the body through his efforts to eat a lot. That energy should be used for re-synthesizing broken down muscle fibers; not for using on cardio. Respect to the margin of excess is critical (relativity of #1 and #5) as well to avoid unwanted body fat gain. There is not regulation of macronutrients (#2) to ensure a constant source of amino acids (protein), glucose (carbohydrates), and fats (energy and satiety). The proper balance and timing of these macros can help him have more efficient workouts and more stable energy throughout the day. His choice of foods aren’t dense in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals–#3) so while he is putting on muscle, his energy, brain function, and overall feelings of recovery may be low. Finally, his supplementation (#4) isn’t researched or strategized, he is simply doing what “the dudes” told him to take. This can be extremely dangerous in an unregulated supplement industry that is shadier than anything you have seen in the movies.
Possible Outcome: He is putting on muscle (though it could be faster), and gaining some body fat too. He feels tired, depleted, and always exhausted. He never gets full body or mental recovery and isn’t able to sleep well. This impacts his training the next day. He is frustrated that he doesn’t feel good or look as good as he wants to yet. He may want faster gains, so resort to pro-hormones or anabolic steroids to accelerate the process.
These are only two of many examples I could give that would show how an individual can easily leave out one of the five important factors when they have a goal to reach.
What’s the simple fix? Get strategic and work with a coach like me. I can help you get on a clear path that is neither obsessive nor apathetic, but focused and constructive. It will meet each of the five levels of energy input & output:
- Calories will be right for your level of energy output and input in exericse per your goal (cutting body fat, maintaining body fat, or gaining muscle).
- Macros will be right for your goal — we will have a given amount of protein to provide stable amino acids throughout the day, as well as balance the carbs and fats appropriately for your body composition goal.
- Micros — the food choices will be primarily power foods that are dense in natural vitamins and minerals from the earth so your body is getting all it needs primarily from food.
- Supplementation — we will fuel you with the bare basics of what you are not getting from food, and even on a body composition manipulation level, keep your intake to the necessities (glutamine, protein, maybe creatine or aminos–it all depends on the goal).
- Exercise — we will give you the proper amount of resistance training and cardio that will fit with your lifestyle and goals. This needs to be understood in order to write an effective nutrition strategy for #1-4.
Awareness of all 5 levels will help you in creating your own approach to optimized health and more visually-pleasing body composition will help you remain balanced, healthy, and making progress toward your goals.
Don’t get frustrated–if something isn’t working for you, it’s probably because you have left a critical level of energy input and output of your equation. Let’s get that going and road map your way to health.
Love your bud,