I know as I write this article that it will hit home to many readers.
Today I am going to cover a topic, seldom discussed, rarely researched yet is an overwhelming concern to those who fall in the category.
This is for anyone who was overweight at one point in time.
If you have developed a passion for working out and committed yourself to losing the weight and looking better than you ever did, yet had this become a frustrating love hate relationship, then continue reading.
If you have battled with losing weight and putting on muscle even though you are well-informed about what you need to do to get the physique you strive for then this is definitely for you
I’m talking about the “Former Fat Boy”. This will be relevant to anyone who has for the most part been overweight in his or her childhood regardless of whether today they have lost the weight or decided that they will.
Who is a Former Fat Boy?
A former fat boy is anyone who;
- At one point in time was over 15 Kilos overweight
- Lost a considerable amount of weight
- Has the tendency to gain fat at an alarming rate
- Usually eats and does what his peers do yet is the heaviest of them
- Carries a large amount of fat in the “love handles” region
- Eating a large amount of carbs usually leads to a direct gain in the waist region
- Has a large amount of loose skin
These people are ones who constantly battle with their weight, and feel like they are always fighting an inner demon
Understanding why it is the way it is
I’ve outlined in some of my previous articles what happens when someone gains fat. Despite all efforts of being conscious of your weight, the majority of us have put on weight at one point in time. Now when you gain fat, your body’s fat cells expand to their maximum threshold. After a certain level, your fat cells can’t store any more energy (fat) and thus the body reacts by creating new fat cells to house that extra energy.
In other words, when you gain weight, the number of fat cells in your body increases.
When you decide to lose the weight, and eventually do, the size of your fat cells shrink. The more you lose, the smaller the size of your fat cells get. That being said, the NUMBER of fat cells doesn’t change. So as you can see, once you push your body past a certain limit, it creates new fat cells and that number doesn’t decrease.
Back to the topic of FFB. If you were a heavy kid, or overweight at one point in time, you have caused the damage of having a large number of fat cells and that will not change.
This makes you a ticking time bomb. These fat stores even though shrunken are waiting for excess calories to be stored, and they are thirsty!!
That is why people who have always been heavy, yet committed tend to yo –yo with their weight. Its not because they are lax with their diet, or just don’t have it in them to be consistent. Those who are committed and oblivious to this issue, don’t realize that they have placed themselves in a very distinct category. What applies to the general public is a formula for failure for them.
Reading this, you may feel like this is the end of the line, you’re saying to yourself that there’s nothing you can do to change things, and you are forever doomed. Let me tell you, that’s complete Bullsh***. You have the power to change things and you can if you want to.
Life may have served you a curve ball, but there’s a lot that you can do. I label myself as a FFB, I have been overweight in my adolescent years, but I’ve come a long way from there and I am able to maintain my gains and leanness. It took me a lot to realize that and I am now writing this to save you the heartache, frustration and grayness to your questions.
Now if I haven’t lost you to rushing out and screaming FML, what follows are some steps to what you NEED to do to have the body you want and still enjoy life;
Acceptance is Key
First and foremost, you need to accept the fact that you fall in this category and there’s no point in bitching about it. I need you to accept that because after this, what you hear in bodybuilding sites and what others are doing will not apply to you. Following in other’s footsteps will lead you to nothing but frustration and a buck-load of mind f******.
Now that you’ve accepted it, here’s another hard one for you (its down hill after this one). I need you to forget everything you know about nutrition to gain muscle, especially nutrition for hard-gainers. You are not a hard-gainer. Many FFBs’ categorize themselves as hard-gainers and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Actually doing so will lead you in the opposite direction and cause you to follow the exact opposite of what you should be doing.
Following the traditional bodybuilding diets and gain-cut cycles will derail all your hard efforts.
Ok, now let’s get down to business. I’ll cover a broad spectrum of things you need to incorporate, from training to nutrition down to meal timings and what you should be doing to gain muscle and lose fat.
Following a traditional bodybuilding split will just make it harder for you unless you are very lean I.e. sub 10% body fat. Unless you are at that point, a split will make things harder.
TBT training focuses on compound exercises. This means that you are expending a large amount of calories translating into a larger caloric expenditure, which is optimal in an FFB’s case.
Another perk of TBT is the hormonal surge (GH & testosterone) caused by the heavy leg movements (Squats & Deadlifts). GH and Testosterone are essential to lose fat and build muscle, which is the primary case here.
Now, take it a step further and super-set them bad boy exercises and you got a fat furnace going on.
If you’re not that into weights, TOUGH!, U need it. Seriously though, weight training is a must for FFBs’. You already have a hampered metabolism, gaining muscle; will help by revving up your metabolic rate at rest as well as improve your insulin sensitivity. It has been documented that for every pound of muscle you gain, your metabolism increases by 50 cals a day.
Cardio is very important for FFBs’. There is a limit to how much weight resistance you can do without overtraining. That being said, you need a way to burn extra calories. By incorporating cardio on your rest days, you are creating an added deficit. When I say cardio, I don’t mean hours and hours of cardio; experiment with different forms and types. Keep it fun!! ;). Try sprinting, swimming, cycling rowing. Use intervals, TABATA protocols and such. Even mini weight circuits. Have a read of these (TABATA Training , Cardio Vs Interval Training)
Increase your daily activity level. Stay active, move around. Schedule sport days like football, basketball or whatever floats your boat.
Now that’s the training aspect of things. Lets now take a look at nutrition.
With all the above in check, if your diet isn’t tuned in, it’s all worthless and you’ll just be spinning your tires.
Nutrition is DETREMENTAL to a FFB’s success.
Being a former fat boy, carb choices are extremely important. You need to pick your carb sources wisely. FFBs’ have developed an almost permanent case of insulin resistance. Going balls out on pizza, bread, pasta and what have you will make you feel it the next day. Right where it hurts; love handles and stomach region. So, refined carbs are off-limits; FOR GOOD. Only at certain times are you allowed to indulge which I will cover in a bit.
Sorry gurls, no tubs of ice cream to go with your favorite series and Guys, pizza night just isn’t going to happen. Well not as often as you’d like. You can still enjoy special occasions and vacations, but they need to be a lot less than you like them to be. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you love, you just need to change what goes in your mouth while you’re doing it.
Lets look at the protein and fat;
Now I don’t think I need to emphasize on protein any more than I already have. The majority of your diet needs to be made up of lean meats. Chicken, tuna, turkey, egg whites etc.
Fish oil is critical here to optimize fat oxidation and a list of countless benefits (Read Here). Good fats are available in oils (olive oil, coconut oil, flax oil) and nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts), not to mention avocados and egg yolks.
Apart from the make up of your diet, timing is also critical to help you assume a normal lifestyle without it impacting your waist.
The majority of your carbs should be consumed earlier in the day, pre and post workout. Any other time, carbs should be minimized or even better, non-existent.
Now in the bout of body composition, you will either want to lose weight or gain muscle; Here’s how to do it;
The typical gain diet ( aka Bulking Diet ) advocated on bodybuilding sites is a no no for our FFB. You commonly see people advocating eating monstrous amounts of food and carbs to pack on the muscle, and might even see your friends eating pizza and burgers to put on mass with minimal fat gain. This wont be the case with you, doing so will just lead you being porkier than you fancy.
You still need a caloric surplus to gain muscle, but the surplus needs to be watched and constantly adjusted. You can eat over your maintenance by 500 cals, maybe 200-300 for some folks. It’s a matter of trial and error. Needless to say, the food choices HAVE to be clean no matter what.
Don’t fall for the all out bulk, a FFB needs to take a slow and gradual approach to gaining muscle. Lean down like I said and then start off the gaining phase. Extreme care is needed because of the altered Muscle : Fat Ratio
Muscle : Fat Ratio
The issue here is that a FFB will gain more fat to muscle as opposed to a normal person. The typical ratio is 60/40. i.e you will gain 4 pounds of fat to every 6 lbs. of muscle. This ratio is reversed in a FFB’s Case. You will gain 3-4 times more fat than you do muscle.
Your body will be working against you at all times. The natural state that your body prefers will be fat dominant. i.e. your body prefers to carry fat. You need to reset your body’s preferred state. You can do that by creating new set points for your body. Once you go on a bulk phase, after a few weeks and some descent muscle, you need to maintain that point by going on 2 weeks of maintenance before you resume your gain phase. This creates a new set-point for your body.
When it comes to losing fat, a typical low carb diet works best. Rule of thumb is less than 100 grams of carbs / day, all of which are clean. You need to be very strict with your diet with no or minimal slip-ups. You don’t get cheat days, maybe a cheat meal every 2 weeks, which needs to be relatively clean and only once you’re very close to your goal. You might need to drop calories lower than usual to reach a very lean level. Don’t starve yourself or cut calories too low. Trial and error is key here.
I know this may be hard to read, or even demotivating. Truth is, you’re not the only one. There are millions of people who are just like you and have changed their physiques and life around.
It sucked knowing that I will always be a FFB, but I chose to accept it and work with what I have rather than against it.
Do not label yourself and DO NOT make this an excuse for every time you screw up or gain weight. You may need to be stricter, make better choices but you can always be as good as anybody else. All you have to do is work a little harder for it.
Knowing that will make it more rewarding once you achieve your goals. It sure as hell was for me.
Dont 4get to like & comment 🙂