Between the magazines, TV infomercials and the Internet, we are inundated with advertisements for ‘magic’ supplements and fat loss pills, promising to melt off our belly fat or double our muscle mass in days.
Millions of people are suckered into these clever marketing scams on a daily basis, and are repeatedly conned into throwing their money away on worthless fat loss pills and muscle building powders by the cunning supplement industry.
The number of times I’ve had people contact me with questions about which supplements they should take to lose fat, which mass gainer they should buy to build muscle, and which pills they should use to suppress their appetite.
I am utterly mystified by the fact that there are so many millions of people who will, at the drop of a hat, throw away hundreds of dollars on the latest phony supplement, but won”t invest a little bit of time and money in getting knowledgeable about REAL fat loss methods.
It seems that natural and permanent fat loss is out of fashion. Or maybe people just enjoy wasting their money on the latest gimmick. I really don’t know.
The only thing remotely “supplement”-like that I”ve ever recommend is protein powder for high-protein baking recipes and shakes and BCAAs for extra energy when dieting. That”s it! And truth be told, you don’t even need that- there are plenty of delicious, whole-food alternatives that you can use instead.
And don’t get me started on the latest, faddy ‘magic pills’. PLEASE do not waste any more money on this ridiculous scam. The supplement industry rakes billions of dollars off lazy people, perpetually searching for a non-existent quick fix.
After losing a few pounds of water (and potentially lean muscle) at best, they’ll put all the weight back on a week later, or more likely, they will have lowered their metabolism through loss of lean mass and gain back even more weight than they started with.
But do these people learn? No. As soon as the next magic pill comes out, they buy that, put more money in the pharmaceutical and supplement companies’ pockets, and then go through the same destructive process again, each time causing further damage to their natural ability to lose fat.
It’s a vicious cycle of the supplement industry getting richer, and the frustrated consumer getting poorer and fatter. Pills and supplements have been around for years, yet as a population, we’re fatter than ever! Clearly, these supposed ‘quick-fixes’ aren’t helping us to lose weight. If anything, they’re making things worse.
So how can we achieve genuine fat loss and a lean, muscular body?
As much as we try to complicate things, the reality is, it’s simple. Hippocrates had it figured out in 400 BC (he famously uncovered what we now know as the energy balance equation) and nothing has changed, 2400 years later. And nothing ever will. Whatever the latest magic powder or miracle pill, true fat loss will always come back to human physics, plain and simple.
The ONLY way to lose body fat, to get a lean, hard body and to maintain it for LIFE can be summed up by these five things…
1. Prioritise your health.
For everything you eat, drink, and do, take a moment consider whether it”s helping or harming your health, and only do the things that help. If you actually take the time to think about what you”re putting in your body, before you do so, you”ll be headed in the right direction to a lifetime of healthy eating.
Base your diet around whole, natural foods- lean protein, wholegrains, healthy fats and fruit and veg. Minimise the amount of processed and junky foods in your diet. You don’t have to put any food off limits, just ensure that the majority of your diet is coming from wholesome, unprocessed sources. Believe me, once you learn how delicious these natural, nutritious foods can be, you won’t even want junk food.
You won’t believe how many people have contacted me after making these diet changes, to tell me that they ‘treated’ themselves to what used to be their favourite junk food, and they didn’t even enjoy it anymore! Your tastebuds have been so adulterated by unnatural and artificial foods, that once you reintroduce them to real food, the junk food actually tastes unnatural and artificial.
2. Make exercise a part of your daily life.
There’s no need to do an intense workout every day- in fact, this will actually be counterproductive- but do aim to get a high-powered workout in 3-4 days/week, and ensure that it’s the right sort of workout for optimal fat loss (i.e. not endless cardio).
It’s also important to keep yourself moving with general, day-to-day activity. Did you know that we burn MOST of our extra calories through our lifestyle activity, rather than through scheduled exercise?
It’s really worth making the effort to be that bit more active over the course of the day. Walk the dog, clean the house, cycle to work, do some gardening… whatever you like. Those calories can really add up.
3. Get enough rest.
Endless studies consistently show that 6-8 hours a night is optimal. The hormonal impact of not getting enough sleep will result in an inefficient metabolism, encouraging your body to store more fat. And with the nature of the ‘stress hormone’ (a.k.a. Cortisol) that your body is releasing as a result of sleep deficiency, it’s all the more likely that this will be stored as stomach fat.
4. Ensure you have the right attitude.
A positive mindset will make all the difference when it comes to achieving and maintaining the body you want. You must believe in your ability to succeed, and accept that it will take some effort on your part.
I can guarantee that anyone has the ability to achieve that lean physique if they want it enough.
Whatever the sneaky supplement marketers would have you believe, no one is genetically destined to be fat. Whilst it’s true that some people are naturally more pre-disposed to store fat than others, it is easily overcome with the necessary diet adaptations.
In all honesty, you may never look like a fitness model- you might not even want to- but the point is, anyone CAN look like that if that’s their goal. You just need the mental drive and determination to get you there.
This psychology of a body transformation is far more important than most people realise, and I address this in detail in The Flat Abs Formula.
I hope this article has helped you understand why pills, supplements and dieting fads will NEVER deliver on the results they promise. You may lose a bit of weight for a few weeks, but these ‘results’ are very temporary, and are doing nothing but damage to your body and your bank balance. The only thing worth investing in is the correct lifestyle to maintain a lean, healthy body for life.
I”d be interested to hear comments on this topic- what do you feel is the worst diet/health scam out there?