TYL 5/10: Prepping Yourself to Succeed: Don’t Smash and Starve Yourself

In our latest step to transforming your lifestyle we are looking to set ourselves up to win. Where most people do themselves an injustice on their new fitness journey is they throw themselves in head first to the extremes of nutrition and training. They cut calories to the extremes and drop them to basement levels and they train as much as possible which ends up in them burning themselves out after a couple of weeks. The “prepping to prep” phase is a concept I heard of first from Luke Leaman of Muscle Nerds, which is a phase that happens before you start your new structured fitness and nutrition phase. It gets you primed and ready to succeed.

In context, most people are stressed as hell. If you are looking to change your lifestyle that is an indication that you have burned your body out and you need to change something. Most people in this position have many if not all of the following issues:

  • Have a busy family life with responsibilities and stressors
  • Work long hours and have a lot of work stress
  • Feel they cant find any time for themselves and give up their time for others
  • Nutritionally do not look after themselves – convenient food choices, sugar and alcohol consumption
  • Have a distorted idea of what good nutrition is and what training is, and have a damaged relationship with both food and training
  • Rely on coffee, and have terrible sleep or don’t sleep enough
  • Have poor gut health, cant digest food, get severe bloating and gas and have food intolerances
  • Have poor blood pressure, a high resting heart rate and are metabolically inefficient
  • Suffer from fatigue, tiredness and lack of day to day energy
  • Have severe inflammation from all the above factors


Now lets put that in practically where people go wrong. If you are in the above position, and you apply the “normal getting healthy” idea of what people perceive as needed – smashing yourself in the gym, cutting out all the foods you like and starving yourself which leads to nutrient deficiencies, getting more stressed from what you feel you have to do and how hard it is, and still not getting enough sleep – how do you think your body will respond? Not all that good.

Yes you will get brief results initially, but when that slows down where do you go then? You have most likely dug yourself in to a deeper hole of stress that is even harder to get out of. You need to start working with your body not against it. The thing that people don’t realise with stress is, your body only recognises it one way and hormonally and physiologically it responds the same way. So even if its stress from training and hard exercise, or it is emotional stress or work related stress your body doesn’t differentiate between the types – positive or negative it is still stress.

Don’t get me wrong stress is a necessity in life, we as humans would actually cease to exist without the stress response. However we need to have balance between the amount of time we are in the stressed state and the time we spend in the rest and recovery state – and this here is where most people fail miserably. They don’t do anything fun, they have no time for themselves, they don’t look after their health and fitness and they stress over all of lifes details. So let me ask you again, do you think smashing yourself in the gym and starving yourself is a smart idea when you are already stressed excessively? No… me either.

So what should you do? You “prep to prep”. You get your body ready to tolerate the higher intensity, which leads to much better long term results that last. These results also go much deeper then just how you look, they are about life quality. Here is what you can do:

– Clean up your diet. Cleaning it up and starving yourself is not the same. Control your calorie intake to a reasonable level, eat some more protein and eat more fruit and veg. Then drink more water.

  • If you say you don’t have time, stop wasting it on stuff that doesn’t matter. Netflix, scrolling through facebook, sitting around eating biscuits – YOU HAVE TIME, USE IT PROPERLY.
  • Sleep more and make it better quality. Stop watching TV before bed and wind down. If you cant get more sleep, then make what you are getting better quality.
  • Chew your damn food when you eat it. Digestion starts when you start to think about food. Chew your food, be present, enjoy the meal and don’t eat in a stressed state.
  • Get yourself ready to train hard. Get your resting heart rate down (ideally between 50-65bpm) and get your blood pressure down. Stress is called the silent killer for a reason. Get aerobically fit before worrying above the intense hard stuff. This will help you become metabolically healthier, making you more efficient at losing fat or gaining muscle when the time comes.
  • Lean to CHILL out. Take time for yourself, do fun stuff. Switch off your phone and plug out from work. Social media is one of the biggest stresses we have, and most people no longer do anything fun. Make time for it. Watch how it effects your day to day mood.

The best results happen from a position of health. Being healthy, and looking good are not the same. However what you will find is that when you prioritise your health, everything else will follow. So if you want to get LEAN or build muscle – get yourself ready to do it.

Make health cool again.