THE JACKED PLAYBOOK
You’re the starting quarterback for Jacked University. Two minutes are remaining in the game. You’re on your one-inch-yard line and you’re facing the toughest defense your league has ever seen. The team you’re playing against is called LIFE U.
They are undefeated and filled with all-stars such as Career, Children, Mortgage, Car payment, Taxes, Family drama, Nagging injuries, Deadlines, Love, Loneliness, and a slew of other defenders.
You’re backed up against your goal line because up until this point they have had their way with you. They’ve distracted you with trick plays that turned your attention away from your body and have had you focused on advancing your career, being a great parent and simply navigating this tough world we live in.
But somehow you manage to stay in the game. You’re down only four points and with a few big plays you can put it in the endzone and go off to enjoy a long and fruitful career.
If you’re not aware of it by now I’m using my favorite sport to create an analogy between life and football. More specifically, regaining your physique and wellness by burning fat and building muscle.
In the game of football, the two-minute drill found in most offensive coordinators’ playbooks is typically used at the end of the game to move the ball as quickly as you can to score the winning points. The best way to do this is by choosing the plays that will gain you the most amount of yards while taking the least amount of time.
In every coach’s playbook, they have plays designed to eat up a huge chunk of yards and plays for short-distance situations. Plays are usually ranked based on their success rate. If they are statistically high percentage plays, they get used more often. If they are low-percentage plays, less often. So naturally, coaches will choose the right play for the situation that has the highest percentage rate.
Imagine for a moment that the football field is your body. You can even quantify every yard as a pound of weight you’d like to lose. If 99 pounds, the length of the field you have ahead of you is too much weight then you can scale the back to every five yards. That would represent 20 pounds to lose or every 10 yards, that’s 10 pounds to lose. You understand the concept.
So the goal is to drive down the field and use the least amount of plays that have the most significant return on effort. Meaning, which plays can we call that would help us reach our objective of scoring a touchdown?
You’ll soon find out that some plays make huge gains while others are surprisingly insignificant (fasted cardio).
Let’s play ball!
Play #1: MINDSET – 15 yards
Mindset: Having a positive approach to the task will yield more results than any practice.
Focused: Staying focused on the task at hand is imperative. Take this one day at a time.
Discipline: I view discipline as doing the hard stuff even when you don’t feel it. For example, you may come up with five reasons why you “can’t” or shouldn’t train today… Being disciplined will supersede all those reasons and propel you into a workout.
Keep pushing, keep pushing, keep pushing!
Our life is a series of habits. Everything you do from morning routine to driving to social media and training or lack thereof is a series of habits. We must alter these habits for the positive and create environments where they will thrive. I recommend James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits. There he describes many exercises to break bad habits and create new ones. The one I use in my own life and with my clients is the 2-minute rule. With this practice, you take what can be a daunting task and simply perform the first two minutes. For example, you’re supposed to go for a fast pace 20-minute walk, but are not feeling it. The rule states you perform the first two minutes of the task which could be to strap on your sneakers, get out the front door and walk for the remainder of the two minutes. You may stop after two minutes. This is not a failure, this is a win. What you’re doing is creating the habit of putting your sneakers on and walking out the door. Soon enough those two minutes will turn to 5… 10… 15 and eventually 20. What I have personally seen happen is once someone, including myself, gets the task started, at that point, they simply continue to complete the full task.
Play #2: CALORIES – 15 yards
Understanding your TDEE and eating at maintenance or deficit (or surplus) will yield the biggest chunk of yards.
TDEE- Total Daily Energy Expenditure. This is the estimated total amount of calories you burn throughout the day. To lose weight, you need to eat below. To gain weight you need to eat above.
- BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate (RMR)
- NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis
- TEF: Thermogenic Effect of Food
- Exercise: Calories burned while exercising.
- Weight Training: 155# = 216kcal, 185# = 252kcal
- Running (1 hr- 10 min mile pace): 155# = 704kcal, 185# = 863kcal
Muller Equation uses the variables that account for metabolic rate; LBM, FM, Sex, and Age).
(13.587 x LBM) + (9.613 x FM) + (198 x Sex) – (3.351 x age) + 674 = BMR
How fast should one lose weight? Experts like Alan Aragon and Layne Norton that have covered this topic extensively have stated between .5 o 1% of total body weight per week. So a 200 lb person would be between 1 and 2 lbs per week.
Play #3: MACRONUTRIENTS – 15 yards
“Macros” include protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Once you calculate calories, you’ll need to partition them into macronutrients.
- Protein- is a large molecule composed of many amino acids.
- Animal proteins contain all Essential Amino Acids (EAA) and are considered a complete proteins.
- Some plant proteins are considered incomplete proteins as they don’t have all the necessary EAA and should be combined to get all of them.
- Carbs- are sugars, starches, and fibers found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products.
- Carbs give our CNS and muscles energy.
- Simple Carbs-
- Carbs containing one sugar and are known as monosaccharides (fructose, galactose in milk)
- Carbs containing two sugars and are known as disaccharides (lactose-dairy, maltose- beer, some veggies)
- Complex Carbs-
- Contain three or more sugars and are known as polysaccharides.
- Referred to as starchy carbs; beans, peas, potatoes, etc
- Essential for digestion. Promotes good gut health.
- Carbs are generally placed in a “good” or “bad” bucket. Do any simple google search and you’ll get a huge list of those carbs. Bad carbs are usually fast-digesting foods with a high-calorie content and low nutritional value ie: donuts. Good carbs are predominantly high in nutritional value and low to moderate carbs.
- Fats – four major fats… saturated, trans, monounsaturated & polyunsaturated.
Play #4: TRAINING – 15 yards
The benefits of training far exceed aesthetics. Google “exercise” plus any illness you can think of and read the results. They’re tons of training protocols with a variety of benefits, but it is difficult to argue the benefits of strength training.
Principles of training…
Volume – to maximize results obtain a minimum of 10 sets per muscle group per week.
Frequency – to maximize results train each muscle group 2 to 3 times per week.
Progressive Overload – constantly “challenge” the body by consistently practicing progressive overload. This can be implemented by increasing load, reps, sets, variety of exercises, etc.
Stimulus, Recovery, Adaptation Curve aka SRA Curve – training provides a signal which tells our muscles to grow. First, we break down muscle tissues by resistance training. We then need a period to recover which will get us back to baseline. However, the goal is super-compensation so that we can adapt. Adapting can be hypertrophy, strength, or stamina.
There are different stages in an individual’s fitness journey. The “newbie” is the individual that is getting their first taste of fitness. Anything this person does get results! The intermediate has been at it for some time and can still see modest gains. The advanced athlete has reached very close to their genetic potential and it is extremely difficult to move the needle.
Triggers of Hypertrophy
- Mechanical Tension- Heavy loads, low rep range
- Muscle Damage- Heavy to moderate load, moderate rep range
- Metabolic Stress- Light load, large rep range
To take advantage of our bodies’ ability to see results through all stages, we want to focus on a minimal effective training practice. Better said, what is the least amount of work that we can perform yet gain the maximum return on investment. Many people overestimate the amount of work needed to get results. General recommendations, follow the basic tenets noted below and reassess.
- Train 2 to 3 times per week.
- Perform 10 sets per muscle group. The best practice is to divide between training bouts.
- Train reps up to muscular failure. (65% to 85%)
- Exercise selection – perform compound lifts first, bilaterally.
- Make sure to hit push, pull, and legs.
- Rest interval for strength training- 1 to 2 minutes for newbies to intermediates, 2 to 4 minutes for more advanced.
- Exercise specific warm-ups.
Play #4: SLEEP – 15 yards
If there’s anything that can drastically improve your performance, aesthetics, longevity, physical health and mental health is sleep. I highly recommend purchasing Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.
NREM1- 1 to 5 minutes
NREM2- 25 to 60 minutes
NREM3- 20 to 40 minutes
REM- 10 to 60 minutes
Each sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes. Your goal is to get through as many sleep cycles as possible.
Sleep practices start in the morning. Two to ten minutes of early morning sunlight helps set your circadian rhythm.
- Stop caffeine around 1
- Don’t train too late
- Don’t eat a big meal too late
- Start winding down as the sunsets
- Begin to turn off bright lights in the home
- Put your phone away – don’t look at it again
- Make a cold, dark room
- Use white noise
- Brain dump
- Understand that it is natural to wake up during the night
- You may practice box breathing or if beginning to feel frustrated, get up and do something light DO NOT use technology.
Play #5 – SUPPLEMENTS – 5 yards
- Multi-vitamin (Athletic Greens)
- Vitamin D
- Fish Oil
- Protein Powder
Play #6 ADHERENCE – 20 yards
Research shows the more complex a protocol, the less adherence.
Keep things as simple so that you may adhere as tight and long as possible. This will be your biggest play and will score you that winning touchdown.