Superhuman Strength, Size & Weight Loss – The Power of Small Changes

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We are an impatient society. Everyone wants big change, and they want it yesterday. We have become conditioned to hunt for simple hacks and small tweaks that will rapidly improve progress today!

Not so fast, buddy.

I’m here to reveal the true power of change. What is it? Consistency and patience. Yes, patience. That dreaded word that simply – and honestly – means one thing: you won’t have the body you want tomorrow.

Related: The Superhero Challenge – 12 Weeks to a New Body

You’re probably ready to click away right now. Don’t. Those of you that want reality; desire truth – well, stick around. Those of you that want magic hacks and hidden secrets that will unlock your potential in only weeks – well, feel free to hit Google searching for the nonsense your heart desires.

True change is forged through consistency of effort applied over time. Through the unyielding desire to fight on and never quit. Through the understanding that it is a change in lifestyle that leads to long term results, not a temporary fix.

Believe me, or don’t. It’s your call, and your life to lead. Instead of trying to convince you of the power of small changes, I’m going to provide you with three examples. Equipped with this information, you can then make up your own mind.

The point here is simple. I hope to show you that small changes applied over an extended period of time will help you forge the body you want.

It is the opposite we typically seek. Big changes applied over a short period of time.

Radical fad diets. Insane amounts of cardio performed on a weekly basis. Brutal training regimens. Workout hopping, ever-seeking the magical workout system that will unlock rapid gains.

All this is nonsense. It’s not a lasting, sustainable lifestyle. You might see some short term results, but more than likely you’ll just burn out, fade away, or resort back to old habits after the changes have been made because you haven’t embraced fitness and nutrition as a lifestyle.

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Weight Loss Through a Slight Calorie Deficit

Here’s the common scenario…

Bob wants to lose weight. He is currently consuming 3,300 calories per day of mostly fast food, junk food, and calorie-dense coffee drinks. Seeing that his weight has ballooned up to 250 pounds over the last 10 years, Bob decides to go on a diet.

Forgoing an analysis of what actually caused him to gain 5 pounds a year over the last 10 years, Bob decides to dramatically drop his calories to 1,800 per day in hopes of losing weight fast.

One of two things happen at this point.

The first possibility is extremely unlikely, given the success rates of dieting. Bob manages to stick to this extremely low calorie diet, and loses 50 pounds in three months. Even if this oddity of luck manages to actually occur, it’s very likely that Bob will gain the weight right back after his diet is over.

Why?

Because Bob adopted a radical approach rather than a reasonable and sustainable lifestyle change. Once his period of weight loss was over, Bob had no clue what to do, so he slowly but surely returned to his old ways of eating.

The second possibility? We all know how this goes. Bob fails, and fast. This radical change in eating habits is too much, and by the week’s end Bob finds himself binge eating through a bag or Doritos.

Now let’s look at a much wiser choice – A slight calorie deficit, a switch to a more nutritionally sound eating protocol devoid of most processed and fast foods, and patience.

Here, Bob drops his calories per day by only 300. “Only” 300. Most folks don’t consider this aggressive enough, and don’t have the intestinal fortitude to trust that this method actually works, and works quite well.

Weight Loss ScaleBy only dropping your calories slightly, there is a much greater likelihood that you will stick to this eating lifestyle.

But 300 calories a day doesn’t seem like much. Until you actually do the math. Remember, here, that 3,500 calories equates to a pound of fat. So with that in mind:

  • 300 calories per day is 2,100 calories per week.
  • 2,100 calories per week is 9,100 per month. This equates to 2.6 pounds of fat lost per month.
  • 9,100 calories per month is 109,200 calories per year. This equates to 31.2 pounds of fat lose per year.

Considering the average adult gains only one pound a year after the age of 25, this  is a pretty good lifestyle turn-around.

Understand this is through diet alone. Once you add in calories burned from a more active lifestyle, and the water lost during the initial period of lifestyle change, and you’re probably looking at a 40 pound weight loss during year one just from a small change in daily calorie intake.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s not a lot of weight. To our impatient society, yes, I agree. But if you consider the reality that most individuals fail to either stick to a diet, or keep it off after weight loss, then this minimalist option becomes a tad more appealing and reasonable.

Now, if you bump the calorie deficit to 500 per day, which is about the max change I would recommend out of the gate, you’re looking at 4.34 pounds lost per month via diet. Add in exercise, and you’re around that golden rule number of 1.5 pounds lost per week.

Most physique stars and fitness coaches recommend this range to optimize muscle retention/growth while losing fat. Perhaps they are on to something. Slow, sustained progress with a focus on healthy eating, exercise, and…

Patience.

Weight Loss Through a “Normal” Amount of Exercise

If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times. Literally.

Joe or Jane Smith decides to “get back into shape.” Instead of hitting the gym with a reasonable cardio and resistance training regimen, they proceed to beat the living snot out of their bodies with a volume of sets and hours upon hours upon hours of cardio.

This is not a winning (nor reasonable, nor sustainable) approach. As with radical dietary changes, folks that jump into a superhuman amount of weekly exercise fall away rather quickly. They try to burn off every last ounce of fat during the first two weeks in the gym, instead of turning exercise into a lifestyle they enjoy.

Enjoyment.

Remember that word.

Diet and exercise must be enjoyable. And neither require you to punish yourself to see good results. Heck, over the course of two to three years you could run a slight calorie deficit and use “only” 2-3 hours of gym time per week, and have the body of your dreams.

Really. No BS.

Again, here, the problem is patience. The secondary problem is trying to adopt a temporary “8 week program” instead of a lasting, sustainable, reasonable fitness lifestyle.

Let’s look at cardio… Specifically, treadmill grinding. Here are two scenarios:

  • Person A – Uses three cardio sessions per week of 30 minutes
  • Person B – Uses five cardio sessions per week of 60 minutes

A photo posted by Steve Shaw (@bendthebarman) on

Article author and Tiger Fitness Editorial Director Steve Shaw has used the power of small changes to lose 100 pounds while building a powerful and muscular body.

Using a moderate walking rate of three miles per hour, person A will walk a total of 4.5 miles per week. This burns about 450 calories, depending on the weight of the individual. Person B will walk a total of 15 miles. This burns about 1,500 calories.

So, here is the breakdown for person A:

  • 1,950 calories burned per month, or 0.56 pounds of fat.
  • 23,400 calories burned per year, or 6.69 pounds of fat.

Here is the breakdown for person B:

  • 6,500 calories burned per month, or 1.86 pounds of fat.
  • 78,000 calories burned per year, or 22.29 pounds of fat.

As you can see, living in the gym only burns about an extra pound of fat per month. This isn’t much. The extra weight burned off via excessive amounts of cardio can actually be equaled by performing a more reasonable amount of cardio, and dropping your daily calories by 150.

There are a couple points to note here.

First, cardio doesn’t burn that many calories to begin with. It’s not an effective method of fat loss. A reasonable amount of cardio, combined with your weekly resistance training sessions, with likely burn around 4 pounds of fat a month. Give or take. That’s nearly 50 pounds a year.

Not bad at all. Combined with a daily 300 calorie deficit, and you’re looking at around 80 pounds of fat lost per year. Again, this is the perfect rate of weight lost.

All from a small calorie change and a reasonable amount of cardio and resistance training.

Second, an excessive amount of cardio is not typically a sustainable lifestyle, nor is it the best investment of time. As mentioned, you can drop your daily calories by 150 per day and get the same result. You also free up 3.5 hours a week to do other activities you enjoy.

A win-win.

The bottom line is simple. Small lifestyle changes have a big impact in the long run. You don’t need to be excessive to build the body you want.

And I can’t hammer home this point enough. The optimal rate of weight loss for improved body composition is about 1.5 to 2 pounds lost per week. This can be achieved with small changes applied over time.

With patience.

Superhuman Strength and Size One Rep At a Time

“I’ve hit a plateau!”

I hear this proclamation dozens of times per month. Guess what? It’s a lie. Here’s why…

Gains slow over time. During your first year of training, strength and size gains come at a furious and fast pace. Muscle is built. Strength is dramatically improved. Arms go from 12 inches to 14 or 15 inches. bench press strength jumps from 95 pounds for reps to 200 for reps.

All is good and right in the world.

And then progress slows. Not stops. Slows. No superhuman strength for you.

it is at this point that people panic. They believe they are ding something wrong. Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Sound the alarm! Program hopping begins. The search the for “magic program” to “re-ignite gains” turns into an epic, Tolkien-esque quest.

Here’s where the real magic lies…

Adding reps.

Sure, gains and progress are easy as a beginner. After that, it’s reality time. We must dig in, dig deep, and push for extra reps. There is superhuman power in rep additions. Let me explain.

Fast forward to your second year of lifting. Your bench press is at 185 pounds for six reps. Progress has slowed. Perhaps, even, you feel that you have hit a plateau. Instead of trying to add weight each week, which was once easy, it’s time to harness the power of small steps forward.

Here, we are going to set a goal of 10 reps. When we can perform 10 reps with a given weight, we will add five pounds to the bar. So, understanding that currently our bench press is 185×8, here’s what would happen if we add only 1, 2 or 3 reps to this set each month. Yes month. Not week or workout.

We will assume that after reaching 10 reps with a given weight, and adding 5 pounds to the bar, your reps drop to an average of 8. For example, once you hit 10 reps with 185 pounds and jump up to 190 pounds, you are only able to perform 8 reps.

  • 1 rep added per month = 12 reps added per year. This yields 6 weight additions per year of 5 pounds, or 30 total pounds to your bench press.
  • 2 reps added per month = 24 reps added per year. This yields 12 weight additions per year of 5 pounds, or 60 total pounds to your bench press.
  • 3 reps added per month = 36 reps added per year. This yields 18 weight additions per year of 5 pounds, or 90 total pounds to your bench press.

Let’s be real here. If you add “only” 30 pounds to your bench for the next 3 years, and you started at 185 for 8 reps, your would hit 275 pounds for 8 reps. This is a one rep max of about 340 pounds!

And this is with seemingly paltry progress.

Can you smell what the Rock is cooking here? Superhuman strength comes through small steps we often view as being trivial.

This “stalling” most post-beginners think they are experiencing is actually very solid progress. What they lack is patience. Small steps forward in reps lead to Herculean strength levels and jumps in size over the long run.

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Name: Steve Shaw

Bio: I don’t believe in magic training systems or rep ranges. My philosophy is simple: remain consistent, use the best possible exercises, focus upon progression and enter the gym looking to maximize each set. When you maximize each set, you maximize progress. Easy, obvious, insanely effective.