You CAN Out-Train A Bad Diet. Here’s How.

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You hear “you can’t out train a bad diet” quite a bit in the fitness world. I used to think it was true until recently. Now I realise it’s complete and utter BS.

Of course It’s possible to out train a bad diet.

I discovered the secret.

It all came about as a result of a week I spent in Spain at the IPF International Coaches License. It was in a resort village where all our meals were prepared for us each day.

The quality of them was… not what I’d be used to anyway.

Massive quantities of carbs for breakfast

Bowls full of pasta for lunch.

Pizza and bruschetta almost every night for dinner.

I was just coming off the back of a pre long diet (18.5% down to around 13%) so was expecting to come back fat and out of shape. You can imagine my surprise when I came back leaner.

It kind of makes sense – every morning I was up stretching and moving, each day had a 2 hour training session, and on top of that we spent 90 minutes to 2.5 hours working technique and various assistance exercises.

I didn’t just survive. I thrived. The massive influx of  calories did WONDERS for my recovery and energy (funny, that).

There we are... the new IPF internationally licensed coaches

There we are… the new IPF internationally licensed coaches

LESSONS LEARNED AND  CALORIES EARNED
I took the lessons home with me and decided to run an experiment – no food tracking, except for protein. Get in a minimum of 200g per day, and let whatever happens from there happen.

I’ve been at it the last month, and even though I’m consuming A LOT of calories (weekly average 3,500-4,000 per day) my body fat continues to drop (it’s at 12.4% now).

An average week will probably see 4-5x intakes of fast food, and daily consumption of chocolate, high carb and calorie dense snacks.

In theory, I’m doing everything wrong. But it’s working.

THE “SECRET”
Here’s how you can do it too;

– complete a weekly training workload that gives you approximately 20,000 lifts per year (that means 4x 2 hour training sessions, and 1x 45 minute training session)

– eat 70-80% good, and the rest in chocolate format (more on that in a minute)

– sleep 9+ hours a night

– get a dog and walk them daily

– be prepared to shit 3-4x per day

– say goodbye to mental function due to fatigue

– work a high energy job where you’re on your feet most of the day

Now that you know the secret, it doesn’t sound much fun eh?

So you can do that…

…or just don’t eat like a small child.

IS MY DIET REALLY “BAD”?
Here’s the thing – even though I’m eating “bad” food daily, I’m also consuming some amazing nutrient dense meals too. An average day is something like this;

Meal 1: homemade granola, yoghurt and berries

Meal 2: 2x turkey burgers with a plate full of prepared salad (not lettuce, actual veg)

Meal 3: protein bar preworkout, protein shake post workout + mars bar or similar

Meal 4: usually some kind of junk food (I’d Five Guys on Wednesday and MaccyDs last night)

Meal 5: 2x turkey burgers with a plate full of prepared salad (not lettuce, actual veg)

Snacks: whatever happens, happens – some days more, some days less. Usually theres something like 300-600kcals of chocolate / high sugar stuff in there, maybe 500-750ml of mooju too

Reviewing that “diet” – it’s not actually that “bad”. If you only ever saw me in Costa or eating out, you’d probably think to yourself  “James is a fucking pig” (and I am, don’t get me wrong) but what you’d be missing is how good my food is for the rest of the day.

Meals 1, 2 and 5 are exceptionally good quality. Very lean meats, very high quality carb sources and full of micronutrients. In fact, if I was dieting I probably wouldn’t change much other than stripping out the fast food.

With regards to the composition – I like granola for breakfast. It’s quick, easy and puts some food in me.

I don’t really enjoy eating carbs at main meals the rest of the time because there’s too much prep involved for now (yes, boiling rice or roasting sweet potato is too much for me at the moment) so I buy freshly prepared salads from good deli counters and keep the fridge stocked.

Post workout, once I get my good quality recovery calories in, I feel like a thousand  additional fast calories isn’t a big deal.

Then, at the end of the day myself and Sarah will usually eat together and have something quite good again.

BUT, there’s only one single reason why I can get away with that. And if you have to ask “I wonder if I could too” then the answer is probably no.

This is how it feels sometimes doing it...

This is how it feels sometimes doing it…

Here’s why…

USING TRAINING TO COMPENSATE FOR TOO MUCH LACK OF DISCIPLINE
…I wrote that fucked up sentence for a reason. It doesn’t make sense. Just like trying to out train a bad diet.

See, the training I’m doing at the moment is absolutely BRUTAL.

It is horrific, exhausting and crippling. The volume is more than I’ve ever used before and it’s kicking lumps out of me. The calories and sleep are the only reason I’m surviving.

It’s not enjoyable, but it’s for a purpose (IPF Leinster Open January 21st 2017).

The impact is that elsewhere in life I’ve limited mental and physical resources. That’s ok for me  because I run a gym and know exactly what I need to do each day. But if I was sitting in front of spreadsheets for 8-10 hours a day again, there’d be no hope. My body wouldn’t be able to handle it.

So what’s my point in all of this?

HOW PEOPLE “OUT TRAIN” A BAD DIET
When you see someone eating junk food that’s still in good shape, there’s probably one or more of these factors at play;

– the junk food you see them eat makes up the majority of the kcals for the day and isn’t a good indicator of the other 23.5 hours (this is the #1 reason)

– they’re training with such a high volume and intensity that they get away with it

– they do morning and evening cardio to “punish” themselves for eating bad

– they’re taking some other extraneous hormone supplement that allows them to get away with it

(side note: did you know they did a study where they gave some dudes steroids and others none, the guys who got steroids and sat on the couch gained MORE muscle than the natural drug free guys did in the gym over a 6-12 week period)

Can you out train a bad diet?

Of course you can.

It’s just EXTREMELY inefficient, pointless and detrimental unless it’s part of a bigger goal.

It makes a whole lot more sense to take a smart, sustainable approach to it. But you knew that already. You were just hoping there was some magic secret you’d missed until now.

There isn’t.

BUT if you do want to find out how to get strong, have more energy and lose weight from your stomach and love handles, I want to invite you to come do a 90 minute personal training session and free week of training with me and the team in RevFit. I won’t natter on too much about it today, just go here and check out what you get: http://revolutionfitness.ie/your-revfit-trial

TL;DR – sometimes you have to eat everything around you to survive a training cycle, it’s rarely a good idea to train that hard, but sometimes its a necessary evil.

…oh and your favourite IG start and their 10,000kcal day is full of shit

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Want to come try a few sessions with us? Click the pic to book a session on us right now 🙂

James Hanley

Strength Coach. Performance Specialist. Dog Lover. Powerlifter. And the guy behind the scenes in RevFit that keeps the plates spinning.