In a new YouTube video, trainer and Athlean-X founder Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. speaks about how losing weight can be as much about finding the right mentality as it is about eating, or exercise. He also lays out the five sayings that he frequently hears from clients which function as "red flags," and let him know that somebody needs to go back to basics in figuring out their weight loss journey.
While there are specific exercises that will help train the muscles in certain parts of your body, when it comes to cutting weight in certain areas, that won't work. "The line of thinking is flawed, and that's what's holding you back," says Cavaliere. "Not only is an exercise not going to be capable of targeting any specific area on your body, but more importantly, it's not about exercise at all, and it never will be—it's about nutrition."
"Not only is cardio notthe main driver of your results, but fasted cardio is actually no better than cardio itself. Though you might burn a higher percentage of fat within the session, you actually burn a lower percentage of fat after the session vs. a fed cardio session. And when it nets all out, you're actually burning the same... Instead, think of cardio as a way of strengthening your heart, and focus your efforts on the deficit through what you put into your mouth. It's always going to come down to nutrition."
Cavaliere argues that while somebody might be able to truthfully say they only eat chicken, fish, salad and oatmeal, it's important not to generalize. There can be a whole range of difference in the nutritional and caloric value of these foods depending on the source: for instance, skinless chicken breast vs. chicken parm, or steamed salmon vs. sushi. "The differences matter," he says, "especially when you're looking to create long-term weight loss."
Whether it's the Atkins diet, the keto diet, the paleo diet, or the South Beach diet, Cavaliere warns that thinking of your nutrition in terms of being "on" or "off" a diet at all isn't sustainable—and this has been true of fads for decades. "If you have a name for how you eat, it's an indicator to me that you've got a short-term solution to your long-term problems," says Cavaliere. "Diet plans are, by nature, short-term fixes... You've got to figure out a way to make this a lifelong lifestyle, if you're looking for that long-term permanent weight loss."
Setting goals can obviously be a hugely helpful and important part of any weight loss and fitness journey, especially in terms of establishing motivation. But similarly to the short-term diet plan problem, having a set deadline or expiration date for your weight loss means you're not thinking about long-term, sustainable change.
"Maybe you talk about a summer cut, but summer's eventually going to turn to fall," says Cavaliere. "Then what happens? Oftentimes, we find ourselves going back to exactly what we did to put ourselves in the situation where we're looking to get in shape again for the next event. You have to look deeper... Find what lies beneath the surface—literally."