The Training Corner

Mountain Grit: Training for the Long Haul

Q: Is it true that you cannot out-train a bad diet? Or a BIG healthy diet? I have an active job, and train 3X/ week pretty hard, but can’t seem to move my belt notch. I am stronger and suck less wind, but still carry an extra 30 pounds. Any practical tips? Joe, 45

A: Kudos on your training, Joe. Yup! Fat loss takes place in the kitchen, at the table, the grocery store, the restaurant and take-out. We EAT to get healthier and LEANER. We TRAIN to get healthier, stronger, faster and fitter. They synergize, of course. Like we can’t out-train a big-bad diet, we can’t out-eat lousy training. Simply adding protein, does not foster muscle growth.

Remember, DIET is the SUM total of everything that we eat and drink. It is a style and pattern of eating-drinking. It is NOT something that we go on or off. It has no starting date or ending date. It is a lifestyle of daily practices and habits, that we implement 80-90% of the time. Physique competitors, wrestlers and the like who shred for competition reasons are exceptions.



• Think subtle changes that stick for the long haul, so you don’t need to repeat this process again.

• Start with the easiest DOABLE daily tweak, like ‘drink water at each meal’. Extreme measures are dis-stressors, that physiologically and psychologically ruin fat loss efforts, especially in women. Are those last 5 pounds really worth it? 2.


• Eat REAL food. The Mediterranean, MIND or DASH styles of eating, consisting primarily of plant-based, minimally-processed foods are known for their brainbody health-enhancing properties. If you eat and drink along these lines most of the time, you’re on track.

• Beware that too much of even the healthiest of foods like salmon, nuts, seeds, oils, veggies, fruits, grains, legumes, organic, non-GMO foods, can sabotage fat loss efforts.

• Get sufficient PROTEIN for your age, sex and activity levels; include a protein-rich recovery meal shortly after a high-intensity workout.

• Go to , their Calculator, for guidelines specific to YOU.

• Drink water throughout the day.

• Cut back on the CRAP, the highly-processed 5 Cs of Candy-bars, Cake-cookies [muffins, donuts, pastry], Colas [sodas], Chips, Creams/ dips.

• Keep tabs on the beer and booze. Potential health benefits? Yes, but extra calories, abdominal fat storage and what the heck choices can come with it.

3. The WHY

• Eat the staples for health and fuel. Staples aren’t treats. Treats are special, not the norm.

• On the other hand, emotional and boredom eating require a break-the-behaviorchain strategy. No, you don’t need a psychologist. Simply track why you eat. Retrace your steps and thought processes, and target where in the chain of events, you can change course.

4. The WHEN

• Spread out your food evenly over 2-3 meals within an 8-12 hour window; stick to a schedule 90% of the time. Adults NEED less food, unless they are extremely active or frail.

5. The WHERE and HOW

• Strive to eat at the table or kitchen counter, not the desk, car, or couch.

• Pre-set/serve/order the entire meal with portion-size in mind; no seconds.

• Eat SLOWLY, chew thoroughly and savor each bite.

• Brush and floss immediately after your dinner.


1. Include strength + power training to rev up your metabolic engine, and to preserve and build muscle.

2.Include HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training, at the end of your session or on alternate days. Hills, a bike or rower can do the trick. For example, go very hard [for you] for 10 secs, recover for 20 secs; repeat for 6:00.

3. Steady-state cardio training, additional walking, physical labor and sport ALL boost cardiovascular, respiratory, brain and metabolic health. They can assist in fat loss, but #1+2 amp up our metabolic furnace.

“PERMANENT fat loss is a journey. Put supportive habits in place, and maintenance takes care of itself. When food occupies a small part of your mind space, as in planning and prepping, you’re there!”

Need some coaching? Contact Pat through See previous editions of Mountain Grit for more training tips from Pat.

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