Spies, Friends, and Fitness (Part II)

Greetings Everyday Spy,

Many of you know my exercise scientist friend, Alex. Alex is the founder of DefiningDadBod.com and the Defining Dad Bod Podcast.

Alex is one of the close friends I regularly talk to, no matter where I am in the world. 

He and I are opposites in many ways.
    – I am spontaneous; he is structured.
    – I work ceaselessly; he sets boundaries.
    – I prefer text message; he prefers email.

But the ways we are alike is what keeps us in contact, despite thousands of miles and multiple time zones.
    – I believe all people are capable of greatness; so does Alex.
    – I believe knowledge is the ultimate advantage; so does Alex.
    – I believe in leaving this world better for my children and my children’s children; so does Alex.

I recently invited Alex to share some of his knowledge with EverydaySpy.com.

His first article debunked myths about low intensity training, an exercise methodology I use in my everyday life. In an era of salespeople pushing high-intensity training, it is nice to bring some balance to the force.

One of the many things Alex and I talk about is the way the fitness industry is betraying its core values for profit. It promises health and independence but sells people bad-habits and over-reliance.

Understanding why fitness professionals compromise their personal ideals for profit margin is a powerful lesson in espionage. 

Trainers and coaches find themselves trapped between two worlds.
    – In one world, they want you to meet your health/fitness goals and take ownership of your own future.
    – In the other world, they want to keep selling you their product/service; they don’t actually help you reach your goals but instead keep you hopeful and dependent on them.

In the spy game, we call the first world ‘being in control.’ The second world we call ‘being controlled.’

The fitness industry is one of the most lucrative industries in the United States.

  • It generates $30 billion a year in US revenue and $80 billion a year in global revenue.
  • It increases by nearly 5% a year with 15 years of projected growth still ahead.
  • 42 million Americans have a health/fitness subscription; 64% of Americans use that membership less than twice a week.

For you math junkies out there, that means the average American adult today spends $714 a year trying to meet health and fitness goals. And they are paying more each year.

The goal in espionage is to always get more than you give.

But service is exactly the opposite – you want to give more than you get. 

So I asked my friend Alex to give us more knowledge. And he said ‘yes.’

See why we are friends? Here is what shared with me…

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“What workout burns the most calories?”

Let me answer your question with a question…

“Are you interested in calories or are you interested in results?” 

As a fitness professional, father of two, and husband with a decent six-pack, people are surprised when I tell them I don’t waste my time counting calories.

Could I? Yes. 

Will I? Well, not when there are better things I can do to achieve great health, a solid physique, and sustainable change.

**Sidenote: According to exercise research, Cross Country Skiing has the highest calorie burn per hour. So if you really want to add up some calories you may need a ski pass!**

Gym gurus, health magazines, and YouTube celebs tell you that to get fit you have to burn more calories than you consume, right?

Just eat less and exercise more and you’ll get healthier, your clothes will fit better, and you’ll reach your fitness goals. Celebration time, selfie time, and we’ll hear the theme song to Rocky in the background!

In reality, you’ll feel hungry most of the time, feel too drowsy to enjoy your night-club cloths, and struggle to maintain any gains you make. You can try if you like, but I’ve got 13 years of coaching science, genuine results, and transformed lives to back me. 

Calorie calculations and food apps don’t matter if the fitness process doesn’t change you for the long haul.

Let’s break it down.

     Adaptation vs. Expenditure

In sports nutrition, 6 weeks of body composition change is simple math. 

You want to drop 3 lbs.? Well, at 3500 calories per pound of fat, you need to burn approximately 10,500 calories. Tap that into a calculator and you’ll discover you need to burn about 250 calories more than you consume each day to reach your goal. (Cue Rocky theme song…) 

Easy, right?

Sure, but that “sports nutrition” guidance was designed to create temporary change only. That’s the fine print that fitness bloggers leave out of their write-up. 

It’s like “making weight” for a wrestling match or “shredding muscle” before a body-building competition; a short-term fix that only works for a limited period of time.

Long term health revolves around sustainable fat loss through muscle growth, which is a bit more complicated but a whole lot healthier! 

I’m a parent. A day spent chasing my four year old and changing my baby’s diapers doesn’t leave much time or energy to track what goes into my face. 

Lucky for me, there is an alternative.

While it is true that exercise burns calories, exercise is also a powerful engine to drive change. Not just temporary change, but real, permanent physiological change. 

These changes are called adaptations and they occur at every level of your body: hormonal, cellular, and even molecular. 

Adaptations are the key to reaching the long term goals you and I both have. Like looking good during NEXT summer’s vacation; keeping up with your children (or grand-children) for those magic years; or staying off prescription medications.

Real fitness focuses on adaptations that change your body for the long-haul; fake fitness focuses on spreadsheets and app notifications. 

Expenditure, the number of calories you’re burning, will change from workout to workout depending on your exercise intensity. But adaptations are something you carry with you long after the workout ends. 

Yes, you can burn more calories today by increasing intensity. Yes, you can fast or pass on high-calorie foods to ensure you end the day on the right side of your caloric balance sheet.

Or you can train in a way that changes your metabolism, increases your human growth hormone, and aids your natural sleep cycle.

If I’m remembering freshman calculus correctly, I think that’s called ‘exponential gain.’

It’s the same reason I teach my boys how to tie their shoes. I love helping them – and I love being needed – but I love watching them gain independence more.

Don’t waste your time counting calories. Focus your effort on exercises that make your body adapt:

    – Weight-bearing exercises that create muscle growth.
    – Cardio that pushes your heart through multiple levels of intensity.
    – Dynamic movements and require major muscle groups to work in synch.

Too many people focus on burning calories today, tomorrow, and the next day. 

And a year from now they will still be stuck in the same cycle; married to the same spreadsheet; discouraged before spring break and sleepless during the family holiday season.

I want more for you.

I throw my four-year-old in the air and catch him over and over again almost every day. He loves it. 

Sure, I expend calories. But that is not the real benefit. 

The real reason I push myself to toss him higher and higher, until my shoulders ache and my triceps burn, is to adapt to the life I always wanted. The chance to be a proud father with a joyful child and a house full of laughter.

Adaptations — long-term changes created by your workouts — are life changing.

Do what changes you. 

Until next time, 

Coach Al from Defining Dad Bod

Kick Butt. Take Names.

———————————-TEAR LINE—————————————

I always learn something new when I talk to Alex.

If you enjoyed reading what Alex had to say, send me a note at info@everydayspy.com (you can include Alex on the email too if you like: coachal@definingdadbod.com)

This is important!

Alex and I know that health and fitness is important to a lot of people. And just like I taught you in FIRST STRIKE, fitness can get people emotional.

If you are reflecting on your fitness right now, that’s a GOOD THING – but DO NOT GET EMOTIONAL!

Don’t go out and buy a fitness product right now – not from Amazon, a local gym, or even from DefiningDadBod.com

Alex and I have a plan to bring you FREE fitness resources here, at EverydaySpy.com. Join the newsletter and follow me on social media to make sure you get the newest updates.

Godspeed, #EverydaySpy

Author: Andrew Bustamante, Founder of www.EverydaySpy.com. Andrew is a former covert CIA Intelligence officer, decorated US Air Force Combat Veteran, and respected Fortune 500 senior advisor. Learn more from Andrew on his Podcast (The Everyday Espionage Podcast) and by following @EverydaySpy on your favorite social media platform.