One of the biggest problems in the fitness industry is the “it worked for me” mentality.

We’ve all got a mate, or follow someone on social media who is incredibly lean and maybe does things in a way we wouldn’t want to do ourselves in order to elicit fat loss.

They swear blind it is because of their protocol, or their supplement stack, or their training plan.

THAT’S what got them lean.

However, what we need to understand is that their method is just that. A method. It is not a principle.

The fundamental principle of fat loss is energy balance (calories in vs calories out)

How we achieve that can vary depending on the method we choose. Whether we choose intermittent fasting, low carb, low fat, carb cycling, doesn’t really matter because ultimately they will all achieve the same thing if energy balance is matched and the method is adhered to.

The key there is “adhered to”.

What you can (or want to) adhere to will be different to everyone else. This is why it is so hard as a coach to see people given generic advice that is based around a favourite method and makes someone’s goal a lot harder than it needs to be.

“I did fasted cardio in the morning and I got lean so you should to” is useless advice to someone who has to get up at 5am for a demanding work schedule yet finishes work at 3pm.


“Fit your cardio into your week whenever you find it easiest to do so” will achieve the same results but will lead to better adherence as they will most likely do it post 3pm.

The fact that cardio is introduced is what is making the difference. The increase in calorie expenditure.

Where it goes in your day does not matter. Just get it in there. That’s what makes the difference.

The method matters not.

The principle is to increase energy expenditure and thus elicit fat loss.

How you do that, whether it’s fasted or non-fasted, high intensity or low intensity, long duration or short duration, just doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

Because the principle is what is important (calorie expenditure) not the method (fasted or non-fasted)

This is not me saying that because it worked for other people that it does not work.

Experience has taught me that a lot of people can get very, very lean using their tried and tested method and will not sway from that. Why would they? They’ve found what works for them.

The fact is everyone has their own method. All the Team Box coaches utilised different methods to achieve the fat loss required to step on stage. Some did more cardio, some ate more fat, some ate more carbs.

I think that the more flexible your methods and the more understanding you have of the basic principle you are trying to achieve (calories in vs calories out), the easier you find the process.

What is important is that you find your method. Use scientific principles to underpin your method, but be flexible with your application of the methods you utilise.

That’s what coaching is. Letting someone else with knowledge and experience co-create YOUR method with you.

Your method shouldn’t be to follow someone else’s method.

That was created for them.

You wouldn’t fit perfectly into someone else’s tailored suit / dress so why are you trying to fit into their nutrition plan?

Credit to the team at Mac Nutrition for a brilliant lecture on the MNU course this week that inspired this blog.