It’s something I talk a lot about but it often goes overlooked. Reason being, no one wants to hear “it depends” as the answer to their questions.
The truth is, it really does depend! When it comes to human metabolism, hormone health, gut health, macros, cardio, strength training, fasting, fat loss, building muscle, and anything else you can think of… IT DEPENDS 🙂
One of my favorite publications of all time that broke this down in a super nerdy, sciency way was done by Bret Contreras and James Krieger. It’s a long read but very well done… https://bretcontreras.com/individual-differences-important-consideration-fitness-results-science-doesnt-tell/
The basic premise is to explain that when we study anything related to health and fitness, individual variance is widespread. Meaning, what works for me, probably won’t work for you, and what works for you, probably won’t work for your best friend or neighbor or spouse.
Here is a summary from the article that explains this perfectly:
”Determining how you respond individually to alterations in training and diet are extremely important in establishing the right pathway to achieving your goals. Just because the research suggests that X is beneficial, doesn’t mean that it is beneficial for YOU. Or, just because another person swears by Y, doesn’t mean Y is beneficial for YOU.
The best fat loss program for you may involve cardio – or it may not. The best strength training program for you may involve deadlifts – or it may not. The best hypertrophy program for you may involve training each muscle group 3 days per week – or it may not. Moreover, what is best for you now may not be best for you next month, or next year, or in the next decade.
There are so many variables to consider, and science is only just beginning to examine how individuals respond to these variables. There are strong genetic components to practically every single variable that impacts your ability to gain muscle, lose fat, increase strength, and improve athleticism. You must, therefore, utilize the scientific method and experiment in order to figure out what works best for you.”
So the question is.. how do I find out what does work for me? Well, first of all, you can self-experiment and pay attention to how you feel and how you respond. Don’t change too many variables at once because you want to be able to pinpoint what is making a difference.
In my opinion, the best thing you can do is hire a nutrition coach to walk you through the process. The key component is being in tune with your body. Programs that just focus on macros and don’t address your biofeedback are really missing the point.
A major red flag is if you’re doing the same thing as everyone else. For example, if you’re trying to lose fat and your fat loss cycle is the same length of time as everyone else in your program, and your reverse is the same, that’s a clear sign that individual variance is being ignored.
The ideal fat loss time might be 4 weeks for you or it could be 8 or it could be 12 or 16. Don’t allow yourself to be put in a box.
Find what works for YOU and it’ll clear up a lot of confusion that you may currently have.