Nothing annoys me more than when I hear self-assuming “health experts” (who are out of shape) tell people that “to lose weight they have to have reduce their calories

I’ve have trained a heck lot of people lose fat. Most of which had to eat more food and more calories to achieve fat loss.

And guess what?

None of them ever counted or worried about calories and they successfully lost weight.

If I’m helping someone with a contest diet, it’s almost always a case of getting them to eat more (especially females).

Whilst calories “count” to a certain degree, what counts more is where are those calories come from…

A calorie is not a calorie…

I see the human body as a chemistry set. When we put certain foods in our body there are different hormonal reactions. This is why someone can eat 3000 calories and lose weight whilst others can have 1500 calories and get fatter.

The best book I’ve ever read on the topic is Gary Taubes’ masterpiece Good Calories Bad Calories. I’ll be the first to admit that this book is a very difficult read; it documents all the science and research (and politics) that are behind the scenes of “calories in versus calories out” theory.

I would strongly suggest you take an hour out of your week to watch this amazing presentation by Gary Taubes:

Gary raises so many good points and backs everything up with a mountain of research.

One of my favourite quotes about calories comes straight out of The Handbook of Obesity, 1998:

Obesity is caused by overeating and or sedentary behaviour – i.e. positive calorie balance – but a negative caloric balance rarely seems to work. Dietary therapy remains the cornerstone of treatment and the reduction of energy intake continues to be the basis of successful weight reduction programs. The results of dietary therapy are known to be poor and not long lasting.

My question is, why even bother with it? Counting calories promotes an incorrect mindset towards “weight loss” and health. The mindset is “I can eat a little bit each day”. In fact, programs by Jenny Craig give you points for “being good”. “Being Good” implies you are only eating healthy so you can allow your self to eat poorly later. There is no such thing as being “good” – it’s called health!

The mindset I teach can be summarised as:

I only eat foods that give my body real nourishment.”

“Food is never a reward or a punishment”

“I CHOOSE the foods I eat – and decide what not to eat – there is never any guilt as I am in control of the decisions I make”

So what do you think? Do you still believe a calorie is a calorie in the conventional way?

Maximus Mark

7 Responses

  1. Hi Mark,

    I agree with the comments around calories, as I have gotten into the best shape of my lfie and not onces counted calories, eating clean has been my focus.  I was also listening to your podcast about the primal diet, and how grains are a slow poison, which is fine I don’t eat bread or pasta etc.  Understanding that carbs which keep below 100g per to stay lean, most of which is a couple hours before and immediately after my workout, what food would you use that would provide this carb intake that is healthy? I have been using oats 2hrs before and carbs in a protien shake after (which would be sugars and fructose).  Correct my if I am wrong but carbs and therefore inslulin aids in tranporting what your muscle needs as well as energy creation.

    Appreciate your opinion.


    1. This issue is not as black and white as most people make it… please refer to Dr Di Pasquale in this interview here:

      As for carbs I would use sweet potato, pumpkin, berries or rice if lean enough, and if super lean, honey.

      Hope that helps.

      I dont recommend powdered carbs as so many others in industry… I know this goes against grain- For 80% they get fatter… only very few people get leaner and bigger with powdered carbs after training… very few.

      The insulin issue is not black and white, again, listen to the podcast to see what I am referring to.

      1. Thanks Mark,  The idea of insulin sensitivity after the workout and the benefits of not having carbs after a workout has blown my mind.  Would you recommend the Anabolic Solution for Bodybuilders?

        1. Again, its not black and white… For me, yes… a profound yes! I have fats not carbs after training.. however their are many who simply dont function that way for what ever reason… so whats the answer… test both for 6 months… See which is best for you… carbs for me gets me fat, fats on the other hand gets me bigger and stronger! There is no one answer for every person… “Grey is the best place to be!”

          1. Thanks Mark, I get what your saying, different tolerances to carbs.  I was starting to cut down my carbs before and after training, but I’ll try keeping before the same and after I will only have fats and proteins.  I’ll train my body to use dietry fats for fuel and then stored fat when appropriate once it has adapted.  I’ve been trying the Carbs method for 5 months and have made some muscle gains (1.5kg), but fat also(2kg).

            Thanks for the clarification. 

          2. Would you recommend Dr Di Pasquale books? more specifically the Anabolic Solution for Bodybuilders? 

          3. I would recommend you read it… and possibly give it a ago and see if its for you

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