TheĀ Inside Out StrengthĀ Blog

Simple and practical strength training, nutrition, and mindset content for the busy dadĀ looking to build muscle and burn fat effectively

The Standard #002 - Fat vs Muscle, Thinking + Acting Big, How To Wait

Apr 25, 2024

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Welcome to another edition of The Standard: The Disciplined Road To Building Stronger Kingdom Men.

It's not enough to wait until the time is right to start getting ready.

If you're waiting to get ready, it might be too late when your opportunity comes.

The standard is to stay ready: physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Neither one is enough on its own. Yet it's also impossible to truly have one without the other.

A man that is strong, healthy, and has the power to change things is a man that puts into practice all Three Disciplines: Body, Mind, and Spirit.

That is why these newsletters will focus on developing all three:

Build Your Temple - Renew Your Mind - Transform Your Spirit

If you're ready to stretch yourself to a higher standard, stick around to answer that call alongside other growth minded men looking to do the same.

All it takes is one decision to change the future for yourself and your family.

Today we're covering Burning Fat vs Building Muscle (which you should focus on first), Big Thinking and Big Action, and How To 'Wait' The Right Way ā¬‡ļø¸

BUILD [Where To Start - Fat vs Muscle]

Should You Focus On Burning Fat or Building Muscle First?

This is a question I get from a lot of clients.

Well let's be real - every client I work with (and man that I talk to) would love to simultaneously build muscle and burn fat with little effort.

While I do believe it's possible to do both - I've seen it happen time and time again with clients - I don't think it's best to focus on doing both.

As the proverb goes "If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one"

Most men that try to focus on both fat burning and muscle building end up taking way longer to accomplish their goals.

If you're following the right strength training program, eating the right quantities and quality of food, and making lifestyle changes - you will burn fat and build muscle.

Most men I work with have at least 10 lbs of fat they could lose and 10 lbs of muscle they could benefit from building.

So if that's you, where should you start?

Both fat burning (cutting) and muscle building (bulking) have their pros and cons.

There's no way around it. 

If you're cutting, you're going to risk losing some muscle.

If you're bulking, you're almost always going to gain some fat with it.

The goal is to minimize the fat gain when adding muscle and to minimize the muscle loss when cutting fat.

That's the goal with all of my clients, and there are specific strategies as it relates to training and nutrition that we use to minimize those side effects.

Generally speaking, here is what I would suggest if you're unsure of where to start (these numbers are geared towards men. If you're a woman reading this the body fat numbers will have to be adjusted):

  • In general most men do really well in a range of 10-15% body fat. This is a very healthy range to be in, is relatively easy to maintain once there, and will be a range you likely feel confident walking around in.
  • If you are >15% body fat, or unhappy with the fat you're carrying, then you'll benefit from focusing on fat burning first. A good starting point is cutting calories by 25% below your maintenance calories. Your goal should be to get close to 10% body fat (or stopping when you're content with how you look and feel and want to switch to maintenance).
  • If you are <10% body fat, or unhappy with the strength and/or size of muscles, then you'll benefit from focusing on muscle building first. To avoid too much fat gain, you can start with adding 10% on top of your maintenance calories and stopping when you get to 15% body fat (or sooner if you are gaining too much fat too quickly and want to focus on leaning up again)
  • If you're unsure of what your body fat is or where you want to start - I generally recommend focusing on fat loss first. Extra fat carries very little health benefits, and by leaning up first you will set yourself up with more confidence as well as more flexibility with nutrition/muscle building down the road.

It's important to note, whichever goal you choose, your results largely hinge on following the right strength training program. Focus on compound lifts and progressively adding strength over time for best results with both muscle building and fat burning

RENEW [Go Big]

Do you need to think bigger or act bigger?

I've been guilty of thinking big without action, and I've been guilty of big action without thinking.

And I can tell you from my experience that neither extreme works well.

Let's take a quick self-assessment. Do you...

  1. Think too much with too little action to back it up?
  2. Act. Act. Act...but fail to plan or stop to think if your actions are really leading you to where you want to go?

If you resonate with number 1 - you might be filled with great ideas. You might even have a pretty good idea of how to execute the plan based on all your research.

But you overanalyze and become paralyzed about where to actually start.

You get obsessed with learning and planning that you fail to ever get started.

If you resonate with number 2 - you are probably someone who makes moves and 'makes things happen'.

But if you're like me, you're really good at starting things and stopping things.

You are always working on some new project or staying deep in the weeds of get stuff done mode.

Now I'm not saying you should never stop things that aren't working - but I'm talking about stopping things too soon.

Stopping because you're bored or the results aren't coming quickly enough.

This will eventually be exhausting to both you and those around you as you continually start and stop new things with very little true traction or momentum.

Being a master at getting things done that don't truly matter won't get you to the life you truly desire.

I was listening to a podcast recently on the life of John D. Rockefeller covering the 38 letters he wrote to his son.

As someone who completely transformed an industry and was a trailblazer for building wealth - what stood out to me was his ability to both think big and act big.

Here Are Some Lessons I Learned From Him That Can Help You Develop The Skills Of Both Big Thinking And Big Action:

  • He didn't just think in terms of 'what should I do next?' He always stayed several moves ahead of his competition.
  • He kept the main thing the main thing. When he set out to take over an area, he didn't water down his efforts by focusing on too much at one time.
  • He was decisive. He didn't always have all the answers, but that didn't stop him from making a decision on what to do next. He thought as long as he needed to, but not any longer, and once he decided his next steps he jumped into immediate action
  • He had an incredible self-belief that he backed up by massive action. If he had any doubt, he overcame it with relentless action.

If you're an 'overthinker' - always stuck planning but never doing - what's one decisive and massive action step you can take today?

If you're an 'overacter' - always stuck in the weeds of action without real long-term momentum - what's a strategic change you can make that will multiply the actions you're taking?


What skills and character growth do you need to develop now in preparation for your next level?

“He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” - Psalms 78:70-72 NIV

I have to guess that there were some days David didn’t want to be a shepherd. That tending the sheep out in the field by himself grew old from time to time. That there were moments where he felt under appreciated and deserving of more.

But David knew how to wait.

Waiting isn't passive, and it doesn't mean sitting around waiting for things to fall into your lap.

It involves patience, discipline, obedience, gratitude, and remaining open minded.

It's a tension between never settling or becoming complacent with not rushing the lessons you need to learn as you wait.

God can change things in a moment: one day David was tending the sheep and the very next day he was told he was going to be King of Israel.

Just like that his situation was forever changed. Yet while God can move in an instant, there’s also another change that’s always happening slowly behind the scenes:

God was building David’s character.

He was teaching him that his skill of shepherding wasn’t just a job, but a skill that he was going to use to lead a nation as their king. He was teaching faithfulness and obedience. He was training his hands for battle. And most of all he was working in David’s heart, building his integrity one day at a time.

Don’t try to rush through where God has you right now and miss what He is preparing inside of you for your next assignment.

What 'sheep' are you tending and skills are you building as God prepares you for something bigger?

Be The Standard,


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