Thank you for giving me this opportunity! Growing up I was a pretty competitive athlete and I was always trying to better myself in everything that I did. I was a four-sport athlete in Iowa and became addicted to working out very quickly. I started lifting weights when I was about 15 years old and it happened in a really weird way. In 8th grade, I ended up breaking my right leg in three spots from a cheap hit in a football game. I was devastated and was hard for me to be inactive so the high school football coach approached me and pretty much made me start hitting the weights when my leg was in a cast for 16 weeks. After that, the rest was history. I was always lifting without any clue as to what I was doing. It was quite comical. I trained like that all the way through high school.
Once I was in college, I started to become unmotivated and I had to hit a goal to keep me training alive so I got into competing in a bodybuilding show. Did a show, and the rest is history. When I dieted down for that first show, I was killing myself to get to the stage and I had to cut water and restrict myself to eat certain foods and it was absolutely terrible. I created a temporary eating disorder to where I was bingeing all the time during my prep and everything that I was told to do to get to the stage, didn’t make sense at all. So that’s when I stumbled across Dr. Joe Klemczewski and the flexible dieting approach. After I did a show under his wing, I wanted to preach and teach people that they didn’t have to kill themselves to get to the stage and the results were speaking pretty loudly with my results and with my clients. I ended up starting TNT (Tyler’s Nutrition Training LLC) back in 2010, and join with Dr. Joe and The Diet Doc in 2011 and ever since then it has grown quite a bit. I ended up winning my pro card in the IFPA in 2011 and then started competing in powerlifting shortly after that.
Now I’m helping just about anyone. Since the flexible approach is tailored to that individual, you can pretty much help just about anyone. I help bodybuilders, powerlifters, MMA fighters, Jujitsu competitors, diabetics and just anyone that wants to get nutritionally sound. So I don’t just help bodybuilders.
My business started out small and has grown to the point that I had to quit my full time job to help people out. I have such a huge passion for this, and the demand that is out there for people that are in need of help, I felt that it was my calling to help people out as much as I can full time.
Let’s jump right into nutrition — I know you’re a big advocate of flexible dieting (you convinced me to trust it)–can you give my members a brief of overview of what flexible dieting is and why you believe it’s the most optimal approach to nutrition?
I’m a huge advocate of the flexible dieting but it shouldn’t be abused. The flexible dieting approach is basically you can eat whatever you would like just as long as you can fit the food into your designated macronutrients of the day. Macronutrients are your protein, carbs, and fats. You should count some fiber in there as well. I believe that it’s optimal because you can tailor it to anyone as long as you are hitting your numbers that are prescribed to you and your body. It’s not a cookie cutter layout either. And if you’re reading this and you’re saying, “Macros don’t work for me”, then I hate to tell you this but everyone is eating macros.
It’s simply manipulating your macronutrients to you and what you desire. This is what’s great about it is because if you would like to fit some ice cream into your day or into your numbers, then you can have the ice cream without all of the guilt, you won’t lose progress, and you’ll still lose weight! But you have to ask yourself that if you have the ice cream, can you just stick to that amount without going overboard.
Social media has blown up flexible dieting because everyone is just posting all of the bad foods out there too. It’s not all about eating bad foods, you are just seeing those bad foods on social media because the flexible dieters are just showing that they are still making progress and eating things that you wouldn’t think you could eat and still get lean. I can get very lean while eating ice cream everyday. It’s all what you make of it and the amount of effort you put into it, along with the willingness to learn.
Once you get the concept down and you reach your goal, you have a much higher chance of keeping the weight off permanently! You won’t have to track forever but you will learn a lot about eating, yourself, and you’ll keep the structuring adequate for the rest of your life!
As a diet and training coach what are the biggest myths and misunderstandings that you see and hear from people in the fitness world?
Man, there are so many out there! Some of the biggest ones are that you can eat carbs past a certain time. Which is a huge myth. Part of the reason that carbs get a bad name is because a lot of people don’t eat much during the day because they are so busy and then when they get home and start relaxing with their friends and family, they become more aware that they are pretty hungry and start eating pretty heavily. That’s where the gaining of weight happens. Also, your body doesn’t know what time of day it is. It only knows that you’re tired and ready for bed and knows that you are just waking up to start your day. The same goes for the foods that you eat. Your body doesn’t know that you are eating a pop tart, a doughnut, or ice cream. It only knows protein, carbs, fats, fiber etc. and starts to break all of that day the moment you start to chew your food and digestion begins.
Another common myth is that a lot of people think that if you lift weights, you are going to get really big and bulky. That’s not true either. Hell, if that were the case I would be huge! If you are going to choose between lifting and cardio, definitely choose lifting over hitting cardio. It can help with retaining muscle mass, increase bone density, plus it can help with increase your metabolism some. And that means you’ll be able to eat more food!
I could list off many more but this would be a New York’s Best Seller 😉
Can you talk a little bit about how you construct diet plans for your clients and the process you go through when beginning a plan with new clients?
When someone inquires about my services, I always get a thorough history of what they have been eating, how much of it, lifting, and cardio history. I try and get as much information about the person as possible so that I can suggest the best possible approach for that individual and their needs. Everything is tailored to that person because everyone is different. Once we start the initial program, we begin with the daily monitoring so that I’m mentoring them throughout the process and that the client is learning. I’m constantly assessing and reassessing their progress and making the necessary changes to their diet and exercise. The programs that I give are very in depth and the support I give is something I take pride in.
Most of my members are non-competitors –meaning they just want to look and feel better. How do you construct plans for those folks who aren’t planning on competing and have busier lifestyles? It’s essentially set up pretty similar to someone that just wants to lose weight and feel better. That’s what is great about the flexible dieting approach is that you can tailor it to anyone. By manipulating your macronutrients you can essentially hit any goal you desire as long as you are tracking and hitting your numbers fairly accurately. But I do give some leeway for those that want to enjoy a good meal from time to time. It’s not as cutthroat as a competitor give you don’t have to look a certain way in a certain period of time. So you don’t have to be as hardcore but you still have to keep your goals in check. If you aren’t making the progress you desire, you have to take a step back and be objective and take responsibility about reaching that goal.
Lets quickly address the training aspect of fitness. What are your thoughts on training and maximizing time in the gym?
It really depends on the person’s goal. But I am a big advocate of lifting weights and that goes for women too. You won’t get huge if you lift some weights either! It’s really good for you and if you had to choose between hitting cardio or weights, then weights should be the number one choice. It takes years to get bigger and some serious heavy, consistently lifting while being in a surplus of food.
As far as training progression, progressive overload is great. You want to keep the intensity of the workouts high but again that depends on the goal. I’m a powerlifter and right now I’m just going for pure strength work with little bodybuilding. But once I switch that around, it’ll be more bodybuilding and less strength work but I’m going to try and retain as much strength as I can.
No matter what your goals are, by adding more weight, or more reps, or more sets each week to increase your overall volume, then that’s progress. It takes time and things won’t happen overnight so stay patient with it and stay consistent.
One thing you have to remember is that you don’t have to beat yourself to the ground when you are training just so you “feel” like you are training. Anyone can train hard and kill himself or herself in the gym but you have to ask yourself if it’s optimal. I see it all the time when people want to do cardio type of workouts all the time. They are acceptable when the time is appropriate but not daily otherwise you’re going to burn out quickly. Train smarter, not harder.
What type of training plans should females follow in comparison to males?
I would still keep it fairly similar in comparison but that depends on the person, what their history is, and what equipment they have available to them. I typically give a male a little bit more volume than women because they usually can handle more of it. But, I also tailor it to that individual person based on what they need to work on and improve on. The biggest key with any training program is that you stay consistent and the results won’t come overnight either.
How important is cardio in a training plan?
Again, it really depends on the overall goal. If your goal were weight loss, I would first start off with focusing on the diet and making sure that is 100% in check. And then you can start gradually adding in cardio here and there throughout the process. I would not throw a huge amount of cardio in right out of the gate when you start dieting down. Your body will adapt to that amount of cardio and if you are eating low calories it is going to be very hard to get over plateaus. Use cardio as a tool for fat loss but don’t use it for something to rely on for fat loss. Use it when appropriate.
Any form of cardio is okay but one form that is most optimal is HIIT cardio as long as you are doing it correctly. It does help with overall performance plus you end up burning through more calories within a 24 to 48 hour period. But you have to go all out and keep the intensity very high if you do HIIT sessions. If your goal is weight loss, keep your intake as high as you can while doing the least amount of cardio while keeping progress steady.
If you could give one piece of advice to people just starting a transformation what would that be?
One thing that I always tell my clients is to remember to shoot for progress, not necessarily perfection. Take things one day at a time, make small goals and hit those goals. If you are constantly thinking about hitting a certain weight on the scale and you are 50-100 + lbs away, you can’t get frustrated. You are going to have ups and downs throughout the process. If you take things slow you are going ot reap the benefits in the end. You will have a much higher chance of keeping the weight off permanently, you’ll be eating a lot more food, and you’ll retain more muscle mass. My clients that are the most successful are those that have worked with me for 6+ months and are on everything consistently. Not hardcore, but consistently in letting me know what’s going on. Those are the ones that learn the most and come away with the most out of working with me so that they can utilize that in their everyday lives.
The bottom line is that transformations don’t come overnight. Stick with it, work hard, and never give up.
Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview Tyler! Whats the best way for people to get in touch with you?
I can be reached through my site www.teamtnt.info or www.thedietdocphoenix.com. I’m in the process of making a new site and that’s going to be www.teamtntfitness.com. Also, my email is [email protected]. You can email me anytime!