When we look at behaviour modifications (B-Mods) on the internet, we often see very black and white statements:
“Always consume breakfast”
“Don’t eat carbohydrates at night”
“Eat 5+ meals per day”
And blah, blah, blah. Forget the fact the a lot of this rhetoric is just plain wrong in many cases, but these b-mods lack individualization and context.
For instance my mom, who is awesome by the way, is a nurse. She used to be a pre-natal nurse and she had to work shift work. This meant working evenings. So she would start work at night, then come home early in the morning, and sleep for much of the day. How would the b-mods above have worked for her!?
She would be breaking every rule out there, but she still managed to survive!
Any type of behaviour modification needs to be something that can be customized to an individual. If they aren’t customizable, throw them out, because they’re trash. This means that eating breakfast all the time and never eating carbs at night are simply poor choices.
The b-mods above can both be re-structured in a way that might work for some people.
“Eat breakfast if you are hungry in the morning and find it helps you stave off hunger in the midday.”
“Eat carbs whenever it’s most convenient for you. If you are focusing on performance, make sure you’re all fuelled up for your training sessions.”
These might be a little more broad, but we can customize them to meet anyones needs. For instance if have a gentleman named Sam, 35, who works shift work and is looking to gain muscle. He doesn’t have a large appetite and his work is very active, which further increases his metabolism. Here is how the above b-mods would look for him:
“Eat within 2 hours of waking.” This is so you can begin getting calories back in your body, and keep you anabolic.
“Eat carbs at every meal.” You are lifting a lot and your work requires a lot of manual labour. You need to make sure you aren’t carb depleted otherwise your performance at work and in the gym will suffer and it’ll be harder to reach your goals.
You can see that I really changed the b-mods because the originals just weren’t particularly useful. Now we have some other simple b-mods that can be applied to pretty much anyone. Let’s look at an example of someone else with a totally different lifestyle and goals.
Clarice works a normal 9-5. She’s in her late 20’s. Her goals are to burn some fat and maintain her gym lifts. She’s worked a few year to get her lifts to a 200lbs squat, a 110lbs bench, and a 235lbs deadlift. She’s currently 154lbs. She hates eating in the morning. Her b-mods might be:
“Have your first meal in the late morning or lunch time.”
“Eat your carboydrates for the meals that you are most hungry.” She still isn’t super hungry around noon, so she usually gets protein and veggies in then. But later on in the evening around her training, she loves to consume some carbs. She can stick with the behaviour modification of eating carbs later on in the evening.
Since she wants to lose weight and a large part of her diet used to consist of carbohydrates, we’d have to limit her daily carb intake to help create her calorie deficit.
The number of b-mods is really endless, because one might work wonders for you and be completely useless for someone else. As a coach I have a lot of different ones that I like to apply to many people I work with. However, I create a lot on the fly b-mods as well because I get to know very precise details about some of my clients and I can design b-mods specifically for them that will help target their weaknesses.
B-mods should be sustainable. If they are unsustainable, they aren’t really behaviour modifications, they’re strict, and severe dietary restrictions that will serve short-term to hit a specific goal. Telling someone “never eat carbs” or “eat 6 times per day” are good examples of unsustainable b-mods.
Will they work? Sure, but why create new behaviours that you know won’t be sustainable for a long period of time? Use b-mods that you can picture yourself doing in 5, 10 years from now. If they are too daunting to you, you’re not going to adhere to it long-term.
A quick tangent/rage here. This is why most of the shitty physique athletes you see selling “coaching” on social media are complete garbage. They do one show, they get given a crash diet for 3-4 months, they get super lean, and then people start asking them how to do it. The diets they use/sell are completely unsustainable, they’re miserable, but they work (short-term). These people don’t understand how to actually create sustainable b-mods. They don’t understand client awareness or behaviour. So when you see these people move on! Rage: done.
So there you have it! You now have a better understanding of what b-mods are. What makes a good one and bad one. You understand that these b-mods are customizable to each individual. You also know that you may have b-mods that will work amazingly for you, but not so much for other people. So get out there and find some b-mods that are going to work best for you!