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Fat loss 101: Machine Mode

Monday, February 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

Machine Mode taken to its logical extreme: 0% body fat.

Machine Mode taken to its logical extreme: 0% body fat.

It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

While my primary objective is to terminate body fat and not a human target, my mindset is not too far removed from the above quote when I’m cutting. When I start a cut I lock on to my target and pursue it with single-minded focus until I achieve my goal. Whenever I’m committed to reaching a goal, one of the first things I do is make a fundamental shift in my thinking. I call this technique “Machine Mode”, and it really works.

What is “Machine Mode”? It’s really this simple: I am a machine carrying out my instructions; I can not deviate from the plan because it is not within my capacity to do so. That’s it.

As I’ve often said in the past, fat loss is largely a mental exercise. Your willpower, self-discipline and ability to power through obstacles and temptation are going to determine your success or failure. As you move along in your journey you will be faced with many choices every single day. Some of those choices will be easy (“I’m really in the mood to train, and it’s work out time!), some of choices will be a little more difficult (“I can’t stop thinking about those donuts in the break room!”) and some choice will be downright nasty (“I have a raging headache, I’m tired, I had a bad day at work and I want nothing more than a pizza and a beer!”)

“Machine Mode” is extremely powerful because it acts as an equalizer. When I’m in Machine Mode, all three of the examples I just cited are no different; each carries no more or less weight than the other in my mind. I refuse to give myself any choice when it comes to sticking to the plan. I don’t think, I simply “do”.

Time to eat? I consume my planned meal. The rest of my family is eating pizza? Big deal.

Time to train? I train. Bad day, tired and don’t feel like working out? Irrelevant.

Aside from the obvious benefits of adopting this mindset (I will reach my fat loss goal, and that’s an ironclad fact), there are many other rewards to be had. Do you procrastinate? Do you find yourself making poor choices? Do you often feel lazy and undisciplined? Habits, both good and bad, are simply behaviors repeated so often that they become second nature. Consider Machine Mode training to break away from bad habits and develop positive ones.

I actually find this technique enjoyable and stress-free. Once you eliminate any possibility of making a bad choice, you simultaneously free yourself from the agony of temptation.


This is the sixth in my new series of “Fat loss 101” articles. These articles are designed to help people who may be somewhat new to healthy fat loss, fitness and weight training, but I’ve also attempted to pepper the articles with solid motivational material that will (hopefully!) be useful to just about anyone who’s working towards a leaner, more muscular and healthier body.

You can check out my previous Fat Loss 101 articles here:
Maximizing fat loss progress..
The scale is not nearly as important as you may think.
Dedication and momentum.
How to get a “six pack”.

John Stone Fitness Comments

2 Responses to “Fat loss 101: Machine Mode”
  1. “Habits, both good and bad, are simply behaviors repeated so often that they become second nature.”

    This should be on a wall poster or a t-shirt. Simple, yet true.

    You want to get a good habit? Pick something that’s a good choice, and do it several times.

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  2. John, thanks for these Fat Loss 101 articles. They are great. I’ve read much of your advice over the years and it is nice to see so much of it in one place.

    And now thanks to this article, I will hear this music in my head whenever I am cutting. Mainly the drum beat. da dun, dun, da dun

    Hmm, can’t decide if I like the music from T2 better

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