Category Archives: burn fat

Top 5 Nutrients to Fight Stubborn Belly Fat

Fat to thin transition
Every year when swimsuit season approaches, millions of people scramble to lose their belly fat.
The midsection is one of the most challenging areas to lose weight in and one of the unhealthiest places to gain it. (See Why Crunches Alone Won’t Burn Belly Fat.)
Research over the past few years suggests that the belly fat surrounding the abdominal organs (visceral fat) is potentially the most harmful type of fat. It appears to decrease the sensitivity of insulin receptors on cells while increasing the likelihood of insulin resistance. Over time, this can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
Fat around the abdomen can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes for fighting belly fat, but adding the following nutrients to your diet can help you tighten things up. (If you’re already at a healthy weight, adding them can give you more energy and help you feel better overall.)
You can get these nutrients from supplements, but your body will absorb them better from healthy foods. (See Are There Foods to Help You Lose Belly Fat?)

Vitamin C

People with high levels of vitamin C burn more fat during exercise than people with low levels, according to a study out of Arizona State University. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps with the formation of collagen (a protein that helps build muscle tissue), immune function, and proper metabolism of fat.


Found in yogurt, fermented vegetables, and kombucha tea, these friendly bacteria increase immunity. They also help the body digest fats and carbohydrates, as well as absorb and make good use of nutrients.
In addition, probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of ghrelin and leptin—the hunger and hunger-suppressing hormones, respectively—so you’re hungry only when your body needs nourishment.


This is the spicy compound that gives jalapenos their kick. It not only promotes saliva flow, it may also help boost your metabolism. (See also The 6 Most Promising Weight-Loss Supplements.)
Capsaicin has been shown to cause thermogenesis (heat production) in the body, promoting fat loss. It may also reduce appetite and shift the body from burning carbohydrates to burning fat.

Vitamin D

Sunlight is the natural source of this powerful fat-soluble vitamin, which is needed in appropriate amounts to maintain physical, mental, and emotional health.
Vitamin D may also help you lose fat by regulating blood sugar and decreasing the risk of developing insulin resistance—a condition where the body stores glucose in the blood as fat, rather using it to provide energy to cells.
Along with regulating your hunger hormones and boosting your mood, Vitamin D can help cut down on emotional eating. People tend to eat more when their mood is low. (Athletes: See Why You Need Vitamin D in Your Diet.)


The benefits of fiber go far beyond improving regularity. In addition to relieving constipation and reducing bloating, fiber may also be a powerful fat-buster. (But Can You Eat Too Much Fiber?)
When fiber is added to meals containing carbohydrates, it reduces the glycemic load on the body. It then slows the spike in blood sugar and insulin so it takes less time to break down carbohydrates into simple sugars. This keeps energy levels up and helps prevent overeating.
Remember, though—to lose fat, you can’t just take vitamins. You must practice a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, plenty of sleep, and a sensible eating plan.
Before you add these nutrients to your diet, check with your doctor.

10 Easy Ways to Lose Weight Without Starving

10 Easy Ways to Lose Weight Without Starving
You can stage a coup on calories without ruining your life or eating a single rice cake: Just follow this simple advice.

The no-diet, no-workout plan that is better than running 5 miles a day! Check out The Lean Belly Prescription.
Way #1
Always Eat a Man’s Breakfast
No more Lucky Charms—you want some protein and fat. Scrambled eggs and a few sausage links will keep you fuller longer than an airy doughnut will.
Way #2
Eat More!
We’re talking three good snacks and three healthful meals. But what do you serve during the bowl game if you can’t have chips and dip? Mixed nuts—especially almonds—will satisfy your craving for something crunchy while helping to build muscle.
Way #3
Just Say No to Starches
Foods like pasta, white bread, and potatoes make you fat. If you must have pasta, make yours whole-wheat. Same goes for bread, and swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes. Just don’t eat too much!

A perfect example of a great swap are these crispy sweet potato fries. You’ll never go back to regular potatoes.
Way #4
Lift Weights
Yes, you have to hit the gym, and no, lifting beer cans during happy hour doesn’t count. The muscles you build will not only improve your performance, they’ll stoke your metabolism so you burn calories long after your workout is over.

Way #5
Think Before You Eat
Don’t just stuff your face with the stale cookies left over from the holidays, eat what tastes good and what’s good for you. Take your time eating; you’ll stay fuller longer.

Here are 7 ways to harness your hunger from a grumbling stomach.
Way #6
But Have Fun Once in a While—or Once a Week
Stifle those cravings for too long, and you’ll be miserable and might fall off your new plan forever. Just splurge reasonably—two slices of pizza, not the whole thing.

Way #7
Go Low-Carb
It’s the easiest way to drop weight fast. The cravings are hard at first, but it gets easier—especially when you see the results.

Way #8
Run Intervals
It’s easier to alternate between hard and easy running instead of going for a long run—especially if you don’t like running. Plus, you’ll be done faster and burn more fat.

Break your speed limits by boosting your speed with intervals. You’ll not only get faster, but your gut with flatten in no-time.
Way #9
Never, Ever Drink Sweetened Soda
But go ahead, have a glass of wine now and then. Low-carb beer is fine, too, in moderation.

Way #10
Don’t Fear Fat
It makes you feel full, helps control your appetite, and your body needs it.

Of course, some fat is good while others are bad. See How Fat Attacks, and how you can make it work for you.

2 Ways to Lose Fat, Only 1 Way to Get Ripped

2 Ways to Lose Fat, Only 1 Way to Get Ripped
It’s that time of year, when even the most anti-cosmetic guy thinks a little bit less about his lifting totals and a little bit more about how he looks in his spandex lifting suit.
If that just made you throw up in your mouth, or made you want to punch me in the face, you don’t have to keep reading.
Then again, maybe maintaining your functional lean muscle mass and strength while dropping some non-functional fat will allow you to perform better in a lower weight class, thus giving you a competitive advantage.
At the very least, it could help you improve your health profile, prolong your career – and maybe even your life – if that type of insignificant stuff matters to you? Unless of course, you’re still just a teenager at heart that thinks immortality awaits everyone.
We’re  fighting an uphill battle in Y2K America. Every human being shares a common problem, and current statistics prove only a very small percentage are able to overcome it.

Fat Loss Nemesis

2 Ways to Lose Fat, Only 1 Way to Get Ripped
Your biggest enemy in the war against body fat may be the one that you’re not even aware of – it is , or more accurately, your internal instincts.
Make no mistake about it – human beings are preprogrammed to overeat.
There was no portion control for most of our existence. When you had access to food, you ate it, and stocked energy reserves to prepare for times when you didn’t have access to it.
Going crazy at an all-you-can-eat buffet is not weakness or a cheap way to bulk up. It’s simply a survival instinct. That may be cool during the off-season, but it’s a liability when trying to cut the fat.
In an environment where resources are limited, and food is real and scarce, this natural tendency to overeat leads to survival.
In an environment with unlimited access to highly refined, fake foods, it leads to chronic overeating, and the health and body fat struggles associated with living on the wrong side of excess.
I don’t care what the ADA says the arbitrary serving size of a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles is (3/4 cup), human instinct dictates it’s the whole damn box.
When you combine the natural evolutionary instinct to overeat with the following:

  • Refined foods that have weak effects on the hormones that regulate appetite and energy intake.
  • Unlimited access to those foods (The 5 AM mocha and muffin run to the 3 AM post-drinking taco truck stop).

You have yourself one big, modern problem – an obese country with biomarkers of health that resemble the zombie apocalypse in an episode of The Walking Dead.
When analyzing the root causes of this problem, it becomes clear there are two different ways you can lose fat and get on the right side of the energy balance equation.

Fast Loss Strategy #1 – The Food Choices Route

2 Ways to Lose Fat, Only 1 Way to Get Ripped
I don’t want to beat a dead horse. I’d rather indulge my inner Francophone and eat it. I mean, look at the nutrition analysis and essential fatty acid profile of 1 pound of raw horsemeat:

But alas, horsemeat is not available in my city yet. I’d have to pull up stakes and move to Quebec and kick it with Coach Thibaudeau. Sadly, that would also require swapping my striped Hotskinz unitard for a throwback Quebec Nordiques jersey. Sorry Thibs, not going to happen.
For now, I’ll have to settle for kicking that dead horse one more time.
Improving your food choices is the healthiest and easiest (after a rough transition phase) way to lose fat. It’s also the most sustainable approach for the long-term.
If you hate counting calories, calculating macronutrient percentages, measuring and tracking foods, etc., your  choice is to start making better food choices. It’s way too instinctual and easy to overeat refined foods.
It’s much harder to overeat real foods. I’d argue it’s almost impossible. Without any tracking or measuring, I’ve had female clients struggle to eat 1200 calories a day and male clients had a similar problem getting 2000 calories a day when cutting out all refined foods, and only eating real, natural foods.
They couldn’t believe how so much food volume led to so few total calories. That’s the beauty of real food.
Here’s the thing: fat boys like to eat (they used to call me Baby Sumo, so I’m not trying to be a jerk).
A client of mine called me last night complaining about having to eat too much for dinner. What was on the menu?
It was 3/4 pound of top round steak and 2 pounds of potatoes. Remember, my overall approach is to eat lighter during the day and eat the majority of calories and carbs at night – which allows us, at least once a day, to satisfy that natural urge to feast like a beast.
That’s a crap-load of food to eat; yet it’s still less than 1500 calories. No late night, starvation-induced binges here.
This guy couldn’t lose weight when he was on his ketogenic, unlimited fat diet pouring oils on everything. Why?
Refined oils are much easier to overeat than real food, so he was always in a caloric surplus despite treating carbs like rat poison.
On his new plan, he’s lost 50 pounds.

Simple Eating Templates

2 Ways to Lose Fat, Only 1 Way to Get Ripped

  • If you’re sedentary, eat like a caveman: animal proteins, vegetables, whole fruits, whole food fats (nuts, shredded coconut, avocado), and muddy pond water.
  • If you’re active, follow the patterns of a Japanese village-style diet, which simply means adding in some low sugar, gluten-free starches to the above caveman diet to support anaerobic training: sweet potatoes, potatoes, or rice.

Now I’m sure I’m going to get some nit-picker saying something like epidemiological research shows no culture has a universal diet and food intake varies across geographical locations, etc. My response?

  • When was the last time you got laid? Seriously? And Palmela Handerson doesn’t count.
  • “Themed” approaches to eating aren’t meant to be 100% historically accurate dogmatic scrolls. They’re simply educational tools to give people simple templates to remember.

The bottom line is that emphasizing lean proteins, vegetables, whole fruits, whole food fats, and a select few starch foods if you strength train is good advice regardless of historical era or geographical location.

Fat Loss Method #2 – The Portion Control Route

2 Ways to Lose Fat, Only 1 Way to Get Ripped
Here’s the tough love reality: That’s why people are always shocked, or even offended, when I give my honest opinion about certain food choices.

They suck.
If I didn’t list it, I don’t like it. And the list is relatively small. But remember, I’m not the be-all-end-all of nutrition. To paraphrase the Dude, well, that’s just my opinion, man.
And for a lot of people, a full-blown real-foods diet may seem too restrictive or extreme.
There are some people out there who just don’t want to eat better, despite their knowledge of the health effects of food. It’s mind blowing to me. But I get it at some level – refined foods and sugar have drug-like effects. Like any addict, we scour the earth for justifications for including them into our plans.
Some people just aren’t going to give up their cereals, wheat bread sandwiches, fruit juices, high n-6 cooking oils and salad dressings, pastas, etc., no matter what. Fair enough.

Fake Foods and Real Instinct Don’t Mix

If you think you can take an instinctual approach to eating while making less-than-ideal food choices, you’re in for a rude, belly fat awakening. See beaches and poolsides everywhere.
Because it’s so easy to overeat refined foods, you’ll have to do the ol’ measuring, calorie counting, macro-calculating, and tracking thing if you have any real shot at dropping a visually significant amount of body fat.
My ears are already ringing from all the complaints.
Quit whining. Damn, am I talking to a T-Man or my Auntie? If you don’t want to eat real foods, you’re going to have to measure your fake foods.
I like to make fat loss as easy as possible for people, but you can’t be completely lazy and expect to achieve goals. If you refuse to fight one battle, you’re going to have to fight another one. You can’t win a war from the sideline.
Besides, all it really takes is one extra step. If you’re on a carb-based diet, is it backbreaking to pour your cereal or pasta into a measuring cup first instead of directly into a bowl?
If you’re on a low carb, fat-based diet, how hard is it to pour salad dressing into a tablespoon measurer instead of directly onto the salad, or count out twenty-four almonds?
I’ll even help you. I have two nuts for you right here for you to get started with.
For most foods, especially the energy nutrients (added fats or carbs) that are the most important to measure, it takes an extra 10 seconds to get an exact measurement, instead of just winging it.

Portion Precision Tactics

2 Ways to Lose Fat, Only 1 Way to Get Ripped
Here are some thoughts about how to implement this process in the real world. It’s not as hard or inconvenient as you think:

  • Buy a couple sets of measuring cups (1/4 cup to 1 cup) and teaspoon/tablespoon measures.
  • Use measuring cups as serving spoons instead of traditional serving utensils, particularly for starch foods and added fats like nuts.

There’s no need to weigh your meats, poultry, and fish on a scale. Simply buy these foods one pound (16 oz.) at a time and cut them up according to your dietary needs.
If you’re supposed to be eating 3 oz. servings cut into 5 pieces, 4 oz. servings = 4 pieces, 5 oz. servings = 3 pieces, 8 oz. servings = 2 pieces. It doesn’t have to be exact; we just want the right range. Food scales seem a bit excessive to me.

  • Pour oils, dressings, and condiments into teaspoon or tablespoon measures before cooking or topping food.
  • When you don’t have access to measuring cups and spoons, like eating at a friend’s or at a restaurant, you’ll have to eyeball portion sizes.

4-6 ounces of meat, poultry, or fish is about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards. 1 cup of starch is about the size of a closed fist or a baseball. 2 tablespoons of dressing is about 2 spoonfuls, or about 1/2 of most of the cups they use for the “dressing on the side.”

  • No need to measure non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, lettuce, spinach, onions, etc.) unless they’re cooked in butter or oil. Plain vegetables are pretty much free foods that can be eaten in unlimited amounts.

Halftime Report

The first half summary is really simple. To lose fat you can either:

  1. Make better food choices.
  2. Start measuring your crappy food choices.

For health, and overall ease of the program, I prefer route #1. You’re always going to be hungry trying to diet on refined foods, and your biomarkers of health probably aren’t going to be great either.

The Lethal Combination – The Only Get Ripped Method

2 Ways to Lose Fat, Only 1 Way to Get Ripped
Now all of that’s for losing some fat – a relatively easy process, right? The problem is with summer coming up, the approaches to just lose some fat start to get marketed as effective approaches to get ripped. I respectfully disagree with that.
Getting ripped is a whole different ballgame in a completely different stadium than just trying to lose some fat and get healthier. It’s an athletic endeavor that needs to be treated as such.
The only way I know of for most people to achieve this higher-level goal is to combine fat loss strategies #1 and #2. You must make good choices  measure/track your food intake so you consistently hit targeted calorie and macronutrient numbers.
 fat loss nutrition is all about details – portions and ratios. It’s about a well thought-out plan based on science that gives our body exactly what it needs without any excess.
Why do you think there are serving sizes and measuring cups in your Surge® Recovery containers? Because the people that use Surge® are most likely advanced athletes with more advanced goals, not just average goals.
And advanced goals require way more details and precision.

Don’t Follow the Exceptions to the Rule

Many fitness professionals proclaim that you don’t need to count calories or macronutrients to get ripped. Really? Those are generally the ones who are:

  1. Blessed with great genetics, and could do whatever they want and would still be in shape.
  2. The drug enhanced, that still have to work hard, but have a lot more leeway than the average dude.
  3. Have never been ripped. Trust me, there are plenty of fitness experts, dieticians, and PhD types who write about getting ripped because they know it sells well, but have never successfully gone through the process themselves.

Theory is different from real world application and results. What looks good on the chalkboard doesn’t always end up looking good in the streets.
I’m not interested in theory or opinion. I’m interested in real world results. And if you look at the diet plans of the most ripped people on the planet – bodybuilders – you’ll see that they all measure their food. Whether they’re as natural as grass-fed beef or a Salisbury steak TV Dinner is irrelevant.
Eight ounces of this, 1 cup of that, 2 tbsp., etc., are used for the good food choices that make up the bulk of their diet. If you’re serious about reaching elite leanness, follow their example.
Saying you can’t learn anything from bodybuilders is just as ignorant as saying you should learn everythingfrom them.
Because of the negative association with the extreme chemical experiments that have become bodybuilding, the industry as a whole seems to have this subconscious need to dissociate from anything related to its core principles. Anything even remotely resembling old school bodybuilding methods gets blasted. This is ridiculous.
The truth is, measuring food is a bodybuilding habit that will serve you well in your get-shredded efforts.

Arguments Against Purely Instinctual Eating

We’ve used caveman, village, and farmer-style eating as templates to help people lose fat. But these demographics were eating simply to survive.
Modern athletes are eating and training for much more than just the fulfillment of the general life cycle. They’re trying to reach the pinnacle of physique development, and “get ripped.”
If you want to reach peak condition and ultra-low body fat percentages, then certain sports nutrition principles must creep their way into a 100% natural or instinctual eating plan.
And sports nutrition is all about numbers, calculations, and details.
Look, I get it. I have a genetically elite colleague who is about as honest as it gets, and he always says to me, “People don’t get it Nate, I could do anything and be ripped. I don’t need to measure anything, especially doughnuts. But that’s not what I recommend to other people.”
While we’d all like to dream that could be us, and a lot of us use those ‘exceptions to the rule’ as examples of why we don’t need to do certain things, the reality is, it’s not.

Simple Summer Shredding Tips

2 Ways to Lose Fat, Only 1 Way to Get Ripped
I’d rather go outside and look at some bikini babes than continue writing, so let’s wrap this thing up.
Debate could go on forever about what the best plan is to get ripped. Who cares? It all needs to be tested and refined in the real world, for  personally, anyway.
Here’s a decent starting point, assuming you strength train 3 or more days a week:

  1. 12 calories/pound of lean body mass.
  2. 1-1.5 grams of protein/pound of lean body mass.
  3. 20% calories dietary fat mostly as byproduct of protein sources and maybe some Flameout™.
  4. Remaining calories to carbs.
  5. Have a cheat meal/re-feed meal once a week.
  6. Choose the meal frequency pattern that’s most functional and sustainable for you.
  7. Aside from your peri-workout nutrition, I think the easiest plan is to eat lighter during the day and eat the majority of calories and carbs at night.
  8. Try measuring your foods and making sure you’re consistently hitting the above recommendations before you think you need some crazy, triple-carb rotating, ketogenic cycling diet to get ripped.

Chances are you just need to be better with the basics.
Until next time, enjoy your summer loving! It happens so fast.

12 Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat | How to Build Muscle, Gain Strength & Become a Better Athlete

1) You’re Eating Too Many Carbs

carbohydrates 300x238 12 Reasons Youre Not Losing FatThis should be pretty obvious to most people by now, but there are still the old die-hards out there who swear that everyone should be consuming two grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight every day while maintaining a low fat intake. Load up on whole grains and fruit while cutting down on healthy, essential sources of fat like grass fed beef they’ll tell you.
Anyone experienced in physique transformation knows this is nonsense.Most people have a terrible tolerance for carbs, shitty insulin sensitivity and simply don’t do enough physically demanding work to warrant too many carbs. If you want to get lean cutting carbs is usually one of the first and most important steps you need to take. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any but you need to make smart choices and they need to be taken in at the right times and cycled properly.

2) You’re Eating Carbs at the Wrong Time

If you’re above 20% body-fat pretty much any time is the wrong time. In that case I would only recommend vegetables and possibly some post workout potatoes or a once per week refeed. When you get down to 15% you can increase the amount of carbs in the post workout meal or the weekly refeed. Everyone else should limit carb consumption to post workout and night time, as per The Renegade Diet rules. During the day you want to be alert and focused, which is one reason why you don’t want to load up on starchy carbs during this time. Save for them for the night time when you want to optimize serotonin production and rest, relax and repair.

3) You’re Eating Too Much Fat

Some people cut carbs and assume that they’re good to go and there’s nothing else to worry about. Unfortunately, the low/no carb diet isn’t as much fun as Dr. Atkins made it out to be. You can’t just eat pounds of bacon and mayonnaise with reckless abandon and think that you’ll magically end up ripped. Fat contains calories; nine per gram to be exact. At the end of the day total calories still matter, and if you’re eating more than you burn you’re never going to get ripped. Please don’t mistake this as my advocating a low fat diet. That’s just as bad, if not worse, than eating too much fat. A bare minimum of 20% of your calories should come from healthy fats like pastured egg yolks, wild caught salmon, grass fed beef and coconut oil to ensure optimal health. Just be careful about going overboard with it and thinking that low carbs automatically leads to single digit body-fat. You still need to keep a handle on things like total calories.

4)You’re Not Eating Enough Protein

protein food 300x203 12 Reasons Youre Not Losing FatIn my experience it’s usually only females who are guilty of this but guys can make this mistake on occasion as well. The average female who can’t lose body-fat usually eats a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast with an egg. One… single… egg.
Then she’ll have a sandwich for lunch with four ounces of lean turkey. For dinner it will be a salad with low fat dressing and four ounces of chicken or fish. Although, in all honesty they may skip the protein all together and just have a salad for either lunch or dinner. Let’s assume she weighs 135 pounds. Most experts would agree that she would need to consume at least 100 grams of protein per day, if not a gram per pound, which would equal 135 grams. Each ounce of protein is around 4.5 grams of protein. So in this example she had 36 grams combined with lunch and dinner plus the six grams from the egg. So that’s a total of 42 grams, which falls just a wee bit shy of where she needs to be.
Females often freak out when you tell them to eat more than six ounces of protein at a sitting but when you break down the numbers for them and reveal just how many calories they’re eating it should make more sense. If they had eight ounces of protein three times per day it would 108 grams of protein. That’s only 432 total calories. Add in the fat and it’s still not that much.
People who eat a sufficient amount of protein usually end up having an easier time getting ripped than those who don’t. Make sure you’re getting enough.

5) You’re Drinking Too Many Protein Shakes

There are two problems associated with drinking shakes when you’re trying to get ripped. First of all, whey protein can raise insulin levels, as I have been telling people since the mid 90’s. If you’re trying to get lean you don’t want insulin to be flowing like the Nile all day. You want a nice insulin surge post workout but the rest of the day you want it under control. That’s why The Renegade Diet limits the intake of whey protein to very small amounts during most of the day and only allows a larger amount post workout or at night.
The second problem with drinking too many shakes is that they are so easy to digest that you don’t really burn any calories when you eat them. When you chew down some salmon and broccoli your body works harder to digest that food and you burn more calories during the digestion process. When you drink something that is so easily digested, like a protein shake, your body does almost no work in the process.
So, when getting ripped is your main goal, limit your shake intake and chew as many calories as you can.

6) Your Liver is Over Stressed

This is usually the last thing people think of when embarking on a fat loss diet but it can sometimes be the most important. Everything that goes into or on your body has to be processed by the liver. That means all food, alcohol, suntan lotion, environmental pollutants, etc. If you are constantly exposing yourself to this kind of stuff and overstressing the liver fat loss will be much more difficult to come by. Cut out booze, stop eating grain-fed, chemical laden meat and incorporate some regular periods of intermittent fasting to give the liver a break and you will find your rate of fat loss is noticeably faster.

7) You’re Eating Nuts

I love nuts. I mean, who doesn’t? Give me a bag of pistachios or cashews and I won’t look up till the whole thing’s gone. The problem is nuts have a ton of calories. When you’re dieting for fat loss the rules are usually the opposite of those followed by skinny hardgainers trying to gain size. Those guys want the most calorically dense foods possible. Fat loss dieters do not. You’re better off filling up on nutritionally dense foods that don’t pack a lot of calories, like green vegetables. If you’re dieting you need to limit your nut consumption to about ten almonds per serving. No too many people can eat ten almonds. Most people eat ten handfuls. If you are strictly tracking and calculating everything all day and you want to load up on nuts at certain times I suppose you could but I wouldn’t recommend it. Nuts can be very problematic for a lot of people, especially those with digestive or auto immune issues. As Paleo Solution author Robb Wolf has noted, nuts should be used the same way you use condiments- sparingly.
I should also add, and this is strictly my opinion, meaning it has NOT been proven and posted on Pubmed… nut butters seem to be easier for most people to digest than actual whole nuts. Just something to consider.

8) You’re Eating Fruit

jolie berry 300x224 12 Reasons Youre Not Losing Fat“What?! You’re telling people not to eat fruit!? Everyone knows that it’s impossible to get fat from eating too much fruit!”
Yeah, yeah I know, that’s why physique competitors eat so much fruit and why all fat loss experts who specialize in getting people shredded recommend such high quantities of it. In our hunter gatherer days fruit was nothing like what you see in the supermarket today. Berries were small, dark and bitter; not the huge sugar sacks most people consume these days. Don’t get me wrong, fruit is healthy and can be eaten by lean individuals in limited amounts but any type of excessive fructose (a sugar found in fruit) consumption will lead to fat gain. Fructose can only be processed by the liver and once liver glycogen stores are full the excess gets converted to triglycerides and stored as body-fat. If you want to get ripped cut fruit completely for a while or limit it to one to two small servings per day. Just be sure to really up the vegetable consumption so you can keep your vital nutrient uptake where it needs to be.

9) You’re Not Training Heavy

When you want to lose body-fat the first inclination is often to crank up the reps and cut the rest periods. I actually have no problem with fairly low rest periods. But not if you’re used to resting three minutes between sets and all of the sudden cut them down to thirty seconds because you decided it was time to get shredded you’ll be in trouble. That never works. All that happens is your weights start plummeting on every exercise and you get weaker and smaller. High reps have the same effect.
When dieting, the primary role of strength training is to maintain muscle mass. That is the single most important thing. Don’t use it as your primary “fat burning” activity… UNLESS you are seriously overweight. If you need to lose more than fifty pounds or so that would probably be fine (although please don’t ever do any of the bullshit you see on those fat camp TV shows). Females can actually get something out of metcon workouts in the right situation as well. The caveat, however, is that that they need to be strong and actually have some muscle mass. If you take a weak female with no muscle and give her a silly metcon circuit she won’t usually get much out of it because she’s too weak to produce enough force. Females should get strong first before they attempt that type of training.
If you’re a guy and are trying to lose 10-20 pounds of body-fat without losing all your muscle mass in the process you should use strength training as a way to maintain size and strength; nothing more, nothing less. So the same principles that helped you get big and strong apply when dieting. Keep the reps low and the resistance high.

10) You’re Overdoing Cardio

Traditional forms of cardio are largely useless for fat loss. But useless is even okay, it’s when it starts to be counterproductive that we have a real problem. Excessive amounts of cardio lead to an overproduction of cortisol which leads to more abdominal fat and numerous health problems. If you want to do cardio that won’t actually hurt you and could do you some good, go for a long walk. No self respecting man should ever be spotted on an elliptical machine.
dog sled chan 12 Reasons Youre Not Losing Fat

Sled work builds muscle, burns fat and is irreplaceable

11) You’re Not Running Sprints or Doing Sled Work

Dieting is the most important thing for fat loss. After that you should be doing some form of strength training to maintain your muscle mass. When you have those to things dialed in you’ll want to add in some type of sprinting or sled work. There is nothing more effective for fat loss. See all wide receivers, defensive backs, sprinters, soccer players, etc. for proof. Two or three 20-40 minute sprint or sled sessions per week will be enough for most people.
Don’t have a sled? 

12) You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep

When you’re short on sleep your insulin sensitivity decreases and your cortisol goes up. Both things lead to less than optimal fat loss. You also miss out on the critically important Growth Hormone boost that comes each night during deep sleep. If you want to lose more fat you have to get more sleep. Most people will ignore this and some of you are probably reading this at 2am. Unfortunately this just might be the most important thing on the whole list. More sleep improves EVERYTHING. Make it a priority.


The Fat-Loss 4 Workout Protocol

The Fat-Loss 4 Workout Protocol

My friend and strength coach extraordinaire Alwyn Cosgrove once told me that when choosing a topic for an article to think of what people ask about most often.
Considering Alwyn has an annoying tendency to be right almost all the time, clearly I should start writing more about fat loss.
Some experts want you to believe that losing fat is just a simple math problem: eat less and exercise more. While we all would prefer a simple, concise approach that even Sarah Palin could fit on the palm of her hand, anyone who’s been at this a while will tell you that there’s a lot more to getting lean than just that.
Food choices matter. Recovery matters. And maintaining, even gaining muscle as opposed to losing it, matters big time.
In this article I’m going to divulge a battle-tested fat loss protocol I developed, one that I’ve used for several years to help athletes and physique competitors lose fat and maintain muscle.
It’s effective but also extremely versatile, and can be used in virtually any setting, regardless of space or equipment limitations.
However, it’s not easy – and if you apply yourself accordingly, you may catch yourself wondering why the heck you’re putting yourself through this.
The answer of course, is that if getting ripped were as easy as Grade 4 math, everyone in junior high and beyond would have a six-pack.

What is the Fat Loss 4 Workout Protocol?

The name “Fat Loss 4” isn’t just a catchy tagline. It also represents the most important aspects of this workout formula.
A Fat Loss 4 workout is four exercises, performed back-to-back in a circuit style, for a total of four minutes.
There are two basic components to the FL4 protocol: three strength (local muscle conditioning) exercises and one total-body cardiovascular (central conditioning of the heart and lungs) drill.

Fat Loss 4 Exercises

The Fat-Loss 4 Workout Protocol

The four exercises making up a Fat Loss 4 (FL4) circuit are:

  • Upper body pushing or pulling
  • Lower body quad or hamstring dominant (squat, deadlift, lunge, etc.)
  • Torso/core
  • Cardio drill

The beauty of the FL4 protocol is its simplicity and versatility. You can plug in virtually any exercise you like, provided it fits the category.
That said, I’ve found that certain exercises seem to work better than others. You’ll find some of my favorites later in this article.

How long is a FL4 circuit?

A FL4 circuit consists of four minutes of work with one minute of rest, for a total of five minutes.
Each strength exercise is performed for 30 seconds, with 15 seconds rest between exercises.
For example:
Upper body (pushing or pulling) exercise
Lower body exercise
Core/torso exercise
Cardio exercise (That’s 1:30 – 1:45)

Ideally, you’ll only rest 15 seconds transitioning from strength to cardio, which would put you at 2:15 when starting the cardio drill (and leave you with 1:45 to do cardio).

Sets and Rest

After you’ve completed a full four-minute circuit, you’ll rest for one minute. We typically perform 2-3 rounds of a given FL4 circuit for a total of 10-15 minutes. (Two rounds is a total of 10 minutes; three rounds is a total 15 minutes.)

Intensity of an FL4 Workout

There are two intensities to consider in the FL4 protocol:

  • The total intensity of the entire circuit.
  • The working intensity of each exercise within a given circuit.

During the strength exercises within a circuit, you should be able to complete the entire 30 seconds of work with good form and a consistent, controlled tempo.
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being working very hard), you should be at a 7 or 8 at the end of each strength exercise.
On the cardio exercise, we’re after a pace that gets you to about 80% of your max heart rate.
By the time you’re about to begin the next round of an FL4 circuit, you should feel mostly recovered. Basically, if you can get out a full sentence without huffing and puffing, you’re good to go. But if you’re still sucking wind after your 60-second rest between circuits, you need to reduce the intensity of the cardio.

Sample FL4 Workouts

The Fat-Loss 4 Workout Protocol

Designing a workout is easy once you understand the formula.
I’ve found it works well to change the strength movements every 2-3 rounds, although as mentioned earlier, I like to keep the cardio drill the same throughout the workout. So although the strength moves may change, the cardio remains constant.
Here are a few sample FL4 circuits.

FL4 Circuit #1


Lower body: Torso/core:
Cardio: (Run pace – between a light jog and all-out sprint.)

FL4 Circuit #2


Lower body: (alternate legs)
Cardio: (Run pace; between a light jog and all-out sprint.)

FL4 Circuit #3


Lower body:
Cardio: (Run pace; between a light jog and all-out sprint.)

Varying your FL4 Workouts

After performing 2-3 rounds of the same exercises, change the strength exercises and perform a new circuit for another 2-3 rounds while keeping the same cardio drill.
Sticking with the same cardio drill helps develop a consistent workout rhythm, while changing the strength moves every so often creates variety while serving to minimize localized muscle fatigue.

What exercises work best to use in an FL4 workout?

The great thing about FL4 is that it’s “plug and play.” You can insert just about any appropriate upper body, lower body, core, or cardio exercise you like and get great results.
However, there are a few movements I’ve found work exceptionally well with both my athletes and general fat loss clients. Here are my top five moves to try when designing your FL4 workouts.

Top 5 Pushing Exercises

Top 5 Pulling Exercises

The Fat-Loss 4 Workout Protocol

Top 5 Lower Body Exercises

Top 5 Core/Torso Exercises

Top 5 Cardio Exercises

Although this methods works, I’ve found circuits run smoother with either purely bilateral actions or with alternating limb actions like lunges, where you switch legs on each rep.
I also recommend sticking with compound strength movements instead of smaller, single-joints actions. This should be obvious, but compound strength movements create a better metabolic training response than single joint actions as they involve more muscle mass.

Why Does the FL4 Protocol Work?

There are four reasons why this protocol works so well for losing fat and keeping muscle:

1. It’s total body.

The more muscles you work, the more energy you must use, meaning the more calories you burn both during the workout and for several hours after through Excessive Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).

2. The sequencing creates a cardiovascular effect.

FL4 blends local muscle conditioning (through strength moves) with central conditioning (heart and lungs) to create a comprehensive metabolic workout.
During any strength exercise, your body pumps more blood to the working muscles. By following an upper body exercise with a lower body exercise and then a torso/core exercise, you’re constantly changing where your body must increase blood flow. Doing this creates a cyclic blood flow effect, forcing your body to increase its cardiovascular output.
Finishing each sequence of upper/lower/mid-body exercises with a burst of total-body cardio exercise extends this cardiovascular effect even longer.

3. The sequencing allows for intensity.

Along with using your total-body, the other key to maximizing metabolic cost is working at a consistent high intensity. The F4L is sequenced so that when fatigue begins in a specific muscle group, the exercise is switched to train a different group of “fresh” muscles. By the time you return to the original muscle group on the next circuit, it’s been several minutes, giving your body time to recover sufficiently.

4. You won’t lose muscle when you’re using muscle.

Since there’s a heavy component of strength training involved in the FL4 Protocol, we haven’t seen any losses in muscle size or strength. Although you’re not using maximal weights, you are training with higher volumes, another effective way of creating intensity.
I also don’t suggest using FL4 as your only training method. Blending it with some basic strength training and bodybuilding helps ensure the muscle you’ve worked so hard to achieve is maintained while focusing on losing fat. You’ll see how this is accomplished in the sample weekly training splits below.

Weekly FL4 Training Splits

The Fat-Loss 4 Workout Protocol

Here’s a few sample three, four, and five-day training splits showing how to incorporate the FL4 protocol with other strength and bodybuilding methods.

Three-Day Split

Monday – Push & FL4

Exercise Sets Reps
A Bench press (dumbbell or barbell) 4-5 6-8
B Shoulder press (dumbbell or barbell) 4-5 6-8
C FL4 circuits 6-8 rounds *

Wednesday – Legs/Hips & FL4

Exercise Sets Reps
A Deadlifts (Trap bar or barbell) 5-6 4-6
B Single-leg squat (Bulgarian or free standing) 3-4 6-8*
C FL4 circuits 6-8 rounds **

Friday – Pull & FL4

Exercise Sets Reps
A Chin-ups or pull-ups 4-5 6-8
B Single-arm dumbbell row (dumbbell or barbell) 3-4 6-8*
C FL4 circuits 6-8 rounds **

Four-Day Split

Monday – FL4 circuit workout

Exercise Sets Reps
FL4 circuits 9-12 rounds *

Tuesday – Push/Pull strength workout

Exercise Sets Reps
A1 Bench press (dumbbell or barbell) 4-5 6-8
A2 Bent over row (dumbbell or barbell) 4-5 6-8
B1 Shoulder press (dumbbell or barbell) 4-5 6-8
B2 Pull-ups or lat pulldowns 4-5 6-8
C1 Skull crushers (dumbbell or EZ bar) 3 10-12
C2 Biceps curl (dumbbell or EZ bar) 3 10-12
D Dumbbell farmer’s walk 4-5 1 min.

Thursday – FL4 circuit workout

Exercise Sets Reps
FL4 circuits 9-12 rounds *

Friday – Legs/Hips/Abs strength workout

Exercise Sets Reps
A1 Deadlift (trap bar or barbell) 4-5 6-8
A2 Stability ball weighted crunch 4 6-8
B1 Lunges or step-ups (alternate legs) 3-4 6-8*
B2 Band rotations 3-4 15-20**
C1 Leg extension 3 10-12
C2 Hamstring curls (seated or lying on Swiss ball) 3 10-15
D Dumbbell farmer’s walk 4-5 1 min.

Five-Day Split

Monday – FL4 circuit workout

Exercise Sets Reps
FL4 circuits 9-12 rounds *

Tuesday – Push/Pull strength workout

Exercise Sets Reps
A1 Bench press (dumbbell or barbell) 4-5 6-8
A2 Bent over row (dumbbell or barbell) 4-5 6-8
B1 Shoulder press (dumbbell or barbell) 4-5 6-8
B2 Pull-ups or lat pulldowns 4-5 6-8
C1 Skull crushers (dumbbell or EZ bar) 3 10-12
C2 Biceps curl (dumbbell or EZ bar) 3 10-12
D Dumbbell farmer’s walk 4-5 1 min.

Wednesday – Legs/Hips/Abs strength workout

Exercise Sets Reps
A1 Deadlift (trap bar or barbell) 4-5 6-8
A2 Stability ball weighted crunch 4 6-8
B1 Lunges or step-ups (alternate legs) 3-4 6-8*
B2 Band rotations 3-4 15-20**
C1 Leg extension 3 10-12
C2 Hamstring curls (seated or lying on Swiss ball) 3 10-15
D Sled or tire drag 4-5 30-40 yards

Friday – FL4 circuit workout

Exercise Sets Reps
FL4 circuits 9-12 rounds *

Saturday – FL4 circuit workout

Exercise Sets Reps
FL4 circuits 9-12 rounds *


Is the FL4 protocol the only method of losing fat while keeping the muscle? Absolutely not! But in my business it’s proven to be a safe and effective way to get virtually any client in record shape, fast.
The beauty of FL4 is its elegant simplicity. In my experience, when clients can easily wrap their heads around what they’re being instructed to do and why, they “commit” more and as such, get superior results.
On the other hand, excessively complex systems filled with pseudoscientific strength training jargon just yields the dreaded “deer in the headlights” look and subsequently, sub-optimal results.
This powerful fat loss weapon is now locked and loaded in your training arsenal. All you’ve got to do is use it!


The Fat Loss Hierarchy

The Fat Loss Hierarchy

The Fat Loss Hierarchy

“Well, it depends on the rest of the diet.”
That’s been my answer for most of the questions I’ve received. It’s not because I’m being lazy or blowing people off, it’s just the honest truth.
It seems as if our information-overload era has caused beginners and advanced athletes alike to focus way too much on the extras of dietary programs and not enough on the basics. This isn’t good.
Tweaks and theories and out-of-the-box dietary protocols might make for interesting LiveSpill discussion, but they’re all just the proverbial icing on your gluten-free cake. You must first understand – and then implement – the major steps necessary if you’re ever to achieve your “get shredded” goals.
Let’s take a step back from the fine print and look at the bigger fat loss picture – the fat loss hierarchy, if you will.
The order goes like this:

  1. Food choices
  2. Total calories
  3. Essential nutrients
  4. Supplements – Part I
  5. Energy nutrients
  6. Meal frequency
  7. Food/macronutrient distribution
  8. Supplements – Part II

A very successful friend of mine often quotes the slogan “Productivity in 11 Words”:

In that spirit, let’s start with step one to help you become more efficient with your fat loss approach.

#1 Food Choices

The Fat Loss Hierarchy

Notice I said food choices, not macronutrients, because infinitely more important than the low carb versus low fat debate is the refined food versus real food debate.
If people just cut out refined stuff, ate real foods (animal proteins, vegetables, whole-food fats, natural starches), and paid attention to absolutely nothing else, they would improve their health profile and lose body fat. Would it be enough to get them T Nation-style ripped? No. But it would take them a good percentage of the way.
Let’s say making this change would get them inside the Red Zone. Virtually every other nutritional topic is about whether you make that extra effort to get the touchdown or just settle for a field goal.
I place food choices ahead of total calories for two reasons:

I care about achieving physique enhancement goals, but I also care about health.

These goals do have to be mutually exclusive, as many uninformed athletes or non-athletic scientists would have you believe.
It seems that there are two extremes in our industry. On one end, you have many bodybuilders and fitness girls who will follow extreme training, diet, and drug protocols to achieve a freak physique, unknowingly (or knowingly) compromising their long-term metabolic, hormonal, mental, and overall health.
On the other end, you have many “life-extensionists” who obsess over improving every decimal point in their biomarkers of health, but leave any thought of physique enhancement behind.
I don’t care if I make it to 120 years old if I have to live and look like a goblin to do so.
It’s not an either-or situation – you can improve your health and improve your physique at the same time. The food choices we make can merge those two goals. You might not end up looking like Ronnie Coleman or living as long as Yoda, but you’ll do okay on both fronts.
If total calories are controlled, you can lose body fat while still eating Ding Dongs and Ho-Ho’s, but what’s that doing to your internal health? As the late, great Serge Nubret once said, “Every sickness comes from food.”
The average American male now has a fat ass, a limp dick, low T, and ten risk factors for CVD due to shoving refined garbage into his cake-hole every day. It’s not typical, nor desirable, to require a laundry list of prescriptions to turn the little mushroom into a big mushroom for four hours or longer, let alone live and function normally. How does that make any logical sense?
The answer to America’s health problems and obesity epidemic – and the majority of your fat loss questions – is quite simple: cut out refined foods and just eat nature’s foods, in their unaltered state. Nuts (fat) are better for you than high fructose corn syrup (carb), but equally so is a potato (carb) better for you than refined vegetable oil (fat). That’s my stance, and I’m sticking to it.

I care about the sustainability of a plan.

Any plan can work for the short-term when motivation is high. However, it’s virtually impossible to stay in the relative calorie deficit necessary for fat loss (step #2), at least for any meaningful length of time, if you’re making poor food choices.
In other words, you can’t cut calories while eating crap and expect to stay the course.
This is where point systems or other calorie counting diets fail. You’re not going to be able to stay on a diet plan for long eating low-calorie lasagna, fudge cake, or “snack packs.” Fake foods like this are just empty calories with no functional nutrients. They have no effects on satiety or hormones that regulate appetite and energy intake.
You’ll feel constantly hungry, deprived, and miserable dieting on these foods. Eventually, you’ll wake up next to a few empty doughnut boxes left over from an uncontrollable binge. As motivation declines, the time between these binges will get shorter and shorter until one day you realize that you’re eating crap just about every day and completely give up on your fat loss plan.
That’s why people yo-yo on and off these plans. They’re not sustainable.
On the flipside, it is almost impossible to overeat if you’re consuming only real foods. I’ve had clients struggle to net 2000 calories a day when they cut out all refined foods (including oils) and ate only lean proteins and vegetables (including potatoes and yams).
Nature’s foods are nutrient dense, high satiety foods, and you’ll have a much easier time maintaining a calorie deficit if you emphasize them. You’ll also get more nutrients out of 2000 calories of real food than 4000 calories of manufactured food. This is extremely important when operating in a calorie deficit.

#2 Total Calories

The Fat Loss Hierarchy

In the Great Macro Debate, the second most important step in the fat loss process seems to have been completely lost amongst physique dieters everywhere – total calories. No miracle combination or drastic cutting of any macronutrient can circumvent the law of thermodynamics.
Did we not learn this lessen in the Low Fat era? You can cut your fat intake to zero, but if you’re eating above your total calorie limits with refined carbs, you’re going to get fat.
Today’s low-carbers are making a similar mistake. I don’t care if you haven’t touched a carb since Brigitte Nielsen was hot, if you overshoot calories by eating unlimited fat, you won’t get lean.
This brings me to something every low-carber needs to understand: being in a state of ketosis itself does ensure fat loss.
Ketosis is simply an altered physiological state in the human body. When carbs are extremely low, glycogen becomes depleted, The body will then use a greater percentage of fatty acids to fuel the body and use ketones to fuel the brain. It’s merely a shift in fuel dynamics. The body is running on fat metabolism, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to burn more body fat, although that’s what you might infer.
The rules of body fat loss still apply, not just the metabolic condition your body is in. Ensuring you’re in a relative calorie deficit is still the most important step in winning the fat loss war.
In low carb, unlimited fat and protein diets, you can still enter a state of caloric excess. And even though your body has shifted to burning a greater percentage of fatty acids as fuel, it will simply obtain fatty acids and ketones from the abundance of dietary fat you’re taking in if you’re in caloric excess.
It will be forced to tap into internal body fat stores as a reserve fuel. Instead, the excess calories will be stored as body fat, regardless of whether insulin levels are constantly kept at a low level.
Why then, do people so easily dismiss total calories and cling to low fat, low carb, or low common sense diets?
Telling people to make proper food selections and control calories is boring. There’s nothing sexy about it. There’s nothing innovative or cutting edge in it. In a world full of technological advances, to tell someone to follow sound, sensible, and basic principles almost seems archaic and uninformed. There has to be a new revolutionary way that’s easier, more efficient, and pain-free, right?
“Macro-bashing” plays to people’s desires. These plans seem like they require more discipline – you have to eliminate certain food groups. “No carbs today, Dude.” But these diets actually require less discipline. They demonize a certain nutrient and point to it as the cause of all of our body fat problems. Eliminate that nutrient, and you can eat as much as you want of everything else.
That’s what people really want to hear, isn’t it? You can eat as much of “X and Y” as you want, as long as you don’t eat “Z.” Eat vegetable oil, cream, and cheese to your heart’s desire as long as you don’t have that carb gram from a carrot stick. In a world of overindulgence, the lazy want to be able to gorge on something.
I’m not saying it can’t or won’t work, but for the majority I’ve seen, it doesn’t. If you’ve banished carbs to the Underworld, yet are still struggling with fat loss and are looking for answers, now you have one – controlling calories is still king.

#3 Essential Nutrients

The Fat Loss Hierarchy

The food we take in can be broken down into two broad categories: essential nutrients and energy nutrients.
Essential nutrients are necessary for normal metabolic, hormonal, enzyme, and immune system functioning. They provide the base ingredients necessary for building and maintaining the body’s structural components, including skin, hair, and muscle tissue.
Essential nutrients can’t be produced by the body and must be obtained through the diet. Thus, their intake should never be compromised regardless of your efforts to cut calories for fat loss. We’ll be cutting energy nutrients, essential nutrients.
The foundation of any complete diet plan should be lean, animal-based protein foods and vegetables, not “zero carb pizza” or “low calorie cookies” or any other BS food that makes you feel like you’re doing something good for yourself.
Animals and plants provide us with the essential nutrients and micronutrients we need, in the right amounts and ratios that Mother Nature intended. They were the basis of the diets we evolved from. It makes sense that they should be the foundation of a modern diet geared towards optimizing health and improving body composition.

#4 Supplements Part 1

You need to worry about covering your essential nutrients before you worry about the extras. In other words, before you worry about fat burners and hormone boosters, you need to make sure you’re not deficient in any essential nutrients. In my mind, this is the best use of targeted supplementation – more so than looking at them as miracle pills or magical cures that can make up for a crappy diet.
I want to be clear, you can obtain all the essential nutrients you need from whole, unrefined foods. The problem is in today’s modern, fast-paced, on-the-go society; it rarely works out that way.
If you struggle to meet your essential amino acid/protein needs because you’re not in the fitness industry and don’t live by a kitchen, it’s much smarter to down some BIOTEST BCAAs or a Metabolic Drive® Low Carb protein shake than eat fast-food junk. If fish isn’t your thing, Flameout™ is a fantastic way to cover your EPA/DHA needs.
On a side note, flaxseed oil is a scam. It has to go through several inefficient chemical conversion processes in the body to yield the beneficial EPA/DHA. Stick with cold-water fish or fish oil supplements.
Plant foods supply our bodies with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. If you’re a carnivore, Superfoodmay help you fill in the gaps.
There is a hierarchy for everything, and the theme is to take care of the basics first. Otherwise, the extras are meaningless.

#5 Energy Nutrients

Beyond accounting for essential nutrients, all other food intake is simply a source of energy.
Changing your body composition comes down to varying your energy nutrient intake. We set essential amino acid and essential fatty acid needs and never go below these base levels. All other food intake is just a source of energy. Dietary fat is an energy source just as carbohydrates are an energy source.
There’s no mystery to fat loss. We need to reduce energy intake enough to create the calorie deficit necessary (step #2) to force our bodies to tap into an internal reserve fuel source, namely body fat. This can be accomplished by reducing carbohydrate intake, reducing fat intake, or both.
In other words, protein and vegetable intake remains constant, carbohydrate and fat intake can go up or down as needed. We simply manipulate those macronutrients based on our current status, body type, and physique goals.
Many obese, sedentary, and insulin resistant patients have improved insulin sensitivity, blood sugar control, biomarkers of health, and lost a large percentage of body fat on low-carb/Paleo plans.
However, many bodybuilders and fitness athletes step on stage peeled to the bone following carb-based/sports nutrition-type plans.
Who’s right? The fact that people have achieved outstanding fat loss results with such different methods suggests that they’re right. Scientific research and anecdotal evidence can be found to back each one up as well.
I’ve recommended both approaches to different types of clients, based on the situation, as I’m a staunch believer that various diets have worked for various athletes.
I know it seems earth shattering in today’s anti-macronutrient climate, but even a balanced diet (i.e. Zone or Isocaloric Diet) can work.
Anyone who tells you differently is either selling you something or is so caught up in the dogma of a system that they can’t see outside of it.
Now I do believe that each one is more than the other for specific demographics, and I think that’s where the confusion comes in. The reasoning behind my belief has to do with exercise physiology and fuel dynamics.
I think sedentary and insulin resistant/obese populations respond better to low carb diets, and anaerobic athletes respond better to carb-based diets.

Tapping Out!

The Fat Loss Hierarchy

There’s more to talk about, but alas, time is money and I’ve had a triangle choke on your computer time. I’ll be devoting future articles to meal frequency and food distribution, because there’s so much to talk about.
But remember, those are lower down on the hierarchy for good reason. Meal frequency doesn’t matter until you take care of rules #1-4, starting with making optimal food choices that nourish your body. Everything else is subordinate to that, and for good reason.

Start with Step #1.

The Samurai Diet: The Science & Strategy of Winning the Fat Loss War
Available now on


>Lose Fat, Stay Strong


These are the facts:

  1. Training with light weights while on a fat-loss diet makes you really good at lifting light and pretty awful at lifting heavy. That’s unacceptable.
  2. Heavy training, even while in a caloric deficit, is vastly superior for holding on to lean body mass.
  3. Unless you want to end your diet as a weak (albeit lean) little man, then you must include some heavy strength training in your plan.

Old School Bulk ‘n Cuts

Bodybuilding-style bulking and cutting periods both have drawbacks. With bulking periods, you tend to put on a fair amount of fat as you seek to gain muscle size.
With cutting periods, you run the risk of losing lean body mass in your quest to reduce body fat. This is bad for a number of reasons. It sets you up for a series of two-steps-forward, one-step-back situations. It’s painfully frustrating, and it also compromises progress in the long run.
Remember, your lean body mass is one of the main things that determines your metabolic rate. Sacrificing LBM to get lean is counterproductive because you certainly won’t stay lean for very long – especially once you go back to trying to gain mass.
At best, if you’re able to hang on to your mass, there will be the problem of losing strength. Now, if you’re lean, you’ll be placed in the unenviable position of trying to play catch-up with your strength levels for a few weeks. That’s another unacceptable tradeoff.

The New Way

We seem to be getting away from the old bulk-and-cut practices of bodybuilding. That’s a good thing. Instead, we should always be trying to achieve consistent body recomposition and lean gains.
Make no mistake: it’s possible to stay lean while gaining mass. Similarly, with intelligent programming, it’s possible to maintain and even gain strength and muscle while losing fat.

Go Heavy, Get Lean

Successful competitive bodybuilders already know this. To maintain muscle mass while dieting down into the single digits, you gotta train heavy.
In fact (drug use aside), one of the main things these guys do in the final stages of contest prep is train with heavy weight, which, coincidentally, also increases both neurogenic and myogenic muscle tone – a necessary weapon on a competition stage.
When I first started incorporating heavy strength training into my fat loss programs, I used a 5×5 protocol because this is what many bodybuilders used. It worked. My clients lost fat and maintained lean body mass with relative ease. However, it always nagged at me that this method wasn’t creating a solution, just addressing a problem.
Here’s the deal: every training session should be used to make you better, not just prevent you from getting worse. The 5×5 protocol was fine, but I knew there was an even better way to keep the lean mass while accelerating fat loss.
Strength circuits were the solution.

The Set-Up

Strength circuits take three or four exercises and set them up into circuits. Circuit training, done correctly, is one of the most effective weightlifting methodologies there is when fat loss is the goal, and strength circuits are no different.
You’ll move from one exercise to another with minimal rest in between, and then repeat as necessary. However, there’s a twist here that makes this type of training a lot more interesting.
A traditional set-up would have you doing a predetermined number of sets, with each of those having a predetermined number of reps. We’ve seen that for decades. It works, but it’s not perfect. (Chad Waterbury came up with a better plan of action, and you’ll see his influence below.)
The goal of performing strength circuits is to help build muscle and shred fat while gaining strength, and part of that is going to be neurological. Instead of just “lifting” the weights, I want you to focus on lifting explosively, and perfectly.
Each rep should be performed in the most explosive way possible. This helps to create greater stimulation for your nervous system, which will allow for the greatest recruitment of muscle fibers.
In order to make this effective, and in order to ensure that each set is challenging and stimulating without draining you, we’re going to disregard traditional set and rep schemes. Rather than focus on a conventionally structured workout of sets and reps, the focus is only on the total number of reps.
If this sounds a bit familiar, it should. Strength circuits draw inspiration from both Chad Waterbury and Christian Thibaudeau. To quote Chad, “Focus on the reps and let the sets take care of themselves.”
What you’ll do here is rotate through the chosen exercises until you’ve completed the desired number of reps.
Let’s break it down.

Workout Set-Up

Each workout will consist of two circuits, each comprised of 3-4 exercises. Between these two circuits will be something called the dynamic interrupt, which is a metabolic enhancement circuit (more on that below).
First, let’s talk about how to create individual strength circuits, as well as a complete workout.

Exercise Selection

This method is best suited to using big, compound, multi-joint movements. This is especially true for the first circuit. For the second circuit, if you’d like to throw in one isolation movement, that’s fine.

Individual Workouts

Every workout will ideally have one of each:

  • Hip/hamstring dominant leg exercise
  • Quad dominant leg exercise
  • Horizontal pushing movement
  • Horizontal pulling movement
  • Vertical pulling movement
  • Vertical pushing movement

Individual Circuits

Each circuit should have at least one lower body movement, at least one upper-body pulling movement, and at least one upper-body pressing movement. As long as those three are covered, you can be creative as to which movement planes you work in what order.

The Details

Let’s say that you’ve chosen to set up a circuit with dumbbell push presses, bentover rows, front squats, and weighted pull-ups.
You’d first perform as many reps as you could on the dumbbell push press. After that, perform as many bentover rows as you can. Then perform as many front squats as you can. Finally, you’d perform as many weighted pull-ups as possible.
You simply cycle through the exercises until you’ve completed all of the prescribed reps, regardless of how many sets it takes.
You’ll probably complete the total prescribed reps for one of the exercises before the others. That’s fine. Just alternate the remaining exercises back and forth.
Once you’ve completed all of the total reps for each exercise in the circuit, move on to the next segment of the workout.

Total Training Volume

Instead of thinking about the sets, simply focus on a total number of workout reps to gauge your volume. Ideally, a workout will have between 210 and 250 total reps.
If you’re going over that, you’re either using weight that’s too light (and therefore setting your total reps too high), or doing too many exercises. As a rule of thumb, 250 total reps is the upper limit.

Parameters for Selecting Rep Goals

Selecting the total reps on an exercise is a personal thing. Some people like to go very heavy on squats, so they’ll adjust the reps to be lower. Or perhaps you find that your chest generally responds better to higher reps. You might set your total reps to allow for that, and therefore use less weight.
The main thing is that your rep range for any given movement is between 20-35. Any less and you simply aren’t getting enough stimulation; any more and you’re going too light for this to be a “strength circuit.”

Parameters for Selecting Load

The idea is for this to be strength training; the weight must be heavy. This requires us to have some guidelines for selecting a work-set weight and knowing when to increase it.
The chart below will give you some guidelines for selecting a starting weight based on how many total reps you’ve chosen for a given exercise (not the set – the exercise.)

Total Reps Load
20 Begin with a weight you think you can lift 3-5 times. If you can complete 6 or more reps on your first set, go a little heavier. If you can only complete 2 or fewer reps on your first set, go lighter. 
25 Begin with a weight you can lift 4-6 times. If you can get 6 or more reps your first set, increase the weight. If you complete only 3 or fewer reps on your first set, reduce the weight a little.
30 Begin with a weight you think you can lift 6-8 times. If you can get 9 or more reps your first set, increase the weight. If you complete 4 reps or fewer on your first set, reduce the weight.
35 Begin with a weight you can lift 7-9 times. If you can complete 10 reps or more on your first set, increase the weight. If you can complete only 8 reps or fewer, reduce the weight.

Enter the Dynamic Interrupt

The Dynamic Interrupt was originally intended as a way to increase conditioning with athletes. The side effect? Rapid fat loss! I particularly like dynamic interrupts for strength circuits.
After your last set of a prescribed circuit (i.e. when you’ve finished every rep for every exercise), try the Dynamic Interrupt. It’s a series of bodyweight exercises that helps to increase heart rate and burn additional fat by making the workout more metabolic.
The lower rep range of the strength training is offset by the activity of the Dynamic Interrupt, and the fat-burning effect becomes even more profound.
Exercises are done for as many reps as possible in a given timeframe. The total work time of your Dynamic Interrupt should be 180 seconds or less.

Exercise Selection for the Dynamic Interrupt

Exercises for the DI can really be anything from jumping rope to jumping jacks to pushing a Prowler. The only real consideration is that you don’t want to choose exercises that will inhibit performance on the second circuit.
For example, if you’ve selected the bench press as one of your exercises on the second circuit, don’t select 75 seconds of as many push-ups as you can complete. Just choose movements that won’t interfere with what’s to come.

Sample Workout

Try this workout and see your results – and your strength – increase drastically.

Exercise Type of Movement Plane, Dominance Sets Total Reps
A1) Dumbbell Push Press Upper Body Push Vertical Vary 30
A2) Bentover Barbell Row Upper Body Pull Horizontal Vary 25
A3) Front Squat Lower Body Quad Dominant Vary 35
A4) Weighted Pull-Up Upper Body Pull Vertical Vary 20
Rest 15-30 seconds between exercises. When you finish your circuit, rest 45-60 seconds. Cycle through until you complete all reps for all exercises. Then, without rest, proceed immediately to the Dynamic Interrupt.

Dynamic Interrupt

Exercise Reps
1) Burpees As many as possible in 75 seconds
2) Mountain Climbers As many as possible in 45 seconds
Perform burpees, then mountain climbers, with minimal rest in between. When you’ve finished the mountain climbers, rest 2 minutes and proceed to circuit B.
Exercise Type of Movement Plane, Dominance Sets Total Reps
B1) Deadlift Lower Body Hip/Ham Dominant Vary 20
B2) Low-Incline DB Bench Press Upper Body Push Horizontal Vary 35
B3) High Pull Upper Body Pull Vertical Vary 30
B4) Alternating Barbell Lunges Upper Body Pull Quad Dominant Vary 30 (15/leg)
Rest 15-30 seconds between exercises. When you finish your circuit, rest 45-60 seconds. Cycle through until you complete all reps for all exercises.

Spend Calories, Save Mass

Lifting heavy weight requires a great deal of energy, so strength training is generally calorically expensive. In addition, because we’ve set things up in a circuit, the pace of the workout is much faster and fat loss increases.
Try this method one day a week during your diet program and watch your fat loss accelerate as you hold on to strength and mass!


>15 Fired-Up Foods that Burn Away Pounds


By: Brian Good
The shortcut to losing weight? Fast food. Not the kind the clown and the King try to shove down our throats, but rather, edible amphetamines-foods that act like speed for the fat-melting motor known as our metabolism. Eat these foods and you’re guaranteed to burn more calories…just by sitting there and listening to yourself digest.

Only one catch: Like any good buzz, this boost is temporary. “The only way to alter your resting metabolism permanently is to gain or lose weight, or to build extra muscle,” says Janet Walberg-Rankin, Ph.D., a professor of exercise physiology at Virginia Tech. But look at it this way: If you have a few of these supercharged snacks and drinks throughout the day, for enough days, you will lose weight.

And that’s if you’re doing nothing. Imagine if you were to stop listening to your stomach serenading you and actually begin exercising, too? The blubber-busting possibilities are endless. So grab a fork; it’s time to add fuel to the fire.

And for more great ways to and lose weight and stay slim for good, pick up a copy of The Men’s Health Diet today! It combines the latest findings in exercise and nutrition with practical how-to-advice that will transform your body into a fat-burning machine.
Milk, Whole Grain Cereal, Oats
Secret Ingredients: Calcium, complex carbohydrates, and fiber

How they work: Complex carbohydrates and fiber pump up metabolism by keeping insulin levels low after you eat. That’s good, because spikes in the production of insulin send a signal to the body that it’s time to start storing fat. And in order to stockpile fat, your body has to slow down your metabolism, causing you to burn fewer calories, says Margaret McNurlan, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Since oatmeal breaks down slowly in the stomach, it causes less of a spike in insulin levels than foods like bagels, she says.

Besides helping to keep insulin production down, eating breakfast can also help stoke your daily calorie burn. When the U.S. Navy studied the metabolisms and eating habits of a group of its personnel, it found that eating breakfast helped raise the men’s metabolisms by as much as 10 percent. “By skipping meals, you slow down your metabolism and prime your body to store fat,” says McNurlan.

The calcium in milk is a metabolic trigger as well. A University of Tennessee study found that dieters who consumed between 1,200 and 1,300 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day lost nearly twice as much weight as dieters getting less calcium.

Jalapenos, Habaneros, Cayennes
Secret Ingredient: Capsaicin—the chemical in peppers that gives them their bite

How it works: By speeding up your heart rate.

A study from the late ’80s found that eating a single spicy meal can boost your metabolism by up to 25 percent, with the spike in calorie burning lasting for up to 3 hours after you finish eating. More recently, a study from Laval University in Quebec found that men who consumed coffee plus red pepper-packed snacks and meals were able to burn nearly 1,000 more calories a day than a control group.

Small snacks can also help keep your body from running out of fuel-preventing those 3 p.m. office blahs. “When you restrict the number of calories your body has for fuel, your metabolic rate can drop temporarily,” says Susan Roberts, Ph.D., chief of the energy-metabolism laboratory at Tufts University in Boston. That makes it easier to pack on the pounds and harder to burn them off again.

Green Tea, Coffee
Secret Ingredients: Caffeine and a chemical in the tea called EGCG

How they work: Caffeine helps speed up your heart rate. The faster your heart beats, the more calories you burn. EGCG works in a similar way, but instead of revving up your heart, it causes your brain and nervous system to run more quickly-again helping you burn more calories.

In studies, researchers found that a combination of caffeine and a 90-mg dose of EGCG taken three times a day can help you burn an extra 80 calories a day. And that’s just when your body’s at rest. A study conducted by the Canadian government found that soldiers who consumed caffeine in the 12 hours prior to a physical-fitness test not only were able to work out longer before becoming exhausted, but also consumed more oxygen while working out. The body’s oxygen requirements are directly related to the speed of-guess what-your metabolism, so the more oxygen you use, the more calories you burn during your workout.

Lean Beef, Pork, Chicken, Turkey
Secret Ingredient: Protein

How it works: It takes more energy for your body to digest the protein in meat than it does for it to digest carbohydrates or fat, according to Doug Kalman, R.D., director of nutrition at Miami Research Associates, a nationally recognized pharmaceutical-research facility. “That means that the more protein you eat, the harder your body has to work to digest it, and the more calories you’ll burn in the process,” he says.

When researchers at Arizona State University compared the benefits of a high-protein diet with those of a high-carbohydrate diet, they found that people who ate a high-protein diet burned more than twice as many calories in the hours following their meal as those eating carbs. Even better, researchers in Denmark found that men who substituted protein for 20 percent of the carbs in their diets were able to boost their metabolisms, increasing the number of calories they burned each day by up to 5 percent.

Salmon, Tuna, Sardines
Secret Ingredient: Omega-3 fatty acids

How they work: By altering levels of a hormone called leptin in your body. Several recent studies suggest that leptin directly influences your metabolism, determining whether you burn calories or store them as fat.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that mice with low leptin levels have faster metabolisms and are able to burn fat more quickly than animals with higher leptin levels. The best way to lower your leptin? Eat fish.

Mayo Clinic researchers studying the diets of two African tribes-one of which frequently ate fish and one of which didn’t-found that fish eaters had leptin levels nearly five times lower than the levels found in tribes that primarily ate vegetables.

The good news, if you don’t like fish: Fish-oil supplements may work just as well as the stuff with scales. French researchers found that men who replaced 6 grams of fat in their diets with 6 grams of fish oil were able to boost their metabolisms and lose an average of 2 pounds in just 12 weeks.


Seven Metabolic Finishers to Burn Fat

Countdown to a Lean Belly

.By: Travis Stork, M.D

How did they do it? That’s the first question anyone asks when they see a friend or colleague who’s lost a lot of weight, or remade their body into a healthier, leaner version. How did they do it?

Well, it’s no mystery. In fact, one of the most important and intriguing studies ever conducted was put together by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) back in 2006. This is our tax dollars at work, and I’d say we got our money’s worth.

The pages of the study—its catchy title is “Dietary and Physical Activity Behaviors Among Adults Successful at Weight Loss Maintenance”—take all the world’s weight-loss theories and compare them to what works for real people in the real world. It looked at people who won the fat war by losing at least 30 pounds and then keeping the weight off using strategies that will work for you, too.

Keep in mind: It wasn’t a 100 percent success story. The CDC studied 2,124 people, and only 587 of them actually lost the weight and kept it off. But those who succeeded used many of the same strategies, the strategies outlined here.

And for even more ways to revolutionize your diet and get lean for good, check out The Lean Belly Prescription by Dr. Travis Stork. It’s filled with simple strategies that will help you lose weight the same way you gained it: By making easy lifestyle choices that will transform your life—for the better.

Lean-Belly Strategy #1
Pay Attention to What You Eat
Mindless eating is excessive eating. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts discovered that people who watched TV while they ate consumed nearly 300 more calories than those who dined without an eye on the tube. You need to pay attention to the messages your stomach is sending to your brain; if the TV is blaring, you won’t see the “slow” and “stop” signs.

Lean-Belly Strategy #2
Slow Down
Fast eaters become fat people. If you consciously stop to take a breath between bites, you can cut your food (and calorie) intake by 10 percent, according to researchers at the University of Rhode Island. Special bonus: You can do this in social situations—Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt Marge’s—and nobody will even notice. That is, until you show up next year minus 20 pounds of flab.

Lean-Belly Strategy #3
I Said Slow Down!
It takes 20 minutes for the news that you’ve had enough to eat to travel from your gut to your brain. The reason: Hormones that trigger the “I’m full—stop!” sensation are at the end of your digestive tract, and it takes a while for digested food to reach there. If your mouth is filled with conversation, it won’t be so full of food. Talk more between bites, and weigh less when the conversation/meal is over.

Lean-Belly Strategy #4
Beware the “Healthy” Menu
If you order the stuff that’s supposed to be good for you, you’re likely to underestimate a meal’s calorie total by more than a third, according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. The restaurants know that; now you do, too. So be especially aware when ordering “healthy,” and make sure you have a “to go” box handy to carry leftovers home.

Lean-Belly Strategy #5
Beware the Community Chest
Always serve snacks in a bowl or dish, and put away the packages. Never eat from the bag or container. That way you won’t ever eat an entire bag of something in a single sitting.

Lean-Belly Strategy #6
Beat Hunger with Your Mind
Have a craving even though you ate just an hour ago? Before you indulge your mystery hunger, here’s how to test whether your appetite is real or not: Imagine sitting down to a large, sizzling steak. If you’re truly hungry, the steak will sound good, and you should eat. If the steak isn’t appetizing, it means your body isn’t actually hungry. You might be bored, or thirsty, or just tempted by something you don’t need. Try a change of scenery: Researchers at Flanders University in Australia found that visual distractions can help curb cravings.

Lean-Belly Strategy #7
Redecorate, Repack, Remember
If you don’t have a countertop fruit bowl, buy one so you can grab a peach, banana, pear, or other piece of fruit on your way out the door in the morning, to munch on during your commute. (Plus, it’s fun to throw the core out the window.) Plan a 10 a.m. apple-a-day break. Toss an orange in your briefcase to help you past the mid-afternoon lull (otherwise known as Temptation Time). Make fruit part of your entourage, and it will beat up lesser foods.

Lean-Belly Strategy #8
If You Can’t Bear to Eat Vegetables, Drink Them Instead
That’s right, you could have had a V8—as long as it was the low-sodium variety. It has pureed tomatoes, beets, carrots, celery, spinach, lettuce, parsley, and watercress, and 8 ounces supplies two of your five recommended daily servings of vegetables. It also heats up nicely as a base for soups.

Lean-Belly Strategy #9
If You Can’t Bear to Eat Vegetables, Hide Them in Your Pasta Sauce
And no, neither you nor the kids will notice. Using a fine grater on your food processor, grate 2 cups total of onions, garlic, carrots, beets, and zucchini (or any combo thereof), then sauté the microscopic vegetable bits in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add 4 cups of basic marinara sauce and simmer to an anonymous tomato flavor.

Lean-Belly Strategy #10
If You’re Not Yet Drinking Smoothies, Why Not?
Have you read the label of your fruit juice? Lots of sugar (however “natural” it is) and not much fiber, which means it’s a carb bomb when it hits your bloodstream. Not so with a blended smoothie, because ingredient number one is whole fruit, making the sugar content drop and the fiber climb.

Two tips: Use frozen fruit; buy it by the bag in your store’s freezer section. And buy a wand mixer and a small pitcher so you can mix your smoothie in the same container you drink it from; it’s much easier than washing out a blender. Almost any fruit-and-berry combo will do, but you can start with this recipe: 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 banana (peeled ones freeze well), 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 tablespoons whey powder (it’s in the supplements aisle in the grocery store), 1 cup 2% milk, and 1 cup water.

Lean-Belly Strategy #11
Buy Smaller Dishes
According to the food scientists at Cornell University, people tend to eat as much food as will fit on their plates. That’s where “duh!” overlaps with dangerous. Over the past 100 years, our plates have grown, decade by decade. And we also know that the nation’s obesity rates have grown exponentially in that time as well. No, it’s not a coincidence. If you dine off of smaller plates, you’ll grow smaller, too. Shoot for 9 inches in diameter, and you’ll be on your way.

Lean-Belly Strategy #12
Drink out of Skinny Glasses
As have gone dinner plates, so have gone drinking glasses. And if you fill the newly cavernous ones with any kind of sweetened beverage, you’ll overindulge in calories. But here’s a smart tip: We tend to gauge our drink sizes by how tall, not how stout, our drinking glasses are. So if you buy tall, skinny ones, you’ll think you’re drinking more even though you’re drinking less.

Lean-Belly Strategy #13
Never Eat from the Box, Carton, or Bag
Those same clever food scientists at Cornell did an experiment in which they gave one set of moviegoers giant boxes of stale popcorn and another set smaller boxes of stale popcorn. The big-box people ate more than the small-box people. The theory: You gauge the amount that’s “reasonable” to eat by the size of the container it’s in. Put two cookies on a plate, put a scoop of ice cream in a bowl, or lay out a small handful of potato chips on your plate, then put the container away; you’ll eat far less of the treat.

Lean-Belly Strategy #14
Limit the Fried Stuff
Fun fact: Fast-food burgers and chicken from KFC and McDonald’s are the most frequently requested meals on death row. It kinda makes sense. The inmates won’t be around to suffer the aftermath. Fried foods are packed with calories and salt, and that crunchy, oily coating beats down any nutritional qualities that whatever is entombed inside might have.

That said, eating one piece of fried chicken won’t be, um, a death sentence, if it’s surrounded on the plate by generous helpings of vegetables and you follow with fruit—not more fat—for dessert. What’s more, the fat in the chicken will help you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the veggies.

Lean-Belly Strategy #15
Eat the Good Stuff
Make sure your diet is filled with healthy fats in the forms of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines), fatty fruits (avocados), extra-virgin olive oil, eggs (among the healthiest foods known to humankind), and healthy-fat snacks (nuts are nutritional powerhouses and keep you feeling full). I even give bacon in moderation a green light; at only 70 calories per strip, it carries big flavor and belly-filling capabilities.

Lean-Belly Strategy #16
Wear Your Milk Mustache with Pride
Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheeses all contain slow-to-digest protein and healthy fat, so they can be excellent belly fillers. And studies have suggested that the calcium in dairy products may aid weight loss. Make them part of your diet and you’ll find the cow elbowing aside lesser members of the food kingdom.

Lean-Belly Strategy #17
Eliminate Sweetened Beverages
If you’re going to follow only one piece of advice in this article, make it this one. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Drinks with added sugar account for nearly 450 calories per day in the average American’s diet. That’s more than twice as much as we were drinking 30 years ago. If you’re looking for a way to cut unnecessary daily calories to help you lose a pound a week, wean yourself from the overload of sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages.

No, artificially sweetened sodas are not okay. Even if they have few calories or no calories, they maintain or increase your taste for highly sweetened foods, so you seek out the calorie payload elsewhere. Worse yet, they crowd out the healthy beverages. My prescription: Out with the bad, in with the great—in taste and nutrition.

Lean-Belly Strategy #19
Reduce Your Intake of Food Prepared Away From Home
When you let somebody else prepare your food—especially if it’s a teenager in a paper hat—you lose control over what you eat. And the fast-food companies, being what they are, encourage all of your worst eating habits by stuffing their products with crave-inducing ingredients like unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt. If you can stay out of the drive-thru, you can shrink your calorie intake every day.

Lean-Belly Strategy #20
Keep a Food Diary
Clearly, this weight-loss technique isn’t for everybody. It’s a hassle to write down every little thing you eat, day after day. But it’s strikingly effective for those who do it. My advice: Try it for a week so you can get a handle on how many sodas you drink and under what circumstances, when you’re most likely to veg out with a bowl of chips in front of the TV, and when your dessert cravings strike. That will help you identify your dietary danger zones and lead you to strategies that save pounds.

But it wasn’t just dietary changes that helped all those folks lose all that weight. Becoming active was another enormous factor in leading the successful losers into the promised land of the lean (but not hungry): exercising for 30 or more minutes per day, and adding physical activity to daily routines. Clearly, these are Lean Belly Prescription kind of people. And that provides a great segue to talking about the activities that these “successful losers” used to shed fat and keep it off .

Here’s why it’s so important to keep both healthy eating and exercise going as your one-two punch against belly fat. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology reported that when people chose healthier foods and combined that benefi t with exercise, they torched 98 percent of their weight directly from their fat stores. People who changed their diets alone were much more likely to break down muscle for fuel, and that’s a big problem. Muscle is one of your prime metabolism boosters, so it will help you burn fat for up to 24 hours after a workout. So let’s tackle the activity list, and give you strategies to make the most of it.
Lean-Belly Strategy #21
Walk for Exercise
I consider that great news. Is there a simpler exercise than walking? Is there a better way to incorporate talking with friends and loved ones into your fitness plan? Is there anything else that gets you out among your neighbors at a pace that lets you say hello? And is there anything that makes your dog happier than your saying the magic word walk?

A study from the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada (a lovely place for a walk, mind you) found that largely sedentary people who wore a pedometer for 12 weeks increased their total steps by 3,451 a day, to about 10,500. By walking more, they also lowered their resting heart rates, BMIs, and waist measurements. Once you start paying attention to footsteps, you’ll find ways to bank the extra strides. Thirty here, 300 there, 1,000 after dinner, and suddenly you’re walking away from your old weight. Why not start right now? The closer you pay attention, the more you’ll walk. And the more you walk, the greater the temptation will be to mix in an even bigger calorie burner: running.

Lean-Belly Strategy #22
Lift Weights
I suspect that for 81 percent of you, the picture that just flashed in your mind was of a no-neck Bulgarian weight lifter straining as he hoisted a steel beam over his head in the last Olympics. I know that isn’t you.

But you should still be taking advantage of the weight lifter’s advantage: Muscle is the all-night convenience store of fat burning—it never shuts down. Not only do you burn a ton of calories while you’re actually exercising, but there’s also a big afterburn effect that kicks in. Your body has to expend energy to cool you down and repair the small tears in muscle fibers that happen when you lift. (Don’t freak out. If you lift reasonable-size weights, you won’t tear muscles, you’ll just push the muscle fibers hard enough to make them grow.)
Lean-Belly Strategy #23
Exercise Regularly
Believe it or not, “none of the above” is a legitimate option when it comes to physical activity, because there’s nothing magical about running or weight lifting or even walking. They’re just the most common activities people choose in order to add more activity to their days. The only one that’s important to you is one that a) you enjoy, b) fits into your life well enough that you can do it most days, and c) allows you to up your energy expenditure.

You can do that by adding three 15-minute walks to your day or by scheduling 2-hour bike rides on weekends. Or simply by walking more, standing more, lifting more, and sitting less.

Just look at your whole day as an opportunity to make the smart choices that will help you lose weight and feel better. Achieve that, and where might you be next month? Or next year? Some place far better than where you are today!


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