Category Archives: Fat-Loss

3 Simple Fat Loss Fixes

3 Simple Fat Loss Fixes

3 Simple Fat Loss Fixes
I solve problems. I troubleshoot diets, make adjustments, monitor the body’s response, and repeat – always working to make the body respond better and get results faster.
I’ve learned that simple works really well for training and diet. Whenever I see someone struggling with their fat loss, I always see if we can simplify things. Simple doesn’t mean not as effective, it usually just means easier to execute. Complicated plans require constant attention and sometimes the rest of your life demands that attention elsewhere. How can you make a diet simpler? Here are three ways.


1) The 100 Gram Carb Cure

Chris Shugart and I put this plan together, and it’s pretty simple (and effective). The plan is self-explanatory – you simply limit your total daily carb intake to under 100 grams.


2) Shake Diet

3 Simple Fat Loss Fixes
This is a good one for getting or staying lean during really hectic times in your life. Eat breakfast like you normally would (eggs, spinach, turkey sausage, etc.). Then have 2 quality shakes during the day (you can make them before you leave the house in the morning).
At night, have dinner like you normally would (steak and broccoli, salmon and asparagus, etc.). On days that you train, add your workout nutrition on top of this. Really simple. This works so well because your shakes are calorie and macronutrient controlled and require little to no preparation. Here’s a simple 500-calorie carb controlled shake that works great for this.
Shake Diet Shake

Toss everything in a blender, blend, and pack for your day.

3) 3X Diet

3 Simple Fat Loss Fixes
The 3x Diet was an approach that I came up with for clients that didn’t like a lot of variety in their day-to-day meals. What you do is construct 3 days of non starch-containing meals that are all similar calorically.
Then you rotate through these meals for 12-15 days. On days that you train, just add your workout nutrition to that part of your day. This approach makes food prep a breeze, and the addition of your workout nutrition on training days allows you to cycle carbs and calories based on when you’re training.
Here’s a sample diet:
Breakfast

(Cook omelet ingredients together in skillet.)
Meal 2

Meal 3

Meal 4

Peri-Workout Nutrition
Resistance Training (Optional)

Energy Systems Training (Optional)

Excuses and Mental Failings

3 Simple Fat Loss Fixes
If you need a weight loss fix, go back to basics. Start simple with one of these 3 plans and jumpstart your fat loss again. However, in addition to giving you 3 plans, I also offer the following 2 solutions to problems that range from physical to psychological.

1) Too Tired

I was recently talking with a friend of mine who walks around looking like he could step onto a bodybuilding stage on any day of the year and I asked him about ‘the most important factor in fat loss.’ His answer was sleep.
Sleep? Yup.
It’s counter to what the world is telling us. Aren’t we supposed to get hopped up on stimulants, work 12 hours a day, work through the night, and only eke out 3-4 hours of sleep (as if this was some gold star we get on our badge of manliness)?
Big mistake. If you’re trying to get lean, you need your sleep because while they seem like two unrelated processes, sleep and fat loss are connected through glucose tolerance and your fat cells. One study inDiabetes Care found that people getting 4.5 hours of sleep per night compared to 6 hours per night had higher insulin secretions and scored higher on the insulin resistance index.
Another study in Sleep showed that by moving from 8 hr/night to 4 hr/night of sleep for just 2 days, people experienced an increase in peak glucose and insulin levels after breakfast, while also exhibiting a blunting of glucagon release.
The relationship between sleep and glucose tolerance may to be tied together via dysfunctional fat cells. Other research shows that lean healthy individuals experience a decrease in insulin sensitivity when sleep is restricted. At the same time, lepin concentrations also decrease.
Because fat cells are the only cells thought to produce leptin, and calorie intake in the individuals in the study wasn’t reduced (as this will decrease leptin), it seems as if our fat cells are playing an important role in the increased insulin resistance observed with reductions in sleep.
In the end, the only way to fix this and to get your fat cells to behave is to sleep. Make it a priority. You manage to exercise 5-7 days a week and eat 5-6 meals per day; I’m sure you can schedule in 8 hours of sleep to support your dieting efforts.

2) Too Weak (Mentally)

Some say abs are built in the kitchen. Some say a lean body is forged in the gym. I think that both are created in your mind first. Dieting down and getting lean is made in those moments when no one is around. When it’s 10:30 at night, you’re a little tired, a little bored, and you want to eat something. What are you going to do?
If you see yourself as a fat ass, then you’re going to get off the couch, go to the kitchen, and forget all the sacrifices for the day as you eat your kid’s left over peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you see yourself as a lean driven motivated person, you’re going to get off the couch and go to bed so that you can improve your glucose tolerance. Mental confidence and how you view yourself is key. To foster this mental confidence in clients, I focus on two main areas:
Working to See Yourself At Your Best: It’s easy to mull over the times that you cheated on your diet, slept in and skipped a workout, or let your body slide so that you were 15 pounds heavier than you should be. But that isn’t helping, so stop.
Instead, always remember yourself at your best. Remember your PRs. Remember the workouts where you did an extra set of barbell complexes just because the burning in your lungs felt good. Always see yourself as that person and you’ll be that person.
Keeping up with Yourself, Not Other People: TC recently had a LiveSpill related to this, which is worth reading again. In it he wrote:

TC went on to talk about all the fat, out of shape, and even regular guys that were surrounding him in Vegas and how, compared to those guys, you’re superstars. Still, it’s hard to even say that you should be comparing yourself to those “regular” guys as their ability to grab life and ride it for all it has, are merepesos in the game of life compared to the big-stack chips you’re playing on a daily basis.
Just worry about yourself. Don’t compare yourself to the heart attack waiting to happen sitting next to you in the subway as he isn’t on your level, and don’t beat yourself up about not looking like the guys in the300 movie. Train hard, eat right, monitor, and adjust. That’s the only thing you have control over, so control it.
Let me know what you think of these ideas to get leaner in the LiveSpill.
Wikio

Fat Loss Nutrition


Fat Loss Nutrition
Advice doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. The simpler the advice, the more likely it will be applied in the real world, thus the more likely it will produce the desired result.
If you can’t summarize your theories in less than a few minutes, then either your kohai (student) won’t understand it, you don’t really understand it, you’re trying to sound too smart, or the material is so complex that it won’t work in real life situations.
Since I’m coming close to the end of my rookie season here on T NATION, I figured I’d give you a short, practical summary of what we’ve covered so far regarding fat loss nutrition. Colleagues, clients, and friends have called it a Paleo-meets-Sports Nutrition hybrid approach.
Here are the Cliff Notes:

  • A Paleo/caveman-style diet is a simple template from which everyone can start. Eliminating most man-made, modern, processed, and refined foods and emphasizing natural foods that we evolved from can go a long way in improving health markers while helping achieve physique enhancement goals.
  • However, high intensity exercise creates a unique metabolic environment and changes how the body processes nutrients for 24-48 hours upon completion of a training session. If you exercise 3-5 days a week, your body is virtually in recovery mode 100% of the time. It’s an altered physiological state beyond pure resting conditions, thus its nutritional needs are completely different from the average, sedentary, overweight office worker.
  • We should keep in mind that surviving in the wild during caveman times is different than achieving elite performance or physique goals in modern times. “Life extensionism” at the cost of a sickly appearance, low libido/Testosterone, and an overall lack of “bad-assery” is not what the average T NATION guy is looking for.

At the same time, an awesome physique at the cost of poor health or early death isn’t what the majority are seeking either. How about an intelligent plan with some balance?

  • Just like the sedentary person shouldn’t get caught up in following Food Pyramid dogma, the strength-training athlete shouldn’t get caught up in following no-carb dogma. Treating sick populations (insulin resistant, obese, etc.) is not advising athletes. Targeted carbohydrate intake can help the athlete fuel, recover from, and respond to intense strength training sessions.

The athlete should look at adding back in some low fructose, non-gluten, or “anti-nutrient” containing starches (potatoes, yams, rice) into their plan.
This is my approach, based on my education and experiences. But it’s not the only way. I encourage you to take some personal accountability and self-experiment to find what works best for you.
Just remember, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, or more appropriately for us, to peel off body fat.

The Lost Art of Post Workout Nutrition

Fat Loss Nutrition
I’ve talked a lot about Paleo Nutrition specifics. This time around, lets talk about some Sports Nutrition specifics. Efficiency means starting with the most important thing first right? The key, core concept in Sports Nutrition is post-workout nutrition.
Before the rise of information overload, practical advice regarding post-workout nutrition was simple – down some damn protein and carbs as soon as you can after finishing your workout.
Lately, I’ve seen a disturbing trend rising amongst the gym population, particularly amongst those who fall victim to over-intellectualizing or over-theorizing everything. Turns out some scientist or evolutionary theorist somewhere stated that carbs in the post-workout period inhibit the fat burning environment created by exercise.
Thus, people are starting to believe that to maximize fat loss, you must go low carb all the time, even in the critical post-workout window.
I can hear Donnie Brasco right now,
The result is that the Sports Nutrition principle that’s more important for producing physique development results than anything else, namely combining protein with carbs in the post-workout period, has been lost. These days I have to fight with people to get them to include some damn carbs in their post-workout meal.
That’s crazy!
Unfortunately, a few T NATION readers have fallen under this spell. I’ve had to help several regular Nation readers uncover the underlying problem concerning their lack of physique enhancement results despite consistent and intense training protocols.
The #1 culprit was a lack of carbs in the post-workout recovery period. For too long, many of us have been living on “A Nightmare on Carb Street.”
It’s time to wake up.
What to do can be explained in a sentence: down some Surge Recovery and/or eat a post-workout meal combining protein with carbohydrates in a 1:1 to 1:2 ratio after every strength training workout. Whole food examples include fish and rice, egg/egg white mixtures and rice cakes, chicken and yam, steak and potato, etc.
If you’re already doing that, you’re done. You’re probably getting good results and don’t need to read on. The rest of this article is geared towards those who’ve somehow been confused into thinking that post-workout protein/carb combos are detrimental to their physique goals.
Unfortunately, the why – the science behind simple practical recommendations – can get pretty complex. However, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to learn a little bit. It gives you the knowledge-base necessary to separate fact from the brown stuff that comes out of a bull’s backside. It helps you stick to the fundamentals of physique enhancement and not get pulled off track by highly intelligent theorists, but equally lacking in real world practical experience.

The Problem with No Carbs Post Workout

When most people think of getting shredded, they think of fat loss only. This often results in extreme calorie/carb cuts and exercise protocols that can be counterproductive in the long-term due to the presence of a chronic catabolic environment. For example, hours of cardio a day and cutting out lettuce because it contains 1g of carbohydrate.
Short-term catabolism is beneficial, as it helps us break down stored energy nutrients for fuel, both as glycogen or body fat. But chronic, long-term catabolism is highly problematic for physique enhancement goals. This ultimately leads to muscle loss and body fat gain despite high activity levels and low food intake.
So physique athletes can’t just think about “burning” stuff off all the time, even during fat loss phases. We also have to pay attention to recovery and muscle growth, or at the very least, lean muscle maintenance. Enter post-workout nutrition.
I like to think of this as the “yin & yang” of physique enhancement. We need balance in everything in life.
When one side is unbalanced, such as when a sedentary person consistently eats refined carbohydrates, insulin is chronically elevated, and there’s too much “anabolic” activity – the body is always in storage mode, including storing body fat. If this isn’t offset with “catabolic” activity or the burning off of stored nutrients through exercise, the net effect is “Pillsbury Doughboy-ville.”
What happens when the side of that equation becomes unbalanced is a little more complicated.
If you lean too much in the other direction (i.e. performing intense activity while chronically restricting calories/carbs, especially post-workout), there are negative consequences. Most notably, a lack of physique development and body composition change despite sincere effort.
Exercise is a catabolic activity. We all know it causes microscopic damage/tears in the muscle tissue. But what some have forgotten is that this catabolic process must be offset with an anabolic recovery period for physical adaptation to take place. Muscular repair – an anabolic process – only occurs with proper nutritional intake.
If you perform high intensity strength training but don’t include some protein and carbs for recovery, what you end up with is cortisol over-dominance and a constant catabolic state. This over-dominance of cortisol is compounded by two lifestyle factors:

  • Our modern lifestyles, especially those of career-driven professionals, are highly stressful. Cortisol levels are chronically high due to the stress of corporate life. You don’t want to add to this negative hormonal environment with improper post-workout nutrition. Otherwise, what’s intended to be beneficial (exercise) ends up being counterproductive by contributing even more to chronically elevated cortisol levels.
  • Those who lack real anaerobic fuel from carbohydrate intake often make up for it with artificial energy coming from stimulants (coffee, energy drinks, fat burning pills). Now there’s considerable research that caffeine, in moderation, is beneficial for fat burning, but the key, as with most things in life, is moderation.

Needing to drink 84 oz. of coffee or 6 energy drinks just to get through the day is not moderation. It’s chemical dependency. If overdone, cortisol remains chronically elevated, and contributes to the “stubborn body fat” syndrome.
This is the exact scenario that plays out with many strength-training athletes who strictly adhere to low carbohydrate diets. They’re confused, thinking the low carb diet plans that are the best for sedentary populations are also the best for them. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The result of this hormonal environment is the “Skinny-Fat Syndrome.” Guys and gals who consistently train hard, follow the low-carb trend, think they’re doing everything right, are lean everywhere else, but hold flab right around the midsection. Oddly enough, it’s too low of a carbohydrate intake, and it’s the refusal to offset catabolic activity with an anabolic recovery period that’s keeping them fat.
These athletes may be improving performance parameters (improving strength, endurance, ability to perform a specific like max pull-ups, deadlift max, etc.), but their appearance isn’t changing. In many instances, it’s getting worse.
It’s much easier to improve performance on a sub-par diet than it is to improve appearance. Fact is, for the person with average genetics and choosing a natural route, .
Yes, if carbs are overeaten it will inhibit the fat loss process. Chronic elevation or overproduction of insulin can of course lead to fat gain. But in the right amounts and situations (i.e. following an intense workout where insulin sensitivity is high), it can be a good thing (anabolic, anti-catabolic).
As counterintuitive as it sounds, some carbs in the diet can offset the catabolic activity of exercise (insulin is a counter-regulatory hormone to cortisol), can initiate the recovery and repair process, can help build lean muscle, and can help burn fat in the recovery period.
I’ve worked with physique athletes who got over their misconceptions and “carbophobia,” leaned up, and reached personal, record low body fat percentages by into their diet; starting of course, with the post-workout period.

The Inhibition of Fat Burning Myth

Fat Loss Nutrition
The biggest argument I hear against carbs post-workout is that they’ll inhibit optimum fat burning. This may be true at other times of the day, under normal physiological conditions, but it’s not true in the unique environment created by intense strength training.
As bodybuilding nutritionist Chris Aceto accurately stated, carbs have a “metabolic priority” in the post-workout period. The strength training athlete cycles periods of glycogen depletion with glycogen restoration, and in the post-workout period, even a high carb intake doesn’t get stored as body fat.
Again, the prevailing confusion in our industry is due to dietary principles that are great for sedentary populations being extrapolated and applied across the board, even with athletes.
In the post-workout period, the main priority of ingested glucose is to refill depleted glycogen stores. As this is happening, fatty acids fuel normal resting energy requirements.

That’s A Wrap

There’s a lot more we can talk about regarding this topic, such as the effect of carb and protein levels on the free Testosterone:cortisol ratio in response to exercise, changes in glucose transporters, and the glycogen synthase enzyme in response to exercise, etc.
But these are all more about the then the to do with post-workout nutrition. For now, follow my advice and return to the simple: take in some protein and carbs post-workout, even when prioritizing fat loss. You may need to cut the carbs at other times during the day, but you shouldn’t cut them in the post-workout period.

References

1. Kimber, et al. Skeletal muscle fat and carbohydrate metabolism during recovery from glycogen-depleting exercise in humans. J Physiol. 2003 May 1;548(Pt 3):919-27.


Wikio

>3 Tricks for Faster Fat Loss

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You’re doing everything right: Banishing junk food, training hard, adding in some cardio – but none of it seems to touch that spare tire around your waist.
Well, don’t save up for lipo just yet.
When everything in your regimen says you should have visible abs and yet you don’t, try these tricks to get you ready for the shirtless days of summer.

Trick 1: Dial-In Your Pre-Bed Meal

What did you eat before bed last night? What are you going to eat before bed tonight?
It’s important, because what you eat in the two hours prior to bedtime has an enormous impact on your physique, especially when it comes to fat loss.

Here’s the rule: Eat for what you’re about to do.

Sure, some lucky bastards may go to bed and find a pair of scantily clad Playmates frolicking around between the sheets. But most of us mortals aren’t about to engage in two hours of NEPA (non-exercise physical activity) when we head toward the bedroom.
For that reason, we don’t need to eat a traditional bodybuilding meal at that time. Instead, we need to eat for what we’re about to do: not move very much.
More specifically, your carbohydrate needs are dramatically diminished – arguably eliminated – when you’re sleeping. Remember, carbs fuel high-intensity exercise like weight-training and sprinting, and there’s no such thing as “high-intensity sleeping.”
Fat, on the other hand, becomes the primary fuel source as the intensity of exercise goes down. In fact, when you’re sleeping you’re burning almost exclusively fat for fuel.
Therefore, feeding your body carbs prior to bed dramatically increases the chance that the carbs are stored as opposed to being burned. And if carbs aren’t burned, they’re either stored as glycogen or as fat.
If you happen to have weight-trained (cardio doesn’t count) in the last three or four hours prior to retiring to your chamber, then there’s very little chance that the carbs you eat at this time will be converted to fat. That’s because glycogen stores are low and will hog all the carbs, leaving none needing to be converted to fat.
However, the majority of us don’t train within three or four hours before bed, so we should eliminate carbs in our pre-bed meal. When I say eliminate I don’t necessarily mean zero grams. Don’t be afraid of low-starch veggies at this time.
As for pre-bed fat intake, I stand by my rule of “have fat when you don’t have carbs.” However, I do recommend cutting your normal portion of fat in half.
There’s evidence that consuming a large amount of fat (a “fat load”) suppresses hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), which is needed to break down fat. (1) Although the fat load in this study was more than a savvy trainee would normally consume in one meal (40g), I’d recommend being even more conservative. For the last meal of the day, limit yourself to 10 or 15 grams of fat.

Trick 2: Do Morning, No-Carb Cardio

No, not “fasted” cardio, but rather “no-carb” cardio. There’s a big difference.
Let’s say you just knocked back a bowl of Fruit Loops and you decide you want to go do some cardio to get leaner. Problem is, that cardio is going to primarily be fueled by your Fruit Loops, not your love handles.
That’s because eating carbs blunts fat burning and promotes the body’s use of carbs for fuel. Clearly, we don’t want to burn carbs for fuel if we’re doing cardio to lose fat.

So how do we burn fat for fuel?

Fasting – going without eating for a period of time, like during sleep – shifts the body toward burning fat for fuel. Why? Liver glycogen and blood sugar are lower after fasting, so the body is forced to burn fat for fuel in a fasted state.
Fasted cardio leads to significantly higher levels of the potent fat-burning hormone, norepinephrine, than non-fasted cardio. (2) That’s why bodybuilders have been doing fasted cardio for years, with great results.
But this strategy isn’t quite perfect.
In addition to burning fat for fuel, the body will also mobilize protein to help with meeting energy demands. And it will get this protein, specifically amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) from muscle tissue. Your muscles are parting with precious branched-chain amino acids. Not good.
Yep, your body will break down muscle tissue to fuel your treadmill walking, even without your permission. And this occurs more and more as the intensity of exercise goes up. But there’s a way around this robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul conundrum.
Consuming BCAAs prior to doing cardio reduces and even prevents the protein breakdown that would otherwise occur. (3) That means more muscle for you and a faster metabolic rate.
When doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT), research suggests it’s probably not beneficial to do it fasted, since the fuel used for it isn’t fat anyway. It’s carbs. However, consuming BCAAs prior to HIIT is still crucial, maybe even more so. As the intensity of exercise goes up, so does the role BCAAs play in energy production.

Trick 3: Eat to Replenish Your Muscles, Not Your Liver

Fact:
But it’s not enough to just eat carbs and hope they’ll make it to your muscles. You need to know they’re going to your muscles. Ditch the wish-upon-a-star strategy and implement a scientific protocol of carb consumption.
Let’s review some carb science. There are three types of monosaccharides of interest to us humans: glucose, fructose, and galactose. The latter comes from the breakdown of the disaccharide lactose, found in dairy products. I highly doubt a significant portion of your carbs come from lactose.
Regardless, it will be broken down into one part glucose and one part galactose. Subsequently, the galactose will soon be converted to your body’s favorite monosaccharide – glucose.
Glucose is the body’s preferred carb currency. Once in the body – whether ingested directly or from the breakdown of more complex carbs – glucose is used for energy, stored as glycogen, or converted to fat.
In The Insulin Advantage we discussed the importance of not overeating carbs so that the excess can’t be converted to fat. We only want to eat enough carbs to supply our immediate energy needs and to replenish glycogen, specifically muscle glycogen.
The cool, physique-friendly thing about glucose is that it preferentially replenishes muscle glycogen as opposed to liver glycogen. It seems the skeletal muscles worked out some sort of deal with the body so that it gets first dibs on extra glucose before the liver gets a chance to lay its mitts on the fuel. That’s great for us, because we desperately want our carbs to go to our muscles, not to our liver!

Enter fructose. This diabolical bastard evidently worked out a similar deal with the devil. Er, I mean the liver.
When we ingest fructose, it’s quickly absorbed and shuttled off to the liver. It’ll then be stored as liver glycogen and will be slowly broken down as needed by the blood.
The problem? Storing carbs in our liver does our muscles no good! The other problem is that once the liver is full of glycogen (and it only holds about 100 grams) it will convert any incoming fructose to triglycerides. That sucks. It sucks from an appearance standpoint and from a health standpoint.
What does that mean for us? It means that we certainly don’t need to be too liberal with our fructose intake!
It also means that your pre-workout carbs should be glucose-containing carbs, NOT fructose-containing. Because, essentially, whatever carbs you eat from fructose are not going to your muscles, which so desperately want and need them post-workout. So, keep an eye on fructose, but also monitor your sucrose intake. Sucrose, which is table sugar, is a disaccharide made of one fructose molecule and one glucose molecule. In other words, sucrose is half fructose.
Soda is definitely not a good choice for post-workout carbs, but there’s a much less obvious carb source we need to keep an eye on: fruit. For example, of the roughly 25 grams of carbs in an apple, about 15 grams are from fructose.
The point isn’t to avoid fruit altogether. In fact, I typically recommend most people eat one or two servings a day because it’s packed with a plethora of micronutrients. Rather, the point is to avoid having a couple pieces of fruit and thinking all 50 grams of carbs are going to your starving muscles. They’re not.
A far better approach is to have no more than one piece of fruit at a time, even in the post-workout “window of opportunity.” And if you’re going to have fruit post-workout, consider making it a banana, which has more glucose, yet about half the fructose of an apple.

Basics Come Before Strategies

These three fat-loss strategies aren’t going to get you lean if you superimpose them on otherwise piss-poor nutrition and training programs.
However, I can tell you from experience that if you try to get lean without using these tricks, your abs are going to stay hidden for a much longer time.

References

1. Effects of an oral and intravenous fat load on adipose tissue and forearm lipid metabolism. Evans K, Clark ML, Frayn KN.
2. Effect of moderate incremental exercise, performed in fed and fasted state on cardio-respiratory variables and leptin and ghrelin concentrations in young healthy men. J.A. Zoladz, S.J. Konturek, K. Duda, J. Majerczak, Z. Sliwowski, M. Grandys, W. Bielanski
3. Effect of branched-chain amino acid supplementation on the exercise-induced change in aromatic amino acid concentration in human muscle.

Wikio

>Lose Fat, Stay Strong

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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!

Wikio

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!

Wikio

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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7 Strategies to Satisfy Hunger and Lose Weight

By: David Schipper
Recently, Cornell University researchers asked a group of people a simple question: “How do you know when you’re through eating dinner?”

The answer might seem obvious. After all, doesn’t everyone push the plate away when they feel full? Well, no. The leanest people do, according to the scientists, but people who are overweight rely more on what are known as “external cues.” For example, guys packing a few extra pounds tend to stop eating when . . .

1. Their plates are clean.
2. Everyone else in their group is finished.
3. The TV show they’re watching is over.

Unfortunately, these cues have nothing to do with how they feel physically. “People’s brains are often out of touch with their bodies,” says C. Peter Herman, Ph.D., a University of Toronto expert on appetite control. “And when eating becomes mindless, overeating becomes routine.”

The key player in all of this appears to be a region of your brain called the left posterior amygdala, or LPA. This area monitors the volume of food in your stomach during a meal. Fill your gut to a comfortable level, and the LPA tells your brain to drop the fork. Trouble is, it delivers that information at dial-up speed in a DSL world. “Many men consume calories faster than their bodies can say, ‘Stop!'” explains Herman. “So they look to external cues to guide their consumption.”

The bottom line is this: To shrink your gut, you need to start listening to it. We’ve scoured the science and tapped the top experts to help you learn how to do just that. Use these seven simple strategies, and you’ll fill up without filling out.
Sit Down to Snack
Turns out, the trappings of a formal meal make you think you’re eating more than you actually are—and that may boost satiety levels. A 2006 Canadian study found that when people ate lunch while sitting at a set table, they consumed a third less at a later snack than those who ate their midday meals while standing at a counter.

Think of it as the Zen of eating: “If you treat every dining experience with greater respect, you’ll be less likely to use your fork as a shovel,” says sports nutritionist and behavioral psychotherapist Lisa Dorfman, M.S., R.D. “And that includes snacks as well as your three squares.”
Turn Off the Tube
University of Massachusetts researchers found that people who watched TV during a meal consumed 288 more calories on average than those who didn’t. The reason: What you’re seeing on television distracts you, which keeps your brain from recognizing that you’re full.
Slow Down and Savor
“Pay close attention to those first three bites, which people usually wolf down due to excitement,” says Jeffrey Greeson, Ph.D., a health psychologist at Duke Integrative Medicine. In fact, mimic a food critic: “Examine the food’s texture, savor the flavors in your mouth, and then pay attention and feel the swallow,” he says. “Psychologically, this form of meditative eating boosts satiety and promotes a sense of satisfaction for the entire meal.”

While you’re at it, try spicing up relatively bland fare, such as scrambled eggs, with hot sauce or smoked paprika. “Hot, flavorful foods help trigger your brain to realize you’re eating,” says Dorfman.

Take a Bite, Take a Breath
University of Rhode Island researchers discovered that consciously slowing down between bites decreases a person’s calorie intake by 10 percent. “Breathing helps you gauge how hungry you are, since it directs your mind toward your body,” says Greeson. “It’s also quite practical, since you can do it throughout a meal and not draw attention to yourself in a social situation.”

Don’t Share Your Food
Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo observed that men who ate with a group of buddies downed 60 percent more calories than when they ate with a spouse or girlfriend. That’s because people often match their intake of food to that of their dining partners.

Of course, you shouldn’t have to sit home on guys’ night out. Choose one reasonable entrée for yourself, and skip the communal foods—bread, nachos, wings, and pizza, for example—which encourage you to take your eating cues from pals.
Keep a Food Journal
It’s an effective way to remind yourself how much you’re eating over the course of a day. But it doesn’t need to be complicated: University of Pittsburgh scientists found that dieters who simply wrote down the size of each meal (S, M, L, XL) were just as successful at losing weight as those who tracked specific foods and calorie counts.

One useful addition: Detail the motivation behind your eating habits. “Were you really hungry or just blowing off steam before bedtime? Recognizing that you weren’t feeling true hunger reinforces the idea of listening to your body,” says Dorfman.
Don’t Trust the “Healthy” Menu
You’re likely to underestimate your meal’s calorie count by about 35 percent, according to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research. The best approach is to check the restaurant’s nutrition guide before you order. A University of Mississippi study found that people consumed 54 percent fewer calories when they used this simple strategy.

© 2010 Rodale Inc. | MensHealth.com

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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.

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!

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.

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.

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.



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How to Eliminate Love Handles, Man Boobs, or Jelly Belly



Practically any one who’s been training for any appreciable length of time–with his or her mind actively engaged—has probably realized that there’s a very real link between body comp and hormone levels.
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are with your diet or how many calories you burn, you still look, well…crappy.
You may be lean except for a noticeable round little belly that shakes when you laugh like a bowlful of…well, you know. Or you may look magazine-cover ready except for some maddening fat around the side of your waist. Maybe worst of all are the occasional flabby pecs, which, in your case, might be a charitable term for man boobs.
Some of that may well just be genetic, an awful legacy left by your genetically imperfect parents.
Or, it could be, as many of us in the biz have deduced through the plain old scientific method, a logical result of hormonal imbalances that could, in some cases, be easily remedied by the right dietary or supplement protocols.
The person who’s fine tuned this thinking to its zenith is Charles Poliquin, who’s successfully applied his Biosignature Modulation protocol to thousands of happy clients.
The method involves measuring body fat from 12 different sites. The measurements, or more specifically, the ratio of the measurements to each other, suggest volumes on carbohydrate tolerance, carbohydrate intake, stress levels, androgen levels, and even growth hormone levels.
This gives Poliquin a clear idea of which supplements and dietary protocols are needed to fix the client’s particular body comp problems.
Poliquin’s methodology involves measuring the skinfold thickness of the following sites:

Poliquin considers the triceps to be the mother site as it serves as the reference point to all other sites. Simply put, the thinner the skin on the triceps, the higher the androgen, or Testosterone levels. In fact, he considers it so accurate that he states that a surefire way to tell if a woman is on steroids is if her triceps score is below 6mm.
That’s a controversial statement, but it makes a valuable point.
As far as males, let’s say his triceps skinfold measurement is, say, 7.2 (low, or good), but his skinfold measurement on his quads and his hamstrings was high. This subject’s problem wouldn’t likely be associated with low Testosterone, but a Testosterone/estrogen aromatization problem.
Poliquin would then prescribe an estrogen protocol to lean that lifter’s legs up.
Poliquin’s brainchild is a valuable tool. The only drawback is that Biosig practitioners are few and far between. They also want money for their services, the capitalist bastards!
But like I said, many of us in the business have long practiced a primitive form of Biosignature Modulation that’s done without precise skinfold measurements. All that’s needed is a mirror, a clear pair of eyes, and a certain degree of honest self-assessment.
Let me quickly say that the simple “protocol” I’m about to describe won’t take the place of a comprehensive Biosig Modulation assessment. It would, at best, give broad interpretations of possible physique shortcomings. Regardless, it could be just the thing you’re looking for.

Physique Problem #1: Love Handles

Are you relatively lean except for that hideous roll of fat perched on your suprailiac? If you fit that profile, chances are you suffer from some degree of insulin resistance.
Obviously, you need to make yourself more sensitive to the effects of insulin and this is quite easy to do. All it requires is a prudent eating strategy, a couple of proven supplements, and a little bit of willpower.

 Biotest Receptor Max (2 capsules 30 minutes before each meal)
 Flameout (8-10 capsules a day)
 High protein (obviously)
 Keep carb intake to 200 or fewer grams per day
Effects should be noticeable within a couple of weeks.

Physique Problem #2: Santa Claus Belly

Are you relatively lean except for a weird paunchy pile of fat on your umbilical region? If you fit that profile, it could be a combination of low Testosterone and high cortisol.
Again, the solution could be very simple:

 Biotest Alpha Male (2 to 4 tablets a day)
 Biotest Rhodiola (2 to 4 capsules a day)
 Phosphatidyl Serine (800 mg.  a day)
Alpha Male will increase Testosterone levels relatively quickly, Rhodiola will modulate stress, and phosphatidyl serine will lower cortisol levels directly.
Effects should be noticeable within a few weeks.

Physique Problem #3: Man Boobs

Are you relatively lean except for embarrassing fat storage on your pecs? If you have that problem, you may have an estrogen problem, or Testosterone-Estrogen conversion problem.

 Biotest REZ-V (three capsules once a day)
 Biotest Flameout (8 to 10 capsules a day)
 Cruciferous vegetables (ad libitum, but at least a serving or two a day)
REZ-V contains resveratrol, a powerful aromatase inhibitor (meaning that it prevents Testosterone from converting into estrogen). It also contains auroyl macrogol-32 glycerides, a compound that enhances absorption of Resveratrol (and other substances that are hard to digest or assimilate).
Likewise, the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, found in Flameout, has been found to be strongly anti-estrogenic. (That’s one of the reasons why Flameout, perhaps out of all the fish oil supplements in the world, has been formulated to have a higher concentration of DHA than EPA.)
Lastly, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, broccaflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy contain a phytochemical  (Indole-3-Carbinol) that reduces estrogen levels.
Adopting these three things, or, at the very least, just eating more cruciferous vegetables, could go a long way in curing your problem. Results should be noticeable in a couple of months.

Final Thought

While these 3 strategies could prove powerful in combating your particular physique demons, be aware that they’re for individuals who are otherwise relatively lean but with very specific physique problems. If you’re fat all over, the first line of attack is to adopt a sane and wise dietary and exercise attack plan.
But you already knew that.

Skinfold measurements can give a clue to your hormone levels.

Skinfold measurements can give a clue to your hormone levels.

Pauline's triceps, while lean, appear to be on the

Can you tell if a woman’s on steroids by her triceps score? Pauline’s triceps, while lean, appear to be on the “safe” side.

No problems with love handles here.

No problems with love handles here.

Estrogen levels appear to be in check.

Estrogen levels appear to be in check.

© 1998 — 2010 Testosterone, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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