Success Stories

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Intermittent fasting

If you readers have noticed one of my big philosophy's when dieting is eating conveniently.  Be very skeptical of any nutritional advice that tells you to eat a certain number of meals a day.  In reality you should base your meal frequency on what best suits your training, convenience, needs.  Read my previous blog post on meal frequency read here

One unconventional method of dieting is called intermittent fasting and is an approach that has really grown on me over the years.  I like it because it can cut out a lot of the stress out of dieting and might even be a good way to control cravings. 

Lean gains has become an increasingly popular method for people wanting to lose fat or gain muscle.  The basic premise being that you fast for 16 hours then have a eight hour eating window.  So for example you would start eating at 3 and end at 11 pm go to sleep then wait till three the next day until you start eating.  Many people enjoy this way of dieting and it can have a number of benefits over standard dieting.  You should peruse the site to learn more and as per usual feel free to ask questions in the comment section below.

                                    Martin Berkhan got this physique using Intermittent fasting

Monday, February 21, 2011

Getting a six pack

Honestly speaking you can work out abs as much as you want but as long as you have that layer of fat covering them you will never see any definition.  Check out what expert strength coach Mike Boyle has to say.

read on

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Correlation Vs Causation

People spin their wheels so often in the fitness world because they do not focus on the things that matter.  For all you readers out there understand that CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION.

The graph above illustrates a funny way in which these two concepts can be confused.  Lets look at how some people get confused with correlation and causation in the diet and fitness game.

Evaluate these fitness statements

-Eating “bad” (sugar, candy, bread etc…) carbohydrates will make me fat
-High protein foods will help you lose fat.
-Cardio will help you lose fat
-Eating lots of vegetables will make you thin

When looking at all these statements they seem somewhat reasonable.  It would seem that a person that did not eat bad carbohydrates, ate high protein diet, ate plenty of vegetables, and did cardio regularly would be very lean, doing such activities may be correlated with being lean.  Unfortunately none of these activities is the cause of losing fat.

Losing fat is caused by something more specific.  In our context as dieters losing fat is caused by a consistent caloric deficit over time.  Other factors like cardio, or types of food may be correlated with creating a caloric deficit but they themselves do not cause fat loss.  If people want to ensure long term success they should focus on the cause of fat loss, a consistent caloric deficit over time.

In fact you do not have to eat any special foods to lose weight, you do not need to do cardio, or completely cut out junk food.  Focus on the cause of losing fat… to lose fat you should find the easiest way for YOU to create a caloric deficit, lift weights reasonably, and aim to get a reasonable protein intake. 

This will differ from person to person but for most people a safe formula is.

-Eat ten to twenty percent less then your total caloric intake (BMR + Activity cals)
You can find a total caloric intake using this calculator.  (This will tell you how many calories you need a day… shave ten - twenty percent off the final number.)

-It can be helpful to get about a 1-2 grams of protein per lbs of lean body mass.
-Lift heavy weights 2-4 times a week on a decent program.
-Do as much cardio as you can without it interfering with your lifting, life, or diet.  No need to spend hours a week on the treadmill.
-This will depend on your training level.
            -Sleep well and get at least one full day rest (barely any activity) a week

That’s it… remember the cause of weight loss and you free yourself from all strict rules you set up for yourself. Dieting becomes shockingly easy you just have to dedicate yourself to consistency with that caloric deficit, and weight training.  In the short term you wont notice much but six months later you will be a new person.

Friday, February 18, 2011


While I was looking over some material online I came across this great motivational video. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Apotheosis Progress

People always need to lose a certain amount of lbs by whenever.  Whether spring break is coming up, or you need to fit into a certain dress dieters are always looking for a quick way to shed their stubborn fat.

This is a huge problem, because people often crash diet there way to their arbitrary weight goal, and while doing so they compromise there health, their athletic performance, lose muscle, and when all is said and done the weight comes back on plus some.

I want to encourage dieters to set more realistic weight loss goals, and help reach them much easier.  A realistic goal means losing one-two lbs of body fat a week.  It means lifting heavy weights three-four times a week, and taking an extra ten minutes to count calories each day.  When you think about it, IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE.

I want to share with you a story of a client who did exactly that.  Instead of dieting hard, he dieted smart.  Tom was a power lifter with no emphasis on diet what so ever.  After a while of over eating he weighed in at 204 lbs.  When he came to me his goal was to lose fat, but because he was a power lifter, it was absolutely important that he didn't lose strength (Loss of strength is a common side effect of dieting.)

This was Tom at 190 ish fourteen lbs from the beginning of his meal plan and about two months in to his diet plan.  There was no before picture while he weighed 204 so this is the closest picture their is to the start.

For about six months Tom dieted and went from 204 lbs to a lean 164. A TOTAL OF 40 LBS!

During this 40 lbs weight loss, Tom's power lifting total went from an already impressive 1035 for doubles at 204 lbs to a obscene 1085 four doubles at a body weight of 164.

So not only did he gain strength and some muscle, he lost 40 lbs...What's even more impressive is that during this weight loss period he did not run one mile.  In fact he didn't do any cardio.  He even ate foods like brownies, and Wendy's.  He lifted heavy weights three days a week, and focused on his diet.  There was no starvation involved, he focused on creating a consistent mild caloric deficit and over time it showed.

If Tom's success story inspires you to do anything it should be to focus on realistic goals.  He lost 40 lbs in six months but because he didn't starve himself and did not rely on over exercising to lose the weight he does not need to worry about gaining those lbs back.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Check out Stephen Guyenets most recent blog!

"Nutritional science has advanced rapidly, and the evidence now demonstrates the major limitations of nutrient-based metrics for prevention of chronic disease. The proportion of total energy from fat appears largely unrelated to risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or obesity. Saturated fat—targeted by nearly all nutrition-related professional organizations and governmental agencies—has little relation to heart disease within most prevailing dietary patterns. Typical recommendations to consume at least half of total energy as carbohydrate, a nutrient for which humans have no absolute requirement, conflate foods with widely divergent physiologic effects (eg, brown rice, white bread, apples). Foods are grouped based on protein content (chicken, fish, beans, nuts) despite demonstrably different health effects. With few exceptions (eg, omega-3 fats, trans fat, salt), individual compounds in isolation have small effects on chronic diseases. Thus, little of the information found on food labels’ “nutrition facts” panels provides useful guidance for selecting healthier foods to prevent chronic disease."

Read On

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Another reason to eat meat

Every once in a while some research will pop up that really makes you laugh.  According to a evolutionary psychologist at McGill the act of looking at meat can promote peaceful feelings.


How about this... Eat when your hungry...

Bellisle F et. al. Meal frequency and energy balance. Br J Nutr. (1997) 77 (Suppl 1):S57-70

Although some short-term studies suggest that the thermic effect of feeding is higher when an isoenergetic test load is divided into multiple small meals, other studies refute this, and most are neutral. More importantly, studies using whole-body calorimetry and doubly-labelled water to assess total 24 h energy expenditure find no difference between nibbling and gorging. Finally, with the exception of a single study, there is no evidence that weight loss on hypoenergetic regimens is altered by meal frequency. We conclude that any effects of meal pattern on the regulation of body weight are likely to be mediated through effects on the food intake side of the energy balance equation.

Did you just read that right!!!???!

Meal Frequency does not matter in regard to weight loss!!!!  Let me repeat meal frequency does NOT have any effect on weight loss.  This abstract was taken from a large research review that looked at multiple studies regarding meal frequency (How many times a day you eat)

If you have trouble comprehending some of the stuff you read above let me break it down for you.  There has been a long standing myth in the fitness world that somehow eating more frequently (For example every two hours) keeps the metabolism burning on overdrive.  This myth causes A LOT of stress when dieting because people then need to constantly plan when they eat, what they should eat, should I pack food? etc...  For a person living a fast paced lifestyle this becomes a burden very quick and eventually they end up missing a meal.  In reality this is not a big deal but what usually happens when a person breaks one of their rules on a diet instead of just hopping back on the horse per say... they have a full scale meltdown abandoning their diet and binge.  

This myth may have been propagated with good intentions.  It turns out that every time you eat, your body needs to use energy to break down that food.  This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF).  So for instance if you ate a 500 calorie meal you could "burn" about 50 calories digesting it.  The idea was that the more times a day you eat the greater (TEF) so you would get an increase in metabolism because you would take advantage of all the calories your body has to burn when you eat.  So in theory the more you ate the more calories you burnt digesting food therefor the claim was that you had a elevated metabolism.

By eating more meals a day people would spread their calories out more and eat smaller meals more often.  After eating the thermic effect of food would indeed burn calories but what people weren't taking into account is that even though they took advantage of the TEF more, the total TEF was less for smaller meals.  When people ate less frequently they ate more each meal so the thermic effect of each meal was greater.  For example if I was eating 6 meals a day I might have 6 separate 500 calorie meals and burn 50 calories digesting each meal or 50*6= 300 calories that day.  Now if I were eating less frequently say three meals a day.  I would be eating three 1000 calorie meals.  The bigger meals require a greater TEF so I would be burning 100 calories trying to digest this larger meal.  As you can see at the end of the day both groups eating six and three meals burnt 300 calories digesting food making no difference what so ever on weight loss.

If you had trouble understanding the technical stuff above just be aware that meal frequency (how many times a day you eat) is largely unimportant when looking for weight loss or weight gain.  Every person should experiment with themselves and see what works best for them.  My reccomendations would be to eat in a way that will fuel your excercise goals, and keep you full.  This can change day to day don't worry about eating your meals so much.  If you need to skip breakfast feel free, just make sure not to gorge later.  If you enjoy eating six times a day feel free to do that as well.  This could be one to nine times a day it DOES NOT matter.  What does matter is creating a consistent caloric deficit over time. The calories in the food matter not when you eat them!

For more evidence that meal frequency doesn't matter check out Martin Berkhan's work over at lean gains...