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Exclusive Access - Free IM Training Webinar (Wed. @ 8:00 P.M.)

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:29 PM PDT

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Helping Others To Succeed

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Wealth4Everyone, Latymer Close, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 9ER, United Kingdom

You may unsubscribe or change your contact details at any time.

INSPIRATION - That's all she needed to collect $52,000 in the last 90 DAYS ...

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 12:51 PM PDT

:::::::::::::::::::: The Official Team Cash Digital Newsletter ::::::::::::::::::::

== You are receiving this email because you responded to one of our 

international advertisements, and requested more information by 

filling out a web form in regards to making money from home. ==

The information below can potentially help you start earning

$10,000 to $30,000 or more EVERY MONTH.

Your Referral ID Number is JB813

Save that ID number. You can't join our team without it.

Thank You.

=============================================

Dede,

MOST PEOPLE SEE THEIR PROBLEMS FROM ONLY

ONE ANGLE AND THEY BECOME SO FOCUSED ON

THE PROBLEM, THAT THEY NEVER ACTUALLY

STOP TO FIND A REAL SOLUTION.

BY CHANGING PERSPECTIVES, YOU LOOK AT YOUR

PROBLEMS IN A NEW WAY - SUDDENLY NEW IDEAS

ARRIVE AND THE UNSOLVABLE PROBLEM NOW TURNS

INTO A PIECE OF CAKE.

Dede, I've got a solution to your money problems ...

(keep reading) ...

From time to time, I get people who e-mail

me and say that the entry levels to join

our system are too expensive and that they

can't find the money to join.

Since I've been promoting the same system

for the last (7) years with LOTS of success,

I already know that price has NEVER been

been the REAL obstacle for people ...

It's always been INSPIRATION.

If you've been looking at this for a while

and haven't been able to find the money you

need to join - it's not because you can't ...

Because finding money is EASY if you really WANT to.

You haven't found the money yet, because you're

just not (inspired enough) to find it.

You may not agree with that, but it's the

truth and here's my PROOF:

Question 1 ...

What would motivate and inspire you more:

To find $6,500 to pay bills?

Or ...

To find $6,500 to save the life of your child?

Decide.

Now say the answer out loud.

Question 2 ...

If your child was hospitalized with a rare disease and 

needed medical treatment that costs $6,500 and

you only had 72 hours to come up with the money or

your child would die ...

Would you acquire the money without excuses or

would you stand by your child's bed, hold their

hand and watch them die?

Decide.

Now say the answer out loud.

Question 3 ...

If you don't have children, switch up the scenario

to include the person who you most love in your life.

Your father.

Your mother.

Your sister.

Any family member.

Husband.

Wife.

Girlfriend.

Whatever ...

Now repeat the scenario.

What would you do?

Dede ...

If there was no other way to obtain this medical

treatment, but by paying the $6,500 - how would

you come up with the money?

Would you make it your business to get the money

together, on time, with no excuses?

Or would you stand there in the hospital room,

hold their hand and watch them die, knowing that

the only thing that stood between them and saving

their life was your inability to come up with a

measly $6,500?

Decide.

Now say the answer out loud.

------------------

MY POINT

------------------

I know that more than 99% of you would never let

this happen, because you're better than that.

I highly doubt that you would be standing next to

your friends and family, while the coffin was being

lowered into the ground, explaining that they died

because you weren't ballsy enough to acquire the

$6,500 needed to save their life.

I don't believe that.

--

I presented this same scenario to a woman who called

me about joining, but she didn't go through all of my

material yet.

She heard we had a system where we handle all of the

phone calls, emails, enrollments, etc ...

She made a big deal about the price, so I wanted to

tell her quickly, so I could scare her and get her

off the phone.

When I said $6,500 she almost had a heart attack!

She said and I quote:

"I WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO COME UP WITH THAT KIND OF MONEY!"

"THAT'S TOO EXPENSIVE!"

I said OK.

Don't worry about it.

It's not expensive.

You just don't THINK you can afford it.

So for now, just review my material and if it INSPIRES

you to be able to afford the $6,500 entry, then call me

back and let me know.

My response challenged her.

** She sat and reviewed my website 3 times ... 

www.VeryFastCash.net/site

** She read both of my E-Books ...

== The Top 7 Reasons To Join Team Cash ==

http://www.veryfastcash.net/Top7ReasonsToJoinTeamCash.pdf

== The Team Cash Membership Levels & Bonuses ==

http://www.veryfastcash.net/TeamCashMembershipLevels&Bonuses.pdf

** She reviewed my team member testimonials ...

http://www.VeryFastCash.net/testimonials 

** She said that she had about 30 of my newsletters that were

sitting in her e-mail that she never even looked at yet.

She read those too.

And guess what?

She called me the next day and said that she was

definitely inspired to find the money, but she

just doesn't see any way of coming up with it.

She went on and on about her 4-year old son and how

she wanted to provide better for him, because she is

a single mother, doing it on her own.

So ...

I presented the above scenario to her:

If your son was hospitalized with a rare disease and

needed medical treatment that costs $6,500 and you

only had 72 hours to come up with the money or your

child would die ...

Would you acquire the money without excuses or would

you stand by your son's bed, hold his hand and watch

him die?

Do you know what her answer was?

She got really passionate all of a sudden and said:

"IT WOULDN'T EVEN TAKE ME 72 HOURS!"

"I WOULD HAVE THAT MONEY BY TOMORROW!"

So I said ...

Ooooooh  Reaaaaaallllllly!

So that means that you can't find the money to fix

your income problems because you're not really all

that inspired to fix them?

Right?

So she said I guess when you put it like that, I

guess that I'm not.

So I said, ok.

When you are - call me.

Dede ...

Right now I can't help you until you are INSPIRED

enough to fix those problems, because I can't want

it bad enough for you ...

YOU HAVE TO WANT IT!

Long story short ...

All this happened over a 3-day period back in July, and

she has now been a member for 3 months.

Shannon Wieland from Minnesota joined at Level 3

for $6,500 and so far has received over $52,000 over

a three month period.

(smile)

-----------------------

BOTTOM LINE

-----------------------

Money has NEVER been the issue in my 7 years of

enrolling people into this program.

INSPIRATION was always the deciding factor.

People get what they want.

Not what they need.

People need to pay their bills, but they are not

inspired to do so, because paying bills is boring.

People WANT to live forever.

People WANT to be rich.

People WANT to be famous.

People WANT recognition.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that

people will pay through the nose to accomplish the

END RESULT OF WHAT THEY TRULY DESIRE (WANT).

We are all grown adults and we waste money on other

stupid things that we don't really need, but we want

them and will make excuses to find money for them.

EXAMPLES:

** People don't need cigarettes - THEY WANT THEM!

So they make sure that they always have enough

money to keep filling their lungs with nicotine

so they can die just a little earlier.

A lot of people seem to always find money to

burn through three packs a day of these cancer

sticks.

** People don't need beer or wine - THEY WANT IT!

So they make sure that they always have enough

money to keep filling their guts with alcohol

so they can kill their liver just a little faster.

And alcohol is not cheap.

So where is this money coming from?

** Most people don't need cosmetic surgery ...

THEY WANT IT!

So they can try to immortalize themselves and

turn back the hands of time, because in reality

THEY WANT TO LOOK YOUNG FOREVER.

** People don't need to spend $200 to $300 each on

a pair of "True Religion" Jeans, but they do it

so they can appear "hip" and "trendy" and have

the "status" of wearing this well-known brand

name that is mostly worn by wealthy people.

Why?

People WANT status.

People WANT recognition.

And their willing to PAY for it!

SIDE NOTE:

I'm kind of a hypocrite because I wear these jeans.

( LOL )

I have about $3,000 worth hanging in my closet!

But the difference in my case is that I can actually

afford them and I was already cool BEFORE I 

purchased them.

( smile )

But anyway ...

This is a "NO BRAINER" ...

* You don't have to sell.

* You don't have to push products.

* You don't have to place ads.

* You don't have to call people.

* You don't have to create marketing materials.

* You don't have to chase your friends and family.

** You get 3500, 6500 or 12,500 CASH IN A BOX - when people sign up under you!

Dede, this is what $6,500 CASH IN A BOX looks like ...

http://www.VeryFastCash.net/proof

Do you see why I'm so EXCITED?

(smile)

--

Got Questions? Speak To Cash Live ...

1.888.217.4961

Or Email Me -- cash@veryfastcash.net

http://www.VeryFastCash.net/site

Your Referral ID Number is JB813

-----------------------------------------

Check out the two links below for details on our

different membership levels & the top 7 reasons why

I am going to help you achieve the FREEDOM that you

and your family deserve ...

== The Top 7 Reasons To Join Team Cash ==

http://www.veryfastcash.net/Top7ReasonsToJoinTeamCash.pdf

Your Referral ID Number is JB813

== The Team Cash Membership Levels & Bonuses ==

http://www.veryfastcash.net/TeamCashMembershipLevels&Bonuses.pdf

-----------------------------------------

Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions ...

http://www.VeryFastCash.net/site/faq.htm

----------------------------------------

Office Hours: 24 Hours a Day!

Call me anytime!

Cash -- Your Partner In Creating Wealth

1.888.217.4961

http://www.VeryFastCash.net/site

Your Referral ID Number is JB813

Copyrights 2005 - 2011 All Rights Reserved


801 2nd Avenue, New York, New York, 10007, United States
You may unsubscribe or change your contact details at any time.

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Work At Home Positions Available Dede

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 08:21 AM PDT

Hey Dede,

Click below to discover a brand new system that's
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To your success,

Toby


.


101 Convention Center Drive, 7th Floor, Las Vegas, NV 89109, United States


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Issue 221 - OPW/iDate Industry News - October 17, 2011 - Dating Industry News

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 07:31 AM PDT

The OPW/iDate Industry Insider is the weekly news summary for the dating
industry
________________________________________________________________________

:~ DATING INDUSTRY CONFERENCE ~:

iDate Miami will be the biggest ever. With 4 tracks, there will be more
speakers than ever before. Also, more CEOs will be attending. More
networking events are scheduled. A special affiliate session and startup
session was added.

Regsister here:
http://www.internetdatingconference.com/register-miami-2012.php
________________________________________________________________________

:~ DATING INDUSTRY AWARDS ~:

Please make your nominations for the the 3rd Annual iDate Awards at
http://www.idateawards.com - Note: Nomination submissions end October 28.

________________________________________________________________________

:~ iDATE STARTUP ~: NEW YORK OCTOBER 24

We've teamed up with Subscription Site Insider this time for the New York
City iDate Startup: Monday - October 24, 2011 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM+ Free to
attend (Register here- space is limited) http://www.idatestartup.com

_______________________________________________________________________


:~ TOP ONLINE PERSONALS WATCH NEWS ITEMS, AND WEEKLY INTERVIEW ~:

Nick Tsinonis, CEO, Intro Analytics
http://www.onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/2011/10/service-spotlights-interview-with-nick-tsinonis-ceo-and-founder-of-intro-analytics.html

________________________________________________________________________


Online Dating Matures: 5 New Sites That Will Get You Lucky

FOX NEWS - Oct 16 - For decades, the online dating scene was limited to a
handful of trusty incumbents: think Match.com, LavaLife, eHarmony. But a
bevy of new sites are looking to offer the granularity users are now
craving. Here are five sites offering a fresh approach to finding "the one"
online.
Best Concept: HowAboutWe (400K dates posted. $28 per month), Best Elite
Site: Sparkology (Service has not opened to general public yet), Best
Mainstream Site: OKCupid (7M members), Best Alternative: Ignighter (2M
members), Most Buzzed About: Meexo.

http://www.onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/2011/10/online-dating-matures-5-new-sites-that-will-get-you-lucky.html


Dating Industry Mourns the Loss of Eric Holzle

IDATE - Oct 14 - We found out that Eric Holzle (Scientific Match CEO)
passed away on August 21. Obituary:
http://obits.masslive.com/obituaries/masslive/obituary.aspx?n=eric-j-holzle&pid=153263701.
Eric was usually a "front row seater" at iDate. Soft spoken, extremely
intelligent and hard working. Eric's presence will be missed by all in the
dating industry. Mark Brooks Interview with him in 2009 on OPW:
http://www.onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/2008/08/scientificmatch.html.

http://www.onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/2011/10/dating-industry-mourns-the-loss-of-eric-holzle.html

________________________________________________________________________

Accept multiple currency payments through Optimal Payments' secure credit/
debit card payment processing solutions. Fraud prevention tools, custom
reporting, and premier customer support are just a few of the merchant
benefits with Optimal Payments. For more information visit
www.optimalpayments.com
________________________________________________________________________

The Wedding Bells That May Signal Financial Hell

CHINA DAILY - Oct 14 - So love and money? Which is the most important to a
marriage? Some experts say that a recent interpretation of the Marriage Law
is aimed at getting people to marry for love rather than money. Mu Yan,
co-founder of Baihe.com, says that a survey of 100K single Chinese in 2009
found that for women personal income ranked third among the top three
criteria in choosing a spouse. In another survey by Baihe.com, 71% of women
said owning a house was a must for a man to get married; 48% of male
respondents shared that view.

http://www.onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/2011/10/the-wedding-bells-that-may-signal-financial-hell.html


Yahoo Offloads BharatMatrimony Holding Company Stake

ECONOMIC TIMES - Oct 12 - Yahoo has sold its stake in the company that owns
the online matchmaking portal bharatmatrimony.com, valuing it at $190M.
BharatMatrimony, which makes its money through subscriptions, competes with
shaadi.com, jeevansathi.com and simplymarry.com, which is owned by the
Times Group.

http://www.onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/2011/10/yahoo-offloads-bharatmatrimony-holding-company-stake.html

_________________________________________________________________________

Increase your online revenues the easy way! With paysafecard your customers
pay fast and secure on your website. Without bank account or credit card.
And that's how you reach new target groups.
_________________________________________________________________________

Top U.S. Websites, Including OKCupid, Share Visitor Personal Data

WSJ - Oct 12 - A study shows that 45% of the top 185 U.S. websites transmit
identifying details about their visitors to at least four outside websites.
The data transmitted was primarily a "username". OKCupid sent the gender,
age, zip code, relationship status and 'drug use frequency' to two
companies that sell personal data in auctions, BlueKai and Lotame. Lotame
confirmed that it has a data licensing relationship with OKCupid, but said
it does not use data in the "drug use category." BlueKai said that it does
not buy or sell data attributes like "drug use frequency" from OKCupid.

http://www.onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/2011/10/top-us-websites-including-okcupid-share-visitor-personal-data.html


Facebook Acquires Friend.ly

MASHABLE - Oct 11 - Facebook has acquired two-year-old social
question-and-answer startup Friend.ly for an undisclosed sum. The Friend.ly
team will join Facebook and focus on new products for the social network,
while the Friend.ly site will continue to operate as a separate service.
Friend.ly, a service similar to Formspring, raised $5.5M in Series A
funding.

http://www.onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/2011/10/facebook-a.html

___________________________________________________________________________

iTelebill is offering mobile recurring billing which leads to higher
conversions at no additional cost to site. Perfect for members where credit
cards are not possible. Visit www.itelebill.com.
___________________________________________________________________________

97% of Singles 50+ Believe Regular Sex Is Good for Their Health

PR NEWSWIRE - Oct 11 - OurTime.com, the dating site catering to singles
over 50, announced the results of its Sex and Body Image survey. 97% of
respondents believe a sexual relationship is good for their health.

http://www.onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/2011/10/97-of-singles-50-believe-regular-sex-is-good-for-their-health.html


CupidRadar.com - New Location Based Dating Site

PR.COM - Oct 8 - CupidRadar uses the latest geo-location technologies on
smart phones and other web-enabled devices to onnect singles who are near
each other at any time. Using CupidRadar's private messaging, users can
easily contact someone they're interested in and decide whether to meet up
or continue messaging.

http://www.onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/2011/10/cupidradarcom-new-location-based-dating-site-.html

___________________________________________________________________________

:~ TWITTER ~:

Online Personals Watch newsfeed: http://twitter.com/internet_dating
iDate events and updates: http://twitter.com/idateconference

___________________________________________________________________________


The business conference for the dating industry @
InternetDatingConference.com

Industry Message Boards @ mb.InternetDatingConference.com

Conference Organiser, Marc Lesnick, info@idate2010.com, 212-722-1744

Online Personals Watch, www.onlinepersonalswatch.com or opw1.com

Editor: Mark Brooks, mark@onlinepersonalswatch.com, 212-444-1636

--
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[Free Report] Quick Article Tweak Gets 70% More Traffic

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 07:03 AM PDT

Dede,

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..the old ways are ineffective

When you get this free report you'll
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.


10 Anson Road #26-04 International Plaza Singapore 079903

You may unsubscribe or change your contact details at any time.

Take Control of Your Credit Score

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 05:20 AM PDT

Why Some People Quit And Some People NEVER Give Up

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:31 AM PDT


Throughout my 18 years in the fitness industry as a trainer, nutrition consultant and motivational coach, I have noticed that some people who start a nutrition and exercise program give up very easily after hitting the first obstacle they encounter. If they feel the slightest bit of discouragement or frustration, they will abandon even their biggest goals and dreams.

On the other hand, I noticed that some people simply NEVER give up. They have ferocious persistence and they never let go of their goals. These people are like the bulldog that refuses to release its teeth-hold on a bone. The harder you try to pull the bone out of his mouth, the harder the dog chomps down with a vice-like grip.

What's the difference between these two types of people? Psychologists say there is an answer.

An extremely important guideline for achieving fitness success is the concept that, "There is no failure; only feedback. You don't "fail", you only get results."

This is a foundational principle from the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), and the first time I ever heard it was from peak performance expert Anthony Robbins back in the late 1980's. It's a principle that stuck with me ever since, because it's a very, very powerful shift in mindset.

A lot of people will second-guess themselves and they'll bail out and quit, just because what they try at first doesn't work. They consider it a permanent failure, but all they need is a little attitude change, a mindset change, or what we call a "reframe."

Instead of saying, "This is failure" they can say to themselves, "I produced a result" and "This is only temporary." This change in perspective is going to change the way that they feel and how they mentally process and explain the experience. It turns into a learning opportunity and valuable feedback for a course correction instead of a failure, and that drives continued action and forward movement.

 

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

It's all about your results and your interpretation of those results

Dr Martin Seligman, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, did some incredible research on this subject and wrote about it in his book, Learned Optimism. Dr. Seligman noticed that the difference between people who give up and people who persist and never quit is what he referred to as "explanatory style." He said that explanatory style is the way we explain or interpret bad events or failures.

People who habitually give up have an explanatory style of permanence. For example, they hit a plateau in their progress and explain it by saying, "diets never work" or "I have bad genetics so I'll always be fat." These explanations imply permanence.

Other people hit the same plateaus and encounter the same challenges, but explain them differently. They say things such as, "I ate too many cheat meals this week," or "I haven't found the right diet for my body type yet." These explanations of the results imply being temporary.

People who see negative results as permanent failure are the ones who give up easily and often generalize their "failure" into other areas of their lives and even into their own sense of self. It's one thing to say, "I ate poorly this past week because I was traveling," (a belief about temporary behavior and environment), and to say, "I am a fat person because of my genetics" (a belief about identity with a sense of permanence). Remember, body fat is a temporary condition, not a person!

People who see challenges and obstacles as temporary and as valuable learning experiences are the ones who never quit. If you learn from your experiences, not repeating what didn't work in the past, and if you choose to never quit, your success is inevitable.

 

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

 

 


What The New "Low-Carb" Study REALLY Says

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:31 AM PDT

A news media feeding frenzy erupted recently when a new diet study broke in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Almost all the reporters got it wrong, wrong WRONG! So did most of the gloating low carb forumites and bloggers. Come to think of it, almost everyone interpreted this study wrong. Some valuable insights came out of this study, but almost everyone missed them because they were too busy believing what the news said or defending their own cherished belief systems …

The new study, titled, "Weight Loss With a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet" was published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in issue 359, number 3.

I quickly read the full text of the research paper the day it was published. Then, I shook my head in dismay as I scanned the news headlines.

 

I found it amusing that the media turned this into a three ring circus, putting a misleading "low carb versus high carb," "Atkins vindicated" or "Diet wars" spin on the story. But that's mainstream journalism for you, right? Gotta sell those papers!

Just look at some of these headlines:

"Study Tips Scales in Atkins Diets Favor: Low Carb Regimen Better Than Low Fat Diet For Weight And Cholesterol, Major Study Shows. "

"Low-Carb and Low-Fat Diets Face Off "

"The Never-Ending Diet Wars"

"Low Carb Beats Low Fat in Diet Duel."

"Atkins Diet is Safe and Far More Effective Than a Low-Fat One, Study Says"

"Unrestricted Low-Carb Diet Wins Hands Down"

Some of these headlines are hilarious! I wonder if any of these reporters actually read the whole study. Geez. Is it too much trouble to read 13 pages before you write a story that will be read by millions of already confused people suffering the pain and frustration of obesity?

 

Here's a quick look at the study design.

The low fat restricted calorie diet was based on American Heart Association guidelines. Calorie intake was set at 1500 for women, 1800 a day for men with 30% of calories from fat, and only 10% from saturated fat. Participants were instructed to eat low fat grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes and to limit their consumption of additional fats, sweets and high fat snacks.

The Mediterranean diet group was placed on a moderate fat, restricted calorie program rich in vegetables and low in red meat, with poultry and fish replacing beef and lamb. Energy intake was restricted to 1500 calories per day for women and 1800 calories per day for men with a goal of no more than 35% of calorie from fat. Added fat came mostly from nuts and olive oil.

The low carb diet was a non-restricted calorie plan aimed at providing 20 grams of carbs per day for the 2 month induction phase with a gradual increase to 120 grams per day to maintain the weight loss. Intakes of total calories, protein and fat were not limited. However, the participants were counseled to choose vegetarian sources of protein (more on that bizarre-twist shortly).

The study subjects were mostly male (86%), overweight (BMI 31) and middle age (mean age 52)

Here were the study results:

There were some health improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure and other parameters in the Mediterranean and low carb group that bested the high carb group. That was the focus of many articles and discussions that appeared on the net this week. However, I'd like to focus on the weight loss aspect as I'm not a medical doctor and fat loss is the primary subject matter of this website.

All three groups lost weight. The low carb group lost 5.5 kilos, the Mediterranean group lost 4.6 kilos and the low fat group lost 3.3 kilograms…. IN TWO YEARS! Whoopee! 

My conclusion would be that the results were similar and that none of the diets worked very well over the long term!

Amanda Gardner of the US News and World Report Health Day was one of the few reporters who got it right:

"Diet plans produce similar results: Study finds Mediterranean and low-carb diets work just as well as low fat ones."

Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times also came close with her headline:

"Long term diet study suggests success is hard to come by: In a tightly controlled experiment, obese people lost an average of just 6 to 10 pounds over two years."

Even this headline wasn't 100% accurate. The study was HARDLY tightly controlled. Tightly controlled means metabolic ward studies where the researchers actually count and control the calorie intake.

The problem is, you can't lock people in a hospital or research center ward for two years. So in this study, they used a food frequency questionnaire. Sure, like we believe what people report about their eating habits at restaurants and at home behind closed doors! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

 

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"No! I swear Dr. Schwarzfuchs! I swear I didn't eat those donuts over the weekend! I stayed on my Mediterranean diet. Honest!"

One of the most firmly established facts in dietetics research is that almost everyone underreports their food intake BADLY, sometimes by as much as 50%. I'm not saying everyone "lies," they just forget or don't know. In fact, this underreporting of calorie intake is such a huge problem that it makes obesity research very difficult to do and conclusions difficult to draw from free-living studies.

Another blunder in the news reports is that this study didn't really follow Atkins diet parameters OR even the traditional low fat diet for that matter, so it's not an "Atkin's versus Ornish" showdown at all.

If you actually take the time to read the full text of the research paper it doesn't say ANYTHING like, "Atkins is the best after all." That's the spin that some of the news media cooked up (and what the Atkins foundation was hoping for).

It says, "The diet was based on the Atkins diet." However, the sentence right before that says, "The participants were counseled to choose vegetarian sources of fat and protein." Vegetarian Atkins?

The chart on page 236 says the low carb diet provided 40% of calories from carbs at 6, 12 and 24 months. If I'm reading that data properly, then the only low carb period was a brief induction phase in the very beginning.

Does that sound like Atkins? 40% carb sounds more like the Zone diet or my own Burn The Fat program to me.

The Atkins Foundation, which partially supported this study, told reporters, "We feel vindicated." HA! They should have paid the reporters and told the researchers they felt ripped off and they wanted a refund for misuse of their research grant!

After carefully reading the full text of this study, there are many interesting findings we could talk about, from the differences in results between men and women to the improvements in health markers. Here's what the study really says that stood out to me. It's what I would have talked about if the newspapers or TV stations had called me:

1. "Mediterranean and low carb diets may be effective alternatives to low-fat diets."

I can agree completely with that statement. All three diets created a calorie deficit. All three groups lost weight. Low carb lost a little more, which is the usual finding because low carb diets often control appetite and calorie intake automatically (you eat less even if you don't count calories). Also, if body composition is not indicated, there's an initial water weight loss that makes low carb diets look more effective in the very early stages.

2. "Personal preferences and metabolic considerations might inform individualized tailoring of dietary interventions."

Absolutely! Nutrition should be individualized based on goals, health status, body type, activity level and numerous other factors. Different people have different phenotypes. Some people are more predisposed to thrive on a low carb approach. Others feel like crap on low carbs and do better with more carbs or a middle of the road approach. Those who dogmatically follow and defend one type of diet or the other are only handcuffing themselves by limiting their options. Iris Shai, a researcher in the study said, "We can't rely on one diet fits all." Hmm, far cry from "Atkins wins hands down," wouldn't you say?

3. "The rate of adherence to a study diet was 95.4% at 1 year and 84.6% at 2 years."

THIS was the part of most interest to me. When I read this, immediately I could have cared less about the silly low carb versus high carb wars that the news reporters were jumping on.

I wanted to know WHY the subjects were able to stick with it so well. Of course, that's boring stuff to journalists… adherence? What does that word mean anyway? Yawn - not interesting enough for prime time, I guess.

But it was interesting to me, and I hope YOU pay attention to what I found. The authors of the study wrote:

"This trial suggests a model that might be applied more broadly in the workplace. Using the employer as a health coach could be an effective way to improve health. The model of group intervention with the use of dietary group sessions, spousal support, food labels, and monthly weighing in the workplace within the framework of a health promotion campaign might yield weight reduction and long term health benefits."

 

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Hmmmmm, lets see:

* Dietician coaching
* Group meetings
* Motivational phone calls
* Spousal support
* Workplace monitoring (corporate health program)
* Food labels - calorie monitoring
* Weigh-ins (required and monitored)

 

Wow, everything helpful to long term fat loss that sticks. Can you say, ACCOUNTABILITY? These factors help explain the better adherence.

By the way, the adherence rate for the low carb group was the lowest.

90.4% in low fat group
85.3% in the Mediterranean group
78% in the low carb group

Here's the bottom line, the way I see it:

First, please, please, please learn how to find and read primary research and take the news media stories with a grain of salt. If you want to know who died, what burned down or what hurricane is coming, tune in to the news – they do a GREAT job at that. If you want to know how to lose weight or improve your health, look up the original research papers instead of taking second hand information at face value.

Second, those who prefer a low carb approach; more power to them. Most studies, this one included, show at the very least that low carb is an option and it's not necessarily an unhealthy one if done intelligently. I also have no qualms with someone claiming that low carb diets are slightly more effective for weight loss, especially in the short term, free living situations. Is low carb superior for fat loss in the long haul? That's STILL highly debatable. It's probably superior for some people, but not for others.

Third, low carb people, listen up! Even if low carb is superior, that doesn't mean calories don't count. Deny this at your own peril. In fact, this study shows the reverse. The low carb group was in a larger negative energy balance than the high carb and Mediterranean group (according to the data published in this paper), which easily explains the greater weight loss. Posting the calories contained in foods in the cafeteria may have improved the results and helped with compliance in all groups.

When energy intake is matched calorie for calorie, the advantage of a low carb diet shrinks or disappears. For most people, low carb is a hunger management or calorie control weight loss advantage, not metabolic magic (sorry, no magic folks!)

 

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Fourth, choose the nutrition program that's most appropriate for your personal preferences, your current health condition, your genetics (or phenotype) and most important of all… the one you can stick with. Then tend your own garden instead of wasting time criticizing how the other guy is eating. Your results will speak for themselves in the end. Take your shirt off and show us.

If I were forced to choose only one approach (and thank god I'm not), I would recommend avoiding the extremes of very low carb or very low fat or very high fat or very high carbs. Balance makes the most sense to me, and the research suggests that this helps produce the highest compliance rate. That's not rocket science either, it's common sense. If you have a serious fat loss goal, as when I compete in bodybuilding, then a further reduction in carbs and increase in protein makes perfect sense to me as a peaking diet.

 

If an extremely low or extremely high carb diet worked for you, great. But generalizing your experience to the entire rest of the world makes no sense. Arguing from extremes is the weakest form of argument.

 

The reason I have THREE nutrition plans (three phases) in my own fat loss program is because programs with flexibility and room for individualization beat the others hands down in the long term. In fact, I wrote an entire chapter in my e-book about unique body types, how to determine yours and how to individualize your nutrition – it's THAT important.

 

If you have more choices, you have more power. The people who are shackled by dogma and narrow thinking are stuck. They also risk missing what's really important. Things like:

 

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Why Some People Can Drink Alcohol Without Getting Fat

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:31 AM PDT


Alcohol has been implicated as a factor that may hurt your efforts to lose body fat. Whether alcohol is "fattening" has been a very controversial subject because technically speaking, alcohol is NOT stored as fat; it is oxidized ahead of other fuels.

Whether moderate drinking is healthy has also been a subject of controversy. Many studies show that cardiovascular health benefits are associated with moderate beer or wine drinking (which has been of particular interest lately with reservatrol in the news so much), while other studies show improved insulin sensitivity. Some experts however, say that alcohol has no place in a fitness lifestyle.

A recent study published in the journal Obesity adds new findings to our knowledge about alcohol, insulin resistance and abdominal obesity. Analysis of the results as compared to other studies also gives us some insights into why some people seem to drink and get fat while others seem to drink and get thin!

The truth about the beer belly phenomenon

This new study, by Ulf Riserus and Erik Inglesson, was based on the Swedish Uppsala Longitudinal cohort. The researchers found that alcohol intake in older men did not improve insulin sensitivity, which contradicted their own hypothesis and numerous previous studies.

They also said there was a very "robust" association between alcohol intake, waist circumference and waist to hip ratio. They pointed out that a high alcohol intake, especially hard liquor, was closely associated with abdominal body fat, not just overall body mass.

Abdominal fat accumulation is not just a cosmetic problem, it can be a serious health risk. Abdominal fat, also known as "android" or "central" obesity, increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high blood lipids, glucose intolerance and elevated insulin levels.

Many other studies have also found a link between alcohol intake and abdominal fat, but this too has been controversial. A study that was widely publicized by the BBC in 2003 dismissed the concept of the "beer belly."

Nevertheless, it looks like there's some scientific support to it after all (or at least a "liquor belly" according to this newer study).

Hormones may be strongly involved because high alcohol intake has been shown to decrease blood testosterone in men, and also increase cortisol levels, which can lead to visceral fat accumulation.

Why is there so much controversy? Why the discrepancy in research findings about alcohol's influence on obesity, abdominal fat, and insulin sensitivity?

Well, here's the real story of why some people don't get fat when they drink:

A lot of the confusion is because epidemiological research cannot show cause and effect relationships and mistakes can easily be made when drawing associations based on limited data.

With the nature of these longitudinal studies, you have to look at the lifestyle and nature of drinkers in general (or in this study, hard liquor drinkers). Also, the Swedish study focused on older men, so age may have been a factor. You may be more likely to deposit alcohol right on your belly as you get older.

When you hear that alcohol increases belly fat, you also have to look at what else is going on in the life of the drinker, particularly what the rest of a person's diet looks like, and how alcohol intake affects appetite and eating habits.

Research says that alcohol can mess up your body's perception of hunger, satiety and fullness. If drinking stimulates additional eating, or adds additional calories that aren't compensated for and which lead to positive energy balance, then you get fat. You may also get fat in the belly, no thanks to what booze does to hormones.

Another thing that confounds the reports on whether alcohol contributes to weight gain is the fact that the game changes in heavy drinkers. We know that alcohol contains 7.1 calories per gram and these calories always count as part of the energy balance equation… or do they? With chronic excessive alcohol consumption, it's possible that not all of these calories are available for energy. Due to changes in liver function and something called the microsomal ethanol oxidizing system (MEOS), alcoholism may be a real case of where some calories don't count. Many alcoholics also skip meals and eat less with increasing alcohol consumption.

 

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Alcohol metabolizing pathways notwithstanding, even if binge drinkers, daily drinkers or heavy drinkers consume most of their calories from alcohol, if they eat very little, and remain in a calorie deficit, they will not get fat. Compound this with the hormonal effects and you witness the skinny, but under-nourished, unhealthy and atrophied alcoholic (the person you'd think would be most likely to have a beer belly).

It's the calories that count

The bottom line is, the idea that alcohol just automatically turns into fat or gives you a beer belly is mistaken. It's true that alcohol suppresses fat oxidation, but mainly, alcohol adds calories into your diet, messes with your hormones and can stimulate appetite, leading to even more calories consumed. That's where the fat gain comes from.

If you drink in moderation, if you're aware of the calories in the alcohol, if you're aware of the calories from additional food intake consumed during or after drinking, and if you compensate for all of the above accordingly, you won't get fat.

Now, with that said, you might be wondering: "You mean I can drink and still lose fat? I just need to keep in a calorie deficit?"

Yes, that's exactly what I mean. But before you rush off to the pub for a cold one, hold that thought for a minute while you consider this first: The empty alcohol calories displace the nutrient dense calories!

When you're on a fat loss program you have a fairly small "calorie budget", so you need to give some careful thought to how those calories should be "spent." For example, if a female is on a 1500 calorie per day diet, does she really want to "spend" 500 of those calories – one third of her intake - for a few alcoholic drinks, and leave only 1000 for health-promoting food, fiber and lean muscle building protein?

I realize some people may answer "yes" to that question, but then again, if some people spent their money as frivolously as they spent their calories, they would be in deep trouble!

To summarize this into some practical, take-home advice, here are 7 of my personal tips for alcohol consumption in the fitness lifestyle:

(1) Don't drink on a fat loss program. Although you could certainly drink and "get away with it" if you diligently maintained your calorie deficit as noted above, it certainly does not help your fat loss cause or your nutritional status.

(2) Drink in moderation during maintenance. For lifelong weight maintenance and a healthy lifestyle, if you drink, do so in moderation and only occasionally, such as on weekends or when you go out to dine in restaurants. Binge drinking and getting drunk has no place in a fitness lifestyle (not to mention hangovers aren't very conducive to good workouts).

(3) Don't drink daily. Moderate drinking, including daily drinking, has been associated with cardiovascular health benefits. However, I don't recommend daily drinking because behaviors repeated daily become habits. Behaviors repeated multiple times daily become strong habits. Habitual drinking may lead to heavier drinking or full-blown addictions and can be hard to stop if you ever need to cut back.

(4) Count the calories. If you decide to have a bottle of beer or a glass of wine or two (or whatever moderation is for you), be sure to account for the alcohol in your daily calorie budget.

 

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(5) Watch your appetite. Don't let the "munchies" get control of you during or after you drink (Note to chicken wing and nacho-eating men: The correlation to alcohol and body fat is higher in men in almost all the studies. One possible explanation is that men tend to drink and eat, while women may tend to drink instead of eating).

(6) Watch the fatty foods. When drinking, watch the fatty foods in particular. A study by Angelo Tremblay back in 1995 suggested that alcohol and a high fat diet are a combination that favors overfeeding.

(7) Enjoy without guilt. If you choose to drink (moderately and sensibly), then don't feel guilty about it or beat yourself up afterwards, just enjoy the darn stuff, will you!

 

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Tom Venuto's Top 10 Travel Fitness Tips

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:34 AM PDT


I recently read two articles about travel fitness. One said that while you're traveling, you should keep up with 50% of your normal training and the other said you should keep up with only one-third. Both were written by well known fitness professionals and both said that you should NOT expect to keep up your regular exercise program while you are traveling. That struck me as kind of "lame" and I said to myself, "Why the heck not? Why do people have such low standards and demand so little of themselves? Why do they let themselves off the hook and scale back?"

Sometimes, of course, traveling is purely for a vacation – including a vacation from training. Occasional time off from intense training is beneficial and necessary to let your body recover and rejuvenate completely from chronic training stress, just as time off from the office is needed to disengage your mind for a while. It's also true that it really doesn't take much to maintain fitness once it is developed, and an abbreviated, but still effective, workout routine could certainly be used, if you choose, when you're on the road.

However, you still have healthy eating to think about and just because you're traveling doesn't mean you can't follow your regular exercise regimen. Why settle? If you want to continue to improve your physique while on the road, you can! Here are 10 ways that I did it on my last extended business trip that you may find helpful as well. It begins with a simple decision.

1. Decide to improve while you're traveling and to come home in better shape than when you left

Nearly every time I travel (the exception being if it's a complete rest and relaxation vacation), I set a goal to come home in better shape than when I left. The only reason most people usually come home with lower fitness and a few extra pounds than when they left is because they didn't make a decision to do otherwise. In fact, many people hold a belief that it's "impossible" to stay on their eating and exercise program while they are traveling! Why not get in better shape no matter where you are? The truth is, all it takes is a decision and some planning. I find it a fun and exhilarating challenge to improve myself no matter where I am in the world.

2. Write out your workout schedule in advance

There's nothing like writing your goals down on paper to keep your mind focused and keep yourself motivated. In addition to writing out goals regularly, preferably every day, you should also commit your training schedule to paper and especially when you are traveling. Write down the days, the time of the day and the exact workout you plan to do and you will be amazed at how easy you will find it is to get to the gym and have great workouts.

 

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3. Get a hotel with a kitchen

The single most important part of my travel arrangements was to book a hotel with a kitchen. For me, not having a kitchen is not an option. If you don't have kitchen, you will be much more likely to skip meals, it's very difficult to eat 5 or 6 times a day (as required by any good fat burning or muscle building nutrition program), and you may end up at the mercy of restaurant, hotel or convenience store food. For my most recent trip, I stayed at Homestead Studio Suites, one of several national hotel chains in the USA which includes a full kitchen including a refrigerator, microwave, stove – the whole works. Exteneded Stay America and Marriot Residence Inn offer similar accomodations

On previous trips, if there wasn't such a hotel with a kitchen in the vicinity, I searched the internet for apartments for short term rental. You may be surprised at the type of lodging you can find and often you will be pleased with price as compared to hotels. I once booked a luxury condo for 7 days and it ended up costing less than the hotel I was first considering, and the hotel didn't even have a kitchen. Nothing beats a full kitchen, but you may also find that many hotels will provide you with a microwave and mini-refrigerator if you ask for them.

4. Go food shopping immediately after checking in

The FIRST thing I did after checking in was to make a beeline straight to the local grocery store. I took a shopping list with me because on past trips I found that I nearly always seemed to forget one or two small items if I didn't have the written grocery list. Once you have a fully stocked refrigerator and kitchen, your meal planning and preparation is NO DIFFERENT than it is when you are home.

5. check the local restaurant locations and menus and commit in advance to making healthy choices when dining out

Since I had a kitchen at my disposal, the majority of my meals were just business as usual. I cooked them right in my hotel room and brought them along with me wherever I went. However, when traveling, it's likely that you will probably be having quite a few restaurant meals.

I make it a habit to scope out the local restaurants in advance and even check their websites. Most have their menus online these days. I make a decision in advance whether it will be a regular meal or a "cheat meal." If it's a cheat meal, I enjoy whatever I want, but I always keep portion sizes in mind. For example, last time, I split a slice of cheesecake with a friend. Was I guilty? Heck no, it was my planned cheat day, I only ate half a slice and it was the first cheesecake I had in 12 months!

If you walk into a restaurant without having made a decision in advance whether you are staying on your regular meals or having a cheat meal, you are much more likely to have a "diet accident" and make a poor choice on impulse, especially if you're influenced by non-healthy-eating companions (don't under estimate the negative peer pressure factor). All it takes is one unplanned cheat meal and that can often lead to guilt. Then "all or none thinking" tends to set in and you may tell yourself, "Well, I blew it," so the next meal and then the rest of the week tends to completely fall apart as well.

 

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Steady State Cardio 5 X More Effective Than HIIT

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:29 AM PDT


High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short, has been promoted as one of the most effective training methods ever to come down the pike, both for fat loss and for cardiovascular fitness. One of the most popular claims for HIIT is that it burns "9 times more fat" than conventional (steady state) cardio. This figure was extracted from a study performed by Angelo Tremblay at Laval University in 1994. But what if I told you that HIIT has never been proven to be 9 times more effective than regular cardio… What if I told you that the same study actually shows that HIIT is 5 times less effective than steady state cardio??? Read on and see the proof for yourself.

"There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics."

- Mark Twain

In 1994, a study was published in the scientific journal Metabolism by Angelo Tremblay and his team from the Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory at Laval University in Quebec, Canada. Based on the results of this study, you hear personal trainers across the globe claiming that "HIIT burns 9 times more fat than steady state cardio."
This claim has often been interpreted by the not so scientifically literate public as meaning something like this: If you burned 3 pounds of fat in 15 weeks on steady state cardio, you would now burn 27 pounds of fat in 15 weeks (3 lbs X 9 times better = 27 lbs).
Although it's usually not stated as such, frankly, I think this is what some trainers want you to believe, because the programs that some trainers promote are based on convincing you of the vast superiority of HIIT and the "uselessness" of low intensity exercise.
Indeed, higher intensity exercise is more effective and time efficient than lower intensity exercise. The question is, how much more effective? There's no evidence that the "9 times more fat loss" claim is true outside the specific context in which it was mentioned in this study.
In order to get to the bottom of this, you have to read the full text of the research paper and you have to look very closely at the results.
13 men and 14 women age 18 to 32 started the study. They were broken into two groups, a high intensity intermittent training program (HIIT) and a steady state training program which they referred to as endurance training (ET).
The ET group completed a 20 week steady state aerobic training program on a cycle ergometer 4 times a week for 30 minutes, later progressing to 5 times per week for 45 minutes. The initial intensity was 60% of maximal heart rate reserve, later increasing to 85%.
The HIIT group performed 25-30 minutes of continuous exercise at 70% of maximal heart rate reserve and they also progressively added 35 long and short interval training sessions over a period of 15 weeks. Short work intervals started at 10 then 15 bouts of 15 seconds, increasing to 30 seconds. Long intervals started at 5 bouts of 60 seconds, increasing to 90 seconds. Intensity and duration were progressively increased over the 15 week period.

 

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The results: 3 times greater fat loss in the HIIT group

Even though the energy cost of the exercise performed in the ET group was twice as high as the HIIT group, the sum of the skinfolds (which reflects subcutaneous body fat) in the HIIT group was three times lower than the ET group.
So where did the "9 times greater fat loss" claim come from?
Well, there was a difference in energy cost between groups, so in order to show a comparison of fat loss relative to energy cost, Tremblay wrote,
 

"It appeared reasonable to correct changes in subcutaneous fat for the total cost of training. This was performed by expressing changes in subcutaneous skinfolds per megajoule of energy expended in each program."

Translation: The subjects did not lose 9 times more body fat, in absolute terms. But hey, 3 times more fat loss? You'll gladly take that, right?
Well hold on, because there's more. Did you know that in this oft-quoted study, neither group lost much weight? In fact, if you look at the charts, you can see that the HIIT group lost 0.1 kg (63.9 kg before, 63.8 kg after). Yes, the HIIT group lost a whopping 100 grams of weight in 15 weeks!
 

The ET group lost 0.5 kilograms (60.6 kg before, 60.1 kg after).

Naturally, lack of weight loss while skinfolds decrease could simply mean that body composition improved (lean mass increased), but I think it's important to highlight the fact that the research study from which the "9 times more fat" claim was derived did not result in ANY significant weight loss after 15 weeks.

Based on these results, if I wanted to manipulate statistics to promote steady state cardio, I could go around telling people, "Research study says steady state cardio (endurance training) results in 5 times more weight loss than high intensity interval training!" Or the reverse, "Clinical trial proves that high intensity interval training is 5 times less effective than steady state cardio!"
Mind you, THIS IS THE SAME STUDY THAT IS MOST OFTEN QUOTED TO SUPPORT HIIT!
 

If I said 5 X greater weight loss with steady state, I would be telling the truth, wouldn't I? (100 grams of weight loss vs 500 grams?) Of course, that would be misleading because the weight loss was hardly significant in either group and because interval training IS highly effective. I'm simply being a little facetious in order to make a point: Be careful with statistics. I have seen statistical manipulation used many times in other contexts to deceive unsuspecting consumers.

For example, advertisements for a popular fat burner claim that use of their supplement resulted in twice as much fat loss, based on scientific research. The claim was true. Of course, in the ad, they forget to tell you that after six months, the control group lost no weight, while the supplement group lost only 1.0 kilo. Whoop de doo! ONE KILO of weight loss after going through a six month supply of this "miracle fat burner!"
But I digress…

Back to the HIIT story – there's even more to it.

 

In the ET group, there were some funky skinfold and circumference measurements. ALL of the skinfold measurements in the ET group either stayed the same or went down except the calf measurement, which went up.

The girths and skinfold measurements in the limbs went down in the HIIT group, but there wasn't much difference between HIIT and ET in the trunk skinfolds. These facts are all very easy to miss. I didn't even notice it myself until exercise physiologist Christian Finn pointed it out to me. Christian said,

"When you look at the changes in the three skinfold measurements taken from the trunk, there wasn't that much difference between the steady state group (-6.3mm) and the HIIT group (-8.7 mm). So, much of the difference in subcutaneous fat loss between the groups wasn't because the HIIT group lost more fat, but because the steady state group actually gained fat around the calf muscles. We shouldn't discount simple measurement error as an explanation for these rather odd results."

Christian also pointed out that the two test groups were not evenly matched for body composition at the beginning of the study. At the beginning of the study, the starting body fat based on skinfolds in the HIIT group was nearly 20% higher than the ET group. He concluded:
 

"So while this study is interesting, weaknesses in the methods used to track changes in body composition mean that we should treat the results and conclusions with some caution."

One beneficial aspect of HIIT that most trainers forget to mention is that HIIT may actually suppress your appetite, while steady state cardio might increase appetite. In a study such as this, however, that can skew the results. If energy intake were not controlled, then some of the greater fat loss in the HIIT group could be due to lowered caloric intake.
Last but not least, I'd like to highlight the words of the researchers themselves in the conclusion of the paper, which confirms the effectiveness of HIIT, but also helps put it in perspective a bit:
 

"For a given level of energy expenditure, a high intensity training program induces a greater loss of subcutaneous fat compared with a training program of moderate intensity."

"It is obvious that high intensity exercise cannot be prescribed for individuals at risk for health problems or for obese people who are not used to exercise. In these cases, the most prudent course remains a low intensity exercise program with a progressive increase in duration and frequency of sessions."
In conclusion, my intention in writing this article wasn't to be controversial, to be a smart-alec or to criticize HIIT. To the contrary, additional research has continued to support the efficacy of HIIT for fat loss and fitness, not to mention that it is one of the most time efficient ways to do cardiovascular training.
I have recommended HIIT for years in my Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle program, using a 1:1 long interval approach, which, while only one of many ways to do HIIT, is probably my personal favorite method. However, I also recommend steady state cardio and even low intensity cardio like walking, when it is appropriate.
 

My intentions for writing this article were four-fold:

 

1. To encourage you to question where claims come from, especially if they sound too good to be true.
2. To alert you to how advertisers might use research such as this to exaggerate with statistics.
3. To encourage the fitness community to swing the pendulum back to center a bit, by not over-selling the benefits of HIIT beyond what can be supported by the scientific research.
4. To encourage the fitness community, that even as they praise HIIT, not to condemn lower and moderate intensity forms of cardio.

As the original author of the 1994 HIIT study himself pointed out, HIIT is not for everyone, and cardio should be prescribed with progression. Also, mountains of other research has proven that walking (GASP! - low intensity cardio!) has always been one of the most successful exercise methods for overweight men and women.
There is ample evidence which says that obesity may be the result of a very slight daily energy imbalance, which adds up over time. Therefore, even a small amount of casual exercise or activity, if done consistently, and not compensated for with increased food intake, could reverse the obesity trend. HIIT gets the job done fast, but that doesn't mean low intensity cardio is useless or that you should abandon your walking program, if you have the time and if that is what you enjoy and if that is what's working for you in your personal situation.

 

The mechanisms and reasons why HIIT works so well are numerous. It goes way beyond more calories burned during the workout.

 

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Speed Eating and Fat Loss: Diet Advice Your Mom Was Right About All Along

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:30 AM PDT


A new study just published in a recent issue of the journal Obesity has revealed that thin people eat very differently than heavy people at all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants.

Researcher Brian Wansink and his team from the Cornell University Food and Brand Laboratory observed diners at 11 different Chinese buffet restaurants across the United States.

Their goal was to find out whether the eating behaviors of people at all-you-can-eat buffets varied based on their body mass.

Trained observers recorded the height, weight, gender, age, and behavior of 213 patrons. The various seating, serving and eating behaviors were then compared across BMI levels.

The heavier (higher BMI) patrons:

  • ate more quickly
  • chewed more food per bite
  • used forks
  • sat facing the food buffet
The thin (lower BMI) patrons:

  • ate more slowly
  • chewed less food per bite
  • used chopsticks
  • sat facing away from the food buffet

This study confirms earlier research from the University of Rhode Island published in the journal of the American Dietetic Association which found that eating slowly leads to decreases in energy intake.

Scientists even have a name for this now:

 

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"TIME-ENERGY DISPLACEMENT"

Time-Energy Displacement means that the more time you take to eat, the less energy (calories) you are likely to consume. The faster you eat, the more energy (calories) you're likely to consume.

But wait, there's even more! A study from the University of Alabama looked at satiety (how full a food makes you feel), energy density (calories per unit of volume) and eating time of various foods. To maximize the effects of Time-Energy Displacement, it was found even more advantageous to choose foods that FORCE you to ingest calories more slowly.

This includes choosing more:

Foods that have a high satiety factor such as high fiber and high water foods (so you feel fuller more quickly):


  • Peas
  • Red beans
  • Raspberries
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Chick Peas

 

Foods with a high "chew factor" (so you can't eat them fast if you tried; you have to chew them thoroughly):


  • Lean meats such as top round, lean sirloin
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Peaches 
Foods with a low energy density such as salad vegetables and greens (so you'd get tired of eating before you took in a lot of calories):
  • Tomatoes
  • Artichoke
  • Cucumber
  • Salad Greens
  • Cabbage
  • Okra

These results also confirm all the studies that have been advising us not to drink our calories. Liquid calories, especially soft drinks and dessert coffees are two of the biggest sources of excess calories in the typical American's diet.

The problem: calories in liquid form can have a very high caloric density and can be consumed very quickly. Liquid calories also do not activate the satiety mechanism in your brain and gastrointestinal tract the way solid food does.

"Don't inhale your food" used to be an admonishment about proper eating etiquette you heard from your mom. It is now scientifically-proven fat loss advice.

 

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The Razor Sharp Abdominal Workout

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:28 AM PDT



If you could sculpt one body part to perfection for next summer, what would it be?  Let me guess – six pack abs!  I don't know anybody who does not want to shrink their waistline, lose body fat, eliminate lower back pain and develop a jaw-dropping set of rock-hard six-pack abs.   Building eye-popping abdominals is not the hardest thing to achieve in the world but it's definitely not the easiest either.

Before you can start learning how to get six-pack abs and discover the truth about what it really takes to build a beach-worthy abdominal section, you must first expose the lies, myths and rumors.  Before we talk about how to get six-pack abs, the right way, we must re-program your hard drive and empty the trash can of garbage you have been fed. 

Because of all this hyped-up and misguided information – even among so-called 'fitness experts' – you should be skeptical of all abdominal training equimpment and programs.  Let's first eliminate the top four ways not to get a six-pack:

Learning how to get a six-pack does not require expensive workout equipment promoted through obnoxious infomercials. You can't flick on the TV anymore without seeing two new abdominal exercise machines being promoted at once.  There are so many of them that if you get suckered into these 'ab workout' gimmicks, you will be broke quicker than Ben Johnson sprints the 100 meter dash!   And get this: Of the $520 million dollars a year spent on exercise equipment, abdominal machines get a $208 million dollar piece of the pie! 

Learning how to get a six-pack does not require thousands or even hundreds of crunches a day.  So much for the Brittany Spears ab workout!  Crunches are decent but totally overused and associated with more being better.  Crunches are a very general exercise, and general exercises get general results.  Excessive floor crunches shorten the abdominal wall, pull your head forward and emphasize poor posture.  They also involve a very low level of stimulation which neglects adequate muscle-fiber recruitment.  

Learning how to get a six-pack does not involve starvation diets.  Starvation diets starve the muscle when you should be feeding the muscle instead.  Guess what happens when you starve your body?  Your metabolism shuts down out of survival and causes your body to store fat.   Your body must get energy from somewhere, so guess what gets sacrificed?  That's right, your precious muscle which is, in fact, responsible for maintaining a high metabolism.  Starve your muscle - great logic!

Learning how to get a six-pack does not require fat-burning pills.  What did the last weight loss pill you bought do for you?  The same thing the next one is going to do – nothing! Except give you a thinner wallet but not a thinner waist line.  The entire concept of taking pills to 'burn fat' is built on a sandy foundation and misleading because diet pills only treat the symptoms and not the root cause.  Without focusing on the root problems of a flabby mid-section, like poor nutrition, a crazy lifestyle and improper training, you will just end up where you started – farther away from having a six-pack for summer instead of closer.

Just Because You're Skinny Does Not Mean You Will Have A Six-Pack

The volume of interest I receive from skinny guys who wish to build their mid-sections is more than enough evidence to disprove the false reality of "I should be able to 'see' my abs if I have low body fat." I'm sure you know of a friend who is completely scrawny, yet, without a shirt on he, has zero abdominal definition! To me that would be salt on an open wound.

Abdominals Are A Muscle, Too!

 

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You want your arms to be bigger, your shoulders to be broader and your chest to be fuller, correct? And what is the solution to making these muscle groups increase in size? High intensity weight training, overload, consistency and a healthy surplus of calories. Starting to sound familiar?

The same goes for your abdominals. Your abdominals are a muscle group that requires the same formula and attention and are not any different from other muscle groups. For some reason many consider abdominals to be a 'special' body part that requires a different set of rules and a completely different formula for training. Abdominals were not given a 'secret code' to crack. To get thick, dense abs – the ones that 'pop' out - you must train them with intensity and overload. Here are some practical tips you can apply to your program so that you can be the 'man' or 'gal' at your gym with a ripped and muscular six-pack. Then I will provide a sample program!

Prioritize By Sequence

If your abs are your worse body part, then why do you keep training them last, at the end of your workout? Which muscles group will receive the highest priority when you train? The ones done at the start of your workout or the ones done at the end of the workout? Of course, the exercises done at the start of the workout while you have the most energy and focus. If abdominals are the muscle group you wish to prioritize, then don't be afraid to disagree with the 'experts' who say "Never train your abdominals first because you'll weaken your core muscles for the rest of your workout…". I completely disagree with this and often reply, "Show me the evidence." The typical response is "Nobody does abdominals first…". That is pure BS. This just supports the notion that many people who work out don't ever question what they hear or do. They want to be spoon-fed answers and follow the trends of others without thinking for themselves. I ALWAYS train abdominals first in a workout if they need the highest attention.

Prioritize By Frequency

What's going to receive better results? A muscle group that is trained one time a week or two times a week (assuming you recovered prior to the second workout commencing)? Of course, the muscle that is trained 2x a week. The more stimulus on a muscle, the more growth. That is why professional athletes are professional athletes. They have conditioned their bodies to such a high amount of stress that they are able to train more frequently.

How often you train your abdominals is based on the inverse relationship of intensity and volume. The harder you train your abs, the more rest they need. The less intense you train your abs, the more frequently you can train them! If your goal is rehab or injury prevention, then you will be able to train them often with more frequent and lower loads. If your goal is to make your abs more muscular and dense, then a higher load and less frequency would be ideal. If your goal is maintenance, then a medium load and frequency would be ideal. Refer to this table:

Purpose

Frequency

Intensity

Volume

Reps

Endurance/Conditioning

5-7x a week

Moderate

1-4 sets

50-100

Hypertrophy

4x a week

High

6-12 sets

8-12

       

If building a sexy six-pack is on your 'to do' list for 2008, then start training abdominals 2-4x a week. I will teach you in a moment how to split your abdominals up into two different days based on movement.

Your Genetics and Abdominals

 

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Right now some of you can see a perfectly set of staggered abs that are wide and thick and separated by a line down the middle.  Some of you have the classic four-pack which is four big abs with a smooth lower section.  Some of you have tiny cubicle boxes sitting high on your abdominal wall.  Some of you have the picture perfect eight-pack that makes people's jaws drop. 

Like every muscle group, all you can do is train them as heavy and hard as possible and hope your genetics take care of the rest. You can't change the shape or alignment or separation of your abs.  You can't move them around and place them where you want them.  Your genetics will affect to which degree they "pop" out and to which degree they stay smoother or flatter. 

The good news is that abdominals are abdominals and when your body fat levels are around 5-7% you are guaranteed to impress people, including yourself, with a set of hot-looking abs.  Even though genetics play a huge role in how they look, it's important to know how to train them to make them look their best. 

Divide Your Abdominals into Two Separate Workouts for Best Results

To train your abdominals safely and effectively you must know the basic movement patterns of your abs and train them within all sub-categories:

• Truck Flexion (upper abs)
• Hip Flexion (lower abs)
• Rotation (obliques)
• Lateral Flexion (obliques)

The majority of books and articles you have read revolve the bulk of the ab exercises around the trunk flexion that is better known as 'upper ab' exercises. A full sit up is a perfect example of this.

Bill Starr in his 1976 classic 'The Strongest Shall Survive' wrote that the abdominals "…can be strengthened in a wide variety of ways. Sit-ups of all types, leg raises, truck rotation movements all involve the abdominal muscles to a different degree…"

I wouldn't be surprised if the abdominal program you are following right now is based on one movement - trunk flexion. I am guessing that your primary goal is actually to have a well-defined and sculpted six-pack, so I have provided a sample abdominal program to break it up into a four day program:

 

A

B

C

D

Trunk Flexion

Rotation

Trunk Flexion

Rotation

Hip Flexion

Lateral Flexion

Hip Flexion

Lateral Flexion

Even though you are training each movement twice per week, you will perform different exercises for each workout.

Use a Variety Of Functional Exercises

The Top 3 Hip Flexion Exercises:

1.   Lying Hip Raise

2.   Incline Hip Raise

3.   Hanging Hip Raise

The Top 3 Trunk Flexion Exercises:

1.   Swiss Ball Crunch

2. Weighted Swiss Ball Crunches

3. Weighted Cable Crunches

The Top 3 Rotation Exercises:

1.   Russian Twist

2.   Weighted Russian Twist

3.   Weighted Cable Crossover

The Top 3 Lateral Flexion Exercises:

1.   Lateral Flexion on back extension machine

2.   Lateral Flexion with medicine ball over head

Razor Sharp Abdominal Workout 2:

Trunk Rotation and Lateral Flexion

Perform this workout at least two times a week separated by at least 48 hours rest.  You should experience a deep muscle soreness after each one of these workouts.  Focus on using a load that causes failure within 8-12 reps and then move to the next exercise.  This is a non-stop circuit.  Rest 1-2 minutes and repeat until you reach 4 sets total.

 

Exercise    Sets   Reps  Tempo    Rest
Side Bends Dumbells Overhead 1-4 8-12 311 -
Oblique Crunch  1-4 8-12 311 -
Side Bends Dumbells Overhead 1-4 8-12 311 -
Lateral Raises on Back
Extension Machine
1-4 8-12 311 1-2 minutes
   

Conclusion

As said earlier, buiding razor sharp abs is not the easiest task in the work but nor is it the hardest.  The above abdominal exercises will help you build a deeply separated and evenly placed set of abs in little time.  The truth is that if you can't see your abs, then the best exercise for your abs will be  better diet. 

 

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Protein Supplements Vs. Protein Foods?

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:27 AM PDT


Are protein supplements really better than protein foods? Before attempting to answer this question, I should first preface it by mentioning that I do not sell supplements, nor am I associated with any supplement company, so you're getting an honest and unbiased opinion. Don't get me wrong; I am not anti-supplement by any means. It would simply be more accurate to say that I am "pro-food." There are a lot of good supplements on the market, and I've used many of them, including a multi vitamin, creatine and essential fatty acid (EFA) supplements such as Flaxseed oil. Protein powders and meal replacements can also be indispensable if you don't have time to eat every three hours. However, protein supplements are not the master key to your success, real food is!

Did you ever notice how articles about protein in certain bodybuilding magazines are seldom objective? Instead, they all seem to be slanted towards hyping some "revolutionary" new product. Did you ever wonder why? In my opinion, most articles on protein supplements are nothing more than thinly disguised advertisements (some very thinly). Sometimes they give you a very persuasive-sounding argument, replete with dozens of references from scientific studies (mostly done on rodents, of course). They even give you an 800 number at the end of the article to order. (How convenient!)

When protein manufacturers throw around fancy words like cross flow microfiltration, oligopeptides, ion-exchange, protein efficiency ratio, biological value, nitrogen retention and glycomacropeptides, it sure sounds convincing, especially when scores of scientific references are cited. But don't forget that the supplement industry is big business and most magazines are the supplement industry. Lyle McDonald, author of "The Ketogenic Diet," hit the nail on the head when he wrote "Unfortunately, the obsession that bodybuilders have with protein has made them susceptible to all kinds of marketing hype. Like most aspects of bodybuilding (and the supplement industry in general), the issue of protein is driven more by marketing hype than physiological reality and marketing types know how to push a bodybuilder's button when it comes to protein "

 

Many nutrition "experts" (read: people who sell supplements), state that there are distinct advantages of protein supplements (powders and amino acid tablets) over whole foods. For example, they argue that whey, a by-product of the cheese-making process, is a higher quality protein than most whole food sources. There are many different methods of determining protein quality, including biological value (BV), protein efficiency ratio (PER), Net Protein Utilization (NPU), chemical score, and protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS). If you have ever seen advertisements for protein powders and supplements, you have undoubtedly heard of one or more of these measures of protein quality.

BV is one of the most commonly used and is arguably, the best measure of a protein's quality. BV is based on how much of the protein consumed is actually absorbed and utilized by the body. The higher the amount of protein (nitrogen) that is actually retained, the greater the BV. If a protein has a BV of 100, it means that all of the protein absorbed has been utilized with none lost. Whole eggs score the highest of all foods with a BV of 100, while beans have a BV of only 49.

Protein quality is certainly an important issue, but it is one that has been enormously overstated and even distorted for marketing purposes. Whey protein is truly an excellent protein with a biological value at or near 100. Many advertisements list whey as having a BV between 104 and 157, but if you look in any nutrition textbook it will tell you that it is impossible to have a BV over 100. In "Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism," BV is defined as "a measure of nitrogen retained for growth and/or maintenance that is expressed as a percentage of nitrogen absorbed."

When a protein supplement is listed as having a BV over 100, the company has intentionally manipulated the number for marketing purposes or unintentionally confused BV with another method of rating protein quality. Certain whey proponents claim that whey is "superior to whole egg" so the percentage sign on BV had to be dropped and the scale extended beyond 100. It was noted by bodybuilding writer Jerry Branium in IRONMAN magazine that in a study where the BV of whey was reported to be 157, the author confused BV with chemical score. Chemical score is a comparison of the amino acid pattern in an ideal reference protein to a test protein and therefore the number can exceed 100. 157 was actually the chemical score and not the BV.

Most bodybuilders and strength athletes already consume more than enough protein (an understatement if there ever was one), so the importance of BV to these athletes who are already consuming copious amounts of protein has been overplayed. Even though whey has a higher BV than chicken breast, fish or milk protein, if the total quantity of protein you consume is sufficient, then it is not likely that substituting whey for food proteins will result in any additional muscle growth.

 

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Whether you choose a whole protein food or a protein supplement isn't as important as some would like you to believe. For the purposes of developing muscle, the only guidelines for protein that you must follow are: (1) consume a source of complete protein with every meal, (2) eat at frequent intervals approximately three hours apart (about six times per day) and (3) consume a minimum of .8 grams to 1 gram per pound of body weight. There are times when it would be beneficial to consume more than one gram per pound of body weight, but that will have to be the subject of another article.

Because whey protein does have a high BV, it probably offers the most benefits when you are dieting on very low calories. When your energy intake and correspondingly, your protein intake, are reduced, whey protein could help you get greater utilzation of the smaller amount of protein that you are taking in. In other words, choosing proteins of the highest quality is more of an issue when you are dieting than when you are focusing on mass gains when total calories and protein are being consumed in abundant amounts. Whey protein also provides a way to get high quality protein without the fat, which is also important when dieting.

It has been suggested that whey may have other advantages besides high protein quality, although they are frequently overstated. These benefits include enhanced immunity, increased antioxidant activity and quick absorption. Several studies in "Clinical and Investigative Science" by Dr. Gerard Bounous of Montreal have shown that whey protein provides anti carcinogenic properties, protection from infections, and other enhanced immune responses. Whey protein was also been shown to raise levels of Glutathione, an important antioxidant that can offer protection from free radical oxidative damage. While such findings are very promising, all these studies, which are frequently quoted in whey protein advertisements, were performed on mice, so it is unclear how well the results extrapolate to humans.

Another acknowledged benefit of whey protein is its fast absorption rate. Although there isn't any evidence that protein supplements digest more efficiently than whole foods (as is often claimed), they are definitely digested faster. This is most important after a training session when the rates of protein synthesis and glycogen re-synthesis are increased. This is the reason it is often recommended that a liquid meal containing protein and a high glycemic carbohydrate be consumed immediately post-workout and that whey is the ideal protein for this purpose. Even in considering post-workout nutrition, there is still little proof that a liquid protein-carb complex will actually produce better muscular growth than whole foods, as long as complete whole food protein foods and complex carbohydrates are consumed immediately after the training session and every three waking hours for a period of 24 hours thereafter.

Speaking of protein absorption rates, the discussion of fast acting versus slow acting proteins seems to be the latest hot topic these days in bodybuilding circles. The interest was sparked by studies in 1997 and 1998 that examined the differences between the absorption rates of whey versus casein. The researchers concluded that whey was a fast acting protein and was considered to be more "anabolic" while casein was slower acting and was considered to be more "anti-catabolic. " It was further hypothesized that consuming a combination of these two types of proteins could lead to greater muscle growth. These findings have prompted the supplement companies to market an entirely new category of protein supplements; casein and whey mixes. The problem with drawing such conclusions so quickly is that these studies looked at the speed of whey and casein absorption in subjects who had fasted for 10 hours before being fed the protein. Any suppositions drawn from this information are probably irrelevant if you are eating mixed whole food meals every three hours. Obviously, more research is needed.

This recent fascination with various rates of protein absorption could be compared to the interest in the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a scale that measures the rate at which the body converts various carbohydrate foods into blood glucose. The higher the glycemic index, the faster the food is converted to glucose and the larger the insulin response. Therefore it is said that high glycemic foods should be avoided in favor of low glycemic index foods. The error in relying solely on the glycemic index as your only criteria for choosing carbohydrates is that the index is based on consuming a carbohydrate food by itself in a fasted state.

 

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When carbohydrates are consumed in mixed meals that contain protein and a little fat, the glycemic index loses some of its significance because the protein and fat slow the absorption of the carbohydrate. That's why the glycemic index is really much ado about nothing and the same could probably be said for the casein and whey argument. It's just the latest in a long string of new angles that supplement companies use to promote their protein: free-form vs peptides, concentrate vs isolate, ion exchange vs microfiltration, soy vs whey, casein and whey mix vs pure whey and so on. Every year, you can count on some new twist on the protein story to appear. Certainly there are going to be advances in nutrition science, but all too often these "new discoveries" amount to nothing more than marketing hype.

What about amino acid pills? Amino acids pills are simply predigested protein. Proponents of amino acid supplementation claim that because the amino's are predigested, the body will absorb them better, leading to greater improvements in strength and muscle mass. It sounds logical, but this is a gross underestimation of the body's capacities and actually the reverse is true: The human digestive system was designed to efficiently process whole foods; it was not designed to digest pills and powders all day long. Amino's are absorbed more rapidly in the intestine when they are in the more complex di and tri-peptide molecules.

Your body gets better use of the aminos as protein foods are broken down and the amino's are absorbed at just the right rate for your body's needs. In "Exercise Physiology; Energy Nutrition and Human Performance," authors Katch and McArdle state that "Amino acid supplementation in any form has not been shown by adequate experimental design and methodology to increase muscle mass or significantly improve muscular strength, power, or endurance."

Furthermore, consuming predigested protein when you are seeking fat loss is not necessarily advantageous because it shortchanges you of the thermic effects of real food. Whole foods have a major advantage over protein supplements; they stimulate the metabolism more. This is known as the "thermic effect of food." Protein has the highest thermic effect of any food. Including a whole protein food with every meal can speed up your metabolic rate as much as 30% because of the energy necessary to digest, process, and absorb it. This means that out of 100 calories of a protein food such as chicken breast, the net amount of calories left over after processing it is 70. In this respect, the fact that protein foods digest slower than amino acid tablets is actually an advantage.

A final argument against amino acid supplements is the cost. Amino's are simply not cost effective. If you don't believe it, pick up a bottle and do the math yourself. One popular brand of "free form and peptide bonded amino acids" contains 150 1000mg. tablets per bottle and costs $19.95. 1000 mg. of amino acids equals 1 gram of protein, so the entire bottle contains 150 grams of protein. $19.95 divided by 150 grams is 13.3 cents per gram. Let's compare that to chicken breast. I can buy chicken breast from my local supermarket for $2.99 a pound. According to Corinne Netzer's "Complete Book of Food Counts," there are 8.8 grams of protein in each ounce of chicken, so one pound of chicken (16 oz) has about 140 grams of protein. $2.99 divided by 140 grams equals 2.1 cents per gram. The amino acids cost more than six times what the chicken breast does! I don't know about you, but I'll stick with the chicken breast.

The biggest advantage of protein supplements is not that they can build more muscle than chicken or egg whites or any other whole food protein, the biggest advantage is convenience. It is easier to drink a protein shake than it is to buy, prepare, cook and eat poultry, fish or egg whites. Consuming small, frequent meals is the optimal way to eat, regardless of whether your goal is fat loss or muscle gain. To keep your body constantly in positive nitrogen balance, you must consume a complete protein every three hours. For many people, eating this often is nearly impossible. That's when a high quality protein supplement is the most helpful.

Aside from convenience, the truth about protein supplements is that they offer few advantages over protein foods. There is no scientific evidence that you can't meet all of your protein needs for muscle growth through food. As long as you eat every three hours and you eat a complete protein such as eggs, lean meat or lowfat dairy products with every meal, it is not necessary to consume any protein supplements to get outstanding results. Whey protein does have some interesting and useful properties and supplementing with a couple scoops each day is not a bad idea, especially if you are on a low calorie diet for fat loss or when you're using a post workout shake instead of a meal. Aside from that, focus on real food and don't believe the hype.

 

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Protein Powder, The Skinny Guy's Guide To Protein Powder

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:27 AM PDT



So what do you really need to know about protein powder? As a skinny guy or beginner to the whole bodybuilding scene you simply want to know a few answers. Is protein powder necessary? Does it really work? How much do I need? What kind should I take? What is the best? And finally, will any of these answers make a difference when it comes to getting jacked and attracting the ladies?

This article is not meant for you if you want to learn the science behind the ion-exchanged, cross-mutaed, isotopically labeled protein tracers - blah blah blah. In this article, I will strip away all the hype, science, and confusion that surrounds protein powder. By the time you are through this article and put it to memory, you will become the resident protein powder expert and amaze your friends the next time you visit the sport nutrition store. No more 2-hour shopping trips for protein powder because you don't really have a clue what to look for!

Is Protein Powder really necessary?

So, although protein supplements are not an absolute requirement for gaining mass, I have yet to meet any person able to get 400 grams of protein per day from cooking food. If your protein intake is greater than 200 grams per day I will suggest a protein powder - it will make your life a lot easier.

In addition, dollar for dollar, protein powders and meal replacement drinks tend to be more cost effective than whole food. Don't get me wrong, though. Protein powders are still supplements in my book. Supplement means an addition to the diet. I emphasize this because the focus of any diet should be food. Whole food is often preferable to powders because it can offer a whole spectrum of nutrients that powders cannot.

Most of your dietary protein should come from meat, fish, poultry and eggs. However getting all your protein from whole food is not always practical or convenient, especially if you have to eat 6 or more times a day to get your required intake. I will stress to you, for optimal muscle gains, you should limit yourself to a maximum of three shakes per day or 40 % of your meals. To some this might even sound like it's going 'overboard' and I would not disagree.

The bottom line is that both food and supplements are necessary to achieve a complete nutritional balance as well as the desired level of protein intake, especially if you're not a big fan of cooking. And I assume that over 95% of you reading this do not have a personal maid at home cooking all your meals while you sit around waiting for your next meal. Do not make the fatal mistake of thinking protein powders can take the place of a solid training and nutrition program.

 

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Does protein powder really work and are they healthy?

I get this question emailed to me almost every day. I just showed how it 'works' as a supplement to help you hit your supplemental protein mark but you are probably still wondering, 'Yeah, but is protein powder going to help me get muscular or is it a scam?" A better question would be, "Does protein really work?" and the obvious answer is 'yes.' You are fully aware that protein is composed of building blocks called amino acids, which performs a variety of functions in the body such as building and maintaining healthy muscles when combined with diet and exercise. Protein also:

  • Supports red blood cell production
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Keeps your hair, fingernails, and skin healthy

However, not all protein powder is created equal. Most protein powder contains an array of questionable ingredients such as aspartame, saccharin, fructose and artificial colors. It's interesting to note how unhealthy most of these protein powders actually are. Look for a protein powder with natural ingredients rather than products that are sweetened with chemicals and made with ingredients that are certainly not going to create an environment for muscle growth and fat burning.

Also avoid products with refined carbohydrates such as fructose, sucrose or brown rice syrup. Make sure that the product is made from a reputable company that is genuinely interested in good health. Unfortunately supplement manufacturers will continue to meet the demands of bodybuilding consumers with unknown crappy products because we buy it and it is cheaper for them to create. Do your homework by seeking out unbiased reviews, investigating the company's history, and reputation. And then make a decision and take responsibility!

In the past one of my criteria for a healthy protein product was that it was great tasting and that it should mix easily. Most protein powders mix quite easily, even with a spoon, however I was disappointed to discover that taste will inevitably be sacrificed for a safe and healthy product. I can live with this. You see, once a product is removed of all artificial chemical sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose, and simple sugars, it is left almost tasteless and sometimes even gross.

How much protein powder do I need?

A better question would be, "How much pure protein do I need to achieve my goals?"

Protein is an extremely important macro nutrient and should be eaten frequently throughout the day. I recommend at least 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. This means that if you are 150 pounds and 10% body fat (150 x 0.10 = 15 lbs of fat leaving 135 lbs of lean mass), you will require at least 135 to approximately 205 grams of protein per day.

I recommend that protein powder be used primarily for your pre-workout, workout and post-workout shake. This is when liquid food is more advantageous over whole food since it has a faster absorption rate.

I do not recommend protein powder do be used for meal replacements for more than two meals. Here is what a typical day might look like:

Meal 1 (breakfast) - whole food

Meal 2 (mid morning) - liquid protein meal

Meal 3 (lunch) - whole food

Meal 4 (mid afternoon) whole food

Meal 5 (pre and post workout) liquid protein meal

Meal 6 (dinner) whole food

Meal 7 (before bed) whole food

What kind of protein powder should I use?

Before deciding which protein powder is necessary, here is a short protein primer to help you make sense of the thousands of different protein powders from which to choose:

WHEY PROTEIN makes up 20% of total milk protein. Whey is recognized for its excellent amino acid profile, high cysteine content, rapid digestion, and interesting variety of peptides. Since it is very quickly digested the best time to consume it is before your workout, during your workout or immediately after your workout. These would be considered the phase in the day where you need energy the most and when your body is in anabolic state.

CASEIN PROTEIN makes up 80% of total milk protein. Casein is recognized for its excellent amino acid profile, slow digestive nature, and interesting variety of peptides. Since casein is slowly digested into your bloodstream, don't use it during workouts or after workouts - you need a fast absorbing protein at these times. Instead, use a casein protein for all other times outside the pre and post workout window.

SOY PROTEIN is the most controversial of all protein types. While the soy groupies have gone to great lengths to label soy as a super food with magical effects, there is also a good amount of research that suggests soy protein may be contraindicated in many situations. BECAUSE OF ALL THE CONFUSION, IN MY PERSONAL OPINION, I SUGGEST AVOIDING SOY PROTEIN ALTOGETHER AND STICKING TO THE OTHER TYPES LISTED.

Protein Blends are generally a combination of several types of protein blends such as whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, egg protein, casein protein, and soy protein.

Why would you want a blend anyway? You will receive the full spectrum of proteins and you will receive varying rates of absorption from the different types of protein. Using a blend will create an anabolic environment from the whey and an anti-catabolic environment from the casein - use this kind at any time of the day but NOT before or after a workout.

Whey hydrolysates (also known as hydrolyzed whey protein, and are also called peptides), are powerful proteins that are more quickly absorbed; more so than any other form, since your body prefers peptides to whole proteins. Hydrolysates are produced through very low heat, low acid and mild enzymatic filtration processes, (those highest in the essential and the branched chain amino acids) and are potentially the most anabolic for short-term protein synthesis such as the pre and post-workout window.

 

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Whey Protein Versus Whey Isolate:

Most whey protein powders that stock the supplement shelves are made up of whey concentrate and mixed in with a small portion of whey isolate. Comparing the two, whey protein isolate is more expensive than whey protein concentrate because it has a higher quality (more pure) and a higher BV (biological value). Whey protein isolate contains more protein and less fat and lactose per serving. Most whey protein isolates contain 90-98% protein while whey concentrates contain 70-85% protein.

Whey protein isolate is the highest yield of protein currently available that comes from milk. Because of its chemical properties it is the easiest to absorb into your system. Obviously with its high concentration, it appears that an isolate protein would be the obvious choice instead of a concentrate. However, this is an individual decision because the isolate is more expensive, and just because it is purer does not guarantee that it will help build bigger muscles. Its extra concentration may not justify its extra cost.

SO WHAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE? WHICH SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

For the Pre-workout and Post-workout phases, as long as whey hydrolysate is the first or second ingredient on the supplement label then there is probably not enough in the product to influence protein synthesis to reap the optimal benefits. As stated, whey isolates are also a extremely high quality whey and for maximal anabolism isolates should be combined with whey hydrolysates for only the pre-workout and post-workout phases of your program. The inclusion of small amounts of whey concentrates will not harm you but this should not be the first ingredient on the tub of protein powder.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE STRONGEST PROTEIN POWDER TO EXPLOIT YOUR FULL GROWTH POTENTIAL DURING THE GROWTH AND RECOVERY PHASES (ANY TIME OTHER THAN PRE AND POST WORKOUT PERIOD) THEN USE A BLEND.

You will receive the full spectrum of proteins and you will receive varying rates of absorption from the different types of protein. Using a blend will create an anabolic environment from the whey and an anti-catabolic environment from the casein.

Conclusion

I hope this article familiarized you with the basics of protein powder and gave you a foundation to work from when deciding on your next order. Don't get caught up in the hype and start becoming a more educated consumer when you take your next trip to the nutrition store. Now you can tell the sales rep exactly what you are looking for instead of staring blankly at the shelves without a clue!

Oh yeah, protein powder will help you get more jacked and attract the ladies, but it's not going to do it in a 'ultra short period of time' with the simple addition to your diet.

 

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Once an Endomorph Always an Endomorph

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:22 AM PDT

Once an Endomorph Always an Endomorph? (Can Your Body Type Change?)

Are you an ectomorph, mesomorph or endomorph body type? To maximize your results, regardless of whether your goal is fat loss or muscle gain, it's helpful to know your body type and adjust your approach according to your type. But a big question that almost no one has ever answered is, "Does your body type change over time?" If so, then what? Do you have to totally change your nutrition and training again? And if your body type doesn't change, does this mean you are stuck being a fat endomorph for the rest of your life, doomed because of genetics? Read on to find out.

Somatotype is a 3-part, 7-point body type rating scale developed by a guy named Sheldon back around 1940 or so. Ectomorphs are the linear, bony, lean types, mesomorphs are the naturally muscular body types (yeah, the ones we hate!), and endormorphs are the ones with the round body shapes and the genetic tendency toward storing more body fat.

Generally, you have a combination body type, which is why you are scored with 3 numbers (Arnold Schwarzenneger in his bodybuilding prime: think pure mesomorph with the highest score of 7).

The question is, Does somatotype change? this is a very interesting question that has been asked and debated before both by the layperson (often bodybuilding and fitness enthusiasts) and by scientists.

Two of those scientists were JE Lindsay Carter, a physical education professor from San Diego State University and Barbara Heath, and Anthropologist from the University of Pennsylvania.

There was initially a lot of debate and antagonism provoked by the classic Sheldon system of classifying human body types ("somatotyping"), because initially, Sheldon was very rigid in his insistence that body types were permanent and did not change.

However, Heath and Carter proposed that it was plain to see that body types DID change due to normal growth, aging, physical training and dietary deprivation (they cited the Minnesota starvation study, where subjects started out looking somewhat mesomorphic and ended up looking like ectomorphs (like POW camp victims, literally).

Heath and Carter weren't trying to dismiss somatotpying, they supported it and wanted to validate it.

However, they wanted to address the shortcomings of the somatotyping method and one of those was the fact that the Sheldon system didn't accommodate for changes in physique as a result of training and nutrition.

In their voluminous 1990 textbook on the subject, Heath and Carter define somatotype as:

"A quantitative description of the present shape and composition of the human body. It is expressed in a 3 number rating, representing three components of physique: (1) endomorphy, (2) mesomorphy and (3) ectomorphy. The somatotype can be used to record changes in physique and to estimate gross biological differences and similarities among human beings. This method of somatotyping is sensitive to changes in physique over time and is used for rating both sexes at all ages."

john_bartlett.jpg

Look at a guy like John Bartlett for example, one of our inner circle contributing authors and an outstanding natural competitive bodybuilder. When you see him today and you ask what is his body type, you would say, "MESOMORPH all the way!"

That's because today he is ripped and muscular

But if you look at his before picture and ask "what is this guy's body type" you would say, "Endomorph" all the way or at least "endo-mesomorph" because he did have a solid and stocky build before, but also a high body fat percentage.

Well, which is it? Or did his body type change? Clearly, John gained a lot of muscle and lost a lot of fat and looks totally different today. So could we say his body type changed? If we go by current outward appearance, then yes, absolutely.

But does this mean his body type really changed or did he overcome an inherent endomorph body type to achieve where he is now?

 

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Or, to play devil's advocate here, was he always a mesomorph inherently and he just really let himself go for a while and he was just returning to his normal body type of mesomorph?

These are interesting questions. The Heath-Carter method simply includes body composition as part of the rating scale of a person's body type and says that you can rate someone based on how they look now. That includes bone structure (which changes little or not at all after adulthood) AND body composition (which can change throughout life). So you could say John was an Endomorph and is now a Mesomorph. Predominantly Mesomorph is his present classification.

However, at the same time, we could say that a person DOES have an inherent body type or set point - a physique that they will gravitate towards in the absence of circumstances or concerted efforts to change it.

I addressed this issue of changing body types versus an inherent (or "permanent" body type) in Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (BFFM). The way I explained it is that I said your true body type is what you will gravitate to naturally when you are not in a highly trained state. It's your inherent tendency. In that respect, you could say somatotype does not change, while body composition does.

In chapter 5 of BFFM, I said there were three additional ways to know your inherent body type beyond Sheldon's scale, which takes into account changes in physique due to training and nutrition:

  1. How you looked before you took up training (your "natural" body shape)
  2. How you respond to training and nutrition (ease of muscle gain or fat loss)
  3. How you respond to de-training (how well you retain lean mass and low body fat or how quickly you lose lean mass and gain fat on cessation of training)

If you wanted to make this even MORE complex, we could look at somatotyping by considering not just the outward bone structure and body composition of an individual, but also the metabolic (interior) characteristics.

My "Burn The Fat" system of body typing is like a combination of:

(1) Metabolic typing (internal metabolic characteristics like carb tolerance)
(2) Somatotyping (external body shape - linearity or roundness, fatness or leanness)
(3) Miscellaneous other genetic factors.

That would be a pretty good three-part body typing system that covers the concerns about changing body types, individual metabolic types ("carb intolerant types" or protein types, etc), and genetics (which is especially relevant since obesity genes have been identified fairly recently).

I hear criticisms of the somatotyping system all the time, where people say it is not useful. I disagree. Yes, it's perhaps too crude of a system to base your entire training and nutrition plan upon, but I believe it's very helpful as a general tool to "KNOW THYSELF".

In other words, if you are inherently an endomorph and you KNOW IT, then you know darn well what happens when you don't do any cardio. You know what happens when you cheat four or five times in a week. You know what happens when you slack off. You gravitate towards gaining fat, because that is your body type's tendency! So you can adjust your training, nutrition and lifestyle accordingly.

If you are an ectomorph, then you know what happens when you skip meals… you don't gain any muscle! You know what happens when you do too much cardio… you don't gain any muscle, or you lose some!, etc. etc.

And if you're a mesomorph…. did I mention…. we hate you!

If you'd like to learn more, chapter 5 in Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle is about body typing. It's full of some really valuable and motivating lessons about knowing yourself, your body and your genetics and understanding the importance of taking personal responsibility, regardless of your hereditary predispositions. If you already have the book, it's worth re-reading periodically.

 

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Cook portable foods and bring meal replacements

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:25 AM PDT

6. Cook portable foods and bring meal replacements or healthy snacks for drives, flights and day trips

I love to drive, so for my trip last month I packed everything up in my car and hit the road. Naturally, I cooked for the road trip and my food came with me! I've learned how to make a variety of portable foods including several different types of oatmeal pancakes, tuna burgers and healthy sandwiches. Some of these "portable foods" can be even eaten with your hands while you are in a car, on a plane or sitting in a seminar room.

On my recent trip, I knew I had a long drive, so I calculated the number of hours on the road and the number of meals I would need and simply brought them all with me. For two of my on-the-road meals I had oatmeal-egg white-apple-cinnamon pancakes and one of my "meals" was simply a high protein meal replacement shake and fresh fruit. It's not difficult at all when you plan and pack food in advance.

7. Choose your gym or check your hotel fitness facilities in advance

Many people work out right in their hotel rooms with a body weight exercise program or even portable equipment. Since I'm a bodybuilder, I refuse to go without a fully equipped gym. Unfortunately, on-site Hotel gyms are notorious for sounding great in the advertisements and then when you arrive, you find that the "gym" is a room about the size of a walk in closet, with a few pieces of (mostly broken) archaic equipment from the 1970's. There are a few exceptions, but having learned my lesson a couple times, I now use the Internet to locate a gym prior to my trip. Call in advance and ask if there are daily or weekly rates.

You can also ask if your hotel has an affiliation with a local health club. During my last trip, the hotel was affiliated with a Bally Total Fitness Center that was just a 10 minute drive away and use of the Bally's was included with the price of my room. It turned out to be an excellent club, so I was a happy camper.

If you are already a member of a gym in your local area, check to see if your gym has an affiliation with other clubs around the country or if they belong to an organization such as IHRSA (international Health, Racque & Sportsclub Association). Some clubs are part of a network which allows you to train at other clubs when youre traveling - all you have to do is show your membership card and you will get access to train at other clubs that are part of the network. IHRSA has more than 6,500 clubs in 67 countries in its network.

 

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8. Pack your workout gear and plenty of workout clothes

When you pack hastily at the last minute, things can easily be forgotten and left behind, so be sure to pack plenty of workout clothes with you and bring any other gym gear you might need (belt, lifting straps, etc). For extended trips, inquire with your hotel to see if they have laundry facilities. (The hotel where I recently stayed had an onsite laundry room, which came in handy with my 2.5 week stay).

9. Change up your workouts as you change up your gym

Some people get accustomed to their hometown gym and they're upset or disappointed when they don't have access to the same equipment when they travel. They feel that it cramps their style or hinders their results. However, this can really be a blessing in disguise. Your body adapts to any workout, often in just a matter of weeks. We tend to be victims of our own habit patterns in life and that includes our workouts. You might want to take advantage of it when you have new and different equipment at your disposal.

After "scoping out" the gym's facilities, design an entirely new workout program for a change. Do something 100% different. Sometimes a simple change of exercises is enough to stimulate new progress. The club I trained at during my last trip had a full line of "Strive" machines which are not available at my hometown gym. These machines allow you to choose three different resistance curves on each exercise. Very cool. Since I had access to this equipment, I did a totally new routine and used more machines than usual. Although most fitness experts these days generally advise you to use more free weights than machines (and I agree for the most part), using these machines was a great change up and I could feel and see the difference.

10. Walk, bike or make physical recreation part of your travel plans

Personally, as I am already in very good shape, I usually don't count casual walking as part of my "formal" workout (cardio) program, although it certainly might count for other people. However, it never hurts to get some extra activity and all physical activity burns calories and provides some health benefits. I've found that more often than not, when I am on the road, whether for business or pleasure, there are plenty of opportunities to get some physical recreation and see the sights by foot.

On a trip last year, I spent an entire afternoon hiking in the hills of a beautiful national park. On another trip, I rented a bike and rode for miles along a beachside bike path. On my recent trip, I spent an entire day walking through museums and then sightseeing. I walked for hours. I also couldn't help but notice other people (mostly conspicuously unfit people), tooling around outside on those stand-up scooters. Funny thing too, because right next door to the motorized scooter rental was a bike rental. Which would you choose – foot, bike, or "lazy-person's chariot?"

 

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The Incredible Shrinking Fat Cell

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:29 AM PDT

"The Incredible Shrinking Fat Cell"...
What Really Happens When Body Fat is Burned?

Earlier this week someone in our discussion forum wrote, "I haven't "LOST" any fat... I know EXACTLY where it went! I got a chuckle out of that because I "got" the joke, but truth is, most people really don't know how fat cells work, how the fat burning process takes place or where the fat goes when it's burned. It's actually quite a complex biochemical process, but I'll explain it as simply as possible, so by the end of this article, you'll be a "fat burning" expert!

When you "lose" body fat, the fat cell (also called an adipocyte) does not go anywhere or "move into the muscle cell to be burned. The fat cell itself, (unfortunately) stays right where it was - under the skin in your thighs, stomach, hips, arms, etc., and on top of the muscles - which is why you can't see muscle "definition" when your body fat is high.

Fat is stored inside the fat cell in the form of triaglycerol. The fat is not burned right there in the fat cell, it must be liberated from the fat cell through somewhat complex hormonal/enzymatic pathways. When stimulated to do so, the fat cell simply releases its contents (triaglycerol) into the bloodstream as free fatty acids (FFA's), and they are transported through the blood to the tissues where the energy is needed.

A typical young male adult stores about 60,000 to 100,000 calories of energy in body fat cells. What triggers the release of all these stored fatty acids from the fat cell? Simple: When your body needs energy because you're consuming fewer calories than you are burning (an energy deficit), then your body releases hormones and enzymes that signal your fat cells to release your fat reserves instead of keeping them in storage.

For stored fat to be liberated from the fat cell, hydrolysis (lipolysis or fat breakdown), splits the molecule of triaglycerol into glycerol and three fatty acids. An important enzyme called hormone sensitive lipase (HSL) is the catalyst for this reaction. The stored fat (energy) gets released into the bloodstream as FFA's and they are shuttled off to the muscles where the energy is needed. As blood flow increases to the active muscles, more FFA's are delivered to the muscles that need them.

An important enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), then helps the FFA's get inside the mitochondria of the muscle cell, where the FFA's can be burned for energy. If you've ever taken a biology class, then you've probably heard of the mitochondria. This is the "cellular powerhouse" where energy production takes place and this is where the FFA's go to be burned for energy.

When the FFA's are released from the fat cell, the fat cell shrinks and that's why you look leaner when you lose body fat - because the fat cell is now smaller. A small or "empty" fat cell is what you're after if you want the lean, defined look.

It was once believed that the number of fat cells could not increase after adulthood, only the size of the fat cells could increase (or decrease). We now know that fat cells can indeed increase both in size (hypertrophy) and in number (hyperplasia) and that they are more likely to increase in number at certain times and under certain circumstances, such as 1) during late childhood and early puberty, 2) During pregnancy, and 3) During adulthood when extreme amounts of weight are gained

Some people are genetically predisposed to have more fat cells than others and women have more fat cells than men. An infant usually has about 5 - 6 billion fat cells. This number increases during early childhood and puberty, and a healthy adult with normal body composition has about 25 to 30 billion fat cells. A typical overweight adult has around 75 billion fat cells. But in the case of severe obesity, this number can be as high as 250 to 300 billion!

The average size (weight) of an adult fat cell is about 0.6 micrograms, but they can vary in size from 0.2 micograms to 0.9 micrograms. An overweight person's fat cells can be up to three times larger than a person with ideal body composition.

Remember, body fat is basically just a reserve source of energy and fat cells are the like the storage tanks. Unlike a gas tank in your car which is fixed in size, however, fat cells can expand or shrink in size depending on how "filled" they are.

Picture a balloon that is not inflated: It's tiny when not filled with air - maybe the size of your thumb. When you blow it up with air, it can expand 10 or 12 times it's normal size, because it simply fills up. That's what happens to fat cells: They start as nearly empty fat storage "tanks" (when you are lean), and when energy intake exceeds your needs, your fat cells "fill up" and "stretch out" like balloons filling up with jelly (not a pretty picture, is it?)

 

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So you don't actually "lose" fat cells, you "shrink" or "empty out" fat cells.

Take-home lessons:

1. Calories count!The signal that triggers your body to release adipose from fat cells is an energy deficit... you have to burn more than you eat.

2. Cut calories conservatively. Starving yourself may cause quick weightloss at first, but never works long term because it actually decreases the activity of fat burning enzymes that release fat from the cells. to avoid this "starvation mode" use exercise to BURN THE FAT, not very low calorie crash diets.

3. Get control of your weight now. If you are gaining weight, and especially if your weight is climbing upwards out of control, make a decision to STOP RIGHT NOW. Your fat cells might be multiplying, making it more difficult to burn fat in the future. NOW is the time!

4. If you've already lost weight, you must be forever diligent. Your fat cells are not gone, they have merely "shrunk" or "emptied out." Fitness is not a 12 week program, its a lifestyle. To stay lean you have to eat clean and stay active

5. Genetics are only a minor factor. You may not have control over how many fat cells you were born with, but you do control the major factors that determine how much fat you store: lifestyle, exercise, nutrition, mental attitude.

Genetics are not an excuse. The past is not an excuse. Your present condition is not an excuse. You can either make excuses or get results, but you can't do both.

So keep educating yourself about the science, read these newsletters, take action every day and go out there and make it happen!

 

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The Low Body Fat Secret Of Bodybuilders And Fitness Models

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:25 AM PDT



The secret to getting super lean – I'm talking about being RIPPED, not just "average body fat" – is all about mastering the art of "peaking." Most people do not have a clue about what it takes to reach the type of low body fat levels that reveal ripped six-pack abs, muscle striations, vascularity and extreme muscular definition, so they go about it completely the wrong way.

Here's a case in point: One of my newsletter subscribers recently sent me this question:

Tom, on your www.burnthefat.com website, you wrote:

'Who better to model than bodybuilders and fitness competitors? No athletes in the world get as lean as quickly as bodybuilders and fitness competitors. The transformations they undergo in 12 weeks prior to competition would boggle your mind! Only ultra-endurance athletes come close in terms of low body fat levels, but endurance athletes like triathaletes and marathoners often get lean at the expense of chewing up all their muscle. Some of them are nothing but skin and bone.'

"There seems to be a contradiction unless I'm missing something. Why do bodybuilders and fitness competitors have to go through a 12 week 'transformation' prior to every event instead of staying 'lean and mean' all the time? If they practice the secrets exposed in your book, they should be staying in shape all the time instead of having to work at losing fat prior to every competitive event, correct?"

There is a logical explanation for why bodybuilders and other physique athletes (fitness and figure competitors), don't remain completely ripped all year round, and it's the very reason they are able to get so ripped on the day of a contest…

You can't hold a peak forever or it's not a "peak", right? What is the definition of a peak? It's a high point surrounded by two lower points isn't it?

Therefore, any shape you can stay in all year round is NOT your "peak" condition.

The intelligent approach to nutrition and training (which almost all bodybuilders and fitness/figure competitors use), is to train and diet in a seasonal or cyclical fashion and build up to a peak, then ease off to a maintenance or growth phase.

I am NOT talking about bulking up and getting fat and out of shape every year, then dieting it all off every year. What I'm talking about is going from good shape to great (peak) shape, then easing back off to good shape.... but never getting "out of shape." Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Here's an example: I have no intentions whatsoever of walking around 365 days a year at 4% body fat like I appear in the photo on my website. Off-season, when I'm not competing, my body fat is usually between 8 – 10%. Mind you, that's very lean and still single digit body fat.

I don't stray too far from competition shape, but I don't maintain contest shape all the time. It takes me 12-14 weeks or so to gradually drop from 9.5% to 3.5%-4.0% body fat to "peak" for competition with NO loss of lean body mass...using the same techniques I reveal in my e-book.

It would be almost impossible to maintain 4% body fat, and even if I could, why would I want to? For the few weeks prior to competition I'm so depleted, ripped, and even "drawn" in the face, that complete strangers walk up and offer to feed me.

 

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Okay, so I'm just kidding about that, but let's just say being "being ripped to shreds" isn't a desirable condition to maintain because it takes such a monumental effort to stay there. It's probably not even healthy to try forcing yourself to hold extreme low body fat. Unless you're a natural "ectomorph" (skinny, fast metabolism body type), your body will fight you. Not only that, anabolic hormones may drop and sometimes your immune system is affected as well. It's just not "normal" to walk around all the time with literally no subcutaneous body fat.

Instead of attempting to hold the peak, I cycle back into a less demanding off-season program and avoid creeping beyond 9.9% body fat. Some years I've stayed leaner - like 6-7%, (which takes effort), especially when I knew I would be photographed, but I don't let my body fat go over 10%.

This practice isn't just restricted to bodybuilders. Athletes in all sports use periodization to build themselves up to their best shape for competition. Is a pro football player in the same condition in March-April as he is in August-September? Not a chance. Many show up fat and out of shape (relatively speaking) for training camp, others just need fine tuning, but none are in peak form... that's why they have training camp!!!

There's another reason you wouldn't want to maintain a "ripped to shreds" physique all year round – you'd have to be dieting (calorie restricted) all the time. And this is one of the reasons that 95% of people can't lose weight and keep it off --they are CHRONIC dieters... always on some type of diet. Know anyone like that?

You can't stay on restricted low calories indefinitely. Sooner or later your metabolism slows down and you plateau as your body adapts to the chronically lowered food intake. But if you diet for fat loss and push incredibly hard for 3 months, then ease off for a while and eat a little more (healthy food, not "pigging out"), your metabolic rate is re-stimulated. In a few weeks or months, you can return to another fat loss phase and reach an even lower body fat level, until you finally reach the point that's your happy maintenance level for life – a level that is healthy and realistic – as well as visually appealing.

Bodybuilders have discovered a methodology for losing fat that's so effective, it puts them in complete control of their body composition. They've mastered this area of their lives and will never have to worry about it again. If they ever "slip" and fall off the wagon like all humans do at times … no problem! They know how to get back into shape fast.

Bodybuilders have the tools and knowledge to hold a low body fat all year round (such as 9% for men, or about 15% for women), and then at a whim, to reach a temporary "peak" of extremely low body fat for the purpose of competition. Maybe most important of all, they have the power and control to slowly ease back from peak shape into maintenance, and not balloon up and yo-yo like most conventional dieters!

What if you had the power to stay lean all year round, and then get super lean when summer rolled around, or when you took your vacation to the Caribbean, or when your wedding date was coming up? Wouldn't you like to be in control of your body like that? Isn't that the same thing that bodybuilders and fitness/figure competitors do, only on a more practical, real-world level?

So even if you have no competitive aspirations whatsoever, don't you agree that there's something of value everyone could learn from physique athletes? Don't model yourself after the huge crowd of losers who gobble diet pills, buy exercise gimmicks and suffer through starvation diets like automatons, only to gain back everything they lost! Instead, learn from the leanest athletes on Earth - natural bodybuilders and fitness competitors…

These physique athletes get as ripped as they want to be, exactly when they want to, simply by manipulating their diets in a cyclical fashion between pre-contest "cutting" programs and off season "maintenance" or "muscle growth" programs. Even if you have no desire to ever compete, try this seasonal "peaking" approach yourself and you'll see that it can work as well for you as it does for elite bodybuilders.

 

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New HIIT Research: A Practical Model For High Intensity Interval Training

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:20 AM PDT


High intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, has become immensely popular in the last decade. HIIT involves alternating brief bursts of very high intensity exercise (work intervals) with brief segments of lower intensity exercise (recovery intervals). One problem with some types of HIIT is that they call for such high intensity bursts - literally all out sprints - that they're not practical for everyone, and possibly not even safe for older or overweight individuals. A recent study out of McMaster University has tested a protocol for HIIT that produces impressive results in a short period of time without the need for "all-out" sprints…

Many of the previous studies on HIIT used ALL-OUT intervals on a specialized cycle ergometer, pedaling against a high resistance.

This type of training takes a high level of commitment and motivation and can result in feelings of severe discomfort and even nausea.

One of my colleagues mentioned in our Burn the Fat Forums that he remembers exercise physiology class in college where they did all out cycle ergometer interval sprint testing and nearly everyone either puked or passed out.

The Tabata protocol for example, is a brief but brutal 4 minute HIIT workout often spoken of by trainers and trainees alike with both appreciation and dread. It's no walk in the park.

The truth is, some HIIT protocols which have been tested in the lab to produce big improvements in cardiovascular function and conditioning in a short period of time, may not be practical or safe, especially for beginners, obese or older adults.

In this new study out of McMaster University, a HIIT protocol that was more practical and attainable for the general population was tested to see how the results would compare to the more "brutal" very short, but extremely intense types of HIIT.

 

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Here's what the new HIIT protocol looked like:

Study duration: 2 weeks
Frequency: 3 sessions per week (mon, wed, fri)
Work intervals: 60 seconds @ constant load
Intensity Work intervals: "high intensity cycling at a workload that corresponded to the peak power achieved at the end of the ramp VO2peak test (355 +/- 10W)"
Recovery intervals: 75 seconds
Intensity Recovery Intervals: Low intensity cycling at 30W"
Rounds: 8-12 intervals
Progression: 8 intervals 1st two workouts, 10 intervals second two workouts, 12 intervals last 2 workouts.
Warm up: 3 min:
Duration of work intervals: 8-12 minutes
Total time spent: 21-29 minutes.

Results: In just 2 weeks, there were significant improvements in functional exercise performance and skeletal muscle adaptations (mitochondrial biogenesis). Subjects did not report any dizziness, nausea, light headedness that is often reported with all-out intervals.

They concluded that HIIT does not have to be all-out to produce significant fitness improvements and yet the total weekly time investment could remain under 1 hour.

On a personal note, I REALLY like this kind of interval training: 60 second work intervals repeated 8-12 times. Here's why:

Body composition was not measured in this study, but I believe that enough energy expenditure can be achieved with 20-30 minutes of this style of interval training to make significant body comp improvements in addition to all the cardiovascular conditioning improvements.

That's another problem with super-brief and super intense HIIT programs: The cardio and heart benefits are amazing, but you can only burn so many calories per minute, no matter how intensely you work. To call a 4-minute workout a "good fat burner" in the absolute sense is ridiculous.

Somewhere in between long duration slow/moderate steady state cardio and super short super-intense HIIT lies a sweet spot for fat-burning benefits… a place where intensity X duration yield an optimal total calorie expenditure at a reasonable time investment. Perhaps this 20-30 minute HIIT workout is it?

If you've read any of my other articles on cardio, you'll know that I'm not against steady state cardio, walking or even light recreational exercise and miscellaneous activity as part of a fat loss program. All activity counts towards your total daily energy expenditure, and in fact, the little things often add up during the day more than you would imagine (just look up N.E.A.T. and see what you find).

But for your formal "cardio training" sessions, if you're going to use traditional cardio modes (stationary cycle, etc.) and if your goal includes fat burning, and if your time is limited, then this type of HIIT is a great choice and you can now say it is research proven…

Not to mention… the excuse, "I don't have enough time" has been officially busted!

 

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Listen to Maintainers, Not to Losers: 5 secrets to keeping the weight off for good

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:16 AM PDT


I have very little interest these days in all the media-hyped stories of dramatic, rapid losses of body weight. "Big losers" don't impress me, for numerous reasons. For example, weight is not fat. "Weight" could be composed of mostly lean tissue, or it could be mostly water weight. In fact, I would go a step further and point out that rapid loss of bodyweight correlates very highly with a greater chance of relapse, weight re-gain and long term failure.

So what does impress me? What gets my attention?

I pay attention to what the "long term maintainers" have to say - those are the people who have maintained an ideal weight for over a year… preferably even 2-5 years or more.

The difference between losers and maintainers

As I was researching the subject of long term weight maintenance recently, I was surprised at the huge amount of research that's already been done in this area.

One paper that caught my interest was published by Judy Kruger and colleagues in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, titled,

"Dietary and physical activity behaviors among adults successful at weight loss maintenance."

This was not an experimental study, but a compilation of data from the "Styles Survey" which was representative of the U.S. population and asked respondants questions about strategies to aid with maintaining an ideal weight.

In this particular survey, only one-third (30.96%) of the respondents said they were successful at keeping their weight off. The researchers wanted to know the difference between the small group that was successful and the majority that were not.

Both groups reduced the amount of food they consumed, they ate smaller portions, more fruits and vegetables, fewer fatty foods and fewer sweetened beverages.

Not really any surprises there, but what we want to know most is not what losers and maintainers have in common, but what the maintainers did that the losers didn't.

Some major differences emerged between losers and maintainers:

 

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First, a significantly higher proportion of successful maintainers reported exercising 30 minutes or more daily, and they also reported adding other physical activity to their daily schedules (recreation, sports, physical work, etc). In addition, more of the successful maintainers included weight training in their exercise regimens than did the losers.

Reducing sedentary activities (TV watching, etc) was also a significant difference between those who successfully maintained and those who did not.

The next big difference that separated the successful maintainers from the unsuccessful was in their "self-monitoring behaviors" including:

  • tracking calories
  • tracking body weight
  • planning meals
  • tracking fat
  • measuring the amount of food on their plate
 

Unfortunately, these types of self-monitoring behaviors, especially weighing and measuring food and counting calories, are among the most avoided and even criticized weight control techniques. Some weight loss "experts" even claim that it's detrimental to count calories, weigh yourself or measure and weigh your food.

However, these self monitoring behaviors are being identified more and more frequently in the research as part of "the difference that makes the difference." I agree, and they have always played a major role in my own Burn The Fat program.

A final difference was that people who reported self-perceived "barriers" to their success were 48-76% less likely to be a successful maintainer.

For example, they said they had no time to exercise, they were too tired to exercise or it was too hard to maintain an exercise routine. I interpret this as: the unsuccessful losers were excuse makers!

THE TOP 5 STRATEGIES TO BE A SUCCESSFUL MAINTAINER

So let's recap and turn these research findings into some practical action steps you can apply today.

1. Increase your total daily activity level, including formal exercise as well as sports, physical work or recreational activity. Exercise improves weight loss, but more importantly, it is critical for weight maintenance.

2. Decrease sedentary recreational activities by cutting back on TV watching, computer games and web surfing. Take up physical recreation such as sports, boating, biking, walking, hiking, gardening, physical hobbies and playing with your kids, if you have them.

3. Include weight training as part of your formal exercise program, throughout the fat loss phase and even more seriously during maintenance.

4. Track and monitor everything! Count calories and nutrients, measure your portion sizes, weigh your food, plan your menus in writing and monitor your body weight and body fat percentage.

5. Avoid excuses and maintain positive beliefs and attitudes towards your environment and what you perceive as "barriers." For example, say, "I can always make time for what is most important to me" instead of, "I don't have time to exercise."

If you're currently on a fat loss journey, and you want to know how good your odds are for being a successful maintainer, it's pretty easy to predict using these 5 strategies. If you're not using all 5 of them yet, then when would be a good time to start today?

There are limitations to survey results such as these, including the fact that they are cross sectional, and therefore cannot prove causality. However, I believe these findings are important and significant.

Not only do they confirm previous similar studies and agree with the findings of other groups of successful maintainers (such as the National Weight Control Registry), I found that these results match precisely what I've seen among my most successful "Burn The Fat" clients.

THIS is the type of advice I'd suggest you listen to the most: Advice about how to lose body FAT, not body WEIGHT, and how to maintain an ideal bodyweight and body composition over the long haul, not how to lose weight as fast as possible.

 

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The Law Of Attraction And Weight Loss: Can You Think Yourself Thin?

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:15 AM PDT


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Metaphysics & Brain science merge and prove that positive thinking and goal setting literally create your body and your entire life experience
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On recently broadcast special edition of CNN's Larry King Live, Mr. King interviewed a panel of "mind experts" about how the thoughts you think literally turn into the events you experience, the material things you possess... AND even the health of your body.

For years, "positive thinking" and goal-setting were often criticized as "pollyanna" and "the law of attraction" was relegated into the category of "new age" fluff.

On the recent Larry King show, panel experts Bob Proctor, John Assaraf and others who were featured in the movie 'The Secret' explained that recent breakthroughs in neuroscience along with understanding mental laws, reveal why goal setting, the "law of attraction" and "positive thinking" all work, regardless of whether you look at them from a metaphysical or a scientific perspective.

Scientists have even identified specific parts of the brain, such as the reticular activating system (RAS), which works with the visual parts of our brain to call our conscious attention to things that are important to reaching our goals and to filter out those things that are unimportant.

The RAS is activated by "programming" goals into our sub-conscious minds. Our sub concscious mind is the "power center" and THIS is the mechanism that explains why goal setting and positive thinking are now being accepted as scientific methods for change.

We are discovering that our brain is cybernetic in nature, which means that it is literally like a computer, waiting for a program to be installed.

Here's the kicker - the subconcsious is completely neutral and impartial - it will carry out any instructions you give it.

Unfortunately, many of us are still running negative programs we picked up from others as children when our non-conscious minds were totally open and impressionable, or which we developed over the years as a result of repetition of our own negative thinking.

As it turns out, our own thoughts, repeated daily, are one of the primary ways that our "mental computer" is programmed on a sub-conscious level, which is the level of beliefs, habits and automatic behavior.

To change your results, you must overwrite old negative programming and install positive new programming into your subconscious.

This can be achived through such techniques as written goal setting, positive self-talk (affirmations), and mental imagery (visualization).

In the 1970's, the Soviets and East Germans were the first to formally use structured mental rehearsal, and at that time, they dominated in several olympic sports. This was reported in great detail in Charles Garfield's landmark book, "Peak Performance." Today, virtually all elite athletes use visualization extensively, as we now know that the brain cannot differentiate between real practice and practice that is vividly imagined.

If you are getting more of the same negative results in your life - such as the same health problems, or the same body fat continues to return even after you lose it, then you have probably been un-consciously running old negative programs and re-inforcing them with negative thought patterns.

 

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You can begin the positive mental reprogramming process by writing down your goals, changing your internal dialogue and taking a few minutes to relax, quiet your mind and perform a session of visualization or mental rehearsal every day (seeing yourself in your "mind's eye" not as you currently are, but as you ideally would like to be).

These methods, repeated often enough, will begin to program the non- conscious portion of the mind, which is the same part of the mind that controls your heart beat, digestion and new cell production, all on "automatic pilot."

In the last decade, neuroscientists discovered that you have the capacity to create an almost infinite number of new neural connections in your brain when you run new thought patterns.

The Old neural pathways are like grooves in a record, and if you are struggling with your health related behaviors or behaviors in any other area of your life, you have been playing the "old records" over and over again.

If you were to carve a new groove into that record, it would never play the same way again. the old pattern would weaken and the new one would take over. Brand new, positive thoughts, feelings and images begin to create new neural patterns.

Psychologists estimate that it takes 21 to 30 days to establish a new pattern in your brain. During this time, the focus on sticking with your practice and repeating your new thought patterns is critical.

Is this easy? For most people, no it's not. In fact, controlling your thinking and keeping it constructive may be one of the most difficult challenges you have ever faced. Fortunately, writing goals and reading affirmations can help get you started.

You can take some of the pressure off yourself by simply accepting that negative thoughts and self criticisms will pop up from time to time. Just observe them, without mulling over them or adding to them, and change the polarity of the thought by quickly repeating one of your positive affirmations or by changing your mental pictures.

So is there something to this whole "positive thinking" thing?

The philosophers and theologians have been saying yes for the entire span of recorded history: "As you think, so shall you be." Variations on this proverb can be found in every spiritual and philosophical tradition.

But... if you are the left-brained, "prove-it-to-me" type, you dont have to go on faith anymore. Scientists are beginning to prove more and more convincingly that thoughts are powerful things. Even Larry King seemed impressed with what his panel of "mind mentors" had to say.

So how soon are you going to begin your mental training right alongside your physical training? When are you going to learn how to harness this power locked up inside your mind?

Guess what? You're already using this force every day because you cannot turn it off. Whatever you are thinking and picturing in your mind repeatedly on a daily basis is already on it's way to you, so it's simply a matter of HOW you are using it, not IF you are using it.

What do you say to yourself every day? Do you say, "I am becoming leaner, healthier and more muscular every day?"... or do you say "I am a fat person - Ive tried everything, nothing ever works?"

The fact is - you can think yourself thin and healthy or you can think yourself obese and ill. Maybe not in the literal sense...but most certainly as the critical part in the chain of causation...

You see, there's a lot of talk these days in the personal improvement world about law of attraction, manifesting, intention, visualization, affirmations and of course, positive thinking.

Without understanding that there is an orderly, scientific basis underneath all of these things, many people will simply remain skeptics, while on the opposite extreme, others may get the idea that you can sit around meditating and visualizing, then expect a mystical "law of attraction" to kick in and then "poof!" a great body materializes out of thin air... along with the perfect relationship, a nice bank account and fantastic career success.

What really happens is "Positive thinking" and related methods quite literally re-program your brain, which in turn creates new behaviors that move you physically toward whatever you have been thinking about and focusing on.

So success is achieved through positive thinking + positive doing.... attraction + action. There are two sides to the coin. Without paying attention to both, you may continue to struggle... often against nothing but yourself.

If you want to transform your body or any other aspect of your life, then you have to change on the inside (the mind) first and then everything else will follow.

This process of *scientific* goal setting and mental reconditioning through emotionally charged mental imagery (visualization) and internal mental dialogue (affirmations) is the very first thing I have always taught my clients and the first thing I wrote about in my book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle You can learn all of these techniques in detail in chapter 1. Learn more about the psychology of body transormation inside the Burn The Fat ebook:

 

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The Ideal Body Measurements

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:15 AM PDT


I'm often asked what my body measurements are and/or what are the ideal measurements for a bodybuilder or a classical muscular male physique. Believe it or not, there are actually many formulas for determining the "ideal body proportions." On the other hand, you might want to take them with a grain of salt…


QUESTION: Tom, there is one thing that I really would like to know – your measurements. You have a physique that (in my opinion) is ideal and your photos are a real inspiration to me. I am able to move up in weight gradually with my workouts, so I know I am building muscle, but I never have a measurement to shoot for – e.g. biceps, chest, waist, hips, etc. Also, it seems like certain ratios (for example, chest to waist ratio, and maybe there are others?), would be helpful also. My thinking is that if my waist and hips are "growing" faster than my chest, then that might be an indicator that I am gaining fat where it likes to show up first (hips and waist). The measurements I have of myself are: chest, waist, hips, biceps, forearms, thighs, calves. Thank you.

ANSWER: Personally, I no longer take my measurements, although I did regularly when I was a teenager. I do, however think it's a great way to chart progress. Circumference measurements give you feedback about how well your training (and nutrition) regimen are working and let's you catch yourself if certain body parts are lagging behind others, or in the case of waist and hips, if you're gaining body fat.

The waist measurement is an important one, because when your waist circumference is going down, you know your overall body fat is going down. Also, when your waist shrinks even a little bit, it tends to completely change the way you look – even if you don't gain any muscle, a narrow waist creates an illusion of broader shoulders. Abdominal fat and a large waist measurement is also a health risk.

There have been all kinds of different formulas proposed over the years for the "ideal proportions", but I never aimed for a certain measurement myself. Bodybuilding is a very visual sport. The judges don't come up on stage and measure your arms in a bodybuilding contest – you are judged on appearance.

I've always gone after a certain "look" as opposed to a certain measurement. I cut out photos of bodybuilders whose physiques I admire and want to emulate and rather than having a measurement in mind, I always have a picture of my ideal in mind.

On top of a solid base of muscle size, I simply work towards symmetry, so all muscles are developed equally, with no single muscle groups that are out of proportion compared to others - for example, a huge chest and rib cage with small arms looks silly - huge arms and small legs looks un-symmetrical as well.

I'm not all that hung up on weighing a certain amount either, although I do weigh myself regularly. The main reason I monitor my weight closely is because in the off season, I'm always interested in gaining more lean body mass and prior to competition I have to make a weight class (middleweight has a 176 1/4 lbs cutoff. )

I'm 5' 8" tall and I weigh 174-176 for competitions. That is very much a "false" weight, however, because I easily lose 6-10 pounds of water weight in the three days before a contest. By the Monday after a Saturday contest, my weight is usually back up to 180-184 or so. Off season, I weigh about 195-200 lbs. My off season body fat is usually around 9-10% and before contests it's around 4%.

Years ago I do remember measuring my arms and they were 17 1/2" cold and 18" pumped. That was a long time ago. I would imagine they're bit larger now, but who knows. My waist is 31-32" most of the year, even smaller before contests (last notch on the lifting belt!)

These are somewhat typical off season / pre contest height, weight and body fat measurements for a natural bodybuilder. In the professional and open federations (not drug tested), those weights and measurements might be considered "small." However, a 17-18 inch arm on a lean and proportionate body can look very impressive.

Steve Reeves for example, was known as one of the most symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing bodybuilders of all time, even though he was not "huge" by today's standards.

Reeves wrote about ideal measurements frequently and was always striving for his idea of perfection in this regard (and came close to achieving his own personal ideal). One of his criteria for ideal proportions included having his arms, calves and neck measure the same.

 

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Steve Reeves Measurements:
Arms: 18.5 inches
Calves: 18.5 inches
Neck: 18.5 inches
Thighs: 27 inches
Chest: 54 inches
Waist: 30 inches

In his "classic physique" book, Reeves said his formula for "ideal proportions" was as follows:

Muscle to bone ratios:
Arm size= 252% of wrist size
Calf size= 192% of ankle size
Neck Size= 79% of head size
Chest Size= 148% of pelvis size
Waist size= 86% of pelvis size
Thigh size= 175% of knee size

Steve Reeves' height and weight chart for a bodybuilder (natural)
5'5" 160lbs
5'6" 165lbs
5'7" 170lbs
5'8" 175lbs
5'9" 180lbs
5'10" 185lbs
5'11" 190lbs
6'0" 200lbs
6'1" 210lbs
6'2" 220lbs
6'3" 230lbs
6'4" 240lbs
6'5" 250lbs

In the book Brawn, Stuart McRobert published the old "John McCallum formula for "challenging yet realistic" measurements for "hard gainers. His formula is based on wrist measurement and was also published in the book Super Squats:

John McCallum's realistic measurement ideals for hard gainers
1. 6.5 times your wrist gives chest girth
2. 85% of the chest girth produces the hips
3. Take 70% of the chest girth for the waist
4. 53% of the chest gives the thigh girth
5. The neck size is 37% of the chest
6. 36% of the chest produces the upper arm girth
7. The calves come out a little less at 34%
8. The forearms get 29% of the chest measurement

Incidentally, McRobert's book Brawn has an entire chapter called "expectations" which discusses the truth about measurement claims.

I find all these measurement ideals very interesting, but personally I take them with a grain of salt.

Be careful with some of the formulas for "ideal measurements", because if they were based on steroid using and or pro bodybuilders, you may get discouraged by trying to pursue an impossible goal for a natural bodybuilder or the measurements of someone with a totally different bone structure than you have.

Measurements - especially arm measurements - are also frequently exaggerated. Twenty inch arms, for example, are rare and when you actually see them in person, you realize just how massive they really are. But somehow beginners and natural athletes get the idea in their head that bodybuilding success means 250 pounds and a 20 inch arm.

The truth is, a 17 to 18 inch arm on a ripped 175-180 pound physique with excellent balance, symmetry and proportion can look much larger than it really is – it's an optical illusion of sorts.

Some of these guidelines for "ideal proportions" are the "Grecian" or "classical" ideals while others are ideals for bodybuilders. In either case, keep in mind they are subjective – they're just someone else's opinion of what is an ideal measurement. The only opinion that matters in the end is your own.

 

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How Liquid Calories May Be Making You Fat.

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:11 AM PDT

How Liquid Calories May Be Making You Fat... Even Your Favorite Protein Drinks!

At least 7 scientific studies have provided strong evidence that energy containing beverages (i.e., "liquid calories") do not properly activate the satiety mechanisms in the body and brain and do not satisfy the appetite as well as food in solid form. 

Epidemiological research also supports a positive association between calorie-containing beverage consumption and increased body weight or body mass index. New research now suggests that soda may not be the only culprit…

The primary source of liquid calories in the United States Diet is carbohydrate, namely soda. Now running a close second are specialty and dessert coffees. Did you know that a 16 ounce Frappucino can contain 500 calories or even more! That's one-third of a typical female's daily calorie intake while on a fat loss program.
A recent study at Purdue University published in the International Journal of Obesity set out to learn even more about this bodyfat - liquid calories relationship.
 

Researchers compared solid and beverage forms of foods composed primarily of carbohydrate, fat or protein in order to document the independent effect of food form in foods with different dominant macronutrient sources.

Based on previous research, some experts have recommended targeting specific beverages as being "worse" than others. High fructose corn syrup and soda has been singled out the most and you've probably seen that yourself in the news.

There's no question that soda has been on top of the "hit list" for some time now, by virtue of the amounts and frequency of consumption alone.

However, this recent study says that from a pure energy balance perspective, we should be cautious about ALL liquid calories, not just soda and not just carbohydrates!

Fruit juice for example, appears to be an obvious improvement over soda, so many people have swapped out their soda for fruit juice. However, when fruit juice is compared to an equal amount of calories from whole fruit, the whole fruit satisfies appetite better (largely due to the bulk and fiber content), and so you tend to eat fewer calories for the day.

[On an interesting side note, soup does not seem to apply; soup has higher satiety value than calorie containing beverages, possibly for mere cognitive reasons.]
If you were to meticulously track your calories from beverages and you made sure that your calories remained the same for the day, whether liquid or solid, there would probably be little or no difference in your body composition.
But that's not what usually happens in free-living humans. Most people do not accurately track or report their caloric intake. Our mistake is that we tend to drink calories IN ADDITION TO our usual food intake, not instead of it.

 

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Men are especially guilty of this when they drink alcohol - Men tend to drink AND eat, while women tend to drink INSTEAD OF eating.

This new research found that with all three macronutrients - protein, carbs or fat - daily calorie intake was significantly greater when the beverage form was consumed as compared to the solid.

Yes, it's true! Even protein drinks did not satisfy the appetite the way that protein foods did!

While you would think that protein drinks are purely a good thing, because protein foods have been proven to reduce appetite and increase satiety, if you turn a solid protein food into a protein drink, it loses it's appetite suppressive properties in the same way that happens when you turn fruit into fruit juice.

[NOTE: After weight training workouts, liquid nutrition may have benefits that outweigh any downside, especially on muscle-gaining programs]
 

Why do liquid calories fail to elicit the same response as whole foods? reasons include:

 
  • high calorie density
  • lower satiety value
  • more calories ingested in short period of time
  • lower demand for oral processing
  • shorter gastrointestinal transit times
  • energy in beverages has greater bioaccessibility and bioavailability
  • mechanisms may include cognitive, orosensory, digestive, metabolic, endocrine and neural influences (human appetite is a complex thing!!!)
  • last but not least, nowhere in our history have our ancestors had access to large amounts of liquid calories. Alcohol may have been around as far back as several thousand years BC, but even that is a blip on the evolutionary calendar of humanity.

As a result, our genetic code has never developed the physiological mechanisms to properly register the caloric content in liquids the way it does when you eat, chew and swallow whole foods.

Bottom line: This study suggests that we shouldn't just target one type of liquid calories such as soda. If you're trying to beat body fat, it's wise to limit all types of liquid calories and eat whole foods as much as possible.

Start by ditching the soda. Then ditch the high calorie dessert coffees. Then cut back on the alcohol. From there, be cautious even about milk, juice and protein drinks.

Drink water or tea instead, or limited amounts of black coffee - without all the high calorie extras.

If you do consume any beverages that contain calories, such as protein shakes, be sure to account for those calories meticulously and be sure you don't drink them in addition to your usual food intake, but in place of an equal amount of food calories.

Remember, those protein shakes you might be drinking are called "meal replacements" not "free calories!"

For many years I have suggested focusing primarily on whole foods rather than liquids, even protein shakes. Unlike so many other fat reduction programs, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle does not require any kind of liquid meal replacement or protein drinks and our company does not exist to sell supplements; we are here to educate you and millions of others about the realities of body fat loss.

 

We now have even more scientific data that confirms what Burn The Fat has been teaching all along.

 

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How I Got "Ripped" Abs For The Very First Time

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 03:10 AM PDT

I'll never forget the very first time I got ripped, how I did it and how it felt. I've never told this entire story before or widely published my early photos either. Winning first place and seeing my abs the first time was sweet redemption. But before that, it was a story of desperation…

I started lifting weights for bodybuilding when I was 14 years old, but I never had ripped abs until I was 20. I endured six years of frustration and embarrassment. Being a teenager is hard enough, but imagine how I felt being a self-proclaimed bodybuilder, with no abs or muscle definition to show for it. Imagine what it was like in swimming class or when we played basketball in gym class and I prayed to be called out for "shirts" and not '"skins" because I didn't want any one seeing my "man-boobs" and ab flab jiggling all over the court.

Oh, I had muscle. I started gaining muscle from the moment I picked up a barbell. I got strong too. I was benching 315 at age 18. But even after four years of successful strength training, I still hadn't figured out this getting ripped thing. Muscle isn't very attractive if it's covered up with a layer of fat. That's where the phrase "bulky" really comes from – fat on top of muscle. It can look worse than just fat.

I read every book. I read every magazine. I tried every exercise. I took every supplement in vogue back in the 80's (remember bee pollen, octacosanol, lipotropics and dessicated liver?) I tried not eating for entire days at a time. I went on a rope skipping kick. I did hundreds of crunches and ab exercises. I rode the Lifecycle. I wore rubber waist belts.

The results were mediocre at best. When I made progress, I couldn't maintain it. One step forward, one step back. Even when I got a little leaner, it wasn't all the way. Still no ripped abs. When I played football and they beat the crap out of us at training camp, I lost weight, but STILL didn't get all the way down to those elusive six pack abs. In fact, it was almost like I got "skinny fat." My arms and legs lost some muscle but the small roll of ab fat was still there.

 

Why was it so hard? What was I doing wrong? It was driving me crazy!

My condition got worse in college because I mixed with a party crowd. With boozing came eating, and the "bulk" accumulated even more. At that point, the partying and social life were more important to me than my body. I was still lifting weights, but wasn't living a fitness lifestyle.

Mid way through college I changed my major from business management to exercise science, having made up my mind to pursue a career in fitness. That's when I started to feel something wasn't right. The best word for it is "incongruence." That's when what you say you want to be and what you really are don't match. Being a fitness professional means you have to walk the talk and be a role model to others. Anything else is hypocrisy. I knew I had to shape up or forget fitness as a career.

But after four years, I STILL didn't know how to get ripped! Nothing I learned in exercise physiology class helped. All the theory was interesting, but when theory hit the real world, things didn't always work out like they did on paper. My professors didn't know either. Heck, most of them weren't even in shape! Two of them were overweight, including my nutrition professor.

However, out of my college experience did come the seeds of the solution and my first breakthrough.

In one of my physical education classes, we were required to do some running and we were instructed to keep track of our performance and resting heart rates. Somehow, even though I was a strength athlete, I got hooked on running. After the initial discomfort of hauling around a not so cardio-fit 205 pound body, I started to get a lot of satisfaction out of watching my resting heart rate drop from the 70's into the 50's and seeing my running times get better and better. And then it happened: I started getting leaner than I ever had before.

The results motivated me to no end, and I kept after it even more. My runs would be 5 or 6 days a week and I'd go for between 30 minutes to an hour. Sometimes I had a circular route of about 6 miles and I would run it for time, almost always pushing for a personal record. When I finished, I was spent, drenched in sweat and sometimes just crashing when I got home. And I kept getting even leaner.

That's when I started to figure it out. If you're expecting me to say that running is the secret, no, that's NOT it per se. I was thinking bigger picture. In fact, I noticed that my legs had lost some muscle size, so I knew that over-doing the runs would be counter productive, ultimately, and I don't run that much anymore these days. But that's how I did it the first time and I had never experienced fat loss like that before. The fat was falling off and I had barely changed my diet.

My "aha moment" was when I realized the pivotal piece in the puzzle was calories. It wasn't the type of exercise, it wasn't the specific foods and it wasn't supplements. Today I realize that it's the calorie deficit that matters the most, not whether you eat less or burn more per se, but in my case creating a large deficit by burning the calories was the absolute key for me.

These runs were burning an enormous number of calories. Everything I had done before wasn't burning enough to make a noticeable difference in a short period of time. 10-15 minutes of rope skipping wasn't enough. 45 minutes of slow-go bike riding wasn't burning enough. Hundreds of crunches weren't enough. I put 1+1+1 together and realized it was intensity X duration X frequency = highest the total calorie burn for the week. How much simpler could it be? It wasn't magic. It was MATH!

It was consistency too. This was the first time in SIX YEARS I stuck with it. Body fat comes off by the grams every day – literally. Kilos and pounds of body weight may come off quickly, but they come back just as fast. Body fat comes off slowly and if you have no patience or you jump to one program to the next without following through with the one you started, you're doomed. In six years, I had "tried everything"… except consistency and patience.

 

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Then the stakes went up. I had finally gotten lean, but there was another level beyond lean… RIPPED! My buddies at the gym noticed me getting leaner and then they popped the question: Why don't you compete? My training partner Steve had already competed 3 years earlier and won the Teenage Mr. America competition. Since then, I had been all talk and no walk. "Yeah, I'm going to compete one of these days too… I'm going to be the next Mr. America." Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. The only title I had won was "Mr. Procastinator." Then finally, Steve and my other friends challenged me almost in an ultimatum type of way. Well, the truth is, I set myself up for it with my big mouth and they called me out, so I would have been the laughing stock of our gym if I didn't follow through.

The first time you do a real cut - all the way down to contest-ready - is the hardest. Not as much physically as psychologically, simply because you've never done it before. Doing something you've done before is no big deal. Doing something you've never done before causes uncertainty and fear, sometimes even terror! I was plagued with self-doubt the entire time, never sure if I was ever going to get there. It seemed like it was taking forever. But failure was not an option. Not only did I have an entire gym full of friends rooting me on, I had great training partner who was natural Mr. Teenage America! The pressure was on. I had to do it. There was no way out. No excuses.

Some other day, I'll tell you all the details of the emotional roller coaster ride that was my first contest diet, but let it suffice to say, at that point, I still didn't know what I was doing. It was only later that I went into "human guinea pig" mode with nutritional experiments and finally pinned down the eating side of the equation to a science (and gained 20 lbs of stage-weight muscle as a result).

In the late 1980's, the standard bodybuilding diet was high carb, low fat. For that first competition, I was on 60% carbs – including pancakes, boxed cereal, whole grain bread, and pasta - so I guess you can toss out the idea that it's impossible to get ripped on high carbs – although high carb is NOT the contest diet I use today. But it didn't matter, because I had already learned the critical piece in the fat loss puzzle – the calorie balance equation. Understanding that one aspect of physiology was enough to get me ripped. It only got better later.

In the end, I took 2nd place at my very first competition, the Natural Lehigh Valley, and one month later, I won first place at the Natural New Jersey. Seven months later, the overall Natural Pennsylvania.

Looking back, was all the effort worth it? Well, my good friend Adam Waters, who is an accountability coach, teaches his students about using "redemption" as a motivator. Remember the Charles Atlas ad where the skinny kid got sand kicked in his face and then came back big and buffed and beat up the bully? That's redemption. Or the dateless high school nerd who comes back to the 10 year class reunion driving a Mercedes with the prom queen on his arm? That's redemption.

After all the doubt, heartache and frustration I went through for six years, I not only had my trophies, my abs were on the front page of the sports section in our small Pennsylvania town newspaper. The following year, I was on the poster for a bodybuilding competition… as the previous year's champion. THAT'S REDEMPTION. You tell me if it was worth it.

There are 7 lessons from my story that I want to share with you because even if you have a different personal history than I do, these 7 lessons are the keys to achieving any previously elusive fitness goal for the first time and I think they apply to everyone.

1. Set the big goal and go for it. If your goal doesn't excite you and scare you at the same time, your goal is too small. If you don't feel fear or uncertainty, you're inside your comfort zone. Puny goals aren't motivating. Sometimes it takes a competition or a big challenge of some kind to get your blood boiling.

2. Align your values with your goals. I understood my values and made a decision to be congruent with who I really was and who I wanted to be. When you know your values, get your priorities straight and align your goals with your values, then doing what it takes is easy.

3. Do the math. Stop looking for magic. A lean body does not come from any particular type of exercise or foods per se, it's the calories burned vs calories consumed that determines fat loss or fat gain. You might do better by decreasing the calories consumed, whereas I depended more on increasing the calories burned, but either way, it's still a math equation. Deny it at your own risk.

4. Get social support. Support and encouragement from your friends can help get you through anything. Real time accountability to a training partner or trainer can make all the difference.

5. Be consistent. Nothing will ever work if you don't work at it every day. Sporadic efforts don't just produce sporadic results, sometimes they produce zero results.

6. Persist through difficulty and self doubt. If you think it's going to be smooth sailing all the way with no ups and downs, you're fooling yourself.. For every sunny day, there's going to be a storm. If you can't weather the storms, you'll never reach new shores.

7. Redeem yourself. Non-achievers sit on the couch and wallow in past failures. Winners use past failures as motivational rocket fuel. It always feels good to achieve a goal, but nothing feels as good as achieving a goal with redemption.

 

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