- Dede -- I Made $13,000 Before Noon ...
- dedebux - Save the Date: Next iDate Startup - Oct 24 - NEW YORK
- Dede - Your Prayers Have Been Answered - $127,000 So Far This Month ...
- Millie Mackintosh! Trainers! Arkham City!
- New Jobs Openings.
- F.ree EBOOK ($67 Value)
- Your Fitness Future Foretold: 20 Predictions for the New Year
- Why Losing Weight Is Like Groundhog Day
- The Truth About Counting Calories And Weight Loss
- The Top 10 Bonehead Workout Mistakes
- Tom Venuto's Holiday Fitness Challenge to You
- Stop Cravings and Stop Binge Eating: Advice from a Pizza Man
- The Skinny Guy's Guide To Gaining Weight
- Nutrition Or Training - Which Is More Important?
- No Pain No Gain: Fitness Myth or Ultimate Fitness Truth?
- Mental Training Tactics For Health And Fitness Success
- It's Not About the Body Fat
- A “Mind Training” Technique That Makes You Stronger
- The Mass Confusion That Dominates In Fat Loss & Fitness Today
- The Low Body Fat Secret Of Bodybuilders And Fitness Models
- The Little Thing in Your Head That's Keeping You Fat
- Instead of New Year's Resolutions, Set S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals
- Facebook and Social Media - The Next Marketing Opportunity
- How to Stay on Your Diet and Stay in Shape Over the Holidays Without Turning into a Miserable Scrooge
- How To Lose 20 Pounds Really, Really Fast
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 06:03 PM PDT
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WHEN YOU GET RICH, YOU CAN AFFORD
They weren't sick.
They don't work the "Graveyard Shift."
Or anything else that might have made some
"It's just what I do".
You gotta be kidding!
And you wanna make $50,000 a month?
Only when you get rich can you do that.
You See ...
I can take off this entire year if I want ...
But first I had to bust my ass in this industry to
So ask yourself ...
How many days do I have left to make myself a success
Seriously think about that.
If the question depresses you, then you need to get
Sometimes the answers aren't pretty, but I employ
If a certain action will cost me a Million Dollars,
So far I made $13,000 today and I did it before noon.
Two $6,500 Enrollments So Far Today ... The Day Is Still Young!
I haven't even eaten lunch yet! :-)
I didn't chase one enrollment.
They all HUNTED ME DOWN!
I guess I can afford to sleep the day away if I want.
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Posted: 21 Oct 2011 04:15 PM PDT
dedebux - FYI : The next iDate Startup is next Monday in NEW YORK CITY
iDATE STARTUP New York
Come join the dating industry in New York in a relaxed environment.
Also.... reminder....PLEASE NOMINATE for the iDateAwards (
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Posted: 21 Oct 2011 03:05 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.
I keep getting this question ...
"How Fast? How Fast? How Fast Can I Make MONEY?
"Cash, How can I make Six Figures a month like you?"
"Cash, How can I make $162,000 in ONE MONTH like
you did in September?"
I've already told you just how fast you could pull in some dough ...
Just look at Eric from Baltimore ...
$3,500 In His First 6 Days!
$6,500 His 2nd Week!
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Like I said...
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When you wanna break into the HOME BASED BUSINESS Industry,
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Dede, when you join the team, I will talk to your prospects, I will
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ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS COUNT THE MONEY !!!
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With an affiliate system, you have instant credibility.
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The "Head Honcho" whose made a million or two already!
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The business model is already in place, just like McDonalds.
Nothing to build and it's already been proven to work!
Reason # 4
With affiliate programs, you don't have to "feel around in the dark"
to try and figure out what to do next, once you're in.
A marketing plan is already laid out.
I design your marketing campaign for you ...
Just plug in!
YES, I WILL DO YOUR MARKETING FOR YOU Dede ...
And you make money anonymously through your ID #.
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Everything you use to refer, has your ID # on it.
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You've got another overnight courier envelope headed your way with
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Reason # 5
Everybody likes this one ...
You don't have to answer questions or train people!
The top guy does all that for you. "Me and my staff"
You just collect cash!
No voice mails to answer.
No e-mails to reply to.
No websites to build.
No customer service to handle.
Just, refer and get paid.
Refer and get paid.
Refer and get paid.
And just in case you missed it...
Refer and get paid!
To answer your questions again, "How Fast?"
Answer with this:
To build or not to build, that is the question.
You can either try and build a product or service to sell
through an affiliate system, or you can BUY INTO ONE THAT
IS ALREADY RUNNING SUCCESSFULLY.
I've got one built already -- http://www.VeryFastCash.net/site
Which one leads to money faster?
Obviously just plugging into a running system.
Why do you think entrepreneurs don't try to build better
burger joints to compete with McDonald's, Wendy's
or Burger King ...
THEY CAN JUST BUY ONE and share in the profits!
And if you were wondering how I've already raked in $127,000
so far this month ...
Pick Up The Phone And Call Me ...
The opportunity you have been praying for is only
a phone call away ...
I'm looking forward to your call ...
Don't hesitate to call on Friday night or over the weekend.
I'll be around doing new enrollments, and helping my team
members ... So call me anytime!
My direct phone number is 1-888-217-4961
The only time I will not be around is Sunday morning, and
early Sunday afternoon. I promised my Nephew that I would
take him out on the Jet Ski after Church ...
I'm looking forward to working with you and
helping you achieve your DREAMS and Goals ...
Got Questions? Speak To Cash Live ...
Or Email Me -- email@example.com
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 ==
Your Referral ID Number is JB813
== The Team Cash Membership Levels & Bonuses ==
Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions ...
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Posted: 21 Oct 2011 10:12 AM PDT
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 07:29 AM PDT
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 07:04 AM PDT
Grab your ebook here:
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Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:54 AM PDT
Happy New Year! In this article, I'm going to predict your future and forecast exactly what kind of results you're going to get in the next 12 months. Sylvia Browne, step aside... I'm pretty good at this.
Several years ago, a public relations firm in New York City asked me to write an article for one of their publications about fitness trends and predictions for the coming year.
It turned out that my "crystal ball" was pretty darn accurate. I nailed most of the predictions I made about aerobics classes, yoga, core training, "holistic" approaches, online personal training technology, the baby boomer market, increasing obesity and many other subjects.
I do confess, it wasn't that difficult, because instead of just guessing, I actually did some research on industry statistics and I also had some "inside insights" because I'd been a health club manager for so many years and was privy to fitness business trends.
This year, instead of making predictions for the whole fitness industry, what if I could take out my crystal ball again and predict with 99% precision exactly what kind of results you will achieve with your body by the end of the year?
Well, no problem, I can do that too!
I would claim that I have some kind of "gift" for this, but to be honest, you and I don't need to be psychic to make predictions like these.
There are two things you can always count on: (1) Nature's laws of cause and effect, and (2) human nature.
On that basis, here are my 20 fitness predictions for the new year:
I PREDICT that if you can reach into your pocket on any day this year and pull out a card or piece of paper with all your body and fitness goals written on it in vivid detail, the odds are 95 to 1 in favor of you achieving every one of those goals before the year is out.
I PREDICT that if you focus your thoughts on your goals and how you are going to achieve them, all day long, you will reach your goals so fast this year, it will make your head spin.
I PREDICT that if you focus your thoughts on health woes and body fat problems and if you think about what you don't want, all day long, your problems will get worse than ever this year.
I PREDICT that if you made a new year's resolution, but you didn't turn it into a specific, written goal with a deadline and a strong reason why you must achieve it, you will freely abandon it the moment the going gets tough.
I PREDICT that if you can tell me all the reasons why achieving your health and fitness goals are important to you, you will be motivated from within to stick with it when the going gets tough.
I PREDICT that at times, the going is going to get tough.
I PREDICT that if you can tell me today what is your life purpose and what is your lifelong vision for your body and your health, you will still be as motivated and driven at the end of the year as you were at the beginning.
I PREDICT that if you don't have long term goals and a "big picture" vision for your life that you will lose your New Year's enthusiasm and motivation in a matter of months or even weeks.
I PREDICT that the way you see yourself in your mind's eye today will be an exact reflection of what you see in the mirror at the end of the year.
I PREDICT that if you have a setback that seems to get in the way of you reaching your health and fitness goals and you tell yourself "this just is temporary; this too shall pass," then it will pass and it won't set you back.
I PREDICT that if you believe the way your body looks today is out of your control and you feel helpless or powerless to change, you won't even make much of an effort this year.
I PREDICT that if you accept complete responsibility for the way your body looks today and you believe that you have the power to change, that you will take action and keep taking action, even through the tough times.
I PREDICT that if you're unhappy with your physical condition and you say, "it's not my fault" or you blame it on genetics, hormones or age, then your body will look pretty much the same at the end of this year as it did on New Year's day.
I PREDICT that the more you have patience, a long term perspective and the ability to postpone immediate gratification, the more likely you are to be a success one year from now.
I PREDICT that the more you seek "miracle pills" or "quick fixes," the more likely you are to be a failure one year from now.
I PREDICT that you will be tempted by many quick fixes this year.
I PREDICT that if you hang out with losers and negative people this year, you will become just like them.
I PREDICT that if you hang out with winners and positive people this year, you will become just like them.
I PREDICT that you will run into more negative people and losers this year than positive people and winners.
I PREDICT that if you recruit just one friend or support partner that stands behind you and the lifestyle changes you want to make this year, you will double your chances for success. If you surround yourself with numerous support partners, you will become virtually unstoppable.
So how does your future look for the year ahead?
Based on my "predictions," if it doesn't look as bright as you'd like it to be, then don't worry, because a prediction is not predestination.
You can't do anything to change the past, but by changing your thoughts, attitudes and actions in the present moment, the future is yours to create.
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:53 AM PDT
For most winters in New Jersey, it doesn't matter whether Punxsatawney Phil sees his shadow or not… After being dumped on with snow and braving bitter cold temperatures, and the ever-so-despised ice storms, with sidewalks of slush and streets as slick as skating rinks, it usually seems like winter will never end! And they call this place the Garden State? Anyway, I remember reading a news story about the Famous Pennsylvania groundhog, and that got me thinking… For most people, weight loss is a lot like groundhog day…
Why Weight Loss Is a Lot Like Groundhog Day
Before I became a full time author/writer and online publisher, I used to work in health clubs. For 14 years, I was a trainer and gym manager, and every January, there was a huge influx of new members.
Unfortunately, most of them were GONE by February! I swear this is not "urban legend," it's absolutely true – I used to print out the attendance records to prove it!
The attendance spike in January and the subsequent dip in February were unbelievable. So much for new year's resolutions.
Did you ever think about what the word "resolution" implies? If you look at the roots of the word, it comes from "resolute" which means a firm determination.
But here's something that most people – outside of the hypnosis or NLP fields – rarely consider: words carry certain associations and ambiguities, not necessarily related to their latin roots.
What I find ironic is that if you sound it out, "resolve" sounds like "RE-solve" as in: to solve the SAME problem again and again, and again and again.
Did you ever see that movie (1993), Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, where he wakes up every morning only to re-live the same day over and over again?
Well, for most people, this time of year is like "Groundhog Day for weight loss" – re-living that same 20 pound weight loss from past years, over and over and over again!
What could be more frustrating?
This year, isn't it finally time to stop that madness?
You can make it stick this year – all year – and keep your progress steamrolling forward for life… an unstoppable YOU. It simply takes a different approach…
Forget the old approach:
This is the new, superior approach:
People know that their resolutions won't stick, but rather than learning the art of setting real goals, they make resolutions again every year anyway.
They pursue the latest, trendiest, newest diet or workout fad instead of working on the admittedly boring, but effective fundamentals and proven principles.
They're focused only on quick results without a long term mindset of lifestyle change.
And… they're so caught up in the scale, that all they care about is how much weight they lose, not their all-important body composition (the muscle to fat ratio).
Thus, with the old approach:
If you want to make a real change and make the change stick, it's time to change your approach.
A lot of people are talking lately about my "49- day body transformation" promise. Some people said, "49-days? Oh no! Has Tom started going the quick fix route like all the others?
Nothing could be further from the truth.
My fat-burning program, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle IS THE NEW APPROACH, not the old one, and there's nothing "quick fixy" about it.
With the results of one of our body transformation challenge contest just published, we have simply proven that you can use this approach to begin seeing extraordinary results in as little as 49 days (And we have the success stories and photos to prove it).
After 49 days, YOU DON'T STOP. That was just a short-term goal! You keep going – and it just gets better and better. You can keep using the program until you reach your long term goal, and you can keep using it to maintain your ideal weight for life.
Quick fix diets can't promise you that.
Here's the Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle difference:
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:52 AM PDT
Do calories matter or do you simply need to eat certain foods and that will guarantee you'll lose weight? Should you count calories or can you just count "portions?" Is it necessary to keep a food diary? Is it unrealistic to count calories for the rest of your life or is that just part of the price you pay for a better body? You're about to learn the answers to these questions and discover a simple solution for keeping track of your food intake without having to crunch numbers every day or become a fanatic about it.
In many popular diet books, "Calories don't count" is a frequently repeated theme. Other popular programs, such as Bill Phillip's "Body For Life," stress the importance of energy intake versus energy output, but recommend that you count "portions" rather than calories…
"There aren't many people who can keep track of their calorie intake for an extended period of time. As an alternative, I recommend counting 'portions.' A portion of food is roughly equal to the size of your clenched fist or the palm of your hand. Each portion of protein or carbohydrate typically contains between 100 and 150 calories. For example, one chicken breast is approximately one portion of protein, and one medium-sized baked potato is approximately one portion of carbohydrate."
Phillips makes a good point that trying to count every single calorie - in the literal sense - can drive you crazy and is probably not realistic as a lifestyle for the long term. It's one thing to count portions instead of calories – that is at least acknowledging the importance of portion control. However, it's another altogether to deny that calories matter.
Calories do count! Any diet program that tells you, "calories don't count" or you can "eat all you want and still lose weight" is a diet you should avoid because you are being lied to. The truth is, that line is a bunch of baloney designed to make a diet sound easier to follow.
Anything that sounds like work – such as counting calories, eating less or exercising, tends to scare away potential customers! The law of calorie balance is an unbreakable law of physics: Energy in versus energy out dictates whether you will gain, lose or maintain your weight. Period.
I believe that it's very important to develop an understanding of and a respect for portion control and the law of calorie balance. I also believe it's an important part of nutrition education to learn how many calories are in the foods you eat on a regular basis – including (and perhaps, especially) how many calories are in the foods you eat when you dine at restaurants.
The law of calorie balance says:
To maintain your weight, you must consume the same number of calories you burn. To gain weight, you must consume more calories than you burn. To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than you burn.
If you only count portions or if you haven't the slightest idea how many calories you're eating, it's a lot more likely that you'll eat more than you realize. (Or you might take in fewer calories than you should, which triggers your body's "starvation mode" and causes your metabolism to shut down).
So how do you balance practicality and realistic expectations with a nutrition program that gets results? Here's a solution that's a happy medium between strict calorie counting and just guessing:
Create a menu using an EXCEL spreadsheet or your favorite nutrition software. Crunch all the numbers including calories, protein, carbs and fats. Once you have your daily menu, print it, stick it on your refrigerator (and/or in your daily planner) and you now have an eating "goal" for the day, including a caloric target.
Rather than writing down every calorie one by one from every morsel of food you eat for the rest of your life, create a menu plan you can use as a daily goal and guideline. If you're really ambitious, keeping a nutrition journal at least one time in your life for at least 4-12 weeks is a great idea and an incredible learning experience, but all you really need to get started on the road to a better body is one good menu on paper. If you get bored eating the same thing every day, you can create multiple menus, or just exchange foods using your primary menu as a template.
Using this meal planning method, you really only need to "count calories" once when you create your menus, not every day, ad infinitum. After you've got a knack for calories from this initial discipline of menu planning, then you can estimate portions in the future and get a pretty good (and more educated) ballpark figure.
So what's the bottom line? Is it really necessary to count every calorie to lose weight? No. But it IS necessary to eat fewer calories then you burn. Whether you count calories and eat less than you burn, or you don't count calories and eat less than you burn, the end result is the same – you lose weight. Which would you rather do: Take a wild guess, or increase your chance for success with some simple menu planning? I think the right choice is obvious.
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:52 AM PDT
"Common workout mistakes" has always been a very popular topic in fitness publications. But no matter how many times this subject is re-hashed, you almost always hear about the same half a dozen or so mistakes, including poor form, overtraining, going too heavy, not stretching, not warming up, yadda, yadda yadda. Ironically, you seldom hear about the biggest mistakes of all. I call these humongous bloopers "bonehead mistakes" because once you start to analyze and think about them, they're really just common sense and they all seem so obvious… except of course to the person doing it… who is often quite oblivious until someone else points it out to them... then the light goes on and it's like... "Doh!"
Before I begin the countdown, (in no particular order), there's one more gripe I have about the treatment this subject has been given in the past: Most of the attention has been put on the mistakes, but very little on the solutions. It's all too easy to point fingers and say, "Don't do that" and "Shame on you, dummy" but only 1% of your time should be spent on problems. 99% should be spent on solutions. So in that spirit, after I bring each mistake to your attention, I'll give you a solution-oriented training tip to help you avoid boneheadedness and join the elite group who "kick butt" in the gym at every workout…
Bonehead workout mistake #1: "Winging it"
"Winging it" means having no written goals or plans, no training journal and no way of "keeping score." It's when you just show up at the gym day after day and do whatever strikes your fancy, whatever machine happens to be available, or whatever you've become habitually accustomed to doing. Winging it is when you don't know where you are, where you're going or how you're going to get there - but you start your journey anyway – no compass, no roadmap. It's been said that "Action without planning is the biggest cause of failure," and I believe that statement is 100% accurate.
Kick butt workout tip #1: Develop a strategic plan
Successful people never "wing it," they always have a plan. Strategic planning is a never ending process and includes: Assessment (where am I now?), goal setting (where do I want to go?), creating a plan or strategy (How will I get where I want to go?), executing the plan (what action steps must I take daily to reach my goal?), and measuring results (how will I know if I'm moving towards my goal and how will I know when I've reached it?). Boneheads "wing it." Butt–kickers have a master plan and goals for every workout.- - - - -
Bonehead workout mistake #2: Repeating the same workouts… without progressive overload
In one respect, repeating the same workouts is important – it's called "continuity." Continuity means that to experience an adaptive response (more muscle, more strength, less fat and all that other good stuff), you must a repeat a certain modality or exercise consistently over a long enough period of time to allow the adaptive response to occur and to reap the full benefits (rather than changing exercises at every workout). That type of repetition is good. The bonehead mistake is when you do the same exercises, same reps, same weight, same everything, week after week, without ever challenging yourself to do more than you've done before. If your muscles could talk they would say, "Yawn…. Did that, done that, been there… we're just going to stay exactly the way we are… no need to get bigger or stronger today."
Kick butt workout tip #2: Strive to beat your previous workouts
Muscle growth and strength increases occur when you place demands on your body above and beyond what it has experienced in the past. Your body responds to this progressive overload by getting stronger in order to handle this type of demand in the future. Your objective at almost every workout is to set goals to beat what you did during the previous one. If you can't add more weight, it could be as simple as one more rep with the same weight or the same sets/reps/weight in less time. It could also mean one more minute of cardio, one level higher on a stairclimber, or half a percent steeper incline on the treadmill. Continuous and never-ending improvement is the name of the game.- - - - -
Bonehead workout mistake #3: Starving yourself
A calorie deficit is the only way to lose body fat. However, the caloric deficit must be kept small. When calories are cut too much, or held too low for too long, your body thinks you are starving and sets into motion a series of metabolic and hormonal events, which ultimately result in muscle loss, slow metabolism and plateaus. Your body is like a power plant or furnace and when you don't feed the fire, your metabolic flame dwindles to a flicker, producing less heat and less energy. That's why not eating enough is one of the biggest mistakes of all.
Kick butt workout tip #3: Eat more, burn more
Did it ever occur to you that if you exercise more you can eat more and that this is a more effective fat loss strategy than eating less and exercising less? To lose body fat, you must create a calorie deficit. A deficit can be created by exercising more, eating less, or ideally, with a combination of both. The best combination of all is a small decrease in calories accompanied by a large increase in activity. Think about it: Decreasing calories slows your metabolism. Increasing calories increases your metabolism. Exercise increases your metabolism.
Therefore, eat more, exercise more = double increase in metabolism. Eat less, don't exercise = double decrease in metabolism. This is the entire premise of my Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle System and that's why the program is so powerful and has helped tens of thousands of people lose fat without depriving themselves. Yes, starving is for boneheads.
Bonehead workout mistake #4: Skipping scheduled workouts
A great body doesn't happen overnight. Successful body transformation is the cumulative result of dozens or even hundreds of successful workouts. Each workout brings you one small step closer to your goal. Each workout missed takes you one small step backwards. Most people underestimate the cumulative effect of each small step. They figure that "It just doesn't matter… it's only one workout." If you don't think that one little workout matters, then think about the humble termite; they're such itty bitty little creatures and they take such itty bitty little bites, yet when enough little bites are taken, an entire building can come crumbling down.
Kick butt workout tip #4: Be disciplined and consistent
Not only do you slip backwards physically when you skip even one scheduled workout, perhaps more devastating is the effect on your mind and character. Every time you successfully complete a scheduled workout, you build your discipline and self esteem. When your self esteem increases, it makes you feel good and that stimulates a positive self-reinforcing cycle of even more discipline, confidence and action. Everything you do helps or hurts. Every workout counts. Treat your word as law. When you say you're going to work out... WORK OUT!- - - - -
Bonehead workout mistake #5: Focusing on strengths, favorite exercises and favorite body parts, neglecting weaknesses
Most people have a favorite body part or exercise. But playing favorites in your training can lead to big problems. An unbalanced, asymmetrical physique is one of them, but having a great upper body with toothpick legs is the least of your worries. Strengthening and stretching some muscle groups but not others is a great way to cause poor posture, muscular imbalance, dysfunction, strains, pulls, tears or ruptures.
Kick butt workout tip #5: Train for functional balance and aesthetic balance
Non-boneheads train every muscle group for symmetrical, visually pleasing development. However, "balance" is more than cosmetic. Everyone – athletes, bodybuilders, and recreational exercisers – must also train for functional balance to prevent injury and maintain optimal function and range of movement in every joint and muscle group. Every plane of movement and angle of movement must be trained. Flexors must be balanced with extensors. Front to back movements must be balanced with rotational and side to side movements. Prime movers, antagonists and stabilizers must all be strengthened. Always stretch, strengthen and build to the point of total body balance.- - - - -
Bonehead workout mistake #6: Using mostly machines and single joint/isolation exercises
So you joined the gym and you hit "the circuit"… you know, that section in the gym with all those fancy, chrome-plated, "technologically advanced" weight stack-pulley, hydraulic or computerized machines all lined up in neat rows… far, far away from the barbells and squat racks (which you never touch), and which is designed to give you an "easy, safe, injury-free, effective full-body workout." The machines may be easy, but most machines aren't as safe or effective as they're made out to be.
Kick butt workout tip #6: Use mostly free weights and compound, multi joint exercises
For lower body, squat and lunge variations are tops. For upper body, barbell and dumbbell presses, chin ups and rows are king. These and similar "BIG" exercises stimulate more muscle fiber, stir up more fat burning and muscle building hormones, and have more carry-over to real world and sporting activities than machines. Although weight stack machines are safe with respect to the fact that you can't drop a barbell on your head, they're ultimately NOT as safe as free weights because they don't develop the stabilizing muscles and functional strength that protect you from injury. A few machines and isolation exercises mixed into a balancedr program is fine, especially if you have bodybuilding goals, but focusing on compound and free weight exercises gives you far more bang for your buck than any machine ever created.- - - - -
Bonehead workout mistake #7: No mental preparation
This mistake goes hand in hand with mistake number one (winging it). You see, preparation is more than setting goals, writing out plans, and scheduling workouts. Preparation is also mental, yet most people haven't the slightest idea just how powerful the mind is or how to harness its power. Psychologists and "brain scientists" have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between an experience that is real and one that is imagined. Failure to take advantage of this discovery is a mistake of enormous magnitude.
Kick butt workout tip #7: Use visualization and mental rehearsal daily
Arnold Schwarzenneger, Jack Nicklaus, Andre Agassi and countless other sports legends have written and spoken extensively about their regular use of mental imagery. Those who succeeded, but claimed not to use such techniques as "visualization" were surely using it unconsciously or in a non-formalized manner. I would suggest you consciously and deliberately use this technique in the following manner: Twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, get relaxed, close your eyes and form mental images of yourself having the body you've always wanted, completing perfect workouts with motivation and enthusiasm and reaching all your goals. These images will penetrate your subconscious mind and literally program your brain to activate your body for total success.- - - - -
Bonehead workout mistake #8: Not eating immediately after training
Not eating anything after your workout (or waiting 2-3 hours to eat), because (a) you don't feel like eating, (b) you don't have anything to eat with you, (c) you heard that you get leaner if you don't eat after your workout… is one of the most boneheaded things you can ever do!
Kick butt workout tip #8: Eat protein AND carbs (not just carbs) immediately after your workout
Much research has been done on the topic of post workout nutrition in recent years and the scientific literature is almost unanimous in its findings: At one time carbohydrates were emphasized after a workout. Other people insisted that protein is more important. The truth is, the optimal post workout meal includes quickly digesting protein and carbohydrates and is consumed immediately after training during the period known as the "post-workout window of opportunity." Although the ideal amount and type of protein and carbs is still debated, the studies have shown that proper post workout nutrition increases protein synthesis, suppresses cortisol, replenishes glycogen, and enhances recovery.- - - - -
Bonehead workout mistake #9: Comparing yourself to others
Always trying to one-up the next guy is bonehead behavior. Comparing yourself to others is a great way to lower your self esteem and stay perpetually frustrated, unhappy and dissatisfied!
Kick butt workout tip #9: Compare yourself to nobody but yourself
Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden always advised his players, "Never try to be better than someone else; but never cease trying to be the best you can be. That is under your control. The other isn't." So why not focus on competing with yourself? Compare yourself to yourself. Improve yourself. Work on progress and forward movement. Become better than you used to be. Ultimately, competitive sports are most valuable to the degree you use them to better yourself, not to beat others.- - - - -
Bonehead workout mistake #10: Making excuses
Many people, when they don't get the result they want, or when things don't go the way they expect, insist it's not their fault. When they don't lose any body fat, it's their genetics or "The diet just doesn't work!" When they fall off the wagon, it's their friends and family's fault – "They just don't support me… they even tempt me with junk food and eat in front of me." When they miss workouts, it's their boss's fault – "I just don't have time with so much work being piled on me at the office." No matter what the situation, the boneheads never even consider that the problem is staring right back at them in the mirror – someone or something outside of them is always responsible.
Kick butt workout tip #10: Accept total, 100% responsibility for all your results – good or bad
When you win, you don't attribute it to luck or give someone else the credit for it. You proudly say, "I created it… I did it… that was me!" However, if you want to take the credit for your wins, you must also take credit for your losses and say, "Yep, I created it… I did it… that was me!" Boneheads want to take credit for their successes but not accept responsibility for their failures. Ultimately, that turns them into nothing but big losers. Winners and successful people became successful because they learned three magic words: I AM RESPONSIBLE. Once you claim responsibility for every result in your life – the good and the bad - the feeling of empowerment and liberation that comes over you is beyond description. For the first time in your life, you realize that YOU are in control. From that moment on – and not a second sooner – you become the creator of circumstance rather than a victim of it.- - - - -
Well, that's all ten of em'. Let me wrap up with what is perhaps the biggest mistake of all, and that is: Not learning from your mistakes. Mistakes are okay. The only people who don't make any are the timid, wimpy people who don't even attempt anything. If you realize you've been making a lot of these mistakes, don't beat yourself up. As long as you learn from them and then stop making them, you're off the hook! But if you keep repeating these mistakes over and over again, then it's official: You're a bonehead!
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:51 AM PDT
Every year as Thanksgiving gets closer, you've probably seen the depressing reports: "Most people gain between 5 and 10 pounds of body fat in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas." I'm not sure if this worries you or not, but a lot of people are terrified about getting fatter in the next two months. They anticipate the workouts falling by the wayside and the holiday food calling out to them irresistibly, defeating even the strongest willpower. There's good news and bad news about this.
Good news: According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average amount gained is much more modest - just over a pound.
Bad news: A study by the National Institutes of Health found that this seasonal weight gain - even just a pound - is the kind of weight gain that most people don't lose when the holidays are over; it simply adds to the "weight creep" that "sneaks up" on you as you get older.
People often wonder how it's possible to wake up one morning at age 40 or 45 and "suddenly" they're 30 pounds fatter - or more - than they were in college. Mystery solved.
Of course, some people really do pack it on over the holidays, but whether its a pound or ten pounds, did you ever ask yourself why does holiday weight gain happen at all?
In previous years, I've asked my readers and here are some common answers I was given:
Holiday Excuse Survey Says…
"I'm too busy over the holidays to work out as often as usual."
"I'm more stressed over the holidays, and the food is there, so I eat more."
"I have at least three parties to attend and then there's Christmas and New Year's, so it's impossible to stay on a diet"
"No one can tell me not to enjoy myself over the holidays so I'm just going to eat whatever I want."
These answers all have a few things in common:
"Either/Or" Thinking and "Reverse Goal Setting" Exposed
First, they assume that you can EITHER get in better shape OR enjoy yourself, but not both. Stated in reverse: You can either deprive yourself of holiday enjoyments or gain weight, but it has to be one or the other. The truth is, "either/or thinking" is neurotic thinking and a great killer of fitness programs.
Second, these are all excuses or rationalizations. "I'm too busy" for example, is always an excuse, because I have never known someone who was too busy to make time for his her highest life priorities. We all have the same amount of time - 24 hours a day – the real problem is, most people don't make exercise and healthy eating a priority. And remember, words mean little. Actions reveal a person's true priorities.
Third, none of these are the real reasons most people gain weight over the holidays to begin with. The real reason is because an intention was never set for the opposite: To get in better shape over the holidays.
Most people set a "goal" to get in worse shape over the holidays. It's not consciously set, of course, as few people would intentionally set out to get fatter. They simply do it by default. In their minds, they accept that it must be just about impossible to stay in shape with everything going on over the holiday season, so why bother?
Rationing Lies For Holiday Failure
Once the decision has been made, then the rationalizing continues:
"Why should I deprive myself?"
As a result of this "negative goal-setting," they expect to work out less, eat more and gain a few pounds, and they don't seem to even consider alternatives.
But what would happen if you…
SET A GOAL TO GET IN BETTER shape over the holidays?
What would happen if you decided that it was not an all or nothing proposition and that you could enjoy the holidays and all it has to offer and get in better shape at the same time?
And what if you decided that your health and your body were the highest priorities in your life, because you realized that can't enjoy anything else in life, including family or holidays, if you don't have your health?
Here's what would happen: You'd get in better shape!
I'm not all that different from you just because I'm a bodybuilder and fitness professional. I have many of the same problems, concerns and struggles as you do. Although today I always get in better shape between Thanksgiving and New Year's, that's a result of a conscious choice, a close examination of my old belief systems and a lot of action. For me, it all started about eight years ago.
For most of my adult life, I wasn't much of a traveler and I didn't enjoy flying or staying in hotels. For one thing, I had so many business commitments in the East Coast health club business, that I seldom left town for long, as I had to "tend to the stores." But I also had a belief that if I traveled, my workouts and nutrition would suffer. After all, "it would be hard to stick with my usual bodybuilding diet, and I wouldn't have access to my usual gyms", I told myself. For these reasons, I never did much travel..
Then I was forced to take some trips for business reasons. Predictably enough, my nutrition and workouts suffered while I was spending time in airplanes and in hotels. With my experience having confirmed my beliefs, I re-affirmed to myself, "See, travelling is nothing but a pain. You just can't stay on a diet and training program when you're out of town."After several more trips, I noticed that something very negative happened: I surrendered. I had resigned myself to "not bother" while I was on the road. I let my expectations create my reality.
But I didn't let it go on for long. As soon as I became aware of what was happening, I decided that I wouldn't tolerate it, so I challenged myself and my previous limiting beliefs. I asked myself, "Why the heck not? Why let myself backslide? Why even settle for maintaining? Why not challenge myself to improve while I'm traveling?" The answer was: There was no good reason, there were only excuses.
From that day forward, I set a challenge for myself…
To come back from every trip or vacation in better shape than when I left.
Of course there were exceptions, as when I went on a vacation for total R & R. But I never let travel get in my way again. I prepared food that I would eat on the planes so airline food was never an excuse… I usually chose hotels that had kitchens, so I could cook my own food. I went food shopping immediately after check-in. I wrote my training schedule and scouted gyms in advance… And I actually found myself training harder than usual.
No matter where I was training - it could even be some "dungeon" of a gym in the middle of nowhere - it didn't matter because my mind was focused on improving and looking better when I came home than when I left. I had a goal to motivate me!
What do you think happened? It's not hard to guess: I always came home in better shape than when I left.
Since then, my "travel challenge" has become somewhat of a ritual in my life. When I'm away from my "home-base" it becomes a "fitness road trip." I search the Internet or yellow pages or ask locals to help me find the most hard-core gym nearby wherever I will be staying (Gold's Gym works for me!) When I get there, I train every bit as hard as if I had a competition just weeks away. I look forward to it now. In fact, this is what led me to my "holiday fitness challenge" idea.
Like many people, I travel over the holidays, so I'm automatically in "travel challenge" mode at thanksgiving, Christmastime and New Year's. But with the additional temptations and busyness that the holidays bring on top of the usual travel stresses, I saw fit to declare a new challenge: "The Holiday Challenge." The difference was that for my "holiday challenge," I pledged to not only to return home in better shape than when I left, but to enjoy the holidays to the fullest at the same time.
People who think I deprive myself to look the way I do would be shocked: I eat like a KING over the holidays including Pumpkin (or apple) Pie at Thanksgiving and OF COURSE my mom's famous red and green Jell-O Christmas cake. Then on New Year's I'm usually toasting champagne and having a blast with friends or family….
The difference is, I don't eat like that very often.
Every other meal stays right on schedule and I work out hard and consistently over the holidays; I don't let everything fall apart just because 'tis the season.'
The idea that you can EITHER enjoy the holidays OR stay in shape - but not both - is wrong, it's damaging and it's limiting.
Life is not an either or proposition; it's a matter of balance.
Success does not mean going to extremes. Success can be a simple matter of re-examining your beliefs, rearranging your priorities, setting goals, changing the questions you ask yourself and re-evaluating your expectations.
Your expectations will become your reality. What are you expecting? Are you expecting success? Are you expecting to be in better shape after holiday parties, celebrations, banquets, dinners, and desserts? If not, then why not? What's preventing you from enjoying all of the above and still getting in better shape? Do you have a limiting belief which dictates that it's one or the other? Could it be that you never set a goal, intention or expectation to do it? Could it be that you're rationalizing or making excuses? If so, then I challenge you to change it this year.
As of this writing, there are less than two months until the end of the year. Why not see how much you can improve your physique over the holidays, without depriving yourself of any holiday enjoyments or festivities? Just step up your expectations. Step up your standards. Step up your nutrition. Step up your training. Step up your action. Step up and accept the "Burn The Fat holiday fitness challengeand see what happens!
That's right… The First Annual Burn The Fat Holiday Fitness challenge contest is open from Wednesday November 18th to Wednesday November 25th.
Over the course of a "50-Day Burn" which spans all three major holidays - Thanksgiving (US), Christmas and New Year's - you'll have the motivation, the accountability and structured program to end the year strong, start the new year on the foot and possibly get in the best shape of your life.
Even better, you'll be able to eat delicious Holiday Food and enjoy yourself to the fullest at the same time because this is a lifestyle program which allows your favorite foods in moderation and balance.
And the best part of all: I'm sending the winners of the contest to Negril Jamaica to show off their new bodies on the beach in 2010!
Taking the Burn The Fat Challenge is simple. You can enter the contest two ways:
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:50 AM PDT
In a surprising comment made during a popular UK radio show, the founder of one of the largest Pizza chains in the United States and United Kingdom told listeners not to eat too much pizza!
In an interview with host Adam Shaw on BBC's Radio Four program, John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John's pizza, was asked whether he was concerned about the British government's recent actions in the fast food restaurant business to help put the brakes on obesity.
Schnatter said, "Pizza is actually healthy for you if you don't eat too much of it. You can't eat five or six slices but if you eat one or two slices it's very nutritious."
Laughing, Shaw replied, "I'm not sure your investors would want to hear you tell people, 'don't eat too much of our pizzas!"'
Across the web, bloggers and tweeters have been putting in their two cents. Some say he was a little TOO honest. Others say this was either the worst PR screw up ever… or the best PR move ever (you know what they say about "bad" publicity).
Although I wouldn't call pizza health food, I think his advice to eat pizza, but only in moderation was the responsible thing for a fast food owner to do at a time where obesity is reaching epidemic proportions, not just in the United States but in the U.K. and other countries as well.
Moreover, it was just plain good diet advice! One reason people are failing to control their weight is because of all-or-none thinking, i.e, "I can't eat ANY pizza EVER again!" or, "I have to follow my diet 100% or not at all."
In my experience, all or none thinking is one of the biggest causes of diet failure. It's far better from a psychological perspective to eat your pizza; simply enjoy it infrequently and in small quantities.
Think of you on a diet like a pressure cooker on a burner. The longer you keep that pot on the heat, the more the steam pressure builds up inside. If there's no outlet or release valve on that thing, eventually the pressure builds up so much that even if it's made of steel and the lid is bolted down, she's gonna blow, sooner or later.
Well, in the beginning, you might think your willpower is made of steel and that you're bolted tigher than a submarine hatch, but the longer you're on a diet with no relief, the greater the pressure builds up until YOU blow your top… and that means massive binge eating.
But if you let off a little steam in the form of a "free meal" (or two) and enjoy that slice of pizza (or whatever is your favorite 'poison') on occasion, that relieves the pressure. Alas, you never even feel the urge to binge… because you HAD your pizza and the urge was satisfied. Since the meal was planned and you kept the calories under control, it had little or no effect on your fat loss results.
This topic of conversation was prompted on the BBC radio show during a discussion about how the Pizza business was doing during the recession and about efforts to stem the growing obesity crisis in the UK.
Earlier last month, The Food Standards Agency in the UK started negotiating with UK food, pub and sandwich chains to display calories on their menus to try to provide education about healthier options for consumers who eat out frequently.
The move is similar to one made in New York City last year, where restaurant chains that have more than 15 locations must print calories on the menus. According to an article in the British Medical Journal, this has resulted in an average reduction of 50-100 calories for each food order. Not much, but at least it's something.
In the case of pizza, a 2.2 ounce thin-crusted slice of cheese pizza could have as little as 190 calories. One slice of "meat lover's" pizza, on the other hand, could set you back almost 500 calories! If you knew the difference, would it change what kind and how much you ate?
I'm totally in favor of posting calories on menus, despite the critics who say it won't make a difference. I think anything that raises calorie awareness is going to affect behavior in a positive way and help make for better food decisions. Whether it should be mandatory by law is debatable. I say, let the restaurants decide and then let the marketplace sort itself out.
I would be more likely to recommend or support the restaurants who opted to post calories, increase their range of healthy choices… and on that rare occasion, have a CEO who actually says, "Eat my food, but not too much!!"
Now, if we can only get those Mcdonalds's execs to say the same thing!
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:49 AM PDT
How would you like to learn how to gain weight fast? If the title of this article caught your attention, there is a good chance you are sick and tired of not seeing the weight on the scale budge. Most likely you just got home from the Mandarin buffet and still can't budge the scale. You could live on McDonald's and Pizza Delight and your Ferrari style metabolism would simply burn it off. In a world that is obsessed with losing weight – you are interested in gaining weight!
Are You Sick and Tired Of People Telling You How To Gain Weight?
It probably sounds like this:
"All you have to do is eat, eat, and eat some more to gain weight..."
"Weight gain is just a matter of eating..."
"You just gotta overload your metabolism to gain weight fast..."
"You can't build a house without the bricks and mortar for gaining weight..."
Don't throw me to the wolves quite yet. There is certainly truth to these statements and some of these analogies can prove quite powerful. I think I'm even guilty of preaching a few! But the problem with this advice is that it's usually followed up with the same old regurgitated blah, blah, blah advice that only tells you what to do and does not reveal real-world, practical how-to action-steps.
If you are someone who has struggled their entire life, trying to pack on extra muscle mass and still consider yourself underweight, then you are not alone. I was once skinny and underweight myself...
People, predispositioned to skinniness, are commonly referred to as "hard gainers." This is the cool way to label your scrawny frame despite the fact that your body turns into a Number 2 pencil when you wear yellow!
It's Not Totally Your Fault You're Skinny
Even though you might think your genetic deficiencies have sentenced you to a life of frailty and surprised looks when you tell others you lift weights, I am living proof that hard gainers with very 'muscle-unfriendly genes' can fight back against their genetics and gain muscle weight. I defeated my skinny genetics just after college and I am about to show you four tips that helped me climb from a 149 pound weakling to a rock hard 190 pounds in six months.
Trust me, no body has worse genetics for building muscle and gaining weight than an ex-long distance runner who abused his body with 60-80 miles of running a week (for over 10 years).
Skinny Guys Must Play By A Different Set Of Rules
"Taking advice from someone who can gain muscle weight easilyis like taking money advice from someone who inherited a fortune or is making money illegally."
You must think outside the box and give up the excuse of being a "hard gainer." It is time to stop listening to all the naysayers who have told you that is impossible to gain weight because of your genetics. Regardless of what you have been led to believe, you do have the potential to build an impressive physique that turns heads and even intimidates!
If you have read this far, I am guessing you are ready to longer resemble a microphone stand! You are prepared to overload your metabolism for muscle growth, to ensure you are never referred to as 'underweight' or 'skinny' ever again. Start following these simple steps and don't be surprised if you gain an extra ten pounds of muscle weight in the next four weeks.
Simple How To Gain Weight Action Steps To Start Growing Like A Skyscraper!
1. Double It Up
One of the most practical steps you can take is to double whatever you are currently eating in the kitchen right now. If you are eating one chicken breast per meal, then cook up two. If you are only eating two slices of bread, then make it four. If you are eating one handful of nuts, then make it two. If you are using only two scoops of protein powder, then make it four.
Most likely you are only a few dozen meals short of filling out your underdeveloped body parts and attracting the attention of that sexy girl at your gym. I assume you are already in the kitchen and have the food out. So would you agree, you really have no good excuse not to shovel down a greater percentage of calories by doubling it up?
2. Live Your Life Around Food
Sure, you know that you must eat every 2-3 hours, but how well do you execute? Set your clock on a countdown timer to go off every 2 and ½ hours so that you reinforce the habit of eating literally not a second late for each meal! Don't turn off the damn beeper until you start chowing down.
Ensure you are eating your first meal within 15-30 minutes of waking up - absolutely no later. This first meal of the day should always consist of REAL food to flood your body with quality nutrients. I question anybody's commitment to gaining weight if they are too lazy to wake up 15 minutes earlier to eat a real meal.
Lastly, don't be surprised if you are not gaining weight if you do not find yourself spending more time preparing food, more time eating food and more time cleaning your kitchen. You should notice you are spending more time in the grocery store and you should also notice a larger grocery bill each week!
3. Use BIG Eating Equipment
If you want to bulk, then you have to eat like Hulk. Do you think Hulk eats out of a small plate, or a small bowel, or a small cup? If you are aiming to get big and huge, you are going to require large amounts of food, most likely close to double of what you are currently eating.
So get BIG eating equipment! Get a BIG cup, get a BIG bowel, and get a BIG plate. Surround yourself with BIG. Most of the time hard gainers are nothing more than "under eaters." If you struggle to complete a meal, then a bigger serving on a bigger plate will look small!
4. Never Train Hungry
How many times have you woken up, whipped up a protein shake and than headed off to the gym? Or maybe you had a long afternoon and missed a few meals and then attempted a weight training workout after work?
I thought this was common sense to avoid, until a few of my skinny clients confessed that they were showing up for their workouts having only eaten a piece of fruit and some crackers within the entire day!
After dropping the 45-pound plate on my foot out of shock, they reassured me: they were not hungry. I sometimes screamed back, "Yeah, that's because your metabolism is in starvation mode and shut right down, you skinny pencil neck!"
I understand that training in the morning is the only time for some, however, I recommend to aim for a minimum of at least three solid meals in your system prior to training. Or eat the biggest meal of your day immediately after your AM workout. Would you take your car out on a long trip with a half empty fuel tank? Not unless you wanted the car to die and you push it the rest of the way. So why would you take your body through a grueling training session on an empty stomach?
5. Eat Nutrient Dense Foods
Focus on caloric-rich foods that are loaded with nutrients. Avoid foods with empty calories, which means there is little or no nutrient value in the calories you are eating. Why would you consume a 500-calorie plus meal that is loaded with fat and sugar which does nothing but make you feel sluggish and soft? Instead, eat a high caloric meal loaded with slow releasing carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Here are some of the best choices:
Carbohydrates – Oatmeal, rice, breads, yams beans, potatoes, fruits and veggies.
Proteins – Steak, chicken, lean beef, cottage cheese, whole milk, eggs and salmon.
Fats – Olive oil, flax oil, avocados, nuts and peanut butter.
Extras (high calorie cheat food) – Ice cream, raisins, dried fruit and trail mix.
6. Drink A Carb And Protein Drink While You Workout
How hard is to sip on a calorie-rich drink during your weight training sessions? Simply mix up a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein with one liter of water and you instantly have a few extra hundred calories per day. Now have an extra workout drink before your workout and extra workout drink after your workout and that's easily an extra one pound per week. Only use this technique if you are weight training at a very high intensity.
7. Live the motto, "Never Stop Eating"
Did I hear you say, "But I'll throw up if I eat all day?" Maybe... Is it necessary? Of course not. But this is a part of pushing your body's threshold. Don't worry, you will get used to it and your body will require more food as you gain more muscle on your body and your metabolism increases. Just think that if you are not eating, then you are not growing, and if you are not growing then you are staying the same. Is that what you want?
Here is my promise to you. You have the ability to gain at least another ten pounds of solid weight in the next four weeks by simply applying the advice above. If you are truly committed to your goals of gaining muscle weight and no longer being known as underweight, then I believe you will rise to the challenge and take action! Are you with me?
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:49 AM PDT
Legendary bodybuilding trainer Vince, "The Iron Guru" Gironda was famous for saying, "Bodybuilding is 80% nutrition!" But is this really true or is it just another fitness and bodybuilding myth passed down like gospel without ever being questioned? Which is really more important, nutrition or training? This IS an interesting question and I believe there is a definite answer:
The first thing I would say is that you cannot separate nutrition and training. The two work together synergistically. Regardless of your goals - gaining muscle, losing fat, athletic conditioning, whatever -you will get less than-optimal or even non-existent results without paying attention paid to both.
In fact, I like to look at gaining muscle or losing fat in three parts - weight training, cardio training and nutrition - with each part like a leg of a three legged stool. pull ANY one of the legs off the stool, and guess what happens?
In reality, it's impossible to put a specific percentage on which is more important - how could we possibly know such a number to the digit?
Nutrition and training are both important, but at certain stages of your training progress, I do believe placing more attention on one component over the other can create larger improvements. Let me explain:
If you're a beginner and you don't posses nutritional knowledge, then mastering nutrition is far more important than training and should become your number one priority. I say this because improving a poor diet can create rapid, quantum leaps in fat loss and muscle building progress.
For example, if you've been skipping meals and only eating 2 times per day, jumping your meal frequency up to 5 or 6 smaller meals a day will transform your physique very rapidly.
If you're still eating lots of processed fats and refined sugars, cutting them out and replacing them with good fats like the omega threes found in fish and unrefined foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains will make an enormous and noticeable difference in your physique very quickly.
If your diet is low in protein, simply adding a complete protein food like chicken breast, fish or egg whites at each meal will muscle you up fast.
No matter how hard you train or what type of training routine you're on, it's all in vain if you don't provide yourself with the right nutritional support.
In beginners (or in advanced trainees who are still eating poorly), these changes in diet are more likely to result in great improvements than a change in training.
The muscular and nervous systems of a beginner are unaccustomed to exercise. Therefore, just about any training program can cause muscle growth and strength development to occur because it's all a "shock" to the untrained body.
You can almost always find ways to tweak your nutrition to higher and higher levels, but once you've mastered all the nutritional basics, then further improvements in your diet don't have as great of an impact as those initial important changes...
Eating more than six meals will have minimal effect. Eating more protein ad infinitum won't help. Once you're eating low fat, going to zero fat won't help more - it will probably hurt. If you're eating a wide variety of foods and taking a good multi vitamin/mineral, then more supplements probably wont help much either. If you're already eating natural complex carbs and lean proteins every three hours, there's not too much more you can do other than continue to be consistent day after day...
At this point, as an intermediate or advanced trainee who has the nutrition in place, changes in your training become much more important, relatively speaking. Your training must become downright scientific.
Except for the changes that need to be made between an "off season" muscle growth diet and a "precontest" cutting diet, the diet won't and can't change much - it will remain fairly constant.
But you can continue to pump up the intensity of your training and improve the efficiency of your workouts almost without limit. In fact, the more advanced you become, the more crucial training progression and variation becomes because the well-trained body adapts so quickly.
According to powerlifter Dave Tate, an advanced lifter may adapt to a routine within 1-2 weeks. That's why elite lifters rotate exercises constantly and use as many as 300 different variations on exercises.
Strength coach Ian King says that unless you're a beginner, you'll adapt to any training routine within 3-4 weeks. Coach Charles Poliquin says that you'll adapt within 5-6 workouts.
So, to answer the question, while nutrition is ALWAYS critically important, it's more important to emphasize for the beginner (or the person whose diet is still a "mess"), while training is more important for the advanced person... (in my opinion).
It's not that nutrition ever ceases to be important, the point is, further improvements in nutrition won't have as much impact once you already have all the fundamentals in place.
Once you've mastered nutrition, then it's all about keeping that nutrition consistent and progressively increasing the efficiency and intensity of your workouts, and mastering the art of planned workout variation, which is also known as "periodization."
The bottom line: There's a saying among strength coaches and personal trainers...
"You can't out-train a lousy diet!"
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:47 AM PDT
No Pain, No Gain. Is this aphorism just a fitness myth and downright bad advice? A lot of people seem to think so. As a bodybuilder with 25 years of training experience and more than two dozen trophies on my shelf, I have another perspective to offer you. Success with your body and in every area of your life is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone and that means embracing pain.
To reach high levels of physical and personal success you must approach your training, and your entire life, as an endeavor in constant growth. The ultimate truth is, you are either moving forward or moving backward; growing or dying. There's no such thing as comfortably maintaining.
To grow, you must step above past achievements; beyond your perceived boundaries and limits. That means stepping out of the known, into the unknown; out of the familiar and into the unfamiliar; out of the comfortable into the uncomfortable. You must get out of your comfort zone.
The Late Cavett Robert, who was founder of the National Speakers Association, said something I'll never forget: "Most people are running around their whole lives with their umbilical cords in their hands and they're looking for some place to plug it back in."
Most people are scared of the unknown. They prefer to stay in that womb of comfort. When the going gets tough; when the effort gets painful, when the work gets hard, they always pull back into safety. But the extraordinary people do the opposite. They know they have to get out of the comfort zone, and into new territory or they'll stagnate and die.
Walt Disney once said that he never wanted to repeat a past success. He was always creating something new. They called it "Imagineering." Disney's mission was to continuously dream up and create things they had never done before, and look at what Disney has become today.
Here's a little quote that you should post on your bulletin board, your computer desktop or somewhere you will always see it:
"Do what you always did, get what you always got."
You can't grow or change by doing what you've already done. You've got to train just to prevent yourself from going backwards. Maintenance doesn't occur when you do nothing, maintenance is working to fight entropy, the tendency for things to naturally deteriorate.
Still, most people won't leave their comfort zones. They won't do it in business, they won't do it in their personal lives. They won't do it in their sport. They won't do it for personal health and fitness. Why? The answer is simple… It hurts.
By definition, what's it like outside the comfort zone? It's UN-COMFORTABLE, right? Change is uncomfortable. Sometimes it's physically painful, but it's always mentally and emotionally painful, in the form of discipline, sacrifice, uncertainty and fear.
The maxim, "no pain no gain" gets knocked all the time as if it were bad advice. The fact of life is that you don't grow unless you' are constantly stepping outside the comfort zone, and outside the comfort zone is discomfort and pain.
I find that it's mostly the non-achievers who make out "no pain, no gain" to be a bad thing. But the winners get it. The champions understand stepping outside the comfort zone in a healthy context, so they embrace it.
When you're talking about the Olympics, or pro bodybuilding or the Super Bowl or a world championship, you'd better believe it's physical pain, it's discipline, it's sacrifice, it's blood, sweat, and tears - literally. But for most people who simply want to go from unfit to fit, from overweight to ideal weight, it's not so much about physical "pain"; it's more like stretching yourself.
How do you develop flexibility? What does your trainer tell you? You stretch to the point of discomfort, but not to the point of pain, right? You get into a position of slight discomfort and you hold it just long enough, then what happens? The discomfort goes away, because the muscle becomes more pliable, and the range of motion is increased.
Each time, you stretch a little further, just barely into the range you've never been in before, and eventually, you're doing the splits. And why do you approach it like that? Because you don't want to injure yourself. Stretch too far, too fast and your muscle tears.
The elite athletes and high achievers really have to push themselves; they're going to push their boundaries and test their limits. But if you're not an elite athlete or seasoned bodybuilder, and you take the advice, "no pain, no gain" too literally, you're going to end up getting injured.
I always say to my training partner when I watch him cringing during a set and he finishes up with that pained look on his face, "Are you injured, or just hurt?" He knows what I'm talking about. If he says he's hurt, I say, "OK, good. As long as you're not injured. Let's get on with it. Next set."
It's not about injury. That is bad pain. That is stupidity. But do stretch yourself. You can't improve unless you stretch yourself. If that's what some people want – if they just want to "stay fit" – OK fine. It actually doesn't take that much to stay fit, once you've already achieved it.
But what if you want to improve? What if you want a new body? What if you want to change? If that's what you want, you've got to push yourself a little. You've got to break comfort zones. And if your body is not changing, then I don't care how hard you think you're working, whatever you're doing right now is inside your comfort zone.
The statement "no pain, no gain" has been misinterpreted, criticized and labeled a fallacy by many. However, the people doing the criticizing are almost always comfort zoners who haven't achieved much. Don't listen to them. Instead, follow the small percentage of people who step out and achieve great things. If you don't like the sound of it, then say, "No effort, no gain." We're still talking about the same thing.
Embrace the discomfort like the champions do. Soon it subsides, you enjoy the benefits of the change and the pain is forgotten. You've reached a new, higher plateau of achievement. Enjoy the view for a short while. But be on guard because it's not long before that higher level becomes your new comfort zone and then its time to press on again.
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:45 AM PDT
Understanding the mind's role in motivation and behavior is one of the most critical elements in fitness success. If you struggle with changing habits and behaviors or if you can't get motivated, then even the best training and nutrition program is not much help.
A fascinating fact about your subconscious mind is that it's completely deductive in nature. In other words, it's fully capable of working backwards from the end to the means. You don't need to know how to reach a goal at the time you set the goal. If you "program" only the desired outcome successfully into your "mental computer," then your subconscious will take over and help you find the information and means and carry out the actions necessary to reach it.
Many people are familiar with affirmations and goal-setting as ways to give instructions to your subconscious mind. But perhaps the ultimate mental training" technique is visualization. In one respect, affirmation and visualization are the same, because when you speak or think an affirmation first, that triggers a mental image, being as the human brain "thinks" in pictures.
You can use visualization to plant goals into your subconscious mind. You simply close your eyes, use your imagination and mentally create pictures and run movies of your desired results. For example, in your mind's eye, you can see . If repeated consistently with emotion, mental images are accepted by your subconscious as commands and this helps with changing habits, behavior and performance.
Although there are some new and creative ways to use visualization, (which you are about to learn), this is not a new technique. Visualization has been used formally in the fields of sports psychology and personal development for decades and philosophers have discussed it for centuries:
"If you want to reach your goal, you must 'see the reaching' in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal."
- Zig Ziglar
"The use of mental imagery is one of the strongest and most effective strategies for making something happen for you."
- Dr. Wayne Dyer
"Creative visualization is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life."
- Shakti Gawain
"Perhaps the most effective method of bringing the subconscious into practical action is through the process of making mental pictures - using the imagination."
- Claude Bristol
"There is a law in psychology that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you keep and hold that picture there long enough, you will soon become exactly as you have been thinking."
- William James, 1842-1910, Psychologist and Author
Despite these glowing endorsements and a long track record, some people can't get past feeling that this is just a "hokey" self-help technique. Rest assured, however, that visualization is an effective and time-tested method for increasing personal success that has been used by some of the highest achievers the world.
The Soviets started to popularize visualization in sports psychology back in the 1970's, as detailed in Charles Garfield's landmark book, "Peak Performance." They dominated in many sports during that period, which validated visualization anecdotally.
In the last 10-15 years, there has been some groundbreaking new brain research which has validated visualization scientifically. Here's something that was written recently by Dr. Richard Restak, a neuroscientist and author of 12 books about the human brain:
"The process of imagining yourself going through the motions of a complex musical or athletic performance activates brain areas that improve your performance. Brain scans have placed such intuitions on a firm neurological basis. Positron emission tomography (PET) scans reveal that the mental rehearsal of an action activates the prefontal areas of the brain responsible for the formulation of the appropriate motor programs. In practical terms, this means you can benefit from the use of mental imagery."
So much for visualization being a "cheesy" self-help technique.
Although visualization is widely used today, even people who are familiar with it often don't realize its many applications. Arguably the most common use of visualization is by athletes, musicians and other performers as a form of "mental rehearsal." Research shows that "practicing in your mind" is almost as effective as practicing physically, and that doing both is more effective than either one alone.
A common use of visualization in the fitness context is "goal visualization." In your mind's eye, you can see yourself having already achieved your physique goal or your ideal goal weight. You can also visualize a specific performance goal such as completing a difficult workout or a heavy lift like a squat or bench press.
One creative way you can use mental imagery is called "process visualization." Once you've set your goals, it's easy to come up with a list of the daily habits, behaviors and action steps necessary to reach your goal. So write down the action steps and visualize them - the entire process, not just the end result. See yourself food shopping and grabbing fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, ordering healthy foods from restaurant menus, saying no to sodas and drinking water instead, and going to the gym consistently and having killer workouts. Some people visualize their entire "perfect day" as they would want it to unfold. When you do this as vividly, emotionally and in as much detail as you can, you will be neurologically priming your brain to carry out those behaviors.
The least known of all mental imagery techniques is called "physiology visualization." An example would be picturing the fat burning process in your body or seeing the muscle fibers growing larger and larger. Using this technique, could it be possible that you might be giving subconscious instructions to your body's cells, organs and tissues?
Well, consider the work of Dr. Carl Simonton, a physician and cancer researcher who taught his patients (as one part of a comprehensive program), how to visualize powerful immune cells devouring the cancer cells. I'm not suggesting that you can cure cancer or materialize a lean and muscular body just by visualizing, (there's a step in between thought and manifestation - it's called action - a step that many self help 'experts' forget to mention). However, thoughts and mental images are the precursors to action and the fact that a mind-body connection definitely exists makes this an exciting prospect.
Scientists have established the mind-body link in many contexts, and not just by the existence of a placebo effect. There's also direct evidence as in the way emotional stress can contribute to physical disease. The mind does influence the body! The mere fact that a branch of science has been devoted to this area is proof that it deserves critical investigation and is not just the domain of infomercial self help gurus. The science is called psychoneuroimmunology.
Using "physiology visualization," you could, even in the middle of a workout, imagine the fat burning process taking place, and visualize fat being released from adipose tissue storage in your abdominal region or elsewhere. You could see the free fatty acids entering your bloodstream, being carried to the working muscles and being burned for energy in the muscle cells. You could also visualize the physiology of muscle growth.
To make your imagery as accurate and detailed as possible, my best suggestion is to refer to an anatomy & physiology textbook that shows pictures of fat cells, blood vessels, myofibrils, motor units, sarcomeres, and cell organelles like the mitochondria, so you know what the structures look like. You could also get more details about the processes by looking up lipolysis, hypertrophy or beta oxidation.
Even if you had no idea what the internal structure and workings of the body were like, you could still use this method. Your body responds to mental imagery even if it isn't anatomically correct. We know from the field of hypnosis that the subconscious mind responds well to metaphor – maybe even better than literal suggestions. Facts and logic are the domain of the conscious mind, while emotion and metaphor can slip right past the conscious and into the subconscious. Dr. Simonton often wrote about his young patients who created (metaphorical) mental images of immune system cells as "knights in shining armor", slaying "the dragon" of cancer cells.
One of your greatest mental powers is imagination. You can visualize anything you want and you can embellish and exaggerate your imagery as much as you want. For example, you could imagine the free fatty acids being burned for energy in the "cellular powerhouse" - the mitochondria - and you could imagine the mitochondria as a fiery furnace... "incinerating" the fat! I think it's a pretty cool idea to "see" your fat cells shrinking and visualize your body as a "fat burning furnace."
Should you not believe that there's anything to the physiology visualization technique, that's ok, because we know that the subconscious is deductive. Just give it a goal, tell it what you want and it will get you there automatically by altering your attention and behavior. Therefore, we can be confident that physiology visualization will be effective even if only as a subconscious directive about your desired goal. If science someday provides us with conclusive evidence that visualization actually does cause cellular - physiological changes in the body, well, that's just all the better.
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:44 AM PDT
How they lost 100 lbs or more is a topic that always gets a lot of attention and is very popular in the media. Whenever someone loses a lot of weight, there is always buzz from those who were inspired by hearing about these huge body fat losses and before/after transformations. I was inspired, too. But sometimes I think we focus too much on the almighty scale and body fat percentage and forget about something even more important…
Health is what psychologist Abraham Maslow called a deficiency need, which means that when you've lost it, getting it back is the only thing in the world that matters.
Unfortunately, two corollaries to this theory of human motivation are:
1. Most people won't lift a finger to improve their health until something bad happens (they have to hit "rock bottom" to change), and
2. When you've got your health, you tend to take it for granted.
That's why we need constant reminders to keep our focus on health and keep health right on top of our list of life values.
As you remind yourself of the importance of your health every day, it also pays to consider how you define it.
Fitness and transformation icon Shawn Phillips, author of Strength for Life, says that if your definition of health is merely the absence of disease, then subconsciously, the mere absence of disease means you've achieved your "goal."
Therefore, you feel no motivation and no need to move above and beyond that and strive towards…
"A life of ABUNDANT energy, vitality and strength."
We NEED these reminders.
That's why I get such a thrill when people send me success stories that are not just about the scale and body fat percentage, but ALSO about health and what that new-found health has done for a person's life.
A Before and After Success Story You Don't See Every Day (But Should)
For example, this success story comes from Burn the Fat reader Craig B:
"Tom, I visited my Dr. today and he was stunned at the change in my blood results. Check out this before and after:
Gaining muscle and losing fat is nice, but what could be better than gaining muscle, losing fat AND feeling your health, energy and vitality skyrocket!
As Craig shows us, tracking your health improvements, not just what you weigh, gives you another source of tremendous motivation and a feeling of empowerment.
You realize that you are in control of your body. You are the maker and master.
One final thought: It's a misconception that the "bodybuilding" lifestyle is in some way not healthy or doesn't dramatically IMPROVE your health
Nothing could be further from the truth, as Craig's results prove. Craig was not just doing aerobics - he was pumping iron and feeding the muscle, not starving himself.
If you do ANY kind of resistance training, you ARE a "body-builder" and a "health-builder."
When you do NATURAL bodybuilding, it's about looking great AND getting healthier. That's how I do it - naturally - and that's how I encourage others to do it in my Burn the Fat programs.
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:43 AM PDT
The word "visualization" sometimes conjures up images of new age gurus teaching esoteric techniques for personal enlightenment and "attracting" what you want into your life. This causes many evidence-based types to scoff. However, piles of research has shown that mental imagery (aka "visualization") can improve performance. The latest study suggests that a certain type of mental imagery can also increase your strength
Olympic champions and professional athletes have used visualization and mental rehearsal techniques for decades. Not only is visualization one of the most widely accepted techniques in sports psychology, it's supported by scientific research.
Nevertheless, many people remain skeptical.
Some people agree that mental rehearsal might enhance specific skills, like a golf swing or a basketball throw, but they question whether it could make you stronger, increase muscle growth or help you lose weight.
A new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests that indeed, mental imagery can make you stronger. This study also begins to explain how mental imagery works on a neurological level…
Twenty two sports students, with a mean age of about 20, participated in the 6-week long experiment. Prior to the study, none had done mental imagery before. The students were divided into a control group and a mental rehearsal group.
The goal was to see if mental imagery could increase bench press and leg press strength.
Each participant was given very specific instructions on how to perform the mental imagery. During the rest period between sets, they were to vividly imagine the exercise movement and the muscle contractions generated from each rep.
After 12 workout sessions, the mental imagery group had significantly increased their strength more than the control group, especially in the lower body (leg press).
The researchers concluded:
"The results provided evidence that mental imagery did contribute to improve strength of the leg muscles without any macroscopic structural change"
What they were saying is that the duration of the study wasn't long enough that there was any major muscle size increase, so they credited the strength increase to non morphological adaptations.
It's well known in exercise science that gains in strength occur from changes not just in the muscle fibers and surrounding tissues, but in the nervous system.
That gives us clues about how mental imagery works.
Put simply, mental training techniques, (since they're working with your brain/nervous system - as the name implies), can trigger some of the same neurological adaptations that occur from physical training.
Apparently, mental imagery can increase synchronization of motor units in muscles, having large corresponding cortical areas in the primary mortor cortex.
There are also psychological benefits, such as increased motivation, improved focus during the set, technique improvements, more confidence and less apprehension or anxiety. But clearly, there's more to this than just "psyching up."
Here's something else interesting. The researchers even suggested that mental imagery could decrease strength loss when athletes are inactive due to injury.
This recent study is a practical one because it gives us one specific technique that you can apply to your next workout: vividly imagine a successful lift for the upcoming set while you're resting between sets.
NOTE: it's important to mentally see (visualize) the exercise and mentally "FEEL" the muscle contraction. This is multi-sensory - both visual and kinesthetic.
In some of my previous articles, I talked about density training and superset training as excellent techniques for busy people because these methods reduce rest intervals, making the workout time efficient.
But the rest time between heavy sets doesn't have to be wasted - now you know what to do with that time…
Instead of chatting with your gym buddies, or scoping out the attractive bods in the gym, you can be mentally rehearsing your next set… and enjoying the strength increase that follows.
Most fat loss programs only focus on diet or physical training. If you want to learn more about how you can add "mental training" techniques to increase fat loss, muscle growth and muscular strength, then be sure to check out chapter one in my ebook, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle.
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:43 AM PDT
People are confused more than ever about how to burn fat. They are confused about the best way to go about achieving the body they want. They are confused about what works and what doesn't, and the reasons why. There are countless individuals slaving away in gyms and fitness centers around the country right now.
They are working tirelessly, almost every day, on the treadmill, stair-climber, elliptical, etc. to burn those calories and fat. They also might be lifting weights several times a week for hours at a time to build some strength and muscle. They might even join a few aerobics or spinning classes too.
They are probably also trying one of the latest diet strategies that promises miracle fat burning and weight loss. They could also be spending a lot of money on the latest and greatest dietary supplements that could be that miracle pill that will aid in weight loss. They are also carefully watching the scale as their main judge of fat loss progress.
If it goes up a pound or two, they may behave rashly and maybe even change up their entire workout or diet program! And of course there are others are doing variations on that same theme.
After all, this is the kind of stuff that many of the popular fitness and diet gurus typically recommend to burn fat. But with so many different strategies and plans being pushed as the be all and end all, what happens is we tend to overboard.
And when that happens, we lose sight of what really matters in achieving lifelong fat burning, fitness and health…the principles than many people don't know about, most people have forgotten, and only a select few put to use to achieve lifelong health and fitness. These are the same principles I used to drop over 40 pounds of unwanted body fat, keep it off, and revitalize my life!
With any exercise or nutrition program, you'll probably lose some fat initially, but far too often the progress doesn't continue or doesn't come as fast as the person would like because they're using a temporary mindset. They're only focused on the short term and one specific goal. So they end up switching to something else, and the cycle continues until they've become consumed by this cycle of confusion.
I believe that this is one of the biggest, if not the #1 reason for the lack of fat loss and fitness progress that is being experienced by the masses of exercisers and dieters in the world. They are jumping from one fad diet or exercise routine to another, while losing sight of what's really important, and what really works.
Simply put, they are exercising far too much, not nearly intensely enough, and trying to adhere to unrealistic diet recommendations.
If instead they focused on a long term plan, a lifestyle as it's often called, and didn't worry about "losing 10 pounds by summer", they would find it far easier to do the right things most of the time.
And those right things include brief, progressive, and intense resistance training, eating a diet full of nutrient rich foods, drinking tons of water, and getting plenty of quality sleep and rest. The students of my Fat Burning Furnace method understand this and are reaping the life long health and fitness rewards because of it. Are you?
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:41 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.
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.
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:40 AM PDT
I have no doubt that a scientist somewhere just read the title of this article and said out loud, "YES! Venuto is right! That little thing in your head – the hypothalamus – it IS the thing that is keeping you fat! By George, that Venuto guy isn't a dumb bodybuilder after all – he's been doing his research!" At which moment, I will be shaking my head and thinking, "you need to get out of the laboratory and into the real world, with real people, buddy." Okay, okay, to be fair, Neuro-endocrine control of appetite and body fat really is quite fascinating. But today, I'm talking about PSYCH-ology, not PHYSI-ology. The little thing in your head that's keeping you fat is actually just a….
Self-limiting beliefs are among the biggest problems that people deal with in their struggles to achieve a healthy ideal weight. They're also one of the reasons that so many people start to falter or fall off the diet and exercise wagon as early as late January or early February in their New Year's goal pursuits.
If you're that science guy I spoke of and you're about to bail because you're thinking, "Here we go again… another psycho-babble, self help article," then think again. A belief is the force behind the placebo effect, which is well known by every scientist and medical professional. A respected doctor gives a patient a pill and is told it's a powerful drug. The patient gets well immediately, not knowing that the "miraculous" substance was a dummy pill. Inert. Sugar. The miracle was in the mind.
But beliefs are not only involved in the mind-body connection, they are unconscious programs that control your behavior. The most important factor in whether you achieve the body and the health you want is NOT what diet or training program you follow. It's what makes you follow your diet and training program. And guess what? What you believe controls your behavior - whether you will stick with your program or sabotage it with cheating, bingeing or inconsistency.
What to do about limiting beliefs
Ok, so now you agree that beliefs are psychological factors that affect you physically by controlling your behavior, including your eating, exercising and lifestyle. What now? 3 steps. 2 questions.
STEP 1: IDENTIFY LIMITING BELIEFS
You are fully aware of many of your beliefs. For example, beliefs about spirituality or politics are usually in the front of your conscious mind.
But the beliefs that hold back your health and physical development the most are usually the ones you don't even know you have. They are like unconscious "brain software," running silently in the background.
So the first step is to bring those unconscious and potentially damaging beliefs up to the surface so you are aware of them. You can't fix a problem if you don't know you have one.
2 Quick Questions That Will Help Draw Out Your Beliefs
Beliefs can go back to childhood, but don't worry, you don't have to go to a psychotherapist and be regressed back to kindergarten. It's simpler than that. But it does pay to do this questioning process as a formal "exercise" with serious quiet time, with pen and paper (instead of just thinking about it).
Question #1: What causes me to be overweight (or unhealthy, or not having the body I want)?
Question #2: What's preventing me from getting leaner? (or healthier?)
Spend some time with it and see how big of a list you can create. Ask yourself whether each belief helps or hurts you. Does it move you forward or backward. Does it empower or disempower you? The ones that hurt you or hold you back will be obvious. You may come up with beliefs such as:
"I'm overweight and I can't get leaner because":
I have no time
But the million dollar question is: are these beliefs actually true?
Beliefs are not facts. You may hold your beliefs as absolute reality, but when you deconstruct them and challenge them, you may see that they don't hold any water.
Self limiting beliefs are false interpretations (negative thought patterns) that hold you back. And you keep holding on to them because making excuses and staying the same is a lot more convenient than changing, isn't it? Change requires hard work, effort and leaving your comfort zone.
Your mission now: weaken the limiting beliefs and get rid of them
STEP 2: CHALLENGE THOSE BELIEFS
How do you challenge a belief? 4 ways:
(A) Challenge it directly: Is the belief even valid at all? See if you can find a "counter example" that disproves your belief. For example; if you think that after you've had 3 or 4 kids, it's impossible to get a nice flat stomach, what will you say after I introduce you to a dozen of my clients and readers who had 3 or 4 kids and went from bulging belly to rock-hard flat stomach? If they did it, then how could your belief be valid? Answer: It WASN'T! You believed something false and inaccurate and it was holding you back!
(B) Challenge the source: Is it your belief, or have you been living what your parents, peers or culture handed down to you? Just the realization that a belief wasn't yours to begin with is enough to shatter it.
(C) Challenge the usefulness of the belief: Ok, so you believed something when you were younger. Does still believing it has any usefulness today? Does it help you move closer to what you want in your life today? If not, then wouldn't today be a good time to get rid of it?
(D) Challenging the belief by weighing the consequences: If you keep this belief, what is it going to cost you? What will the pain be like? What will you miss? And what will these consequences be if you don't change it NOW?
STEP 3: INSTALL A NEW BELIEF
Nature abhors a vacuum, as Spinoza once said. You don't simply get rid of a belief, you must also replace it. What things would you want and need to believe instead that would create positive behaviors that would move you toward your goal? Write them down, then massage them into an affirmation. For example, if you've hung your hat on the belief that you didn't have time to exercise, could you write a new affirmation of belief similar to this?
"I'm a very busy person, so that means I must set clear priorities and I must keep my health and body on the top of my priority list. I always schedule time for my most important priorities, I am efficient with my training, and I use every minute of my day wisely. And if Barack Obama, the busiest person in the world, can train for 45 minutes a day 6 days a week, there's no excuse for me. I can do it too."
Write down your new belief affirmations and read them, right along with your goals, every day.
Then "activate" this affirmation by doing what Olympic and professional athletes do: engaging in mental rehearsal. Visualize yourself carrying out the behaviors that this belief would generate. Think about and feel what it would be like to take those positive actions steps and play mental movies of how your life would change by doing so. Involve all your senses: see it, hear it, feel it.
Keep it up until you start to see your behavior change and your habitual actions come into alignment with your goals/intentions. If you're diligent, you'll see changes in attitude and behavior with 21-30 days. It may happen sooner. It may take longer if you've carried deep, lifelong limiting beliefs. But in less than a month, the roots of the new belief pattern will be formed.
Then you can update your goals and affirmations to reflect your current priorities and move on to the next goal you want to achieve or the next limiting belief you want to change. Keep THAT up, and pretty soon, you will be LIMIT-LESS!
BELIEVE ME, spending quality time understanding and working on your beliefs is a lot more productive than spending time in forums arguing about whether a low carb program is better than a high carb program… or even whether the cure for obesity is found in the arcuate nucleus of the lower hypothalamus. It's in your head all right… but most people have been looking in the wrong place.
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:38 AM PDT
Why do new year's resolutions usually fail? Why do you start with guns blazing on January 1st, but by February, you're losing motivation, cheating on your diet, skipping workouts, and slipping back into old patterns? John LaValle, a master trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) suggests that we should take a closer look at the meaning behind the word "Resolution." Being derived from the word "re-solve," it really means "to solve again." And isn't that exactly what happens? You solve the same problem again and again, year after year?
You know what I'm talking about… That 20 pounds you lost last year, and promptly gained it right back… you are now resolving to take it off again aren't you? The very nature of the word resolution implies gaining it back again.
Suggestion: don't make resolutions. Set SMARTER goals.
Resolutions aren't real goals. They're more like wishes, and wishes are wishy-washy. A wish becomes a goal the moment you put it in writing. When you write your goals in a certain way, following scientific principles of success psychology, you'll skyrocket your chances of getting what you want this year… and keeping it.
One of the most tried and true methods for goal achievement is the SMART goals formula. If you searched the net for SMART goals, you would probably find a dozen different variations on the SMART goal acronym. Here's my version of SMART goals, along with a little extra to make them even SMART-ER.
1. Specific. Set goals with clarity. Your mind does not respond well to vague generalities. If you say your goal is to lose weight and then you lose one pound, then you've reached your goal. Is that what you really wanted? Get clear. Be precise. Be specific.
2. Measurable. Set goals that can be quantified in measurable units such as pounds, body fat percentage, lean body mass, inches and clothing sizes. Performance goals can include strength (lbs or kilos lifted) and repetitions completed. Don't forget to include health goals as well, such as blood pressure and blood lipids.
3. Accountable. Set goals you can be held accountable to. First be accountable to yourself by using a weekly progress chart, a daily nutrition diary and a training journal. Then double your motivation with external accountability and submit your results and journals to someone else who will hold you to your commitments.
4. Realistic. Set goals that are attainable and maintainable. If you lose two pounds of fat per week, you are doing awesome. 30 pounds in 30 days sounds great in the advertisements, but it is not typical, and rapid weight loss is likely to consist of muscle and water, not fat, and is nearly impossible to maintain.
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:37 AM PDT
Marketing as an activity is all about reaching the right customers with the right products, and the result sought is delighted customers who are more than willing to open their purses wide enough to boost your revenues. For many years, marketers stalked their target customers through various means and by trying to get their message across to spread awareness about their wares.
Traditional Means of Communication
Traditionally, marketing communications were conducted via print, broadcast and such traditional media through disruptive advertising, where advertisements appear in between the content of interest for the customer.
Traditional media does give a large reach to a marketer with its programming of mass appeal. However, the wastage is equally high, since a large portion of the audience would belong to a different segment than the one that is to be targeted by the marketer.
Enter Social Media and the Internet
The revolution stirred by the internet as a medium took place because of the fact that it is highly personalized and provides more content on-demand than any other available medium. Social sites proliferated far and wide in their usage for a few simple reasons:
The power to create and distribute content is equally available to every user, irrespective of him/her being a customer or a marketer. In the earlier forms of media, that power rested with the editorial staff of the channel or the advertiser, but hardly ever with the user.
The medium is completely personalized, and a user can create or join groups and further create content based on what he/she likes.
Opinions are free and fair. This is one reason why social media is of utmost concern to marketers, since buying decisions are no more influenced as much by advertisements. The traditional word-of-mouth marketing approach has grown leaps and bounds on social networks.
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:37 AM PDT
My mom makes the most amazing Christmas cake in the world; it's been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember. First, she mixes up a light, fluffy, vanilla cake mix, pours it into the pans and then pops it in the oven. After it's been baked, she stacks the cake in two layers with whipped cream spread generously between each layer. She then pours on red and green Jell-O, which gets soaked up inside the cake. Next, whipped cream is smothered all the way around for frosting. And finally, she garnishes it with red and green sprinkles. A few red and green-striped candy canes are stuck in the top as the finishing touch, and off it goes to the refrigerator so it can be served chilled later.
Now let me tell you, as a bodybuilder, I have a lot of discipline. But when that moist, delicious, red and green, Jell-O-filled, whipped-cream covered cake is sitting on the table in front of me on December 25th, it takes every ounce of my willpower to keep from calling it a "VERY high carb day" and devouring numerous very large slices.
Despite the temptation, I don't "pig out" nor do I deprive myself. Instead, I'm content with eating my single piece, savoring every mouthwatering bite, all the while repeating my mantra, "Nothing tastes as good as being lean feels."
The next day, on December 26th, I'm on the bike or Stairmaster at the crack of dawn, followed by six perfect meals of lean protein and complex carbohydrate - just like every other day of the year.
A week later, on December 31st, I usually go out for a nice dinner (very naughty food, I must admit), and then we toast champagne to the New Year at midnight. I'm in bed at a reasonable hour shortly thereafter.
Unless it's a scheduled day of rest on New Years day, I'm not groggy and hung over like many of my friends are. I'm in the gym squatting, bench pressing, curling, or "stairmastering" just like I usually am.
And here's the point: You can and should enjoy the holidays. You can enjoy being with family and going out with friends. You can go to holiday parties and have fun. You can enjoy a few "naughty" meals. You can have a piece of cake and a glass or two of champagne. There's no reason why you can't enjoy yourself AND stay healthy, lean and fit through the holidays. All it takes is some planning, some goal-setting and little dose of old-fashioned discipline.
I'd like to share with you 10 ways that you can follow your diet and stay in great shape over the holidays without turning into a "miserable Scrooge." If you follow this advice, then you'll be one of the proud few with a New Year's resolution to be the best you've ever been in the new year to come - instead of one of the guilt-ridden many who must resolve to reclaim what they lost over the year that's just passed them by.
1. Expect to stay on your program over the holidays
"Fail to plan and you plan to fail" is a time worn and cliché statement, but it's still some of the best success advice you will ever hear.
Not only do most people fail to plan, they consciously plan to fail over the holidays. Most people expect to "blow" their diet and skip workouts over the holidays. They expect to eat more, to exercise less and to gain weight. As a result, they don't even make the effort.
Instead of taking control, they resign themselves to maintenance at best, or back-sliding at worst. This negative expectancy leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. By the first week of January, they're in the worst shape they've been in for a year and they frantically make New Year's resolutions to shed the excess fat they've gained.
You can avoid this trap by planning to succeed during the holidays. Set up a positive expectation. Resolve now that you will not tolerate slipping backwards. Keep your standards up and don't settle! Not only can you plan to "stay in shape" over the holidays, you can plan to improve! All you have to do is make the decision and expect success.
2. Plan all your workouts in advance
You know your schedule is going to get hectic over the holidays. You'll be cooking, shopping, wrapping gifts, sending cards, going to parties, traveling, visiting family, and so on. To stay on your training and nutrition regimen is definitely going to take some sound time management skills.
Plan your schedule in advance. Anticipate what's coming up. Write it down. Put it on your calendar. By doing so, you won't be caught unprepared.
Use a schedule book or monthly calendar and "make appointments" for ALL your workouts for the entire holiday season. Then, post a copy where you will be forced to look at it every day. This is a powerful exercise that will keep you focused and force you to think about and prepare for each upcoming workout.
If you try to "wing it" and squeeze in your workouts and meals whenever you have time left over, you'll find that there never is any time left over! Somehow your daily activities always seem to "expand" to fill the hours in every day. So schedule your workouts and meal times in your calendar just like you would any other appointment or event. Once you've done that, stick to your schedule religiously.
3. Set some compelling training and fitness goals over the holiday period
Don't wait until January 1st to set your goals just because you think it will be harder to achieve them over the holidays. On the contrary, studies on personal achievement have shown that you'll usually reach 80% of the goals you put onto paper. The problem is that few people set any goals at all, and fewer still set them during the holidays.
Why wait? Why not do it now? Set some big goals that you can start working on during the holidays:
Set a goal to lose the 25 lbs you've always wanted to lose NOW Set the goal to gain 10 lbs of solid muscle NOW Been contemplating a competition in bodybuilding, fitness or the new ladies figure division? Pick an early spring show and GO FOR IT - START TRAINING NOW!
Goal setting should not be a once a year affair, it should be a continuous process. You should always have your goals in writing and your list should be regularly updated and rewritten. If you only set goals once a year, you're not going to accomplish much in your life.
4. Give yourself permission to have "free meals" - and schedule them in
A planned "free meal" or "re-feeding day" helps you to stay on your program better in the long run. If you're too strict all the time, you're setting yourself up for cravings and binge eating.
A few free meals per week will have very little effect on your physique. Also, if you've been on a strict, low carb and/or low calorie regimen for a long time, a full day of maintenance level calories might actually be good for you! It will boost your metabolic rate and give your body the signal that you're not starving and that it's ok to keep burning a lot of calories.
Over the holidays, schedule your dinners and parties so they become your "free meals." Then, for the rest of your meals, be steadfast! Just the fact that you know you have free meals coming up will relieve the pressure of staying on a strict diet for a long time.
Also, when you do have your free meal – ENJOY IT! If you're going to eat it and feel guilty, then don't have it at all. If you've stayed with the program all week long, then when your free meal rolls around, you deserve it!
5. If you fall off the wagon, get right back on it
So you had about a dozen too many of those Christmas cookies did you? Don't worry; because you have free meals built into your plan, you shouldn't let guilt immobilize you. Even if you fall completely off the wagon, don't beat yourself up. All you have to do is get right back on your program without missing another beat.
Too many people mess up once and then think their entire diet is ruined. They feel as if everything they've done prior to that day was wasted and there's no sense going on. Or even worse, they rationalize to themselves, "Well, I already cheated, so it doesn't matter now, I might as well keep pigging out."
That's nonsense. If you threw in the towel every time you didn't score 100% on your diet, most people would never get through more than a few days on any structured program. Just because you slip up once doesn't mean you should quit! You're only human. Don't let one small slip keep you derailed. Firmly plant your wheels back on the tracks and start rolling again.
6. Maintain your consistent eating schedule
If there's one thing that all people who successfully get lean and stay lean have in common, it's consistency. Without it, you never get any momentum going. It's like taking two steps forward, only to take three steps back.
Many people allow the busy holidays to throw them off their regular eating schedule. They completely veer off their usual meal frequency, or they start eating foods they would normally never eat (because "it's there").
Once you have a habit or pattern going, it's fairly easy to keep it going. But once you lose momentum, it's very difficult to get it going again because you must overcome inertia all over again. (An object at rest tends to stay at rest!)
On the major holidays, when there's a big dinner scheduled, many people think that skipping their morning and afternoon meals to "save room" for the big one later is a good idea. It's not. This is actually a good way to invite a binge that could set your back for days.
Don't lose your consistency or your momentum. Continue with your pattern of eating small, frequent meals all year round. All you have to do is count your holiday dinners as one of your regular meals and keep them small.
7. Control your portion sizes
You can have your cake and eat it too – you just can't eat the whole thing! One of the most important rules to remember this holiday season is the law of energy balance, which states: To lose body fat, you must consume fewer calories than you burn up each day.
There are two corollaries to the law of energy balance:
1. A caloric surplus gets stored as fat – even healthy food.
2. Small amounts of anything – even junk food – will NOT get stored as fat if you stay in a calorie deficit.
There's no reason to deprive yourself of things you enjoy. Just make sure you don't overindulge. As long as you enjoy your favorite foods in moderation, and you keep working out, it won't end up around your waistline.
8. Don't buy into the low standards and expectations of others
Keep your standards high, but don't expect other people's standards to be as high as yours. Remember that most people have already planned in advance to fail at fitness over the holidays. You've decided to stay strong (haven't you?) Don't let their negative influence drag you down.
When you've reached your pre-ordained drink limit, say "When" and switch to water or a non alcoholic, non caloric beverage. When they offer you seconds on dessert, politely say, "No thank you, it was absolutely delicious, but I'm full, I can't eat another bite." And when the wee hours of the morning start to roll around, and your friends are egging you on to keep partying, politely tell them you need your sleep. Tomorrow is a work out day. If they're really your friends, they'll understand.
9. Make the best choices possible in every situation.
You know those tables you see at holiday parties that are covered with yards of chips, dips, pretzels, cookies, salami, candies, punch, liquor, and a seemingly endless assortment of other goodies? Well, did you also notice that there is usually a tray full of carrot sticks, cauliflower, celery and other healthy snacks too?
No matter where you are, you always have choices. Sometimes you have to choose between bad and worse. Other times you can choose between good and better. But always make the best choice possible based on whatever your options are. If nothing else, you can choose to eat a small portion of something "bad" rather than a huge portion, thereby obeying the law of calorie balance.
Chances are good that there's probably something healthy on the menu at every holiday gathering. As you know, lean proteins and fibrous carbs are a great for getting lean, so fill up on the turkey breast, try to get a vegetable in there, and go easy on the desserts.
10. If you drink, enjoy alcohol in moderation
If you enjoy having a few drinks on special occasions, then go ahead and have a drink or two. But if you're serious about your fitness goals, then drink infrequently and in moderation. Alcohol puts fat oxidation on hold while providing a large amount of calories. When there's alcohol in your bloodstream, you're not in fat burning mode.
I've never met anyone who was truly serious about fat loss or bodybuilding who was a heavy drinker. Alcohol and muscles just don't mix. The impact goes beyond added body fat; your energy levels and workouts can be affected for days after a night of heavy drinking. A glass of wine may have health benefits, but there's never any reason or excuse for binge drinking or getting drunk.
So go ahead and toast to the New Year, but know when to say when.
In conclusion, there's no reason to let your exercise and nutrition program spoil your holidays, but there's also no reason to let your holidays spoil your exercise and nutrition program! Put these 10 holiday tips into practice and you can start losing fat today, not next year.
Posted: 21 Oct 2011 05:36 AM PDT
Back "in the day" when I was a full time personal trainer and I met with weight loss clients in person at my New Jersey Health Club, the first thing I would always ask during the initial consultation was:
"Tell me what you want... and I'll show you how to get it."
Typical reply from client:
"I want to lose 20 pounds fast."
"Are you SURE that's what you want? ...If I can show you how to lose 20 pounds REALLY fast, will that make you happy?"
They nodded their head affirmatively as their eyes lit up in anticipation of the rapid weight loss secrets I was about to reveal...
Their face went white when - with a totally straight face – I pulled out a hacksaw and started walking towards them.... menacingly.
Not sure whether to laugh or run in sheer terror, they said,
"What the heck are you doing?"
"You said you wanted to lose 20 pounds fast. This is the easiest, surest, most effective way I know to take 20 pounds off you FAST! In fact, I figure that right leg of yours might even weigh 25 pounds!"
I kept walking closer and started to get into sawing position, wielding my fast, effective and guaranteed weight loss tool...
"Bear with me because this IS quick, but sometimes it takes a few minutes for me to cut through the bone."
By this time, my client (and I) are either completely cracking up, I have seriously scared the living you know what out of them, or they just think I'm a complete lunatic... (depends on whether I was able to keep a straight face or not)
Finally, the light bulb goes on, and my client would see where I was going with this:
"Okay, smart alec," I get it... I don't want to lose WEIGHT, I want to lose FAT."
Sometimes I would be having so much fun, I would just keep on playin'...
"But why not? This is easy, fast and guaranteed - just what everyone wants these days... it's even better than taking a pill! Come on... let me hack it off! You'll be my next testimonial: 'I lost 20 pounds in 5 minutes!' Imagine what that will do for my business!"
"Very funny. I told you, I get it! I want to lose FAT, not muscles and bones. I need my leg!"
Naturally, of course, I don't always have to pull out my trusty blade. Every once in a while... about as often as a total solar eclipse... a client answers my question like this:
"What do I want? Tom, I want to lose 20 pounds of body fat in the next 12 weeks. I want to do it slowly, safely and healthfully and then keep it off permanently. I want all the fat around my hips and thighs completely gone and I want a firm flat stomach. I want muscle all over my body while still looking feminine. I'd like to see myself at about 16% body fat and maintain all my muscle or gain a few pounds of lean mass if I can, especially in my arms. This is important to me because I want to set a good example for my kids, I want to be healthy and live to at least 90 and I want my husband to look at me and say, "I love your body," and I want to be able to *honestly* say back to him, "me too!"
It is on these rare occasions that I know there is still intelligent life on this planet.
If you could answer the question, "What do you want" with the lucidity, clarity and specificity that this woman did, I don't think you would ever have any difficulty reaching your health and fitness goals... or any other goal in your life, for that matter.
Her answer was what you call a very "well-formed" goal, backed up with lots of emotional motivation-inducing "reasons why."
"I want to lose weight" is a poorly-formed goal.
"Weight" is not the same as "fat." Weight includes muscle, bone, internal organs as well as lots and lots of water.
If you only learn ONE thing from all my newsletters, articles and books, PLEASE learn this:
WHAT YOU REALLY WANT IS TO BURN THE FAT, WHILE KEEPING THE MUSCLE!!!!
FAT LOSS is what you want, not weight loss.
If your body were 100% rock-solid muscle, with absolutely nothing that jiggled (unless it was supposed to), would you care how much you weighed?
I bet you wouldn't! And if that's true, then…
STOP WORSHIPPING THE SCALE AND START MEASURING YOUR BODY COMPOSITION!
By measuring your body fat, you take the guesswork out of your health and fitness plan and you get an accurate picture of what's really happening in your body as a result of your diet and exercise program.
Instead of worrying about whether you are losing muscle, or wondering if you are losing fat, you can measure it and KNOW for sure. (I always get a good chuckle when someone tells me they're worried about losing muscle when they don't even measure how much muscle they have!)
Instead of being confused by all the "opinions" from weight loss and exercise "experts" who are all telling you something different, you can MEASURE your body composition and based on the results, you can KNOW for sure whether your program is working.
A very wise man once said,
"A single measurement is worth a thousand opinions."
So, how do you measure body fat?
Thanks to technology, there are some methods today that are so accurate, they can tell you whether your left pinky has more fat than your right pinky! Unfortunately, many of them are either too expensive or they are inaccessible, being found only in hospitals or research facilities
If you want to learn a LOT about various body fat testing methods, chapter 3 of my e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle goes into great detail about the pros and cons of all the various fat testing methods. Instead of re-hashing it all here, let me give you three quick and easy, practical suggestions:
Suggestion 1: Have a trainer or fitness professional measure you if this service is available at your local health club. Sometimes, there's a charge - usually $15 - $25, although some clubs offer the service for free to all their members.
Suggestion 2: Purchase an Accu-measure skinfold caliper. Do a google or yahoo search to find a reseller.
The Accu-measure was designed to allow you to measure your own body fat in the privacy of your own home (you don't need someone else to measure you)
Some people wonder if this is really accurate. Truth is, it's not quite as accurate as a multi site skinfold test from an experienced tester, but what's most important is not the "accuracy" per se, but the reliability and consistency of your measurements so you can track your progress. Skinfold calipers in general are not accurate or inaccurate, it's the person doing the test that is accurate or inaccurate.
Suggestion 3: If you have a spouse, roommate, or friend who can measure your body fat, you can purchase a Slim Guide body fat caliper (or just about any brand of caliper) from Creative Health Products: chponline.com
The Slimguide is the best inexpensive caliper available (about $20), but it wasn't designed for you to measure your own body fat like the Accu Measure. You'll need someone to measure you with this caliper. Other models of body fat calipers (if you want to splurge), range from $150 to $450. (At our health clubs, I use the electronic "SKYNDEX" caliper with the 4-site "Durnin formula.")
The calipers come with instructions, or you can use these formulas, which I have used and found to be very accurate:
4 Site formula for men (abdomen, suprailiac, thigh, tricep)
% fat = .29288(sum of 4 skinfolds) - 0.0005(sum of four skinfolds squared) + 0.15845(age) - 5.76377
4-Site Formula for women (abdomen, suprailiac, thigh, tricep)
% Fat = (.29669)(sum of 4 skinfolds) - (.00043)(Sum of four skinfolds squared) + .02963(age) + 1.4072
[Source: Jackson A S, Pollock, M (1985) Practical assessment of body composition. Physician Sport Med. 13: 76-90.]
Body fat percentages vary based on age and gender, but 20-25% body fat is average for women (15-19% is ideal), while 15-20% is average for men (10-14% is ideal). I have detailed charts for body fat charts in my e-book if you're interested.
Once you know your body fat percentage, then weigh yourself and record your weight and body fat on a progress chart such as the one found in my Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle Program (a fat loss program, not a weight loss program). This chart is how you will track your progress and "keep score."
You can calculate your lean body mass (muscle and other fat free tissue) very easily just by crunching some numbers:
For example, if you weigh 200 pounds and you have 10% body fat then you have 20 pounds of fat (10% of 200 = 20). That means you have a lean body mass (LBM) of 180 pounds.
Now we're talking! With this data, you can get a really clear picture of how your exercise and nutrition program are affecting your physique.
Losing weight is very easy. Losing fat - and keeping it off without losing muscle - is a much bigger challenge. If you simply wanted to lose weight, we could just chop off your leg.
Or, (slightly less painful), I could show you how to drop 10 - 15 pounds over the weekend just by dehydrating yourself and using natural herbal diuretics. Wrestlers do it all the time to make a weight class. But what good would that do if it's almost all water and you're just going to gain it all back within days?
You don't have to "throw away your scale" like many "experts" tell you to. By all means, keep using the scale, the tape measure and even photographs and the mirror - the more feedback the better - but body fat is where it's at.
By the way, I recently bought a chain saw and a shiny new axe from Home Depot, and I've been practicing my "American Psycho" and Jack Nicholson, "The Shining" impersonations... so if you want to come to my office any time soon for personal consultation, you'd better have the right answer to my question, "What do you want?"
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