Do You Want To Achieve A Lean, Strong and Sexy Body To Attract The Opposite Sex?
If you said yes, theres a few things you should know:
- The best diet to burn body fat
- The best resistance training program to build lean muscle and strength
If you said yes, theres a few things you should know:
Before: 123 lbs waist measurement : 73.66
After, Week 6: 125.5 lbs Waist Measurement :69.85
This is my friend and client Jessie, who was interested in building some muscle. Naturally he asked me and I hooked him up. As a newbie to the gym, I put Jessie on phase 1 of my strenghotrophy book which is nearing completion.
He trained 3 x per week for about an hour each time. My consultations last 12 weeks, but I was so impressed with his 6 weeks update, I thought I would share this with you guys to show you what is possible if you follow proper advice and not fluff advice that most other websites offer.
As a true beginner, Jessie experienced the newbie effect. This is where gains in strength and muscle occur alongside a reduction in body fat. This is why his scale weight didn’t go up by much, but he looks a lot better in his pictures.
Deadlift: 82.5lbs/37.5kg x 5 reps -> 187lbs/84.5kg x 5 reps
Squat: 127lbs/57.5kg x 6 reps -> 193lbs/87.5kg x 6 reps
Bench Press: 105lbs/47.5kg x 5 reps -> 132lbs/60kg x 6 reps
Chin Ups: 15 reps bodyweight -> bodyweight + 33lbs/15kg x 6 reps
Military Press: 50lbs/22.5kg x 5 reps -> 94lbs/42.5kg x 6 reps
As you can see,his strength has gone up significantly. This can be attributed mainly to reprogramming his central nervous system. But, this is made possible by performing full body workouts where you get frequent practice in the big lifts. You won’t get this strong if you follow a fluff routine from a fitness magazine or mediocre website.
Anyways, if you was impressed by that transformation, maybe you would like a consultation. If you do, hit me up within 3 days of this being published and you will get a special discount.
Here’s the link to my consultation page.
If you were motivated by this success story, I recommend you share it with your friends or share it on facebook and twitter.
P.S. A bit of advice. The fitness industry is full of marketers, many who are not very well educated in the fitness field. If you want good advice, follow people who walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
It’s time I deconstruct the paleo diet.
The paleo diet sucks for body recomposition.
People lose weight on it and report feeling healthier.
Carbs are non-essential in anyone’s diet. And by non-essential I don’t mean you don’t need them. Just the body can make glucose by itself unlike essential fatty acids and essential amino acids.
So what’s my issue with the paleo diet? Let’s find out.
What is the Paleo Diet?
Taken straight from the authority figure of the paleo diet ‘Dr. Lauren Cordain’s’ website, we can define the paleo diet as emphasing certain foods while excluding certain foods.
From a review paper by Cordain and others, the following foods are also off the menu:
Why only these foods?
The claim is that agriculture only came in 10,000 years ago, so any food that is produced from agriculture is simply incompatible with the human body.
So as you can see, the paleo diet heavily emphasises non-processed foods, which is a good thing.
Looking at the paleo diet so far, it seems to be a pretty good diet.
With the paleo diets heavy emphasis on lean meat over fattier cuts this is beneficial in terms of calories. Fattier cuts obviously have more calories due to the fat content and those trying to lose weight this makes it easier.
Fattier cuts of meat are also more likely to be higher in saturated fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids and lower in omega-3 fatty acids, which isn’t ideal for your cardiovascular health.
Animal proteins are of higher quality than vegetable proteins as all the essential amino acids are present in higher qualities. Along with essentil fatty acids, they’re present in proper proportions and ratios.
Vegetable proteins are incomplete, and vegetarians and vegans have to combine foods to make sure they get the complete set of essential amino acids. In my opinion, eating a piece of meat is easier.
The reduction of added sugar is also a good thing from a calorie standpoint as they are basically empty calories.
Replacing added sugar with fruit and veg is a good idea. There are many studies which correlate higher intakes of fruit and veg with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
Nuts can also improve blood lipid profiles and reduce cardiovascular risk factors.
Eating fish or fish oil can Increase omega 3 can also improve blood lipids and blood pressure and prevent a range of cardiovascular diseases.
Partially hydogrenated oils rich in trans fat can have a severe impact on multiple cardiovascular risk factors.
So with all these good things how could I possibly criticise the paleo diet?
I mentioned that the paleo diet can work for weight loss, but it is not because of the paleo diet. Just like any other diet, the main reason for weight loss is that it restricts calories in some way and puts you in a negative energy balance.
Slashing an entire macronutrient (carbohydrates) is going to make overeating very difficult. Cutting carbs also means you are likely to replace these with protein which can blunt hunger for many people. Protein also helps maintain/build muscle mass.
So clearly the paleo diet can work for weight loss and is also a pretty healthy diet. Now let me tell you why it sucks.
Clearly the paleo diet doesn’t suck because of the foods on the list. The reasons I say it sucks is because of the foods it excludes. Not only are they excluded, but they are heavily condemned as bad which is simply not true for everyone.
One of the key ideas behind the paleo diet is that you should avoid foods that wern’t available to our prehistoric ancestors. They state that grain consumption only started about 10,000 years ago.
A recent archaeological discovery challenges this theory. Mercader found a large amount of starch granules from the surfaces of tools dating back to the Middle Stone Age, which would indicate that early homo sapiens relied on grass seeds at least 105,000 years ago.
Whole grain cereals, were found to lower risk factors for coronary heart disease. Do bare in mind however that the trial periods were short and most of the studies were funded by commercial sponsors says nutrition expert Alan Aragon in his monthly research review.
In saying that, alot of people struggle digesting grains. Most of these problems have nothing to do with the starch component of grains but rather gluten which is the protein component of grains.
Gluten is found in wheat, rye and barley and is highly problematic for some people.
For people with coeliac disease, which is an immune reaction, a severe allergic reaction to gluten. Another problem coeliacs suffer from if eating gluten is malabsorption. Essential nutrients are simply not absorbed by the body. This can lead to malnutrition.
Then there is gluten intolerance, which is pretty much a milder version of coeliac disease. Symptoms for me included bloating, gas and fatigue.
Since going gluten free, these symptoms have subsided and I feel alive again. I experimented with my diet and ate gluten again and the feeling of fatigue reared its ugly head fairly quickly.
Transitioning to a gluten free diet was quite difficult for me. My previous diet was filled with gluten, so to help with the transition I bought a book called the paleo recipe book. It has some great recipes, including delicious deserts.
The best way to find out if you have gluten intolerance is to simply go gluten free for a few weeks, and then slowly introduce gluten back into your diet and see how it makes you feel.
As you will find out later on in the article, I am not full paleo. I do eat rice, potatoes and sweet potatoes, which are off the menu in the paleo diet.I do also on occasions eat processed foods such as snickers, M&M peanuts and ice cream after training.
I also don’t recommend excluding gluten grains if you can digest them. Just because I can’t digest it, it doesn’t mean YOU can’t. This is where a lot of so called fitness gurus go wrong, they project there misfortunes on everyone else.
Continuing on; another food that didn’t make the paleo list is dairy which has evidence for improving bone health, muscle mass and strength and weight management.
As Alan Aragon says, you can eat the cow, but can’t drink the building blocks that made the cow? It is silly to avoid dairy if you have no problem digesting it.
For those who are lactose intolerant, dairy is going to be off the menu unless you want to suffer the side effects. I am lactose intolerant so I limit my dairy intake.
I take a protein powder to meet my protein intake, and this doesn’t seem to trouble me too much. I simply take it with water.
If your body can digest dairy, eat it. Dairy has many health benefits as mentioned earlier and is great for muscle building.
The paleo diet can be a blessing for sedentary individuals, but the game changes when changing your body composition is involved.
Now in terms of body composition, the paleo diet sucks for the following reasons.
When it comes to transforming your body, it is a good idea to perform resistance training. Resistance training is anaerobic in nature which means glucose is the energy source used.
If you cut out carbs to near nothingness, your body will simply not have enough glycogen stored, to break down into glucose and fuel your workout.
This is a bad strategy for fat loss. When losing fat, maintenance of muscle mass is crucial to prevent metabolic slowdown.
Not having enough glucose will lead to poor performances in the gym. Losing strength will lead to muscle loss. Not to forget that having low glycogen levels, the body will turn to breaking down amino acids to provide the necessary glucose through a conversion process.
Intense resistance training is catabolic in nature, and you need to deal with that by providing an anabolic environment after training. We do this by eating carbohydrates and triggering the insulin response, which is good for repairing muscle damage.
Nuts are treated like God in the paleo diet, but the problem with nuts is that they are very calorie dense and very easy to overfeed on. When on a diet, this can be problematic as it may put you over your calorie allowance.
When it comes to building lean muscle, the paleo diet is simply not going to be optimal. I advocate a small surplus to build muscle, but even achieving this small surplus is going to be hard with the lack of food choices in the paleo diet.
When bulking, as most bodybuilders can attest to, eating non-processed foods all the time is going to be hard to reach your calorie goals.
Eating some processed foods which are calorie dense can help with this goal. This is a reason I keep a snickers bar handy on training days. A quick 300 calories.
The other issue is that you simply need carbohydrates to fuel your workout as mentioned earlier. You also need carbs even more for recovery when building mass as volume goes up.
Luckily I don’t have to, as fat loss expert Nate Miyaki has already done that. His approach is called Intermittent Feast.
Intermittent Feast involves eating less starchy carbs in the day, and eating more starchy carbs at night. These starches are potatoes, sweet potatoes and rice which I mentioned I eat earlier.
I strongly encourage Intermittent Feast if you are after fat loss and maintaining muscle, and also maintaining your libido.
Are you going to try Nate Miyaki’s Intermittent Feast?
Intermittent Feast comes in PDF format and also has a video series for those who don’t like to read.
So as you can see, the paleo diet isn’t all that bad, but the foods it excludes can make transforming your body a difficult process. If you can digest the excluded foods,include them in your diet if you like them. if you can’t, don’t worry.
Most people can digest rice, potatoes and sweet potatoes which are very minimally processed and these are a staple in my diet.
Here is some food for thought.
Why do some paleo advocates sell protein powders? Which I may add, are processed?
Let me know if you think this is hypocritical in the comments section.
P.S. If you know anyone who could benefit from this article, take a second and send them a link to this article. You’ll be helping me… and THEM!
With the new year just gone a few weeks ago, a lot of you will have made New Years resolutions and by now actively getting closer to your goals or just completely forgot about them by now.
How has 2013 been treating you so far in terms of your goals?
If you have been suffering with your goals, this post is definitely going to help you out.
In this post I will talk about why goals are important, the number one thing you must do before you even set a goal and then how to actually set the goals.
Why Goals Are Important
To me, goals are super important. They are also important to many, many people in the world, but why exactly? To me, not having a goal is like trying to hit a target with a blindfold on. Sure, it can be done but wouldn’t you prefer to be able to see your target?
Setting a plan without a goal is much like the analogy above, and action without proper planning, probably goes a long way in explaining why you are not reaching your goals.
Goals when properly entered into your mental focus provide a much clearer path and lead to taking the RIGHT course of action.
Now you know why goals are important, you must know this one SECRET that will take your goals that much further.
Before you even attempt to reach your goal, you must have a burning desire to reach it.
Gaining muscle for the ladies starts off as decent motivation, but as many can attest to, this no longer becomes the primary objective, but challenging yourself at every workout , getting bigger and stronger elicits a much better response out of you in terms of motivation.
When it comes to desire, it must be about YOU and YOU only. Allow this to be the one time you are selfish.
If you hope to look like the guy’s on the magazine covers ,you have to want this bad enough. It is no use just saying to yourself I will train 3 months hard and see what happens.
Instead, tell yourself, you WILL look like that and you will do almost anything to achieve it.
Actually, start after this blog post.
Once you know what you clearly want, you have to take a RISK and just give it your all.
Here is a particular story that stuck in my mind from the timeless classic Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice—we win, or we perish! They won.Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a BURNING DESIRE TO WIN, essential to success. “
For more inspiring stories like this, be sure to check out the book as it is simply loaded with examples of people who have gone onto follow their dreams despite adversity.
This burning desire may have nothing to do with transforming your body, it could be about making things work with your girlfriend, reaching an entrepreneurial goal or doing well at school or your job .
Once you know, deep down in your heart and your mind what you desire, its time to write it down and start thinking about a plan on how to achieve it. But before that watch this short video, which I am sure has inspired many on the internet including myself.
It is no good stating that you want to look like the guy on the magazine cover. The goal has to be more specific. Something that can be measured and also be attainable.
An example of a specific goal would be to look like the guy on the magazine covers within 2-3 years, which is definitely attainable depending on where you start off from. This would be your main goal.
Dr Edwin Locke found that specific goals with a degree of difficulty lead to higher level of performance than easy/vague goals.
Setting your goals high are motivating because they require one to attain more in order to be satisﬁed, than do easy goals.
You should also be setting smaller goals, such as gaining 25lbs of muscle in your first year of training. This would be a yearly goal.
Your 3 month goal could be to gain 6 lbs of muscle.
Your bi weekly goal could be to gain a lb of muscle.
Your daily goals should be about beating your previous workout. Your daily goals are highly important and become crucial in forming good habits.
Be sure to write your goals down on paper, and put them in a location you can easily access them and read them every day.
It is also important how you frame your goals. Assigning a high goal may not be as effective if people view these goals as threatening. Framing is well-known in psychology, and a common type of framing is gains versus losses.
Whether you see your main goal as challenging or threatening can make a difference in your performance. Drach-Zahavy and Erez (2002) found that when faced with a task that offers new challenges (goal difficulty was held constant) the people who were made to view a situation as a threat, had a reduction in performance when compared to those who were made to perceive the task as a challenge.
Once you have your goals set up, unless you have existing knowledge, you must seek to actively learn the skills which are required to get you there.
Taking muscle building as an example, it is no use just making the goal of looking like a fitness model, and achieving muscular gains of 0.5lbs per week and just turning up at the gym and training like a monkey.
Instead, educate yourself on the muscle building process.
For fat burning, Tom Venuto’s Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle is a great resource for everything fat loss. I can’t say I agree with his methods of applying the knowledge, but none the less the theory behind fat burning is solid.
For even more depth, read any of Lyle McDonald’s books or his website.
Feedback is absolutely crucial. You don’t just make a plan and follow it blindly. You have to constantly analyse and evaluate your plan based on real world results.
If your plan is muscle-building, and your setting PR’s, gaining muscle and your waist isn’t expanding, you can be pretty confident your plan is working and no adjustment may be needed for now.
Sometimes you will see no progress, and some simple adjustments can go along way in getting you back on track. At this point many people give up on their plan and look for the next shiny object. You may have started out doing strongman 5×5 for 2 weeks, then kettlebell training for 3 weeks, then full body workouts, got tired of that so started doing bodyweight training.
Does this sound like you, or anyone you know?
If so, let me know in the comments.
A complete overhaul of your plan is often not required and some simple alterations by someone with the required knowledge can go a long way. This is why hiring a coach can be a wise investment when you lack experience to do it on your own.
Even coaches hire coaches, so don’t feel bad that you can’t do it on your own, we all have to start somewhere.
Animal trainers have known for a long time that rewards trump punishment. By rewarding the animal, they can get a much higher rate of compliance. We humans are no different. The brain is wired to seek rewards, so when you reach your 3 month goal, celebrate it.
Each time you have a success, keep a list of these little successes. All great people know that success breeds more success.
Now onto you…Will you take this advice on goal setting and use it for your fitness goals or whatever other goals you have? Let me know in the comments section.
And if you found this article helpful be sure to share it with any friends you feel may benefit from it.
Yes! That headline is dead serious.
What would you prefer?
Muscle and strength gains plus a lot of fat gain on your body. Having to buy new clothes to fit this new size, feeling unfit and compromising your health.
Muscle and strength gains, with a little bit of fat gain. You may have to buy new clothes to fit your new size but because you don’t have to burn a ton of fat, your new clothes wont just be temporary.
You will also feel fit and if you eat relatively healthy, your health will not be compromised either.
Option 1 is your typical bulk and cut approach that most fitness magazines suggest. After following this advice and going through what I listed in step 1, I now preach against it as it just isn’t an effective way to build muscle.
I am pretty sure, most of you would choose option 2, so carry on reading to learn the muscle building diet I personally use to ensure I stay pretty lean year round.
Find out how many calories you should be consuming. Finding out your maintencance calories is never going to exact by starting with a rough figure and ajusting on real world results we can identify this number soon.
As a rough guide, simply multiply your current bodyweight in lbs by about 15. On training days, if training 4 days per week, eat at 20% surplus and on rest days eat slightly less at say maintenance or even 10% below to burn any fat that may have accumulated on training days.
If training 3 days per week, try a 30% surplus and a 10% deficit on non training days. Remember to adjust these figures according to your own progress.
You can see more about this in Jason Ferrugia’s Renegade Diet.
Set Your Protein Target
The scientific literature suggests 0.8g per lb of bodyweight, and we usually say 1g/lb to cover any possible shortages. Start with 1g/lb and just like calories adjust up or down based on your own real world results.
Set fat intake to about 15-25% of total calories. This allows you to enjoy your meals and fat affects muscle building hormones in a good way. If fat is too low, you can run into issues such as lowered testosterone.
Set the rest of your calories as carbohydrates. Carbs will make up the majority of your calories and for good reason. Carbs are going to fuel your workouts, prevent protein being converted for use as a fuel source and lets be honest carb sources are delicious.
Once you have determined your calories, protein, fat and carb needs, simply aim to meet these macronutrient targets each day. You can split the meals up however you want. I personally eat 3-4 meals, but you can easily get away with 2-3.
If you ever did the bulk and cut approach, let me know in the comments.
Also, do you know someone that will benefit from this muscle building diet to build lean muscle without the fat?
Take a second and share it with them. I create these articles for free so you don’t fall for the same bad advice that floats around. All I am asking is for you to share it. So please do it!
This situation happens to many dieters. It’s even happened to me. This usually happens when you embark on a diet without proper protocols.
What usually happens after this is you drastically slash calories, start doing even more cardio, this works for a little while, then boom, nothing happens, and you’re left scratching your head.
You slashed your calories so low that you can’t possibly go any lower and the thought of doing cardio twice a day is just daunting in your already miserable state.
If this has happened to you, let me know in the comments. I actually have a solution for you and this is the diet break.
As of writing I have taken a planned break from my diet.
But why? I was losing fat at a steady rate and also making strength gains in most of my lifts.
When in a calorie deficit for an extended period of time, which I was (6 weeks), your body will slow your metabolism. The majority of this slowdown is simply being lighter, as heavier bodies burn more calories.
There is also an adaptive component where the body slows down your metabolism due to survival reasons and also changes to your hormones such as leptin and your thyroid hormones.
Now while we don’t want to gain back weight simply to boost metabolism, we can get our hormones back to baseline level.
Not only that, but by taking a strategic diet break from time to time, it can really help you psychologically. Imagine you have 100 lbs of fat to lose. At a rate of 1-2 lbs of fat loss per week, this can take either 100 weeks or 50 weeks.
Now imagine I tell you to diet for 50-100 weeks. The thought of this is probably really daunting.
Now what if I said instead of dieting 50-100 weeks straight, what if we break this into chunks of say 12 week blocks, and then you can have 2 weeks off and then go back to dieting.
I know what option I would choose, let me know which option you would choose in the comments.
First of all, you need to recalculate your maintenance calories. Depending on your level of activity, multiply your current bodyweight by 14,15 or 16. For those who simply strength train like myself and are sedentary the rest of the time, 14 or 15 will serve you best.
It is crucial we set carbohydrate intake to 100-150g as a minimum. I mentioned earlier that part of metabolic slowdown is hormonal, and as carbs have the biggest impact on leptin, this step is crucial in getting leptin back to baseline levels.
The increase in calories and carbs will also kickstart your thyroid hormones which usually takes around 7 days. To maximise this we take a break for 10-14 days.
During dieting, testosterone usually lowers and cortisol usually goes up. By increasing calories and carbs we can reverse this effect.
During this diet break, you can also take a week or two off training to give your joints a break and recover from any niggling injuries.
For the obese and overweight individual, I recommend taking a diet break every 12 weeks.
As you get leaner, your metabolism is even more likely to slow down as you have less fat to burn as energy so I recommend taking a break every 4-6 weeks.
You could also plan your diet breaks around holidays. Another reason I took my diet break at this time is because I have a wedding to go to and plan on eating freely. Winning.
Note: Do not abuse the diet break and use it as an excuse to binge. We do not want to gain fat, but simply normalise our hormone levels.
If you would like to prevent metabolic slowdown, sign up to my FREE course Surefire Six Pack Abs, which has been thought out intelligently to maximise fat burning and maintain muscle mass and even build muscle in those who are relatively untrained.