Tuesday, 19 May 2009

4 Simple Keys To Developing A Wide & Muscular Back

It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly misguided the vast majority of the population is in the gym. Everyone is desperate for that wide, powerful and muscular physique, yet very few understand how to properly channel their efforts to get there.

For most aspiring lifters, it's all about building a huge chest and arms. Week after week they slave away on endless sets of bench presses and barbell curls in search of the rippling muscle gains they want so badly.

Not surprisingly, those gains never appear in any significant form.

While a well developed chest and arms is clearly an important part of any complete physique, the truth is that these muscles only play a small role when compared to a much larger, much more intricate muscle group that most people severely neglect in their training programs.

I am, of course, talking about the major muscles of the back: the lats, traps, spinal erectors, rhomboids and lower back.

It's obvious why most lifters neglect these all-too-important muscles…

1) The back is not a “showy” muscle and you can't see it in the mirror.
2) Back training is far more stressful and taxing to the body than chest or arm training.
3) Most lifters are simply unaware of how important the development of these muscles really is.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret…

If you want to appear as wide, thick and powerful as you possibly can, nothing will allow you to achieve this goal faster than a well developed back.

In fact, 70% of your upper body muscle mass resides in this area!

Nothing can replace the upper body thickening effect of big, bulging lats and a set of wide, tall trapezius muscles.

Please, get up off that bench press and put down that EZ-curl bar for just a moment and let me share a simple, step-by-step workout that you can use to build the muscular back you so desperately need.

There are 4 major movements that you must perform to properly develop your back…

1) Deadlifts – I cannot possibly stress the importance of this lift enough. There is not a single exercise out there that can even come close to matching the effectiveness of a basic, bent-legged barbell deadlift.

The deadlift will work you from finger to neck to toe and is irreplaceable in developing strong, thick back muscles. The deadlift will stimulate growth throughout the entire back complex and should be the cornerstone of your routine.

2) A vertical pulling movement – These exercises mainly target the lat muscles and will help you to attain that wide, v-tapered look from behind. Examples of vertical pulling movements are chin-ups (overhand or underhand), lat pulldowns and v-bar pulldowns.

To get the most bang for your buck I recommend a basic overhand chin-up. This is the bread and butter of vertical pulling movements and will stimulate growth in the lats like no other exercise.

3) A horizontal pulling movement – Otherwise referred to as “rows”, horizontal pulling movements place their emphasis on the upper/middle portion of the back and also stimulate the lats. There are a ton of different rowing movements to choose from: bent over barbell rows, dumbbell rows, seated machine rows and cable rows just to name a few.

For maximum results, stick to a basic freeweight rowing movement. I usually recommend bent over barbell rows, but bent over dumbbell rows are an acceptable choice as well.

4) A shrugging movement – While not quite as important as the above mentioned lifts, a shrugging movement should still be performed at the end of the workout to target the upper traps and develop that mountainous, diamond-shaped look from behind. A basic barbell or dumbbell shrug will do the trick.

Okay, let's put it all together…

Deadlifts – 2 sets of 5 to 7 reps
Overhand Chin-Ups – 2 sets of 5 to 7 reps
Bent Over Barbell Rows – 2 sets of 5 to 7 reps
Barbell Shrugs – 2 Sets of 10 to 12 reps

For optimal gains in back size and strength, the above routine is ideal.

It may not seem like a lot, but as long as you take every set to muscular failure and focus on quality rather than quantity, this routine provides more than enough stimulation for maximum back growth. I've used this same routine for many years and continue to see steady progress in both back size and strength.

Make sure to keep a written record of every workout that you perform, and focus each week on increasing either the weight that you lift or the number of reps that you perform within the given rep range.

Perform this workout once per week with full effort and I guarantee that your upper body will appear thicker, wider and more muscular than ever before.

What about specific routines for the chest? What about the biceps, triceps and shoulders? How about the thighs, calves and abs?

For specific training information on each of these body parts make sure to visit my webpage below and find out how you can finally get the rock-solid muscle gains you deserve without spending endless hours in the gym.

The 12 Steps to a Bigger Bench

1 ­ Train the Triceps Years ago, if you had asked Larry Pacifico how to get a big bench, he'd have told you to train the triceps. This same advice applies today. This doesn't mean doing set after set of pushdowns, kickbacks, and other so-called "shaping" exercises. Training your triceps for a big bench has to involve heavy extensions and close-grip pressing movements such as close-grip flat and incline bench presses, close-grip board presses, and JM presses.

Various barbell and dumbbell extensions should also be staples of your training program. Don't let anyone try to tell you the bench press is about pec strength. These people don't know the correct way to bench and are setting

you up for a short pressing career with sub-par weights. I just read an article in one of the major muscle magazines by one of these authors on how to increase your bench press. The advice given was to train your pecs with crossovers and flies and your bench will go up! This, along with many other points, made me wonder how this article ever got published or better yet, how much the author himself could bench.

I believe articles should go under a peer review board before they get printed. I'd like many of my peers to review these authors in the gym or better yet on the bench to see how much they really know. Bottom line: Train the triceps!

2 ­ Keep your shoulder blades pulled together and tight. This is a very important and often overlooked aspect of great bench pressing. While pressing you have to create the most stable environment possible. This can't be done if most of your shoulder blades are off the bench. The bench is only so wide and we can't change this, but we can change how we position ourselves on the bench.

When you pull your shoulder blades together you're creating a tighter, more stable surface from which to press. This is because more of your body is in contact with the bench. The tightness of your upper back also contributes. These techniques also change the distance the bar will have to travel. The key to pressing big weight is to press the shortest distance possible.

3 ­ Keep the pressure on your upper back and traps. This is another misunderstood aspect of pressing. You want the pressure around the supporting muscles. This is accomplished by driving your feet into the floor, thereby driving your body into the bench. Try this: Lie on the bench and line up so your eyes are four inches in front of the bar (toward your feet). Now using your legs, drive yourself into the bench to put pressure on the upper back and traps. Your eyes should now be even with the bar. This is the same pressure that needs to be applied while pushing the barbell.

4 ­ Push the bar in a straight line. Try to push the bar toward your feet. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, right? Then why in the world would some coaches advocate pressing in a "J" line toward the rack? If I were to bench the way most trainers are advocating (with my elbows out, bringing the bar down to the chest and pressing toward the rack) my barbell travel distance would be 16 inches. Now, if I pull my shoulder blades together, tuck my chin and elbows, and bring the bar to my upper abdominals or lower chest, then my pressing distance is only 6.5 inches. Now which would you prefer? If you want to push up a bar-bending load of plates, you'd choose the shorter distance.

Here's another important aspect of pressing in this style. By keeping your shoulder blades together and your chin and elbows tucked, you'll have less shoulder rotation when compared to the J-line method of pressing. This is easy to see by watching how low the elbows drop in the bottom part of the press when the barbell is on the chest. With the elbows out, most everyone's elbows are far lower than the bench. This creates a tremendous amount of shoulder rotation and strain.

Now try the same thing with the elbows tucked and shoulder blades together while bringing the barbell to your upper abdominals. For most people, the elbows are usually no lower than the bench. Less shoulder rotation equals less strain on the shoulder joint. This means pressing bigger weights for many more years. I've always been amazed at trainers that suggest only doing the top half of the bench press, i.e. stopping when the upper arms are parallel to the floor. This is done to avoid the excess shoulder rotation. All they have to do is teach their clients the proper way to bench in the first place!

5 ­ Keep the elbows tucked and the bar directly over the wrists and elbows. This is probably the most important aspect of great pressing technique. The elbows must remain tucked to keep the bar in a straight line as explained above. Keeping the elbows tucked will also allow lifters to use their lats to drive the bar off the chest. Football players are taught to drive their opponents with their elbows tucked, then explode through. This is the same for bench pressing. Bench pressing is all about generating force. You can generate far more force with your elbows in a tucked position compared to an "elbows out" position.

The most important aspect of this is to keep the barbell in a direct line with the elbow. If the barbell is behind the elbow toward the head, then the arm position becomes similar to an extension, not a press.

6 ­ Bring the bar low on your chest or upper abdominals. This is the only way you can maintain the "barbell to elbow" position as described above. You may have heard the advice, "Bring it low" at almost every powerlifting competition. This is the reason why. Once again, the barbell must travel in a straight line.

7 ­ Fill your belly with air and hold it. For maximum attempts and sets under three reps, you must try to hold your air. Everyone must learn to breathe from their bellies and not their chests. If you stand in front of the mirror and take a deep breath, your shoulders shouldn't rise. If they do you're breathing the air into your chest, not your belly. Greater stability can be achieved in all the lifts when you learn how to pull air into the belly. Try to expand and fill the belly with as much air as possible and hold it. If you breathe out during a maximum attempt, the body structure will change slightly, thus changing the groove in which the barbell is traveling.

8 ­ Train with compensatory acceleration. Push the bar with maximal force. Whatever weight you're trying to push, be it 40% or 100% of your max, you must learn to apply 100% of the force to the barbell. If you can bench 500 pounds and are training with 300 pounds, you must then apply 500 pounds of force to the 300-pound barbell. This is known as compensatory acceleration and it can help you break through sticking points.

These sticking points are known as your "mini maxes," or the points at which you miss the lift or the barbell begins to slip out of the groove. Many times I'm asked what to do if the barbell gets stuck four to five inches off the chest. Everybody wants to know what exercise will help them strengthen this area or what body part is holding them back. Many times it isn't what you do to strengthen the area where it sticks, but what you can do to build more acceleration in the area before the mini max. If you can get the bar moving with more force then there won't be a sticking point. Instead, you'll blast right through it. Compensatory acceleration will help you do this.

9 ­ Squeeze the barbell and try to pull the bar apart! Regardless of the lift, you have to keep your body as tight as Monica Brant's behind. You'll never lift big weights if you're in a relaxed physical state while under the barbell. The best way to get the body tight is by squeezing the bar. We've also found that if you try to pull the bar apart or "break the bar," the triceps seem to become more activated.

10 ­ Devote one day per week to dynamic-effort training. According to Vladimir Zatsiorsinsky in his text Science and Practice of Strength Training, there are three ways to increase muscle tension. These three methods include the dynamic-effort method, the maximal-effort method, and the repetition method. Most training programs being practiced in the US today only utilize one or two of these methods. It's important, however, to use all three.

The bench press should be trained using the dynamic-effort method. This method is best defined as training with sub-maximal weights (45 to 60%) at maximal velocities. The key to this method is bar speed. Percentage training can be very deceiving. The reason for this is because lifters at higher levels have better motor control and recruit more muscle than a less experienced lifter.

For example, the maximal amount of muscle you could possibility recruit is 100%. Now, the advanced lifter - after years of teaching his nervous system to be efficient - may be able to recruit 70 to 80% of muscle fibers, while the intermediate might be able to recruit only 50%. Thus, the advanced lifter would need less percent weight than the intermediate. This is one of the reasons why an advanced lifter squatting 80% of his max for 10 reps would kill himself while a beginner could do it all day long.

If you base the training on bar speed, then the percentages are no longer an issue, only a guideline. So how do you know where to start? If you're an intermediate lifter, I suggest you start at 50% of maximal and see how fast you can make it move for three reps. If you can move 20 more pounds with the same speed then use the heavier weight.

Based on years of experience and Primlin's charts for optimal percent training, we've found the best range to be eight sets of three reps. Based on Primlin's research, the optimal range for 70% and less is 12 to 24 repetitions.

We've also found it very beneficial to train the bench using three different grips, all of which are performed within the rings. This may break down into two sets with the pinky fingers on the rings, three sets with three fingers from the smooth area of the bar and three sets with one finger from the smooth area.

11 ­ Devote one day per week to maximal-effort training. For the second bench day of the week (72 hours after the dynamic day) you should concentrate on the maximal-effort method. This is best defined as lifting maximal weights (90% to 100%) for one to three reps. This is one of the best methods to develop maximal strength. The key here is to strain. The downfall is you can't train above 90% for longer than three weeks without having adverse effects.

Try performing a max bench press every week for four or five weeks. You'll see you may progress for the first two, maybe three weeks, then your progress will halt and begin to work its way backward. We've combated this by switching up the maximal-effort exercises. We rotate maximal-effort movements such as the close-grip incline press, board press, floor press, and close-grip flat press. These exercises are all specific to bench pressing and all have a very high carryover value.

12 ­ Train the lats on the same plane as the bench. I'm talking about the horizontal plane here. In other words, you must perform rows, rows, and more rows. "If you want to bench big then you need to train the lats." I've heard both George Hilbert and Kenny Patterson say this for years when asked about increasing the bench press. When you bench you're on a horizontal plane. So would it make sense from a balance perspective to train the lats with pull downs, which are on a vertical plane? Nope. Stick to the barbell row if you want a big bench.

So you want big arms?

I get tired of seeing training articles every month in the muscle mags. I read some of them to keep up on what is happening in the weight world - not for the training articles. Iron man is almost all training articles; I don't read it anymore. Why? Because once you learn the exercises, these training articles aren't anything new because the authors just rehash and repackage the same exercises. The new thing these authors do that really pisses me off is to try and make training something complicated and one

author in one of the more popular muscle mags recently said "There is a science to training the arms, a science that will help you achieve the gains you want and should expect from your training". Bull puke! I suppose the guy has to make a living by writing articles. He even copyrighted tables of exercises in the article! HAH! I think I am going to try and patent the air we breath! I am going to give it to you straight and I am going to start with the most important aspects of arm training first.

Let's start with genetics. You have to face facts, the size of your arms are going to be limited by the genes your ancestors blessed you with. You can't build peak if you don't have the genetics. Boyer Coe is an example. He has a split in his bicep. People actually ask him how he got it! The answer is that he got it from his dad who has the same split and doesn't even train! Look at Boyer's abs - he never had abs...and never will. Just like 7UP...Never Had It...Never Will!!

Next on the list is overall body size. You can't have 19 inch arms and have a bodyweight of 160 pounds. IF YOU WANT TO GET SIGNIFICANTLY BIGGER ARMS YOU MUST INCREASE YOUR OVERALL MUSCLE MASS. Notice I said muscle mass. Anyone could eat themselves into oblivion and get big arms - but they would be all fat! How do you gain more overall muscle mass? Squat, bench press, and deadlift are three good ways to more muscle mass. Do these exercises once a week and consistently hard, take in enough good food, and get at least 8 hours sleep a night, and I'll bet you that your arm size increases.

So what exercises should you do for biceps? Well there are tons of curl variations for biceps. Don't expect me to list them in a table and try and copyright it! One of the bicep favorites is barbell curls. I personally did these for years and I think....they basically suck. Why? One big reason is that it is too easy to use other muscle groups to cheat. Plus you don't need any extra low back strain and most people end up doing curls that look more like power cleans. It wasn't until I made the preacher bench my biceps friend that I really got full development. You can do them either with a dumbbell or barbell or even use a cable. Full range should be used and you need to concentrate on squeezing the muscle at the top - do your reps like you are pumping up a tire - your biceps tire. Also, concentrate on using the biceps only and not use your upper back to assist the rep. How many sets? I say 2 to 3 sets and vary the reps schemes. You need to carry each set to positive failure. I can hear some people all ready..."What, only 3 sets!!!, but Mr. Joe Universe does 15 sets!". Forget the "other training articles" to; the ones by champion bodybuilders. You should question whether they even do the routines in the mags and remember that 99% of these bodybuilders are chemically assisted. Work your biceps and your back on different days. The biceps should get HIT pretty well on back days as well. Most of the "gurus" of training articles fail to mention the importance of doing heavy back exercises in biceps development. But, I won't - doing heavy back exercises will contribute greatly to your biceps development. So in essence, you will be Hitting your biceps twice a week.

What about the triceps? If I read another training article that says - "The triceps are 2/3 of the muscle mass of the arm, don't neglect tricep training" I am going to puke! The fact is that the triceps get HIT in all your pressing movements. If you are working your chest hard with pressing movements, you can bet your weight belt that you don't need much direct triceps work. First off, stay away from elbow busters like lying triceps extensions a.k.a. skull crushers. Most people can't do these for years and not suffer some elbow pain. I like the close grip bench press for an overall tricep movement. How many sets? One or two is what I recommend. Vary your rep scheme. Concentrate on squeezing the triceps. The second exercise to finish with would be tricep pushdowns. Don't hump yourself over and turn it into a bench press! Stand erect and work the triceps! There is no need to let the weight come up to your forehead either!!!

Happy training!

The Ultimate Power of Protein

Adequate protein intake is essential for building muscle, gaining weight and maintaining your physique. Eating quality protein with each of your 4-6 meals daily will ensure your physique will reach it's potential.

Here are some guidelines on how much protein is optimal:

For Muscle Building or Weight Gain: approximately 1-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. (depending on how heavy you are training)

For Maintenance: approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

For Weight Loss: approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Good Protein Sources Include: eggs, egg whites, fish (mostly any kind not fried), skinless chicken or turkey breasts, lean beef, cottage cheese, meal replacement shakes or bars and protein powders.

Table 1. Approximate Protein in Selected Foods

Foods Protein - Content

  • Ostrich: 10 grams/ounce
  • Beef: 7 grams/ounce
  • Poultry: 7 grams/ounce
  • Fish: 7 grams/ounce
  • Large Egg: 7 grams/egg
  • Milk: 8 grams/cup
  • Cheese: (Cheddar) 7 grams/ounce
  • Bread: 4 grams/slice
  • Cereal: 4 grams/½ cup
  • Vegetables: 2 grams/½ cup
  • Soybeans: (dry) 10 grams/ounce
  • Peanuts: 7 grams/ounce
  • Lentils: (dry) 6.5 grams/ounce
  • Red Beans: 6 grams/ounce
  • Baked Potato: 9 grams/8 ounces
  • Cashews: 5 grams/ounce
Meal Replacement Shakes and Bars (MRP's) - MRP's are convenient nutrition meals that can be taken just about anywhere and provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs during your busy day. Take a box of shakes and bars to work for your 3pm snack and go. MRP's are easy and a great way to get in 4-6 high protein meals per day.

Protein Powders - Protein powders can also help you reach your protein needs. Compared to MRP's that contain a ratio of protein, carbohydrate and fat; protein powders are almost pure protein. You can drink 'em straight, mix them with fruit or milk to make a shake, mix 'em in oatmeal, cereal, yogurt or anything else you want.

Increasing training frequency may yield greater results

You've had it beaten into your head - at times, by us - that you only need to train bodyparts once or twice per week. But studies show that those who train each muscle group three times per week gain more strength than those who train each bodypart less frequently.

New research from St. Francis Xavier University (Antigonish, Nova Scotia) may have you reconsidering how often you bombard a bodypart. The Canadian scientists had 29 untrained men and women follow a full-body weight-training program for six weeks. Each workout consisted of bench presses, squats, incline dumbbell presses, pulldowns, seated rows, dumbbell shoulder presses, leg extension/leg curl combos, overhead triceps extensions and barbell curls.

Group A performed three sets per exercise and completed the workout twice each week, and group B did two sets per exercise and completed the workout three times each week. Therefore, the two groups performed the same total of sets per muscle group per week.

Both groups increased their squat strength by about 28%; however, group B subjects increased their bench press by 30%, while those in group A increased theirs by only 22%. Group B participants increased their total lean muscle mass by about four pounds; for group A, the increase was only about one pound.

We're not suggesting that if you currently train each bodypart once per week, you need to switch to three times. After all, these were untrained subjects. However, the fact that the higher frequency led to more muscle mass despite the total sets per week remaining the same suggests you may want to reconsider how often you train. Note that in the '70s, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was at his peak, it was common for bodybuilders to hit each bodypart up to three times per week.

We suggest that you alter your training frequency occasionally, boosting it to two and even three times per week for at least a month at a time. According to this study, you may be able to keep your total training volume (sets per muscle group) the same whether you're training once a week or three times. In other words, if you currently train each bodypart once per week with 18 total sets, you can go down to nine sets per workout when you bump your frequency to twice per week, and to six sets per workout if you bump the frequency to three times per week.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Cardio timing and how to burn fat 300% faster

When is the proper time of day to do your aerobic exercise? The answer is any time! The most important thing is that you just do it. Continuous cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, jogging, stairclimbing, or cycling, sustained for at least 30 minutes, is able to burn body fat no matter when you do it.

However, if you want to get the maximum benefits possible from most any minute you invest in your workouts, then you should consider getting up early and doing cardio before you eat your first meal - still if you are not a "morning person." Early afternoon aerobic exercise on an empty stomach has three major advantages within exercising later on in the day:

Early in the Evening before you eat, your values of muscle and liver glycogen (stored carbohydrate) are low. If you eat dinner at 7 p.m and you eat breakfast at 7 a.m., that is 12 hours without food. During this 12-hour overnight fast, your levels of glycogen slowly decline to provide glucose for diverse bodily runs the present go on nonetheless additonally you sleep. As a result, you wake up in the afternoon amid depleted glycogen and impact blood sugar - the optimum locations for burning fat instead of carbohydrate.

How much more fat you will burn is uncertain, but some studies suffer suggested that up to 300% more fat is burned when cardio is finished in a fasted, glycogen-depleted state. So how spot on does the present work? It's relatively simple, really. Carbohydrate (glycogen) is your body's chief and preferred energy source. When your number one fuel source is in short supply, this forces your body to tap into its secondary or reserve electricity source; body fat. If you do cardio immediately following eating a meal, you'll still burn fat, but you will burn less of it because you'll be burning off the carbohydrates you ate first.

You always burn a combination of fat and carbohydrate for fuel, but depending on when you exercise, you can impact a greater proportion of fat relative to carbohydrate. If doing cardio first fact in the morning is not an option for you, then the second proper time to do it would be immediately after weight training. Lifting weights is anaerobic (carbohydrate-burning) by nature, and therefore depletes muscle glycogen. That's why a post lifting cardio session has a similar effect as morning cardio on an empty stomach.

The second benefit you'll get from the first part of morning cardio sessions is how I call the "afterburn" effect. When you do a cardio session in the morning, you not only burn fat during the session, but you furthermore continue to harm fat at an accelerated rate after the workout. Why? Because an intense session of cardiovascular exercise can keep your metabolism elevated for hours after the session is over. If you do cardio at night, you will still burn fat during the session, so you definitely benefit from it. However, nighttime cardio fails to take advantage of the "afterburn" effect when your metabolism drops like a ton of bricks as fast as you go to sleep. While you sleep, your metabolic market worth is slower than any other time of the day.

Burning more fat certainly isn't the merely grounds you should do your cardio early. The third benefit of morning workouts is the "rush" and feeling of accomplishment that stays with you all day long after an invigorating workout. Exercise can become a pleasant and enjoyable experience, but the a large amount of difficult or challenging it is for you, the more important it is to get it out of the way early. When you put off any job you consider unpleasant, it hangs over you all day long, leaving you with a feeling of guilt, anxiety and incompleteness (not to talk about that you are more likely to "blow off" an evening workout if you are tired from a for a long while day at work or if your pals try to persuade you to join them at the pub for happy hour.)

You might find it hard to wake up the beginning of in the morning and get motivated to workout. But think going back for a moment to a tad in your life when you tackled a difficult task and you finished it. Didn't you feel great afterwards? Completing any task, especially a physically challenging one, gives you a "buzz." When the job is exercise, the buzz is physiological and psychological. Physiologically, exercise releases endorphins in your body.

Endorphins are opiate-like hormones hundreds of times more powerful than the strongest morphine. Endorphins fashion a natural "high" that makes you feel positively euphoric! Endorphins reduce stress, enhance your mood, increase circulation and relieve pain. The "high" is partly psychological too. Getting up early and successfully achieving a small destination kick starts your day and gives you feelings of completion, satisfaction and accomplishment. For the rest of the day you feel content and you feel relatively low angst knowing that the many difficult part of the day is behind you.

So, you say you are not a morning person? Take heart; neither am I. I can sleep in like you wouldn't believe! But I get up anyway while I know the struggle is worth the results. When I hold a bodybuilding task that I am clearly focused on, such as reaching 4% or 5% body fat for a competition, I'm on my Stairmaster for 45 seconds every morning at the crack of dawn without fail. Sure it is a challenge at first, but you know what? After a few very brief weeks, It's no longer a chore and I'm "in the groove" - and you will be too. Just try it.

Make a commitment to yourself to do it for just 21 days. Once those 21 days have gone by, you'll already be leaner and you'll be on your way to making morning workouts a habit that is as inherent as brushing your teeth or bringing about a shower. Once you start getting used to feeling that buzz, you will become "positively addicted" to it. The more you do it, the more you will look for to do it. Before you understand it, the beginning of morning cardio will your new habit; you'll be leaner, your metabolism will be faster and you will feel fantastic all day long!

So just why are we so fat? reasonings behind the obesity epidemic

Why Are We So Fat? That's the question asked in the cover story of a recent issue of National Geographic magazine. "Americans enjoy one of the several luxurious lives on Earth: Our food is plentiful. Our work is automated. Our leisure is effortless. And it's killing us," says Geographic senior writer Cathy Newman.

Some of the latest actualities and statistics about obesity revealed in the article are chilling:

* One out of 3 Americans is obese, twice as many as three decades ago

* The Center for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) has declared obesity an "epidemic"

* 15% of children and teens are overweight, a nearly three fold jump since 1980

* Other countries are catching up to the United States, essentially newly industrialized nations. KFC opened a urge in restaurant in Beijing in 2002 with more on the way. UK snack food consumption shot up 25% in the last 5 years. Sales of processed food rose 20% in Latin America between 1980 and 2000.

* Being overweight is now associated with through 400,000 deaths per year

* Obesity is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, stroke, and colon, breast and endometrial cancers

* Next year, Obesity is expected to surpass smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States

* The Puget Sound Ferries increased their seat width for 18 to 20 inches to allow room for bigger bottoms

* An ambulance organization in Colorado retrofitted its vehicles with a winch and a plus size compartment to accommodate patients up to a side a ton in weight

* A casket maker in Indiana now offers double-sized models

* One in four Americans gets ZERO exercise, one-third of Americans do not get the minimum amount the municipal suggests we need just to avoid chronic disease

* The ordinary child will watch 10,000 commercials per year touting food or beverages, close to all of them for junk and fast food

So what's the answer to the question, "why are we so fat?" What performs this projection reveal? Are overweight households deficient in fat burning hormones? Was the obesity gene found and isolated, confirming that your genetics determine whether fat is fate? Does blood sugar and insulin go haywire in a little customers regardless of how properties eat or how they exercise? Has it in the end been demonstrated that carbohydrates make us fat? Is the appetite mechanism in the brains of obese people out of kilter?

Although there may be a sliver of truth and scientific fact in every of the statements above, none of them are the real reason we are so fat. The conclusions earned in the National Geographic article on the other hand, are refreshing, because they are the better ones, and the many obvious ones: The reason we are so fat is because we eat too much and exercise too little. Surprise, surprise!

"For all the Americans who've blamed bulging bellies on a ongoing metabolism, the jig is up," says Newman. "A report earlier this year by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) ultimately confirms what many of us did not want to admit: We're fat as we eat a lot - a whole lot more and more than we used to, and most of the substantiate comes based on refined carbohydrates (sugar)."

Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University is quoted in the news story as saying, "How about some common sense? It's a child's matter of eating fewer calories. But there isn't anybody that wants to talk about calories because doing so performs not market books."

Truer words hold never been heard spoken. Unfortunately, few people want to listen to that simple message, "Eat less, exercise more," because various people are too busy looking for the newly drafted breakthrough or the "next big truth in fat loss." Besides, fat loss couldn't be that simple, could it?

Well, maybe fat loss certainly isn't "easy", and certainly "eat less, exercise more" is an OVER-simplification, but the fundamental cause of obesity really IS who simple and the realities confirming it are now in:

According to the CDC report, we ate 1775 pounds of food per year per person in 2000, up of 1497 pounds in 1970.

In the 70's, we ate 136 pounds of flour and cereal products and now it's up to 200 pounds per past customer - and the increase in value is just about all of processed, grey flour, high sugar foods. Not to mention, anything and everything has carried on Super-sized. Example: 1955 McDonald's French fries - 2.4 ounces, 210 calories. 2004 Super size Fries - 7 ounces, 610 calories.

When you add this increased food intake (mostly refined food) on top of the lack of exercise encouraged by technology, cars, video games, television, washing machines, riding lawnmowers, elevators and supplementary current conveniences, you have the recipe for obesity on a foreign scale.

In all our searching and waiting for the latest scientific discovery, the newest pill, or the next breakthrough supplement that am able to free us based on what i read in the shackles of person fat, most purchasers have continued to overlook or ignore that easy and obvious advice: "Eat less, exercise more."

Is it really that simple? Isn't there a lot further to it? Well, yes, of course. There's how much a lower amount of do you eat, what do you eat, how much you exercise, what kind of exercise and so on. But those are just details. Often what we must do, in order to see the big picture clearly, is to reduce the problem to its most basic grade FIRST before worrying about any details.

A principle referred to as Occam's Razor was proposed by English philosopher and theologian William Occam in the 14th century. It said, "Entities should not be multiplied beyond what is necessary." Plainly stated, it says, "The simplest and most obvious solution to a problem is usually the most ideal one and the correct one."

Does accepting this clear answer to the obesity epidemic make the method of losing the weight any easier? Perhaps not, at least not physically. Permanent fat loss will continually make sweat, discipline and effort, and as with freedom and liberty, "eternal vigilance" will be the price that ought to be brought in to keep the fat off after it is lost. In addition, it can be naive not to admit that genetics do play a small role, so weight detriment will be a greater challenge for some than for others.

However, if we would stop allowing ourselves to be so caught up and immobilized by the myriad of different weight decrease supplies and theories today and easily acknowledge, accept and practice the simple advice given to us in Newman's article - that we've all heard a thousand times before - "Eat less, exercise more," (especially "exercise more" to impact the fat, rather than starve the fat with strict diets), we would not only be rewarded with results, we can also see the fog of confusion that appears to shroud the whole "weight loss thing" commence to lift. Certainty would take its place, and that might at least give us the confidence to continue to forge ahead towards our goals.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

The Baseline Diet, Part 1: Meal Frequency, Caloric Intake and Water Intake

I'm going to begin this article with a few questions. How much mass suffer you gained in the last few months? If you are as if the common lifter, the solution is 'Not as much as I'd like'.

Ok, next question: how still money undergo you spent on exotic supplements hoping they'd be the secret to freaky mass? Again, if you are the typical lifter the answer is probably 'Way a good deal more as opposed to I should have?’

Next is a series of questions: How many meals are you eating per day? How many calories? How many grams of protein? Carbs? Fat? When's the last time you ate fruit or vegetables? How even water are you consuming on a daily basis. If you are an regular lifter (and look for to stay such), your answer is possibly 'Umm, I don't know.'

Which brings us to the topic of the next two articles. I'm sure people are hoping that I'll discuss all manners of new nutritional strategies in this column in the upcoming months. While I might share a few, there's really not much new underneath the sun when it comes to bodybuilding nutrition. Sure, we recognize a lot more now than lifters did 30 years ago, but overall the same uncomplicated plan apply. In the forecast and the next, I want to gobbledygook throughout some of individuals uncomplicated rules.

A quick word on supplements

I would say such a more than half of the questions I get for my Q&A column hold to do with supplements. Most deal with basic stuff: protein powders, the ECA stack, creatine but a total sum additionally purchase with the more esoteric stuff on the market. I will say this for the bodybuilding magazines, properties have many lifters (especially new lifters) convinced that one ought to spend a buttload of money on supplements to make gains. I'm tempted to rant about it, but I'll save that for a later article.

It's time to deal with a simple fact: lifters got damn big and damn strong before any supplements existed. Another obvious fact: your diet (and of course your training) might determine 95% of your success in bodybuilding (or any sport). At most, supplements can add 5% to the level. Unless you're planning on competing, and that 5% may hint the difference between winning and losing, spending a small-fortune on supplements is a waste. As well, until you get the 95% of your training and diet in order, you're wasting your money and gas on supplements.

Now, do not get me wrong, I'm not anti-supplements. To echo the words of a wise man, I'm anti-anything so detracts trainees from the stuff that in fact concerns (training and diet). Protein powders have their use, but one can easily fulfill a day's protein requirements without them. I think a multi-vitamin/mineral is not a bad idea either, because no-one eats perfectly each day. Creatine plans to make you stronger and you'll gain Other water weight, which might mean a little bit faster gains down the road.

I'm torn on MRP's. On the one hand, food is cheaper, greater number of nutritious, and tastes better. On the other, if your schedule is very busy, MRP's may be an easy way to carry on up your nutrition. Then again, spending an hour on Sunday cooking up chicken breasts, eggs, pasta, rice, etc in preparation for the next week works well too. That's all I'm going to say nearly supplements for now. Maybe at some height I'll spit out an article on the ones that I think might have some benefit.


What is the baseline diet?

Most simply defined, the baseline diet is what every lifter needs to determine before they go mucking about with any supplements, or any goofy diet interpretations. That is, you may substantiate AND emulate a baseline for at least a few months, to track your body's response, before you try anything else. Along with this, it is necessary to own some technique of measuring changes in body composition (hint: get a cheap set of calipers and get into the habit of taking skinfold measurements).

Much of how I'm ready to discuss has been stated multi times before. However, I get enough mail from people who are making mistakes in their clear nutrition to believe which it bears repeating again. The baseline diet can be divided into 7 categories: meal frequency, overall calories, water intake, protein, carbohydrate and fat intake. In such a article, I'll discuss the first 3 topics. In the next article, I'll discuss protein, carbs and fat.

Meal frequency

Although discussed to death, serious bodybuilders should be eating 4-6 times per day, period. Three meals per day simply will not cut it for mass gains. The biggest half of this is because it's difficult to exhaust an adequate amount of calories for mass gains in only three meals. As well, numerous smaller meals keeps a steadier flow of nutrients to the body. Studies have also substantiated positive benefits of multiple, diminished meals on cholesterol and bodyfat levels (and I'm ensured larger number of indices of health). If nothing else, multiple meals typically makes it simpler to consume the type of high-calorie diets needed to sustain mass gains.

In practice, lifters should be putting something in their mouths food-wise constantly 3 hours or so. While I've observed more frequent feedings suggested, I have trouble thinking that eating every 2 hours is going to be significantly better than eating every three. That's about how long you'll maintain blood glucose, insulin after a meal. Most proteins take 2-3 hours to fully digest (if not longer) so I see minimal trouble to eat protein more often than that.

Beyond that, arguably the most sizeable meals are breakfast (to stop overnight catabolism) and post-workout. Post workout nutrition is a place I see lifters making major mistakes. I've watched guys at my gym finish their workouts and hang out operating (or flirting) for another 30-60'. There is a window of opportunity where nutrients are more effectively absorbed after a workout. By the hour mark, you have already lost some of the benefit. In my opinion, you is planning to take something with you (or buy it there) to drink best after your workout. As I'll discuss in a subsequent article, there may be certain benefit to consuming nutrients before or halfway for the duration of the workout as well. Although guidelines are sparse, typical recommendations for post-workout are 1-1.5 g/kg of carbs and about 1/3rd as much protein.

A concluding place to consider meal frequency is right before bedtime and in the core of the night. Between your last meal and breakfast can be a long time to go without nutrients and anabolism might be better maintained if nutrients are consumed. There is additionally some information that the gut needs time to 'rest' itself and that round-the-clock eating may hamper that. Another contemplation is that sleep serves to not be compromised to get more nutrients into the body. Since I usually wake up in the middle of the night nonetheless (to go to the bathroom), I'll regularly hold some milk or something while I'm up. If you don't usually wake up in the middle of the night, a shake before bed (containing protein, carbs, fat and fiber) will aide to continue a continuous flow of nutrients to your bloodstream.

Total calories

Although macronutrient composition surely plays a role in dietary deed or failure, caloric intake is arguably as important. Invariably the lifters I've met who wanted to gain mass (but couldn't) got either overtraining or easily not eating enough. A few years back, we saw the rise (and subsequent fall) of the lean mass gainer, a low calorie drink which magically lead to you to gain mass. In all cases, these products contained creatine that causes rapid water weight gain.

On top of that, there is a pervading opinion (perhaps we should call it a desire) to gain mass additonally costing fat at the same time. While beginners can pull this off, as can those going back on a layoff, anyone past the beginner stage will earn this generally impossible without the use of repartitioning drugs. The strategy I regularly advocate is the alternation of mass gain (accepting fat gains) with fat loss (trying to minimize muscle loss). This avoids the buildup of extreme bodyfat levels, additonally allowing one to gain mass.

So the subsequently question is "How a multitude of calories for mass gains?" to which the simplest key is "Enough." In principle, for mass gains calories ought to be high sufficient that a small fat raise is seen (as measured by calipers) every couple of weeks. This providing be additionally than sufficient to support muscle mass gains. In practice, a caloric level of 16-18 calories per pound is implied as a starting place for mass gains. I've known individuals who had to consume 25 cal/lb. to swell weight/mass.

I suggest trainees implement at overly calorie level and make adjustments depending on biweekly body composition measures. So begin at say 18 cal/lb. and see how your caliper measurements (men should probably use abdominal, women thigh as these tend to be many representative of bodyfat levels) tweak after 2 weeks. If properties went up a little (maybe a couple of millimeters), you are fine. If not, add another couple of hundred calories per day to your diet. Eventually you'll find which calorie level that starts putting weight on you. Obviously, as you get bigger, you'll have to add more calories as well.

Water intake

While it should be a no-brainer, water intake is another place at which trainees make uncomplicated mistakes (I am guilty of this myself). The effects of dehydration range from what i read in minimal (at 2% dehydration, strength and performance decrease) to painful (can anybody say kidney stones) to worse (at 10% dehydration, death can occur).

While there are several generalized water intake equations (such as 8 glasses per day), these may not be correct for everyone. To poach a guideline out of a friend of mine, a good law of thumb is 5 clear urinations per day, and 2 of those should come after your workout. This provides trainees a way of individualizing water intake. Obviously one who property in a hot, humid environment (or trains in a non-air conditioned gym) will need more and more water than someone who lives in moderate temperatures and trains in a posh gym.

Water intake if ideally come from water and water alone. However, other sources these kinds of as milk, fruit juice, or fruit and vegetables can count towards total water intake as well. Anything with caffeine in it doesn't count because the caffeine may act as a diuretic. As well, alcohol has a tendency to a greater amount of dehydrate you so beer after a workout sucker a good way to increase your fluid intake. Oh yeah, thirst is a poor indicator of hydration state. By the time you're thirsty, you are already a bit dehydrated.

Your assignment

Your assignment between now and subsequently period is to determine (by keeping records) your the most recent meal frequency, caloric and water intakes. This means keeping a food log of everything you eat and drink within the day. You when keep such a log for a minimum of 3 days (including one weekend day, where most of us let dietary discipline lapse) up to a full-week. You'll too need a basic calorie counter to determine caloric intake.

After you've kept your record, check it against my guidelines for the basic diet. Are you eating 4-6 meals per day, getting enough calories to support mass gains, getting a sufficient amount of water? If the answer is yes, you're ahead of the game. If the answer is no, spend the coming month correcting the deficiencies. Psychologists estimate the present it takes 3 weeks to develop a habit. So by the long time you read part 2, you should experience corrected any difficulties you were having.

Four top secrets to a flat stomach

People spend millions, if not billions of dollars, each year in the quest for a flat stomach. Right now there are about 200 or more ab exercise devices out there. There's the ab do-it, the ab rock-it, the ab roller, the ab dolly, and so many more. You would think that with all of these types of amazing new products that most people would be walking just about through that nice, lean mid-section they've always wanted. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Most, if not all of these types of products, will do little or nothing to flatten your stomach. And that's because these exercise contraptions cannot eliminate the layer of fat the present lies on top of your abs.

In order to be top notch at thinning your waistline you must have a simple under standing of how the ab muscles function and how your body burns fat. The first fact that needs to be understood is the difference between fat and muscle. Fat is excess calories and is primarily stored in layers on top of muscle tissue. Muscle is created up of fibers that contract or shorten to produce movement. Fat cannot turn into muscle and muscle cannot turn into fat! However, you can lose muscle and you can gain fat. That's what happens to a good number of people.

So if your goal is to thin your waist line and have a nice flat stomach, the first thing you need to do is decrease / eliminate the layers of fat that are on top of your abs. We all have a flat stomach; it's easily some of oar’s are dealt with by excess fat.

The most effective way of flattening your stomach is a combination of strength training (with a extra focus on mid-section), cardiovascular exercise (short, hard workouts), and strong blood sugar (keeps you from adding additional fat and makes it straightforward for the body to use body fat for fuel).

1. You ought to do some create of progressive strength training

The primary function of the ab muscle is to flex your torso forward. However, there are also muscles such a flex your torso to the side and muscles that rotate your torso. Often times you see people on their ab roller every day working at over a hundred dollars of crunches or sit-ups.

If you want to effectively strengthen your stomach you need to incorporate the following types of exercises:

• 1-2 provide flexion exercises (crunch, sit-up, etc.)

• 1-2 portion flexion exercises (side bends, side crunches, etc.)

• 1-2 rotational exercises (trunk rotations, standing twists, etc.)

The abs, are muscles just recently like any other and should be worked at most 3 times per week. You furthermore want to make sure you are training them progressively, struggling them more difficult each time.

2. Use short, hard cardio workouts to increase metabolism

Cardio workouts are important when they CAN, if completed correctly, increase in value your metabolism for 4-24 hours or more! This means you are less prospective to store any excess calories as person fat because properties are more anticipated to be used by your above average metabolism. Plus, you are additional going to burn off some excess body fat.

Below is a sample interval workout this can be done with just about any activity (walking, bicycling, swimming, stair climbing, etc.).

Warm up at easy rate 2-5 seconds à Perform 30 seconds of hard work (almost as hard as possible) à perform 1 minute of fall off tedious work (recovery time-catch breath)à Repeat this process 6-10 times à Cool down at an easy pace for 2-5 minutes

3. Stable blood sugar is the key

And a multitude of importantly, you must stabilize your blood sugar! This is by far the most monumental factor when it comes to burning away that excess person fat and keeping it off! To effectively stabilize your blood sugar you must feed your body frequently; as every 2-3 hours. The key is to post your person only what it needs at that time. Your body burns calories 24 hours a day, so, why can you alone feed it once or twice a day? Give your body the fuel it needs: vegetables, fruits, nuts, berries, whole grains, and lean proteins (chicken, fish, lean beef, eggs, etc.).

Many customers are too hung up on how a good deal fat is in food, or how astronomical of a choice it is. Calories are calories and it doesn’t matter where they come from. If there’s extra… where’s it going? Yup, you guessed it… body fat!

This is not to say too what you eat is not important as it is, it just recently doesn’t have that much of an affect when it comes to fat loss. Try to make the best choices whenever possible, but don’t feel like if you eat a cheeseburger it is sure to be stored as fat.

4. Get the help of a professional

Unfortunately, most people don’t know a sufficient amount of virtually the human body, nutrition, or effective exercise to meet their health and fitness goals. Ask yourself this one question, “Am I happy with my current progress or condition?” If you’re not, you plans to consider buying the help of a qualified custom fitness professional. Don’t depend on the information you get based on what i read in magazines or out of your local gym/ health club. A qualified fitness professional can boost you carry out your health and fitness goals, and in fewer time as opposed to you should imagine.

If you are serious up your health and fitness goals, and you are ready for that flat stomach, I recommend you craft implementing the 4 strategies listed in this article. These 4 strategies can help you take control of your metabolism and burn off such a excess body fat and having you looking and feeling great!

What the new Low Carb study is really saying

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

The new study, titled, "Weight Loss With a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet" was published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in issue 359, number 3.I quickly read the full text of the research paper the day it was published. Then, I shook my head in dismay as I scanned the surprise headlines. I at last found it amusing that the media turned this into a three ring circus, putting a misleading "low carb versus high carb," "Atkins vindicated" or "Diet wars" spin on the story. But that's mainstream journalism for you, right? Gotta turn over people papers!

Just look at some of these headlines:

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

"The Never-Ending Diet Wars"

"Low Carb Beats Low Fat in Diet Duel."

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

"Unrestricted Low-Carb Diet Wins Hands Down"

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

Here's a quick look at the study design.

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

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

The low carb diet was a non-restricted calorie plan aimed at providing 20 grams of carbs per day for the 2 month induction cycle surrounded by a gradual increase in value to 120 grams per day to maintain the weight loss. Intakes of whole calories, protein and fat got not limited. However, the participants were counseled to select vegetarian methods of protein (more on that bizarre-twist shortly). The study subjects were for the most part male (86%), overweight (BMI 31) and middle age (mean age 52)

Here were the article results: There were a little health improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure and other parameters in the Mediterranean and low carb team that bested the elevated carb group. That was the focus of many articles and discussions that appeared on the net this week. However, I'd like to focus on the weight deduction aspect as I'm not a medical doctor and fat loss is the number one subject issue of this website.

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

My destination would be that the results got similar and that none of the diets got the job done very well during the for a while now term! Amanda Gardner of the US News and World Report Health Day was one of the few reporters who got it right:

"Diet plans produce similar results: Study finds Mediterranean and low-carb diets work just as well as low fat ones." Tara Parker-Pope of the New York things also came finishing surrounded by her headline:

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

Even this headline was not 100% accurate. The study was HARDLY tightly controlled. Tightly controlled means metabolic ward studies where the researchers actually count and control the calorie intake. The challenge is, you can't lock people in a hospital or research center ward for two years. So in this study, they used a food frequency questionnaire. Sure, like we agree what lendees news story about their eating habits at restaurants and at home behind closed doors! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

"No! I swear Dr. Schwarzfuchs! I swear I didn't eat people donuts over the weekend! I stayed on my Mediterranean diet. Honest!" One of the most firmly established facts in dietetics examination is the as good as everyone underreports such a food intake BADLY, sometimes by as still as 50%. I'm not saying everyone "lies," they only forget or don't know. In fact, this underreporting of calorie intake is this a huge problem that it causes obesity research very difficult to do and conclusions difficult to draw from free-living studies.

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

If you actually take the age to looked at the broad text of the research paper it does not say ANYTHING like, "Atkins is the smartest after all." That's the spin that some of the news media cooked up (and what the Atkins foundation was hoping for).

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

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

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

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

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

1. "Mediterranean and low carb diets may be effective alternatives to low-fat diets." I can come to an agreement completely amongst the present statement. All three diets made a calorie deficit. All three groups lost weight. Low carb lost a little more, which is the regular finding due to the fact that low carb diets often control appetite and calorie intake automatically (you eat less even if you don't count calories). Also, if body composition is not indicated, there's an earliest water weight loss such a makes low carb diets look other effective in the very early stages.

2. "Personal preferences and metabolic considerations could inform customized tailoring of dietary interventions." Absolutely! Nutrition should be custom founded on goals, well being status, body type, activity floor and numerous other factors. Different people have different phenotypes. Some people are more predisposed to thrive on a low carb approach. Others feel as if crap on low carbs and do better with more carbs or a middle of the road approach. Those who dogmatically follow and defend one type of diet or the other are only handcuffing themselves by limiting their options. Iris Shai, a researcher in the study said, "We can not rely on one diet fits all." Hmm, far cry from "Atkins wins hands down," wouldn't you say?

3. "The rate of adherence to a study diet was 95.4% at 1 year and 84.6% at 2 years." THIS was the part of most interest to me. When I looked through this, immediately I could easily have cared less almost the silly low carb versus high carb wars that the news reporters were jumping on.

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

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

"This trial indicates a exemplary that are able to be applied more broadly in the workplace. Using the employer as a health coach could be an effective way to improve health. The model of group intervention amongst the use of dietary group sessions, spousal support, food labels, and monthly weighing in the workplace within the framework of a health promotion campaign ought to yield weight reduction and for a while now term quality of life benefits." Hmmmmm, lets see:

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

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

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

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

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

First, please, please, please learn how to find and read primary research and take the shock media stories surrounded by a grain of salt. If you want to know who died, what burned down or how hurricane is coming, tune in to the news – they do a GREAT job at that. If you covet to know how to exhaust weight or improve your health, watch up the original inspection papers in its place of taking second hand tips at have to handle value.

Second, those who prefer a low carb approach; more power to them. Most studies, currently one included, show at the essentially least that low carb is an option and it's not necessarily an unhealthy one if done intelligently. I also experience no qualms amongst someone claiming the low carb diets are slightly more effective for weight loss, actually in the very brief term, cost free residence situations. Is low carb superior for fat loss in the for a while now haul? That's STILL highly debatable. It's likely superior for some people, but not for others.

Third, low carb people, listen up! Even if low carb is superior, that doesn't mean calories don't count. Deny this at your own peril. In fact, this study informs the reverse. The low carb group was in a larger negative electricity balance as opposed to the high carb and Mediterranean assembly (according to the data published in this paper), that easily explains the greater weight loss. Posting the calories contained in foods in the cafeteria may have improved the results and helped with compliance in all groups. When energy intake is matched calorie for calorie, the advantage of a low carb diet shrinks or disappears. For the majority of people, low carb is a hunger management or calorie control weight loss advantage, not metabolic magic (sorry, no magic folks!)

Fourth, choose the nutrition program that's most appropriate for your personal preferences, your current quality of life condition, your genetics (or phenotype) and most important of all… the one you can stick with. Then have a propensity your own garden instead of wasting instant criticizing how the other guy is eating. Your possible results will be able to speak for themselves in the end. Take your shirt off and prove us. If I got forced to choose just one approach (and thank god I'm not), I may recommend preventing the extremes of very low carb or basically low fat or very high fat or especially great carbs. Balance makes the most sense to me, and the research suggests that this helps produce the highest compliance rate. That's not rocket science either, it's widespread sense. If you have a serious fat loss goal, as when I fight in bodybuilding, later a further reduction in carbs and increase in protein makes exemplary sense to me as a peaking diet.

If an badly low or appallingly extreme carb diet worked for you, great. But generalizing your experience to the whole rest of the world causes no sense. Arguing from extremes is the weakest form of argument.

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

If you have a larger number of choices, you hold more power. The people who are shackled by dogma and narrow thinking are stuck. They also chance missing what's particularly important. Things like:

Long-term Maintenance
Social Support



Friday, 1 May 2009

How to stick to a diet or fitness plan

Do you easily stick with your nutrition plan or do you give in to unplanned cheating and frequent excesses? Do you have near-perfect gym attendance or do you often skip workouts? When you do workout, are your sessions a 10 out of 10, or do you have a lot of 6's and 7's (or lower)? Have you ever weighed the results of people missed or sub-par workouts?

Did you ever add up the calories from all individual indulgences or see how one weekend can erase an overall week of work? Here’s a big question to ponder: What would happen to your consequences – the increased extent of fat you would burn, the muscle you would build, the strength you would gain - if you finally mastered this whole "fitness motivation" thing and at last STUCK WITH YOUR PROGRAM without falling off the wagon again...

There are countless factors that increase motivation, but I experience a strong opinion in regards to what I believe is the most significant cog of alll – the final key to sticking in on it, all the way to a full-fledged physique transformation.

After 20 years of using this method, I’m a believer

I’ve used this motivational force with deed for many years. I’ve always taken it monumentally and built it into all my training and coaching programs. Here are some of the ways:

When my clients knew they were being given to be weighed and measured most any week, they worked harder during the week in anticipation of the big Monday... weigh-in day!

I also created a 12 week progress chart that kept in mind person weight, skinfolds, body fat percentage, lean person mass, fat body mass, waist measurement, and the change in each measurement from week to week. Naturally, of course, we took "before" photographs as well.

My local coaching clients met in on me in past customer at which properties would step on the scale and I took their body fat measurement with calipers. We recorded these results on paper and next took a look at the progress and talked about the results. Based on results, we will decide whether any adjustments needed to be made and we set new goals for the following week... in writing. We wrote low the goal on a imitate of the progress chart in red ink – it was filled-in in advance as if it got already achieved. My clients could post this chart with the possible outcome up to date and the weekly objective on their refrigerator at which they would experience to seem at it at least few times a day. Many of them as well wrote a new intention card any week providing such a 12 week goal and such a 1 week aspiration written on it.

For my web or phone clients, every Monday morning, my clients would email or fax me their progress chart and sometimes even their general eating and training diary for the previous 7 days. If they appreciated I was going to be becoming through their journal like a professor at a head out paper, I knew they would be sticking with the service better. The progress chart was had sacred. Seeing those levels on paper was incredibly enlightening due to the way you could see progress in a linear fashion over time. Everything became tangible too. You would hold the piece of paper. It was your report card. It was real. Did you constantly notice how if you had straight A’s on a report card it just drove you mad if you had a good deal a single B on it? Well, I always noticed how my clientele never wanted to have a "blemish" on this weekly progress chart. They something like always worked harder knowing such a measuring, charting and tracking was going to happen. On the occasions that people cancelled a session, I always probed into the reason why. Some were legit, a good number of were excuses, but one thing I continually noticed is that if someone had a bad week, properties wanted to "dodge me" and cancel the weekly measure & weigh-in meeting. Like I said, they hated having a blemish on that chart or a great deal worse, facing this coach in person without having results to show for the week’s efforts. This is why I liked to continue in touch with them by phone and email throughout the week and confirm my appointments in advance. This keeping tabs on them down cancellations and kept them motivated and on track during the week. Simple motivational concepts, yes, but the results were amazing and the power behind these kinds of psychological principles is undeniable.

If you haven’t guessed already, the word for such motivational press I’ve been describing - the weighing, measuring, tracking, keeping tabs and so on - is of course, ACCOUNTABILITY.

This maybe resonates in you because you ought to remember times when you put accountability to action in your life and you were highly successful and produced results at a high level.

Now, I have two questions:

1) Are you by now using accountability to windfall you stick with your program?
2) If you are currently using accountability, did you ever think about the power of experiencing a multi-level "accountability SYSTEM"?

If you’re not using accountability right now in your nutrition, training and healthy lifestyle plan or if you are and you’d like to learn how to multiply accountability by a component of 4X, please read over on.

Level One: Self accountability

Accountability is a MASSIVE leverage factor in achieving any kind of success, whether in business or in a fitness tool and here’s where it starts: with yourself. Self accountability, also renowned as internal accountability is very simple: It means you set a goal, map out a plan, make a commitment to it and then KEEP SCORE. You can become accountable to yourself by:

1. setting written goals
2. weighing yourself
3. measuring body composition
4. taking body (circumference) measurements
5. making photographs
6. Creating menu plans or tracking nutritional intake in a journal
7. Creating workout schedules and tracking training performance in a journal

Basically, anything you covet to improve if be measured and everything related to your nutrition, training and significantly lifestyle (hours and worthy of sleep, etc) should be tracked in writing (or electronically). If you aren’t keeping track and staying accountable by utilizing at lowest 6 out of 7 items in the list above, then such is where you begin.

Level Two: Accountability to another

No one is originating to your rescue. Change starts with you. "If it is to be, it’s up to me." You have to make that important self commitment. But after you’ve accepted custom responsibility, you can literally double your motivation with currently second step. All you have to do is take those journals and written progress reports and show them to an accountability partner on a weekly or even daily basis.

Your substantiation partners could be anyone – friends, family, siblings, neighbors, co-workers or even your internet friends from forums and social networking sites. You can too recruit a specialized – a coach, trainer or mentor of some kind. Get your partner’s agreement so he or she will hold you accountable for the daily action steps you must take and the weekly goals you need to achieve. They have to hold you to it or they’re not real accountability partners. No "Yes men" for this job.

If you have access to your validation partner in person, you can substantiate the positive pressure a bit by suffering your partner take your picture, weight, body fat and measurements rather as opposed to you taking your own. Why is this moment so effective? Well, have you as of yet heard the saying, "Performance is improved when performance is measured?" It’s a popular maxim in arena management circles. Good managers suffer found that personal productivity can be increased many times through by measuring and tracking anything and everything, sometimes to the extent of having employees use numerous checklists, alleges and even a diary of how they spend their time.

Rest assured, it functions in fitness even proper than in business.

Level three: Accountability to a group

Social psychologists have studied group behavior for the right half of a century. Crowd behavior has some interesting dark sides, many of which are far worse than the problem of conformity. But I believe the bright sides of a positive commission are more steady and more powerful. Not clearly do all human beings own a deep seated seek to belong and to socialize amongst like-minded people, there’s a committe dynamic that creates a powerful positive pressure such a can be applied toward higher price level of achievement. You can take advantage of this positive pressure and social substantiation by joining the right groups. When discipline is imposed externally and exorbitant expectations are set over a group, conditions get wrapped up at a prohibative level. There is also an ego component involved, (or simply call it an extra "motivational factor"), that makes you want to push harder when others are watching. It’s even a greater number of powerful if there are real consequences, either emotional or physical, for not fulfilling the expectations. You could necessity it the "Drill sergeant" effect. Speaking of military metaphors, give the impression at how Boot camp classes and assembly personal training are more popular than ever before. Consider the leverage that’s created when you take home yourself accountable to a entire group instead of just one person. Not only is your "drill sergeant" instructor watching you, you furthermore know which your peers in your collection are watching you. What happens if you stop short or quit in front of everyone? Does the prospect of pushing your self harder seem more likely? Think around validation groups where participants gather around a table or in a circle and ought to share to the entire team how their week went. What are the emotional results of falling behind? Amazingly, this works as good as as well online in virtual groups as it does in person and ongoing research has been heard to confirm that. Accountability partners and support groups will always pull more out of you. A coach, partner or board will boost you raise your standards and see the potential in you that you didn’t even know you had. After endeavoring with any outstandingly effective coach or support group, you serves to realize that you have been thinking too compact and selling yourself short. A team will lift up such a positive pressure to a level you never imagined before you immersed yourself in that environment. But it’s achievable to take this that much further. How?

Level four: Public accountability

GO PUBLIC! By announcing your intentions and posting your results for all the world to see, you add a fourth tier of accountability, that for some people, cinches the deal to the level of FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. Why? Because check at the alternative. Losing face. The greatest ideal I own seen of going public has been Australian fitness blogger Adam Waters.

After several frustrating attempts to thorough various physique transformation contests, Adam was sick and tired of being, sick and tired... and fat. He determined that as motivational as these transformation contests were, he knew there was another level.

He decided to put the power of accountability to Hello How Are you? not only by using ALL uni levels of accountability, but moreover by taking his photograph every day and posting it on the web for all the world to see.

The results formed him famous. His story has been featured on TV, in Men’s Fitness (Australian and US editions) and his real time physique time lapse video has had a larger number of as opposed to 4,000,000 views on you tube – along with the #1 you tube search ranking for "weight loss."

To Adam though, all the attention was just a side benefit. The real godsend was which he beat body fat in the wake of and for all. He went based on (in his own words) sick, fat and stupid, to six pack abs, happy and successful. And now he’s helping other people do the same He credits his success to accountability. In his case, REAL TIME web 2.0 accountability.

I hope you are now seeing the possibility in this force for helping you get the body you deserve and you could print out this report, saw and re-read it, soak in the information on the four levels of accountability and start to ask it in your life. I’ve given you a LOT of ideas for how to put these types of ideas to work, immdediately.

Bodybuilding nutrition basics

A key component of the formula for bodybuilding success is nutrition. Nutrition is what gives us the raw materials for recuperation, energy, and growth. Without a good diet, your dreams of achieving your ideal body will never be reached. In this article I'll discuss the characteristics of a good bodybuilding diet and also cover the macronutrients that we need on a daily basis, as well as how much, in order to gain muscle and lose fat.

Characteristics of a Good Nutrition Program

1) It should favor smaller and frequent feedings throughout the day instead of large and infrequent ones. Why? Because when you feed your body several times a day, your metabolism increases. Therefore, you burn more fat. Frequent feedings are of particular importance since after three to four hours of no food your body switches to a catabolic state (a state in which you lose muscle and gain fat!).

The body believes that it is starving and it starts feeding itself on lean muscle tissue and it prepares to store calories as fat. Bad scenario! Therefore, in order for your program to work, you will eat between four to six meals (depending gender and goals) a day spaced out at 2 to 3 hour intervals.

2) Every meal should have carbohydrates, protein and fat in the correct ratios. Having a meal that is not balanced (for example is all carbohydrates) won't yield the desired results. Every macronutrient has to be present in order for the body to absorb them and use them properly. Without boring you with the effect of food on the body's biochemistry, let's just say that if you only eat carbohydrates in one meal without anything else, your energy levels will crash in about 30 minutes and your body will be storing any carbohydrates that were not used into fat. Conversely, if you only eat protein, you will lack energy and your body will not be able to turn the protein into muscle because it is difficult for the body to absorb protein in the absence of carbohydrates. In addition, the ratios for each particular macronutrient have to be correct in order to get the results that you want. The ratio of our diet will look like the following:

40% Carbohydrates
40% Protein
20% Fats

Note that for every serving of carbohydrates, you get a serving of Protein. You can use Bill Phillips' Method of creating meals which is to count a portion of carbohydrates as the amount of food the size of your clenched fist and a portion of protein as the amount of food the size of your open palms.

3) The calories should be cycled. I strongly believe in caloric cycling as this will not allow the metabolism to get used to a certain caloric level; something that leads to stagnant results.

Therefore, bodybuilders in search of just muscle mass should follow 5 days of high calories (lean body mass x 15) with two days of lower caloric intake (lean body mass x12). Bodybuilders in search of losing fat while building muscle at the same time should follow 5 days of lower caloric intake (lean body mass x12) with 2 days of higher calories (lean body mass x 15).

Note: If you build muscle and lose fat at the same time you will not gain muscle as fast as you would if you just concentrated in muscle mass. However, you get to get both goals accomplished at the same time.

People interested in body sculpting (which is moderate muscle building with enough fat loss to go down to 10% body fat for males and 12-13% for women) should alternate between two weeks of lower calories (around 2000 for men and 1200 for women) and two weeks of higher calories (around 2500 for men and 1500 for women). These caloric intakes assume a normal activity level that only includes body sculpting training. Those of you involved in activities like marathon running or heavy physical labor jobs need to adjust your calories upwards accordingly mainly in the form of carbohydrates in order to support your higher levels of activity.

What's a Diet?
While the word "diet" brings these images of pain and starvation to most people's mind, a diet is simply the food choices that you make on a daily basis. So if you eat potato chips and sodas all day long, that is your diet.

Regardless of which diet you follow, there are 3 macronutrients that are present in one way or the other in all of them. Understanding what role these nutrients play, how to obtain them, and how much to consume of them on a daily basis will lead you to the bodybuilding and fitness results you have been looking for.

Bodybuilding Nutrition Basics

There are 3 macronutrients that the human body needs in order to function properly. These macronutrients make up your bodybuilding and/or fitness diet.

1) Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy. When you ingest carbohydrates your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin is very important because:

A) On a very simplistic level, it takes the carbohydrates and either stores them in the muscle or stores them as fat (assuming that the carbohydrates are not needed for energy at the moment and assuming that both the muscles and the liver stores are full).

B) It takes the amino acids (protein) and delivers them inside the muscle cell for recovery and repair.

Most people that are overweight and are in low fat/high carbohydrate diets got into that condition because they are eating an overabundance of carbohydrates. Too many carbohydrates cause a huge release of insulin. When there is too much insulin in the body, your body turns into a fat storing machine.

Therefore, it is important that we eat no more carbohydrates than necessary and that we eat the right amount of carbohydrates.

Now that we have talked about the importance of having just the right amount of carbohydrates, let's talk about which are the best sources of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are divided into complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. The complex carbohydrates give you sustained energy ("timed release") while the simple carbohydrates gives you immediate energy. It is recommended that you eat mainly complex carbohydrates throughout the day except after the workout where your body needs simple carbohydrates in order to replenish its glycogen levels immediately, something that will aid faster recuperation and rebuild of the muscle. Below is a list of good sources of carbohydrates:

Complex Carbohydrates:

There are two types:

Complex Carbohydrates:

1) Starchy: Oatmeal (1 cup dry), sweet potatoes (8 oz baked), potatoes (8 oz baked), rice (1 cup cooked), pasta (8oz cooked), corn (1 cup canned), peas (2 cups cooked). Each serving approximately equals 40-50 grams of carbohydrates.

2) Fibrous: Broccoli (1/2 cup raw), carrots (1 cup raw), cauliflower (1/2 cup raw), green beans (1/2 cup raw), lettuce (5 cups raw), mushrooms (3/4 cups raw), pepper (1/2 cup raw), spinach (3-1/2 cups raw), zucchini (1 cup raw). Each serving approximately equals 6 grams of carbohydrates.

Simple Carbohydrates:

Apples (1 apple), bananas (1 banana), grapefruit (1 grapefruit), grapes (22 grapes), oranges (1-1/2 orange), pears (1 pear), pineapple (3/4 of a cup).
Each serving approximately equals 20-25 grams of carbohydrates.

2) Protein

Every tissue in your body is made up from protein (i.e., muscle, hair, skin, and nails). Proteins are the building blocks of muscle tissue. Without it, building muscle and burning fat efficiently would be impossible. Its importance is paramount. Protein also helps increase your metabolism every time you eat it by 20%! It also makes the carbohydrates timed release, so you get sustained energy throughout the day.

Everybody that is involved in a weight training program should consume between 1 gram of protein to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass (meaning that if you are 100 lbs. And have 10% body fat, you should consume at least 90 g of protein since your lean body mass = 90 lbs.). Nobody should consume more than 1.5 grams per pound of lean body mass as this is unnecessary and the extra protein may get turned into fat.

Good examples of protein are eggs (I use Egg Substitute: 1-1/2 cups liquid), chicken breast (cooked, skinless and boneless: 6 oz), turkey (cooked, skinless and boneless: 6 oz), lean (90% lean) red meats (6 oz), and tuna (6 oz). Each serving size equals approximately 35-40 grams of protein.

3) Healthy Fats
All the cells in the body have some fat in them. Hormones are manufactured from fats. Also fats lubricate your joints. So if you eliminate the fat from your diet, then your hormonal production will go down and a whole array of chemical reactions will be interrupted. Your body will then start accumulating more body fat than usual so that it has enough fat to keep on functioning. Since testosterone production is halted, so is muscle building. Therefore, in order to have an efficient metabolism we need fat.

There are three types of fats: Saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated.

a) Saturated Fats: Saturated fats are associated with heart disease and high cholesterol levels. They are found to a large extent in products of animal origin. However, some vegetable fats are altered in a way that increases the amount of saturated fats in them by a chemical process known as hydrogenation. Hydrogenated vegetable oils are generally found in packaged foods. In addition, cocunut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil, which are also frequently used in packaged foods and non-dairy creamers are also highly saturated.

b) Polyunsaturated Fats: Fats that do not have an effect in cholesterol levels. Most of the fats in vegetable oils, such as corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, and sunflower oil are polyunsaturated.

c) Monounsaturated Fats: Fats that have a positive effect on the good cholesterol levels. These fats are usually high on the essential fatty acids and may have antioxidant properties. Sources of these fats are Fish Oils, Virgin Olive Oil, Canola Oil, and Flaxseed Oil. We like to refer to these type of fats as good fats.

Twenty percent of your calories should come from good fats. Any less than 20% and your hormonal production goes down. Any more than 20% and you start accumulating plenty of fat. The way that I get my fats is by taking 1 teaspoon of Flaxseed Oil three times a day (I put them in my protein shakes).

Good sources of fat are canola oil (1 tablespoon), natural peanut butter (2 tablespoons), olive oil (1 tablespoon), flaxseed oil (1 tablespoon), and fish oils (1 tablespoon). Each serving size contains approximately 14 grams of fat.


Water is by far the most abundant substance in our body. Without water, an organism would not survive very long. Most people that come to me for advice on how to get in shape, almost always underestimate the value of water.

Water is good for the following reasons:

1) Over 65% of your body is composed of water (most of the muscle cell is water).

2) Water cleanses your body from toxins and pollutants that would get you sick.

3) Water is needed for all of the complex chemical reactions that your body needs to perform on a daily basis. Processes such as energy production, muscle building, and fat burning require water. A lack of water would interrupt all of these processes.

4) Water helps lubricate the joints.

5) When the outside temperature is up, water serves as a coolant to bring the body temperature down to where it is supposed to be.

6) Water helps control your appetite. Sometimes when you feel hungry after a good meal this sensation indicates a lack of water. Drinking water at that time would take the craving away.

7) Cold water increases your metabolism.

In order to know how much water your body needs a day, just multiply your lean body weight by .66. This would indicate how many ounces of water you need in a day.