Articles Tagged: diets

There is No Secret Program

“Hey brah, what program are you on?” This is a common question I see asked of my athletes when they’re posting progress photos or just general updates on Facebook regarding the good results they’re getting while coaching with me.

Often these posts will be littered with friends and acquaintances asking the athlete to provide their “program” so that these people can benefit equally in their own fitness efforts (minus the investment, of course). Continue Reading There is No Secret Program »

Avoid Anyone Who Preaches Nutritional Extremism

The fitness industry has been in an uproar the past year about not only whether strict dieting is the best approach to health and fitness, but if it’s an approach that has any advantages or relevance at all. This is in large part thanks to a series of video logs put out by Dr. Layne Norton last year, in which he lambasted “fitness gurus” who preach about “clean eating” and overly-oppressive, dogmatic diets.

The videos were mainly geared toward those prepping for fitness competitions and some of the voodoo-type myths that persist in that particular area of nutrition. As a side note, and somewhat ironically, his own concepts of “metabolic damage” and “metabolic capacity” that were one of the main subjects of these videos have been argued to potentially fall into the very category he was criticizing, which can be read about in this article.

A few months after Dr. Norton’s video series came out, another game-changing event took place in the form of a retrospective analysis of a large collection of prior studies that had supported the idea of a narrow “window of opportunity” post-workout. Essentially during this “window,” an athlete could allegedly maximize muscle gain by ingesting fast-absorbing protein (like whey protein supplements) as quickly as possible following their workout.

After controlling for important variables, such as the total daily volume of protein ingested (something that hadn’t previously been equated in the test and control groups, nor had been compared between individual studies), it was shown that the statistically-significant results that had previously been attributed to this narrow window of opportunity were in fact, related to total protein intake rather than the immediacy of ingestion post workout. In other words, eating MORE protein in general each day is much more important when it comes to muscle gain than how quickly after your workout you eat that protein. Continue Reading Avoid Anyone Who Preaches Nutritional Extremism »

Troubleshooting Weight Loss, Pt. 5

Welcome to the 5th installment of our 6 part series on troubleshooting stalling fat loss efforts. Just a warning, this one is pretty long… but hopefully it will educate you a lot about one of the most popular “diagnoses” in the fitness industry these days.

In parts 1 through 4, we took a look at some of the most common reasons that a fat-loss program would not be providing you the results you were expecting—namely, that either:

  1. You’re not really in a deficit (for a variety of possible reasons)
  2. You’re unintentionally sneaking in calories (thus, causing point 1)
  3. You’re “gettin’ DEM GAINZ” (in non-idiot speak, gaining some muscle mass and/or water retention which is masking your simultaneous fat loss)
  4. Your workout and/or nutrition program is an embarrassment to mankind and is worthy of a slow, painful death for whoever came up with it

All joking aside, sometimes we find ourselves doing everything correctly for a long enough time that lean mass/water weight gains continuing to mask fat loss is unlikely—particularly when the stall in weight loss is combined with a lack of change in inches or what we look like in the mirror.

The final two parts of this series will delve into these potential snagging points and how to address them. Continue Reading Troubleshooting Weight Loss, Pt. 5 »

Troubleshooting Weight Loss, Pt. 2

Last week I talked about one of the major reasons people don’t see the weight loss that they’re expecting: the seemingly-obvious-yet-vastly-underestimated fact that often they’re not in a caloric deficit.

As I explained, no matter what you do, if you’re not eating fewer calories than you’re burning, you WILL NOT lose weight (well, unless you have some sort of tape worm infestation or flesh-eating disease, but that’s another story).

But how about for those of us who have taken the time to figure out our daily calorie expenditure and created a meal plan that is less than the previously-mentioned expenditure, yet we’re still not seeing movement on the scale? Continue Reading Troubleshooting Weight Loss, Pt. 2 »

Troubleshooting Weight Loss, Pt. 1

Let’s talk about why when it comes to weight loss, some people can seem to do everything right and still not see results when they step on the scale.

After all, nothing is more annoying than busting your ass for weeks at a time with the goal of losing weight, only to be rewarded with a measly pound or less of weight loss, or even worse yet, weight GAIN over that period of time, am I right?

Unfortunately, most people take that as a sign that “weight loss isn’t for me” or that their program is wrong… but as you’ll see, this is only ONE of the possibilities—and as for the “I can’t” crowd, EVERYONE can lose weight, no matter who they are, so don’t even go there.

Over the next 6 installments I am going to analyze each of the potential reasons that you’re not seeing the fruits of your efforts, and hopefully this will help you troubleshoot your situation and allow you to reach your goal instead of losing motivation along the way. Continue Reading Troubleshooting Weight Loss, Pt. 1 »

The 5 Steps of the Nutrition Principle Pyramid, Pt. 4

Before I go into today’s topic I want to just say that if you haven’t gone through the previous 3 installments of this series then there is no point in reading this right now. Go back and read from the beginning starting with part 1, (followed by 2 and 3) implement the concepts from each in order and then when you’re that far, you can come read and implement today’s lesson.

The truth is, even if you stopped at the first three steps and ignored steps 4 and 5, you would still be able to accomplish about 95% (yep—that’s a random percentage I threw in there to sound smart) of your physique-based goals because this step is mainly about optimizing health and the final step is simply icing on the cake once everything else is accounted for.

So again, if you haven’t IMPLEMENTED the first three steps before coming to this step, then stop and go back first and master the first three steps before you do anything else. Continue Reading The 5 Steps of the Nutrition Principle Pyramid, Pt. 4 »

The 5 Steps of the Nutrition Principle Pyramid, Pt. 2

In the first segment of this mini-series on how to best approach nutrition for fast results, I discussed the importance of building your foundation with proper habits before making any attempt to look at calories, macros, food quality, food timing, supplements, and so on.

Today, let’s talk about the second level: calorie balance.

Tip 2. Calories in vs calories out.

How many times have you heard one of the following:

  1. all that matters is calories in, calories out, OR
  2. a calorie is not just a calorie

It seems like one side believes that nothing else matters than calories as an energy unit, because our bodies are closed energy systems and the physical laws of thermodynamics demand that energy not be created nor destroyed—only converted from one form to another. Continue Reading The 5 Steps of the Nutrition Principle Pyramid, Pt. 2 »

The 5 Steps of the Nutrition Principle Pyramid, Pt. 1

Starting a new fat loss program can be rough—not only do you have to deal with extreme “help-me-I’ve-sat-on-the-toilet-and-I-can’t-get-up” soreness from all the new workouts, but results can be slow at first on top of that, because there is a learning curve to nutrition, and as you probably know by now (thanks to my repetitive yammering about the same concept in just about every newsletter), you just CANNOT get optimal results without a strong focus on proper nutrition.

But look, I get it—I had to learn the hard way when I was starting out with my own fitness journey because I didn’t know any better. Sure, for me the journey was more about trying not to resemble the physique and strength levels of a 3 year old Armenian girl suffering from starvation, but that’s beside the point—I still didn’t see jack for results until I put my focus on my NUTRITION first, fitness second. Continue Reading The 5 Steps of the Nutrition Principle Pyramid, Pt. 1 »

How to Improve Your Chances of Fitness and Nutrition Success

Success is a spectrum, not a light switch. Think about that for a second and let it sink in. Most people judge their success rates based on a measurement of perfection, with the only values being “yes, I was perfect” or “no, I failed”.

The problem is that we’re human. By our very nature we’re imperfect creatures, as is the world around us. Perfection is an impossible fantasy that we can simply strive TOWARDS, but never reach. So if you only see success as achieving perfection, then you, my friend, are in for a world of disappointment.

The difference between someone who can reach their goals and someone who can’t is often a case of whether or not one has a realistic view of success and human nature. If you accept that there will be periods of less-than-stellar compliance, plan for these periods ahead of time, and most importantly, learn to ACCEPT these periods and get “back on the horse” as QUICKLY as possible afterwards, you will reach your goals faster and enjoy the process infinitely more. Continue Reading How to Improve Your Chances of Fitness and Nutrition Success »

Carbohydrate Intake and Timing Strategies to Maximize Results

“Carbohydrates are the devil and will end your life early!” Obviously, this statement is nonsense, but in this day and age many people seem to take it as fact. Probably because a TON of people posing as nutrition experts insist that carbohydrates make people fat.

This is misinformation and needs to be cleared up for once and for all, so here we go. By the way, this is also habit #5 out of 6 we will be covering in this series, so read on and implement what you learn.

I’m going to keep this explanation fairly simple so it’s easy to read, but gets to the point.

When ingested, carbohydrates cause the body to respond by releasing insulin into the blood stream—a hormone responsible for shuttling the broken down carbohydrates (which break into molecules of sugar) into the cells to be used for energy production (immediate or stored energy depending on what the body needs at the time). Continue Reading Carbohydrate Intake and Timing Strategies to Maximize Results »