The Best Way To Burn Fat!!!

With so many clickbait articles and diet/exercise fads out there promising to burn fat, it’s crucial to know what fat burning actually means.

Great news everyone! Science has found a way for people to burn fat 100% of the time. The answer to all your fat burning questions is to… do nothing! That’s right. To burn fat you need to do nothing more than watch TV, fiddle with your phone, or even take a nap! At this point you may be asking yourself “won’t I gain weight by doing nothing?” The answer is a resounding “YES!” Which is why I wanted to address the difference between burning fat and losing fat. With so many clickbait articles and diet/exercise fads out there promising to burn fat, it’s crucial to know what fat burning actually means.
Fact or Fitness Fiction
I wasn’t lying before. Fat is the body’s preferred fuel source while at rest. As we start to move more, and with greater intensity, the body will start to use glycogen (sugar) in greater quantities. For instance, walking uses around 80% for fuel, running uses 50% fat and 50% sugar, and high intensity exercise uses nearly 100% sugar as fuel. These very rough numbers are of course dependent on the person and their training levels, but the point is that it really doesn’t matter what the fuel source is for exercise. Because it’s true that with the right diet and exercise you can turn your body into a fat burning machine! But if you’re taking in more calories than you are burning, it really doesn’t matter if you’re burning fat all day long. The science behind gaining fat and fat loss is complex, but what you need to know is that there is no “one true solution” behind either of them. Take fasted cardio for example. The thought is that if you don’t eat anything before cardio exercise, then you will burn only fat, therefore you will lose fat mass. But in well controlled research, we see that this just isn’t true. A more malicious example would be weight loss/detox wraps. Yes you will lose weight using it… you will also gain a pound by drinking a bottle of water. See where I’m going with this? With the weight loss industry fraught with snake oil peddlers, knowing what actually works will save you time and money on top of getting you results.
What Works
One thing that successful fat losers have in common is gumption. Because when it comes to your health, failure is not the absence of success but the unwillingness to try. Even if it takes years, consistently making an effort will pay off big in the end. So if you’re currently in a bit of a slump, take the advice of my good friend Jen “Ditch the defeat, decide you are worth fighting for, and start again RIGHT NOW.” She also has a terrific blog that I highly recommend you check out.
Now that you’re good and motivated, let’s take a look into the exercises you need to do to “burn fat.” And at the top of the list is… drum roll please… the exercise you like to do! It’s a bit anticlimactic, but it’s true. There’s no way to be successful with a weight loss exercise routine if you don’t do it consistently. That’s why loving the way you move is so important! If you don’t even know where to begin, here are a few ideas.
Start with a steady state cardio program. If you’re new to exercise, simply hop on a treadmill or plop down on a bike and go. No this won’t get you shredded, and you won’t “tone” your muscles by doing this, but you will burn calories (not always fat though 🙀), increase your overall health, and you will get a chance to get acclimated to the gym.
Next, work you way up to weight lifting. As I’ve written about before, weight training is great for fat loss. And in reality, it’s the only way you can achieve a lean, strong and athletic-looking physique. You can lose all the weight you want, but if you don’t have any muscles then you will certainly be lacking ever elusive “toned” look most people are searching for.
Finally, once you’ve established a baseline of fitness, find ways to get uncomfortable. Break loose of the stereotypes. You’re never too old to try high intensity training. For those women who are worried they will get too big… stop thinking that! You wont! Woman up and lift heavy things to burn fat and see the change you desire.
Fat Burning Nutrition has some merit to it. There are some select foods and potables that can help you burn fat. But guess what? That doesn’t matter at all! No mater what diet you’re on or what super exercise and nutrition plan you have, you won’t see results unless you’re in a caloric deficit. Who care about carbs or fats. They have absolutely no bearing on weather or not you will lose weight. Research shows us that you simply need to find a way to cut calories out of your diet to lose fat. I highly recommend you listen to this podcast and/or watch this video for the best information on the subject.

Lifting For… Losses

Lifting for gains (muscle/strength) can also equal losses.

Today I wanted to talk about getting shredded to lose weight. Because I know everyone is concerned about how they are going to burn off all that BBQ they will be eating this weekend! So that’s why I wanted to talk about why lifting for gains (muscle/strength) can also equal losses.
But first, a clarification. Weight loss is not the main topic of today’s post. Why? Because weight loss can be achieved through amputation, osteoporosis, stomach flu (though intestinal parasites will do in a pinch), coma, chemotherapy, shaving all your hair off, lobotomy… you get the point. Weight is not a great indicator for health or fitness, so what we are really talking about is fat loss. Because we all know muscle weighs more than fat, we know that weight may go up while your pant size goes down. This is why all of my clients take more pride in their bio-electric impedance (fat mass) numbers rather than the numbers on the scale. They know that their body composition (lean mass compared to fat mass) is what’s really important.
The old-school way of thinking was that low intensity cardio burns fat, therefore you lose fat. But we now know that this just isn’t true. Without getting into science nerdy stuff too much, burning fat only means your using fat as fuel source. And unless you’re an ultra marathon runner,this doesn’t really matter. Although cardio is beneficial in many ways, it won’t do a great deal to help you lose fat. Oh and fasted cardio? Well… listen to this podcast that reflects my thoughts on this ridiculous practice.
Why Weight Lifting is Better
Picking up and putting down heavy things does more than you know. It places large amounts of stress on not only your muscles and tendons, but your bones and nervous system as well. Everything has to adapt to stress. As a result of this adaptation, your muscles will store more myoglobin (sugars), bones will become more dense, and your body will know to send more blood to these areas to help with the repair/replenishment of nutrients. Although your weight may go up a bit from these adaptations, it in turn means your metabolism grows as your muscles do! So class. What do we burn when we are at rest and our metabolism is high? Fat! This scenario is how we lose fat. Research continues to show that placing greater amounts of metabolic stress (like weight training) will result in greater fat loss and muscle gains.
Where To Start
Now for some of you, I know that the thought of weight lifting is daunting. Images of bench pressing meat heads may even be dancing around in your mind. But getting started on a weight lifting program doesn’t mean you need to learn how to grunt like an animal while squatting. What is important, however, is that you get started and stay consistent. Here are some key thoughts on how to do this:
Make the Process Fun – Experiment around the gym. Find what you like to do, then do it. It’s that simple.
Set Mini Goals – Long term goals progress slowly. To avoid going crazy, set short term goals as well. It can be as simple as doing a real push up by the end of the month.
Have An Accountabilibuddy – Nothing gets you in the gym as easily as a buddy. It’s much harder to say “no” when there is someone to push you along the way.
Don’t Get Carried Away – The “more is better” approach is rarely a good thing. Layer things on slowly and you will stay sane and injury free.
Feeling stressed out? Who isn’t these days?! Check out this link for tips on how to train when stressed.
Final Thoughts
I’m not saying cardio is bad by any means. In fact, it should be a part of your training program. But if your trying to look strong and/or lose weight, it should not be the main strategy. It’s also important to remember that everyone will react differently to resistance exercise. There is no magic bullet to all of this. Make sure you are placing the big rocks first and results will come. A high protein diet and consistent metabolic stress from resistance training will get you the results. Just be patient and keep the faith and you will see your body composition change! Still need help getting started?

Losing Weight = Loose Wallet?

A few simple tips for dropping pounds and beefing up your budget!

Today I wanted to talk about losing weight on a budget. Because cutting a few Lb’s shouldn’t mean you need to cut a few goodies off of your wish list. So here are a few simple tips for dropping pounds and beefing up your budget!
Harness Your Inner Boy Scout
Be Prepared is a Boy Scout motto that I will never forget. It just so happens to be the first tip! Planning and prepping your meals ahead of time means you wont have to spend extra money by stopping for fast food (costly on the wallet and calorie budget), stopping for groceries while hungry (worst idea ever), or saying “screw it!” and just eating whatever junk you have laying around the house (unless you’re in college, a bowl of cereal for diner is not acceptable). There are dozens of ways to meal prep. To get started check out herehere, and here.
Frugality Does Not = Cheapskate
Buying groceries on a budget does not mean you need to buy the cheapest foods. In fact, paying a little more to buy potatoes instead of potato chips will save you money in the long run! When we spend a little bit more in the produce section, we receive the gift of nutrients(vitamins and minerals) in return. And what happens when we feed ourselves nutrient dense foods? We reduce our cravings for junk, we feel fuller longer, and we consume fewer overall calories! Check out some of these recipes for holiday foods that taste as great as their nutritional value.
Don’t Become a Potato Because You Can’t Be a Ninja
We spend our entire lives getting to the fitness level we are at right now. So don’t become a couch potato because you don’t look the way you want to right now! Gymtimidation is a real thing… for everyone. At some point we have all seen someone at the gym and said to ourselves “I wish I looked/performed like them.” The key is to use this potential barrier as motivation, and NOT letting it weigh you down to potato town. This means you can’t set unrealistic goals and lack patience, lack social support, lose your motivation/desire, or focus too much on the end goal.
Losing weight on a budget is like anything else. To look and feel a little bit better you need to plan/budget/exercise a little bit better. Take the cost of getting lean in stride, and you will do just fine.

The Tangled Web Of Weight Gain

It seems like there is a new diet fad, fitness guru with a crack pot scheme, or nonsense nutrition plan for weight loss that comes out every week. The majority of people because they are restrictive, often scientifically unfounded, and/or don’t address individual needs.

This week I wanted to bring some perspective to the nationwide weight gain crisis. With nearly 1/3 of Americans being classified as obese, and less than 3% able to maintain essential healthy habits, there are fingers of blame being pointed in many directions. So what’s really to blame? HA!!! Trick question! There’s a web of causation with dozens of tangled and intertwined reasons for weight gain. The picture below shows just what I’m talking about. Because I don’t want to write a book today, I’m not going to break down each of the 15 categories and their factors. Instead, I’m going to elucidate a few of them that I believe are under appreciated.
Inline image 1
Increased Intake
I’ll start with the category that’s the most obvious, and yet least properly addressed. It seems like there is a new diet fad, fitness guru with a crack pot scheme, or nonsense nutrition plan for weight loss that comes out every week. As a side note, one of my personal heroes of the industry, Alan Aragon, wrote a magnificent piece on this issue last week. Getting back on point, these plans simply don’t work for the majority of people because they are restrictive, often scientifically unfounded, and/or don’t address individual needs. There are just too many things to take into account for a “one size fits all” diet plan to address. For instance, depending on how well you picked your parents (your genetics), the amount of a chemical in your mouth called amylase will play a huge roll in your body’s ability to process carbohydrates! We also need to consider things like age, gender, mental/physical diseases, social norms/demands, economic status, and even advertising. Here is a list of other factors that contribute to overeating, and what you can do about them.
1. You’re not eating often enough – Don’t let your tummy be empty for too long. Eat something every 3 or 4 hours.
2. You’re not getting the right balance of nutrients – Aim to eat more fiber, protein, and a little healthy fat to stay satisfied.
3. You’re eating too many simple carbs and sugars – Knock it off with the white bread, pasta, bagels, and pastries!!!
4. You’re dehydrated and confusing thirst for hunger – Drink more water to eat less.
5. You’re stressed – Stress = Cortisol = hunger. Try yoga/meditation or some of these practices
6. You’re not paying attention to what you’re eating – When shoveling it in, you essentially forget you already ate. So, eat mindfully.
7. You’re not getting enough sleep – Sleep = hormonal control = appetite control. 
8. You have an underlying medical condition – Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, depression, and anxiety (along with some medications) can mess with appetite. 
Decreased Expenditure
We know that it’s not as simple as calories in calories out, but if you’re not doing anything to bump up the number of calories going out then that’s certainly an issue. The good news is that exercise is not the best way to lose weight. The bad news is that exercise is an absolute MUST DO. And we have all encountered those days where exercise seems like an impossible task. But as another one of my favorite fitness authors James Fell puts it “Don’t view an hour’s worth of exercise as something where you need to find the motivation to make it through that entire hour. In most cases, you only need the motivation for those first five minutes.”
When it comes to weight loss, the most important thing to do is to be brutally honest with yourself. Don’t make  excuses to get out of doing what you need to do to get/be better. Take a step back and be honest with yourself about what you say you’re doing, and what you’re actually doing to achieve greatness. If you’re aimlessly going about your health goals, or need to figure out great goals, here’s what I want you to do NOW before you read on the last section.
1. Turn “outcome goals” into “behavior goals” – Outcome goals are how we want things to be at the end of the process. Behavior goals focus on the things we have control over, and represent your commitment to practice a set of actions or tasks every day as consistently and regularly as possible. Here’s how to break goals into skills; skills into practices.
2. Turn “avoid goals” into “approach goals” – Saying “don’t” or “stop” in the goal setting phase means you’re telling yourself to stop doing something which almost guarantees you’ll keep doing it. Approach goals are about adding and enjoying “good stuff”, and pulling yourself toward something desirable (and quietly pull you away from something you’re trying to avoid).
3.Turn “performance goals” into “mastery goals” – With performance goals means you’re looking for external validation which can be incredibly demotivating if they don’t work out. Mastery goals emphasize the process of getting a little bit better each day, the joy of learning, and feeling good about your own personal progression.
What To Do Next
The crux of all of this is creating positive behavior changes. When it comes to nutrition, try using this check list to make a sweeping change of your home and re check it a month later to make sure you’re adhering to your positive changes. When it comes to exercise, no matter how you feel, get your fanny to the gym and if you’re not full of energy after the first 5 minutes then reconsider your exercise strategy. If in a month from now you’re not making the progress you want you may need to think about 3 keys to mental toughness.
1. “Complete or kill” – If something is important to you, complete it. If not, kill it.
2. If you commit to nothing, you’re distracted by everything – Do you make time for your goals above all else? Do you organize your day around accomplishing them? If you commit to nothing, then you’ll find that it’s easy to be distracted by everything.
3. It doesn’t matter how long your goal will take—just get started – Don’t let the length of your goals prevent you from starting on them.
“Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
—H. Jackson Brown
As always, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this week’s subject. If you have any questions or tips related to the post, or suggestions for future topics, feel free to contact me any time. As always, I’m here to help. So if you need answers to your exercise program, nutrition plan, or wellness issues, please don’t hesitate to ask!


You’re Full Of It! The Fullness Factor

Here’s the catch. A typical fast food value meal has the same amount of calories as 18 apples!!!

Today’s post is not about being full of it, but feeling full of it. By “it” of course I mean food! One of the easiest ways to lose weight is through proper selection. Don’t believe me? Well imagine yourself eating 18 apples in one sitting. Too tough? Okay well now imagine yourself eating a #5 value meal from your favorite fast food joint, which you’ll probably agree is a much easier task to accomplish. Here’s the catch. A typical fast food value meal has the same amount of calories as 18 apples!!! So read on to discover reasons to smile the next time someone says “you’re full of it.”

Don’t Be So Dense

To be full of it, you can’t be (energy) dense. Energy density is the amount of energy (calories) per unit of food. Combine that notion with the fact that most humans eat between three to five pounds of food per day, and you can see how energy density plays a huge role in weight loss. But just for funsies, let’s take a closer look. The following calories (kcal) per 4 pounds of food eaten:

Raw Veggies = 400 kcal

Raw Fruit = 1,000 kcal

Whole Grains/Legumes 1,600 kcal

Nuts/Seeds = 10,000 kcal

Lucky Charms, Pop Tarts, Cheese = 10,000 kcal.


Bottom Line, If we prioritize whole, nutrient-dense foods there isn’t much room left for the energy-dense, processed foods.

Hold Your Horses

Before you gallop off to the farmers market to buy all the raw veggies they have, I need to give you a bit of a reality check. Unfortunately, Caloric density alone is not a reliable predictor of satiety, and it overlooks many enjoyable foods that would make wonderful additions to your diet. Luckily for us, researchers have looked into this have come up with the “Fullness Factor” (FF). At the end of this email is a chart of foods and their fullness factor ratings. Here is a brief description to help you understand it. FF values fall within the range of 0 to 5. Foods with high FF’s are more likely to satisfy your hunger with fewer Calories. Foods with low FF’s are less likely to satisfy your hunger.

Compare this chart with other health and fitness horse… crap… and you will see a major difference. For instance, I am not a big fan of the Glycemic Index (GI) for weight loss. Research time and time again has shown that the GI has little to do with feeling full and dropping pounds. While we are on the subject, GI is not only highly variable between people, but an individual can have different responses to the same food depending on the time of day! Click *here* for a detailed summary. The Bottom Line is that the Glycemic index is garbage, and the Fullness Factor is the way to go 🙂

Taking Action

Here’s what to do next.

#1 – Be smart while shopping. If you’re in a rush, just remember to grab “real” food. Here’s a list of reasons why:

  • Real food regulates appetite—so you don’t overeat
  • Real food provides the best nutrition—so you can remain healthy for life
  • Real food has a sane amount of energy—so that you can’t accidentally overeat

#2 – Use the FF table at the bottom to plan your attack. This will guide you in preparing meals with appropriate portion sizes.

#3 – If you have enough time, you can plan out recipes at this website to see where your dishes land on the FF scale

As always, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this week’s subject. If you have any questions or tips related to the post, or suggestions for future topics, feel free to contact me any time. As always, I’m here to help. So if you need answers to your exercise program, nutrition plan, or wellness issues please don’t hesitate to ask!

Fullness Factor

Bean sprouts 4.6 Popcorn 2.9 Ice cream 1.8
Watermelon 4.5 Baked potato 2.5 White bread 1.8
Grapefruit 4.0 Lowfat yogurt 2.5 Raisins 1.6
Carrots 3.8 Banana 2.5 Snickers Bar 1.5
Oranges 3.5 Macaroni and cheese 2.5 Honey 1.4
Fish, broiled 3.4 Brown rice 2.3 Sugar (sucrose) 1.3
Chicken breast, roasted 3.3 Spaghetti 2.2 Glucose 1.3
Apples 3.3 White rice 2.1 Potato chips 1.2
Sirloin steak, broiled 3.2 Pizza 2.1 Butter 0.5
Oatmeal 3.0 Peanuts 2.0

Being Brutal Is Better

Even if you’re not looking to lose weight, the idea behind this post translates to not only health and fitness, but to life goals in general.

This week I wanted to talk about a few tenets of weight losing weight and keeping it off. Even if you’re not looking to lose weight, the idea behind this post translates to not only health and fitness, but to life goals in general. The majority of this post comes from a fantastic article by James Fell who writes great stuff at and other news outlets.
The Struggle
People struggle to lose weight for many reasons. To counter that, the weight loss industry seems to have as many methods to lose weight as there are calories on the McDonalds menu. But when it comes down to it, burning more calories than you consume = you, weighing less. But as James puts it “Saying “eat less, move more” to an overweight person is like saying “spend less, earn more” to someone living in crushing poverty.” It’s just not easy for someone to completely change their habits. And with many diet programs being unsustainable, many people turn to dietary tracking. Personally, I don’t track my foods or exercise. That’s because it’s tedious, not super accurate (for calories in or out), and I simply don’t have time to do it on a day to day basis. And generally, the majority of people underestimate their food intake by as much as 50%.
The Reality
I, by no means, am saying not to track your calories. Tracking calories works. But to do it right you need to be brutally honest with it. This means you need to take everything that you consume into account. Not only that, but you need to make sure you are putting in the right quantities. Leaving off a handful of nuts because you think it’s a “healthy snack” or simply eyeballing a scoop of mashed potatoes, means you’re not tracking. It means you’re plugging in information to feel good about yourself and say “hey I only ate 1,200 calories today! Yay for me!” If you’re not tracking your food correctly then you might as well not do it at all.
The Solution
Being brutally honest with yourself is key. And honestly, almost everyone is bad at food and exercise tracking. And until you get really good at the skill of calorie counting, the result generally is nothing more than self-deception. Instead, I suggest creating and practicing healthy habits while you develop your tracking skills. Doing things like cooking for yourselfwalking whenever you get a chancediscovering new NEAT exercisesknowing when to ask for helpactually getting organized and planning (heaven forbid), and building a support network are all great foundations for success.
Being brutally honest with yourself means not holding back when looking at your life choices. I know for me, this message will improve the way I reflect and improve as a person. For more info on why we suck at calorie counting and why being brutally honest is the best way to go, check out the main article here.