Muscle Growth, Preservation, Insulin & Leucine

Welcome back!

I believe that as a species we humans were designed to be lean, fit, muscular and healthy. We were not designed to be fat, overweight, beset with diabetes, whole body inflammation, heart disease and the rest of the gamut of modern lifestyle diseases. Our genetic promise is being steadily eroded by lack of exercise and a diet high in ‘fractured’ / denatured / highly processed foods that predisposes us to chronic diseases…

And no I am not about to start ranting about the need to return to eating & living like our pre-agricultural forebears. (Although a lot of the anti-grain information does bear at least some consideration if you want to pursue optimal health…) Even those folk who exercise regularly have trouble reaching and then maintaining a state of lean muscular health.

With all of the information available, with the explosion in personal trainers, DVDs for home and gyms why is this case?

Certainly a major part of the issue is the fact that despite the huge amount of information out there and the writings of people like Craig Ballantyne, Pauls Rigby and John Romanello people still chooses ineffective types of exercise.

I have written at length here about the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), of mixing low rep high weight training with medium rep medium training – but done circuit style. I have sung the praises of sprinting and Tabata protocols and kettle bells… Once you begin to work out in HIIT fashion using whatever modality you choose you can and do shift your body shape amazingly fast.

I think a major part of the problem from an exercise perspective, is the overuse of ‘Trash’ exercise – and most traditional cardio falls into this category. Too much focus on cardio (especially the ‘normal’ treadmill, exercise bike etc) with little strength or mobility work is, I am convinced the reason why so many folk try so hard yet see so little change in their physique.

Doing long sessions of cardio just does not work except to perhaps help you convince yourself that you are doing all you can and the fat that is not shifting is due to genetics or you being ‘big boned’ or…when simply you are indulging in a form of exercise that was prescribed back in the 1970’s when the scientific study of exercise performance was in its infancy. It still has a lot to learn but this exercise science is now at least a robust adolescent yet we persist in following outmoded and discredited exercise protocols.

I’ve already written extensively about the benefits of HIIT & Metabolic Conditioning exercise protocols, so here I will look at what you need in terms of nutrition to achieve optimal muscle building for leanness, fitness, and health.

Nutrition for Fitness

The commonly held belief is that if you want to build muscle, you need to eat lots & lots of protein and stacks of carbs because after all aren’t carbs our bodies preferred fuel? Yes & No. However, the evidence that has emerged over the past several years shows us it’s not that simple.

In the upcoming ‘Lose 20 in 30’ program I talk about research that shows that your body has a mechanism that allows it to build muscle even when deprived of food. Basically it is tied to a number of survival mechanisms which you can turn on by lifting heavy weights for lots of low rep sets – your body becomes convinced that it is under threat from the weights and so shifts gear to preserve if not actively build muscle even in a state of calorie deficit.

An important part of this mechanism is that some types of amino acids can act as signallers to certain muscle cell genes and turn them ‘on’ to grow muscle tissue. See, it turns out, that amino acids and protein are not just present in our bodies to act as the building blocks for tissues and muscle. Even during times of food deprivation, as long as these amino acids are circulating through your blood stream, you can preserve and even build muscle.

I have said many times before that we eat too little lean protein and too many processed carbs. The ratio between your protein intake and carbs is important for muscle preservation and growth – and it becomes even more important the older we grow. Time & again research from all over the world

has shown that high-carbohydrate diets fail to build muscle. Even in younger people. In study after study it is always the high-protein, low processed-carbohydrate diet that proves the most effective both for muscle building, metabolism boosting and fat loss.

So in order to live up to our ‘genetic promise’ of being lean, fit & muscular; there are two primary nutrition factors we need to pay attention to:

  1. A high-protein, low processed -carbohydrate diet
  2. And a diet high in amino acids – especially one called leucine

One Amino above them all…

Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are truly the building blocks of our bodies and, as we have seen, also serve as gene signallers as well as a number of other functions.

Amino Acids are split into essential and non-essential. The difference being that essential amino acids cannot be made in the body (like Vitamin C) and needs to come from our food. Non-essential amino acids CAN be made by the body.

The amino acids regarded as essential for humans are phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, lysine, and histidine. (Histidine was added in the last decade expanding the traditional 8 essential BCAAs to 9)

Leucine is a very powerful muscle preserver & builder. It serves multiple functions in your body the most important of which (for today’s blog) is that it acts as the signalling mechanism for the mTOR (Mammalian Target of Rapamycin) mechanism. No need to reach for your BioMed dictionary – simply put this mechanism is the one which causes protein to be created and builds your muscle.

However, as is so often the case, in order to get its full benefits, you need to take in far more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA).

Don’t forget the RDA is based on the minimum amount of a vitamin or mineral or other nutrient that a body would need to stay alive. It is not based on the amount needed for optimal health.

It turns out that we need what the RDA advocates would view as massive amounts of this amino acid.

Outside of BCAAs supplements, Whey protein, and quality cheeses (again because of their high whey content) have the highest concentrations of leucine and a number of other BCAAs.

Getting leucine into your diet is easy. However it is also a BCAA that is used very much for energy, recovery and repair which for most of us leaves very little over for use as a muscle building agent. This is why we need large quantities of it to get enough into our bloodstream in excess of the repair & recovery needs so that it can signal the genes to grow more muscle. We need more than maintenance quantities.

Okay I hear you say, we’ll simply take a supplement. Like so many other chemicals which our bodies use there can be side effects. Leucine from food sources has zero potential for causing side effects, but using a leucine only free form amino acid supplement can be counterproductive.

Too much of leucine by itself can cause insulin resistance ( and we know that this means slower metabolisms and increased storage) by impairing your body’s glycemic control.

Now as much as I believe in supplements (especially Fish / Krill Oil and Vitamin D) in general macronutrients act in concert with one another and too much of one affects the interplay of others. Really wherever possible it is best to eat whole foods – we appear to be programmed to benefit most from whole food nutrition.

So how much leucine from food instead of supplements, do you need to consume to get results?

Maintenance doses of leucine range from 1-3 grams per day, in order to move beyond this it has been estimated that leucine requirement should be about 8g – 16g daily. Given that per 100 grams, Whey has 8 grams of leucine, cheddar cheese about 4 grams, egg yolks 1.4 grams, beef about 2grams, chicken 1.4 grams and salmon 1.6 – there seems to be a lot of food needed to be eaten.

So in order to get your 8 gram leucine to preserve & grow muscle you would need to eat the following amounts of food:

  • a pound and a half of chicken (750grams)
  • three pounds of pork (1.5 kg)
  • over a pound of almonds (500 grams & over 3000 calories)
  • over a pound and a half of raw eggs (16 eggs)
  • half a pound of raw cheddar cheese (250grams)

And only 3oz (about 100gr) of high-quality whey.

So once again it is a no-brainer – adding a good quality whey protein to your diet will help you preserve & grow muscle even if you are cutting overall calories.

Carb Quality is important as well…

In order to get to our genetic promise we need to be careful about where we get our carbs from. You can get your carbs from cakes, cookies, sodas, foods containing high fructose corn syrup, from breads and pasta, or from vegetables, legumes & fruits. The source of the carbs you eat makes a major difference to your metabolism, leanness & overall health.

It only takes 1 meal of high GI carbs to reduce the sensitivity of your insulin receptors. Follow it up with a second and your body will use this next load of carbs, especially if they are simple carbs even less effectively and so on…

It is no secret that I am pro-carb and anti processed carbs. Processed carbs are denatured / fractured foods and just not good for you on a regular basis. Low-glycemic fibrous carbohydrates are best for your body. Best for insulin sensitivity, best for increasing metabolism (see my previous posts). Nuts and seeds especially walnuts and almonds contain not just carbs but healthy fats, lots of fibre and even some protein.

I personally believe (and there is an increasing amount of research to bear this out) that grains are rarely ideal sources of carbs. I love good bread as much as the next person and I certainly view Oats a great breakfast food but vegetables & fruits are the way to go for the carbs you need.

Fructose containing foods are at the bottom of the list. No, not fibrous fruit like Apples, pears or Kiwi fruits – but processed carbs & foods especially those containing High Fructose Corn syrup. HFCS is widely viewed as the main culprit in the ever increasing waistline of the Western world.

Whilst fructose is low on the glycemic index, it’s vital to realise that it is metabolised differently from other sugars and can directly – and adversely – affect insulin and leptin signalling. Both of which are near the top of the list in terms of controlling fat storage and metabolism.  Your liver detects insulin activity, which helps your body determine how to metabolise your food. Insulin spikes caused by sugars in your blood stream are detected by your liver and it takes steps to regulate this. Because fructose rarely ever appears on its own in nature when it hits your liver with only a certain amount it can process and lacking an insulin spike the waste products of this metabolism accumulate in your liver. Too much of this and the liver itself develops insulin resistance.

But it gets worse – these by-products are then released and your body converts them to triglycerides whilst lowering HDL (the good cholesterol). All of this gives you a cocktail of insulin resistance, high blood lipids and likely hypertension and heart disease.

I’d even go so far as to say that if a food contains HFCS it is bad for you.

Want to lose Muscle? Get Insulin Resistant…

Insulin is a prime mover hormone – one of the most important, and amongst the most anabolic.

Insulin helps signals your body to move glucose from outside your cells into them, it affects your hunger levels on its own and through interaction with both ghrelin & leptin.

The insulin cascade is also a vital part of the mTOR signalling (other hormones do as well like testosterone, but the effect is greater with insulin as a part of the process) – if your body is insulin resistant this muscle preserving & building signal just does not get out and your muscles waste.

So use HIIT, eat more protein, include whey and cheese to get your leucine and lastly avoid the processed carbs. This is as close to a magic bullet for fat loss as there is.

Be well.

Two favourite foods that are killing us!!!

Hi welcome back:

Today’s post is about a simple way to help you and your loved ones to improve your health, support weight loss and yes increase leanness.

It does require some exercise – the exercise of willpower…

Just about the worst 2 foods you can eat / ingest / scarf down are…fries and soft drinks (soda to our American friends!)

Yep – just removing these two ‘foods’ from your diet will lead to improved health, less fat storage, less whole body inflammation and more besides.

This is NOT to say that avoiding fries’ ‘ Soft drinks will cure all diseases known to man, nor will it overnight cure diabetes, obesity or heart disease BUT if enough folk did eliminate these 2 foods from their diet the cumulative effect would be an amazing decrease in overall illness from diseases like those mentioned above.

We’d simply be a healthier society with healthier individuals in it.

Why you ask? Well…

two foods that kill

Pretty much most ‘foods’ or food-like substances have something in that is semi / sort of ‘good’ for you…

In the case of soft drinks they have water. And water is essential for life and wellbeing. But we can water from a whole lot of other sources without having to take on board all of the other crap that soft drinks / soda contain…

Soda is either loaded with sugar (usually of the high fructose corn syrup variety see this post for the evils associated with that), added sugar (variation of dextrose, maltose, sucrose or HFCS again) certainly have loads of chemicals and colourings and even sodium.

In the US of A up to 25% of daily calories come from sugar with a whopping 7% from soft drinks / sodas. That is a lot of sugar, a lot of insulin spiking, a lot of fat storage and a lot of body inflammation right there…

Okay so you’ll drink the zero sugar ones…not so fast!! The diet ones use artificial sweeteners and whilst the jury is still out on their long term effects on human beings (and some of the more hysterical internet rants & warnings have been disproven) they still carry lots of other chemicals & colourings. And they still not be good for you. An increasing body of research shows that people who drink diet drinks actually stimulate their appetite and can sabotage their diets through this mechanism…

Which brings us to fries. They’re made out of potato and spuds are essentially benign aren’t they? Again – it depends. If you are making your own fries (their thicker cousins – chips) from whole potatoes store or market bought and  you are either oven baking or at least frying in lard (yep lard!) then you will end up with a food that has some redeeming features. I mean they would be filling, trans-fat and colouring free. Still not great but acceptable now and again.

The truth is that the store bought fries are loaded with sodium, have colourings added for colour in many cases and are flavoured with more salt and sugar to increase their tastiness. (remember we are genetically wired to love salty and sweet foods and fast food manufacturers in fact processed food manufacturers use this to sell more products.) The potatoes (maybe good quality maybe not) are fried in one of the those pro-inflammatory seed (called vegetable – see marketing) oils which are so high in omega-6 like canola or blended oils – which oil can be used and re-used numerous times before being replaced with ‘fresh’ oil. Two things here – reusing high omega-6 oils for cooking makes them even more prone to become trans-fat laden, more carcinogenic and when I say fresh – I mean not yet cooked in. Most ‘seed’ oils are already rancid when you buy them off the supermarket shelf, never mind about the ones that are supplied by food services.

So trans-fat filled, chemical / sugared / salted yumminess is what a fry basically is. Add to this by glugging down a few teaspoons of sugar, colourings and more chemicals and you have the complete meal if you want to induce inflammation, insulin spikes, fat storage, damage insulin sensitivity, and support the likelihood of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. And that’s before we even think about portion size…

Many folk say that the advice on nutrition is confusing because expert A disagrees with Expert B or opinions change (Remember the crap about no eggs because they’ll raise your cholesterol and give you heart disease which was scientifically proven only it was wrong…).

And you’re right it is confusing and made even more so by the various lobby groups and manufacturers who ‘support’ scientific and University studies into the effects of various ‘simple foods (like sugar) on people.

It’s a play straight out of the Big Tobacco playbook – confuse & muddy the issues and sell lots in the meantime and then say ‘The best available research of the time…’

However when it comes to fries and soft drinks / sodas the only folk you’ll find defending these quasi-foods are the paid spokespeople of the manufacturers or the companies that retail them. Even the oft trotted out ‘as a part of a balance diet’ argument is no longer supported.

Remove these 2 foods from your diet and from that of the people you care about – your body and theirs will thank you by giving you better health and less chance of unnecessary disease.

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See you next week.

Be well and think before you put stuff in your mouth…


The most frightening of new words – Obesegenic.

Welcome Back – Sorry about the break between posts but as John Lennon used to say:’ Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans…”

This week a longer post on a frightening new word…and term that has been created to reflect our current health as a society.

Our Western Societies have become, according to the American Centre for Disease Control (CDC), obesogenic ones.

The typical Western diet (and an increasing number of other culture’s diets as they are exposed to Westerns ‘culture’) is full of unhealthy, fat forming, health damaging foods.  On the whole, despite the growth in Gyms, Pilates, Yoga, marathon running, triathlons etc etc there is actually far less physical activity across the population of any Western country then there was 20 years ago. Even in the East as cities become more common and larger the physical activity index of these countries is dropping as well.

Simply put the World’s population is in danger but not in the main from wars, from famine or disease – although there are still plenty of those to go around unfortunately…

No – our lives are at risk because we can’t put our damn forks down!!

Because we can’t seem to eat close to unprocessed, calorie sparse, nutrient dense foods as our main fuel intake. Because we don’t move enough, often enough or challengingly enough.

We are simply killing ourselves and our societies because we are eating too much and too much of health damaging foods.

Moving less, eating more poor food and eating too much are the reasons why our risk and even worse our children’s risk of obesity have increased.

In countries like Australia, the USA & Great Britain the number of overweight and obese citizens was in the minority 20 years ago.

Today, dare I say, the scales have tipped and lean, healthy weight individuals are the minority.

Hard to believe? According to HCF – one of Australia’s top health insurance providers and the Australian National Health Survey and the Australian Bureau of Statistics:

  • Sixty-five per cent of men and 45 per cent of women are now overweight or obese, says the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. That’s an increase of around 15 per cent among both sexes since 1980.
  • In the 10-year period from 1985 to 1995, the level of combined overweight/obesity in Australian children more than doubled.
  • Analysis of data collected in state surveys between 1967 and 1997 shows that from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s the prevalence of obesity tripled
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently reported that, of a sample of 13,000 Australians over the age of 18, only 52 per cent say they regularly take part in a sport or physical activity.
  • That’s barely one in two Australians and down from the 59 per cent who said they did so in 1999.
  • Further the Australia National Health Service reports that 61.4% of the Australian population are either overweight or obese

In the US of A it is reported that:

  • America has the largest population of overweight and obese individuals. (Although some sources say that Australia has that most dubious of Honours…)
  • 33% of the population are obese – that is a 60% increase from 20 years ago. 
  • 1 in 6 American children are obese.
  • There are over 300,000 obesity related deaths per year, second only to tobacco related deaths.
  • Two-thirds, or 167 million Americans, are overweight.  One-third of those individuals are clinically obese.

Scary stuff – if you want to learn more you can go here:

Our ability to stay lean & healthy began to erode significantly with the introduction of processed foods loaded with sugar and extra calories. It skyrocketed with the now discredited food pyramid that de-emphasised fats & protein & stressed bread & ’carbs’ and got even worse when food manufacturers changed to using high fructose corn syrup in their products as a cheaper replacement for more traditionaltypes of sugars.

But if you’re not a part of these stats – Congratulations – you are in what appears to be a dwindling minority

But if you a part of these stats – what does it mean?

Say you’re 10, 20, or 30 pounds over fat (I prefer to think, as you know, in terms of fat not weight) is this really a big deal? After all in most urban cases, we don’t depend upon our physical fitness to put food on the table or pay the bills. Sure you might not look great naked and your clothes are a little tight, the stairs make you puff and the kids (before they get too fat as well) run you ragged but what’s the big deal?  Your joints may creak, your back ache, your Doctor starts talking about adult onset diabetes but hey you’ll lose the extra 20 pounds; that belly centred 10 kilos of extraneous padding at some point. Right?

The evidence suggests not.

Remember we can’t put or forks down, can’t move more or even choose the right health affirming foods.

That extra 10 kilos or even 10 pounds are putting your health at an increased risk of future health complications.

Being over fat puts into place the processes that create unhealthy living conditions, stops fat loss and heads you firmly towards a host of avoidable health issues.

Being over fat:

  • Increases your chance of disease
  • Increases inflammation in your body and
  • Alters the function of fat cells from being health supportive to not.

Being too fat can make your fat cells unhealthy.

Your Fat Cells Are Becoming Unhealthy

By unhealthy I mean that they stop working the way they are supposed to. Healthy fat cells help control energy expenditure and metabolism by releasing amongst them – leptin. Leptin is an important regulator of fat storage.

Leptin, amongst other things tells out brain when we are full signalling the release of ghrelin to make us feel satiated and unable to eat any more.

Leptin comes in two forms, one bound and one free.   Lean people have higher amounts of bound Leptin, while obese individuals have higher free Leptin levels. Researchers believe that high free Leptin levels means less of it reaches the brain to signal fullness and ghrelin release – result we keep eating, take in too many calories and store them as fat.

Obese individuals appear to lack the ability to tell their brain to stop eating!

This results in increased appetite, increased cortisol levels, and resistance to the good hormones.

Obesity is also associated with lower levels of Adiponectin than their lean counterparts. Low levels of Adiponectin are associated with increased body fat mass, poorer insulin response, Leptin, and insulin resistance.  Adiponectin is a protein which is secreted by fat cells and like Leptin; it has positive effects on obesity.

Adiponectin has anti-inflammatory effects on the walls of the arteries and adipose tissue.  Adiponectin works to break down fatty acids in muscle tissue; with this breakdown process resulting in better sensitivity to insulin.

This helps to utilise fatty acids for fuel rather than of storing them in other tissue. This means there is less toxic fat, making us more efficient at utilising insulin.

Without enough Adiponectin, your body is unable to breakdown fat in the blood, resulting in the fat landing in other organs and sites on your body.

Worst of all is that its levels are lower in obese folk. And lower levels of favours inflammation.

Increased Inflammatory Response

Disease creates a break in your body’s homeostatic condition and it responds usually by initiating an inflammatory response as it tries to contain the factor disturbing the equilibrium or actively attacking the body itself.

Inflammation in and of itself can be a good thing – as a part of our body’s immune & repair response it heals wounds, fights of bacteria & viruses.

But when an inflammation response does not stop our cells begin to become inflamed themselves and develop resistance to the hormones that keep our fat cells healthy.

One function of healthy fat cells is the ability to store fat from your blood.

Thing is when prolonged inflammation meets adipose tissue you gain a reduced ability to store fat. This means that increased levels of sugar & fatty acids are in the blood and in order to deal with these our body releases more insulin to force these into storage. It also releases increased levels of cortisol. What is cortisol famous for? Storing excess calories as belly fat.

Increased cortisol leads to higher belly fat levels. 

Increased belly fat stores are a known indicator of increased disease risk and inflammation in the body. Increased inflammation also leads to arthritis & gout – painful disfiguring diseases whose incidence worldwide has jumped dramatically the last 3 decades – again lead by those countries following a Western diet.

Of course once your fat cells are becoming inflamed and start to refuse insulin its proper action you’ve established a nice circuit that will keep repeating with only a single way off – lose the excess fat.

Increased Disease Risk

Carrying extra bodyfat is proven beyond all doubt to increase your risk of developing a host of diseases or worsening some you are already genetically predisposed to.

Diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, and gout are just a few…

The world wide rise in diabetes has mirrored the rise in obesity. In fact if you want to stop Type II diabetes – lose that gut!

Think of this 221 million people worldwide suffer from some form of diabetes and nearly all of them are in societies that follow a Western diet. America has over 13 million of these folk alone…

It is a no-brainer over fat folk have a much greater risk of developing chronic debilitating disease than lean folk.

Get too fat? Get Sick!!

Like diabetes, heart disease has risen dramatically side by side with obesity – again in those countries & societies that follow the typical Western diet. Heart troubles are amongst the most preventable of diseases. If you are over fat you stand a 10 -50% greater chance of dying from obesity related condition – and heart disease is the main one.

Chronic diseases can possibly lead to premature death.

Being just a few pounds over fat starts you down a dangerous path.

The answer is the same as it has always been – by actively seeking to recondition your metabolism you can alter your body’s make up, drop the extra fat, release more of the good hormones, reset you body’s homeostatic point and avoid the increased risks of chronic disease incubation.

Move LOTS more, eat nutrient dense, calorie sparse foods, eat lots of protein, vegetables & fruit, avoid boxed foods, go easy on the alcohol, cut down sugars, avoid trans fats & HFCS.

It sounds complicated but it’s not – and you can start by putting down your fork more often and


By increasing physical activity, watching the source of your calories, and the amount of calories you eat, will eventually lead to lower fat stores and decreased disease risk.

By making intelligent lifestyle changes to curb your body fat gain you will reduce your risk factors for developing chronic diseases.

I’ve already drawn you attention to the fact that being over fat causes your Adiponectin levels to drop and that when they drop fatty acid metabolism is adversely affected.  By shedding the extra body fat, you help your body raise Adiponectin levels.  This means that you body is then able to burn more calories by utilising fatty acids properly.

Losing body fat helps your body release the right hormones, at the right time, which in turn helps you burn more fat. People who lose fat can increase their Adiponectin levels.

It is never too late to lose body fat. When you do your fat cells actually return to normal functioning, becoming healthy again.

See you next week.


Tying all the diets together…

Hi & Welcome back!!

There is a lot of confusing information out there about diet and what works and what doesn’t and so on.

Even the so-called experts seem to rarely agree – and then there is the mixed messages You only look like this when exercise & diet coincidefrom the media as they report on ‘scientific’ findings from scientists who are funded by various parts of the food industry (Same thing as big tobacco did for years to discredit the mounting proof of the devastating effect of smoking on health…)

Personally I have moved to a more Paleo high vegetable, high protein, moderate fat and low to no processed carbs – especially grain based ones!- and low dairy) style diet and am feeling the better for it but I have friends who each lots of grains and are very healthy. What  don’t see – ever – is anyone on the typical western diet, full of processed carbs, high fructose corn syrup, sugars and transfats who is or feels in their optimum health…

So ignoring the ‘normal’ folk here is a list of things that pretty much everyone I know—from Atkins to vegans, Vegetarians to Paleos, or from raw foodists to calorie counters—should be able to agree on.

  1. Eat more vegetables. Try to think of yourself as a ‘vegevore’ that is someone who eats 40 to 50%+ of their diet as vegetables then protein then fats and finally fruit. Veges generally have a low calorie impact (depending upon how they are cooked or ‘dressed’) are the best source of vitamin. minerals, co-factors, antioxidants and even anti-inflammatories. Add to this the presence of fibre and chemopreventive agents like polyphenols, catechins, indoles, flavanols, and flavonoids;  and you’d have to be plain dumb not to be eating as many veges as you can.
  2. When (and if) you eat meat, make it grass fed. The research continues to grow that grain fed cattle, pigs and sheep produce less healthy meat than grass fed. It does tend to be more expensive but it contains fat that is higher in the anti-inflammatory omega-3’s and lower in pro-inflammatory omega-6’s. Well worth the effort and cost.
  3. When (and if) you eat starchy carbohydrates, the less processed the better. Oatmeal beats Coco Pop or Sugared Flakes. True wholegrain bread beats anything white, brown or vitamin added. If you’re going to eat grain derived, starchy carbs then the less processed the better.
  4. Drink lots of water and green tea.                                                                              These are are two of the healthiest beverages you can drink and the more you have of them the better. I’ve now come to believe that even diet soft drinks (sodas) are just as bad for you as regular sugared ones Not for any fanciful cancer link but because ingesting artificial sweeteners appears to stimulate hunger and cravings as your body recognises them as being calorie free and the taste primes your body for calories…) Coffee is fine but not in large amounts. rankly water and green tea, a couple of litres of each and you’ll be doing your body a huge favour…
  5. Berries, beans and nuts should be a large part of your diet.                                                      Hard line Paleo folk don’t eat beans and have few if any nuts but lots of folk seem to  thrive on them so I’ve included them here. Personally I no longer have beans and my nuts are restricted to the occasional walnut binge…As for berries everyone should be eating a couple of cups of these nutritional storehouses every day. Fresh or frozen doesn’t really matter nutritionally – just eat lots!!
  6. Add supplements to your diet.                                                                                              Just about everyone would benefit from adding Vitamin D, a multivitamin, fish or krill oil; zinc and possibly magnesium to their diet.                                                                                                                         
  7. Do your best to cut out or limit high fructose corn syrup and sugar from your diet.                                                                                                                                          By now this should be a no-brainer for anyone remotely interested in being lean and healthy.
  8. A certain portion of your daily diet should come from raw foods.                        Raw food contain enzymes and other co-factors that cooking and processing in general destroy. Of course veges and fruits are the target here although some braver folk include raw meat from trusted sources…

There you have a moderate, sensible set of guidelines to follow to eat healthier, support your health and become leaner.

To quote noted author Michael Pollan:

  • Eat food.
  • Not so much.
  • Mostly plants.

Or as Sean Croxton of ‘Underground Wellness’ says:JERF

  • Just Eat Real Food.

Not everyone will agree and every day you’ll find some expert or another saying that low carb or low fat or no dairy or no grain is the only way to go…but the next time you feel like hitting your head against the nearest hard object because the “experts” can’t “agree on anything”, take a deep breath, a sip of green tea and re-read this list.

Trust me it’ll do you wonders.

See you next week – don’t forget to like us on FB!!

The Real Truth about Low Carb…

Hi & Welcome Back!!

There seems to be a real lack of consensus as to what low carb means in a food  / diet choice..

For many people the term low carb means ‘old’ style Atkins  where the perception is that you ate nothing but fatty meats, cheese and eggs. (this of course was not true – the ‘old’ Atkins was more severe in terms of carb intake than the later versions, but all most folk know about the Atkins diet is the severe carb reduction of the initial 2 week dial in phase) For others low carbs means carbs making up less than 60% of your daily food intake. For still others it means aiming for no more than 20% of your food coming from carbs.

It is confusing – especially when diets that advocate a 40 / 30  / 30 split amongst the macronutrients is called ‘low’ carb when it patently is not.

For me Low carb is a misnomer and confusing – what we should be eating is as close to NO PROCESSED Carbs as possible.

In terms of general health & well being, in terms of stimulating your metabolism I don’t recommend low carb. Carbs are great! They are your body’s preferred fuel source after all.

But… and it is a big but…it depends upon the type of carbs that you choose to eat.

If you have been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that I am dead set against processed carbs. No ifs, no buts these have been proven time & again to wreak havoc on our bodies – especially when they are eaten like is predominant in the western lifestyle. The effect they have on your hormones (especially insulin) on your body composition (fat storage anyone??) on your energy levels (Afternoon fades anyone??) and your general health verges on the deadly.

By Processed carbs I mean sugar (in all its forms), white flour, white rice, most pasta, sodas, fruit & vegetable juices, any food labelled ‘diet’ or Low Fat’, cakes, cookies & breads – if it comes in a box or your grandmother would not recognise it as food – it’s a processed carb. Processed carbs also stimulate your appetite, meaning that you have to fight cravings  for more food because the processed carbs are so nutrient sparse that your body triggers its hunger stimulants to try to get more of the nutrients that it needs.

Preferred carbs are those remain as close to the filed as possible – the classic fresh fruit The shaper we get from eating processed carbs...and vegetables (frozen too!!) are high in fibre, create a higher TEF (Thermic Effect of Food – ie our body burns calories just to process them!) and have vitamins & minerals. These are the real deal – most are low in calorie count and high in nutrients and frankly I believe that you should eat as much low or unprocessed carbs as you want to. The only caveat being that you should ensure that you eat a variety of carbs,. If all you eat is pears – you could put on body fat due to the way fructose is metabolised – fibre or not. But a variety of fruit & vege choices ensure that this type of potential effect doesn’t happen.

But the real secret to eating healthy carb is to ensure that you have some protein with every meal.

If I eat a plate of pasta I am hungry again in short order. If I eat a plate of steak and veges.  I am sated for hours to come. Carb type matters.

Eating 2000 calories of processed carbs will, I guarantee, ensure that you are hungry again in a short time and are causing large insulin spikes as your body tries to deal with the increase in blood sugars. This is what happens to most  people… once they start eating large portions of processed carbs like pasta, cereals, or rice it becomes hard to stop and even worse they want more an hour (or less) later!

Now if you were to eat the same 2000 calories as low or unprocessed carbs a couple of things would happen. Firstly the sheer bulk of this amount of unprocessed carbs would ensure that you did not feel hungry for hours and secondly this amount of unprocessed carbs would mean that you would have to eat more slowly and slow eating has been shown to beneficially affect both metabolism nutrient uptake and satiety.

What I have found that works best for me is to avoid as many processed carbs as possible, try to have some protein with every meal and eat as much unprocessed or low processed carbs like fruit & veges as I want.  This is not eating in the ‘old’ Atkins style, it just means reducing or avoiding cereals, grains & pasta products, refined sugars and diet or low fat dairy products as much as humanly possible.

I am not going into the Paleo / Hunter gather diet versus the Western diet here – but the way I find works best for me is closer to this than the Government approved, obesity inducing food pyramid. I honestly think that this is the healthiest way to eat.

All it takes is a little lateral thinking – eat your burger without the bun, have your eggs without toast for breakfast, drink water instead of fruit juice have a sald instead of rice and os on. Try it – you will feel better, your energy levels will rise and like as not your fat will begin to decrease. Cool!

So the message is not to eat low carb, but eat low or no processed carbs as much as possible. Trust me your body will thank you for it!!

Be well. Don’t forget to lik us or Tweet…

24 Proven Tips for Quick Fat Melting…

Welcome back!!

The last 10 or so weeks have been about using your metabolism in a number of ways to enable your desired fat loss – here are some short tips to support it also…

Remember that a calorie is NOT just a calorie – where a calorie comes from determines how your body will use it and that there is no escaping that a pound / 500 grams of fat is about 3500 calories. To lose a pound / half a kilo of fat you need to create a deficit of 3500calories.

Here are 24 proven tips to adopt that will help you to melt away bodyfat and develop a lean & healthier body…

  1. Change how often you eat – move to eating 4-6 small meals a day instead of the usual 2-3 large meals. As we’ve discussed in earlier posts – by eating more often you regulate blood sugar and boost your metabolism to burn more calories.
  2. Eat with smarts! This means eating as many unprocessed (don’t come in a box or bag) foods as possible. Eat whole foods – foods that are close to the way they come from nature as possible. (If your Grandmother wouldn’t immediately recognise it as food don’t eat it!)
  3. Eat more Protein, and the protein that you eat should come from roasts, steaks & chops, chicken breasts, whole birds, turkeys, buffalo, kangaroo or fish etc NOT from salami, pastrami or other processed proteins. Occasionally cheeses and Greek style yoghurts.
  4. The only real exceptions to the processed food rule are whey protein powders for shakes, cold pressed olive oils dairy products..
  5. Get your carbs from fruit & vegetables – and the higher the fibre content of these the better! Low Glycemic carbs choices are generally best – but use your common sense – Ice Cream is low GI on some measures but it is not a fat loss promoting food. Likewise potatoes are a high glycemic food but only if cooked & eaten OUT of their jacket…Eat nuts. Avoid carbs out of a box! If possible avoid grains and grain based foods except for the occasional meal on a weekend.

  6. Eat as close to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables everyday to ensure that you are getting all of your needed micronutrients. Add these to their fibre content and you appetite control, insulin management and overall body health well underway!
  7. Consume at least 25-35 grams of fibre every day – not too difficult if you are eating a lot of fibrous fruit & vegetables. Fibre not only ‘keeps things in motion’ but it also enables you to eat calorie sparse meals and still feel full. Fibre also helps control insulin release and response. And we know that controlling Insulin means controlling potential fat storage!
  8. At every meal consume some form of lean protein.(Whey protein comes into its own here) It helps satisfy hunger and taps into your metabolism by utilising TEF (Thermic Effect of Food– see earlier blogs on this topic) Not only that, but a regular protein intake ensures that your body has all of the essential amino acids it needs to repair & rebuild your body and maintain muscle mass while you are altering your body composition by losing fat.
  9. Eat Fat. Seems contradictory but your body needs essential fatty acidswhich you can only

    really get from eating healthy fats. Many nutritionists will tell you to get your fats in a balanced manner –  1/3  from saturated fats, 1/3 from monounsaturated fats, and 1/3 from polyunsaturated fats.  This can be difficult to manage if you are living an adult life with adult responsibilities. Better to look at it this way use Olive & Macadamia oils and coconut milk for salads and cooking, eat walnuts & almonds, take an Omega-3 supplement, use butter, avoid margarine and read labels so you don’t ingest transfats.

  10. Avoid vegetable oils (really grain oils) this means Canola, mixed vegetable oil, corn oil, etc etc. Stick with Olive, Macadamia, Coconut, Palm and, in small amounts, nut oils.
  11. Avoid any food that says ‘Low Fat’ as in 98% of times this means high in sugar…
  12. Avoid Sodas, fruit juices, cordial, or heavily sweetened teas & coffees. Drink Green Tea or Water (aim for 2 litres a day of water on top of your tea / coffee intake) the many health benefits of Green Tea are well documented as are the benefits of drinking lots of water. (Added tip – drink chilled water and your body will burn a couple of extra calories just warming it up – not a huge number but it all helps & accumulates!)
  13. Ensure that you get plenty of Omega-3’s (from coldwater fish, walnuts, almonds or easiest of all via supplements) and lots of Vitamin D3. Not only do these nutrients help with reducing inflammation in the body, they have roles to play in fat loss, tissue repair, brain health, and general cell health.

  14. Don’t use a To Do list – create a Habit List and write down the things that move you towards fat loss that you should do every day. Things like eat 6 times a day, eating 10 serves of Fruit & Vegetables, like getting at least 20 minutes of some form of exercise in each day and so on. Make these behaviours & actions habits and you’ll find it easier to do them and best of all your fat loss will be consistent. It will take about 21 days of consistent effort but once you’ve done each of these things 21 times they will have become a habit. Draw up a list with a checkbox for 21 days & stick it on your fridge where you can see it and tick off each habit successfully done each day.
  15. Be consistent with your foods – in other words plan your meals for each day (or more) in advance and buy the foods you need to make them fresh. Most of us rotate between less than 20 different meals – if you identify 15  fat-loss supporting meals that you like then plan your week around them. Consistency comes from repetition.
  16. Speaking of food consistency – try to make what they now call “Super foods” into your meals on a daily basis. This means Berries (especially blueberries – & the frozen are just as nutritious as the fresh!) Nuts, Salmon, natural Greek style yoghurt (never low fat or fat free yoghurt – sugar laden are theses!) olive oil, fish oil, buffalo or kangaroo meat, spinach, broccoli and (yep I don’t like ’em either)brussel sprouts, apples, pears & melons and beans. At worst make sure you add

    one of the powdered ‘super green’ supplements to a shake. (Sorry Acai berries and secret Himalayan bat cheeses don’t make the list – neither does whatever this week’s you beaut MLM company ‘must have’ food…)

  17. Aim to get about 35 – 40% of your calories from protein (lean & unprocessed is best), about 30% from healthy fats and the rest from unprocessed, non-grain carbs.
  18. Use herbs & citrus juices, chillies & garlic, olive oil and nuts to add zest 7 flavour to dishes – avoid store bought mayo and salad dressings and you’ll avoid extra calories (surprisingly a lot from sugar)
  19. Sugar is the enemy. It is a poison in the amounts the average Westerner eats. Some types are worse than others (High Fructose Corn Syrup for example). Avoid as much and as often as possible. Read labels and try to cut it out of your diet.
  20. Have a sweet tooth and fruit just doesn’t cut it? Try the lollies and sweets from the diabetic section of your supermarket usually low calorie and always low sugar these can be used sparingly to help you get over any sugar ‘jones’ you may have.
  21. Avoid ‘white foods’ – bread, rice pasta and products made with them.
  22. Get your exercise in. High Intensity Interval Training is best for rapid fat loss (see earlier posts) but if you are not ready for this level of intensity just yet, then simply aim to do at least 20

    minutes of movement everyday at a level that makes it just a little hard to have a conversation whilst doing it. Walk fast (with hand weights!) Use some of Craig Ballantyne’s excellent Turbulence Training programs, get on a rowing machine, swim some laps, do some push ups, some squats, some burpees and pull ups, skip rope, try P-90X, sprint some hills, climb some steps – the important thing is to get moving! Just as you can’t out train a bad diet you get faster and more permanent fat loss by combining diet with exercise. Yes, you can reduce body fat just by changing your eating habits but results are slow to come and it takes much longer to lose fat . (Quick rant DON’T fall into the old chronic cardio routines of hours on bikes / ellipticals or step machines – get your heart rate up, move some weights and get on with your day. Anymore than an hour is counterproductive to your fat loss efforts.)

  23. I personally find this one difficult to do – but for a week to 10 days use a food journal and record everything that you eat or drink. Use to see how many calories you are ingesting.

    Doing this brings to light all of the hidden foods we eat and makes you more aware of eating so that mindless eating (think popcorn in front of the TV) becomes less easy to slip into. I also suggest hat if your fat loss has stalled that you do the 7-10 day food journal exercise – usually when fat loss stops it is because your food intake has moved in the wrong direction.

  24. Allow yourself to be human and fall off the fat loss wagon now & again. Try to adhere to the 90% rule – that is: stay with the good, fat loss promoting habits 90% of the timeand you’ll getresults even if you don’t follow them the other 10%. If you start edging towards using a 80 / 20 rule (and as good as Paretto’s principle is) you need to stop, re-evaluate and get back on track.

See you next week.

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8 Exercises, 7 Ways & 8 Foods to boost your Metabolism

Hi & Welcome back!!

This week I want to give you some specific foods, exercises and techniques for boosting your metabolism. As you know a faster metabolism means a leaner body and less body fat. You also know that in order to fit healthy & lean you need to use a combination of diet, exercise and lifestyle to achieve this.


The best format to use when exercising as I have discussed in earlier posts is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). The best way to use utilise this training protocol is to do what is called Metabolic Resistance Training which is a mix of resistance and cardio training. You do this by creating a cycle or chain of exercises that are performed as a circuit for a set number of rounds.

A good basic bodyweight chain is:

  • Push ups
  • Squats
  • Chin ups

Still a killer metabolic booster…

Run through this chain 3 – 5 times with 2 minutes rest between each round and you will raise your metabolism for hours to come. However this is a format, a protocol that gives results.

In terms of actual exercises to pick…Overall the best ones to use are those which use a lot of muscle (ie compound exercises) and create a high metabolic cost. So the list below is my picks for the best overall metabolism boosting exercises. It is not exhaustive nor is it meant to imply that you would do a workout that uses all of these exercises. Instead you can take a couple of these and combine them into a circuit and get the most bangs for your metabolic buck that way….

1.       Deadlifts

2.       Chin / Pull ups

3.       Squats

4.       Push ups

5.       Burpees

6.       Jumping Jacks

7.       Weighted Box Step ups

8.       Push presses

7 Ways to Fire Up Your Metabolism

Sometimes the smallest things—like getting more protein in the morning or enough rest at night—can lead to the biggest weight loss surprises.

Don’t skip breakfast.

Eating lean protein along with some complex carbs in the morning will get your metabolism revved up for the day ahead. Protein from eggs will help stabilize your blood sugar, make you feel fuller, and keep you from overeating later in the day.

Get your beauty rest.

Human growth hormone works directly on cells to increase your metabolic rate by 15 to 20 percent and can only be produced during the hours of deep sleep. So make sure you get a good night’s sleep!

Eat Whole Foods

At mealtimes, try consuming lean proteins from beef, lamb chicken or fish along with low GI complex carbohydrates from fruits and veggies. Eating this way kills cravings, enables you to feel full, and helps you avoid the downsides of sugars and their insulin spiking effects. This magical combination will speed up your metabolic rate as food is transformed into usable nutrients. Food not only provides fuel for your body, but it also provides specific instructions for your metabolism.

Eat Often

Every time you eat you increase your metabolism, the more often the more your metabolism boosts. Grazing all day is okay but can be difficult to manage. Try to eat 5 or 6 protein containing smaller meals to get more boosts in your metabolism!


Build Lean Protein Into Every Meal

Your body has to work much harder to break down protein – it increases your metabolism by increasing the Thermic Effect of Food. Adding protein to every snack and meal will increase your metabolism boost.

Avoid Highly Processed Foods

Check foods that have a label closely for the various types of sugar (Maltodextrin, sucrose, fructose, lactose, sucrose etc etc) High Fructose Corn Syrup and Hydrogenated Oils (Trans fats). These ingredients wreak havoc on your metabolism, generally lack fibre and don’t do a thing for your health.

Don’t Eat Carbs or Fat Just Before Bed

Instead have a protein shake (made with casein if possible as it is absorbed more slowly) as this will provide plenty of fuel for your body to use for repair & renewal while you sleep. Eating carbs or fat within 2 hours of going to bed however increases the chances of them being stored as fat.

8 Foods to Boost Your Metabolism

You know if you look over the magazines while you are waiting in the supermarket queue you’ll see endless headlines about the latest ‘super food.’ There seems to be one every week promising to melt those pounds away while you do whatever you want.

Often a good food is marketed with an emphasis more on people’s fears than any real effect it has. (Look at Acai berries – great for vitamin C, terrific source of antioxidants but not a miracle for fat loss…)

Unfortunately such foods with those wanted effects do not exist.

Without regular challenging exercise, a metabolic enhancing meal plan and a decent night’s sleep, your metabolic rate is not going to do anything except to stay sluggish.

The good news is that there are a number of things you can eat that will stimulate your metabolism. Even better all of these foods are delicious and nutritious.

Here are eight of my favourites:

  1. Fish.If you are a regular reader of this blog you’ll be familiar with the benefits of taking a fish oil supplement – simply put Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to your good health and to a faster metabolism. Not to mention their anti-inflammatory effects and other benefits. But Fish itself is a great source of protein. Protein increases your metabolism through increasing the Thermic Effect of Food (ie our body has to burn more calories to digest protein than it does for fat or carbs). In fact eating fish has been found to boost your calorie burn by as much as 400 calories a day.
  2. Dark green leafy vegetables. You know the ones – spinach, chard, kale, silverbeet, chicory, collard greens and so forth. These types of Veges are full of fibre (which increases your metabolism because of the extra calories needed to process it and ‘move’ it along. They are also full of vitamin A, vitamin C, loads of B group vitamins, calcium, and loads of other phytonutrients and minerals.  Most Veges are high in fibre, low in calories and boost your calorie burn, but nutritionally speaking the dark green leafy vegetables are the best overall.
  3. Tomatoes. Tomatoes contain high levels of the antioxidant lycopene, which is an anti-cancer phytonutrient (especially good for avoiding prostate cancer so the research suggests – so fellas need to eating a lot of tomato products) They also contain 3 acids in abundance – malic, citric and oxalic acid. These acids support your body’s kidney & liver functions which means that eating tomatoes helps your body eliminate waste and fat. Lastly like dark green leafy Veges, Tomatoes are a good fibre source.
  4. Blueberries and other berries & whole fruits. Whole fruits – not juices – contain lots of fibre, loads of vitamins and lots of antioxidants. One cup of blueberries only has about 80 calories, but it has 4 whole grams of fibre. This means that blueberries (like most whole fruits) increase the thermic effect of food by expending calories to deal with the fibre content. Blueberries are also believed to lower cholesterol and help to regulate blood pressure. Even better frozen berries show very little nutrient loss so you can have them & their benefits all year round!
  5. Whole grains. You’ll be getting the message by now – it terms of boosting your metabolism food can help through several mechanisms – through nutrients, through affect on hormones and through the mechanical cost of processing fibre. One of the best sources of fibre are whole grains. Personally I prefer to get my fibre from Veges & whole fruits but the fibre content of grains cannot be ignored and should be a part of your metabolism boosting food intake. However you need to check the food labels to ensure that the bread or cereal or pasta you are about to buy has whole grains as the main ingredient. Too many products proclaim themselves as whole grain but are chock full of sugars. Sugars that can take your metabolism in the wrong direction.

  6. Chillies, curries, and other spices. A constituent called capsaicin found in many hot peppers and other spices has the ability to fire up your metabolism while it fires up your mouth and makes you break a sweat. There are studies that show a 50 percent increase in metabolism for 3 hours after eating capsaicin. So keep your metabolism firing and add some flavour to your food by adding hot sauce, fresh chillies, a good Thai curry or capsicums to your meals. Spices are a simple to add ingredient to help kick your metabolism into a higher gear.
  7. Green tea. Yep – a lot of the hype is true – Green tea does increase your metabolism and your calorie-burning by up to four percent. It is also believed to assist in burning fats, reducing sugar cravings and works to inhibit the enzymes that slow digestion, thus raising metabolic rates. In addition to its metabolic properties, green tea is loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols, making it one of the most healthful beverage choices around.

  8. Ice water.Water is necessary for all your bodily processes, including the ones that control your metabolism. If you’re under hydrated, your body will underperform. Water also flushes out fat deposits and toxins.  Almost everyone from your Grandparents to the trainers on Biggest Loser to nutritionists the world over tells you to drink at least large glasses of water every day. The trick to using this to boost your metabolism is to make those 8 glasses ice water. If you drink ice water instead of room-temperature water, your body burns an extra nine calories per glass – not a lot but remember every bit helps when you are trying to recondition your metabolism. Drinking room-temperature water can burn roughly 16 calories per glass—ice water means a burn of 25 calories per glass.  So eight glasses of cold water a day can be responsible for burning 200 calories!

Remember, the right types of exercise, a good night’s sleep and smaller, evenly spaced meals are the formula for getting your metabolism rocking again…

See you next time – don’t forget to Tweet this or ‘Like’ us on Face Book…

Metabolism – What it is & How you can make it work for you Part 10

Welcome back for the final part of this series on your metabolism …

How do I know if my metabolism has increased?

We all know why we want a reconditioned and faster metabolism – but how do you know if your metabolism is increasing?

But how do you know if your metabolism has been raised?

A raised metabolic rate will cause some physiological changes which indicate that your metabolism has been increased:

  • Greater energy levels:A reconditioned and faster metabolism means that your body is able to more quickly release calories as fuel. This means that your energy systems are running more efficiently and you just have more ‘Get up & Go’ and are able do more. You’ll even find yourself looking forward to working out as it remains challenging but you have the reserves to do more and get more out of it.

    A better metabolism = More Energy!!!

  • Temperature sensitivity alters: For most of us an increase in metabolism means that we produce more heat from our bodies and as a consequence feel the cold less. If you are one of those folk who rarely feel cold you may find that you are feeling hotter more often. You will also find that you break out into a sweat easier when you exercise as your body more quickly heats up and that you tend to sweat more as your body sheds heat. This is a good thing – it means you are burning calories!!
  • Hormone Levels alter: You can get tested to find out for sure but the research shows that as your metabolism reconditions & speeds up you will experience a change in your hormone profile. Your energy highs & lows will smooth out meaning Insulin is under more control, you’ll feel les hungry meaning Leptin & Ghrelin are playing their roles better and you’ll be adding lean muscle, recovering faster, getting stronger and experiencing a higher libido – all of which means your testosterone levels have increased and likely your cortisol levels have dropped.
  • Lower Resting Heart rate: This sounds counter to everything we’ve looked at about RMR – but a low resting heart rate is a sign of fitness, and disease aside the fitter & leaner you are the lower your heart rate. Now ‘low’ is an individual thing. My resting heart rate is 56 – not bad for a 50+ year old with a history of smoking, obesity and little exercise for way too many years!! Generally a resting rate of over 80 is unfit, and lower than 60 is good. However judge it after your 30 days based on where you started – if it was 90 and you’ve done your Lose 20 in 30 Program and it is now 79 that is a significant improvement.

Your heart will have a better recovery rate so you can be fitter...

(NB: anytime the body needs to speed up recovery, your heart rate is usually speeded up for some time. So your resting heart rate can be higher on occasion when you have had a particularly challenging session the day before. This is because your body will be in rebuild / recovery mode and increases in heart rate are a part of this as your body removes wastes created by tissue breakdown and also strives to deliver nutrients & other tissue building compounds.)

  • Exercises get easier: Another sign of an increased metabolism is how much more you can lift / run / do before feeling fatigued. This is increased fitness and increased levels of fitness mean a reconditioned metabolism.
  • You eat a huge meal and feel full for less time: Whilst you should NOT  be eating to bursting at any meal, occasionally we all do and you will find with your new reconditioned, faster metabolism that your body deals with the excess food more quickly and reduces the tendency to bloat. The reason is the body is digesting the food quickly by activating more digestive enzymes so it can rapidly break down the essential nutrients to speed up muscular recovery. Of course if you are eating as the Lose 20 in 30 Program suggests then this will not be an issue for you.

The more of the above signs you experience, the more likely it is that you have reconditioned and increased your metabolism.  Of course the other real sign is that your clothes are fitting better and you are seeing changes to your body shape & appearance in the mirror. The best sign of an increased metabolism is less bodyfat.

The real sign - you need to buy smaller clothes!!

Take Away: Signs of increased Metabolism will vary from person to person, but the changes in your appearance and the way your clothes fit are the most visible ones.


Well there you have it – a good grounding in what metabolism is what affects it and how you can manipulate it to reach your goal of becoming leaner and healthier.

Metabolism – What it is & How you can make it work for you Part 9

How to Keep Your Metabolism Fired-Up as You Age (How to slow the slowing…):

Welcome back to the next to last on this series aboiut your metabolism.

Your Resting Metabolic Rate or RMR is where the majority of our calorie / kilojoule use takes place. The higher this is, the less fat we carry. You see, as we’ve discussed before decreases in your RMR are heavily associated with the reduction of lean muscle tissue.

Age-related weight gain is purely a function of the loss of muscle.

Aesthetically pleasing or not - his metabolism will be faster with this amount of muscle...Muscle is a hungry tissue and requires a lot of calories to maintain. The more functional muscle mass you have the faster your metabolism and the lower your fat stores. Muscle tissue atrophies –diminishes – as we age because in general we move less, exercise less and become generally physically less active.

While it’s not entirely clear whether this muscle loss is just a result of the ageing process or because most people become less and less active as they get older, what is clear that you do not have to accept it as inevitable.

It is hard to argue with your mitochondria, but nonetheless you can offset many of the factors which cause the slowing of your metabolism. The quickest way to disrupt your current metabolic set point and loosen your current homeostatic state is through metabolically costly exercise. Challenging regular exercise actually increases the number of mitochondria and as we’ve seen already, the more of these little ‘furnaces’ you have, the more calories you burn. (See the soon to be released Lose 20 in 30 Work Out Manual)

Research has shown that regular, metabolically taxing strength and resistance training can reduce, reverse or even prevent this muscle loss. This in turn leads to less fat. So the first way we can work to negate the

The best insurance against age-related fat gain is lifting weights…

metabolic slowing effects of aging is by maintaining our muscle mass through regular challenging conscious exercise.

Move more and lift weights dammit!

However the type, duration and choice of exercises are vitally important. A specific exercise protocol called Metabolic Conditioning (referred to as Metabolic Chains in the  promised Lose 20 in 30 program) has to be used. The up coming Lose 20 in 30 Exercise Manual has all of the details on this.

But exercise is only one of a number of the lifestyle modifications that you can adopt to keep your metabolic rate fired-up – regardless of your age.

What can I do to increase or maintain my metabolic rate as I age?

You can (Warning – recap of some previous information ahead!!):

  • Ensure that you engage in at least 20 to 25 minutes of medium to high metabolic cost exercise every second day
  • Ensure that you engage in 20 – 35 minutes of moderate physical activity on the alternate days.
  • Begin eating more small meals throughout the days instead of just 1 or 2 larger meals.
  • Look for other small ways to move more and stay more active. Take a parking spot away from the main entrance of the mall. Likewise do the now clichéd but still effective, take the steps instead of the elevator. Give the dog an extra walk each day or just go for a walk each evening after dinner etc etc.
  • Stop drinking soda & fruit juices and drink more cold water and green tea instead.
  • Avoid foods that contain high levels of saturated fats and any level of transfats wherever possible.
  • Sleep – enough & your metabolism thrives, too littel & you get fat – simple really…

    Avoid highly processed foods wherever possible especially the ‘whites’ – sugar, flour, rice and other processed carbs.

  • Don’t eat anything labelled ‘diet’
  • Try to eat more un – or low processed foods like fruit & veges, fish, eggs and protein.
  • Eat more protein & fibre.
  • Add spices to your meals.
  • Take fish oil
  • Take Vitamn D ( the D3 version NOT the D2)
  • Eat like the Lose 20 in 30 Fuel manual suggests – slow, low GI carbs, good fats, lean proteins and as little processed carbs as possible.
  • Try out stress reducing activities like Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi or start meditating daily. A walk on the beach, in the Park, in a Forest or a Field – are all great stress busters.
  • Take 500mg of Vitamin C when stressed this will reduce cortisol significantly.
  • Make love more often.

Your metabolic rate has always been, and will always be, a result of a combination of your activity levels, caloric intake, and the types of foods that you consume. Low or unprocessed foods are simply better for your metabolism and make it easier for your body to maintain a faster metabolism.

It’s very important for all of us, regardless of our ages, to eat better proper foods, more often and to maintain regular levels of physical activity. To a very large degree your metabolic rate is yours to control.

Remember your age or even your sex does not matter, in order to lose fat fast, efficiently and to transform your metabolism three things have to fall into place – you must have an absolute burning desire to change the way you look & feel, you must have a strategic training protocol to follow which disrupts your current

A strong old age – something to aspire to …and within reach for us all.

homeostatic set point and ramps up & re-conditions your metabolism and lastly you must follow a diet that supports the reconditioning of your metabolism by creating a calorie deficit whilst firing up your metabolism and manipulating your hormones.

In the end, age will slow us down. But by staying active and eating well, the experts agree: You can slow the effects of a slowing metabolism.To a very large extent your metabolic rate is yours to control.

Take Away: You’ve heard it before – you don’t have to accept the metabolic slow down of aging – you can offset it!!

Metabolism – What it is & How you can make it work for you Part 8

Welcome back!

So what causes downwards trends in your Metabolic Rate:

Children’s per body weight kilo metabolic rate is about 200% that of adults. Because they have a much higher proportion of their body composition made up metabolically active tissue (heart, lungs, kidneys, brain etc) in comparison to adults, are undergoing the demands of growth and simply having a more active lifestyle kids have a much higher metabolism than grownups.

It’s not just their activity level that makes children’s metabolism run so much higher than an adults…

However as growth finalises getting and we get older the proportion of metabolic active organs to our body composition drops. This alone means that our RMR decreases. Your RMR drops round about 25% between the ages of 6 and 18 as your adult proportions are reached and growth slows and eventually halts.

After age 18 your RMR decreases at least 2-3% for each decade that follows. (Many researchers put this figure even higher if you live the typical Western lifestyle.) By the time you have hit 40 your RMR is usually more than 40% less than it was as a child.

So this drop in RMR is coupled with an increasing loss of fat-free lean body mass as we take on adult, ‘real life’ responsibilities and  move less, exercise less, eat metabolism slowing foods and eat more than our slowing RMR demands. Usually we eat more ‘on the go’, less regularly and the wrong foods with a lower TEF – so this compounds the RMR dropping effect.

So as we age we experience a lower RMR, lower TEF, and less TEA – these all combine to create a less lean, fatter, less metabolically active environment for our bodies. Even worse because these changes are gradual our bodies accept them and then strive to maintain them via a state of homeostasis.

Face it – by the time we are in our 40’s, if not before, most of us are well on the way to a future of not moving well, having larger fat stores than is good for our health and in fact be starting to experience firsthand some of the myriad health issues that our Western lifestyle is rife with.

So does Metabolism slow down or do we?

The answer is both.

Unfortunately the exception – not the rule!! (but most of us could if we wanted it badly enough…)

As we age we certainly move slower as the ability to contract our muscles lessens and undertake less physical activity.

The slowing of your metabolism is real. Our cells have miniature ‘furnaces’ in them called mitochondria. These mitochondria burn the fuel supplied to them and as we get older they become less & less efficient at burning fuel and recent research suggests that their numbers also decline as we age. This leads to a slower metabolic rate not just at rest but also for all activity.

Next we have a delightful process called sarcopenia, which is a fancy name for muscle wasting. Once past the age of 50 our ability to retain muscle tissue in the face of poor nutrition and lack of exercise diminishes rapidly. Again since muscle burns more energy than fat, this means the metabolism slows down. This means it is harder to burn off a cupcake when you are in your twenties than it is in your sixties!!

Lastly being overweight slows metabolism because overweight people burn fat even less efficiently. Add these together as the years go by, and it is little wonder that we get fatter, less lean and that the inches start to get more & more numerous around your waist.

Take Away: Your Metabolism slows as you age – especially if you follow the typical Western lifestyle & diet.

Part 9 next week!! Don’t forget to browse the blog backlog – lots of good info hiding there!!