Lose Fat without a Gym to go to…

Welcome back!

Last week I showed some of my favourite ways to rip fat off at the gym, and let’s face it Gyms are great because of the equipment available. Thing is you can get as good results by working out at home. The truth is you don’t need a lot of machines or equipment to get results.

You can get results like this - via the Gym or at home!!

Now I happen to like using some of the equipment at the gym and it is great to have access to a full run of Kettle Bell and dumb bell weights but you don’t need it. At home I suggest you invest in a good chin up bar, a set of kettlebells (12,16, 18, & 20 kg) a basic barbell with about 30kgs of weights, a couple of dumbbells, a cheap ‘aerobic’ step, a skipping rope and a weighted vest. But even this is more than you need for results – you carry around your best fat loss weapon everyday – your body.

Bodyweight exercise is a great way to burn fat, recondition your metabolism and get a great workout no matter where you are.

Before we look at some routines some commonsense rules apply to this and all other exercise routines. One – check with your doctor or medical professionalism before starting any exercise routine especially if you have not exercised for some time, are overweight or

I love weighted vests...

over 40. Two warm up by skipping on the spot, doing some shoulder swings and moving around – it is important that you warm up your joints and muscles before stressing them. This does not mean do static stretches – save those for warming down at the end of your session when you muscles & tendons are nice & warm and able to benefit fully from stretching.

Here is a simple but effective routine you can do at the beach, in your living room, in a hotel room or at the park.

  • Jumping Jacks x 30
  • Push ups x 10 -2 20
  • Jumping Jacks x 30
  • Prisoner squats x 30 – 50
  • Jumping Jacks x 30

Do each exercise in a non-stop sequence with a rest after the third set of Jumping Jacks. Repeat 3 -5 times. You can swap out the Jumping Jacks for Burpees, or squat Thrusters knee lifts for some variety.

If you add a chin up bar to the mix then you can do my all time favourite:

  • Push ups X as many as you can
  • Rest for 1 minute
  • Chin Ups X as many as you can
  • Rest for 1 minute
  • Squats X as many as you can
  • Rest for 1 minute

Repeat for 5 rounds.

Push ups don't need any equipment & give great results!!

Not tough enough for you? Do the push ups & squats wearing a weighted vest

For something that is really challenging try burpee ladders. The way this works is you do 10 burpees and rest, then 9 and rest then 8 and rest etc all the way down to 1 and then you go back up the ‘ladder’ to 10. Trust me this is a killer. Of course you can substitute any exercise for the burpees. Kettle Bell swings, like just about any exercise, take on a life of their own when ‘laddered’

Speaking of kettle bells – and assuming that you have taken instruction so that you know how to perform a KB swing correctly – try doing 100 KB swings a day for 20 days. You will drop a lot of fat and tighten up your entire physique.

(NB – Kettle Bell swings if you are getting lower back pain when you do these you are doing them wrong and not ‘hinging’ correctly at the hips – an upcoming blog addresses how to do them properly.)

No longer trendy - just a home fitness essential in my opinion

My routine for last March:

Day 1

  • Kettle Bell Swings x 100 (done in sets of 20)
  • Medicine ball above the head throws X 12
  • Kitchen steps step up x 30 each leg

All done circuit style with a heavy weighted vest

Day 2

  • Push ups x 20, 15, 12, 10, 8
  • Chin Ups x 12, 11, 10, 10, 7
  • Squats x 50, 50, 50, 40, 20
  • Training bands shoulder mobility x 12

(Lighter weighted vest on the push ups & squats.) Done circuit style for 5 sets.

Day 3

Bike Ride (including hill climbs and a couple of sprints.)

Short of time?

  • Wall squats / holds for 45 seconds
  • Prisoner squats x 30
  • Mountain climbers x 30

As usual do as a circuit but with only 30 secs rest between each one and 45 secs rest between each of your 5 circuits.

This is the type of home chin up bar to go for...

Bodyweight exercises are great, require little equipment, maintain & build muscle and burn fat. Not being able to afford a gym or a home gym is not a reasonable excuse for not getting lean.

Even better they are fun and with the right attitude can put us back in touch with that younger self who just ran & jumped and swung & played for the sheer hell of it!!

Love body weight!!!

Be well.

30 Something Reasons to Get in Shape for 30 Something+ Year Olds……

Hi & Welcome back!!

I have put together a list of what I believe are the most compelling reasons for the over 30’s (not to mention over 40’s or my mob – the over 50’s) to get in shape and stay there.

In shape - but not for most of us mere mortals

Being in shape for me means that I have a low & age appropriate body Fat %, I feel strong and have muscular endurance, that I hold a reasonable cardio endurance, can touch my toes and have a good general flexibility. It is my firm belief that getting better in the these areas will see you able to live and enjoy a fuller life. (You’ll also LBN!!)

So to get or to stay in great shape her are 30 something reasons…


Let’s clear up LBN – LBN means Look Better Naked. With a lower fat percentage, some muscle and more importantly the confidence that comes with being in shape you can’t help but LBN!

Reduces Cholesterol

Increasing research is showing that this is not the bad boy it has been painted as for the last few decades, but nonetheless too much LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) is still not a good thing to have going on and regular exercise (especially Interval style – see earlier posts) has been proven to reduce LDL levels whilst increasing HDL ( High Density Lipoproteins) – the good cholesterol.

Not everyone can get in this shape - but we can improve our own!!

You’ll Sleep Better

Lack of sleep increases the release of cortisol and cortisol promotes fat storage especially around your belly. ( no cortisol is not bad – but too much of it is!) Regular challenging exercise helps you get to sleep quicker and to sleep longer and more deeply. It also reduces the release of stress related hormones like cortisol and promotes the release of HGH ( Human growth Hormone) This hormone is often called the ‘Fountain of Youth’ hormone due to its effect on your body’s fat stores ( it cuts them) your lean tissue (you get more muscular) and your over all health.

You’ll feel better about yourself

Just working out regularly and getting in shape makes you feel better about yourself. We can’t all look like Brad Pitt in Troy or Angelina in… (Well ladies insert your favourite here!) but we CAN make of ourselves the best we can. Doing this enables to feel more in control of our lives and being in shape for ourselves will give a confidence boost.

Physical appearance isn’t everything,  but by getting into better shape you’ll look better, and this will improve your confidence.

Your Blood Pressure will reduce

Stress, lack of sleep, poor diet – all contribute to high blood pressure – a recognised killer. Getting in shape not only reduces your blood pressure but can actually prevent it from either re-occurring or taking place in the first place!

Your won’t ache or hurt as much

One of the most common (and in many cases debilitating) complaints of the over 30’s ( & it sharply increases for each 5 year increment above this in the general population) is back pain – usually lower back pain. Years of sitting actually shortens certain muscles & tendons resulting in constant & additional pressure on our lumbar region. General lack of movement and no weight bearing exercise weaken muscles generally. This combines to the dreaded ‘throwing your back out’…

You won't need one of these if you are in shape...

Simply by lifting weights, moving more and sitting less can & does reduce this. Getting in shape with the strength & flexibility can eradicate it completely or at lest reduce it to more manageable levels. A large number of studies show that exercise is an effective treatment for recurrent low back pain.

You’ll suffer fewer injuries

Getting in shape & developing a strong, fit body will see your injury numbers decline severely. Not just back pain, but twisted ankles, stubbed toes, sore shoulders and neck pain – but general aches & pains all decrease the fitter and more in shape that you are.

You’ll be able to stand in the one spot longer (important in supermarkets, cinemas, at parades, in Church or just life in general…

You’ll reduce your chances of getting some types of Cancer

There are a number of studies that show regular exercise and low body fat equal a lesser chance of developing a number of cancers – particularly bowel, colon and breast cancers. In some cases the studies suggest being in shape & regularly exercising reduces some cancer risks by up to 40%.

You’ll have a faster Metabolism (my favourite)

By now you know that this blog is primarily about ways to recondition your metabolism so you shed fat, get fitter and enjoy much better health. I’m not going to labour the point here – by getting in shape will recondition your metabolism meaning that you heal faster and burn calories more efficiently & effectively. A faster metabolism carries a host of health benefits.

You’ll recapture some ‘lost’ Range of Motion

Getting in shape & working out with a strategic program will help you rediscover the joys of being able to

Range of motion - not everyone wants this much, but you can get more...

touch your toes, scratch your back and other many other  lost ranges of motion.

Nowhere else is it truer that if you don’t move it you’ll lose it as in the area of flexibility.

Becoming more flexible reduces joint stiffness, can assist with arthritis pain and also adds to reducing injury occurrence.

Your Functional Strength will improve

Functional strength is one of those terms that has become more of a marketing handle than a real descriptor of a real thing. However true functional strength means that you have the strength & power to do the things you need to each day in your life.

It can be carrying groceries, lifting a child, getting out of a chair, digging a garden bed, riding a bike, painting a ceiling, push starting a car or… you get the idea.

Being in shape improves your quality of life because you have the ability to do the things in your life.

You’ll improve your Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin sensitivity is the degree to which your body (primarily muscles) is able to receive and glucose from your bloodstream. Insulin resistance means that more & more insulin has to be released by the pancreas leading to increased fat storage, or in extreme cases (which are becoming less rare in these days of obesity) a loss of the ability to produce sufficient insulin at all. Yep – dose dependent diabetes…

Being in shape with a more efficient metabolism & lower body fat improves insulin sensitivity and can prevent the development of type 2 (often called adult onset) diabetes.

You can find a few out of the 168 hours each week to get in shape

With 168 hours each and every week we can all find 3 or 4 of these to use to get in and stay in shape. The benefits are too many to ignore and the results too important to miss out on because ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is on.

If you have to, make your workouts an appointment in a diary. Just find the time…

You’ll have a higher desire for Sex

No not enough that you’ll develop sex addiction, but being in shape & LBN certainly raises the sex drive of both males & females.

Part of it is better circulation, part of it is increased body awareness and feeling more in control of your body and a large part of it is improved hormone health. Regardless – getting or being in shape certainly improves the bedroom…

Heart Atack and more diseases either in progress or about to start...

You’ll Decrease your Risk of Heart Disease

Challenging exercise exercises the heart like any other muscle and like any other muscle regular exercise improves the hearts strength & responsiveness to the demands placed on it.

Contractile strength improves and with higher HDL & lower LDL your risk of heart disease drops. A lot.

You’ll get a kick out of exercise

Challenging exercise releases a number of ‘feel good’ hormones (think runners high) that elevate our mood, lift depression, decrease the effects of stress and poor sleep and have been proven to make us happier.

This effect is even more marked when you make at least a part of your exercise program an activity that you love to do. It can be ballroom dancing, squash, tennis, a martial art, yoga – whatever. When you have at least 1 regular activity of your exercise program as something you love you overall enjoy getting & staying in shape more. And you smile more – a lot more.

You’ll likely live longer

Folk who are in shape tend to live longer, have better health and less disease & injury. At the very least they experience a better quality of life.

You’ll develop (rediscover) better balance and Coordination

This sort of ties in with suffering less injuries if you are fit – but if you are in shape & working out regularly your kinaesthetic awareness (your mental awareness of your body’s place in the space around it) improves. You’ll trip less often, bump into less and find that you drop things less often.

Well maybe not this much more balance (unless you want to work for it!!)

Even better – for the older ones of us – you’ll be less likely to fall – and for anyone in their late 50’s on falls is a major health problem …

You’ll reduce your chance of Osteoarthritis

Weight bearing exercise coupled with moving more means stronger bones. Period. Calcium supplements have their place and so does diet but if you want strong bones move some weight and get stronger than you are today.

Your gut will work better

Getting in shape means more efficient processing of the food you eat. It means reduced risk of ‘over 40’s’ diseases such as diverticulitis, gastrointestinal haemorrhage, and inflammatory bowel disease; for everyone else it means a decreased incidence of constipation.

Getting in shape is not just for cosmetic external purposes – a reconditioned metabolism means everything works better.

Your weight will change

Getting in shape means dropping body fat and developing some muscle. Scales don’t count because muscle weighs more than fat, but the mirror, your partner’s reactions and how your clothes fit do.

Your body will use more fat as fuel

Regular exercise tends to improve your body’s ability to use fat as fuel. This is a good thing as is unfit folk our bodies have a tendency to store fat and breakdown muscle for fuel once glucose is depleted.

Even better – unhealthy fat stores like belly rolls and love handles, visceral (internal) fat can not only be prevented but heavily reduced if not wiped out by getting in shape.

You’ll get sick less often

Your entire Immune System will improve...

Being fit means a stronger immune systems and this translates into less illness – fewer colds, quicker recovery from the ‘flu and generally better health.

You’ll focus better

Another truth about moving into the above 30 age bracket – our ability to focus , concentrate and multitask begins to drop. A lot. By your 50’s it can be beginning to become a real issue.

A better supply of oxygen & nutrients to the brain due to improved circulation from regular exercise not only arrests this mental decline, but can on occasion reverse it.

You’ll have loads more energy

Exercising regularly improves your body’s utilisation of food and the performance of its various energy systems. Net result? A real increase in energy levels.

More energy means better quality of life and more engagement in living – to good to miss!!

You’ll reduce the chance of developing Alzheimer’s

Remeber when you had this much energy??!!

Although this is likely tied to improved circulation of oxygen & nutrients to the brain, getting in shape through challenging & regular exercise appears to keep your brain sharper and may reduce the chances of you developing not only Alzheimer’s disease but a number of other dementia type mental disorders.

It may be tied to the improved circulation and the increased amount of mental awareness required to partake of exercise or other physical activities. There is even some talk of the feel good hormones also playing a role…

In any case the research is ongoing but is too good to ignore.

You’ll feel like you are reaching your potential

Being out of shape, fat, flabby and out o breath with no strength means that you cannot possibly be at your best. The world is a nastier place when you are out of shape and your internal landscape can come to resemble your outer one. Not healthy – physically or mentally.

By getting in shape, reconditioning your metabolism and losing ft you transform into you Ver 2.0 – a better version of yourself.

The Greeks used to say ‘Healthy body, Healthy mind’ – and the more we learn about how our bodies work and how they integrate with our emotions and thought process the more correct the Greeks seem to be.

Undertaking a physical transformation will improve your mental, emotional, and spiritual state; and upgrade your quality of life.

From the appearance of your skin, to your overall body shape, to how well your metabolism works, how you think or shrug off illness – just about every physical attribute you posses gets better when you’re in shape.

Set them up for a better quality of life

You’ll set a good example for your kids (or grandkids, or…)

By taking charge of your shape & fitness and being committed to it you will also help your kids to develop similar habits. Being in shape has so many health benefits that if you can influence by example your children you could literally be reducing the amount of stress, pain & illnesses that they will suffer in their lives. A helluva a good reason to get & stay in shape as far as I am concerned…

(If you like this list and have sedentary friends then shoot them a copy of this blog – it just might get them moving.)

Please leave a comment below and I’ll see you next time…

Some Long Lasting Fatloss Exercise Myths – Taken Apart!!

Hi & Welcome back!

A few of you have been in touch with some questions about exercise & conditioning and where the truth lies so I though that I’d work our way through a few of the more common ones…

Myth #1 – Lifting weights will make Women look like a male Body Builder You’ll get big, bulky & ugly…

I wish that I had a $ for everytime that I have heard this one! It is a common concern of everywoman who joins a gym or reads about the importance of muscle in keeping fat levels down and metabolism high. Many believe that lifting challenging weights ( the best & only way to get quick & lasting results) will see them looking like a male bodybuilder in a few workouts time…

Not without 'Roids you won't...

Even worse it is a myth constantly reinforced and perpetrated by Aerobics, Spin, Tai Chi,Yoga, Zumba & Pilates instructors who should know better. A lot better.

Ladies – you DON’T have to worry about ending up looking like the Hulk! Seriously you don’t.

She doesn't look like Arnold... Nor would you


Well the truth is not only have female bodybuilders been training at elite levels for years but they have also ingested a large amount of anabolic steroids in order to increase their muscle mass. Non-steroid using women simply don’t have enough natural testerone to develop huge masses of muscle. You DO have sufficient naturally occurring testerone so that if you train intelligently you will develop strength, and curves.

Similarly for men – if you are not using steroids and you are past your teen years (the only time in a male’s life when his body has the perfect anabolic environment)  then you will have to train for years to build a lot of muscle mass – even with a man’s naturally higher levels of testerone. (although men’s T-levels are dropping in the Western world – but that’s a topic for another blog…)

Men & Women who are not drug assisted have to work damn hard for every ounce, every gram of additional muscle they gain through exercise. You don’t get leaner, curvier and stronger without working for it.

The benefits of anyone using a strategically sound workout regime are many, here are a few for women to consider:

  • Weight training increases bone density and is still the best way to avoid osteoarthritis
  • You become & stay leaner because your metabolism becomes  reconditioned and functions at a higher rate.
  • You get stronger and this carries over in everyday life and benefits everything from carrying groceries, hugging your kids, wresting your loved ones, lugging a TV to another room or just doing the necessary household chores. Research has also shown that becoming stronger reduces the incidence of falls in older women…
  • If you are a female athlete strength training reduces the incidence of injuries.
  • Your posture improves because the ‘anchoring’ muscles & tendons get stronger. You look more confident & alive, not stoped and old…

    Lift weights and you won't need to use one of these...

  • You become more selfconfident – few people in our comunity take the steps necessary to get in charge of their appearence & health but if you do not only do you feel more in charge of your life but you know that you are capable of things most folk can’t. My (much) better half Lynne is a 5’2″ Blonde who can deadlift 90+ kilos for reps and leg press a 150kg for a 100 reps. Not many men can do that (and you should see the looks on the faces of the males in the gym when she does…priceless) Now I am not suggesting that you want ot or have to move weights like Lynne does (she is competitve by nature), just that by using an intelligent strength training regime you will be able to do things most folk can’t and this will give your confidence a real boost!!
  • You look better and have a better shape. The usual path to fat loss for many women is long slow cardio and starvation diets which destroy muscle and leave you a smaller fat person. Strength training gives you curves and transform the composition of your body
  • You just look better dammit!!

Myth #2:  Long steady cardio in the ‘fat buring zone’ is what you have to do to burn fat

Think about this – everyday 1000’s of folk get in their car & drive to the gym to ride a bike walk a treadmill or climb some stairs…

Driving to the gym for a treadmill session is like this...

The issue here is not with the idea of using your aerobic energy system to stimulate fat loss. Cardio as in moving your body using large numbers of muscles, is a credible way to burn fat. The problem is that if you live in the real world long slow steady cardio takes a lot of time and is not that efficient. Plus its boring. If you have a life to live outside the gym then tradional slow cardio is not the best way to lose fat and get leaner.

The main issues with traditional cardio, often referrred to as ‘Chronic’ cardio by enlightened trainers) are:

  • It is time consuming and offers a poor return in terms of fat loss and health benefits for the time invested.
  • To burn 3500 claories (the amount in a pound of fat) you’d have to run at a 6 minute mile pace for 5 hours. So slow cardio can & does burn claories – but to burn a lot of calories you have to do it for a long time.
  • Then because you have been going steady as soon as you stop your metabolism drops right back to where it was before you hopped on the treadmill and you can forget about there being any significant post-exercise calorie burn.
  • Your body adapts to exercise induced stress. Very quickly. Particularly with long steady exercise. Just like water always travels downhill, your body is always looking for ways to conserve energy and making movement as efficient as possible is one way it does this.
  • Unless you subject your body to exercise which carries a high metabolic cost your body adjusts and becomes more efficient at any exercise  in short order.
  • When we want to lose fat we don’t want efficiency we want chaos and steep learning curves and inefficient body action. The more efficient your body becomes at any exercise the less energy it requirs to perform it. Less energy burned equals more fat retained!
  • Even HIIT training has to be changed around every few weeks as your body will adjust to it. With strength training it takes just 6 weeks for adaption & energy efficiency to occur…
  • So with traditional cardio in order to get the same results from the same exercise, you have to invest more time for longer & longer periods.
  • It just makes sense to use more using challenging cardio like sprints, bodyweight circuits or exercising using the Tabata protocol all work to keep your body off balance and raise the metabolic cost of exercise meaning more fat is burned.

    For Fat Loss this is NOT the best use of your time...

  • High injury rates – especially to the ankles, shins and knees. Any runner can attest to this, but so can any treadmill, stationary bike or stairclimber user. Long slow cardio promotes repetitive strain injuries – particulary on the weight bearing parts of our anatomy.
  • Research has shown that every foot fall when running creates the equivalent of 2.5 to 3 times our bodyweight on thelanding foot, arch, ankle, shin & knee. A slightly deviated gait can result in hip injuries.
  • Our bodies are designed to either move slowly over longdistances (like walking) or move rapidly over short ones (sprinting) – our joints, in our current historical times, seem to not be built to handle long periods of repetive running – especially on roads, pavements or treadmills. If you are carrying too much weight, the potential for injury just increases.
  • Did I mention steadt traditional cardio is boring?

Okay – I have just junked the idea of chronic, long, slow steady cardio – so what works? Metabolic conditioning, more specifically metabolic conditioning using a HIIT protocol.

Try these HIIT style for a real cardio workout...

The HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The metabolic conditioning refers to exercises that combine elements of strength training with cardio. Performed correctly this rsults in short, sharp & very time efficient workouts that burn fat and lots of it. The metabolic cost ( calories burnt)of HIITMC is huge and the ‘afterburn’ – where your body keeps burning calories for hours after exercise ceases –  is significantly high.

HIITMC when done properly will make your lungs  feel like they are on fire, your heart is trying to climb up your throat and your body will want to return to its ‘normal’ state ASAP. In order to do this your body has to clear the fatigue products, rebuild affected muscle, replenish glycogen stores and a lot more besides. The only way it can achieve this is by ramping your metabolism up. Way up. In fact studies have shown a significantly elevated metabolisn for up to 38+ hours after this type of exercise session.

This means a couple of things – greater fat loss in less time than traditional cardio with the added benefits of strength training. HIIT style metabolic conditioning results in overall fat loss up to 220% that of traditional cardio.

If HIITMC is so good then why isn’t everyone using it?

There are a number of reasons why more people are not using HIIT MC for their fat loss:

  • Most people still think that ‘Aerobics’ or traditional cardio is the best way to lose fat.
  • Many Gyms & Personal trainers are in the business of keeping you coming back and don’t want to either deliver results too quickly or to scare you off. (Plus once you know how to do it you don’t need them or even their machines any more except for a bit of variety…)
  • HIIT MC is hard work. Real hard work.
  • If you are using a HIIT protocol correctly you won’t be having a chat to your work out buddy, or be able to read a magazine or change the song on your iPod. usually with HIITMC your focus is on getting to the end of the current timed interval and trying to get enough breath into your lungs.

Using HIITMC – your lungs burn, your muscles strain and your will is challenged. You will sweat. A lot. More than a lot. These are all good things as they show that you are getting your body to do what you want not allowing it to take the path of least resistance (which it prefers!)

You don't need a gym for a HIITMC workout...

A HIITMC session can be a simple as:

  • Doing 5 rounds of 3 exercises with 1 minutes break between rounds – push ups followed by pull ups followed by bodyweight squats is the classic combo.
  • Using ‘Ladders’ for exercises like burpees – do 1, stop, do 2, stop, do 3, stop. do 4, stop, do 5 etc until you do 10 then reverse the process and do 9, stop, do 8, stop until you get back to zero.
  • Going to the beach, marking out 50 yards / metres and doing 10 sets of sprints with 1 minute (or less) break between sets.
  • Do 10 sets of hill runs, resting only as long as it takes to walk back down between each set.
  • Doing 200 kettlebell swings with a challenging weight only stopping long enough on the way to catch a few deep breaths.
  • Use a leg press machine with a challenging weight and stay on it until you have completed a 100 reps.
  • Do push presses with light dumb bells to a Tabata protocol (20 secs activity, 10 sec rest for 4 minutes straight – this is 1 set – do 3)
  • Do a barbell complex – a series of exercises with the one weight done  for set reps without putting the weight down or resting until completed. That is one set. Do 3 or 4sets . (eg 6 reps of each with a 20 kiol barbell – deadlift followed by clean followed by overhead press followed by rear squat followed by good morings. Rest 2 minutes repeat)

Stairs are just as good as hills...

All of these are simple to do but not easy to accomplish. You should start off slowy and work up to the times and numbers suggested above. With any running begin by just jogging a few sets as your warm up. Depending upon how fit you are even this can be challenging…Then do some hamstring & quadricep stretches, ankle & knee circle and some hip swings to ensure your legs are ready – then go for it. You’ll hate me for it during the session and the next day or 2 but after 4 or 5 sessions you’ll be seeing strong results.
The real key here is to start slow, get command of the movement(s) and then do what you can, striving to add reps or distance to timed intervals each session depending upon the activity you have chosen. But give each interval, each set, each round your all – go at it 100% once you have mastered the activity and the fat will go.

Because of the metabolic costs involved never use HIITMC for more than 20 to 25 minutes per session or do more than 4 sessions a week (2 is good, 3 ideal) – if you do, you will move into detrimental effects due to the demands that HIITMC puts on your body especially in the first 8 – 10 weeks.

Bottomline – to lose fat, recompose your body, to get lean, to look better naked – YOU’VE GOT TO EARN IT!!

For other myths & ideas – don’t forget to get your free report! It’s waiting at the top right hand side of the page…

I’ll be back next time with a couple of other myths that need a touch up.

Be well.

A Beginners Workout to Help You Sculpt an Incredible Body with Bodyweight Training

Welcome Back!

Here is a simple and intense 2 -part workout, each of which you can perform 3 times a week in the comfort of your own home, at the park or beach using just your bodyweight.

It combines strength with intense cardio and uses the interval / HIIT protocol. This means that it has a high metabolic cost, will burn fat during the workout and more importantly for hours afterwards.

Background Information:

  • A circuit is when you move from one exercise to the next without resting in between.
  • Then rest for no more than 2 minutes before doing the next circuit.
  • All rest should be ‘active’ rest where you do not stand still but just keep moving by walking around. Not only will you get your breath back more quickly, but you will add the overall metabolic cost.
  • Reps are a guide only – if you can do more reps then do so, if less then that’s okay – match your efforts to your capability.
  • If push ups are too difficult substitute them with push ups from your knees.
  • Chin / Pull ups:  if you can’t do the reps then use one leg on a secure (ie won’t slip or tip) chair to assist in pushing you to the top of the movement.
    • Once there ‘lock’ your arms & back and fight your weight all the way down. This called an eccentric contraction and will give you sore muscles but will also help you develop strength more quickly.
    • Concentrate on bringing your elbows to your ribs rather than your chin over the bar. This activates your back .

      Like a squat for your upper body...

  • Rope Jumping (skipping) count every second step. If 100 is too many aim for 50 & then work up from there.
  • Add 1 more round each week until you are doing 8 rounds, and then try another workout.
  • Try to add at least 1 rep each workout to your push ups, lunges & squats. Aim for 10 reps with the Chin / pull ups. (When you get here you will be stronger than just about everyone else you’ll come across in your life!)

Work out #1:

Three (3) rounds of:

  • Rope Jumping, 100 Count
  • Push Ups, 10 reps
  • Forward Lunges, 10 reps each leg
  • Rope Jumping 100 Count
  • Chin / Pull ups, 5-10 reps
  • Squats, 20 reps
  • Rope Jumping, 100 count

Complete 1 circuit and rest for 2 minutes and then go again until you finish all 3 rounds. Do this 3 days a week.

Work Out #2

Do this work out the days in between the body weight workout above – 3 days a week.

Go to the park (or if you are feeling particularly adventurous) the beach and do some sprints.

Why sprint? Well ever seen a fat sprinter?

Not everyone wants to look like this - but the point is, sprinters are not fat!

Sprinting fits into the HIIT protocol, is challenging, has a high metabolic cost and will help you burn fat. It also gives your workouts balance. It should take no more than 20 minutes.

  • Gently jog around the park / along the beach to make sure that your hips, knees & ankles are loose and your leg muscles are warmed up.
  • Step out 50 metres
  • Run the 50 metres as fast as you can
  • Don’t stop moving at the 50 metre mark but drop to walking / jogging speed and take a 2 minute period whilst still moving.
    • This ‘active rest’ is important as it helps move lactic acid out of the working muscles and stops them from tightening up.
    • Keeping moving also adds to the overall metabolic cost and post workout ‘Afterburn’.
  • Repeat until you have done 3 rounds.
  • Work up to 10 rounds by adding 1 round every second work out.

Do some hamstring & quad stretching afterwards when the muscles are loose & pliable and stretching will do the most good.

Upping the Ante:

Body Weight Work out:

Once you are able to hit or exceed the rep targets in the body weight work out you can add intensity a number of ways.

  • You can do more reps
  • You can do more rounds
  • You can add exercises into each round (add a set of burpees /  squat thrusts after the push ups and after the Chin ups for example)
  • You can vary your exercises (try spiderman push ups instead of regular ones, or jumping lunges instead of split ones for example.)
  • You can add weight via a vest.

    Great way to up the ante for working out at home!

NB weighted vests are NOT recommended for chin ups – This is for 2 reasons – firstly using your own bodyweight on this exercise is challenging enough by itself and it will take some time for you to work up to doing 10 reps a time. Secondly, and depending upon the type of home chinning bar you are using, you will find that most home chinning bars are not strong enough to handle added weight  – I weigh 100KG and if I added even the lightest vest I own I will be close to its top rating of 110 kg.

However if you are using a chinning bar that is part of another, stronger set up feel free to add weight once you can do 10 reps. Adding weight before then will be counterproductive.

Sprint Intervals:

  • Take note of your time and try to get faster over the same distance.
  • Increase the number of rounds.
  • Increase the distance from 50 to 75 metres and then from 75 to 100.
  • Try doing your sprints uphill
  • If at the beach try doing using the dunes (super tough!!)
  • Set a timed protocol where you sprint for 20 seconds, jog / walk for 40 and then repeat for a period of 5 minutes initially working up from there.
  • Go long or go hard...

    Use Tabata intervals – 8 rounds of sprinting for 10 seconds followed by 20 seconds of active rest.

  • You can add weight via vest – again be careful – the vest must not only fit snug enough so that the weights don’t beat you half to death by moving around whilst you are running but also allow your chest to move freely so you can breathe. NOT recommended except for those looking to become superhuman.

Well there you have it a simple, do-it-in-the-comfort-of-your-own-home work out that fits into my philosophy of reconditioning & improving the efficiency of your metabolism through interval / HIIT training.

You will burn fat and become leaner just with the body weight training – adding in the sprinting will increase your fat burn and metabolic efficiency but is not an absolute necessity.

However your results will be greater if you do both.

Let me know what you think and don’t forget to ‘Like’ use on Face Book below…

Strength Training & Metabolic Boosting

Welcome back!!

A few posts ago I wrote about Interval training, particularly HIIT – high intensity interval training and why it is the best exercise protocol to use to lose fat – and it is.

Great for HIIT or 'normal' strength training...

Especially when you combine it with some form of resistance (ie strength) training. Thing is combining HIIT with strength training is VERY intense and can lead to burn out very quickly if you are properly familiar with how to use them correctly.

So what do you do if you can’y do HIIT everyday?

As you know if you have been a regular reader – you can’t out run or out lift a bad diet. But you can recondition your metabolism through a variety of means.

My choice is to keep eating the right way (low processed carbs, high protein, high fruit & vegetable intake) and to use strength training when I want either a break from HIIT or just as an alternative.

Resistance / Strength training, involves using weights, bands, kettlebells, body weight, weighted vests or other forms of resistance to force your body to move differently and work harder than it does in everyday life.

By working differently from our everyday activity and challenging our bodies at the same time we can increase our metabolic rate.

Going for a run, performing a HIIT session or doing a strength training workout and the way they affect your metabolic rate is quite different.Previously we have seen that HIIT (Interval) training has the greatest efffect on overal metabolism.

Remember it is how long for and by how much any activity boosts your metabolism that really has an impact on your ability to lose body fat when your diet is under control.

Let’s talk about the components of our metabolism:

First we have our resting metabolic rate, or RMR. This is the energy needed (counted in calories or kilojoules) to keep our bodies alive – our heart beating, our lungs breathing, etc.This is the ‘lying on the couch & not doing anything’ measurement.

Our RMR makes up about 60 to 80 percent of our total metabolic rate, so the more we can boost this the more fat we will be burning. To raise our RMR we need to recondition and boost our overall metabolism. Increasing physical activity, especially by using HIIT & strength training can directly change RMR.

Next there is the Thermic Effect of Activity, or TEA. Basically this is a measurement of how many calories are burnt by our bodies through movement. This includes walking, mowing the lawn, bringing in the groceries and so on. So your TEA is higher on the days you play touch football than the ones where you watch DVDs all day because it covers all of the activities that we engage in every day to live our lives. .

The more active you are, the more your total metabolic rate increases.

The easy way to view Metabolism

Third, we have the Thermic Effect of Food, or TEF. This is the amount of energy that your body expends to consume and digest food and then put the nuturients in the food to use to create more energy, repair the body etc. As you know you can increase your metabolism simply my eating more protein, more fibrous fruit & vegetables and less processed carbs & fat. Why? Because protein & fibrous fruit & vegetables can use up to 22% more energy to process than processed crap. As for fat – our bodies are the utimate fat storage devices so fat processing (&storage) requires virtually no energy at all.

So we can view our metabolism as the total number of calories (or kilojoules) our bodies use each day for each metabolic component.

This total energy expenditure  can be derived by using this simple formula: (TEE) = RMR + TEA + TEF.

Because we are all different the enrgy used by each metabolic component is different for each person, resulting in unique metabolic rates.

But why Strength Training?

Strength training increases our TEE by elevating the amount of calories expended in activity (TEA). The harder you strength train, the greater the amount of calories you burn through exercise. This in turn leads to the creation of more lean tissue (which is more metabolically active) which burns more calories at rest.

So strength training not only raises your TEA but also your RMR. Next to HIIT it is the best way to do this.

In turn, if you keep eating clean and also watch that your calorie / kilojoule intake does not exceed your TEE then you will lose body fat.

If you conduct your training session with intensity then they all – strength training , HIIT or running – will increase your energy expenditure both at the time of activity, and for a few hours afterwards. This elevation of your RMR that follows on in the hours after exercise is often called the ‘Afterburn’ and for fat loss it is essential. It can also only be gained by either using a HIIT protocol or through strength training.

By using multiple sets of a challenging weight, scientists have shown that the energy expended afterwards, known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) can be elevated for 24-36 hours.

Isn't this what we want to achieve?

Strength training can boost your metabolism, but it has to be more challenging than activities you do every day. two or three pound dumbells won’t make much of a difference if the groceries you carry or the child you hug weigh more than this. The key to an elevated metabolism is to challenge your existing strength boundaries.

Otherwise your body won’t  get the challenge it needs to build muscle, lose fat and look better in your clothes – or out of them….and that’s what we’re all looking for, isn’t it?

Interval Training – the #1, not so secret fat loss tool…

Welcome back!

Today I want to look at interval training and what is one better!!

Interval training has been around for a long, long time. Supposedly even the Gladiators used a type of interval training in their preparations for the arena.

You can do intervals by running...

What is interval training? – the classic interval is that used by runners – sprint 100 metres and then walk the remaining 300 metres back to the start. Repeat. And again and again. Really interval is a mix of high intensity, short bursts of effort followed by a lower intensity, longer period of effort and then repeated as often as required or possible for the work out session.

Intervals are back in fashion and are really a research-proven tool to have in your body shape shifting arsenal. They are so good that I recommend that they be a key part of your overall fat loss & general health program.

Regular readers know by now that in order to lose fat there has to be a caloric deficit, a low level of insulin, and there has to be high levels of certain chemicals in the body so that the fat is released from the cells so it can be transported to the working muscles and burned as fuel.

Research has conclusively proven that this all important chemical release is easily achieved through the use of high intensity exercise protocols like Intervals.

But – hang on aren’t intervals just aerobics or cardio dressed up a bit differently? In a word – No! Traditional cardio or aerobics (think treadmills, aerobics classes, recumbent bikes etc etc), require low to moderate intensity over a long period of time. The effect on metabolism tends to be limited to exercise period and does not really recondition it.

Chronic cardio just is not as efficient as Intervals...

It’s true that traditional Cardio / Aerobic work actually burns more fat as a percentage of calories during the activity period than interval training does. But don’t get too excited however – it still burns fewer overall calories.

Interval and NOT aerobic training is by far the best form of exercise for this purpose.

Compared to aerobic training, Interval training:
• Releases more fat burning chemicals
• Burns more calories minute for minute than aerobic exercise and
• Elevates your metabolism during and AFTER the exercise session
The thing is not only are Intervals very demanding, but when used in the classic style they get boring and really hard to stick with. How do we deal with this by moving into what is called metabolic conditioning.

The other exercise protocol that elevates your metabolism and burns fat is resistance training – weight lifting, body weight exercise etc – so why not combine the two?

This is where the fat burning can really take off – doing resistance exercises as a circuit in an interval fashion!

For example you could use pure bodyweight exercises like this:
• Squats x 30
• Push ups x 15
• Pull ups x 5

Do each exercise one after the other without rest. This is one circuit. After each circuit rest for 2 minutes. Repeat 5 times.

You get the idea – you can do this in the gym with barbell or machine exercises, or anywhere using a variety of body weight exercise.

The thing is the fat burn during & after the exercise session is massive. The reconditioning effect on your metabolism is strong and it is hard to get bored…

If you do not have variety in your workout program you are more likely to end up at a fat loss plateau soon rather than later. Variety, changing the positive stress that exercise provides, is one of the keys to keeping that fat loss coming.

Body weight exercises are great for metabolic conditioning...

Smart body shape shifters use 2 different metabolic conditioning workouts each week (done on alternate days 4 – 6 times a week) and change these every 4 – 6 weeks.This keeps the challenge fresh and stops your body becoming too efficient at doing the workout. Remeber homeostasis – your body gets stressed, becomes efficient at the exercise stressor and then starts to use less energy to perform the exercise. This means less fat burning. By changing things around you can stop your body reaching this peak efficiency whilst still burning fat and getting fitter.

Other ways that you modify your metabolic training:
• Switch exercise methods – go from bodyweight exercises to machine, to dumb bells, kettle bells or bands.
• Up the intensity by adding a weighted vest or hand weights
• Increase or decrease the length of the circuit by adding or subtracting exercises respectively
• Increase or decrease the number of circuits per workout
• Increase or decrease the rest time between circuits

In your quest for variety don’t ignore the classic interval exercises like sprinting (great on the beach, up stairs or hills), bike riding, skipping rope or swimming. The trick is to go flat out and then use active rest (keep moving – walk after a sprint, breaststroke after free style for example) to recover before going flat out again.

I like doing kettle bells on one day and mixing a Body weight circuit with some running at the local park on the next. So I use metabolic conditioning and classic intervals…

Whilst there is a clear advantage to using metabolic conditioning workouts over both classic intervals and cardio / aerobics, you can still get a great work out by utilising the interval training circuits on machines.

For example Spin classes often use an interval training approach, you can alternate high intensity with low intensity of stationary bikes, elliptical trainers of even treadmills.

Okay, so how long should you do metabolic condition circuits or intervals for?

There is NO “best” metabolic conditioning or interval training program – no best number of “sets and reps” for fat loss. It depends upon what you like doing, what gives you the best results. The only thing I’d say is that whatever you choose to do has to be challenging and make you work!

I am about efficient time use – the higher the intensity the greater the effect during & after the exercise session. You can, as they say, go hard or go long – you can’t do both. This is why I am against what they now call ‘chronic cardio’ – Why spend an hour on a treadmill when you can better results in 20 minutes with a metabolic conditioning circuit or running intervals in the local park?

However the lack of a ‘Best’ set is a good thing as it allows us to use the all important variety in our approach.

One of these helps...

The time you perform each circuit for has a wide range. There is a thing called the Tabata protocol named after the Japanese researcher who discovered it. Using it you do 20 seconds of an exercise, completing as many reps as possible, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 8 or 16 times for a total workout time of 4 or 8 minutes. Doesn’t sound like much but if you are doing kettle bell swings, or prisoner squats, or burpees – it really gets your metabolism running!!

At the other end of the scale is the 3, 4 or 5 minute interval circuits where you go hard for several minutes and then rest for the same period of time. Soccer players use these a lot and they are generally referred to as ‘Aerobic intervals’. They are also not, in my opinion, the most efficient for fat loss, but they are good for football players to develop ‘burst endurance’.

Short time circuits enable you to work at near maximum intensity and back up to repeat this effort again & again. This type of training is very taxing! It makes enormous demands of your body and really shakes up your metabolism. They have a downside if you are using most machines though – it is very difficult to do sub 45 second circuits on machines because of their “build up” and “bring down” times.

This is particularly true of treadmills and a number of bikes. Apart from treadmills, you can overcome this by using the machine on the ‘Manual’ setting instead of a programmed one.
If you decide to use short, high-intensity circuits, you need to understand that they require a high level of fitness and that you will have to work up to them. Short rest intervals (like the Tabata protocol) tend to lead to a dramatic drop-off in performance with each successive circuit.

Using a longer (relatively speaking) rest period will allow you to work harder in each successive circuit. This means that your performance in each circuit will be more consistent with less drop off in performance circuit to circuit.

Even these can used in an interval fashion...

Don’t think that intervals or metabolic conditioning workouts are too intense for you – they really are all relative to the individual. You don’t have to go 100% flat out in each type of circuit instead, just work at a bit harder than normal pace. Aim to be tired and a little out of breath at the end of each circuit. Don’t be gasping for breath – if you are you’ve worked too intensely and as we are using these for fat loss this means that you are pushing your fitness level to far too fast. Start conservatively and you will get the hang of it.

Here are some of the more popular timing variations:

8 seconds on, 12 seconds off

This duration was the one used by Australian researchers in the now famous “intervals vs. cardio” study from 2007. The results found that interval circuits helped subjects lose belly fat, but chronic cardio didn’t. It can be extremely difficult to control 8 seconds on, 12 seconds off unless you have a timer like a Gym Boss timer – look them up online, at about $20 they are great!

15 seconds
This is a killer = 15 seconds at max effort followed by a rest period. The truly fit can go 15 on , 15 off – but mere mortals are more likely to need at least 60 seconds recovery time as a minimum after each max effort.

20 seconds on, 10 seconds off

The previously mentioned Tabata method. Short, intense and challenging.

30 seconds on / 90 seconds off / 60 seconds off / 45 seconds off / 30 seconds off

Body weight metabolic conditioning or machine based workouts tend to use a lot of 30 second intervals. Beginners will rest up to 90 seconds between intervals, and as you get fitter you drop your rest period down the more advanced you become.

45 seconds on / 90 seconds off / 60 seconds off / 45 seconds off / 30 seconds off

These intervals are proven for fat loss, will these tax your muscles, and challenge your will to complete each circuit at high intensity.

60 second on / 60 seconds off / 90 seconds off
Similar to the 45 second intervals in terms of benefits and toughness. Use 60-120 seconds of recovery between each.

So there you have it – the best way to drop body fat through exercise.
That’s all until next time -Tweet or Facebook us or

Vitamin B & Fat Loss

Welcome back:

This week we’re going to look at three special B-Group Vitamins that compliment your fat-loss quest, while keeping you healthy and strong.

Losing body fat is a bit like fighting a war – you need the right strategy the right weapons and the right troops plus the will to overcome if you are going to win.

To win the war against excess body fat, the B-Group Vitamins should be amongst your best friends and a part of your arsenal. They’re a vital component of nutrition that enables your body to turn food into energy.

It is easier to work out and to exercise your will power when you are full of energy – without the B-group Vitamins your energy levels will be low and your ability to recondition your metabolism and to withstand temptation will fall. This in turn will make your fat-shedding efforts so much the harder…

There are three (3) main B vitamins that I want focus on. Individually they are important to your health – when used together they keep you strong, healthy, energised and compliment your fat loss efforts.

But first – What are B-Group vitamins exactly?

The B-Group Vitamins

The B-Group Vitamins are water-soluble vitamins. This simply means that they once they are processed by your body any excess is excreted in your urine.

Overdosing on B-Group is rarely an issue…

This also means that they are quickly depleted in situations of high sweat loss and activity. Because water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body in appreciable amounts and are used up and depleted rapidly, it’s important that you ensure that you are getting enough of them by eating foods that are rich in these vitamins or by taking a supplement to make sure that you have adequate levels in your system.

I recommend that you do both.

Drinking alcohol also increases the need for the B-Group Vitamins so after a heavy session of ‘glass raising’ taking a B supplement before hitting the sack is always a good idea. It’s even better if sleep is followed by another Vitamin B Group tab or 2 upon rising the next morning.

There are eight B-vitamins, which include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), cyanocobalamin (B12), pantothenic acid and biotin.
These vitamins act as coenzymes and as catalysts in the chemical reactions that transfer energy from the food we eat to our body systems.

They are essential for the breakdown of the macronutrients(Carbs to glucose,

Hangover – alcohol increases your Vitamin B needs – a lot!!

proteins & fats to a number of elements essential for the repair and maintenance, growth, normal functioning of our nervous system and healthy hair, skin and nails. You need to be getting B-group Vitamins everyday – without them you’ll ail.

Several of these B-Group Vitamins are especially important to having a fast (ie fat burning) metabolism and by extension a leaner, fitter body.

Pyridoxine: Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 has three chemical forms (as pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine) and is the B-group Vitamin most necessary for proper protein metabolism. The coenzyme form of B6 is associated with more than 100 other enzymes which are critical for amino acid breakdown from protein foods and the conversion of certain amino acids from one type to another.

Amino acids as you know are essentially the body’s building blocks and are a necessary part of tissue repair, muscle growth, nerve sheaths, nails, hair etc etc.

B6 also helps your body to access and use the glycogen in your muscle cells for energy when you are moving and especially when you are working out. No glycogen = no movement.

If you’re not sleeping then your B-Group needs go up!!

Also the breakdown of glycogen plays an important part in the regulation of blood sugar levels (blood sugar is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver but once these areas are full the excess is stored as body fat!).

Another important function of B6 is its ability to diminish the actions of hormones such as cortisol – the stress hormone. As we’ve previously explored on this blog when you’re under stress your body releases lots of cortisol which does a number of negative things primarily for our discussion – it promotes the storage of belly fat. It also promotes the breakdown & use of muscle tissue as fuel.

Great double whammy – you store more fat and lose muscle so your metabolism slows even further…

Adequate B6 levels are critical in times of stress (bad stress like job, money or relationship worries or even good stress like exercise) so your body does not store extra body fat and use precious muscle protein for energy.

Because B6 is so important for protein metabolism, it’s requirement depends on the

B-group helps you feel like this!!

amount of protein you consume on a daily basis. An intake of about 1.6 mg of B6 for every 100 g of protein is considered by the National Academy of Sciences to meet the needs of adults under normal conditions .

However, for athletes and people that exercise regularly (and often eat more protein), their vitamin B6 requirements will be higher given the greater need for energy and protein metabolism. Scientific studies have shown that exercise greatly depletes B6 levels in the body and needs to be kept in check through supplementation.

As you can see, when you’re an active person consuming more protein than the” Average Westerner”, your needs for vitamin B6 are increased, and it’s critical you get at least the minimum amount in each day.

Some of your best food sources of B6 include fortified cereals, potatoes, bananas, chickpeas and chicken (contains ~ 0.5-0.7 mg), but even if you are eating those foods you’d be wise to take a B-Group supplement.

Cobalamins: Vitamin B12.
What we call Vitamin B12 is actually a collection of compounds that are different molecules all containing the element cobalt. The most common form is the B12 vitamin known as cyanocobalamin.

The various forms of B12 work in the body to maintain normal brain and nervous system development and function, and play a role in influencing DNA synthesis and regulation.

B12 also plays an important role in the metabolism of fatty acids and creation of energy from foods containing fats.

You’ll hit the wall without enough B-Group Vitamins in your system… 

People with insufficient B12 in their diet suffer fatigue, depression, and can develop poor memory. In severe cases cracks may form in the corner of their mouth ( a condition known as angular cheilitis).

The cause of this tiredness and skin damage is related in part to B12’s role in red blood cell production which is necessary to carry oxygen and iron through the body. Because of this B12 is important in assisting the prevention of anaemia.

Athletes and hard exercisers may have low body B12 status, due to their increased metabolism and the raised demand for this vitamin to be used repair damaged blood cells and injured muscle tissue; and to carry more oxygen around in the blood while exercising.

This means that if you are working out regularly and hard then you will need more than the average daily allowance of ~2.4 mcg/day.

Vitamin B12 is only found in animal based foods so vegetarians – especially vegans – are

Good B6 Source – Chicken!!

at risk of developing the above mentioned symptoms of deficiency unless they supplement their dietary income.

The foods highest in B12 are shellfish (mussels, lobster), oily fish (trout, salmon, tuna), and organ meats (liver).

Biotin is an essential cofactor for several key enzymes in the production of glucose (& glycogen) and the metabolism of fats and proteins. For example, in order for the liver to make glucose (through a process called gluconeogenesis), an enzyme essential to this process called pyruvate carboxylase requires biotin in order to function correctly. No biotin no liver produced glucose…

Biotin is also needed for the breakdown of the branch chain amino acids from protein (leucine, isoleucine and valine), and some fatty acids from fat-containing foods.

B-Group Vitamins help when you’re stressed…

People who exercise often have an increased need for biotin for several reasons:

• Increased metabolism resulting in the loss of this vitamin in urine or sweat
• Increased mitochondrial enzymes that require more biotin for cofactors
• Increased need for tissue repair and maintenance
• Increased food intake requiring biotin for metabolism

The richest source of Biotin is cooked eggs (Forget the ‘Rocky’ raw egg eating – raw egg whites bind biotin due to the protein avidin). Although the average daily allowance is set at least 30 mcg of biotin each day, there is no toxicity associated from higher intakes, especially in people who are active.

B-Group Vitamins = Good Health

As you can see, ideal intake of these B-Group Vitamins helps gives your body the energy

B-Group Vitamins help you look like this…

to exercise hard, so that you can burn more fat and build more lean muscle. If you’re constantly tired because your metabolism is sluggish, if you can’t create the right energy from the food you eat then you’ll be unable to rid your body of excess body fat or achieve a lean, strong physique. So, make sure that you get plenty of these simple but potent vitamins via eating unprocessed foods and topping up with a supplement.

If you do so then your body will lose fat, your metabolism will run better and your overall health will improve.

See you next week.


Three Ways to Shape Shift

Welcome back!!

Hi folks – just a quick one today – here are 3 ways to shape shift…

Shifting you shape is all about altering the composition of your body so you have a greater proportion of lean tissue and less fat.

Shape Shifting deals with complex biochemical processes, metabolism, mental attitude and hormones. It is not a simple thing to do. But the actions you can take to achieve greater leanness and less body fat can start off simply enough.

1) Try to eat “single ingredient” foods as much as possible

Diet accounts for over 80% of your efforts to recondition your metabolism and alter your shape so it is important to begin to get it under control.

Learn to read these - the fewer ingredients the better...

If you are buying packaged food check your labels. The fewer ingredients listed (especially the fewer chemical names & numbers & different sugar types) the better. Avoid anything with Transfats listed as more than 1% ( zero is better) or anything that screams Low fat but is full of sugar – if fact if any food you buy is over 10% sugar you probably should give it a miss.

Even better try to increase the fresh component so that you are buyibng the majority of your food so fresh that it has NO labels! Think Lamb & Letuce, Beef & broccoli etc etc.

Our bodies just run better on whole foods and the less procesing involved the better for us & our health. These foods are typically more nutrient dense, usually calorie sparser and give us feelings of satiety more quickly and for a longer period of time.

The exception to this is canned & frozen foods like vegetables and beans. Nutritionally these are usually as good for you as fresh food (in some cases even better).

Again check the labels for high suagr or sodium – avoid any with these in high proportions. Use the Single Ingredient rule – the fewer items listed on the label the closer to nature and less processing that has taken place.

2) To Shape it you’ve got to Move it!! – Move more…

An effective metabolism is your greatest tool for fat loss and better health. If you don’t move your metabolism slows down.

The more you move the happier you are...

This does not mean that you have to live in the gym but that you should incorporate a range of physical activity into your daily life. So go to the gym (3 times a week no more than 1 hour at a time) to lift heavy weights, walk every day, climb hills, go padddle Boarding, ride a bike, do dance classes (even Zumba), wrestle your kids, throw the ball for the dog, re-arrange the furniture – whatever hits your switch, If they stop swimming sharks diejust move!!

If you work in an office download this free little timer (http://www.harmonyhollow.net/cool_timer.shtml) set it for 45 minutes and when it goes off stand up and go for a quick walk, do a few squats – anything but get out of the chair! Then reset it for another 45 and get back to work. Your metabolism & back will thank you.

Studies have shown that people who walk 10,000 steps or more a day are happier, less stressed and have higher energy levels…

Your metabolism slows down if you don’t move and you fat goes up. Remember our bodies were designed to move…

3)Sleep on it…

Studies have shown clear links between lack of sleep and fat gain. We live in times of long work days, meals on the run and watching late night television to ‘wind down’. The net effect is that we are sleeping less and our bodies, in particular our metabolisms are paying for it.
The biological rhythm of sleeping and waking is called our circadian rhythm. And this is intricately tied to our metabolism.

If you wake up like this you need more sleep...

This 24-hour circadian rhythm governs just about all of our fundamental physiological functions.
Researchers have discovered (Science 1 May 2009: Vol. 324 no. 5927 pp. 654-657 DOI: 10.1126/science.1170803) that an enzyme protein called SIRT1 interacts with a protein nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD for short) that senses cell energy levels and modulates metabolism and aging. In other words there is a tightly regulated co-dependency between your circadian clock and your metabolism and cellular performance.

This also suggests that proper sleep and diet may help maintain or rebuild the balance between your circadian clock and your metabolism, and could also help explain why lack of rest or disruption of normal sleep patterns can increase hunger, leading to obesity-related illnesses and accelerated aging.

So if you regularly deprive yourself of sleep, you’re effectively disrupting your biological processes, including those regulating your metabolism. The news gets worse – lack of sleep has been shown to affect levels of leptin and ghrelin, the two major hormones linked with appetite and eating behaviours. When you are sleep deprived, your body decreases production of leptin, the hormone that tells your brain there is no need for more food. At the same time it increases levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger.

The end result is decreased satiety, hunger pangs, and a sluggish metabolism…

So what is the right number of hours of sleep to get? Truth is there is no one-size-fits-all number of prescribed hours, although there’s some evidence indicating that somewhere around seven hours a night is ideal from a general health perspective.

If you are waking up feeling sluggish you need more.

So there you have simple ways to begin to ‘Shift your Shape’

Let me know how you go with them.

That’s it. And it really can be that simple. No gimmicks. No fads. Just small, proven life changes that have a lasting impact.

And that’s what Body Shape Shifters is all about — permanent long term change based on skills you take with you. Knowledge is power, and we’re sitting on top of fuel grade uranium!

Real Training for Real Fat Loss

Welcome Back!!

Today’s blog is about laying out the facts of how to train for real fat loss. Regular readers will know that I believe you should focus on fat loss, not weight loss. (If you don’t have a copy of my free report on fat loss myths you can get one from the box to the right of this post)

Simply put, after over a decade of my own ups, downs & failures to achieve lasting fat loss I have developed some fairly strong opinions on this issue.

Lots & lots of reading these last 10 or so years...

I have come to hold theses opinions through a combination of educating myself by reading articles, chasing down scientific papers, following an ever changing cast of fitness ‘gurus’ and by trying just about every program there has been. Like famous author Tim Ferriss, I have used myself as guinea pig, and I have arrived at some convictions about fat loss.

The biggest mistake I made and the one I still see the most people making is this belief that low intensity, high volume cardio is the best way to lose fat.

Let me tell you this is a crock – not true at all!!

They have their place, but not the one you've been told!

Short sharp cardio (think Tabata’s or sprints) will burn more fat for longer than hours on a treadmill, a stationary bike, stepper, strider or slider. There is a heap of research out there on this. Trouble is many Personal Training organisations, many medicos and other ‘health’ professionals are either using information from textbooks that were old when they did their degrees or else they are playing politics to gain more mainstream acceptance. Doesn’t really matter – high volume low intensity cardio is a mug’s game. Period.

Second in line is the belief that doing high volumes of circuit training exclusively is the best means of burning fat.

When I first started coming across the research on the effect of high volume circuit training on fat loss I thought that I had found the Holy Grail. The more I looked the more research I found to support this, the more of the Gurus I found who supported this – it seemed like a no-brainer.
Again – this is not right!!

One of the benefits of being your own guinea pig is that you can judge what actually works and what the effects are.

The truth is that no one exercise modality can or should be used exclusively when fat loss is the goal. What you need is a mix of exercise types that hits different energy systems in your body and works to drive your metabolism.

Using circuit training exclusively I found:

1) That the perception of effort was right up there – these were hard & challenging workouts!! So hard in fact, that I started to collect niggling injuries from too many repetitions.

2) This came about from the high volume of exercises were giving my joints, tendons & ligaments a real beating. I developed overuse injuries and these required me to stop & heal – no fat burning happens when you can’t work out!!

Injuries mean no fat loss

3) The type of exercise done in these ‘fat loss’ circuits did not allow for much weight to be used 9nor could it be safely used) so my strength began to drop off. Rapidly. A beginner may have gotten stronger (if they avoided overuse injuries) but anyone with any time using weights just seems to get weaker.

4) A drop in strength and a lack of challenging weight coupled with high volumes = Muscle loss. High volume circuits when used exclusively as a fat loss modality leads to lean tissue loss which leads to a slower metabolism which leads to shifting any fat just gets harder & harder to do.

5) High Volume Circuits also cause physical stress out of proportion to their benefits which increases your levels of cortisol (everyone’s favourite ‘fat to the belly’ stress hormone) and decreases both Growth Hormone & testosterone release. Certainly not what you want for fat loss.
However this does not mean circuits are bad. Nope they just become bad when they are used exclusively for fat loss and other exercise types & protocols are not used.

An effective, metabolic reconditioning program needs to contain most if not all of the following key factors:

1) Lift weights, heavy weights using compound (multi-joint) exercises. Think Deadlifts, chin / pull ups, squats, overhead presses, clean & jerks or even one-armed push ups. Think 4 – 6 reps and no more than 3 or 4 sets.
Not only does this preserve lean tissue, it promotes strength and better fat utilisation as fuel

2) Train fast but safe. In other words perform your exercises as fast as you can whilst maintaining good form. This engages your nervous system and leads to a faster metabolism.

3) Perform some size work – use weights that you can move for 6 – 10 reps and again no more than 4 sets. Again try for compound moves or bodyweight exercises where you are at a mechanical disadvantage. NB these sets should always come after your heavy sets.

4) Circuit training – no more than 3 stations, no more than 15 – 20 reps a time and only 3 – 4 rounds.

5) Sprint. Great for fat loss, great for your legs, do wonders for your cardiovascular & aerobic systems. Best done either later in the day or the day after your weight / circuit training.

Move your body through space - the faster the better!!

So there you have it – the best way to achieve maximum fat loss via exercise.

Give this style of training a try, and see for yourself!

5 Truths about Fat Loss

Welcome back!!

Here are five truths about fat loss that you often do not get told by the ‘weight loss gurus’ out there:

1. Prepare to be uncomfortable – At least for the first while.

In order to ose fat you have to make changes and as we have seen inprevious posts your body doen’t like change very much. in fact it fights it!! Thsi means that if you are serious about fat loss and are using a real program you will feel uncomfortable for a little while while your body starts to accept and then utilse the changes you are making.

One of the easiest changes to make is to eat less. by this I mean try to eat less than you are normallycomfortable with.

Changes from a poor to a good diet can be a litle uncomfotable for a few days...

We all know that lose fat we have to create some form of calorie deficit on a regular basis and a simple way to do this is to eat less than what has become ‘normal’ for us.

The key to doing this succesfuly is to eat foods that promote a feeling of satiety – and this means lean proteins, fibrous carbs and good fats with a distinct lowering of processed carbs.
If you can do this on a regular basis, eating less will quickly become the new ‘eating normal’ for you.

2. This is a tough one, especially in this day of media overkill interms of how we should look & act – but compare yourself to yourself.

No two people’s shapes are the same, everyone has a different body shape so it makes no sense at all to say I don’t look like Brad Pitt (I don’t!) or Angelina Joie ( I definately don’t!!) as no=one does.

The photos we see on magazine covers of either celebrities, models or just ‘beautiful people’ are photshopped, airbrushed, and taken from expertly lit photo shoots done by professionals. No real person can look like that without the same technology and support (make-up, lighting, personal chefs etc etc) being available. Yet we tend to compare us to these images and almost EVERY picture you see a completely unrealistic illustration of a human body. And like it or not, no matter how hard we try we will never look like these images…

It will take a while to get to look like this - if ever. be your best, not the media's...

By all means use the mass media images as a means of inspiration but the ONLY person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself. Use the mirror and way your clothes fit to chart progress and focus on becoming the best that you can, not the bestt hat Photshop can produce…

3. Be in a hurry but be patient. At the same time.

Sounds crazy but what I mean is that there is NO evidence to back up the idea that the maximum ‘safe’ fat loss is a couple of pounds a week. This is an arbitary number that has gained widespread acceptance without any scientific backing.

It is possible to lose a lot of weight more quickly than this – but (notice I said weight and not fat) the usual drastic means often mean fluid loss, wrecked metabolisms and ending up a skinny fat person.

You can safely lose over 20 pound of fat in a month by using the right protocols – eating nutrient dense, calorie sparse foods; increasing your lean protein intake, exercising so you maintain muscle mass and increase your metabolic rate and use diet tricks that manipulate your hormones and enable you to successfully combat your body’s desire to maintain the status quo. These things usesd together will deliver a string fat loss.

So you you sould be in a hurry to get on the right program and begin to make the necessary changes so your metabolism becomes fitred up again.

Move it more...

You should be patient as even with a fat loss of 20 pounds in a month you are unlikely to see thaose 6-pack abs or get as lean as you want. This is where you keep at it and twatch the results come.

In my experience most 30 -day body recompositions for someone who is over 30 pounds overweight progress something like this:

First Week – Some cravings, your body is fighting back some soreness from unaccustomed exercise.

Second Week – The odd craving or 2 surfaces, your body is getting used to eating differently, you have dropped some size, exercise is not as challenging and you feel stronger.

Third Week – No cravings, visible changes, clothes fit better you are stringer & feel fitter & stronger, energy levels rise.

Fourth Week– Waist measurements are lower, your shape is diffeent- especially in the arms & legs and under the chin; the food is second nature, the exercise a habit and you are seein gthe results of a 20 pond fat loss and feeling great.

Feel fitter & stronger...

Again – this is generic – how your body and your mind react will be unique to you but in general if you follow a program like the ones outlined in previous blogs thisis what will happen.

4. Just because you are exercising more does not mean that you can eat more. Not yet.

Remeber you are trtying to fire up your metabolism and a proper program will enable you to eat the right fuel and not feel hungry. However there is a persistent myth that just because you exercise you can ‘reward’ yourself by eating lots more or even re-introducing some of the foods that got you fat in the first place.

Wrong – you cannot & should not. At least not until you are at your goal shape (again shape NOT weight). Once you are there you can switch to a maintenance program and frankly after 30 plus days of eating correctly you will not likely want to over eat or eat junk. (NB a good program allows for ‘Cheat days” where you eat what you want but again over time even on the cheat days you’ll find your desire for poor food much diminished.)

5. Lastly understand that your weight will flucuate over your fat loss journey.

So don’t weigh yourself every day – this is the quickest route to depression and falling off the leannes wagon there is.

Your goal is fat loss, part of this is increasing lean mass. Lean masss weighs more than fat so the scales could show you even gaining some weight in the early weeks. Add to this diferences in fluid intake & retention, Menses, the differing effects of different foods and your weight can alter as much as 6 or 7 pounds from day to day.

Get off the damn scales!!

Use the mirror, use your clothes and if you have to use the scales do it once a week at the same time and on the same day.

Stay the course and focus on the monthly trend.

I’ll be back soon!! Be well!!