Archive for the Category Training

 
 

My Guide to Eating for Muscle

Truth be told, I dislike the word ‘bulking’ and even ‘overeating’.  The real question should be: ‘are you eating enough to build muscle’, but for the sake sanity I’m going to use bulking and overeating in this post…but you know what I mean.

Not everyone should bulk, I hope I made that perfectly clear in my last blog post.

However, I hope the fact that some people can eat more  was equally clear.

So how do you tell if you should be eating more or dieting (or somewhere in between)?

Simple, you borrow a whole heap of info from the Adonis Golden Ratio.

Firstly, lets look at your Lean Body Mass – The amount of lean mass you can carry (and thus muscle mass you can carry)  is largely dependent on your height.

This is the Adonis Equation for predicting the possible range of Lean Body Mass a person is likely to carry at any given height:

 

Lean mass (kg) = C x H3.2

 

Where H is your height in meters and C is the coefficient we use to account for age.

The standard deviation is roughly 0.5.

OK now for “C” use the following numbers:

  • If you are between 20-24 use 11
  • If you are between 25 and 34 use 10.9,
  • if you are between 35 and 44 use 10.7
  • If you are 45 and older  use 10.5

So using myself as an example:

I’m 5’10” or 70 inches tall.

To get your height in meters simply multiply your height in inches (70) by 0.0254.

In my case I get 1.778

(if you are lazy just go to Google and type “how tall is X inches in meters?”)

Plugging my height into the equation and using the Coefficient for my age (10.7) I get the following:

 

10.7 x 1.7783.2

 

Now for the standard deviations – if we add or subtract 2 standard deviations from C then we get the lean mass for roughly 95% of the population of 5’10” guys.

So for my height there is a 95% chance my lean body mass is somewhere between:

 

9.7 x 1.7783.2  –  11.7 x 1.7783.2

 

or

Somewhere between 61.17 KG and 73.8 KG. Since I’m Canadian and for some weird reason still think of body weight in pounds, this would be:

 

134.5 and 162 pounds of Lean Body Mass

 

OK, so now we know that realistically 162 pounds would be a best case scenario for 35 year old me. At 10% body fat that would be a body weight of about 180 pounds,  which would be pretty darn impressive on my frame.

However, I’m NOT 180 pounds at 10% body fat. In fact, right now I’m about 176 pounds at 12.5% body fat.

So should I bulk? Is there ‘growth potential’ left in me that is left untapped due to my refusal to eat more?

In terms of muscle mass I’m better than average (154 pounds of lean body mass by DEXA, whereas ‘average’ would be around 148)

So what to do, what to do.

Well, here’s what we would do over at Adonis Effect.

 

The Adonis Guide to Eating for Size, or Fat loss, or Both

Take your waist circumference the morning of a 24 hour fast. Measure across your belly button while standing in good posture.

From our standards ‘ideal’ is having a waist circumference that is roughly 45% of your height. Using this number we can help guide you on how much you should be eating.

Could probably get away with eating more

 

If your waist is under 40% of your height, and your BMI is in the 22 or lower range, then there’s a good chance that eating more and training more will result in muscle mass gains. Especially if your friends refer to you as ‘skinny’, ‘slender’ or ‘scrawny’.

 

Is probably right around where he needs to be

 

If your waist is between 42.5% of your height and 47.5% of your height and your BMI is below 27.5 then bulking will probably just make you fat, but extreme dieting isn’t needed either. You are somehwere in a slow-recomp / maintenance / contest type shape. This is the place where you could probably build muscle and lose fat at the same time, but you would be looking to do so in small increments. If your friends already refer to you as ‘muscular’ ‘jacked’ and ‘lean’ then this is probably you. Oh, and the superman pic is just an example, you may not necessarily have abs at this level.. or be able to fly.

 

Needs to think about leaning down

 

If your waist is above 50% of your height, regardless of your BMI, you should not even consider bulking… you should be dieting. At this size your friends could either refer to you as ‘thick’ ‘big’ or just plain old ‘fat’ depending on how hard and often you lift weights.   If somehow you have a waist over 50% of your height AND have a BMI under 25  you should also be trying to build muscle while dieting… actually regardless… you should always be trying to build muscle 😉

 

My Body as an Example

 

So for me, my waist is 33 inches and currently I’m about 176 pounds.

My waist is 47% of my height and my BMI is 25. From the Adonis Equation I already know that I’m ‘above average’ in terms of my muscularity, and given the fact that I’ve been training for well over 10 years I simply may not have the genetics to get to 162 pounds of Lean Body Mass. So for me, right now, slow and steady is the best choice. Slow and steady means if I want to get into photoshoot shape, then I would need to drop about 5 pounds, which I could do in about a month, but until then I’ll stick with the plan of SLOWLY trying to build some more mass, while maybe dropping a pound or two of fat since a waist that is 47% of my height is pushing it on my frame.

And here’s the really important common sense part of all of this – I like how I look, so I don’t see much reason to change it too drastically…

However, If I was 165 pounds at roughly 12% bodyfat and a 28 inch waist (AKA me at 20) then these numbers would tell me I could probably get a way with eating more…not getting fat mind you..just more.

And if I was 216 pounds at roughly 30% bodyfat and a 41 inch waist (AKA me at 25 during my ‘power lifting phase’) then these numbers tell me to put down the fork and walk away from the table… for a long time.

So as I’ve said before there is a bit of an art to knowing how much you should eat, but here is the super important part.

 

Equations cannot tell you how much you should eat

But your body can. So know your measurements, and adjust your diet as your measurement change. Even the measurements above are rough guidelines. Probably the most important is the first equation. It will help you set some realistic goals as to what is, and is not attainable. Overeating when you are already near your limit of lean body mass is just a recipe for fat.

If you are trying to gain muscle and fall into our ‘probably a good idea category’ then eat more, BUT track your measurements…. slow down your eating when you get into our ‘good range’ of a waist around 45% of your height, and STOP and hit reverse if you hit 50%.

And if you are dieting, but your waist has dropped to below 40% of your height, then more than likely it’s time to up the calories, drop the cardio and remind yourself that zero percent body fat is not the goal.

Finally, I know all of these numbers are for guys. We have numbers for women over at Venus Factor, but this was really just mean to be a guide not the definitive answer to how much should you eat.

Bottom line – don’t let equations or on-line gurus tell you how much you should be eating. Let your body shape guide you.

 

My Compound Training Program (It’s… Different)

It was in 2010 that I launched the idea of a style of weight training called ‘compound cluster cycles’ with the release of my workout ‘Anabolic Again‘.

Since then I have tried over and over to:

A) Make Anabolic Again even better.

And,

B) Make it so everyone could use it (The original program was only for advanced lifters).

While I still have not been able to best the results I got with Anabolic Again, I have made the exact same gains using much less volume (less sets and less exercises per workout), and I’ve found ways to make Compound Cluster Cycles work for everyone, beginner or advanced, men or women.

The actual concept sounds pretty scary – you train upper body or lower body for a week at a time, alternating weeks.

As an example:

Week 1: Upper Body
Week 2: Lower Body
Week 3: Upper Body
Etc…

As scary as it sounds, it’s not nearly as hard as it’s made out to be, and the results have been nothing short of amazing for me, and I’m finally happy enough with the program to release it to you.

To give you an idea, here is my progression since January:

The 1st Number is the weight I used in pounds.
The 2nd Number is the amount of reps I completed in my first Attempt.
The 3rd Number is the amount of time I took me to complete 30 controlled reps.

*The goal is to increase the second number while decreasing the 3rd number.
*Every time I reached 20 reps in my first attempt, I upped the weight.

Obviously, I started off very poor at high rep squatting, but as you’ll see it only took 8 weeks to get to a level that I’d consider to be respectable.

 

WEEK 1 – SQUAT

135 14 / 3 min 30 sec

135 17 / 3 min 15 sec

135 19 / 3 min 10 sec

135 20 / 3 min 5 sec*

 

WEEK 2 – BENCH PRESS

185 17 / 3 min 33 sec

185 18 / 3 min 20 sec

185 21 / 2 min 51 sec*

195 15 / 3 min 50 sec

 

WEEK 3 – SQUAT

145 15 / 3 min 35 sec

145 17 / 3 min 22 sec

145 18 / 3 min 20 sec

145 21 / 2 min 51 sec*

 

WEEK 4 – BENCH PRESS

195 17 / 3 min 45 sec

195 18 / 3 min 22 sec

195 18 / 3 min 18 sec

195 20 / 3 min 05 sec*

 

WEEK 5 – SQUAT

155 21 / 3 min 10 sec*

165 15 / 3 min 50 sec

165 19 / 3 min 25 sec

165 20 / 3 min 20 sec*

 

WEEK 6 – BENCH PRESS

205 15 / 4 min 40 sec

205 15 / 3 min 20 sec

205 16 / 3 min 27 sec

205 17 / 3 min 15 sec

 

WEEK 7 – SQUAT

175 14 / 4 min 10 sec

175 17 / 4 min 0 sec

175 18 / 3 min 34 sec

175 21 / 3 min 22 sec*

 

WEEK 8 – BENCH PRESS

205 18 / 3 min 2 sec

205 18 / 3 min 0 sec

205 20 / 2 min 55 sec*

215 16 / 3 min 45 sec

WEEK 9 – SQUAT

185 14 / 5 min 0 sec

185 16 / 4 min 18 sec

185 18 / 4 min 10 sec

185 20 / 3 min 55 sec*

 

WEEK 10 – BENCH PRESS

215 18 / 3 min 45 sec

215 20 / 3 min 40 sec*

225 14 / 3 min 50 sec

225 15 / 3 min 45 sec

While these strength improvements are impressive, you may be wondering how they translate into actual muscle size… well here are my measurements:

 

Here are my measurements on Jan 1st

Fasted Bodyweight: 174

Neck: 16 inches
Shoulders: 49.5 inches
Chest: 42 inches
Waist: 33 inches
Hips: 39 inches
Thigh at 5 inches above kneecap: 20 inches
Thigh at 10 inches above kneecap: 23.5 inches
Calf: 15 inches
Right Bicep: 16 inches
Forearm: 12.5 inches

 

And here are my March 29th Measurements

Fasted Body weight :176.5
Neck: 16 inches
Shoulders: 50 inches
Chest: 42.25 inches
Waist: 33 inches
Hips: 40 inches
Thigh at 5 inches above kneecap: 21.5 inches
Thigh at 10 inches above kneecap: 24.5 inches
Calf: 15.5 inches
Right Bicep: 16 inches
Forearm: 12.5 inches

For me, these are some substantial improvements in my legs, and some decent improvements in my upper body…

 

This is the best evidence I can give you – a workout that kept my attention for over 10 weeks, and that kept me from getting injured, and that helped me make accelerated improvements that I am really happy with.

It’s designed for both men and women, and has programming for the beginner and the advanced lifter. You do need access to some weights (this is not a body weight training program).

Compound training is only available to Eat Stop Eat Customers, but if you have not read the book yet, please visit this page first –

Eat Stop Eat Method Presentation

After that, you are ready for Compound Training…

Compound Training Book

 

 

Intermittent Fasting and Muscle Building

You know what happens when you try to ‘bulk up’ (AKA bulking) with intermittent fasting?

The same thing that happens when you ‘bulk up’ without intermittent fasting – you get fat.

The concept of eating as much as 10,000 calories a day to build muscle is perpetuated by a few small groups of people:

    • 20 year old guys (because it works for them as they’re still kids)
    • Supplement companies
    • Writers affiliated with supplement companies
    • People using steroids but who don’t want to tell you that they are using steroids
    • And last but not least (and likely the largest group); people who have been influenced by the opinions of the aforementioned in group

…That’s it.

The most convincing evidence for grown men building muscle while bulking comes from guys I know who were using steroids and had to explain the new muscle growth to their friends/parents/loved ones/and anyone else who asked “how did you get so big?”

The standard answers you get from guys who use steroids who don’t want to admit it goes something like this: “I’m just eating a ton of calories and getting my protein”

So where does Intermittent Fasting fit into bulking?

In my extremely biased opinion, Eat Stop Eat is one of the absolute best ways to lose fat and keep the fat off for good… but bulking? I don’t see a connection.

Intermittent fasting, carb cycling, calorie cycling, protein cycling, high fat, high carb, they’re all different ways of desperately trying to make ‘eating for size’ actually work.

But here’s the truth:

Calories are permissive to the muscle building process. The driving force behind muscle growth happens in a gym, in a syringe or the combination of the two.

Yes, Protein is also important. If you are not eating ‘enough’ you can hinder muscle growth. But once you start eating just ‘enough’, eating any more on top of that will not FORCE more muscle growth.

The point is calories are permissive, but not a driving force for muscle growth in adults. Protein is essential (that’s why I wrote a book on protein), but still can’t force muscles to grow faster.

The simple art to ‘eating for muscle growth’ is discovering exactly how many calories are ‘enough’ to allow for muscle growth, and for that the answer will always be ‘it depends’.

Depends on your age, training status, training program, training goals, and level of body fat among other things.

So ‘simple’ but not ‘easy’.

Most guys (and girls) over 40 can remember one time (long ago) when they could eat a lot and gain a significant amount of muscle. Most likely they were between 17 to 25 years of age when it happened.

I was there, and I remember it – it was awesome.

This doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again.

There’s a big difference between

A) Eating ‘enough’

vs

B) Bulking – adding weight at all costs in hopes that it builds muscle

Eating enough can EASILY be done with intermittent fasting.

“Bulking” can be done too…there just doesn’t seem to be any benefit, unless you are young, on steroids, or your goal is to be a sumo wrestler.

Here’s the other issue I have with bulking, and it’s probably the most controversial thing I’ve said in a while.

I am not convinced that putting on 50 pounds of body fat so you can hopefully gain 15 pounds of muscle is any less dangerous than taking steroids to gain that 15 pounds of muscle.

In fact, it could even be worse (especially since chances are you won’t gain those 15 pounds of muscle with bulking).

Large amounts of excess fat are associated with many disease states, and it doesn’t matter if the fat was added out of laziness or the goal of adding muscle. Fat is fat.

Also, please remember that the metabolic consequences of bulking include a hormonal profile that PREVENTS muscle growth. From low testosterone to insulin resistance and growth hormone resistance, bulking does NOT set you up for some sort of super anabolic metabolism, in fact, it’s just the opposite – it sets up a metabolism that prevents an unneeded increase in lean body mass.

So those guys telling you to eat 10,00 calories a day to build muscle are not doing you any favors.

Here’s the other thing – I have no idea why people are continually bringing up bulking being a ‘weakness of intermittent fasting’ but there is one thing I do need to point out – Not all styles of intermittent fasting are the same.

Eat Stop Eat isn’t fasting every day. It’s not even fasting every other day. It’s fasting once or twice a week, and you still eat EVERY SINGLE DAY.

So, try not to lump ESE in with the rest.

Eat Stop Eat is a great way to lose fat and it’s a fantastic way to maintain that fat loss. You can absolutely build muscle while following Eat Stop Eat.

That being said, I should say that other forms of Intermittent fasting are also find for losing fat and building muscle. People get great results because calories are permissive, anyone who tell you otherwise are just perpetuating a myth.

Finally, remember – fat is fat, and gaining excess amounts of fat, no matter the reason, is never a good idea.

Eating enough to build muscle is an essential part of optimal muscle building (obviously), but anything above that is just excess.

Try to eat the right amount of protein, and track your measurements. If your weight is going up, but your waist measurement is staying the same you are doing something right. If your weight is going up AND your waist is going up… the weight your gaining is most likely fat.

 

Fasted weight training – My personal approach

I’m going to try something a little different today. Instead of diet advice or reviewing research, today I’d like to share with you what I’m currently trying on myself, and give you some of the rational behind my personal approach.

As usual, I’m experimenting. It’s still Eat Stop Eat, but I’m also going to tell you what I’m doing on the days I’m not fasting.

Firstly, I do two fasts per week. My fasts are usually 20-24 hours long, depending on how I feel and time commitments.

At the end of each fast I do my main weight training sessions. So twice a week I weight train for about 1 hour, consisting of about 50-70 reps divided between 2 to 4 exercises per muscle group.

During my first workout I train my legs and my shoulders, then during my second workout I train my chest back and arms.

Once I’m done my workout I view the next 2-3 days as ‘muscle growth support’ so I eat to support the muscle repairing process.

This means eating 20-30 grams of protein every 4-6 hours, while keeping my calorie intake at roughly 14 times my current body weight (roughly 2,500 calories). Since about 500 of those calories come from my protein intake, the other 2,000 come from carbs fat and alcohol. I really don’t track any of these number as I only really care about ‘protein in’ and ‘calories in’.

I continue this process until it’s time to fast again. I view my fasts as a reset, my workout as the ‘start’, the next 2-3 days as the eating to support that workout, then I repeat.

I also rock climb twice a week, and do some gymnastics training whenever I feel the urge, but my weight training workouts are currently limited to these two times.

The other thing you need to know is how I tweak calories. I’m normally able to maintain my weight by eating about 2,500 calories on the days I’m not fasting, but if I want to bring my weight down a bit, here’s what I do:

I start with my ideal waist (Height x 0.447 = my ideal waist) <— that number only applies to men, women should use 0.382

I measure my waist at my belly button (women would be above belly button at narrowest point of your ’true waist’). For every 1 inch I am over my ideal, I subtract 1 from 14

So if my ideal waist is roughly 31.5 and I have a 33 inch waist then my daily calories are roughly my current weight multiplied by (14 – 1.5) or current weight x 12.5

**Since I never let my waist circumference reach over half my height (35 inches) this is never more than a 300 or 400 calorie reduction per day.

No matter what happens with calories, protein stays the same, roughly 4-5 protein meals per day, 4-6 hours apart, 20-30 grams with each meal.

And that’s it, that’s my entire approach. Simple, uncomplicated, and hopefully effective. Yes I eat breakfast most days, and no I don’t know how many grams of carbs or fats I eat, but I can tell you I eat them both 😉

Really, other than the eating, this approach takes up two 24 hour periods of my life, not a big deal to me, and fits perfectly with my schedule.

The only real differences between this and what I normally do is the lowered frequency of workouts and their timing.

This new low training frequency is new to me, I’ve trained as much as two times per day, and usually train around 5 times a week, but I want to experiment with doing less…

The timing is based off my work with inflammation and muscle growth, and a guess that in the long run training at or near the end of a fast may help.

Over the next couple months I’ll let you know how it is going, so if you’re interested in following along, you can save this post as a reference.

How to make bodyweight exercises work

I just made the decision to install some Stahl bars in my home gym.

They’re hard to describe (googling them is best) but if I had to describe them, I’d say they look like a giant floor to ceiling magazine rack.

The reason for this addition is because I’m relying on body weight exercises more and more in my workouts, and Stahl bars are a cool way to add in some extra variety.

Truth be told, the older I get, the more I love body weight training.

The best part about body weight exercises is that you don’t really need any equipment (the stahl bars are really just a treat for me), and you can do them anywhere.

Now, I’m not talking about just jumping jacks, pushups and squats – these are a great starting point, but I think that body weight exercises eventually have to become body MOVEMENT exercises… They should become more complex as you get stronger.

In fact, the big issue I have with Body Weight Exercises is if the movements don’t progress, then you end up doing a super high amount of reps in order to properly challenge yourself, and if you’re not careful this can lead to overuse injuries.

This is very similar to what happens with runners, only now it’s your shoulders, elbows or wrists. This is why you need a TON of variety in your exercise repertoire – You can’t just do push-ups, squats and chins.

But if you have enough of the RIGHT exercises – then your body is actually the BEST piece of home gym “workout equipment” in the world for helping you GAIN muscle and BURN fat without spending tons of money.

…and for a little extra money there is basically nothing you can’t do with your own body weight (my Stall bars are going to cost 1/10th of what I paid for my squat rack, and you can pick up a chin-up bar for dollars).

Here’s a quick example – the next time you do pushups, squeeze your butt and flex your thighs for the entire time you are doing your push ups. You can also try spreading your shoulder blades at the top of your pushup to make them even more complex, and you can play with your hand positioning.

People like to neglect bodyweight training, but when done properly you can get an impressive workout completed in around 20 minutes.

When it comes to making body weight exercises ‘work’ it’s all about execution – it’s how you do them that matters (actually, this is probably true for ALL exercises)

If you are interested in body weight training and / or body weight exercises you can check out BODYWEIGHT BURN (YES, it is a video infomercial… and an amusing one at that, however the product is excellent).

PROMOTIONAL LINK → BODY WEIGHT BURN

Can Exercise Really Help You Lose Weight?

Most of us believe that exercise is a great way to burn extra calories for fat loss goals. However, we tend to be less active throughout the rest of the day if we do strenuous exercise. This decrease may be very slight; for example less shifting around in your seat, less fidgeting, maybe one or two less trips up and down the stairs.

By the end of the day it can add up and represent a couple hundred less calories burned throughout the rest of the day. This will lower your daily energy expenditure simply because you are less active and erase some of the calorie deficit created with exercise.

For example: If you burn an extra 500 calories during an intense workout, but you end up having a nap and avoiding some housework and a short walk you would normally have done that day, you could easily end up right back where you started. You may just shift your normal daily calorie burn from household activities and running errands to a workout.

But the total amount of calories burned for the day could easily just end up the same, and even worse you might not get some important work done around the house or errands that you were planning on getting done.

This is not to suggest that you should never exercise (far from it) but it’s to ensure that you understand what exercise can and can’t do for weight loss. Now we will determine what the different kinds of exercise are and what they do.

There are many different forms of exercise that can be divided into two general categories:

1) “Cardio”

2) Resistance Training

Cardio

Cardio” is slang for “Cardiovascular Exercise”. This is the type of exercise that is recommended for general health and strengthening the heart muscle. These days many people do cardio to lose weight and burn fat, but it’s important to realize that the original reason people did cardio training was for heart-health.

You can do cardio in many forms like:

Low intensity – walking, slow jog, biking.

Medium intensity – Jogging, biking, cross training, running, interval training High intensity – Usually in the form of intervals such as ‘sprint-walk-sprint’

This type of exercise can help improve health and conditioning but it will have a minimal effect on the shape of your muscles, in order to actually shape and grow your muscles you have to do some form of “Resistance Training”.

Resistance Training

Resistance training is different from ‘cardio’ because it requires you to lift much heavier weights and can only be done in short bursts for a few seconds at a time (this is what we call a ‘set’).

Resistance training can also incorporate all of the following styles in some form:

Weight Lifting – this includes bodybuilding, Powerlifting and Olympic style lifting

Bodyweight training – Push-ups, lunges, chin ups etc…

Resistance bands – You can get rubber bands with varying degrees of tension to perform all kinds of exercises to work the full body

Plyometrics – This is a very high intensity style of training based on jumping and ballistic movement

Resistance training is essential to building, shaping and tightening the muscles all around your body. This is important because your muscles are what give shape to your body, and you can change that shape with resistance training. This is a critical step that many people forget about when they are trying to lose weight and ‘get in shape’.

Once you’ve lost the weight and you’re sporting a new leaner body you will likely have a new sense of excitement and motivation to take your body to the next level. This is where a well designed resistance training program can help you shape your body and muscles into a that ‘beach body’ look that garners ooh’s and ahh’s from your friend on facebook when you post a new profile pic from the beach!

If you start a resistance training program you can build and shape all the muscles on your body into any form you want. This way you can take even more control of the look of your body when you’ve finally lost the weight. Underneath our fat is just muscle, so building and shaping that muscle is a critical step in getting into the final shape that you really want.

Here are a few training programs that I highly recommend:

If 
you 
are looking for weight lifting program, 
you 
can 
try 
Vince 
Delmonte’s
 No-Nonsense
 Body
 Building
 Program.

If you are interested in body weight training and / or body weight exercises then check out ‘Body Weight Burn‘ by Adam Steer.

 

Cardiovascular exercise is something you can gradually incorporate into your lifestyle as you progress. At the start you may not be able to handle it at all (or very little). I’ll be honest; it will most likely be really challenging until you’ve lost some initial weight. This is why I recommend starting with something with very low intensity like walking. If you feel like you’re not ready for cardio training, don’t worry; you can lose a significant amount of weight without exercising at all. Once you feel ready you can start slowly and build up over time. Your cardiovascular endurance and strength will build up much faster than you think once you start exercising.

I have worked with people who have lost between 80-100lbs, some of them didn’t do any exercise until they lost the first 50-60lbs simply because they didn’t feel they were ready yet. And this is an extremely important point I need to make – cardio training is not essential for weight loss. In fact, depending on how much weight you have to lose it may actually be a detriment to your weight loss efforts. So it’s really up to you. Some people enjoy doing exercise and jump right into a resistance training program mixed with some cardio, others like to wait until they feel ready.

It’s really up to you to decide if/when you want to add in exercise. I can say that almost everyone who has lost a significant amount of weight eventually started to add in exercise to their lifestyle simply because it started to feel good to get up and move around more. This is something you’ll have to discover for yourself, but I’m sure at some point sooner or later you’ll likely just want to start moving.

For ‘cardio’ I only do low intensity stuff like walking and some elliptical machine work. I just go to the gym and zone out watching tv for an hour or so while I’m walking.  For a weight training program I follow the Adonis Index workout as it’s designed for my exact goal of getting the best shaped body possible.

Both ‘cardio’ and resistance training have numerous health benefits and are what I would consider essential to a ‘healthy’ lifestyle. If you have a capable body and mind, I see no reason that you shouldn’t partake in both at some point.

BUT, and this is a big BUT, as I said before – neither of them are essential for you to lose weight!

This is a big distinction I’m making right here.

You can lose weight without doing any exercise at all. And in fact it’s not even advisable for people with a lot of weight to lose to even attempt exercising until they’re at a manageable weight to start doing so (I’m talking about people who have 100lbs to lose or more). Now I know you’ve probably seen television shows that have people weighing almost 400 pounds doing intense exercise sessions, but I’m guessing they have doctors and paramedics on site at all times – something most regular people probably don’t have at their gyms.

It would appear that the more weight you have to lose the easier it will be to simply focus on diet to take off the first big chunk of weight. For people with approx 70lbs or more to lose it seems easier to focus solely on diet at the beginning for three reasons.

1)        If you’ve never worked out before it’s difficult to start two new things at once (diet + exercise) and manage them both. It’s much easier to focus on one thing (diet) and master it before you take on the challenge of starting a workout program as well.

2)        If you have more than 70lbs to lose you might find it very difficult to start any kind of workout program simply because of the physical limitation of your current body size. A workout program might be too much for your system to handle until you lose some initial weight.  Going for a walk when you 70lbs overweight is much more difficult than when you’re only 20-30lbs overweight.

3)        For some people exercise may distract them from the real issue of eating less. People will try to exercise the weight off without changing their dietary habits. This almost always ends in failure as we’ve already discussed with the calorie compensation effect and rest compensation effect of exercise.

For people with more than approx 70lbs to lose it’s perfectly fine to cut the first 20-40lbs with diet alone. Once this initial weight is lost you will have built some momentum and feel very good both physically and mentally and then you can start incorporating exercise to help you get rid of the final 20-30lbs. You’ll likely find that it’s much easier to start working out with a lighter body than when you were at your heaviest.

In fact, if you’re new to working out and you try to workout too soon, it might sour you to the idea of working out all together because it’s going to feel much more difficult when you’re heavy than when you’re lighter. The last thing you want to do is start a workout program and hate it. Exercising should feel good, so you need to be in the right mindset when you start a new program. The following picture is a much better way to view how dieting and exercise fit together for your overall weight loss, health and body shape.

This is a much more accurate way to view what diet and both forms of exercise (cardio and resistance training) can do for weight loss, getting in shape, and improving your overall health.

The bottom Line

Exercise can be used to build and shape your muscles, and improve your overall health, but it’s not essential for weight loss. If you want to use exercise then by all means add it in (and I really encourage you to do so), but if you really don’t want to, don’t worry.

My Take on Cardio

One of the biggest misconceptions about me is that people think I hate cardio.

Now truthfully, I don’t do cardio myself, but I do think cardio can have a place in a weight loss program…. I don’t think it works nearly as well as people would like it to, especially when it comes to burning calories, but it can have a place.

My theory is that 4-6 weeks of cardio training 2-4 times per week used specifically to ramp up fat burning enzyme activity may be beneficial for some people, especially if done at the beginning of a weight loss program.

The thought is that those 4-6 weeks would cause changes that would carry through the next 6-8 weeks of dieting. So you’d do your cardio for a month or so, then drastically reduce it for the next two months.

Mind you, 4-6 weeks in a row is all I would ever recommend for weight loss, but it’s still 4-6 weeks MORE than Craig Ballantyne would EVER recommend.

Craig has basically turned his back on Cardio saying that it is responsible for:

X Fat Gain (especially around the waist)

X Premature Aging

X Sudden and Unexpected Death

Sounds Crazy, but Craig is my friend and he’s also a world-famous fitness expert who designs great workouts. Plus, he’s taken a hard look at the research behind these controversial claims.

What he’s saying may shock you…

Click here to learn more

 

Thoughts on Cardio for Weight Loss

In the last three days I have read a lot of Cardio-Hate.

Some of it has been pretty severe, including statements like:

X Cardio can stop fat loss DEAD in its tracks

X Cardio wrecks your joints

and even…

X Cardio can KILL YOU

Some of these statements are a little to ‘out there’ for my tastes, but I will say that when it comes to weight loss cardio is a waste of time.

Sure, 30-40 minutes 2-3 times per week is easily manageable, but that’s not what some people are doing.

No, some people are doing and hour in the morning and then another hour at night, and they do this 5-6 times per week!

And these people aren’t runners or cyclists, they’re the zombies at your gym slaving away on the treadmill or elliptical. They are there when you start your workout, and they are there when you leave…

The truth is, pounds are lost in the kitchen, ounces are lost in the gym (thanks Amy for the quote)

When it comes to weight loss, your success mostly come from your diet, HOWEVER those ounces in the gym?  They count big time – so if you’re going to go to the gym use your time wisely.

Please don’t slave away on a treadmill or elliptical machine for two hours a day, when you could get far better results without wasting two hours of your life every day.

If you still don’t believe me, and still feel the need to ‘walk away the pounds’ then I think you need to check out what Craig Ballantyne has to say about cardio.

It’s extreme, but he makes an excellent point – bottom line – you could use your time better.

—> Craig says ‘Stop trying to walk away the pounds’

In the end, it’s not really about cardio as much as it is using your time well by having a well designed workout program – and that’s something that Craig delivers in spades.

Living Longer or Living Younger?

I’m not exactly a history buff, but I do know that people enjoy a good story.

So I’m going to start today’s post off with a little Greek Mythology…

The story of Tithonus is a tragic one.

Tithonus is the guy who was granted eternal LIFE, but not eternal YOUTH.

(Big Mistake)

Long story short, time passes, and Tithonus degenerates into bedridden senility, spending his everlasting days begging for death.

(Tragic and heavy, but hey..that’s Greek mythology for you)

The truth is the dream of eternal youth is nothing new. It’s featured in just about every culture throughout history…

From Vampires to the fountain of youth..I think it’s a given that a large number of us like the idea of staying young for a long time.

And thanks to 20th century science and research we’re getting closer and closer to this becoming a reality.

Of course I’m talking about the cool research connecting calorie restriction to increased lifespan.

But the problem arises when we stop to question… Is it really longer LIFE we want, or is it longer YOUTH??

And…which does calorie restriction offer?

Currently the research is suggesting a positive association between eating less and living longer, but not necessarily a longer ‘youth’

But there are things you can do…but if you do them wrong, you can actually create the Opposite effect <– Not good.

Resistance training COMBINED with Eating less could be your fountain of youth.

But only if you do it correctly.

And by correctly I mean use resistance training as a tool to build and maintain your lean body mass.

This is in direct opposition to the way many people use resistance training: As a outright attack on their bodies!

Having blown knees, bad shoulders and a chronically sore lower back in your twenties is SPEEDING the aging process, NOT slowing it.

So to be absolutely clear: A good weight training program does NOT have to involve beating the life out of your body.

The secret to a long life full of youthful vigor?

Eat less, move more, and use resistance training as a tool to build and maintain your muscle, rather than to hurt and tear down your body.