Friday, December 26, 2008

Pizza, Fat Loss, & Responsibility

"I shall shape my future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man's doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me. Or I can be lost in the maze. My choice. My responsibility. Win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny." - Og Mandino

One of the most popular questions I get about losing weight is, "Can I eat pizza (or burgers, or fries, etc.) on a fat loss program?"

Well, yes, you can eat anything you want.

As long as you are willing to accept the consequences and take full responsibility for your actions or lack of action.

So can you eat pizza while on a fat loss program? Sure, as long as you know it could slow down, stop, or reverse your fat loss results.

Can you skip workouts and watch TV instead?

Sure, but if you choose to sit on the couch after a hard day’s work, then realize that you will not be getting closer to your goals.

And if you choose to eat 1500 calories worth pizza and drink 600 calories of soda as you sit on the couch after a hard day’s work, then make sure you are also willing to accept the consequences, because you will gain weight.

Your results are your responsibility.

Fat loss is 90% common sense. We all know what we should and shouldn't eat. Even a 5th grader can tell us that too much pizza and soda will make us overweight.

Weight loss isn't rocket science, but it is your responsibility to plan ahead and make the right choices.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Click here to start burning fat

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Peer Pressure, Diet, and Fat Loss

Tis the season to be surrounded by people who give you a hard time for health choices...

AND...

Without a doubt, one of the most difficult things about losing fat is eating in social situations. The peer-pressure (from both the ignorant and immature) is the toughest test of your commitment.

BUT...

If you want to succeed, you have to lay the ground rules. There is no room for debate. You are either in or you are out.

And you might just surprise some folks when you show them that life can go on if you don’t eat chicken wings with them.

So... Be loud and proud of what you are doing. There are more folks secretly wishing someone will take charge and be a healthy role model for them.

It might not happen overnight, but if you continue to lead by healthy example – without preaching or being condescending – you can build an entourage of social support and people who want to be healthy like you.

This will build powerful relationships that will take your health to the next level.

Build your Entourage for fat loss!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Does Cardio Make You Fat?

Over 40 years ago, Dr. Kenneth Cooper invented the term "aerobics"to describe what most people call "cardio".

Now I don't blame him personally for wasting the time of millions of men and women who were suckered into believing cardio was the best way to lose weight.

It's not his fault at all. The problem was too many uneducated trainers misunderstood the point of Dr. Cooper's aerobic workouts, and well, here we are.

In the past 2 years I've discovered 3 very interesting research studies...

1) One study showed interval training was better than cardio at burning belly fat (and cut the workout time in half)

2) A second study found that 300 hours of cardio per year helped men lose only 6 pounds (and women lost only 4 pounds). So that's about 50 hours of cardio per pound of weight lost - at BEST!

3) A third study found some folks start eating MORE when they start a cardio program. These folks end up gaining weight on aerobics.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying cardio makes you fat (as a few people have asked), but it might cause you to eat more, and therefore indirectly you might gain weight because of cardio.

After all, something is going on because I continue to get emails from women who are doing 5 or more hours of cardio per week and their thighs are getting BIGGER!

What a cruel, cruel joke your body must be playing on you!

So we've had 40 years of cardio's oppressing reign on the weight loss hopes and dreams of millions of men and women.

That's why I wrote my book, "Just Say NO to Cardio"

=> http://www.JustSayNOtoCardio.com

I also wanted to share with you the interval training revolution.

My mentors at McMaster University, where I did my graduate studies, were among the first scientists to recommend interval training guidelines back in 1981!

I stumbled across their research paper - and still carry it around in my interval training files - as my foundation for fat burning workouts.

I first used these programs in the mid-1990's while training clients on "the back 40" of the University training grounds. I tried hundreds of combinations of interval training programs, and each one helped my clients burn belly fat in record time.

Those were my first clients who were able to, "Just Say NO to Cardio"and get faster results.

Only a couple of years later, while working in scientific lab, I would create the first complete Turbulence Training workout.

For the rest of the story, grab your copy of:
=>
http://www.JustSayNOtoCardio.com

In my book you'll learn everything you need to know about how to burn fat and lose inches without doing slow, boring cardio again.

Viva la interval training revolution,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

PS - I've put together a bonus package of 4 workouts and an exclusive, never-heard-before motivational audio message from me to you for everyone that buys the book.

Visit this link to get your early Christmas Presents:
=> http://www.JustSayNOtoCardio.com

"Everyone who wants to lose weight MUST read 'Just Say NO toCardio'. You'll save yourself months and years of headache and even injury by discovering the truth about the role of cardio for weight loss. Plus, Craig will show you faster, proven fat burning workouts you can do at home and with only your own bodyweight."
Dr. Shayne Ladak, MD, BSc(Hons), CSCS, NASM-CPT

Sunday, November 23, 2008

#1 Way to Stick to Your Diet

The #1 way to stick to your diet is going to sound strange, but all I can say is trust me on this one.

There's a popular new "social networking" website that I've started using called, www.Twitter.com. At first glance, it looks as dumb as it sounds, but after spending a bit of time on it, I realized this could be the best way to help my clients stay accountable to others, and that's the key when it comes to the #1 way to stick to your diet.

No one likes to disappoint others, or look bad in their eyes. So when we say we're going to stick to a diet, AND we're going to post every meal that we eat on the Internet, it makes us accountable and motivates us to stick to our goals.

Personally, I use Twitter.com to post all of my meals, snacks, and nutrition tips over the course of the day, and I encourage all of my clients to do the same.

It's really simple. You just sign up for an account, and then you can post whatever you want, but you are limited to 140 characters. Some folks call this micro-blogging, and most folks on twitter.com use it for business networking, but we're going to use it for social support for fat loss by being held accountable for our dietary decisions.

To get started, simply go to www.twitter.com and sign up for your free account. Then you can search for people to "follow" to see their updates and other people will "follow" you to see your updates.

Of course, you don't need twitter to be accountable to someone. You can write down your daily food journal for your trainer, post your meals on a weight loss message board, or simply buddy-up with a friend and check in every day. But twitter.com is a quick way to do it online.

If you promise others that you are going to lose weight, and you promise to report the contents of every meal, then you'll think twice about cheating on your diet if you know you have to tell the world about your meals.

What started out as me sharing my diet for my reader's interest has turned into an excellent way to help me avoid cheating on my diet. Frankly, I can get away with straying from my diet more than the average person can, but if I know I have to tell my readers what I had for lunch, I've found that I'm improving my diet even more.

For many people, being ACCOUNTABLE to others is their #1 way to stay motivated and on-track with their diet and exercise program.

That's the #1 way to stick to your diet,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Click here to lose fat

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How Often Should You Weigh Yourself?

I know you hate to look at the scale, and some trainers even suggest throwing out the scale, but the truth is, keeping an eye on your weight helps. Plus, I have 3 other measures you should take on a regular basis that are even more important.

But first, when researchers reviewed the studies on self-weighing (i.e. checking your bodyweight on the scale), to see if it helped or hindered weight loss. Some folks say it can have a negative effect causing you to get discouraged.

However, 11 of the 12 studies reviewed indicated that more frequent self-weighing was associated with greater weight loss or weight gain prevention.

Reference:
Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2008 Nov 4;5(1):54. The Impact of Regular Self-weighing on Weight Management: A Systematic Literature Review.

In fact, folks who did weekly or daily weighing over at least several months tended to lose more weight than folks who didn't do regular self-weighing.

The researchers admit the studies weren't perfect, but there doesn't seem to be anything bad about weighing yourself frequently, and through my experience with clients, we've found that weighing yourself every couple of days does help keep you on track for fat loss and for keeping the weight off.

However, you need to understand that your weight can fluctuate up or down from time to time based on the salt content of the foods you eat, the phase of a woman's menstrual cycle, and previous day's food and activity habits. So don't hit the panic button if your weight jumps up one day. Just make sure the general trend is downward.

And to compliment your weighing, you should also have your body fat estimated along with taking your limb, hip and waist circumferences every four weeks. Plus, sometimes there's nothing better than looking in the mirror to guage your results.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shocking Social Support for Weight Loss Study

I like being right. And one of the tips I give over and over and over again that always gets supported by research is the need to have social support when you're trying to lose weight.

But today, I have a study that flips the results of social support, proving that it is even MORE powerful than I previously thought.

Researchers from Connecticut, Rhode Island, Ohio, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania teamed up to study the effects of an intense weight loss program on not only hundreds of diabetic subjects, but also on their spouses who were not officially enrolled in the research trial.

Reference:
International Journal of Obesity (2008) 32, 1678–1684. Weight loss treatment influences untreated spouses and the home environment: evidence of a ripple effect

The doctors wanted to see if a weight loss program delivered to one spouse could be "taken home" and have beneficial effects for the untreated spouse as well.

Three hundred and fifty seven diabetic participants and spouses were treated for 1 year.

Subjects were divided into two groups, with one group receiving usual diabetes care while the other group received intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) help.

The spouses of the ILI group lost 4.9 pounds over the 1 year study, even though they had no contact with the researchers. The spouses of participants receiving normal care lost only 0.51 pounds over the year. In addition, more ILI spouses lost 5% of their body weight than normal care spouses (26 vs 9%, P<0.001).

One of the big reasons for the ILI spouse weight loss was nutrition. These folks significantly decreased their daily energy intake and ate less fat than the normal care spouses.

And not surprisingly, spouse weight loss was associated with participant weight loss. That means if your wife was in the study and she lost weight, that means you had a greater chance of losing weight as well.

That doesn't mean you should just count on your wife to lose weight though! I reported on a similar study last year showing that if you workout with someone who is losing weight, you have a better chance of losing weight as well. So workout with her, or workout with a friend, and you'll get more results.

The bottom line is this:

You must get social support if you want to lose weight. In person support is best, but online weight loss forums will also help you change your eating and exercise habits to lose fat permanently.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Fat Loss Social Support

Saturday, November 15, 2008

High protein vs high carboydrate diet study for weight loss

Here comes another high protein vs high carboydrate diet study for weight loss...but first, a short story about why it interests me...

When I was in college, I remember going to a party at the home of four girls. While standing around in the kitchen, I realized they almost had as much cereal in their house as the local convenience store.

When I askeD them about it, they said they often eat cereal for all three meals of the day because they thought a high carbohydrate diet was good for fat loss. Yet three out of the four girls struggled with body fat.

Unfortunately, they bought into the popular notion promoted by dieticians in the 1990's that we all need to eat high-carbohydrate diets for fat loss. However, every year more and more research (not to mention experience) shows this to be untrue.

The latest study, from the journal, Nutrition and Metabolism, compared a moderate carbohydrate, moderate protein diet against a high carbohydrate diet for weight loss and choleseterol levels.

Reference:
Nutr Metab (Lond). 2008 Nov 7;5(1):30. Moderate carbohydrate, moderate protein weight loss diet reduces cardiovascular disease risk compared to high carbohydrate, low protein diet in obese adults: A randomized clinical trial. Walker Lasker DA, Evans EM, Layman DK.

Fifty overweight adults ate a diet that was 500 calories lower than they needed to maintain their weight, and were put into one of two groups for this 4 month weight loss study.

The moderate carbohydrate, moderate protein group ate 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (approximately 112 grams of protein for a 154 pound person) and less than 170 grams of carbohydrate per day.

The high- carbohydrate group ate only 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (56 grams of protein for a 154 pound person) and less than 220 grams of carbohydrate per day.

At the end of four months, the higher protein diet group lost more body fat (8.7% vs. 5.7%) than the high carbohydrate group, and the higher protein group had greater reductions in triglycerides (a 34% decrease compared to a 14% decrease) and greater improvements in the good HDL cholesterol (a 5% increase compared to a 3% decrease).

This study shows that you don't need to make radical changes in your protein intake to get more fat loss and better blood lipid levels. Simply cut out 2 slices of bread and substitute two 20 gram protein shakes in your diet each day, and you'll lose more body fat.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
www.TurbulenceTraining.com

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Review About the Ab Slide Infomercial Gadget

Believe it or not, one of my favorite ab exercises includes one of those cheap infomercial gadgets, "the ab wheel". You can pick one up at Walmart for under 20 bucks, and it works your abs hard without crunches.

But do other ab gadgets hold up?

Researchers (from the Mayo Clinic, of all places) tested the "Ab-Slide" device and compared it to the ab crunch, the supine double leg thrust (seated knee tuck-in), and side plank.

Reference:
J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Nov;22(6):1939-46.
An electromyographic analysis of the Ab-Slide exercise, abdominal crunch, supine double leg thrust, and side bridge in healthy young adults: implications for rehabilitation professionals.Youdas JW, et al.

Ten young men and twelve young women did all the exercises. The tests showed that the Ab-Slide, a contraption fairly similar to the Ab Wheel, worked the abs the hardest. On the other hand, the seated knee tuck-in required a lot of hip flexion, and the doctors believed it could cause low back problems in people prone to low back injury.

Personally, I'm going to stick with the Ab Wheel, but as usual, I'm going to keep crunches out of my program, and add the Seated Knee Tuck-in to my list of ab exercises to avoid.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Turbulence Training for Abs

3 Reasons to Avoid Elliptical Machines

The latest Men's Health magazine comes down on elliptical machines hard. I know elliptical machines are often the only option for people with bad knees, but if your knees are healthy, think twice before using the elliptical machine for these three reasons.



First, on page 52 of the December, 2008 issue, Men's Health warns, "Never trust elliptical machines". They quote a study that found elliptical machines over-estimated the number of calories burned in a workout by 31%!



Ouch.



So if your "elliptical cardio workout" burned 400 calories, the truth is you really burned closer to only 300 calories.



Second, later in the Dec. issue, Men's Health magazine interviewed Biggest Loser contestant Ed Brantley. Ed lost 73 pounds on the show, but had this to say about elliptical machines, "I hated the elliptical. It was too easy, I didn't feel like I was doing anything."



Exactly. I couldn't have said it better myself.



But that's EXACTLY why elliptical machines are so popular... You see, the third reason elliptical machines are inferior for fat loss is because they fail my "human nature" test.



Put it this way... Take 100 people and put them in a gym with 100 treadmills and 100 elliptical machines. Tell them they have to exercise for 30 minutes at a hard pace, and they have the choice to use either the treadmill or the elliptical.



Guess where 90% of folks are going?



The elliptical!



Why? Because it is human nature to take the EASY WAY out. And that is why elliptical machines are so busy at the gym and you rarely see anyone doing intervals on a treadmill or bodyweight circuits in the corner of the gym.



Often I see folks using the elliptical machine only to say they "worked out", but without getting any REAL work done. So if you are stuck at a fat loss plateau, and you've been counting on the elliptical machine to help you out, then forget it.



Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Turbulence Training

3 Reasons to Eat Breakfast

I don't believe that breakfast "boosts your metabolism" (I just don't get how that would happen), but here are three arguments for eating breakfast.

1) Bill Phillips, author of Body For Life, believes that if you don't start your day with a good breakfast, then your mind starts down that dreaded path of, "Oh well, i've already blown it, I may as well keep eating whatever I want."So get up on time. Eat the breakfast that is on your meal plan. And you'll have a better chance of sticking to your daily plan.

2) According to research, folks who eat breakfast tend to maintain their weight loss better than folks who don't. The researchers never give a good reason, but hey, it must be helping.

3) Researchers from Toronto have found that eating a high-fiber breakfast helps reduce food intake in following meals. They call it the "first meal effect".

So again, start your day right, and the rest of the day will be easier.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

How to Maintain Your Weight Loss

Oprah's TV show recently featured some former contestants from the "Biggest Loser". Unfortunately, some of these folks had regained up to 100 pounds since their weight loss on the show. If you want to know how to maintain your weight loss and avoid the same fate, here are some tips.

While losing weight is hard, not enough attention is given to the equally difficult process of maintaining weight loss. Plus, what most people don't realize is that the method of weight loss also helps determine how difficult weight maintenance will be.

Researchers from the City University of New York studied folks who were successful at losing weight and then maintaining the weight loss.

Reference: Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Aug 14. [Epub ahead of print]Related Articles Successful Weight-loss Maintenance in Relation to Method of Weight Loss. Marinilli Pinto A, Gorin AA, Raynor HA, Tate DF, Fava JL, Wing RR.

Subjects were entered into a study if they had lost 10% of their body weight in the last year, and were separated into three groups. Group one lost the weight with a very-low calorie diet (VLCD), group two lost the weight with a commercial weight loss program, and the third group lost the weight all by themselves.

Researchers found that although the VLCD group initially had a greater weight loss (24% of bodyweight) compared to the two other groups (17%), it was the VLCD group that quickly regained the most weight.

On the other hand, those folks who lost the weight on their own - using lifestyle changes - were able to maintain their weight loss for 18 months.

So besides not being a contestant on the Biggest Loser, what can you learn here?

Well, it's like many weight loss experts keep saying, you must make simple, easy-to-stick-to lifestyle changes if you want to lose weight and keep it off.

Crash diets and excessive exercise programs might work for a while, but they won't help you in the long run.

Start your long-term weight loss program today by finding a form of exercise you enjoy, a diet that suits your personality, and by surrounding yourself with social support - people who are generally interested in seeing you succeed.

Get help to lose weight and maintain your weight loss,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Just Say NO To Cardio

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fasting for Weight Loss

In Michael Masterson' recent RFA newsletter, he mentioned that Dr. Sear's regularly uses fasting for weight loss. As shocking as that might seem, more and more nutrition experts are starting to use fasting in their weight loss programs.

When most people first hear about this practice, they have a lot of questions, and don't believe it would be possible to make it through a day without food.

However, researchers from the US Army recently tested 2 days of near fasting on cognitive function.

Reference
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 88, No. 3, 667-676, September 2008 A double-blind, placebo-controlled test of 2 d of calorie deprivation: effects on cognition, activity, sleep, and interstitial glucose concentrations1,2,3,4

Twenty-seven healthy young subjects were studied for 48 hours, and tested on reaction time, learning, and other mental skills. On one occasion, subjects received only 313 calories over 48 hours, while on another occasion they ate 2300 calories.

Not surprisingly, subjects reported more hunger on the near-fasted trial, but there were no effects of calorie restriction on mental performance, mood, or sleep.

Fasting for weight loss experts, such as Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat, recommend fasting 1-2 times per week, and eating normally on the remaining days, as an easy way to fast for weight loss.

For example, I've used his program to fast on the weekend, finishing dinner at 8pm on Friday, and fasting through to 8pm on Saturday evening. During the day, I consumed only water and Green Tea.

Do this once per week if you only have a small amount of weight to lose.

Not only will this help you cut calories from your diet, but you'll also be amazed at how much you can get done when you aren't preparing for or cleaning up from 6 meals per day, as is suggested on most weight loss plans.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Social Support for Cardiovascular Health

Friends don't let friends have heart attacks. In past articles, I've preached about the importance of having social support for weight loss, meaning if you want to lose weight, you need to hang around and stay in contact with other folks who have the same goals as you.


Now researchers from the Preventative Medicine Research Institute in California, including the venerable Dr. Dean Ornish, have completed a study showing that social support groups also help heart health.



Reference:

Psychol Health Med. 2008 Aug;13(4):423-37. Links Social support group attendance is related to blood pressure, health behaviours, and quality of life in the Multicenter Lifestyle Demonstration Project.Schulz U, Pischke CR, Weidner G, Daubenmier J, Elliot-Eller M, Scherwitz L, Bullinger M, Ornish D. Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Sausalito, USA.


The researchers studied 440 women with coronary artery disease for one year. Subjects participating in social support groups achieved significant improvements in blood pressure and health behaviors.


The researchers concluded that not only does being in the presence of a social support group help you reduce your blood pressure, but it also leads to healthier behaviors which increase your overall health.


If you are currently trying to change your health all by yourself, consider getting social support in these three ways.


First, find a nutrition buddy at work who also wants to eat better. Spend your lunches with them, rather than the "pizza gang".



Second, get a workout partner or personal trainer to keep you motivated and committed to exercise.



And third, spend time online or offline with a social support group to share experiences and solutions to the daily trials and tribulations we all have trying to stay healthy in this high-calorie world.



Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fruits and Vegetables Prevent Cancer

The other day one of my clients asked me why I eat so many fruits and vegetables, and why I tell him to do the same. After all, he didn't have a lot of fat to lose. But I told him it wasn't all about fat loss, of course, its also about fruits and vegetables preventing cancer.

Research from the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California studied the food records of over 193,000 men and women and found that an incerase in fruits and vegetables intake specifically helped to reduce the incidence of colon cancer in men.

Reference
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 88, No. 3, 730-737, September 2008

Surprisingly, there was no connection between fruits and vegetables and cancer risk. There aren't many guys out there eating too many fruits and vegetables. So I encourage you to increase your intake for your health's sake. Here's how I've increased my fruits and vegetable intake.

First, I've started eating raw broccoli and peppers alongside my morning omelet.

Second, I have fruit for my mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks (blueberries, apples, bananas, and even watermelon).

Third, I've added spinach to my lunches, by taking a can of Amy's Organic Chili, heating it, and pouring it over the spinach leaves.

And finally, my dinner revolves around a piece of chicken or steak surrounded by asparagus, broccoli, and avocado.

Eat 'em,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Click here for a proven fat loss diet

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Eat Stop Eat on TV

My colleague and Nutrition Help expert Brad Pilon was on a morning show in NYC yesterday, talking about his revolutionary anti-diet weight loss program called Eat-Stop-Eat.

You can check out his short clip, including two FREAKED OUT diet experts who disagree with him, here:

Video #1) Brad stays calm while diet girls go crazy

Video #2) Backstage the diet girls nearly attack him!

The first time Brad told me about this diet plan, I thought he was crazy (same as the success story guy Chad says on in the first video clip).

But Brad has a really great, common sense approach to nutrition, and you can read more about de-stressing your diet here:

=> http://nutritionhelp.blogspot.com/

If hate the thought of setting an alarm to tell you to eat every 2.5 hours, you'll love Brad's stuff,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Monday, October 13, 2008

Metabolism Slowdown Causes Weight Re-gain

I have some bad news for you. According to scientists from New York's Presbyterian Medical Center at Columbia University, folks who succeed in losing weight tend to suffer from a lower than expected metabolic rate. This means that if you lose weight, you will burn fewer calories each day than someone of the same weight who was never overweight. This metabolism slowdown will probably cause weight re-gain.

Seems unfair, doesn't it?

In the study, subjects who lost 10% of their bodyweight and kept it off for up to one year were studied, along with a group that just recently lost 10% of their bodyweight, and a control group.
All subjects were studied for 24 hours straight, to determine how many calories they burned.

Reference
Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Oct;88(4):906-12.Related Articles, Links Long-term persistence of adaptive thermogenesis in subjects who have maintained a reduced body weight. Rosenbaum M, Hirsch J, Gallagher DA, Leibel RL.

Results showed that both weight loss groups burned fewer calories in the 24 hours than the control group, even though subjects were matched for weight and gender.

This decrease in expected calorie burning is just one of the many reasons you will find it easier to regain weight after you lose weight.

So what can you do?

You must do everything you can to boost your metabolim. I highly recommend to all of my clients that they use interval training or high-intensity cardio rather than low-intensity cardio, and that they also engage in high-intensity resistance training three times per week. By performing high-intensity exercise, you will put up the greatest fight against your handicapped metabolism.

Fight the fat with metabolism boosting workouts,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Click here to boost your metabolism

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Cardio Weight Loss Lie

Cardio works for fat loss...as long as it is high-intensity cardio. Check out this recent study...
Researchers at the University of Virginia assigned 27 obese women (average age 51 years) to one of three groups...

1) No exercise training/control

2) 5 days per week of Low-intensity exercise (LIE) - gotta love that acronym...truly represents the "slow cardio lie"

3) 3 days per week of high-intensity cardio exercise (HIC) plus 2 days per week of LIE

The high-intensity cardio was done above the Lactate Threshold.

Training at your Lactate Threshold is a painful experience, because that is the intensity level where lactic acid will start to accumulate in your blood. It means you are producing more lactate in your muscles than you can get rid of (it usually travels from your muscles to your liver or back into your muscles to be broken down even more).

Other exercise experts might use the phrase Anaerobic Threshold or Onset of Blood Lactate Accumulation to describe your lactic threshold.

An experienced exerciser can train at this level for about 30 minutes. But again, it is uncomfortable. Actually, that's not even the right word...it's downright brutal. This is often about 80% of your VO2max or even 85% if you are well trained.

In this weight loss study, the subjects didn't exercise for time, but instead they exercised in every session (both LIE and HIC) just long enough to burn 400 calories...so no group burned more calories than the other over the entire program. It's just that the HIC did so faster in 3 of the workouts each week.

Reference
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Oct 8. Effect of Exercise Training Intensity on Abdominal Visceral Fat and Body Composition. Irving BA, Davis CK, Brock DW, Weltman JY, Swift D, Barrett EJ, Gaesser GA, Weltman A.

And the results showed...

High-intensity cardio kicked the LIE's butt.

Actually, it also showed that LIE didn't do anything. The subjects in the Low-Intensity Exercise group did not lose fat. Boooo to low-intensity cardio.

On the other hand, the HIC (high-intensity cardio) group lost a significant amount of abdominal fat.

Once again, research shows that...

a) Exercising harder results in more fat loss in less time

b) Hard exercise burns belly fat

c) Low-intensity cardio doesn't do much for fat loss

You probably know I'm a big fan of interval training for fat loss, but once in a while I also throw in "high-intensity cardio" (its used every week in the Turbulence Training 6-Month Bodyweight Manual and it's used in the Bodyweight Cardio program).

You'll probably see it used more often in my programs, given these results. So if you are interested, you can add HIC to your program by doing it once per week in place of interval training.

But there is ONE problem...to burn 400 calories you will need to exercise for a long time, at least 30 minutes - if you are fit...and longer if you are unfit. But if you are into it, go for it, just remember to self-monitor your body for any symptoms of overuse injuries, and as always, TRAIN SAFE.

I'll give the last word to the researchers who state, "The present data indicate that body composition changes are affected by the intensity of exercise training with HIC more effectively for reducing total abdominal fat and subcutaneous abdominal fat in obese women."

Train hard,
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How to Pick the Right Weight for Exercise

Going to the gym is intimidating enough, but not knowing how to pick the right weight to use for an exercise can make a novice's trip to the gym even more uncomfortable. If you grab too light of a weight, you'll feel you wasted your time, while too heavy of a weight can lead to injury.

But it is very important to grab the right weight. In a 12-week long study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers found that subjects gained the most strength when using a weight that corresponded to 70% of their 1 repetition maximum (meaning 70 % of the heaviest weight they could lift in the exercise).

Reference:
J Appl Physiol. 2008. Changes in muscle size and MHC composition in response to resistance exercise with heavy and light loading intensity. Holm L, Reitelseder S, Pedersen TG, Doessing S, Petersen SG, Flyvbjerg A, Andersen JL, Aagaard P, Kjaer M.

But it's not safe or efficient to test your maximum strength in every exercise, and then pick 70% of that.

Instead, here's what you need to do. In most cases, 70% of the heaviest weight you could lift corresponds to 10-12 repetitions. So you want to use a weight that allows you to do no fewer than 10 reps, and no more than 12 reps per set.

For example, if you can do seated rows with 50 pounds for 20 reps, you should try using 70 pounds for 10 reps instead.

Unfortunately, the only way to identify your 10-12 repetition range weight is by trial and error.

Start conservative and pick a very easy weight. Do six repetitions. If that is really easy, increase the weight by 10% and try again. Do this until you find a weight that is a challenge for 10-12 reps. It should take you about 3 minutes to find the right weight for each exercise in your program.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Click here to get started on the world's best weight loss program

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Best Ab Exercise for Obliques

When most people think six pack abs, the best exercise for obliques, and losing belly fat, they think about long boring cardio workouts and hundreds of crunches. Fortunately, that isn't what it takes to get a beach body belly and sexy oblique muscles.

In fact, there are many exercises better and safer than crunches. After all, crunches involve spinal flexion (rounding forward), and research shows spinal flexion can lead to herniated discs.

This information has lead me to a long and exhaustive search for safe and effective ab training.

Last week I stumbled onto a new study supporting my "ab crunch ban" and my preference for exercises such as the Side Plank. In this study, researchers examined six common ab exercises performed by 120 subjects to see how hard the muscles were working.

Reference
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2008 Oct;38(10):596-605.Related Articles Changes in deep abdominal muscle thickness during common trunk-strengthening exercises using ultrasound imaging.

When compared to other common ab exercises, the Side Plank and the classic Abdominal Crunch exercises both resulted in the greatest change in muscle thickness for the Transverse Abdominis and Internal Oblique muscles, meaning they were contracting the muscle more than the other exercises.

However, because the Side Plank does not involve spinal flexion and because it builds abdominal endurance (previously found to be associated with less low back pain), the Side Plank exercise wins this head to head battle hands down and is the best exercise for oblique muscles.

If you are looking for a new move to add to your total body fat burning workout, do a 15 second Side Plank hold per side if you are a beginner. For advanced core strength, hold for 45 seconds per side.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Click Here for the Bodyweight Exercise Ab Workout

Monday, September 22, 2008

Why Exercise Causes Muscle Soreness

My sedentary, overweight buddy just emailed me and said he was going to the gym for the first time in 18 months. I quickly emailed him back and told him to take it easy in the workout, because he was certain to be sore in the next couple of days.

As anyone who has started an exercise program knows, doing a new activity leads to muscle soreness in the days that follow. But why is that? And why does it take so long for this to happen?

Researchers asked the same questions, and published their findings in the Journal of Orthopedic Sports Physical Therapy. Sixteen sedentary young men did an advanced resistance training workout, doing three sets of seven exercises at 80% of their one repetition maximum.

Reference: J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1991;13(6):316-21.Related Articles, Links The Effect of One Session of Muscle Soreness-Inducing Weight Lifting Exercise on WBC Count, Serum Creatine Kinase, and Plasma Volume. Franklin ME, Currier D, Franklin RC.

This is not the type of workout I'd give a beginner, because it would lead to extreme muscle soreness. But that was the point of the study, and I'm sure the subjects knew what they were getting into.

This workout significantly increased White Blood Cell counts (a marker of inflammation), as well as an enzyme called Creatine Kinase (which is a marker of muscle damage). Subjects also experienced Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, that's the tenderness and soreness we all experience in the days following a new workout. Surprisingly, soreness often peaks 24-48 hours after the workout (in fact, I'm writing this on a Monday night and the soreness from my Sunday morning leg workout has just reached its highest level).

Researchers believe the inflammation from a new workout causes swelling around the muscle fibers, and therefore leads to soreness and tenderness.

The best treatment is prevention. Just don't do too much when you are getting back into workouts! Start each new program by doing only one set of each exercise for the first two sessions. Choose a weight that you can do 15 times, but do only 10-12 repetitions. Don't go to failure - the point where you can't complete a repetition with good form - in any exercise in your first workout on a new routine.

Train safe,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Friday, September 19, 2008

Food Photos Flash Diet to Lose Weight

If you want to lose weight, it could be as simple as taking pictures of your food. Researchers are calling the "Flash Diet" the perfect way to cut calories for weight loss.

After all, nutrition bloggers have a strange habit of taking pictures of their meals and post them on their websites and calling it "food porn". But recent research has found this might have a benefit.

A study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the "New Scientist" journal, suggests that the "Flash Diet", keeping a photographic record of everything subjects ate, helped research subjects lose weight.

This looks like another form of accountability and another reason to try and avoid the guilt of cheating. By taking photographs of their meals, the subjects were more likely to stick to their diet. Subjects that didn't take the photos, but used food diaries, were not as successful.

The researchers also suggested that having the photographic evidence of each meal helped with calorie counting.

I've long believed that food diaries and using sites like Fitday.com are helpful for men and women who want to lose weight. This should prevent overeating and mindless snacking before dinner. But it looks like the Flash Diet, actually taking photos of the food, is even MORE helpful.

If you combine this with social support and accountability using a social networking site like Twitter - where you post your meals and photos - you'll take a huge step to controlling your overeating if that is a problem in your life.

Some subjects were motivated by the guilt of having "evidence" about bad choices, while others were motivated to improve their diet once they realized that green vegetables - and therefore color - were missing from their food photos. Interesting stuff.

Researchers suggest a downfall of food diaries is that they are often completed hours after the meal is eaten and therefore details are a bit "foggy". But the photos are immediate and lasting evidence of the real meal. So taking photos of your food will help you be more accurate and accountable.

All you need to do is snap a quick shot with your phone camera and you'll get the benefits. For even more results, post the photos to your blog, and post your meals and a link to the photo on a micro-blogging site such as Twitter. You'll get support from others all over the world to stay on track.

Follow me on Twitter here: => www.twitter.com/craigballantyne

Helping you lose weight with every method available,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Drinking Water Causes Weight Loss?

File this one under "hard to believe". But still, researchers from California believe they have found a simple, free way to lose weight.

The researchers found 173 premenopausal overweight women (aged 25-50 years) who reported drinking less than one liter of water per day. These women were then instructed to increase water consumption, and were studied for 1 year.

Stookey, JD, et al. Drinking Water Is Associated With Weight Loss in Overweight Dieting Women Independent of Diet and Activity. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Sep 11.

Remarkably, the researchers found that increasing water intake over the year was associated with a significant increase in both weight loss and fat loss.The results suggest that the simple act of drinking more water - if you currently don't drink one liter per day - may promote weight loss in overweight dieting women.

The researchers believe that drinking water may promote weight loss by lowering total energy intake and/or altering metabolism.

So while it is hard to believe that weight loss could be so simple, the results of this study explain why so many personal trainers and nutritionists insist that their weight loss clients immediately begin drinking more water.

If you are notorious for drinking next to no water each day, aim to add 3 cups of water per day. Drink one cup immediately upon waking, another cup as soon as you get to work, and then a third cup in the afternoon, just before you leave work. That's an easy way to add a lot of water to your diet and it might even give your fat loss a boost.

Add Green Tea to increase your healthy fluid intake as well,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Growth Hormone - Exercise Fountain of Youth

Growth hormone is known as the "fountain of youth" in the anti-aging community because it helps build muscle and burn body fat, but recent research shows that being overweight means you'll have lower growth hormone levels.

Fortunately, exercise is a proven way to boost growth hormones levels. However, most overweight individuals can't do the 30 minutes of continuous exercise recommended for boosting growth hormone levels.

So researchers from the University of Virginia wanted to see if they could boost growth hormone levels by splitting the workouts up into 3 sessions of 10 minutes spread out over the course of the day. The researchers tested both obese and non-obese subjects, and had them do 30-minutes of continuous exercise or 3 sessions of 10 minutes of exercise at the same intenstiy.

Effects of Continuous vs Intermittent Exercise, Obesity, and Gender on Growth Hormone Secretion. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Sep 9.

The results showed that both groups were able to achieve similar growth hormone levels, and the researchers believe that the "split workout" will work just as well for boosting growth hormone.

The results are great for not only obese subjects who can't handle 30 minutes of exercise at a time, but also for busy men and women who will have a better chance of doing 3 short exercise sessions rather than one long session.

For maximum body transformation results, I recommend one 10-minute session of strength training, interval training, and bodyweight exercises. This will help you build muscle, burn fat, and improve your mobility.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fruits & Vegetables Diet for Fat Loss

I'm not a "low-carb guy" by any means, but I have found something that works wonders for fat loss. And it does involve cutting back on whole-grains.

Back in December, I substituted more fruits and vegetables for any whole-grains in my diet, and I was as lean as I've been in years with this approach. So if you're trying to lose fat and look better than ever this summer, try this approach.

Here are some easy changes to make.

a) Instead of having toast for breakfast, have an apple.

b) Usually have a side of rice at lunch? Have 1 cup of broccoli.

c) Typically have a bowl of cereal at night? Have an orange and an ounce of pecans (or walnuts or almonds), instead.

A recent study agrees with this approach. Subjects on a low-fat diet that ate more fruits and vegetables lost more fat than another group on only the low-fat diet.

After 1-year, the low-fat, fruits and vegetables group (LF-FV) lost more weight than another group of woman on the low-fat (LF) diet only.

Why?

The LF-FV group reported being less hungry, thanks to being able to eat more food than the LF group.

So you'll eat fewer calories if you are filling up on fruits and vegetables, 5while keeping un-necessary fat out of the diet.

And isn't the end of summer a great time to implement this program? With watermelon, berries, apples, and peaches all in great abundance, you can satisfy your sweet tooth naturally, while burning fat with your workouts.

here's the reference: Amer. J. Clin. Nutr. 85: 1465-1477, 2007.)

So forget about fruit making you fat (so far today I've had 5 bananas, 3 apples, 2 apricots, and a 1/2 cup of strawberries...and I'm still under 10% body fat).

Click here for more nutrition help

Go out and get your 6 pack abs while eating well,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Monday, September 8, 2008

Exercise & Diet Fountains of Youth

Who wants to live forever? Or at least as long as possible?

Life extension is one of the most popular research topics in the world right now, and researchers at The Institute on Aging, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, recently investigated the theory that calorie restriction would help extend the human lifespan.

Reference:
Rejuvenation Res. 2008 Aug;11(4):793-9.Related Articles, Links Long-term effects of caloric restriction or exercise on DNA and RNA oxidation levels in white blood cells and urine in humans. Hofer T, Fontana L, Anton SD, Weiss EP, Villareal D, Malayappan B, Leeuwenburgh C.

You might have heard about calorie restriction in the news. Many animal research studies have found that if you cut calories from an animal's diet, they can live longer lifespans. This works for mice, monkeys, and even household pets.

But does it work for humans?

In this study, human subjects either decreased their dietary intake by 20% less than needed to maintain weight, or they increased energy expenditure by 20% through exercise. The subjects needed a lot of discipline, because this study went on for over 1 year.

The researchers found that both diet and exercise helped reduce oxidative damage to the subject's DNA. This was expected to have a positive effect on lifespan.

So you might not have to starve yourself to live longer. Both diet and exercise had the same benefiical improvements on the aging process. Of course, the best thing to do for both life extension and weight control is to combine diet and exercise for a double whammy. Not only will you lose 10 pounds, but you could also lose 10 years from your appearance.

Helping you age slower,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Muscle Breakdown & Atrophy Without Exercise

We're always looking at what we can do to exercise our muscles, but there's something very important we should not overlook regarding what we should NOT do to our muscles so that we don't have muscle breakdown and atrophy.

Swedish and American scientists teamed up on this research study to find out just how bad complete bed rest is for our muscles. In the study, they subjected eight men to a 3-day period of lower-limb suspension (for one leg only).

Reference:
J Appl Physiol 105: 902-906, 2008. Skeletal muscle proteolysis in response to short-term unloading in humans Per A. Tesch,1,5 Ferdinand von Walden,1 Thomas Gustafsson,2 Richard M. Linnehan,4 and Todd A. Trappe3

They tracked how quickly the muscle started to breakdown. Surprisingly, the scientists saw significant increases in muscle loss in only 3 days of complete inactivity. In fact, the researchers identified this time period as being the most rapid time of muscle loss.

That's bad news for anyone who breaks a limb, is laid up for several days, or for those folks who just decide they don't want to be active anymore. For those folks who get injured or sick, consult with your doctor on how you can limit muscle loss.

If you are healthy, don't let days go by without exercising. You'll lose muscle fast, and you'll have to work twice as hard to get it back. The great thing about resistance training is that it is not only the best way to build strength and muscle, but you can also get great results in as little as 10-15 minutes, three times per week.

For example, if you chose one pushing exercise and one pulling exercise, such as pushups and dumbbell rows, and alternate between them for 3 sets, you can get that done in 5-7 minutes. Resistance training is fast, fun and effective for helping you keep valuable muscle tissue.

Stay strong,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Higher Protein Diets Help Weight Loss

While most newspapers focus on low-carb vs. low-fat diet articles, they tend to miss the point about high-protein diets. It's well known in the fitness industry that higher protein intakes help with fat loss, with one of the reasons being protein helps control appetite.

In fact, most bodybuilding nutritionists simply recommend 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight as being effective for building muscle and burning fat in normal weight men and women. But for overweight individuals, they should use the amount in the following study that helped men and women lose more weight.

Recently, a study from the Nutrition Journal tested the effects of two different protein intakes on weight loss in 100 obese men and women. Some subjects received 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass per day, while the other group received 0.5g of protein per pound of lean body mass per day.

Reference
Nutr J. 2008 Aug 27;7(1):23. A controlled trial of protein enrichment of meal replacements for weight reduction with retention of lean body mass. Treyzon L, Chen S, Hong K, Yan E, Carpenter CL, Thames G, Bowerman S, Wang HJ, Elashoff R, Li Z.

At the end of 12 weeks, both groups lost approximately 8-9 pounds of weight, but the high protein group lost more fat (3.6 pounds vs. 1.32 pounds).

If you want to lose fat, a little extra protein will go a long way. However, it's really easy to get 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass without using a lot of protein supplements. Each protein supplement generally provides 20g of protein.

A cup of milk or yogurt provides 10g of protein. A chicken breast provides 20-40g, depending on the serving size. You even get protein from nuts (a few grams per ounce). So use Fitday.com to input your food intake, and you'll find out how much protein you are getting each day and from specific foods. Then you can determine whether or not you need protein supplements.

Eat food first,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dieting Lowers Metabolism

Bodybuilders have long known that if you eat too little for too long, you can actually decrease your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories you burn at rest).

Now, scientists are catching up to what our muscle-building friends have known in the real world for a long time. Researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisana studied long term dieting in 48 normal-weight subjects.

Obesity 15:2964-2973 (2007) Effect of Calorie Restriction on Resting Metabolic Rate and Spontaneous Physical Activity

One group of subjects reduced their calories below normal by 25% for 6 months. A second group reduced their calories by 12.5% and exercised to burn another 12.5% of calorie intake each day. A third group consumed only 890 calories per day until they lost 15% of their body weight, and the fourth group served as a control group.

Researchers found that resting metabolic rate decreased in subjects on the 25% calorie restriction group after only 3 months. Likewise, this decrease in metabolism was also found in the 890 calorie per day and the exercise + diet groups, but not until after 6 months.

In addition, researchers also found that the calorie restriction subjects decreased the amount of physical activity they did each day.

Therefore, when you diet too hard, too much, and too long, your body starts to conserve energy by reducing your metabolism and by decreasing the amount of activity you do.

To avoid lowering your metabolism...

1) Don't cut your calories by such a big number. Instead of cutting by 25%, cut only by 10%.

2) Permit yourself a reward meal each week where you eat your favorite foods and a normal number of calories for the day.

3) Take a few days off dieting every 8-10 weeks, where you go back to eating a normal number of calories each day.

These three simple changes should help you lose weight while avoiding a reduced metabolism. Of course, you should also follow an exercise program to keep up your activity levels.

Eat right to lose weight,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
www.TurbulenceTraining.com

Monday, September 1, 2008

Eat Nuts for Weight Loss

I'm a huge fan of eating raw nuts for health and weight loss, but each time I recommend them, I'm confronted with folks asking me, "Won't all the calories and fat in nuts make me gain weight?"

The answer will surprise you. After all, in a past issue of ETR I shared the research study that found replacing carbohydrate with nuts lead to increased weight loss.

Recently, scientists from Purdue University did a thorough review of all the research studies that looked at nut intake and weight loss.

J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1741S-1745S. Impact of peanuts and tree nuts on body weight and healthy weight loss in adults. Mattes RD, Kris-Etherton PM, Foster GD.

Not only did they find nuts were a rich source of nutrients and cardiovascular health protection, but they found a surprising inverse association between nut intake and Body Mass Index. Other studies showed increasing nut intake did not cause weight gain.

Most studies explained this as being due to the appetite suppressing effect of nuts. After all, they contain a lot of fiber. Nuts might also have poor bioaccessibility, meaning that not all of the calories in nuts are absorbed.

So nuts are fine if you want to lose weight. Some studies even showed it was easier to stick to a diet when nuts were included. I highly recommend nuts to everyone on my fat loss programs, and it is just one of the reasons my clients get such great results.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Click Here for Your Weight Loss Exercise and Diet Plan

Sunday, August 31, 2008

3 Keys to 12-Week Weight Loss Results

Do you realize how insignificant 12 weeks are in the course of yourlifetime? For example, take the average 75 year life span...at 52 weeks in a year, a 75 year lifespan gives us 3900 weeks.

Now let's say you decide to do a 12-week Body Transformation Contest (such as the one I hold on my website, or the one found in the book, "Body for Life"). Do you realize those 12 weeks work out to only 0.3% of a 75 year lifespan?

0.3%!

Don't you think you can commit to making a 100% change in your body in only 0.3% of your life? Don't you like the numbers? I sure do.

(It's all about perspective! After all, when looking at a 75-year lifespan, some folks might see 3900 Monday mornings, but I see 3900 Saturday nights!)

Surely you can eat healthy and exercise for 0.3% of your life? It's such a small time frame in the grand scheme of things, but so significant in terms of your life long health.

So block off the next 12 weeks of your life for a body transformation and use these 3 tips to get the most results in such a small amount of time.

1) Plan out your workouts so that you do three different 4-week workouts.

2) Every Sunday, plan your meals, do your shopping, and prepare as much of your food as possible.

3) Use an online weight loss club or message forum to get the social support you need to stay on track.

By investing only 0.3% of your time, you'll end up with the greatest ROI of your life!

Start losing weight today with those secrets,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Click Here to Lose Weight

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Creatine and Protein Build Muscle

Strength and muscle mass are two of the most important components of healthy living in older men and women. If you don't have strength, every activity is going to be harder than it should be. Fortunately, you can prepare for your later years by building strength and muscle with the help of two nutritional supplements.

Canadian researchers put older men into three groups. One group received a placebo supplement, another group received creatine (a potential muscle building supplement), and the third group received creatine and protein. All men completed a 10 week strength training program.

Reference:Low-Dose Creatine Combined with Protein during Resistance Training in Older Men. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 40(9):1645-1652, September 2008.

At the end of the study, both groups receiving creatine increased body mass and muscle thickness, but the creatine-protein group had the greatest increase in lean tissue mass (5.6%) and the greatest increase in bench press strength (25%).

If you are looking to maximize your muscle gains, adding a protein-creatine supplement to your nutrition program will help you build muscle and get stronger at any age.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Monday, August 11, 2008

Swedish Weight Loss Secret

There is a new weight loss secret to report, and this time it is from our Swedish friends. But no, it's not, "Stop eating Swedish meatballs". Instead, the Swedes have discovered Online Weight Loss Programs.

Researchers at the world famous Karolinska Institute wanted to find out why some men and women succeed at weight loss while others don't. They looked at an internet-based weight loss club used mostly by women (86% of users were female).

Reference:
Scand J Public Health. 2008 Aug 6. [Epub ahead of print]Related Articles An internet-based weight loss programme - a feasibility study with preliminary results from 4209 completers.

The researchers studied the users over time, and found that 29% of users lost at least 5% bodyweight.

The researchers also found something that I've been telling you about for a long time. They found that the strongest predictors of weight loss were activity in the weight club as judged by number of logins and diary entries, and sex.

That means that going online for social support in your weight loss program is one of the most effective things you can do. You might not have the perfect home life, office environment, or workout buddies, but chances are you will find someone to help you on an Internet weight loss forum.

The researchers concluded that given its low cost and high accessibility at 24 hours a day, online weight loss clubs are an interesting and effective way to help men and women lose weight.

Find some online social support today!

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Obese Men & Women Lie About Their Diet

Today's brief is not politically correct. So if you are easily offended, press the page down button.

Most overweight people around the world are carrying their extra pounds because they eat too much and exercise too little, not because of "bad genetics".

The latest research study even shows that overweight folks are lying to themselves about their diet.

Researchers from the US Department of Agriculture had 524 men and women undergo a 2-week study. All they had to do was estimate how many calories they ate each day. This number was compared to their actual calorie intake, as determined by a proven scientific method.

Reference:
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 88, No. 2, 324-332, August 2008
The US Department of Agriculture Automated Multiple-Pass Method reduces bias in the collection of energy intakes.

The results were shocking. On average, the subjects underreported calorie intake by 11% each day.

That means if they thought they were eating 2000 calories, they were really eating 2200 calories. If you do that for 18 days, you'll have gained a pound of fat by overeating 3600 calories (a pound of fat consiste of 3500 calories).

But here's the bad news. Folks who had a normal Body Mass Index (BMI), only under-reported their intake by 3%. That means that overweight folks under-reported their food intake by much more than 11%.

So overweight folks are often lying to themselves (and their trainers!) when admitting how much food they eat each day. As a result, it's no wonder they are overweight.

To stop the lies, you need to start keeping track of all the food you eat. At each meal and snack, write down on a piece of paper everything you eat - including each handful of grapes, chips, etc., and all the leftover food you eat from your children's plates.

Compare this to how many calories you should be eating, as outlined in these Fat Burning Meal Plans

You can also use a site like Fitday.com to track your calorie intake.

Educate yourself to lose weight,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Workout to Reduce Breast Cancer

Recently actress Christina Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer. It seems like just yesterday she was playing a ditzy teenager on the shock comedy, Married with Children. Ms. Applegate's diagnosis is now a shocking reminder that breast cancer can strike even women who appear fit and healthy.

But if you want to reduce your risk, Canadian and Australian researchers have some recommendations. These scientists recently reviewed 62 research studies, and found that increased physical activity in women was associated with a 25–30% decreased risk of breast cancer.

Reference:
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2008;42:636-647 Physical activity and breast cancer risk: impact of timing, type and dose of activity and population subgroup effects

In addition, more exercise was associated with an even greater reduction in 85% of the exercise studies examined. The scientists recommend staying as active as possible, even if it is just recreational activities such as walking. And it is never too late to take up exercise to help reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Muscle Burns 50 Calories Myth

Add a pound of muscle and you burn 50 extra calories. What a myth. This myth has been floating around for years, but is not true. You will NOT burn an extra 50 calories per day just by gaining a pound of muscle.

Common sense shows us why this is not true.

But I just read another article about this today. It is so irritating. Worse, the article was by a doctor, and gave this STUPID advice in a woman's magazine.

"An extra 10 pounds of muscle will therefore burn approximately 350 to 500 extra calories per day, or over 3,500 per week. In order to lose one pound of fat you must burn an extra 3,500 calories. This means that if you increase the amount of muscle mass in your body by 10 pounds, you will lose a pound of fat every seven to 10 days, without making any other changes!"

And worse...

"Let's compare two 150-pound people. Although they weigh exactly the same, person B has 10 more pounds of muscle mass than person A. That means that person B can eat an extra 350 to 500 calories per day without gaining any weight!"

That is the absolute WORST thing you can say to someone who wants to lose weight - you are giving them an EXCUSE to eat MORE!

That's the problem in the first place.

But now, because HUMAN NATURE always leads to this, they can now justify eating more...having a bowl of ice cream everyday ("Oh it's okay, I boosted my metabolism by 500 calories because I gained 10 pounds of muscle. An extra scoop? Oh sure, why not, I'll just gain another pound 10 pounds and then I can have 1000 extra calories per day."

Ridiculous advice.

So let's look at this with common sense.

Let's say we have a guy, 160 pounds, skinny. His resting metabolism is probably 1800-22oo calories. We'll say 2000 for simplicity.

According to this stupid myth, if he gains 10 pounds, his resting metabolism is now 2500 calories. When he hits 180, his resting metabolism is now 3000 calories? Or 3500 calories if he hits 190?

Anyone can see this logic is flawed. Gaining 30 pounds of muscle will not add 1500 calories to your resting metabolism.

No adult is walking around with a resting metabolic rate of 3500 calories.

How IMPOSSIBLE would it be for athletes to maintain their bodyweight if their metabolism increased by 50 calories per pound of muscle?

You do not increase your metabolism by 50 calories per pound of muscle added. Period. So do not give people more excuses to eat extra calories, because HUMAN NATURE guarantees that is exactly what they will do!

Some doctors should stick to taking blood pressure,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Reduce Muscle Mass Loss With Aging

You need to reduce muscle mass loss with aging. After all, it's a scary statistic. You potentially could lose over several pounds of muscle per decade after age 30 and more if you diet.

With that muscle loss probably comes a lower metabolism, and an increased risk of falls and injury, not to mention a dramatic decline in your beach body.

But this can be avoided.

According to a study in the journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, adding strength training to a low-calorie diet plan can help men and women reduce muscle loss.

The subjects in this 6-month study included 30 obese men and women (average age of 70).

Reference
Exercise Attenuates the Weight-Loss-Induced Reduction in Muscle Mass in Frail Obese Older Adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 40(7):1213-1219, July 2008.

They were put in two groups. One group followed a low calorie diet and the other group followed the diet and added progressively more difficult resistance training.

The results were shocking. Both groups lost over 14.9 pounds of fat, however the exercise group lost only 4 pounds of fat free mass (this includes muscle) while the diet group lost 7.7 pounds of fat free mass.

Although the exercise group did lose some muscle, the subjects in that group still increased strength by 17-43%, an essential defense against deadly falls.

You are never too old to lose fat and take up resistance training to help you avoid muscle loss.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training
Men's Health Fitness Expert

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Abs Exercise Study Reveals...

A new research study showed that doing abs exercises "faster" (aka explosively) lead to more work done by the ab muscles.

Here's what you need to know about this study, and why this info is both good and bad.

First of all, there are two ways to increase the amount of muscle used in any movement.

One is to increase the resistance, and the second is to increase the velocity. Both require more muscle fibers to produce force, and more importantly, recruit your fast twitch muscles.

However, while this is an interesting report about the abs, we have to be careful not to take it to extremes.

First, explosive movements cause more muscle damage, and that means more muscle soreness.

Second, you can't talk about the abs without talking about the low-back and spine. Your low-back and abs want endurance for health and safety, but we want maximum abdominal recruitment for six pack abs.

So here's the best way to keep everyone happy...

a) do only one explosive ab movement per workout

b) do at least one ab endurance exercise per workout

Explosive Abs Exercises

-> Medicine ball slams
-> Sledgehammer swings
-> Kettlebell swings
-> sandbag swings
-> band pulldowns

A Medicine ball slam is just like an angry soccer throw in. Hold the ball at waist height, step forward with one leg while raising the ball overhead (stretching your abs),as you plant your foot, reverse your arm direction and contract your abs and drive the medicine ball into the ground. Pick the ball up and repeat for 6 reps.

After you've done your explosive ab exercise, you can do something like a plank, side plank, or plank with your arms on the ball for your abdominal endurance exercise.

That will help you work more of your abs while supporting your "core" muscles - plus you don't have to suffer the dishonor of crunches.

Use abs exercises properly,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Abs Exercises

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Boost Metabolism with Supplements

You can't boost your metabolism with supplements. Or at least not enough to cause weight loss. This is hope in a bottle, but this hope doesn't stand a chance. It doesn't work.

One misconception is that caffeine boosts your metabolism, but I’ve also heard that fish oil, protein, CLA, and green tea will do it, too. As with the fat burning zone, this myth comes from a distortion of science.

Green tea, for example, was shown to increase the daily energy expenditure of young men by eighty calories per day. Now, that’s great news for the people who make supplements because they can put that claim on their label, but what that doesn’t take into account is that people’s bodies adapt to a stimulus.

If there is any benefit to taking a particular supplement, by the end of the week, your body has adjusted to the chemical and no longer reacts to it. And that’s why, as a recent study showed, that taking Green Tea supplements for 12 weeks did not cause any fat loss. Most supplements seem to be nothing more than glorified caffeine pills.

Let’s think of this another way. Say for example that green tea extract actually did help you burn an additional eighty calories per day. It is agreed upon by most trainers that one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. Even if the supplement worked as intended, then it would take nearly a month and half to lose one pound!

Unfortunately, you’ll find big promises from supplements in every magazine, and it is very difficult to avoid the allure of the quick fixes that supplements present. Supplements make you think, “Why work out when you can take a pill?”

And as long as there are people who aren’t willing to work for their results, there will always be a product claiming to work miracles.

Unlike these “miracle” supplements, research repeatedly shows that both strength training and interval training can help boost your metabolism and burn fat.

In one study, women did a strength training session with eight repetitions per exercise and had a significant increase in their post-exercise metabolism. This is just another example of how short burst training will burn more calories and more fat. These are proven results that no diet pill can compete with.

Boost your metabolism with hard work, not the easy way out,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Metabolism Boosting Workout

Avoid Ab Crunches & Situp Exercises

Here is more info on why you should avoid ab crunches and sit-up exercises.

One other reason I avoid traditional ab exercises like crunches is because the worst thing you can possibly do for your low-back is to get up first thing in the morning and start doing sit-ups and crunches. When you sleep, fluid accumulates into your intervertebral discs making them larger than normal, and the ab flexion motion in sit-ups and crunches can compress these discs and by doing so, you greatly increase the chances of herniating a disc.

I learned this information from Dr. Stuart McGill, an expert in lower back health and performance. He sees a lot of disc herniations from spinal flexion that occurs when you round your lower back. You want to avoid rounding your lower back in all exercises, but that is the exact motion that occurs in crunches and sit-ups.

So skip those exercises.

The first thing for beginners to do to start improving their abdominal endurance and lower back health is to use exercises like the plank and side plank. Those aren’t very exciting exercises, but they’re critical in helping you avoid lower back trouble.

The plank exercise is done when you’re supporting your body weight on your elbows and feet. Your body is in a straight line hovering above the ground, and you maintain that position, breathing normally and bracing your abs. You are going to hold that position, eventually working up to holding it for a full two minutes. Once you can do that, you’ve built excellent abdominal endurance that will protect your lower back.

For back health and performance, abdominal muscle endurance is more important than the ability to do hundreds and hundreds of crunches. Even with the total body ab exercises, I want you to focus on keeping your abs braced—and when I say “braced,” I mean as if someone was going to punch you in the stomach.

Dr. McGill also recommends you totally avoid any type of machine crunch found in most gyms; they just add to the dangers of spinal flexion and increase the chance for injury. Advanced bodybuilders have to weigh the risks and benefits of building ab muscle and putting themselves through movements that aren’t necessarily the safest for the lower back. But that’s up to them, and the results they’re after aren’t really the same as Turbulence Training.

More importantly, everyone basically has “abs,” so the most important factor in being able to see your six-pack is to lose the belly fat that covers them up. You don’t need to risk your lower back health doing hundreds of crunches and sit-ups to get a six-pack.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yes, it's true. These two standard ab exercises can actually be murder on your low back. (But I have 3 solutions below...)

Why are they bad?

Because they involve spinal flexion (rounding your lower back to allow you to bend forward at the waist). But according to research, that's the exact mechanism that causes a herniated disc in your lower back.

After all, most people "throw their back out" bending over to pick something off the ground - during spinal flexion.

So it makes sense to limit the amount of traditional sit-ups and crunches in your program.

Plus, you can't spot reduce the fat from one area, so you are better off spending that exercise time on a better total body exercise or intervals. If you want to flatten your abs, you need to lose body fat.

So to improve your abs, use the 3 following techniques:

1) Take half the time you were spending on abs, and spend that time on intervals instead.

2) Spend the rest of your ab training time doing total body ab exercises and total body workouts including exercises that work your abs such as...

- DB Renegade Rows

- Spiderman Pushups and Decline Spiderman Pushups

- Pullups with Knee-ups

- Spiderman Pullups

3) Keep your abs braced in all exercises so that you work your abs in every movement that you do.

Train hard but safe,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Monday, July 21, 2008

Too Old to Gain Muscle?

You are never too old to get stronger and gain muscle.

And that is essential as you get older, because lack of strength is the number one reason for falls.

But the latest research shows that you can still gain strength and muscle at any age, even if you are, "no spring chicken" anymore. Danish scientists studied 36 patients between the ages of 60-86 years old after having a single hip replacement surgery.

Reference: J Appl Physiol 105: 180-186, 2008.

One group of subjects did three resistance training workouts per week for 12 weeks after surgery and increased muscle strength by over 29% at both fast and slow speeds of movement.

Plus, they increased the size of their slow and fast muscle fibers (which make up your muscles) by 17% and 37%, respectively.

As I mentioned before, getting stronger, especially at faster speeds of movement, is essential to help you avoid slipping and falling. In addition, the subjects were able to boost their stair walking power by 35%, and researchers found this was related to the increase in their fast muscle fibers.

In order to work your fast muscle fibers, you need to do challenging strength training workouts. Using light weights that you can do for 20-30 reps will not boost your fast-twitch muscle fiber strength or your power.

The researchers also found that traditional rehabilitation methods had no functional or strength benefits.

So no matter what your age, make plans to meet with a personal trainer who knows how to get you stronger using basic, life-applicable exercises such as as step-ups, squats, rows, and pushups.

Avoid any trainer who wants you to train with light weights for "toning" as that will have no long-term benefit on your health and performance.

Helping you cut through the fat loss clutter to get more results in less time,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Click Here for the Truth About Fat Loss

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lose Your Gut with Interval Training

According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, and as anyone can see just by walking down Main Street, USA, Americans need to lose their gut.

Americans are getting fatter each year (as is everyone around the world, for that matter - apparently Australia, long the poster child for the active lifestyle is now the fattest country in the world). Between 1994 and 2004, the average American waist size increased from 96 cm to 100.4 cm in men, and from 89 cm to 94 cm in women.

The rate of stomach fat obesity also increased, from 29.5% to 42.4% among men and from 47.0% to 61.3% among women. Over 50% of Americans have a signficant amount of stomach fat they need to lose in order to improve their health.

Basically, America has to lose its gut.

Fortunately, our friends in Australia have found interval training to be the solution to stomach fat.

According to Professor Steve Boucher, an Australian expert on Interval Training, "high intensity intermittent exercise may result in greater fat loss in the abdomen". That means that unlike doing hundreds of crunches, interval training can work to burn belly fat over everything else.

(Hopefully the Australians start listening to one of their own as well!)

This is incredible news for all men and women who want to achieve a lean midsection or even 6-pack abs. While most men and women spend all their time on abdominal exercises, the latest research clearly shows we should be doing interval training, not slow cardio or endless crunches.

Intervals are the best way to lose stomach fat.
  • If you are new to interval training, you should start conservatively.
  • Begin by doing 1 minute rounds of interval training at a slightly harder than normal exercise pace.
  • Then spend 1 minute at a slow pace as a recovery interval.
  • Do up to 6 intervals per workout, going between the hard exercise and easy exercise portions for a total of 12 minutes.
  • Always include a 4- minute warmup and 4-minute cooldown to complete your 20 minute interval training session.
  • As your fitness improves, you can increase your interval intensity.
Perform this type of workout 3 times per week after your resistance training workout and you will lose stomach fat, burn off your belly, and sculpt your body to develop a lean mid-section and toned arms.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Lose Stomach Fat

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Diet Wars: The Truth About Diets


A new low-carb vs. low-fat diet has come out, and the Dr. Atkins camp is claiming victory, although the low-fat camp of Dr. Dean Ornish is crying foul.

According to the NY Times...

"In a tightly controlled dieting experiment, obese people lost an average of just 6 to 10 pounds over two years.

The study, published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, was supposed to determine which of three types of diets works best. Instead, the results highlight the difficulty of weight loss and the fact that most diets do not work well.

The researchers followed 322 dieters, 277 men and 45 women. The dieters were assigned to follow one of three types of diets — a diet with about 30 percent fat, based on American Heart Association guidelines; a Mediterranean diet; and a low-carbohydrate diet based on the Atkins diet plan. The study was partly financed by the Atkins Research Foundation."

So what's the real deal according to the Diet Debunker?

Does it prove that low-carb diets are better? Or is Dr. Ornish right that something was rotten in the state of science?

Here's what this diet study shows...

The results sucked. You're telling me 322 people went on a TWO YEAR DIET and all they lost was 6-10 pounds?

That's pathetic.

Thus, the headline of the article, "Long-Term Diet Study Suggests Success Is Hard to Come By".

So therefore, all the "diets don't work" people can stand up and cheer because they have more support.

WRONG.

The dirty truth about diets - the politically incorrect truth that no one wants to admit because it takes away all excuses for a lack of personal responsibility - is that DIETS DO WORK.

And if diets do work, what does that leave us with?

The fact that DIETERS don't work.

I bet that almost every subject in that study lied about how compliant they were with the diet.

That's HUMAN NATURE.

We all think we eat better than we do.

And that's why you have 322 people dieting for two years, and all they can achieve is an average of 8 pounds of weight loss.

It's not the diets that aren't working.
So if you are having trouble sticking to your nutrition, or if you are confused about low-carb vs. low-fat, just take a deep breath and follow my 5 simple rules...

******
1) Find out how much you are eating now. Use fitday.com.
2) If you are not losing weight, eat less.
3) Eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and good protein sources. Don't eat junk from a bag or a box.
4) Give yourself one treat meal per week to look forward to - not a treat day, just a treat meal.
5) Plan ahead. Prepare your meals (spend 1-2 hours on the weekend getting your meals and meal plan ready for the week). Identify obstacles and come up with solutions to avoid them.
That is it. Very simple. Most people do pretty well on 1-3 and even 5, but mess up on number 4.
I often hear how well someone did all day long, but then while making dinner they snack on upwards of 500 calories of their kid's treats, or other processed carbohydrates they have lying around the house.
The little things can add up to big time problems.
So take a good long look at everything you eat. And all of this can be avoided if you follow rule #5.
Combine my five simple nutrition rules with three short workouts per week of resistance training and interval training, and you have a very manageable fat loss plan that can fit any busy lifestyle.
You don't have to be a doctor to figure out how to eat for fat loss.

Helping you cut through the fat loss clutter to get more results in less time,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Click Here for the Truth About Fat Loss

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fruit Makes You Fat?


Apparently I'm one of the few fitness experts who believes that you can eat as much fruit as you want and you won't get fat. Everyone else believes that fruit either makes you fat or stops you from losing weight.

I'll let you think about it and decide for yourself, but I've worked with thousands of people online and offline and I've never worked with one single person who has ever had a fat problem because of the fruit they ate.

I don't care what anyone else says about eating fruit and gaining fat, my answer doesn't change.
As you can see from my photo, I'm not having a fat problem with 6-10 servings of fruit per day.

If you are an average person who needs to lose fat, you can eat fruit. 10 servings a day if you want.

If you want to be a bodybuilder on-stage, I'll admit, I have no idea how much fruit you can eat. But as for the other 99.999% of the world, you can eat all the cherries you want, that ain't causing you to gain weight.

Now some folks don't like the fact that I'm disagreeing with other fitness experts. In fact, most of my readers want every fitness expert to agree with every other fitness expert.

But why would we?

I challenge anyone to show me any industry in the world where everyone agrees. Why should fitness be any different?

No one can agree on...

The best way to invest money

The best religion

The best interpretation of bible verses

The best political party - or even the best candidate in each party

The best real estate strategy

The best wedding dress style

The best American Idol contestant

The best shirt to wear with your new pants

There is no agreement on any of these. Everyone has their own personal bias. And even the devil can quote scripture for his purpose.

The reason why people think fruit makes you fat is because stupid bodybuilding magazines have said this for so long...The same magazines that said you need to do cardio on an empty stomach at 5:30am to lose fat. So it's up to you if you want to trust them.

I'm choosing to disagree.

Fruit does not make you fat.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

After Dinner Aerobic Cardio Fights Fat

I'm not a huge fan of traditional aerobic cardio workouts for fat loss, but they can have an immediate health benefit for anyone who makes the mistake of indulging in too much food.

For example, sometimes even professionals like myself tend to eat one more burger than we need, as I did on a holiday up at the Lake last week. But I knew, as this research study showed, that performing aerobic exercise after a high fat meal can help alleviate the damage. So after the BBQ, my puppy dog and I went for a brisk walk.

According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, after-dinner cardio can limit the increase in triglycerides after a high fat meal.

Reference:
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 88, No. 1, 30-37, July 2008
Postprandial triglyceride responses to aerobic exercise and extended-release niacin1,2,3
Eric P Plaisance1, Michael L Mestek1, A Jack Mahurin1, J Kyle Taylor1, Jose Moncada-Jimenez1 and Peter W Grandjean1

In this study, fifteen subjects underwent several experiments, each time eating a meal containing 100 grams of fat (you'd have to eat 11 hot dogs to get that much fat, which although that sounds like a difficult task, this year's 4th of July Nathan's hot-dog eating contest winner stuffed down 59!).

In the study where subjects performed aerobic exercise after the high fat meal, the doctors found that triglyercides were lowered by 32% compared to the same meal without post-meal exercise.

So if you make a dietary mistake, do yourself a favor and get a move on. It will not only burn a few calories, but it will help with cardiovascular damage control. And next time, grill some chicken breasts instead!

Helping you cut through the fat loss clutter to get more results in less time,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Click Here for the Truth About Fat Loss

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Workout Calorie Burning for Fat Loss

Here's another calorie burning workout myth I exposed in my old column in Men's Fitness magazine:

Myth: I need to burn 300 calories each workout to lose fat.

Truth:
Possibly one of the worst inventions for fat loss was the calorie-counting monitor on treadmills, elliptical machines, and stairmasters.

Because of these, millions of men and women now obsess about the number of calories burned per session. You've probably even been one of those people, watching it creep up ever so slowly during a slow-cardio session. All the while knowing that you can wipe out a 30-minute, 300-calorie treadmill session with one fell swoop of the Krispy Kreme hand.

Too many people are brainwashed into thinking that if they don't burn 300-500 calories per session, then they won't lose fat. After all, that is what you've been told time and time again in those fluffy fitness/fashion magazines.

The problems with this approach to fat loss are numerous. First off, it's difficult to say if the calorie counters are even accurate. A story on CBS news showed that cardio machines overestimate calorie burning by up to 20%.

Next, depending on slow cardio for advanced fat loss is relatively useless and at the very least, inefficient. It takes a long time for you to burn a lot of calories and one study showed that men who only used cardio training for weight loss ended up with a reduced resting metabolism.

You are basically undoing the calorie burning by depending only on cardio. On the other hand, guys in the same study that used strength training didn't suffer a reduced metabolic rate.

So what is the solution to burning fat in a faster, more efficient method? The answer is to use strength and interval training to burn fewer calories in less exercise time, but with a more intense form of exercise.

Your body will burn more calories after exercise (when you use intervals) than it does after you do slow cardio and your metabolism will stay high. Some experts refer to this as the afterburn effect. How do you do intervals? Well, you could sprint for 30 seconds and rest for 90 seconds and repeat that for 6 sets - using the bike preferably or treadmill if you are experienced with it.

Within that short time frame the intervals will cause your muscles to go crazy with activity (I call it a metabolic turbulence). This crazy metabolism boost causes lots of calorie burning after exercise to get your body back to normal. The result is you would end up burning more fat and more calories in the post-exercise period as your body tries to get things under control.

Now there is one time where you'd want to count calories, but that is when you are counting up and determining how many calories you eat per day. Again, you can wipe out an entire workout's work in less than a minute simply by eating garbage. Without some structure and discipline to your nutrition, there is nothing that even my programs can do to help you lose fat.

So exercise nutrition control and interval training. These are the two anti-calorie counting methods that will help you lose fat and get lean.

Click here to learn more about the 5 Myths of Fat Loss...

Helping you cut through the fat loss clutter to get more results in less time,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Click Here for the Truth About Fat Loss