I know that there are many ways to successfully lose fat. Making a guide gives people the impression that there is only one way. There is not only one way, I know this. Basically what follows below, is my way for losing fat. I really like it and I think I have become quite successful at it and I have learned a lot in the process. This is basically a way for me to put all the advice I have in one place. So I can refer to it later. I'll update it as I am continually learning.
This guide contains examples of what to eat and when to eat it. It also gives examples of what strength training workouts and cardio workouts to do. It's long but hopefully worth the read.
My guide to losing fat
This is John Stoneís website: www.johnstonefitness.com
He has daily photos, his meals, workouts, everything about the various stages of his transformation. It was what first got me inspired and convinced that I could do the same thing.
This is the site where I put all my pictures up from my weight loss last year and this year: http://www.sickofbeingfat.net/profiles.aspx?gravityhome
As of June 2005, I lost about 45 pounds total, 40 pounds of which was fat. Here's a comparison after 1.5 years of focussing on fitness. http://forums.johnstonefitness.com/s...ad.php?t=17068
Everything below is basically my answer to the question, ďHow did you lose the weight?Ē
1.0____ Some general starting advice:
1.1 ________Tracking Progress
2.1 ________Eating six meals
2.25 _______New way to think about food:
2.3 ________What food to eat
2.35 _______Websites on healthy foods
2.4 ________Protein shakes
2.45 _______Eating certain foods at certain times
2.5 ________Post workout nutrition
3.05 _______Switching exercises
3.3 ________Tracking progress
Appendix A: A prioritized list
1. Some general starting advice:
These are some basic things I have learned about losing fat that I really think many people just don't know.
I just want to prepare people that there is a lot of information here, but please read through the whole thing. I am afraid some people will read until they come to a part that they don't agree with, think they can't do, or don't want to do, and then they will stop reading and forget about the rest. You don't need to do everything, but you will find that once you start small somewhere, it is easier to add more things that you learn later. So my advice, is start small. Start with small changes and go from there. Don't throw your life into a tail spin by changing everything at once. Start small and look for results, then add more and more of what you learn.
What determines the amount of fat you have on your body is the following things:
1) the food you eat
2) the amount of muscle you have
3) the amount of cardiovascular exercise you do (running, biking, etc.)
I ranked them in that order because that is the order of importance they have. However, many people only seem to think the third one is how you lose fat and ignore the first two.
The reason why muscle is so important, is because the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn all day long just by being alive.
Some other important things to remember.
-Don't get overwhelmed. There is a lot of information out there. Some of it contradicts itself. A lot of people say you have to do things only their way, when it is not true. I try to keep things really simple and only make changes if things aren't working.
-Everyone is different. Just because some person did a certain exercise, doesn't mean that is the best thing. It's best to start with really basic changes in diet and then go from there. Eventually you will figure out what works best for your body.
-Even the simplest changes in the way we eat can be incredibly hard to stick with. When and what we eat has been determined from when we were very young, so it is hard to change these habits. Don't expect to do it overnight. Take things slow, and you will be more adjusted.
-In terms of changing your diet, you need to pick foods that you like and will be willing to stick to. this takes time to find food that is both healthy and you like. It's hard but you have to do it or you will be miserable. Edamame beans has been a savior for me, I love them.
-Lastly, unfortunately you really can't think of this as something you will do for a little bit to lose weight and then after that, you will go back to the way you were. That is what a diet is, and that is why they don't work. I am always going to eat 6 meals from now on, because I think it is a better way. I am always going to strive to eat healthy meals. this doesn't mean that I can't eat a cheesesteak or candy or a big dessert like once a week. I just don't do it everyday. You can change how intense you are about it from month to month. Maybe you really want to look good for summer so you decide to eat really clean (that is what it is called when you don't eat junk) and have no bad food at all. And then you can take a break and increase the amount of unhealthy food you have.
1.1 Tracking Progress
If you are just starting. Definitely do yourself a huge favor and take some photos of yourself. It may seem weird. But when you start to make progress, your start photos will be tremendous motivation for you. Now, I can't believe that I use to once look like my start photos. But I did because I have proof. I went to the trouble of taking weekly photos as well. I would absolutely recommend at least monthly photos. You will be so glad you did. In terms of tracking your progress, use as many tools as you can. The scale is only one tool to use. Last year I weighed myself daily and took body measurements weekly. I think daily weighings maybe too often, as you get too attached to the reading. The most important thing is weekly body measurements with a myo-tape measure like this one http://www.allsportsnutrition.com/in...oducts_id=3918
or here http://www.allsportsnutrition.com/in...oducts_id=4096
it come with a digital body fat tester.
I measure the following to the nearest 0.25 inch:
waist (after exhaling and without sucking in at all, let it all hang out and measure the widest point)
hips (with feet about 4 inches apart)
I measure the following flexed:
The reason measurements are so important, is that when the waist and hip measurement decrease, there is no denying that is good progress and a decrease of fat. The scale is not so clear.
Using measurements and your weight, there is a body fat % calculator here: http://www.healthcentral.com/cholest...-2774-143.html
The key is that you want your body fat % to drop. your total mass multiplied by (BF%/100) is the amount of body fat mass you have. You want this to go down.
Also I measure BF% weekly with the digital body fat calculator. I have only started doing this recently though. It takes a little practice to get use to it.
For the beginning, I would definitely recommend:
Start photos (front, side, back, whatever you like)
weekly myotape measurements (then get BF% from website, record everything in a spreadsheet)
monthly photos (same as start)
Tracking your progress is very important, I can't stress this enough. When you get tired and lazy and you just don't want to workout or cook your own food, looking at the progress will give you the motivation you need. It is such a huge benefit.
Nutrition really is the most important thing, so I want to start with this. The goal of this section is to introduce you to nutrition that works for fat loss. At least what worked for me. The general guide lines are easy to say in a few lines.
Eat more often. Six meals a day are preferred over three. Why six? Well, it works. But further, I think it is a compromise; spreading food out over a period of time is better than eating it in one lump sum. You can imagine having one extremely large meal is not as good as three meals spread throughout the day. Well, likewise, eating 6 meals distributes the food throughout the day even further. You could eat more than 6, but that gets a little inconvenient as 6 meals usually amounts to eating every 3 hours while you are awake. Most people do eat more than 3 meals but they just don't think of it that way. If you count afternoon snacking and late night snacking, these are certainly meals, but most people eat junk food instead of something healthy. When you are eating healthy food every 3 hours you are keeping your body burning fat all day long. If you are never hungry and you are never stuffed, this is the goal, the ideal condition for fat loss.
Eat the same amount of carbohydrates as protein. For most people this involves eating a lot more protein, as we tend to eat way more carbs than protein. However, there will be nothing low-carb in the below info. The key is to choose low fat protein sources and low fat, slow digesting carbohydrates. For liquids, water is the way to go. You need lots and lots of water for fat loss.
For more info, continue reading. You can also skip to the appendix for a prioritized list of what I think are the most important things to concentrate on for fat loss.
2.1 Trying to eat six small meals
this is really easy to say and hard to actually do. Our culture revolves around the three-meal system to the point that it is second nature to us. Itís easy to remember to eat at noon because everyone around you is doing it, but it is hard to remember to eat again at 2:30, when you are in the middle of something at school or work. The method I used for getting use to it when I first started out was to split my usual lunch and dinner in half. Take your normal lunch and eat half at noon when most others eat. You will still feel hungry only half way through your lunch. But stop eating anyway. Put your sandwich (or whatever) down, wrap it back up, put in the fridge, do something to put it out of reach. If you drink a whole glass of water (or several) and wait about five minutes youíll find that you broke the momentum of your eating and you are not as hungry anymore if at all. Then eat the other half a few hours later at 2-3pm. Since you didnít stuff yourself at lunch, you will be looking forward to the next meal and will be less likely to miss it. Do the same for dinner.
This is a great way to get your body use to eating smaller portions. Because, just like our bodies have been trained to eat only three times a day, they are also trained to get a certain size meal (usually large). And in addition, if you grew up like I did, you were also taught to finish everything in front of you (which is bad when you donít prepare your own food; portions are always too big). You need to break these habits and re-train your body to be satisfied with smaller meals more often. Even if you donít actually change what you eat at this point, eating this way will be better. You will never be full and you will never be starving. These are ideal conditions for fat loss. Then if you start to change the food you eat as well, you will really be able to lose fat.
So along with breakfast, if you split lunch and dinner in half, you have 5 meals right there. A midmorning snack would give you six. Make up names for the extra meals like second breakfast and second lunch if it helps. You can feel like a hobbit. Now that I have been eating this way for about 10 months, I will get really hungry if I go 4 hours without food. And I will get stuffed if I try to finish an entire sandwich. A last important thing, is that all of this becomes much easier to do when you eat slowly. I use to eat way too fast and be finished in 5 minutes. And often end up eating a lot more than I really need. Try taking a drink of water after every bite. Also chewing 10-20 times before swallowing is good too. I found that the slower I ate, the less hungry I was when I stopped eating.
2.2 How to handle snacking
This is hard to do because it usually involves a small amount. Someone brings in cookies, ďhere just try one, itís so smallĒ. There would be a weekly ice cream party for the department, someone else brings in cake. Other people just have chips and crackers at their desk. All of it seems so little and harmless, but after a week, it really piles up. The best way for me to handle it was to not eat anything that I didnít plan for a day in advance. If I knew that there was an ice cream function coming up the next day, then I would change my diet to accommodate. I would choose healthier things the day before. If anyone offers you food, and you didnít plan on it the day before, donít eat it. Tell your self this is your rule. It keeps things really simple. You still get to snack if you want but you have to plan for it. If you think in your head that a little cookie is fine, it will be hard to draw a line at how often is okay and before you know it youíre snacking on every little thing. Set a 24 hour plan ahead rule on snacking.
2.25 New way to think about food:
I have learned to think about food differently. Like I said above, making food choices is a very deeply ingrained unconscious process most of the time. If you are like I was, when you get hungry you would say to yourself, "what do I feel like eating?" And then you would sort of analyze your body's mood, your cravings, look at your available options and pick something. This isn't necessarily bad, but it is a horrible system to use when you are attempting to clean up your diet. (By "diet" here I mean the body of food that mkes up what you eat. Like cows have a diet of grass. I don't mean some system of restricting calories.)
When thinking about what food to eat, instead of just thinking about satisfying some inner craving within you, think about the fact that the food is fuel for your body. This completely changed my opinion of food. You know that whole, "You are what you eat", I always thought it sounded a bit pompous but it is has a good point. Although I think the idea of food as fuel to help you live and do things is an even better concept.
Now, you may be worried. You may be thinking, food as fuel? You mean I am never supposed to derive pleasure from food again? I'm not supposed to endulge myself? I'm not supposed to live life to the fullest? No, I am not saying that. Food is a big part of culture. Every now and then it is good to endulge in a treat, to try a new fancy restaraunts with rich food. To celebrate with friends and family at special occassions. So it is still okay to do this and to eat lots of different food while doing it. BUT, here is the kicker. Meals for pleasure should be the vast minority of your meals. Okay. It's that simple. In a given week, greater than 90% of your meals should be food as fuel for your body, and only a few meals need to be food for pleasure. Now when I say, a meal should be fuel, I just mean the first priority should be that it is healthy, and then a lower priority is the taste. I am not saying you have to eat dirt, or cardboard. You can choose food you like. I am just saying, when you are playing the mental game of , hmmm, what should I eat, think about the fact that a vast majority of your meals should be fuel, not an endulging pleasure.
And lets face it, when you are working and stop for lunch. You are not at a big eventful occasion in your life, you are not experiencing food from another culture, or being given the rare treat of a meal of a good chef, you are simply giving yourself energy to keep going through the day. This is the perfect time for fuel. Not pleasure. So, no, you don't need to stop off at burger king, because it will fulfill some pleasure craving in you. This is just lunch, it doesn't need to satisfy your inner craving. It is fuel. But soon you will like healthier food more and more so this gets much easier.
2.26 More ways to think about food
Changing your eating habit is possibly the hardest thing you will ever do. What you desire to eat is hardwired into your brain over the past couple decades. Putting food in your mouth triggers all kinds of chemical changes in your brain and the rest of your body, in addition to the most obvious one, pleasure, all types of other emotions get tied to food.
One time I was starving, because I had gone too long without eating. I whipped myself a quick sandwich of tuna on whole wheat, took one bite and it was amazing how fast my stomach was quieted, simply by putting the bread and tuna in my mouth. I had not swallowed at all. This is a clear indication that tastebuds are constantly communicating with the brain, and there is an amazingly strong connection.
I think the key for me was to separate the food choosing process from the actual point when I am hungry. you don't want to have it be time for a meal and then you ask yourself, hmm, what do I want to eat. And then you evaluate your mood and what type of food would satisfy your craving at that moment. This is not the way to do it at all. Because you are giving yourself the oppurtunity to let your cravings control what you eat. And then if you are strong and still choose healthy food, you still had to think about your cravings which makes you feel deprived. This deprived feeling wears on you over time. there is only so many times you can give yourself the deprived feeling before you will say, enough! I can't live this way always depriving myself.
So this is not the way. You need to separate the food choosing from the actual point when you are hungry. You need to have a clear idea of what you will be eating for the entire day in the morning. You need to think of the meals that you will eat as fuel for your body. Fuel that will keep you going, fuel that will make you strong and give you energy. Don't even consider your cravings, don't even bring them into the picture. Then you will never have the deprived feeling which is the real killer. Don't give yourself the oppurtunity to choose the wrong food or choose the right food and feel deprived.
Did you ever take a drink of something, but you were expecting it to be something else. Like you thought you were drinking soda but it was actually juice. It will always taste bad even if you actually like the drink normally. It is because you were sending signals to your brain that you were about to drink soda and then the taste buds get ready for that, but then a completely different drink hits them and they freak out and you get a bad taste in your mouth. I think the same thing happens when you consider what food to eat. If you think in your head should I get chicken wings or a turkey sandwich on whole wheat. Your brain remembers what chicken wings taste like and gets excited for them because they are good, and then when you make the right choice and go for the turkey on whole wheat, it tastes so much more bland because you had been considering eating the chicken wings. The thing is, you weren't just thinking about chicken wings, you were weighing the options of putting them in your mouth, this sets all the chemicals up for, here comes chicken wings! But if you know you're getting the turkey on whole wheat from the beginning and you don't even need to think about it, it tastes better and you don't feel deprived.
2.3 What food to eat:
First off, in terms of drinks. Water is the best thing to drink. Avoid soda, juice, ice tea and other sugary drinks. You are really just better off with water. Fat loss requires various celluar functions and all of these will work better if your body is well hydrated, so keep it hydrated all day long. Most people recommend 1-2 gallons a day. I shoot for somewhere in between.
All food can be broken down into three types: fat, carbohydrates and protein. This sounds really simple, but I didnít know anything about it when I started out. I mean, Iíve heard of fat, protein and carbs, but I didnít know that all food is made up of some combination of the three. If you take the grams of protein and multiply it by 4 calories, take the grams of carbs and multiply it by 4 calories and the grams of fat and multiply it by 9 calories, you actually get close to the number of calories listed on the package for things. If itís off a little that is probably because the numbers arenít exact. But generally itís accurate. This was quite mind-blowing when I first learned it.
At least for Fat and Carbs, there are many subgroups within the main group and it is good to know them too. To learn more about this people need to read Marcusís sticky on Nutrition for weight loss, http://forums.johnstonefitness.com/s...ead.php?t=1222
. It should be required reading for anyone that comes to the forum.
Itís good to know this stuff because for fat loss, people recommend a certain macronutrient split based on calories (not grams). So if you eat 2000 calories a day and you want to eat 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat, then you would eat 800 calories of carbs, 800 calories of protein and 400 calories of fat. That would be roughly, 200 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs and 44 grams of fat. You can get very technical when trying to determine what macronutrient split to use and how many total calories you should eat (see the sticky by Marcus, he explains many great ways to do it). There are complicated formulas to tell you how many calories to eat (they can be found in Marcusís sticky above). There is also a general rule that works for most and that is the number of calories you eat should be 10 times your body weight in pounds.
My goal was to go for 40:40:20 as a ratio. I never actually counted things out like John does, I just used that as a goal. I tried to pick foods and meals so that I was eating the same amount of protien as carbs and then I would only have a little bit of fat. However, I didn't want to count calories, I needed things to be simpler in order for me to actually do it. I think total calories is important. But even more important is just eating clean in general. If you donít really want to worry about counting specific numbers just yet, come up with a list of clean food and concentrate on eating only them. When you eat clean, the food has less calories, so 2000 or 1800 calories winds up being a hell of a lot of food. When I asked myself what clean food is, I came up with this:
- Low fat protein (chicken, tuna, protein shake)
- Good carbs
- Good Fats
There is a lot of info on carbs. I try to separate them into good and bad, based on the glycemic index (see marcusís post for what this is). The truth is that, there is no real good or bad food, you can really eat anything if you tailor your diet and exercise accordingly, but I didnít trust myself to be that meticulous with my system. So instead I just developed rules. This is a good carb, that is a bad one, and then I would eat mostly good carbs and the bad carbs very sparingly. Basically the good carbs take a long time to breakdown in the body and the bad carbs breakdown very quickly.
So bad carbs are: pasta, white bread, anything potatoes (including fries, and chips), white rice, regular bagels, and anything with lots of sugar like soda, candy, anything with lots of high fructose corn syrup, basically what most of us think of as carbs.
The good carbs are: vegetables, wheat or multigrain bread/bagels/pasta, oatmeal - old fashioned or regular, just don't put any sugar on it, or at least minimal.
Carbs that are high in fiber are great. Most fiber is not digested, but it still fills up your stomach. Making sure that you have enough fiber in your diet is also critical for many other health reasons. Check out these links of some of the benefits.
Good fats are in nuts, fish, olive oil, natural peanut butter. Bad fats are in red meat, processed fast food, candy, snacks, cakes, pastries, donuts, anything with trans fats, you get the idea.
For more info on trans fat, see post 18 below : http://forums.johnstonefitness.com/s...5&postcount=18
Okay so my system is not very technical. But it was a good start for me. I found it much easier to make a list of food that was either a low fat protein, good carb, or good fat and eat only that food rather than a detailed system where I kept track of my macronutrient split.
Here is an example of food that is on my ďgood for eatingĒ list, but also I like it. There are many more good foods, these are just the ones I eat. I tried to separate them based on what they were a good source of, some things are listed in multiple categories.
lean chicken breasts
turkey lunch meat
low fat ground turkey
fat free hotdogs
meatloss sausage patties by Morningstar
Lean Pockets Ultra
eggbeaters (got sick of these fast though)
low fat beef jerky (although lots of salt, beware)
Protein bar, Odyssey, 30 g of protein, only 7 g of sugar
whole wheat bread
whole wheat pasta or reduced carb pasta (basically the same thing)
whole wheat bagel
Cinna-raisen crunch cereal by Kashi (relatively low sugar)
Any vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, cucumber etc.
Lean Pockets Ultra
fish: salmon, swordfish, other white fish
For a list of the fat loss foods most recommended by JSF members go here http://forums.johnstonefitness.com/s...ad.php?t=32222
Note: a word on peanut butter - Although your basic skippy peanut butter reports that it has zero grams of trans fat, this is actually because the serving size is small enough that the amount of trans fat is below the FDA's rules for listing fat. Those FOR peanut butter claim this is a good thing and that it is perfectly fine to eat. Those AGAINST peanut butter claim that is still bad and will add up and they should still list it. I say it is totally up to you, on whether you want to eat. I eat very little peanut butter (a couple tablespoons a week) that I just go with skippy anyway. If you eat a lot more of it, probably best to go with natural peanut butter.
After a few months I finally tried to start logging my daily food intake and what I essentially did was build one day of food. I wrote up six meals for about 1900 calories (I was 210 pounds) for the whole day, so that I could actually see how much food that was, and then everyday I would roughly eat the same amounts. I would vary the type of food, but as long as I stayed somewhat similar and stuck to my list of clean food, I was able to lose fat.
Here is an example of a typical day:
Meal 1: Kashi cereal with skim milk
Meal 2: two bananas and protein shake (post workout meal, for days I lift) or maybe a whole wheat bagel on non-lifting days
Meal 3: Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes.
Meal 4: Protein bar, odyssey
Meal 5: Chicken breast (or fat free hot dog on whole wheat bread, or tuna), greenbeans, edamame beans.
Meal 6: protein shake (before bed, if Iím still hungry)
okay that food is okay, but here is a better typical day:
Meal 1: egg cooked in olive oil on whole wheat toast
Meal 2: half cup oatmeal
Meal 3: salad (LOTS of vegetables, fat free dressing if needed) + chicken breast or tuna (perhaps mixed with low fat or fat free mayo and celery
Meal 4: nuts (almonds, cashews) or fresh fruit or more vegetables, or a protein bar, or protein shake.
Meal 5: vegetables and protein source
Meal 6: protein shake, or cottage cheese.
2.35 Websites on healthy foods
Here are some links to great websites on healthy food that I got from Guava. The first one lists the world's healthiest foods
and I'm glad to see a lot of the foods I eat are on it. The second one lists some super foods.
I eat about 9 of 14 on a regular basis. Woohoo!
The link for the superfoods is from netscape home and real estate and for some reason keeps changing or going down. I'll just quote the info here.
The info comes from the book Superfoods Rx by Steven Pratt
which you can get at the JSF amazon mall (wow, it's cheap).
Originally Posted by Netscape Home and Real Estate
Live Longer If You Eat These 14 Foods?
They're ordinary items that are probably in your refrigerator or kitchen pantry right now: beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, soy, spinach, green or black tea, tomatoes, turkey, walnuts, wild salmon, and yogurt.
But these may not be ordinary foods at all. They may be so special, they've earned the title "superfoods." That's the word from Steven G. Pratt, author of "SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life." His premise is that these vitamin-packed goodies have superpowers when it comes to keeping us healthy, improving our well-being, and helping us to live longer provided we do our part by eating them regularly, reports The Rocky Mountain News.
Here are the 14 "superfoods" and the superpowers they bestow that are outlined in "SuperFoods Rx":
They lower cholesterol, fight heart disease, stabilize blood sugar, reduce obesity, lessen cancer risk, and relieve hypertension.
--Eat four 1/2-cup servings a week. Don't like beans? Substitute green beans, sugar snap peas, green peas, or chick peas instead.
They lower the risk of heart disease and cancer and help maintain youthful, healthy skin.
--Eat 1 to 2 cups a day. When they aren't in season, eat cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, currants, and purple grapes.
It boosts your immune system, reduces the incidence of cataracts, builds bones, and fights birth defects and heart disease.
--Eat 1/2 to 1 cup a day. Can't stand broccoli? Eat brussels sprouts, red and green cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, and kale.
Oats lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and are high in fiber and protein.
--Eat five to seven servings a [day, not week, see this post
]. Don't want it that often? Try wheat germ, brown rice, barley, wheat, buckwheat, rye, millet, and quinoa.
They support heart health while preventing cancer, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic ailments.
--Eat one a day. Want more variety? Try lemons, grapefruit, kumquats, tangerines, or limes.
It's not just for pie. Pumpkin lowers the risk of various cancers, while it promotes youthful, healthy skin.
--Eat 1/2 cup a day. Want an alternative? Try carrots, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and orange bell peppers.
It prevents heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis, as well as relieves menopausal and menstrual symptoms.
--Eat at least 15 grams daily. Don't like soy? Try tofu, soymilk, soy nuts, edamame, or miso.
Popeye was on to something! Spinach lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases, a variety of cancers, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts.
--Eat 1 cup of steamed spinach or 2 cups of raw spinach a day. Don't like it? Then eat kale, collards, Swiss chard, bok choy, romaine lettuce, mustard, or turnip greens.
Tea (Black or green)
Besides soothing the soul, tea boosts the immune system, helps prevent cancer and osteoporosis, lowers stroke risk, and promotes cardiovascular health.
--Drink at least one cup a day.
They lower cancer risk, increase your skin's sun-protection factor, and play a role in preventing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
--Eat one tomato a day. Don't like them? Try watermelon, persimmons, or pink grapefruit instead.
Turkey (skinless breast)
It's not just for Thanksgiving. Turkey is not only the perfect healthy low-fat protein, but also builds a strong immune system.
--Eat three or four 3-ounce servings a week. Want something else? Skinless chicken breast is a great alternative.
How nutty is this? Walnuts reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
--Eat 1 ounce five times a week. Other options include almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, peanuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews.
It lowers risk of heart disease and cancer.
--Eat it two to four times a week. Don't like salmon? Go for Alaskan halibut, canned albacore tuna, sardines, herring, trout, sea bass, or clams.
In addition to being a great source of protein and calcium, yogurt promotes strong bones and a healthy heart.
--Eat 2 cups a day. Want something else? Try kefir.
2.4 Protein shakes
Basically there is two types of protein supplement, blend and isolate. The isolate it pure protein, and costs a lot. The blend has a little bit of fat and carbs in it, but not much and is much cheaper. I recommend starting with the blend. Chocolate is really the only flavor I drink.
You should get a plastic shaker bottle. They sell them in any nutrition store. Then you put the milk (or water) in the shaker, add the powder and shake the hell out of it.
When I first started out, I had a large mental barrier to trying one. It just seemed like something that I wouldn't like, or something that wasn't for me. I figured only hardcore body builders would drink stuff like that.
When I had my first one with water, It was really hard to drink. I wasn't used to it at all and didn't like it. But then I tried the chocolate with non-fat milk and it was like a chocolate milk shake. Very tasty. Also the milk I get has 12 grams of protein per serving, which just increased the amount of protein I was getting from 20 to 32 grams. Yes the milk does have sugar in it but I wouldn't worry about this if you keep the rest of the sugar you eat to a minimum. And if it gets you to drink the shake in the first place, then that's what counts.
I should probably try to get use to it with only water but I have liked the taste so much I haven't bothered. Something to try would be John Stone's method for making his protein shake. I believe, if remember correctly, he puts his shaker bottle with water in the freezer 45 minutes before he is about to drink his shake so that it is very cold. Then add the protein powder and any other supplements, shake the hell out of it and drink it down.
I have since tried it with only water and it is not bad. It does not taste nearly as good as when it is with milk, but after a few days I can drink it just fine. I think the initial dislike is that my brain was expecting it to taste like it did before with the milk, but once I got use to it, its not bad actually. now I am so use to it that I donít even need the water to be that cold.
If you have a mental block against protein shakes, just take my word for it and give it a try. they are a great way to get protein into your body fast without carbs and fat. They are also quite filling.
Oh when you buy the jug, the scoop is not always at the top of the powder. Poke around for it with a butter knife or something. It's in there.
2.45 Eating certain foods at certain times
Some of this info is duplicated elsewhere in the guide, but I wanted to put it together in one place as how eating certain food at certain times can be beneficial.
-After strength training workouts, eat protein and carbs. Within 30-45 minutes of finishing. This is a great time for the carbs to be sugar, because the sugar breaks down quickly in your body and travels to the muscles to replace the glycogen used for energy during the workout. The idea is that the protein will be taken along with it. As an example I drink a protein shake and eat a banana or any fruit. Or you can have protein powder in skim milk (as milk has sugar and protein). Or eat a can of tuna and some bread. Or some eggs and a bagel or bread. But any fruit with a protein source would be best, as white bread and bagels have a lot of processed carbs in them along with sugar, you really don't want to make a habit of eating them because you will want to avoid them at other times.
-After cardio workout, don't eat for an hour. Drink lots of water, but there is no need to eat right away. while you were exercising, you were burning fat, and that can continue after you finish. Your body is still in that fat burning mode, it doesn't realize that you stopped running. but the moment you eat that stops.
-Before cardio, many people recommend that you don't eat and they recommend that you do the cardio in the morning right after waking up. You are in a fasted state when you wake up, you don't have any food in you to use as energy so, the idea is that you pull from your fat stores for energy by doing low intensity workouts. These are workouts where your heart is like 70% max value, and you do it for roughly 45 minutes. For running, 70% is fast enough to give you a good sweat and get you breathing hard, but you don't want to be sprinting, and of course you need to be able to go for 45 minutes, any longer and you risk consuming your own muscle. Walking pretty fast at a high incline is also good. The elliptical, rowing, bicycle, stepper, all of these are good. BUT, you don't HAVE to do this. If cardio in the morning doesn't work for you and you want to do it when you come home from work, that is fine. IF you want to do it at night that is fine too. It is more important that you do it, then when you do it. And if you want to eat it a little before, that is probably fine to. but later in the day there is probably no need to eat before cardio.
-Avoid eating carbs (other than vegetables) for the last couple of hours before you go to bed. If you sleep at 12 midnight, then stop eating carbs at 9 pm. Eating carbs right before you go to sleep is the best way to add fat as you sleep. If you perform weightlifting at night and eat carbs as apart of a post workout meal, that should be fine.
-Eat a slow digesting protein source right before bed. For example cottage cheese, protein powder in milk, or a protein powder designed to digest over time, like Nitrean. The protein helps preserve muscle overnight.
2.5 Post workout nutrition
If you donít know what this is, you need to. Within 30 minutes of finishing weight lifting you should have a protein shake along with some sugar. The sugar gets released into the blood stream quickly. The protein is designed to do the same thing. this basically creates an environment for the protein to get delivered to the muscles that were just worked. I think the sugar heads to the muscles because the muscle has depleted its stockpile of glycogen when it was working out. Sugar (glucose) gets stored as glycogen in muscles so they can perform work.
Many people put dextrose (the simplest sugar, glucose) in their protein shake. I have yet to try this stuff, basically because I donít feel like buying anymore supplements, so I just eat 2 bananas and a whey protein shake. Fruit has fructose instead of glucose and takes longer to break down in the stomach, but many people say it works just as well as glucose, so I go with it.
Right now, I only take whey protein and a mult-vitamin pill. There are many supplements out there that people recommend. Iíve been just avoiding them to save money. Iíll see in the future whether I want to take them.
The biggest asset you will have to losing fat is muscle. The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you burn everyday, just by being alive. So lifting weights is a must, absolutely. In terms of setting priority for time commitments and such, weight lifting should take a higher priority over cardiovascular exercise (called cardio by everyone).
I really donít think it matters which of the many weight lifting systems you choose. Just pick one and go with it, so that you keep your muscle mass up.
I like to split the major body parts into three different lifting sessions. In general, I try to do 3-4 sets per exercise and 2-3 exercises per body part. The number of repititions you do for each set is determined by how heavy the weight is. I usually like to do 8 reps for each set. Then I would choose a weight so that I can only do 8 repititions with good form. If you want to only do 8 reps but you pick a weight that you can actually do 12 reps, then increase the weight. There are many theories for how many reps to do. I do 8. I don't know why but most people would agree that is a good number.
This is an example of three lifting sessions:
Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
1) DB bench press http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...enchPress.html
2) incline DB bench press (same as above with 30 deg incline)
3) seated DB shoulder press http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...lderPress.html
4) lateral raises http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...eralRaise.html
5) shrugs http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...r/DBShrug.html
6) tricep bar pushdown http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...BPushdown.html
7) bench dips (no weight though) http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...tBenchDip.html
1) assisted pull-ups http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/.../AsPullup.html
2) Cable row http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...SeatedRow.html
3) back extensions http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...extension.html
4) seated DB curls
5) incline seated DB curls
6) regular pullups
1) DB squats http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...s/DBSquat.html
2) DB stiff legged dead lifts (I keep my lower back straight) http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...gDeadlift.html
3) seated calf raises
4) decline crunch http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...neCrunchX.html
5) side crunch http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...ideCrunch.html
6) elbow to opposite knee http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...ingCrunch.html
7) leg raises (basically, lie on back and lift legs off ground and hold)
But there are many other ways to do it. This is just an example. Many people workout every body part on the same day and go for only 1-2 sets per body part. basically high volume and low volume are two philosophies in weight lifting. The most well known examples of high volume and low volume are Maximum overtraining (Max-OT) and High Intensity Training (HIT) respectively.
3.05 Switching exercises
So this is another key thing. Come up with a routine, do it for 2 months, and then slowly start to switch exerecises out with others. The reason is that you don't want your muscles to become use to doing the same thing over and over. It also may cause you to plateau with weight. Swapping exercises out with others and switching the days around is good to keep you from stagnating. My routine looks pretty different now then when I started. Here's an example of what I am doing now.
Day 1: Chest and Back
Barbell bench press http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...enchPress.html
Incline BB bench press http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...enchPress.html
Chest fly machine http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...SeatedFly.html
back extension http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...Extension.html
Day 2: Arms, shoulders
dumbell seated press http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...lderPress.html
Tricep pulldown with rope though http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...BPushdown.html
lying tricep extension http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...ingTriExt.html
preacher curls http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...acherCurl.html
negative preacher curls (same as above, but use a heavier weight and have a spotter lift the weight, while you then let it back down as slowly as possible).
Day 3: Legs Abs
Barbell Squats http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...s/BBSquat.html
Stiff legged deadlifts with barbell http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...gDeadlift.html
seated calves machine
leg raises w/ kness straight http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...gHipRaise.html
side situps http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...ideCrunch.html
twisting crunches http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...ingCrunch.html
Whichever system you choose, the most important thing is form. You must have good form in order to properly work the muscle and not get injured. Do not sacrifice form in order to lift heavier weight. This is just ego. Also do not throw the weights around. Weights should be moved in a controlled fashion. There is no need to accelerate the weight (unless this is the point of the exercise). Each exercise has a positive and negative movement. Do not ignore the negative portion. You do not need to go very slowly (although some system are based on this) but you need to be controlled. You are not really doing anything by swinging a weight around with bad form.
Make sure you do not hold your breath. Keep the inhale and exhale relaxed and of equal lengths. try to keep your face relaxed too. Having a beet red face does not necessarily mean you are working hard. If you donít breath properly it can really cause premature failure, as well as headaches, dizziness and Iím sure other worse problems.
3.3 Tracking progress
When I go to the gym, I am the only person with a pad and paper writing down the weight and reps for every set of every exercise. I put notes after a set if I feel it wasn't good, maybe too much weight or I felt bad form. I put a note if the set was awesome. If I feel the weight was too light I write that too, so I know to move up next week.
I see people come into the weight room, throw some weight around and walk out. Do they know what they just did? Do they remember from week to week what they are doing? How do they judge whether to move up in weight?
It is such a tremendous help to be able to look back over the last couple times to see how you are doing. It's also great to just know what you are going to do today. It doesn't take a pre made spread sheet. All's you need is a pad of paper and a pen. You write the exercise, then the weight/reps for each set.
dumbell squats - 25/8, 40/8, 40/8, 40/8, 40/8
there you go, that's it. I did a warmup with 25 lb dumbells and then switched to 40 for four sets. If it felt good, I'll write that right after. If I feel I should move up, I'll write that.
I just wanted to let anyone know who thinks they don't have the time for it or have never done it that it takes no time and is ridiculously beneficial. You have to rest between sets, right? Just make a note on a pad, takes all of 3 seconds.
I don't focus on cardio much right now. But many people incorporate into their fat loss plan with much success. there are two basic types,
1) low intensity steady state (LISS) - this is probably what most people are familiar with, cardio that gets your heart rate (HR) at about 75% of its max value for 45 minutes. This puts your body in a fat burning state without risking muscle. I've also heard people use this term to refer to walking as well. You can't get your heartrate up as high, but you still can burn fat. low intensity workouts. These are workouts where your heart is like 70% max value, and you do it for roughly 45 minutes. Walking pretty fast at a high incline is also good. Running, elliptical, rowing, bicycle, stepper, all of these are good.
2) high intensity interval training (HIIT). this is a little more advanced, please search around for more info before doing this. It involves alternating between pushing yourself extremely hard (higher than 75% of the max HR) for a length of time (like a minute) and then slowing down and recovering for the next minute. The principle is, that by alternating like this, your body actually thinks you are exerting yourself at the high intensity for the entire time. So you can get the same workout in less time. HIIT workouts are more typically 20-30 minutes.
Many people recommend LISS on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Some people recommend this for HIIT as well although this seems a riskier way to lose fat as you may lose muscle as well. By doing cardio on an empty stomach, you force your cody to draw on fat storage instead of food in your system. Of course if you can't do cardio in the morning. Do it whenever you like. I don't think the effect of doing it in the morning is that big and you will still have a great benefit to your health doing cardio.
I've seen lots of people say that you should not eat anything for up to an hour after performing cardio. The fat burning process can continue that whole time. Although as soon as you eat something, it stops. You can and should definitely drink water. This will never stop fat loss. Water is necessary and should be drunk all day long.
Right now I walk as my cardio. I walk to and from work about 3 days a week. The one way trip is 2.8 miles and takes me about 40 minutes.
With respect to cardio as a fat loss tool this is something I wrote in early 2005: ďI grew up being a runner, in grade school I was in track and in highschool I ran cross-country. I use to think the best way to get into shape is just to run more. Burn more calories than you consume. But now I know that is not the case. Four years ago I went from 204 lbs down to 180 lbs with running upto 25 miles a week and trying to eat right. But when I stopped running because I got too busy I went (almost as quickly) back up to 200 lbs.
Then last year, using nutrition and weightlifting alone, with no cardio (I was doing it at first but hurt my leg), I went from 211 lbs down to 167 lbs, between Jan. and June. Now 7 months later I am still only 175 (I have since not done any weight lifting in that time, other than pushups, pullups. I am going to start up on free weights again soon).All of the success I had was based on weightlifting. The muscle I grew from that 6 month period of weight lifting has kept me going all this time. My increased muscle needs more calories than fat does. My metabolism has increased. Weightlifting will definitely a part of my life forever from now on.Ē
I since have started weight lifting again in March of 2005. Over that time, I have dropped about another 8 pounds of fat and can see all of my abs for the first time in my life.
Now I do not want to give people the impression that I don't like cardio and do not recommend it. The main thing I want people to see is that weights have a bigger impact on the amount of fat you have then cardio. But, with that said, I am going to make cardio apart of my life again.
I am slowly starting to run again. I really like to do it and I think that it is an important part of my health. I want to be in better cardiovascular shape, for my heart's sake. I have been going on a 3 mile run about once a week. I really don't think about doing it for fat loss. I think about improving my lungs and heart. So I don't worry about doing it first thing in the morning. I may work up to a few times a week, but I will make sure that I never get to the point where I am dropping muscle.
I hope I have given people an impression of what I feel is the most important things to understand about fat loss. This is all based on my personal experience and reading this forum. If you were to meet me in person and ask me how I lost my weight, the above would be my answer.
Appendix A: A prioritized list
I decided to try to prioritize lifestyle changes that will lead to fat loss. So the idea is start at the top and introduce one thing at a time. It is understandable that not everything can be implemented all at once or ever, so I hope this conveys my opinion of the most important things. If you are tyring to decide what to change and are overwhelmed, start at the top of the list. I tried to make these things as specific as possible so they are helpful.
1) Replace soda, fruit juice, ice tea, gatorade, any commercial drink with water. If you like to have a glass of orange juice each morning, that's fine. If you like to have six, that's not. Black coffee and tea is fine.
2) Do not, ever, stuff yourself. You should never have that stuffed feeling. I am not talking about feeling full. Feeling full is fine. But you should never be uncomfortably full. Eating slower will help you better identify how much food is needed. Keep this in mind, when you stop eating, the food is not going anywhere. Everything can be reheated. After you've had half a meal, just stop and see how you feel. You will not starve by waiting 20 minutes. If you are still hungry, then eat the other half of your dinner. Remember, you can always eat again later, so there is no need to put more food than you can handle in at any one time. Many times I would get this feeling while eating that I just have to finish what is in front of me. There is no need for this.
3) Don't let 4 hours go by without eating. Regardless of what you eat, doing this will prevent you from ever feeling starved. Not feeling starved and not feeling stuffed is the key to losing fat. Aim for six feeding times throughout the day.
4) Lift weights. Regardless of age or sex, lifting weights will help you lose fat. The amount of weight should be significant. By significant I mean that you should only be able to do 8-10 repitions in a row before your muscle is so tired it cannot lift the weight. After a minute or two of rest you can then repeat that. Do not believe that high weight, low reps is for getting bulky and low weight, high reps is for getting lean. This is not true. Builking up or becoming lean has nothing to do with weights or reps, it has to do with the amount of food you eat. Be sure to use post workout nutrition (see above).
5) Minimize the amount of sugar you eat. After lifting weights is the best time to eat it along with protein. Most everything we eat has the sugar content listed. This is the first food specifc change I am mentioning because I think it is the most important. This also involves feeling full and feeling starved. Let's compare eating a whole wheat bagel and eating a cinnabon roll. When you are eating the whole wheat bagel, you are not as satisfied, and when you finish you still may be hungry, but shortly after this will go away, it will be gradual. The bagel will be digesting in your stomach and the complex carbohydrates will be broken down into glucose and released into the blood stream. this will be a slow process over several hours. There will never be too much glucose in your blood at one time. Now when you eat the cinnabon roll it is loaded with sugar (glucose). This glucose does not need to be broken down any further. All of It can immediately enter the blood stream as fast as it can get there. This will cause you to feel satisfied immediately upon finishing it. There will now be a tremendous amount of glucose in your blood all at once. Way more than your muscles need for energy. More than your other bodily processes need as well. Your body is efficient. It will not let all this extra potential energy go to waste. It will take the glucose and turn it into fat and store it in fat cells for use at a later time. While it is storing the fat, there is no way for the body to be burning fat. This is not good, you want your body to be burning fat all day long. Your body can still burn fat while it is digesting the whole wheat bagel.
6) Avoid all snacks (Cookies, cake, ice cream, chips, etc.) or limit yourself to planned snacking if you are planning all your food.
7) Do not get takeout. Especially the really greasy stuff like: fries, pizza, hamburgers, chinese food. Cook for yourself. A great exception is a deli where they make sandwiches. This is prefectly fine as you can usually request everything you want on your sandwich and make sure it is healthy. Choose healthy condiments like mustard, tobasco sauce, fat free dressing rather than mayo, honey mustard or ketchup. Choose wheat bread or wheat wraps over white bread.
8) Change the type of food you eat. Eat more lean proein. Choose good carbs and good fats (see nutrition section above).
9) Burn extra calories several times a week through cardio. I think the key to cardio is to think of it as something that lets you eat more food, not something that is doing all the fat burning. The more food you eat while losing fat the better off you will be. Because your metabolism will stay high. The ultimate goal is to put your body in a slight calorie deficit every day. If you do cardio you can eat more clean food and still have a deficit.
10) At this point, if you do everything above and you still have time, you might as well go all out and log the food you eat. Calculate the number of calories you need to eat to lose a specific amount of fat each week. 1-2 pounds/week is recommended which is 3500 to 7000 calories. Eat a specific ratio of protein, fat and carbs (like 40, 20, 40, etc). Avoid eating carbs and fat together.