5 Fat Loss Tips

Let’s face it, no one likes to diet. Just mentioning the word conjures up feelings of anxiety, hunger pangs, and most of all, suffering. But here’s something you probably don’t know: you don’t need to suffer to burn fat fast.

Ketosis is a good example of a dieting idea gone wrong. You see, just a few short years ago many fat loss gurus claimed that entering into ketosis (a metabolic state that forces your body to use ketones, by-products of fatty acid metabolism, for energy) was necessary for fat loss. This is accomplished by severely restricting all carbs, as close to zero as possible.

There are two problems with seeking ketosis. First, you’re depriving your body of many fruits and vegetables that contain healthy, metabolism-boosting nutrients. Second, ketosis makes you feel like crap because your brain functions better when some carbs and their corresponding nutrients are present. Many figured it was necessary for fast fat loss, but it proved to be a lesson in futility. To the contrary, simply reducing your carbohydrate intake is often sufficient to get that fat burning.

With that in mind, here are the five steps you should take to boost fat burning, fast! No suffering or calorie counting required.

1. Big Breakfast: Most people skip breakfast, have a medium-sized lunch, then gorge themselves at night. This is a sure-fire recipe for fat gain. Your first meal of the day should be the largest, highest calorie meal. Research has demonstrated that people who front-load their calories have a higher metabolism and burn more fat than those who back-load their calories.

2. Limit Carbs in the PM: Your body works better when moderate amounts of carbs are available for neurotransmitter production and glycogen replenishment, just to name a few. Start your day by eating one piece of fruit with breakfast (this is a simple way to boost your calories). An organic apple is my favorite, but any will work. For the rest of the morning hours consume any form of berries as your fruit source. For the second half of the day focus on fibrous vegetables with each meal. This step helps control the insulin, the fat-storing hormone.

3. Start with a Salad: One of the simplest ways to control your hunger is to eat a salad before your meals. This is especially effective at night when most people want to pig out. You’ll eat less, and feel satisfied, because it takes time to chew, and it allows for your brain to process feedback information about satiety. Research has demonstrated that those who eat a salad before a meal end up eating fewer calories before they feel full.

4. Stay Hydrated: Water is essential to metabolic processes. Research indicates that those who drink more water burn more calories. Your urine should always be clear. If it’s not, you need to drink more water. A good trick is to drink 2-3 glasses of water as soon as you wake up. This jumpstarts your hydration for the day. Plus, when people drink enough water they often look leaner and feel less bloated.

5. Exercise 5 Hours per Week: I can’t make up a fat loss list without mentioning exercise. Most people already go the gym around three times per week, for an hour at a time. This is a good start. Simply find time on the weekend for another hour, and throw a few 20-30 minute workouts into your week and you’re good to go.

Here’s a simple solution for an extra few workouts: two days each week go to bed 30 minutes earlier and wake up 30 minutes earlier. Spend that extra 30 minutes in the morning doing some sort of exercise that gets you sweating.

As a rule of thumb, it’s recommended to break up the five hours into three hours of resistance training and two hours of energy systems training. For the energy systems work, you don’t need to run on a treadmill, and you definitely shouldn’t sit on an exercise bike. Perform fun, challenging activities that require you to constantly move in different directions. Soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, racquetball, etc. are all excellent options.

On a different note, for any of you who are suffering from joint pain, I’ve got an awesome DVD that’s coming out in a few days. I’ll keep you posted.

Here are my two latest articles:

3 Reasons to Lift Explosively for T-nation. Click here to read.

Build a Death Grip in Men’s Fitness, October 2008 issue.

Stay focused,
CW

Get Specific!

“I want to lose fat,” said the guy who’s sportin’ a keg in his midsection instead of a six-pack.

I’d say that 99% of the people out there want to lose fat. And what percentage actually do it? Specifically, what percentage actually reach their goal of ideal leanness? Not many.

The first problem with saying you simply want to “lose fat” is that it’s way too general. An essential key to success is setting specific goals: the more specific, the better. Generalized goals lead to subpar results. Instead of saying you want to lose fat you should say, for example: I want to lose 3 inches off my waist. Now you have a specific, measurable goal.

But that’s not enough. Instead of saying you “want” something, you should outline specific steps you’ll take to reach that goal. In essence, “I want to lose 3 inches off my waist” should metamorphose into a series of steps that you follow every day. Here’s an example:

Goal
Lose 3 Inches Off My Waist

Action Plan
1. I will consume no more than 50 grams of carbs per day.
2. I will eat 6 small meals per day.
3. I will consume one gram of protein per pound of body weight.
4. I will jump rope for 10 minutes per day.

…and so on.

First, be specific with your goals. Second, put an action plan in place. Merely wishing for fat loss will not cause it to happen. In order to reach your goals you must put a specific action plan in motion that coincides with your goal.

Seems simple enough, right? But do you do it?

If not, start today.

Empower

It’s probably no surprise that I get a lot of emails every week. A lot. Generally speaking, the questions fall under two categories.

1. How to design a program to fit the person’s goal.
2. How to design a program to fit the person’s goal.

When I say “program,” I’m not simply referring to sets and reps because those variables don’t constitute a program. A “program” is the complete package: strength training, nutrition, mobility work, and energy systems training. Miss any one of those and it ain’t a complete program.

The problem, if I can be so blunt, is that many of the people who send me program design questions haven’t read my book, Muscle Revolution. And given that I can’t address all program design elements in every email (unless I sold my bed and replaced it with an office chair and computer) it’s nearly impossible to give answers that will make a significant impact and get you closer to your goals.

The good news is that for around $40 you can gain a lifetime worth of program design knowledge. My goal is to empower you.

All you need to do is click here.

Stay Focused,
CW

Think Big

Welcome to my first installment into the realm of Blogdome. I guess I’m kinda late to the game since most of my colleagues have effectively tapped into this ever-growing resource. It seems that almost everyone has a blog these days. And you know what? I get a kick out of most of them. Whether the blogger in question is Lou Schuler, Alwyn Cosgrove, Jason Ferruggia, or Andrew Heffernan, it seems almost everyone has something to say about nearly everything.

Time for my two cents.

As I thought about my inaugural blog, I figured it would only make sense to write about what I consider the most important component of success, health, and fitness. So I’m here to tell you what I think it is…wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me do what any writer should do and build up the story from the beginning.

Here’s the question that’s been asked by a few intelligent people who, more often than not, developed very lucrative careers: Do successful people think different than unsuccessful people?

Before I get to the nuts and bolts of it all, let me qualify my discussion by saying that “success” can be defined any way you want. I simply define it as the place in life you want to be, relative to where you are now (assuming there’s a difference between those two places). Of course, I’m being figurative when I mention the word “place” since it’s not so much a physical location as it is a mental location.

Do successful people think different than unsuccessful people?

Many experts, books, and seminars have attempted to answer that question. The “answer” keeps resurfacing in many different forms. You could go back to Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” or you could read T. Harv Elder’s “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” or you could reference the latest text that attempts to answer this question by picking up a copy of “The Secret.” If you believe the answer that’s been exposed by Dale Carnegie, T. Harv Elder, or The Secret, there’s something that super successful people understand that the rest of us don’t. Put another way, it seems that their state of mind is what really makes them unique.

Since I’m a neuro guy I always feel vindicated whenever the solution to a puzzle points directly back to the brain, especially when we’re talking about enhancing our success. Indeed, our mind is our most powerful tool, no matter how cliche it sounds. So let’s look at some unique pieces of research that gives a glimpse into the power of what lies between our ears.

One of my favorite pieces of research was based on imagined contractions. Let me explain.

In 1992, the lab of two scientists, Yue and Cole, performed a study to demonstrate the power that our mind has over our muscles. The studied consisted of two groups of people. The first group performed a strength training exercise for the pinky finger, five times per week, for four weeks. The second group imagined performing the same exercise for the same frequency and time-frame. In essence, the group that imagined the contractions sat quietly and didn’t move a muscle. And to make sure they didn’t move a muscle the lab hooked up their pinky muscle to an EMG to make sure no contractions took place.

At the end of the study, the group that performed the actual strength training improved their strength by 30%. What about the group that simply imagined the strength training exercise? They improved their strength by 22%!

I still get chills when I think about that study.

Another demonstration was with the classic study that Sigmund Freud performed way back in the day when he convinced one of his hypnotized patients that he was holding a burning cigarette in his hand (little did Freud’s patient know, but the burning “cigarette” was actually a piece of chalk). When Freud touched the piece of chalk to his patient’s arm, a welt appeared as if he’d been burned by a cigarette.

From here, I could talk ad nauseam about the power of the placebo effect. I spend a lot of time reading research papers, and most of them are about as entertaining to read as the ingredients on a shampoo bottle. But I always get a kick out of the results that are demonstrated by the group that got the sugar pill. Indeed, sometimes the sugar pill group get results that are comparable to the drug group!

A few times each year, it seems that another fly-by-night company comes along and puts out a hair regrowth package replete with pills, massage techniques, and some goopy crap to smear all over your scalp. Everyone knows this stuff doesn’t regrow hair. Well, everyone except for those who don’t have hair. So these poor, bald saps plop down a hundred bucks to buy the “new and improved” hair regrowth formula. And you know what? I bet many of the follicle-challenged fellas out there do regrow some hair because they’re so damn convinced that the product works. After all, if none of these hair regrowth products ever did anything, they wouldn’t reappear with every new season.

And all of this supports my position that the mind is really more powerful than we’ll probably ever understand. So it stands to reason that if you can imagine an exercise and get stronger; if you can develop a scar from a inocuous piece of chalk; if you can regrow hair with a concoction that consists of nothing more than filtered water and a few herbs, well, you can surely harness that power to improve your body, health, and wealth, right?

So, it’s my assertion that successful people became successful because they focused on goals, no matter how unattainable, that rewired their neural circuits to attain those goals.

Well, that’s what this blog is for: to help you reach a new level of success, whether it’s building more muscle, losing fat, living a pain-free life, or rewiring your brain to achieve everything you want out of life.