Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Exercise Less For Fat Loss Success

Exercise Less For Fat Loss Success
By Scott Tousignant, BHK, CFC
Creator of Unstoppable Fat Loss
Author of “The Fit Chic” and “The Fit Bastard”
Co-Author of “101 Great Ways To Improve Your Health”

97% of the people that I see working out in the gym are totally wasting their time.  You may argue with me and say that “Something is better than nothing”, but you are only kidding yourself.

How may people do you see in the gym who have been working out on a regular basis for years, yet their bodies have not changed at all?  Do you see these same people walking or jogging on the treadmill for nearly an hour or even more than an hour every day?  There’s a reason for this lack of results...

It’s ‘Lack Of Intensity’.
Now let me ask you another question.  Have you ever hit a plateau where the weight loss results that you were experiencing suddenly came to a halt?  What did you do at that point?  Did you add in another weight training session or increase your cardio by 15 additional minutes?

Then when you stop seeing results once again do you increase the amount of exercise even more all while cutting back on what you eat to the point where your pet rabbit is eating more than you?

I'll tell you what I'm seeing out there. People who think it’s necessary to spend 90 minutes in the gym 6 days a week in order to achieve any significant results.  Who’s got time for that?  I know with my busy schedule there’s no way you’ll catch me working out that much.

I’ll tell you what else I see in the gym.  People aimlessly wondering around with no plan and no structure.  Their just going through the motions lifting a weight that’s not challenging, walking at a speed that barely gets their heart rate going (because that's what the program says on the treadmill is best for fat loss), and doing the same old thing day in and day out.  Their rest periods are excessive and they certainly aren’t enjoying themselves.

And they wonder why they’re not seeing fat loss results.

What they are neglecting to realize is their intensity sucks!  Lets face it, challenging yourself can be difficult.  We have to step outside of our comfort zone and most people are just not willing to do that

If what I’ve just said has hit a little too close to home then it’s time that you think long and hard about why you are even going to the gym.

It’s time to get the intensity back into your workouts and here are the key ingredients that absolutely must be in place:

1)         You need to have purpose and passion at the foundation of each workout.  Purpose comes from realizing that this individual workout is a step toward achieving your ultimate fat loss or muscle building goal. 

Passion comes from realizing all the benefits associated with accomplishing your goal, such as looking hot in a bathing suit, getting compliments from your friends and spouse, landing your dream job or getting a promotion, increased confidence and self esteem, knowing that you will be around to play with your grandchildren or see your own children get married, and so much more.

2)         Make every workout count.  You’ve got to give maximum effort to every single rep of each set of every exercise you do.  One way that you can do this is by having an intense focus on the individual muscle that you are working.  Feel the muscle working and push it to exhaustion.  You need to connect your mind with your muscle.

If you’re going to go to the gym, you’ve got to give it everything that you’ve got!

3)         Choose a weight that is challenging and push it to momentary muscular exhaustion.  5 pound dumbbells usually don’t cut it.  Stimulate those muscles and force them to change to give you the defined body that you deserve.

4)         Cut your rest time right down.  There are times when I only allow 15 seconds rest between sets, and if I’m super setting or drop setting I may not rest at all.  This is the reason why many of my workouts only last for 20 minutes.  It’s also the reason why there isn’t a dry spot on my shirt at the end of the workout and my heart rate is higher than the people that have been on the treadmill for an hour.

I created The Fit Bastard & The Fit Chic Fat Loss workouts to be incredibly time efficient so you can get in and out of the gym in no time at all.  Most of the fat loss workouts can be done in 20 minutes.  The strength and muscle building phases last a bit longer, but you will never spend more than 45 minutes in the gym on any of my programs.

When you increase the intensity you can cut your workout time way down and it will be much more effective than the long drawn out programs that most people are doing.

5)         Continuous and consistent progress is a powerful way to increase your intensity.  If you are better this workout than you were the last and you plan on being better the next workout than you were this one, you will force yourself into increasing your intensity.

This is where using a journal really comes into play.  Record the workout that you did, along with the exercises, reps, weight lifted, rest period, and total time that it took you to complete the workout.  Make a note of how you feel and how challenging it was.  Create a rating system and rate each workout.

When you follow the above strategies you will have no choice but to cut your workout time in half because you simply will not be able to keep up with that pace.  Basically you are getting more work done in less time.

You have a choice.  You can continue to do what you’ve been doing and experience the same fat loss results or lack there of, or you can do what it takes to get your dream body and pick up the intensity.

You get what you put into your workouts.  Make them fun and always put your heart and passion into every single one.  Focus on your ultimate fat loss goal and know with absolute certainty that today’s workout has a significant impact on whether or not you will achieve it.

About the author:

Scott Tousignant, BHK, CFC is the creator of Unstoppable Fat Loss, "What separates the people who achieve fat loss success, from those who struggle to lose weight.”

Scott has also authored 2 books that are transforming the bodies of people around the world.  "The Fit Chic" and "The Fit Bastard" not only contain a FULL YEAR of workouts, they provide intense motivation to drive you to fat loss success.

You can grab a free month of workouts at the following sites:

Gals -

Guys -

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Donkey Calf Raise

Secret Training Tip #663 - Lengthwise Barbell Donkey Calf Raises

By Nick Nilsson

The Donkey Calf Raise is one of THE best calf-building exercises you can do because of the great stretch it puts on them. But what do you do if you don't have a donkey machine OR a partner to help you perform the exercise? Here's the solution.

The Donkey Calf Raise should be a mainstay of any effective calf-building routine.
It's simply one of THE best exercises for developing the calves. The reason is the strong stretch you can put on the calves at the bottom of every single rep because of how your body and legs are positioned during the exercise.

The Donkey Calf Raise, if you're not familiar with it, is simply a calf raise done in a bent-forward position. Your upper body is leaning over at 90 degrees and is horizontal while your lower body remains vertical. Then you just perform a calf raise from there!

You see, because the calf muscles (the gastrocnemius, to be specific) cross the knee joint, putting a stretch on the hamstrings also puts a greater stretch on the calves. So bending over at the waist in this fashion will put a greater stretch on your calves than if you were standing completely straight up and down.

But here's the problem...when you don't have a donkey calf raise machine OR a partner to sit on your back (like they're riding a donkey, hence the name), how do you perform this exercise?

Donkey machines are not common in all gyms and if you're training at home, I have a strong feeling a donkey calf machine wasn't on your priority list of purchases (though hopefully, a power rack was!).

One of the solutions I've come up with is using a dip belt to add resistance. You basically hang weight plates from your waist then bend forward and perform the exercise.

It works well but it's not a perfect solution either. The weight doesn't sit in the best spot to get the most out of the exercise (the belt ends up more on your lower back than sitting on the hips, where you'd get the best effect).

And, the stronger your calves are, the more plates you have to use. The more plates you have to use, the more awkward the exercise becomes and the wider you have to set your feet apart. It's not so bad when you're working with 2 or 3 plates. But I've gone as high as 6 plates and it gets VERY hard to perform the exercise effectively.

So here's my BETTER solution…

Instead of putting a partner or the pad of a machine on your back, you're going to put a BARBELL on your back…but not how you NORMALLY would put a barbell on your back.

You're going to put it LENGTHWISE down your back! (Don't worry - I will DEFINITELY have pictures and video of this one for you! It'll make it MUCH easier to understand the setup and execution of the exercise.)

In terms of positioning, I like to conjure up an image of Atlas carrying the world on his back. THAT is what your body position is going to be similar to while you're doing this exercise. You're going to be using a barbell as a lever type of machine, lifting up one end of the bar and using the other end as a pivot point.

This is a GREAT way to do Donkey Calf Raises…I find it's actually even MORE effective than using a machine or a partner!


This exercise should be done in a power rack not only for safety reasons but for ease of getting the bar into position.

The first time you do this exercise, you will need to experiment with the height that you set the safety rails - it'll vary depending on your limb length.

So the first thing you'll need to do is set one safety rail of the rack about 3 feet off the ground. The other safety rail should be set one or two notches LOWER than that first rail.

Now set a barbell on the rails. It should slope downward. Load a 45 lb plate (for starters) onto both ends of the barbell because even though you're only going to be lifting ONE end of the bar, you'll need to counterbalance it with weight on the OTHER end as well.

You're also going to need a calf block to do the calf raise itself on. Set the calf block underneath the end of the bar that's lower and make sure it's perpendicular to the bar (i.e. it would form a cross if you looked down on it directly from over top of the bar).

If you have a barbell pad, that will be helpful as well (a rolled-up towel works just fine, too). It helps to have a little padding for your lower back where the bar contacts it (set the pad down at the lower end of the bar to accomplish this).

Now we're going to test the height of the bar on the rails. Get yourself underneath the bar so that the bar runs down the length of your spine (like Atlas with the world on his back). Grasp the bar with both hands up near where it's resting on the higher rail - that's the pivot point of the exercise. Set your feet on the calf block for calf raises.

Barbell Donkey Calf Raises

Ideally, you'll want to have some bend in your knees at this point (before you lift the bar up). This is important so that when you're in the stretch position of the Donkey Calf Raise, the bar isn't hitting the lower safety rail and stopping the stretch.

So now that you're in position, straighten your legs and begin the exercise. Your legs should stay straight and stiff throughout the exercise to maximize the stretch on the calves.

Barbell Donkey Calf Raises

If the bar IS hitting the safety rail at the bottom, you'll need to lower that rail one more notch to make sure it doesn't.

Now it's just a matter of coming up into a calf raise! At the bottom be VERY sure to get a deep stretch. Come up fully into the calf raise at the top and squeeze the calves hard on each rep.

Once you've got the setup down, you can start adding weight to the bar. Don't sacrifice form or stretch for adding more weight, though. That'll defeat the purpose of the exercise.


This exercise setup is every bit as good as any donkey calf raise machine I've ever used...better, in fact, because your body isn't locked into the movement. Because the end of the barbell moves freely, you're not locked into the exercise and your body can find its own groove.

Also, this exercise beats using a partner for the simple fact that if you don't have a partner, you're out of luck! And if you need more resistance, you need to add more partners. Not so with this exercise!

So next time you're hitting calves in the gym, take a crack at this one. And never mind the strange looks you get from everybody else in the gym. You'll see THEM doing this exercise the next time they're working calves.

For more pictures and also a demonstration video of this exercise in action, click here:

This exercise was originally published in my "Powerful Training Secrets" membership site. If you're interested in MORE unique and effective training information, just like this exercise, definitely check it out now!


Nick Nilsson is Vice-President of the online personal training company BetterU, Inc. He has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been inventing new training techniques for more than 17 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding eBooks including "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss," "Muscle Explosion! 28 Days to Maximum Mass," "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of," "Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!" and "The Best Abdominal Exercises You've Never Heard Of" all available at . He can be contacted at betteru(at)

Monday, April 28, 2008

New at the Underground

I just heard from my buddy Zach Even-Esh that things at the 'Underground' are heating up! 

From what I hear there are some amazing new additions to his site and I felt that I needed to pass this along to you because they will directly help you pump up strength levels and introduce you to some new hard-core training tricks...

Here are some of 'What's New' at the USC:

- updates are every week, sometimes more than   once each week

- behind the scenes footage of how Zach trains   himself, uncut and raw!

- how to videos ranging from how to make your own sled with a tire, training the box squat for strength and hypertrophy, sled training workouts and more hardcore, in your face action that you will not find elsewhere!

- behind the scenes videos of what REALLY goes down at The USC Gymnasium, one of the

- brand new, 30 minute audio interrogation with Louie Simmons, where Lou talks about training young athletes vs advanced athletes / lifters, training sprinters, kettlebells, calisthenics, GPP vs SPP, training combat athletes and olympic lifting VS powerlifting!

- lots of interaction on the ego fre.e forum...where else on the web can we find a forum that is!?!


Now, I am a huge fan of what Zach is sharing and I for one am always paying close attention to his updates because I always walk away with at least two or three new ideas every time. 

I recommend signing up for his Underground community so you can have access to this same insider information just like me: 


Train hard and expect success,

Art Breshears

PS - Zach guarantees that you will love the awesome information within the 'Underground' so much that he backs it with a 100% no questions asked moola-back promise.  If you are not satisfied with the information for any reason just let him know and he will refund you completely with no questions asked. 

Take a no-risk-at-all membership at the USC today: 


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Using HIGH Reps To Build Muscle

Using HIGH Reps To Build Muscle? Three Ways To Do It That Will Shatter ANY Muscle Growth Plateau!
By Nick Nilsson

Normally, when you think "muscle," you probably think "low reps"...but I've got three ways to use HIGH reps to slap the muscle on you FAST.

When I say "muscle building," I'm sure the first thing that jumps into your head is NOT high-rep training!

In fact, when trying to build muscle, most trainers will actively stay FAR away from anything resembling high reps (and when I say high reps, I mean anything more than 13 to 15 reps per set).

Here's the thing...that can actually be a HUGE mistake!

Just like heavy weights and low reps, the higher rep ranges can be a VERY valuable and even ESSENTIAL tool in your muscle-building arsenal.

I've got three high-rep training techniques I want to share with you right now. And I'm going to explain EXACTLY why each one is critical to your muscle-building success.

1. Very Light Weight, Very High Reps
Yep, I know this sounds absolutely CRAZY. How can light weight and very high reps do ANYTHING for building muscle? Here's a hint…it's not about resistance…it's about physiology.

In order for a muscle to grow, first you've got to stimulate growth by overloading it with resistance - no argument there. But AFTER you've stimulated the growth, you've got to supply

NUTRIENTS to the muscle cells to help them rebuild.

What if your blood supply is poor to the trained muscle? Got a muscle group that doesn't pump up very easily? It's probably one of your hardest muscle groups to develop. Poor circulation means fewer nutrients get to that muscle for recovery and rebuilding, leading to reduced growth.

THAT is where light weight and very high reps come into play. You see, VERY high reps have the effect of increasing capillarization in muscle tissue (simply defined, capillaries are the tiny blood vessels where blood cells release their nutrients to the rest of the cells in the body).

Bottom line, you do a set of 100 reps and your body responds by increasing capillary density in the targeted muscle, which SETS THE STAGE for future muscle growth.

The high reps sets don't directly CAUSE muscle growth (the resistance isn't high enough), they just improve blood circulation to the target muscle so when you DO train heavy and for lower reps, your target muscle gets more nutrients and can grow and recover more easily.

Want to put this tip to work?

Pick a "hard to pump" muscle and at the start of EVERY workout you do for that bodypart (e.g. every time you train biceps), do a single set of 100 reps with a VERY light weight.

Basically, pick an exercise and just CRANK out the reps. Do this EVERY time you train that bodypart and you soon will start to notice a difference in how easily that muscle pumps up and how well it grows.

2. Moderate-Weight, High-Rep Training
This sure sounds like an oxymoron. After all, how can you use moderate weights when you're performing high reps!

As a matter of fact, you CAN. In fact, it's one of THE best training techniques you can use for building muscle FAST. It's a technique even elite powerlifters (who normally train with VERY low reps) use to increase muscle mass.

There are definitely certain exercises that lend themselves more to heavy-weight, high-rep training. Squats, for example, are the best example for this technique (you may be familiar with the popular "20-Rep Squat" program),

This moderate-weight, high-rep training has many of the same circulation benefits of the VERY high rep training but with the advantage of increased resistance, which will help directly stimulate muscle growth in addition to helping improve circulation.

Using myself as an example, I used squats with this technique and worked up to performing a set of 40 reps with 315 lbs (believe me, THAT was fun…). I've also managed a set of 25 reps with 225 lbs and a set of 70 reps with 135 lbs on the bench press.

This technique can be used with any exercise, really. You'll find some exercises work better for it than others but basically, you're taking a weight that is a bit lighter than your normal working weights and you're just focusing on cranking out the reps.

Like the previous technique, I find this is best done at the beginning of a workout when you're still fresh. You'll be able to get more reps out of the exercise that way. Some trainers like to use it as a back-off set (powerlifters generally use it this way), doing the high-reps with moderate weight after finishing with the heavier stuff.

So next time you're about to do squats, put a moderate weight on the bar and just see how many reps you can crank out! Forget about what you're going to do on the rest of your sets - just get as MANY as you can. Your legs will be hit with a whole new muscle-building stimulus!

3. High-Rep Partial Training
This final tip brings us into an interesting area. High-rep partial training actually allows you to do high-rep training with HEAVY weight! In fact, you will be AMAZED at how much weight
you can use with this style of training.

We're going to be getting the benefits not only of the increased circulation that I mentioned with light-weight, high-rep training, but we're also going to get the substantial muscle-building benefits of using HEAVY weights at the same time.

Another benefit…because you're using heavier-than-normal weights, you're going to be working your connective tissue very effectively as well. And, because you're using high-reps, you're going to be forcing a LOT of blood into that connective tissue, which is notorious for its normally poor blood supply. This helps immensely with strengthening and healing.

High-rep partial training is fairly straightforward to perform. It's best done in a power rack, where it's easy to adjust the range of motion. For example, using bench press, you can set the safety rails to a few inches below the lockout position.

Working in only that top range of motion (which is the strongest segment of the range of motion) means you can use a LOT more weight than you normally could for the full-range exercise.

So you set up the bench, set up the rails and add some weight. Now you just perform as many partial reps as you can! To give you an idea of weight and reps, I've done sets of 50+ reps with 315 lbs on high-rep lockout partial bench press.

High-rep partial training can be done at any point in your workout, as an addition to your "normal" training (1 or 2 sets) or as the complete bodypart workout on its own.

The Final Word
Overall, I'm a big fan of high-rep training for building muscle, when PROPERLY used. These three techniques are VERY effective for not only setting the stage for muscle growth but
actually building the muscle itself!

If you're interested in a program that makes use of ALL of these techniques, definitely check out my latest book "Muscle Explosion! 28 Days To Maximum Mass."

I make use of each one of these techniques during various phases of the program. When it comes to building muscle FAST, I've not found a program that works better:

Check out this great feedback I've received from one of the users of the "Muscle Explosion" program:


"I finished the last workout of 'Muscle Explosion' yesterday. I've gained close to ten pounds during the month of workouts. Not bad at 45 years old! I had the feeling this was going to be a tough system, and I was more than a little afraid of the five-days-in-a-row of heavy deadlifts. But I stuck with the plan, endured the feelings of physical shock during the workouts, and the soreness afterward.

Nick, you're really on to something here. I don't think I could personally continue at this intensity week after week, but what a fantastic growth spurt method.

I love the way you're 'pushing the envelope' and refining and advancing the art and science of natural bodybuilding. You don't just rehash the great ideas, you turbo-charge them!

- Tim Lauber


Here's that link again:


Nick Nilsson is Vice-President of the online personal training company BetterU, Inc. He has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been inventing new training techniques for more than 17 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding eBooks including "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss," "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of," "Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!" and "The Best Abdominal Exercises You've Never Heard Of" all available at He can be contacted at betteru(at)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Useless Supplements and Worthless Training Equipment

A Bitingly Sarcastic Look at Useless Supplements and Worthless Training Equipment
By Nick Nilsson

Read hilarious and brutally honest reviews of some of the worst supplements and exercise equipment on the market today.

Infomercials, stupid ads, terrible products and useless supplements are here to stay. Just because they're there doesn't mean we have to buy them. But it does mean we can (and should) have a laugh at their expense...

Please keep in mind, these are my own opinions, with which you might agree or disagree. I may change my mind about these things in the future but I will still be right.

1. Cortisol-Reducing Fat Loss Supplements

Ads for cortisol-reducing pills are all over the place these days. Cortislim, Relacore, CortAid, Cortisyn, Cortless in Seattle, I Can't Believe I'm Not Cortisolless, etc.

I have nothing but "respect" for a company that shamelessly shames people into buying their product by telling them they're a "member of the unhappiest club on Earth - the overweight club." I think it's wonderful how the cure to stress-related fat gain can be found in a glorified Vitamin C pill. The people peddling this stuff like that need to be knocked on the head WITH an overweight club.

Relacore's strategy? Herbal relaxants make you less reactive to stress so you don't secrete as much cortisol and therefore lose weight. Great theory! At least unlike other substances that make you "herbally relaxed," it doesn't give you the munchies.

I don't know about you, but I'm just plain sick and tired of products that say "Let's treat the symptoms and not the root cause! That way, people will have to stay on this stuff forever or all the weight will come back on because NOTHING ELSE HAS CHANGED IN THEIR LIFE." What a genius of a marketing technique. It's like putting a band-aid over your nose when you have a head cold. Sure, it stops your nose from running, but when the band-aid comes off, you're going to be up to your elbows in it.

2. The Ab Lounge

This is a "fabulous" new ab exerciser that's making the infomercial rounds. It claims to allow you to develop six-pack abs while lying in a reclined position. Just fold yourself up like a human omelette - it's just that easy! It's basically a Craftmatic adjustable bed without the mattress or the motor.

Unfortunately, the function of the rectus abdominus (the six-pack area of the abs) is spinal flexion (curling the spine forward) not hip flexion (bending at the waist like this machine forces you to do). Sit-ups work the abs isometrically (without movement) through hip flexion like this as well.

Don't waste your money on this unless you want to have somebody you don't like sit in it and be folded in half as a practical joke. They should have designed this thing with a clothes hanger built in to save everybody the time.

3. Carbohydrate or Fat Blocking Pills

Here's a newsflash - if you have to block your body from digesting something, maybe you shouldn't have put it down your gullet in the first place. And besides, what do you think happens to undigested, unused stuff like that as it makes its way through your digestive system? Bingo. Your body puts it out the back door in a "green apple quickstep" hurry.

If the focus of your diet is on getting away with as much as possible, you're simply not going to succeed in the long run. But on the bright side, at least you'll be able to catch up on some reading by spending half your day in the bathroom.

4. Electric Ab Belts

If you don't already know how useless these things are, let me be the first to tell you how useless these things are. They won't even keep your pants UP (at least a regular belt will do that much) much less help you make them looser.

You can't see your abs unless you burn fat. You don't burn fat by making muscles twith for a few minutes. If you really want to lose weight using this thing, hook up the electrodes to a metal knife and fork and try and eat with them.

5. Fat-Loss Creams

A topical fat-loss cream that actually worked would be a dream come true for so many people. Too bad they stink and I'm not just talking about the smell.

What would it take to convince me that one of these worked? Have a test subject use it on only HALF of their body. If they look like a stitched-together "before and after" picture, I'd believe something was happening there (heck, that's a good enough idea that I might just try it on myself someday!).

You want a fat-loss cream that works? Smear some fresh Wasabe (Japanese hot sauce - kind of like biting down a hot chili pepper) on EVERYTHING you eat. I can guarantee you'll lose fat because soon you'll hardly be able to eat anything!

6. Massive Weight Gain Formulas

It's always struck me as ironic that all the "massive weight gain" formulas show pictures of big, LEAN bodybuilders on the front. I guess the big, fat, bloated reality of it just wouldn't sell. Do we really need 3000 calories in a serving of anything?

If a supplement comes in a 40 pound bag and, if it was taken according to directions, this bag would last you only 2 weeks, it's no longer a's an alternative source of natural gas (if you or anyone you know has tried these supplements, you'll know EXACTLY what I mean!).

A number of years ago, the "Weider" supplement company did a research study on its "Mega Mass" weight gainer and saw an impressive increase in bodyweight. What they didn't include in their big glossy ads (for obvious reasons) was that people who took an equal number of calories in the form of TABLE SUGAR gained exactly the same amount of weight and muscle mass!

I'll let you draw your own conclusions but at least Hardee's restaurant, with their new 1500 calorie fat-burger bomb, isn't trying to fool people into thinking it's good for them. I can respect that honesty. If you bite into that hamburger thinking it's going to do you any good in any way, shape or form, then push the meat back in as it slides out the back of the sandwich and go buy your cardiologist a nice Christmas present.

7. Ready-To-Drink Protein Shakes

I want to shake the hand of whoever it was that first came to the realization that people will gladly pay FOUR TIMES AS MUCH for the exact same protein powder if you just add the water for them. He or she is a marketing genius.

8. "Proprietary" Supplement Formulas

"Proprietary" can be a very "clean" way of saying "we don't want to tell you how LITTLE there is of anything useful in this product so we'll call it a 'secret' and not tell you."

Granted not all proprietary formulas are like this - some are legitimate and useful. But if a product comes in a small 1000 mg capsule, and has 18 ingredients in it, I suggest you find out the effective doses of each of those ingredients. They may be included and listed just to make the product look good.

For example, Phosphatidylserine is an excellent (and scientifically-proven) cortisol-reducing supplement. It's included in many cortisol-blocking formulas. But consider this: an effective dose is 800 mg. If you can explain how they can possibly fit an 800 mg dose in a 1000 mg pill that has 17 other ingredients in it, I want you doing my taxes next year. On second thought, maybe not...

9. The Majority of Informercially-Sold Exercise Equipment

Normally, I don't like to make blanket statements about entire classes of exercise equipment but then again, sometimes I do. Bottom line, much of the stuff sold on TV and infomercials is just simply plastic-and-elastic junk pedalled to desperate people looking for a quick fix.

I'm sure this does not really come as a terribly mind-blowing, earth-shattering shock to you.

Until I watched these commercials a few times, I really never realized how much of an awful hardship it was to lie down on the floor and do a regular crunch. What a fool I was. Wouldn't our hunting and gathering ancestors be proud.

And judging by the demonstrators on TV, some people can't apparently even do a crunch without wrenching on their neck like they're trying to pull their head out of something (or someplace - I'll let you figure out where that might be).



The world will never be without terrible supplements or lousy exercise equipment. As long as there's a buck to be made off of people's laziness and insecurity, those things will exist. Your best defense is knowledge, a willingness to do what's necessary, and a good sense of humor when these things get just too stupid to believe!


Nick Nilsson is Vice-President of the online personal training company BetterU, Inc. He has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been inventing new training techniques for more than 16 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding eBooks including "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss," "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of," "Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!" and "The Best Abdominal Exercises You've Never Heard Of" all available at He can be contacted at betteru(at)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fat Loss & Fitness

Are You Caught Up In A Cycle Of Fat Loss & Fitness Confusion?
By Rob Poulos

As a member of a popular fitness center for a few years, I noticed countless others frustrated with their fat burning exercise routines and eating practices, working so hard and long but with virtually no improvement to show for it.  Several of my own friends and relatives would mention this new program or product they had just shelled out cash for that was the answer to their fat loss or fitness goals.  They were so excited about it and couldn’t wait to get started.

Then, a few weeks later, the same happy-go-lucky people that were once jumping with joy about their new plan to burn fat and get a new body became downright discouraged.  It was hard to watch.  I’d ask them how their fat burning plan was working and they’d tell me that it seemed pretty good at first, but they didn’t get the results they were expecting or they felt were promised.  They quickly became tired of following the daily workouts and found following the strict eating guidelines almost maddening at times.  So they hopped onto the next plan. 

Even worse, they became so frustrated with following these so-called exercise gurus’ programs, that they fell even deeper into unhealthy eating habits once they stopped the program.  Binging became their only form of satisfaction.  Forget about maximum fat burning, and talk about moving in the wrong direction.  What’s worse is that all of these people were following the typically recommended exercise and fad diets that were all the rage.  They were doing what everyone else was doing to burn fat fast.

After speaking with many of these friends and inquiring about their exercise routines, I noticed one common theme that kept popping up in our discussions…they were focused on the short term…their approach was wrong.  They weren't thinking of lifelong health and fitness, but instead they were thinking about burning fat and getting in shape for “swimsuit season”.  More specifically, they were also performing their exercise in a less than optimal manner.  And then I noticed this with many others at the fitness center I worked out in.  They just seemed to lack the fire or intensity in their fat burning workouts which I knew could turn their programs from nothing to something literally overnight.

But you know, you can hardly blame them, and you certainly shouldn’t blame yourself if you’ve fallen into the cycle of fad exercise and diet programs.   We all want to achieve what we know in our hearts we’re capable of so badly, and that’s why we’re such easy prey to this “get fit quick” mentality.

Most people are approaching health and fitness in the exact opposite way that they should be, and they're not going to burn fat because of it.  If you continually think of using exercise and nutrition as ways to lose a couple of pounds, or get in shape for summer, you're going to be disappointed with your results.  If you think of exercise, nutrition, and rest as separate things, you're going to be disappointed with your fat burning and fitness results.  If you think you need to spend hours a week in the gym or adhere to some strange unnatural eating strategy, you're going to be disappointed with your results.

What all of these approaches will do, is put you into the fat burning and fitness cycle of confusion that so many are stuck in these days.  If instead, you choose to forget what you thought you knew, and start off with the right approach, the approach that focuses on making changes in your lifestyle long term, you'll instantly improve your results by 1000%.  When your approach includes combining proper exercise that takes very little of your time, nutrition the way nature intended you to eat that is simple to understand and follow, and the rest and recovery that is vital to lifelong vitality and energy,  you'll experience an awakening of both body and mind.  Plus you'll burn more fat, too.

If you choose the path most often taken by those looking to improve upon them selves, you'll most likely end up like most of them.  Confused, frustrated, unhappy, burnt out, injured, sick, or worse.  Did I mention very uhappy with their fat burning progress as well?  Instead, you can choose to embrace a lifestyle that includes brief, progressive, and intense resistance training, eating a diet full of nutrient rich foods, drinking tons of water, and getting plenty of quality sleep and rest.  But know that when you do so, you'll be joining the select few who understand that one of the true secrets to life long fat burning and fitness is not found on a fad diet or in a bottle on the shelf of your local health store.

Claim your free copy of Rob Poulos's "7 Secrets Of Permanent Fat Loss & Fitness" at his website:

Rob Poulos is a celebrated fitness author, fat loss expert, and the founder and CEO of Zero to Hero Fitness.  Rob created the world's most efficient method for fast and permanent fat loss with his "" system to help those looking to put an end to restrictive fad diets, long boring cardio workouts, and the need for super-human willpower for good.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Muscle Fiber Types

Learning The Muscle Fiber Types
By Vince DelMonte

One factor that many people overlook when they do all their research about the best type of muscle building strength training program to go on is the various types of muscle tissue and what type of training is best suited to them. While you can’t differentiate between muscle fibers from your outside appearance, on the inside of the muscle tissue body, there are three main different fibers present.

Type A Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers

The first type of muscle fibers are known as Type A Fast Twitch and are responsible for the most forceful contractions generated, however, will fatigue the fastest. For example, if you were to perform an all out set of 3 reps for bench press, you would predominately be using these type A muscle fibers. They tend to have very large motor neurons and very low mitochondrial density. They also have a low oxidative capacity, meaning they will not be able to utilize oxygen very well. It is for this reason that they are not suited to endurance type of activities, because during these exercise variations, oxygen must be present in order to sustain the muscular contractions. The major type of fuel that these muscle fibers are going to rely on is creatine phosphate and stored muscle glycogen (glucose). They will not utilize stored body fat at all due to the fact that they are only able to continually contract for between one and about 20 seconds.

Type B Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers

The next muscle fiber is also classified as a fast twitch muscle fiber but not to the extent that type A are. This muscle fiber type is mostly utilized in activities that are relatively short in duration, but are not at an all out pace. For example, if you were to sprint 100 meters, you’ll be using mostly type A. If on the other hand, you are to do a running interval at about 80-90% of your max capacity for 30 seconds, this would utilize the type 2A more. Some of the characteristics of the type B are that they still have a large motor neuron (not as large as Type A though), they are on the intermediate scale as far as being resistant to fatigue, and they have a high degree of mitochondrial density. These muscle fiber types are also able to use oxygen to a great extent, as demonstrated by their higher resistance to fatigue and longer duration of contraction abilities.

Slow Twitch

Finally, the third type of muscle fiber that you have in your body is classified as slow-twitch. This is the muscle fiber type you would use if you were to run a marathon or any other extended duration, medium-to-low intensity activity. These muscle fibers have a very high ability to resist fatigue and have a large oxidative capacity. They are also relatively slow to contract, therefore you cannot expect a great deal of force generation from these muscles, thus, will not be intended for exercises requiring a high degree of power. They are very high in terms of mitochondrial density and have a large number of capillaries running throughout their bodies.  This is to enable sufficient oxygen to get to the muscle tissues so that they can carry on the extended duration of muscular work they are intended to do. These are also the muscle fibers that will also rely more on fat as fuel, as opposed to strictly using carbohydrates or creatine phosphate.

Training The Muscle Fiber Types

So, now that you’re familiar with the three major classes of muscle fiber types, it’s time to recognize how you would train each effectively. Since type A are your primary force generators, if you wish to get a higher performance from them you’ll need to train using exercises that require you to max out your effort for a short period of time. Think sprinting at full speed, 1-5 rep sets for lifting, and any type of plyometric activities.

Next, to train your type B muscles fibers, you’ll want to slightly decrease the force with which you are to contract while simultaneously increasing the time over which you contract ever so slightly. For example, perform 30-45 intervals repeated ten times with about a minute or a minute and a half at a low to moderate pace.  For your weight training activities, aim to target the 6-10 rep range to utilize the fact these muscle fibers have a higher oxidation ability.

Finally, to improve your slow twitch muscle fibers, think endurance. This type of fiber will usually require the greatest amount of time to train for improvement because you’ll want to focus on simply going ‘longer’.  If you’re a runner, try and run longer. If you’re a biker, bike longer. If you’re a swimmer, swim longer – you get the point. This type of muscle has the ability to go for extended periods of time so this is exactly what you want to train it to do.

So, next time you are trying to sort out your training plan, make sure to take the various muscle fiber types into consideration. Doing so will allow you to make the most out of your training program so you get the exact results you’re looking for.

About the Author:

Vince DelMonte is the author of No Nonsense Muscle Building: Skinny Guy Secrets To Insane Muscle Gain found at
He specializes in teaching skinny guys how to and quickly without drugs, supplements and training less than before.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Choosing A Gym

Choosing A Gym - 10 Things To Look Out For
By Vince DelMonte

Now that you've made the commitment to starting a workout program, the next step is choosing a gym that you will feel comfortable going to on a regular basis. If it isn't, chances are you aren't going to stick with any type of regular plan and will eventually just stop going altogether.  By being sure your gym is a good fit for you, you help take yourself one step further to realizing your health and fitness goals.

Who really wants to spend twice as long driving to and from their gym as it takes them to do their workout? After a long day of work you are not going to want to spend a good hour fighting traffic, another hour working out and then another half an hour driving home. Think about either choosing a gym that is located close to your house or else on the drive to or from work.  This is a great option since if you have to pass by it every day, you’ll be reminded of the fact that you should be working out if you choose to skip it.

Membership Cost
Gym memberships can really vary in costs so it’s a good idea to shop around before making that final commitment.  Also consider how long you are signing the contract for as this can vary too.  Many gyms like to rope you in for years and if you aren’t quite sure it’s going to be a long-term arrangement, you’re better off finding something that is more short-term.

Additionally, if you can wait until around late summer or New Year to sign up, you will find that often many gyms will have special promotions going on at this time.

Membership Demographic
Another factor to consider is the membership demographic that goes to the gym. Some women will prefer going to an all-ladies gym as it increases their comfort factor. For others, a mixed gym is the perfect solution because half of the reason they go there is to socialize and perhaps even find a date.  Whatever your needs, make sure you enquire about this and take it into consideration.

Additional Benefits
You will want to ask if the gym offers any additional services or benefits along with your basic membership and if there is a fee for these.  Such examples would be daycare services, physiotherapy, massage therapy, nutritional counselling, and fitness testing.

Operating Hours
Always be sure to check the hours of operation of the gym. If you are an early morning exerciser you will want to be sure they are able to cater to this preference. Additionally ask about their holiday policies. Many people enjoy working out on the holidays because it is a relaxed day for them when they can really get in a good workout. If you are looking forward to this and then go and find out the gym is closed, you are going to be more than disappointed.  Similarly there are some people who prefer working out late at night so you need to be sure that if this is the case you will be able to do that.

Personal Training Services
Having some good, qualified personal trainers on hand is critical to helping you realize your full fitness potential.

Even if you are fine with your program right now, consider that in a year down the road you might be plateauing and in need of a ‘check-up’ so to speak on your current regime.

Having the option available of knowledge staff cannot be stressed enough.  Unfortunately many gyms hire almost anyone who has a basic interest in fitness, so be sure to enquire about the actual certifications these trainers hold.

Group Fitness Classes
Be sure to ask about all the various group fitness classes that are offered at the gym you are considering.  Often, when boredom kicks in on your workout plan, this is just the thing to get you going again.

These days there are currently thousands of different fitness class styles available, so there is sure to be something that suites your interest.

When checking up on this, again inquire if there are any additional fees associated with it so you are prepared for when you go to sign up.

One very important factor you want to look for is the cleanliness of the gym. You do not want to be working out on equipment that is not clean as gyms are a place where germs can be in high concentration. Also make sure they have towels and spray bottles in various places around the gym to clean up after workouts, and have a look at the bathrooms and change rooms to make sure they are up to your standards.

Type/Quality Of Equipment
Looking at the type and quality of the equipment offered in the gym is another thing you must factor in.  If you prefer free weights, make sure there is a large number of dumbbells present because during rush hours, these could be hard to come by.

Likewise, if you prefer doing your weight training on guided machines, you’ll want to be sure they have enough variety that you can work all the necessary muscles on your body.  If you find yourself doing a lot of cardio training as part of your workouts you will want to be sure there are ample machines available. Nothing is more frustrating than getting to the gym after work to find out that there is not a single machine in sight available for you to use.  Ask if they offer a sign-up list where you can write your name and time down to reserve a machine. This is a great solution that many gyms have now come up with to make sure their members can get their workouts in.

Cancellation Policy
Finally take a look at the gym's cancellation policy. If you sign up for a 3 year membership and then end up moving after a year due to work, are you going to be partially refunded? It will be a bad situation if they offer no refund or transfer membership.  Some gyms are good about this and some are not so you will have to weigh the likelihood of your cancelling among other things that are discussed above when making your decision.

So, be sure you are considering all of these essential factors when looking for a gym membership. Overlooking just one could lead you to being less than happy with your workout facility and this could end up being the reason why you do not stick with your program.
About the Author:

Vince DelMonte is the author of No Nonsense Muscle Building: Skinny Guy Secrets To Insane Muscle Gain found at

He specializes in teaching skinny guys how to build muscle and gain weight quickly without drugs, supplements and training less than before.

© 2006-2008, Vince DelMonte Fitness. All rights in all media reserved. You may reprint this article so long as the article and author bio are reprinted intake and all links are made live. This article may never be sold individually or as part of a package.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Serious Snacking Tips

If you are really interested in a toned and healthy body, it’s a given that you pay as much attention to what you eat as what exercises you do. Most people are aware of this basic fact, and design a diet that they think will help them lose weight. But somewhere along the line, extra calories always seem to creep in without the dieter even being aware of what is happening. They might buy some buttered popcorn at the movies, or help themselves to a few cookies that were brought to work, or have a little bit of what their kids are having. Snacking can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. But if you snack smart, you can happily nibble the day away without feeling it in your waistline.

Learn the Labels – Learn what the ingredients list means. And also make certain to take careful note of the number of servings per package. Too many people think if an ingredients list claims that something contains “100 calories,” then that means it actually contains 100 calories in the package. In reality that means 100 calories per serving, and there might be several servings in the package. You should also be wary of any package that espouses that it has “0 grams of trans fat.” In truth, if a product has less than half a gram of trans fat per serving it can legally be said to have 0 grams. So how do you know if a product really has trans fat? By looking at the ingredients list. If you see “partially hydrogenated” anywhere on there, then that snack just isn’t for you.

Don’t Trust anything that’s Labeled Diet – This goes hand in hand with the advice above. The government strictly regulates what can be labeled “low fat” or “low calorie.” But even then, these labels can be misleading. Usually, it’s low fat or low calorie “per serving,” so if you eat two or three servings in a single sitting, you can be eating a surprisingly large number of calories and fat.

Don’t Snack on Things Just to Keep Yourself Busy - The majority of snacking occurs just to fight boredom or pass the time. More diets are ruined this way than what you might believe. If you are bored, try to find something to do. If you just have a habit of keeping your mouth busy, try a stick of chewing gum instead. It only has five calories, and can last a long time.

Fruit Is Your Friend - Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and have a bunch of nutrients and antioxidants that your body needs. For example, an apple has a hundred calories (and usually costs less than those “hundred calorie packs” that you can find at the grocery store). You might also try opening up a bag of baby carrots instead of salty potato chips the next time you sit down to watch a movie. If you want a really filling snack, try trail mix that comes with dried fruit. The nuts in trail mix has a lot of “healthy” fats, which help give you a sense of satiety.

Christopher W. McCombs is an Orange County Fitness expert. Chris teaches a radically different approach to losing fat to local OC residents. Chris is also a Fitness Business expert and helps fitness trainers all over the globe to triple their income while cutting their work hours in half.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Burn Fat Faster

3 Vital Principles You Must Know To Burn Fat Faster
By Rob Poulos

By now, most people realize that adding lean muscle mass to your body does wonders for your metabolism and fat loss, as well as a host of other benefits that allow you to live out your life as healthy as possible.  Unfortunately, most people I see performing weight training or resistance training at the gym are spending too much time with the exercise and not working hard enough.  They're not going to burn very much fat this way.  The secret I’ve found is that training for lean muscle and strength requires the proper application of three vital elements that are often ignored by those who attempt it.  Those three elements are:


-Volume & Frequency


The intensity is how hard it is to perform for you, given your current condition.  The volume and frequency are how much and how often you perform the exercise.  The progression is related to how much the demands increase from workout to workout.  Most times, weight training, is carried on for too long and performed too many times per week.  It is unfortunately treated much the same way as so-called fat burning aerobic exercise.  But they are vastly different forms of exercise.  In fact, they’re complete opposites.

Aerobic exercise typically is characterized by low to moderate intensity, high volume and frequency, and little progression.  Anaerobic exercise, or weight training, must be performed at a high intensity, lower volume and frequency, and with progression to be as effective as possible.  No amount of weight training performed at a low or moderate intensity will provide significant muscle or strength building benefit beyond the first few weeks.  On a high level view, it is simply the combination of sufficient intensity, coupled with attempting to increase either the number of repetitions of a weight training exercise or the amount of weight used each and every workout that will keep your body evolving into the ultimate fat burning machine!

You also have to pay attention to other details when creating an effective and efficient routine to maximize your workout and minimize your time spent in the gym.  Why?  Because perhaps even more important that the workout itself is the rest period that follows.  You’re not going to get stronger or more muscular if you don’t rest.

You see, when you strength train properly, you are creating tiny injuries to your muscles.  You then have to let the body repair itself, and then overcompensate and build upon the already existing amount of muscle mass you have.  If you workout again before that process in completed, you’ll experience lackluster, if any, muscle building or fat burning results.  So make sure to get proper rest between workouts, which typically means a minimum of 1 to 3 full days of rest between properly executed resistance workouts.

Now upon hearing the idea that you’ve got add muscle to your body to ensure the maximum fat burning environment, a lot of people, women especially, start thinking, “But I don’t want to get bigger, I want to lose weight!”  But this is such a shame, because it’s very unlikely to happen, and countless women are losing out on these fat burning benefits because of it. You see, most men and almost all women simply lack the necessary genetic traits required to produce such muscle gains that would cause them to look bulky or overly-developed to most people.  These traits include testosterone levels, muscle fiber makeup, muscle belly length, and others.

Those competitive bodybuilders you’ve seen on TV and in the magazines are the genetic cream of the crop for muscle development and they are typically on heavy doses of anabolic steroids, growth hormone, and other bodybuilding drugs.  Don’t be fooled by these images, or those that scare you into thinking this way.  Also, lean muscle is more compact that fat, as it takes up less space in your body, so you will actually be getting smaller when replacing the fat on your body with lean muscle.

Please understand that you’re putting yourself in the best position to succeed with your fat loss and fitness goals when you perform properly conducted intense resistance training, no matter who you are.  But make sure you understand and apply the three critical principles I discussed above.  If you don’t, you’ll ultimately be unhappy with your results, both in your ability to burn fat and realize the lean, strong, and healthy body you deserve.

Claim your free copy of Rob Poulos's "7 Secrets Of Permanent Fat Loss & Fitness" at his website:

Rob Poulos is a celebrated fitness author, fat loss expert, and the founder and CEO of Zero to Hero Fitness.  Rob created the world's most efficient method for fast and permanent fat loss with his "" system to help those looking to put an end to restrictive fad diets, long boring cardio workouts, and the need for super-human willpower for good.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

WHY More Moms are NOT “into” Resistance Training

Top 3 Reasons WHY More Moms are NOT “into” Resistance Training

By Holly Rigsby, CPT

Moms have mistakenly believed that resistance training shouldn’t be the foundation of their fat loss program. Here are the three most common myths about resistance training and the “truth” about each.

1. Moms believe the answer to Fat Loss lies in CARDIO
Can't blame you, Mom! The fact that we are being bombarded with misleading ads and articles on a daily basis boasting that the best way to burn fat is to simply DO more cardio.

From a Popular Beauty Magazine:
“The formula for great abs is crunches + cardio = results. Cardio burns fat, uncovering the incredible abs you’ll have thanks to those crunches. So hop on that exercise bike, elliptical or treadmill for 30 to 45 minutes at least three times a week…”
The “cardio burns fat” myth is so rampant, that the very support groups and forums women turn to for answers are littered with faulty advice.
From a Forum:
“We do 15 mins on the bike, 15 on the elliptical, 15 on the treadmill, 1000 metres on the rowing machine (we're building that up slowly because we hate it).”

Who has time for this? We are Moms, we are busy, we do not have the time, energy or patience to attempt a fat loss program that is solely based on cardio. And if you “hate” something – how much longer are you going to keep up with it – especially if you are no longer seeing results?!

Cardio is only ONE piece of the Fat Loss puzzle. When it comes to Fat Loss cardio’s role is much less important than resistance training. More is simply not better. Cardio does very little to boost your metabolism and extended sessions not only eat up your precious time with little to show for it, but also eat up your lean muscle, slowing your metabolism to a crawl.

2. Moms are scared of "Bulking Up"
Just the mention of the word muscle makes a lot of women cringe. Images of huge bodybuilder-type bodies make them run in the opposite direction. Yet amidst this protest, Moms want to look lean and toned. Well without muscle, it is impossible to attain this desirable physique.

Women simply do not have the ability to bulk up. Men, however, are able to add lots of muscle because:

One - they have the hormones to do so (we do not, well not naturally)
Two - they lift weights in an entirely different fashion
Three - they must eat a tremendous amount of food - muscle need a LOT of calories to grow and get bigger.

So Moms, unless you are taking Testosterone boosting supplements, lifting VERY heavy weights and eating an upwards of 5,000 calories a day - you will NOT bulk up.

3. Moms think Resistance Training is just TOO Complicated!
“It's so much easier.” “It is less intimidating.”  “It’s less complicated.” These are the very attitudes that lead busy moms to jump on a treadmill and walk or run for 45-60 minutes. The thought of picking up some weights seems complicated and undesirable especially when there are more “mindless” options from which to choose.

Sure, if you are new to the concept of Resistance Training, an introduction to this type of workout can make you throw your hands up in frustration.....what exercise, what weight, set, super sets, repetitions, rests....Oh My!

The best way to begin a resistance training program is to use your own body as weight. No gym membership, no fancy equipment....just a small space and a few minutes of your time.

Movements such as squats, lunges and assisted push ups are great examples of effective bodyweight exercises that any Busy Mom can do. Establishing a place to begin builds confidence, boosts energy levels and in turn increases metabolism. Moms naturally want to do more!

From there it is quite simple to keep your workouts challenging by using equipment many moms already have at home; a stability ball, dumbbells and a medicine ball.

When you have an effective resistance training workout plan, that not only fits your fitness goals, but your lifestyle, your plan becomes a priority and you achieve a lean, fit body before you know it!

Now you understand not only the importance resistance training plays in your fat loss efforts, but also how easily it can be integrated into your routine. It is time to adjust your mindset and your priorities. When you put your time, energy and effort into a resistance training regimen you guarantee yourself a faster metabolism and a toned, tight, energetic body.

Holly Rigsby, CPT, MAT America’s #1 Fat Loss Expert for Busy Moms and the author of Fit Yummy Mummy.  Holly has worked with over 300 Mom's to help them lose the stubborn baby fat, get their pre-baby body back and reclaim their yummy-ness. Don't miss her Free Report: Top 5 Busy Mom Metabolism Boosters.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fat Loss Program

The Perfect Time to Begin your Fat Loss Program
By Holly Rigsby, CPT

"I'll Begin When...."
Sound familiar? Waiting for the right time to begin your fat loss program?
I'm wondering something....

What is the magic in waiting?
What do you expect will suddenly be different one week, two weeks, a month from now?

As Busy Moms - there will always be too much to do. And guess what....there is no “perfect time” - except the time that you can take RIGHT NOW - to make a firm decision to begin something that is Overflowing with benefits into your life and the lives of your family.

If I told you that you could...

~ Have more energy
~ Eliminate cravings
~ Dramatically reduce stress
~ Drop a Jean Size
~ Feel good about yourself again

Would you smile, look me in the eye and say...."No thanks, not right now, the time just isn't right" Huh...?

If not now -to Look and Feel great.... then when? And when that time arrives....what is to prevent you from making the exact same statement? Then you look up to find another year has passed!

So what are you hoping to accomplish by putting off what you deserve to have right now?

It is quite unfortunate that during the holiday season, on the cusp of the New Year where "resolutioners" come out of their sedentary lifestyles for a brief moment as they promise..."This time I will lose weight" - only to find themselves defeated yet again as they quickly revert back to old habits.

It's pretty obvious that this approach just does not work. Taking the easy route, the route that allows us to stay with unsupportive, familiar habits is giving us nothing in return - in fact it is draining and taking away your 3 sources power ... your valuable time, money and energy.

Super Busy Mom, Sarah Z. came to an amazing realization...

"One of the things that has been holding me back was needing to feel like everything was 'in place' (more or less) before I took the time to exercise.

I felt like I had to 'have time' to exercise.

Nope, I've got to make time, I know...but now I know what that really means.

It means making time to do it REGARDLESS OF THE CHAOS around me. I am now starting to visualize a messy house (not too hard :) a stack of piles waiting for me -- and me exercising anyway -- and then tacking all that stuff AFTER I've exercised."

This is a brilliant realization and one you need to take to heart, moms.

"Your actions express your priorities"

What statement are you making about what matters most to you if you put it on the back burner?

Moms - It's Time! Time to make your health and fitness, your ability to reclaim your pre-baby body, your ability to look in the mirror and feel good about what you see a Priority starting today. Fit Yummy Mummy is your solution to putting your priorities into action.

Holly Rigsby, CPT, MAT America’s #1 Fat Loss Expert for Busy Moms and the author of Fit Yummy Mummy. Holly has worked with over 300 Mom's to help them lose the stubborn baby fat, get their pre-baby body back and reclaim their yummy-ness. Don't miss her Free Report: Top 5 Busy Mom Metabolism Boosters.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ideal Body Measurements

The Ideal Body Measurements

By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS

I’m often asked what my body measurements are and/or what are the ideal measurements for a bodybuilder or a classical muscular male physique. Believe it or not, there are actually many formulas for determining the “ideal body proportions.” On the other hand, you might want to take them with a grain of salt…


QUESTION: Tom, there is one thing that I really would like to know – your measurements. You have a physique that (in my opinion) is ideal and your photos are a real inspiration to me. I am able to move up in weight gradually with my workouts, so I know I am building muscle, but I never have a measurement to shoot for – e.g. biceps, chest, waist, hips, etc. Also, it seems like certain ratios (for example, chest to waist ratio, and maybe there are others?), would be helpful also. My thinking is that if my waist and hips are “growing” faster than my chest, then that might be an indicator that I am gaining fat where it likes to show up first (hips and waist). The measurements I have of myself are: chest, waist, hips, biceps, forearms, thighs, calves. Thank you.

ANSWER: Personally, I no longer take my measurements, although I did regularly when I was a teenager. I do, however think it’s a great way to chart progress. Circumference measurements give you feedback about how well your training (and nutrition) regimen are working and let’s you catch yourself if certain body parts are lagging behind others, or in the case of waist and hips, if you’re gaining body fat.

The waist measurement is an important one, because when your waist circumference is going down, you know your overall body fat is going down. Also, when your waist shrinks even a little bit, it tends to completely change the way you look – even if you don’t gain any muscle, a narrow waist creates an illusion of broader shoulders. Abdominal fat and a large waist measurement is also a health risk.

There have been all kinds of different formulas proposed over the years for the “ideal proportions”, but I never aimed for a certain measurement myself. Bodybuilding is a very visual sport. The judges don’t come up on stage and measure your arms in a bodybuilding contest – you are judged on appearance.

I’ve always gone after a certain “look” as opposed to a certain measurement. I cut out photos of bodybuilders whose physiques I admire and want to emulate and rather than having a measurement in mind, I always have a picture of my ideal in mind.

On top of a solid base of muscle size, I simply work towards symmetry, so all muscles are developed equally, with no single muscle groups that are out of proportion compared to others - for example, a huge chest and rib cage with small arms looks silly - huge arms and small legs looks un-symmetrical as well.

I’m not all that hung up on weighing a certain amount either, although I do weigh myself regularly. The main reason I monitor my weight closely is because in the off season, I’m always interested in gaining more lean body mass and prior to competition I have to make a weight class (middleweight has a 176 1/4 lbs cutoff. )

I’m 5’ 8” tall and I weigh 174-176 for competitions. That is very much a “false” weight, however, because I easily lose 6-10 pounds of water weight in the three days before a contest. By the Monday after a Saturday contest, my weight is usually back up to 180-184 or so. Off season, I weigh about 195-200 lbs. My off season body fat is usually around 9-10% and before contests it’s around 4%.

Years ago I do remember measuring my arms and they were 17 1/2” cold and 18” pumped. That was a long time ago. I would imagine they’re bit larger now, but who knows. My waist is 31-32” most of the year, even smaller before contests (last notch on the lifting belt!)

These are somewhat typical off season / pre contest height, weight and body fat measurements for a natural bodybuilder. In the professional and open federations (not drug tested), those weights and measurements might be considered “small.” However, a 17-18 inch arm on a lean and proportionate body can look very impressive.

Steve Reeves for example, was known as one of the most symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing bodybuilders of all time, even though he was not “huge” by today’s standards.

Reeves wrote about ideal measurements frequently and was always striving for his idea of perfection in this regard (and came close to achieving his own personal ideal). One of his criteria for ideal proportions included having his arms, calves and neck measure the same.

Steve Reeves Measurements:
Arms: 18.5 inches
Calves: 18.5 inches
Neck: 18.5 inches
Thighs: 27 inches
Chest: 54 inches
Waist: 30 inches

In his “classic physique” book, Reeves said his formula for “ideal proportions” was as follows:

Muscle to bone ratios:
Arm size= 252% of wrist size
Calf size= 192% of ankle size
Neck Size= 79% of head size
Chest Size= 148% of pelvis size
Waist size= 86% of pelvis size
Thigh size= 175% of knee size

Steve Reeves’ height and weight chart for a bodybuilder (natural)
5’5” 160lbs
5’6” 165lbs
5’7” 170lbs
5’8” 175lbs
5’9” 180lbs
5’10” 185lbs
5’11” 190lbs
6’0” 200lbs
6’1” 210lbs
6’2” 220lbs
6’3” 230lbs
6’4” 240lbs
6’5” 250lbs

In the book Brawn, Stuart McRobert published the old “John McCallum formula for “challenging yet realistic” measurements for “hard gainers. His formula is based on wrist measurement and was also published in the book Super Squats:

John McCallum’s realistic measurement ideals for hard gainers
1. 6.5 times your wrist gives chest girth
2. 85% of the chest girth produces the hips
3. Take 70% of the chest girth for the waist
4. 53% of the chest gives the thigh girth
5. The neck size is 37% of the chest
6. 36% of the chest produces the upper arm girth
7. The calves come out a little less at 34%
8. The forearms get 29% of the chest measurement

Incidentally, McRobert’s book Brawn has an entire chapter called “expectations” which discusses the truth about measurement claims.

I find all these measurement ideals very interesting, but personally I take them with a grain of salt.

Be careful with some of the formulas for “ideal measurements”, because if they were based on steroid using and or pro bodybuilders, you may get discouraged by trying to pursue an impossible goal for a natural bodybuilder or the measurements of someone with a totally different bone structure than you have.

Measurements - especially arm measurements - are also frequently exaggerated. Twenty inch arms, for example, are rare and when you actually see them in person, you realize just how massive they really are. But somehow beginners and natural athletes get the idea in their head that bodybuilding success means 250 pounds and a 20 inch arm.

The truth is, a 17 to 18 inch arm on a ripped 175-180 pound physique with excellent balance, symmetry and proportion can look much larger than it really is – it’s an optical illusion of sorts.

Some of these guidelines for “ideal proportions” are the “Grecian” or “classical” ideals while others are ideals for bodybuilders. In either case, keep in mind they are subjective – they’re just someone else’s opinion of what is an ideal measurement. The only opinion that matters in the end is your own.

Train hard and expect success,

Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS
Lifetime Natural Bodybuilder

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilder, certified personal trainer and freelance fitness writer. Tom is the author of "Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle,” which teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using secrets of the world's best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism by visiting:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

High Intensity Interval Training

Steady State Cardio 5 X More Effective Than HIIT????
By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short, has been promoted as one of the most effective training methods ever to come down the pike, both for fat loss and for cardiovascular fitness. One of the most popular claims for HIIT is that it burns “9 times more fat” than conventional (steady state) cardio. This figure was extracted from a study performed by Angelo Tremblay at Laval University in 1994. But what if I told you that HIIT has never been proven to be 9 times more effective than regular cardio… What if I told you that the same study actually shows that HIIT is 5 times less effective than steady state cardio??? Read on and see the proof for yourself.

“There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.”

- Mark Twain

In 1994, a study was published in the scientific journal Metabolism by Angelo Tremblay and his team from the Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory at Laval University in Quebec, Canada. Based on the results of this study, you hear personal trainers across the globe claiming that “HIIT burns 9 times more fat than steady state cardio.”

This claim has often been interpreted by the not so scientifically literate public as meaning something like this: If you burned 3 pounds of fat in 15 weeks on steady state cardio, you would now burn 27 pounds of fat in 15 weeks (3 lbs X 9 times better = 27 lbs).

Although it’s usually not stated as such, frankly, I think this is what some trainers want you to believe, because the programs that some trainers promote are based on convincing you of the vast superiority of HIIT and the “uselessness” of low intensity exercise.

Indeed, higher intensity exercise is more effective and time efficient than lower intensity exercise. The question is, how much more effective? There’s no evidence that the “9 times more fat loss” claim is true outside the specific context in which it was mentioned in this study.

In order to get to the bottom of this, you have to read the full text of the research paper and you have to look very closely at the results.

13 men and 14 women age 18 to 32 started the study. They were broken into two groups, a high intensity intermittent training program (HIIT) and a steady state training program which they referred to as endurance training (ET).

The ET group completed a 20 week steady state aerobic training program on a cycle ergometer 4 times a week for 30 minutes, later progressing to 5 times per week for 45 minutes. The initial intensity was 60% of maximal heart rate reserve, later increasing to 85%.

The HIIT group performed 25-30 minutes of continuous exercise at 70% of maximal heart rate reserve and they also progressively added 35 long and short interval training sessions over a period of 15 weeks. Short work intervals started at 10 then 15 bouts of 15 seconds, increasing to 30 seconds. Long intervals started at 5 bouts of 60 seconds, increasing to 90 seconds. Intensity and duration were progressively increased over the 15 week period.

The results: 3 times greater fat loss in the HIIT group

Even though the energy cost of the exercise performed in the ET group was twice as high as the HIIT group, the sum of the skinfolds (which reflects subcutaneous body fat) in the HIIT group was three times lower than the ET group.

So where did the “9 times greater fat loss” claim come from?

Well, there was a difference in energy cost between groups, so in order to show a comparison of fat loss relative to energy cost, Tremblay wrote,

“It appeared reasonable to correct changes in subcutaneous fat for the total cost of training. This was performed by expressing changes in subcutaneous skinfolds per megajoule of energy expended in each program.”

Translation: The subjects did not lose 9 times more body fat, in absolute terms. But hey, 3 times more fat loss? You’ll gladly take that, right?

Well hold on, because there’s more. Did you know that in this oft-quoted study, neither group lost much weight? In fact, if you look at the charts, you can see that the HIIT group lost 0.1 kg (63.9 kg before, 63.8 kg after). Yes, the HIIT group lost a whopping 100 grams of weight in 15 weeks!

The ET group lost 0.5 kilograms (60.6 kg before, 60.1 kg after).

Naturally, lack of weight loss while skinfolds decrease could simply mean that body composition improved (lean mass increased), but I think it’s important to highlight the fact that the research study from which the “9 times more fat” claim was derived did not result in ANY significant weight loss after 15 weeks.

Based on these results, if I wanted to manipulate statistics to promote steady state cardio, I could go around telling people, “Research study says steady state cardio (endurance training) results in 5 times more weight loss than high intensity interval training!” Or the reverse, “Clinical trial proves that high intensity interval training is 5 times less effective than steady state cardio!”


If I said 5 X greater weight loss with steady state, I would be telling the truth, wouldn’t I? (100 grams of weight loss vs 500 grams?) Of course, that would be misleading because the weight loss was hardly significant in either group and because interval training IS highly effective. I’m simply being a little facetious in order to make a point: Be careful with statistics. I have seen statistical manipulation used many times in other contexts to deceive unsuspecting consumers.

For example, advertisements for a popular fat burner claim that use of their supplement resulted in twice as much fat loss, based on scientific research. The claim was true. Of course, in the ad, they forget to tell you that after six months, the control group lost no weight, while the supplement group lost only 1.0 kilo. Whoop de doo! ONE KILO of weight loss after going through a six month supply of this “miracle fat burner!”

But I digress…

Back to the HIIT story – there’s even more to it.

In the ET group, there were some funky skinfold and circumference measurements. ALL of the skinfold measurements in the ET group either stayed the same or went down except the calf measurement, which went up.

The girths and skinfold measurements in the limbs went down in the HIIT group, but there wasn’t much difference between HIIT and ET in the trunk skinfolds. These facts are all very easy to miss. I didn’t even notice it myself until exercise physiologist Christian Finn pointed it out to me. Christian said,

“When you look at the changes in the three skinfold measurements taken from the trunk, there wasn’t that much difference between the steady state group (-6.3mm) and the HIIT group (-8.7 mm). So, much of the difference in subcutaneous fat loss between the groups wasn’t because the HIIT group lost more fat, but because the steady state group actually gained fat around the calf muscles. We shouldn’t discount simple measurement error as an explanation for these rather odd results.”

Christian also pointed out that the two test groups were not evenly matched for body composition at the beginning of the study. At the beginning of the study, the starting body fat based on skinfolds in the HIIT group was nearly 20% higher than the ET group. He concluded:

“So while this study is interesting, weaknesses in the methods used to track changes in body composition mean that we should treat the results and conclusions with some caution.”

One beneficial aspect of HIIT that most trainers forget to mention is that HIIT may actually suppress your appetite, while steady state cardio might increase appetite. In a study such as this, however, that can skew the results. If energy intake were not controlled, then some of the greater fat loss in the HIIT group could be due to lowered caloric intake.

Last but not least, I’d like to highlight the words of the researchers themselves in the conclusion of the paper, which confirms the effectiveness of HIIT, but also helps put it in perspective a bit:

“For a given level of energy expenditure, a high intensity training program induces a greater loss of subcutaneous fat compared with a training program of moderate intensity.”

“It is obvious that high intensity exercise cannot be prescribed for individuals at risk for health problems or for obese people who are not used to exercise. In these cases, the most prudent course remains a low intensity exercise program with a progressive increase in duration and frequency of sessions.”

In conclusion, my intention in writing this article wasn’t to be controversial, to be a smart-alec or to criticize HIIT. To the contrary, additional research has continued to support the efficacy of HIIT for fat loss and fitness, not to mention that it is one of the most time efficient ways to do cardiovascular training.

I have recommended HIIT for years in my Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle program, using a 1:1 long interval approach, which, while only one of many ways to do HIIT, is probably my personal favorite method. However, I also recommend steady state cardio and even low intensity cardio like walking, when it is appropriate.

My intentions for writing this article were four-fold:

1. To encourage you to question where claims come from, especially if they sound too good to be true.
2. To alert you to how advertisers might use research such as this to exaggerate with statistics.
3. To encourage the fitness community to swing the pendulum back to center a bit, by not over-selling the benefits of HIIT beyond what can be supported by the scientific research.
4. To encourage the fitness community, that even as they praise HIIT, not to condemn lower and moderate intensity forms of cardio.

As the original author of the 1994 HIIT study himself pointed out, HIIT is not for everyone, and cardio should be prescribed with progression. Also, mountains of other research has proven that walking (GASP! - low intensity cardio!) has always been one of the most successful exercise methods for overweight men and women.

There is ample evidence which says that obesity may be the result of a very slight daily energy imbalance, which adds up over time. Therefore, even a small amount of casual exercise or activity, if done consistently, and not compensated for with increased food intake, could reverse the obesity trend. HIIT gets the job done fast, but that doesn’t mean low intensity cardio is useless or that you should abandon your walking program, if you have the time and if that is what you enjoy and if that is what’s working for you in your personal situation.

The mechanisms and reasons why HIIT works so well are numerous. It goes way beyond more calories burned during the workout.

Train hard and expect success,

Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS
Fat Loss Coach

Reference: Tremblay, Angelo, et al. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism. Vol 43. no 7 (July). Pp 814-818. 1994..

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilder, certified personal trainer and freelance fitness writer. Tom is the author of "Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle,” which teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using secrets of the world's best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism by visiting: