Fitness and Health is not something you should try. It’s a long individual process that you should personalized. Being skinny, the number on the scale, the way you compare yourself to others is not how you do it. Finding a trustworthy source of information (believe me, your TV set is not) is worth the investment. Find a way you believe in and give it a fair chance. It’s not going to happen in a matter of weeks. Give yourself time.
It’s been a crazy couple of months here at Bodhifit and I really can’t complain. Posts are becoming a bit rare but I rather posts useful information than worthless sh*t. About 3 months ago, I received an email from a London, UK strength coach interested in a 1 week internship. As I already conducted some before, I wanted to change the formula. I asked him what kind of internship he was looking for and replied that he was interested in knowing everything about the fat loss subjects. As there are so many things involved in fat loss, I wanted him to be more specific. I asked him about his past and present clients, success stories, struggling issues with clients, and a little curriculum of his previous experiences. That way, I could incorporate all the missing elements into the internship, to give a more individualized and personal approach.
After receiving his credentials and little story about what he did, I had just enough information to build a full week internship. However, I always need to evaluate them to see if they understand exactly what they did and follow up on their results. Following their evaluation, I do a little interview on what they are looking for health, physique, and performance wise, so I can understand their train of thoughts when they build their own personal program and diet, because if you can’t set up your own plan, how can you set up other people’s plan?
Turns out that Luke completely understood what he had to do on the subject of program design but like many good trainers, over thought the periodization process which was one of his concerns in the first email he sent me. For athletes, periodization is a must since there is always a given date to get in optimal game shape, but for regular Joes, trainers tend to forget that planning the road with the end results in mind is as important as setting goals. So the first day was mostly on how he should work on his program design and how he can achieve maximal results by using periodization for his own program and his clients. We also trained twice in that first day, morning workout using Weight releasers and PM workout was mostly load shifting techniques ‘à la Jerry Telle’.
Rest of the week was planned around Olympic lifting sessions at FXV performance gym with Pierre Roy. For those who want to learn how to do Olympic lifts properly, Pierre is the go to guy. Here is his story. We also touched subjects such as functional medicine, lab tests, how to interpret them and how to market your personal training business. One of the best references in personal training development is the Personal trainer development centre from my friend Jon Goodman. Loaded with information and is one of my references when someone wants to develop their skills as a coach.
Trainers fail to understand that clients invest in personal training but also in a relationship. Clients come to train and get results but if you go sergeant slaughter on them at every workout, even though you get results, they won’t come back. Having the perfect balance between being a trainer, mentor and a friend to a certain extent is hard, but if you know how to set limits and keep the relationship professional, your career will go a long way. Another problem I often see is to Over Teach, in other words, they try to make something simple, so complicated. Correcting or teaching an exercise shouldn’t be a lecture. I’ve seen trainers talk for about 2 minutes straight to show a simple split squat. If you cannot teach the proper technique in more than 2 steps at a time, you need to revise your program design; the exercise is probably too hard for your trainee.
We finished off the week with me evaluating Luke while he was interviewing a new client. One of his tasks was to elaborate a 6 month plan for two case studies, with the complete program design and nutrition protocol which Luke passed with honors. Take a look at what happened during the week. Follow this link if you want his take on his experience.
1- Don’t sleep
That’s not a big secret. No sleep, nothing works. Actually, Americans are sleeping less and less for a multitude of reasons. Researchers have reported that women who sleep 5 hours or less per night generally weigh more than women who sleep 7 hours per night. The 2006 American Thoracic Society International Conference, showed that women who slept 5 hours per night were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain (an increase of 33 pounds or more) and 15% more likely to become obese over the course of the 16-year study, compared to those who slept 7 hours a night[i]. This one is very simple to explain. Less sleep means lower leptin levels which bring on the cravings roller coaster. Since you have more time to eat, you go towards bad choices like sweets and junk. Lack of sleep interferes with your ability to metabolize carbs efficiently, it is much easier for your body to store bodyfat, increase your insulin resistance, your blood pressure and your risk of having heart disease.
Problem solver: SLEEP! Do what you have to do in order to get a proper sleep pattern. I don’t care if you have to go out to meet friends, you need to sleep to feel and look better, they can wait a day or two. Most problems have a solution. You need to work late? What I would do is go to bed earlier and wake up earlier as well. Do your work in the morning while you have breakfast. Afraid you won’t fall asleep because everything is fresh in your head before going to bed? Write everything down on a piece of paper and this way, your mind will be empty. I wouldn’t suggest to open your computer prior to bed to write all your thoughts and ideas for your work, looking at a computer screen is like starring at the sun, it gives you a daytime signal which will wake you up better than wake up pill. Chances are that if you are like me, you will have many tabs open on some social network sites, articles, business, news and you will go back and forth between 4 or 5 tabs…not a great sleep inducer.
2- Skip meals
Sumo wrestlers eat only two very large meal a day to gain as much weight as possible. Do I really need to say more? I will anyway. They have to consume as much as 20,000 calories a day split in two and they have to nap after both meals. Another trick they have is to skip breakfast. According to Dr. Wayne Callaway, obesity specialist at George Washington University, Leaving the breakfast out of the equation will always trigger overeating later in the day and is also the best way to screw up your metabolism.
Problem solver: Unless you want to look like a sumo wrestler and you would like to wear a G-string diaper, keep it up my friend. I can tell you that it is one of the most common mistakes I see people do in my practice, and as soon as I incorporate small balanced meals every 3 to 4 hours in the day, results start to show very fast.
3- Eat low fat
Although fat is still being accused to be the main culprit of nowadays obesity’s epidemic[ii], this is why the American heart association and American diabetes association preach for a low fat diet which in my opinion is an outdated advice. However the latest research mostly disapproves and are really questioning the association between a high fat diet and higher levels of body fat[iii] [iv] [v] and that weight loss on low fat diet is mostly modest with a low bodyfat loss overall [vi]. Hard to disagree when the fat consumption in the USA has decreased in the past thirty years from 42% to 34% [vii]of dietary energy when we find that the obesity pandemic keeps on rising.
Problem solver: Now, don’t start deep frying everything you eat, but make sure you get all sorts of fats, even the saturated ones. Ask your grandparents how and with what did they do their cooking, Lard and butter! No margarine or low fat pam! Keep your meals balanced with a good source of protein, leafy greens and colored veggies, and a good source of fat such as nuts, avocado, oils, butter, etc…Fat will not get you fat. If the research do not convince you, who will?
4- Don’t drink water
The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. Are you having trouble reading this? Drink up! Remember that water serves us as a lubricant, forms the base for saliva, regulates the body’s temperature, and helps regulate our metabolism.
Problem solver: According to Charles Poliquin, here’s the recommended amount of water you should drink. 0.6-0.7 ounces per pound of bodyweight, or 39 ml per kg of bodyweight. Therefore, 120 to 140 ounces for a 200 lbs man or 3.55 to 4.14 liters for a 91 kg man [viii].
5- Never change your program
“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” – John Maxwell
I know you like what you are doing now. You must be so strong when you are doing those bicep curls in front of the mirror. Your benchpress went up incredibly in the last 4 months that you turn heads in the gym when you rep it out with your 2 plates on each side. The thing is that while you get some muscles stronger, some are getting weaker, proportionally speaking. Muscular imbalance is the main cause of injuries.
Problem solver: Change your program son! You are only as strong as your weakest muscles. My best advice; change before you have to…
6- Use fat burners
Yeah Yeah! You read supplement adds like ‘’this fat burner will speed up your metabolism like if you lived in hell permanently’’ or ‘’you will burn fat so much that you neighbour will feel the burn from his house’’. Those ads look so appealing that you want to buy a case of it, now. The problem with fat burners is the after effect. I have NEVER seen anyone having long lasting results after using fatburners, NEVER. What makes matters worse is after you have finished the bottle. For about a month you had so much energy that you trained like a madman (or woman) for ninety minutes to two hours, 5 days a week, and you felt great. Now that the bottle is done, you decided to stop them for a while, just so you won’t get used to them, ya right. The fact of the matter is that you trained yourself towards overtraining and you smashed your adrenals so hard that they are as flat as a pancake (google adrenal fatigue syndrome, I bet you have most of the symptoms). What’s funny is that even though you trained so hard, you didn’t feel like eating, (sarcasm warning) and it’s probably not because the fat burners almost always contain some kind of appetite suppressant. So go back to point #2. Now that you feel like shit and have no energy, you still have to train if you don’t want to gain back the weight. So what do you do? Buy another bottle of that fat burner. By now, you should know where I am going with this.
Problem solver: Instead of using fat burners, stop procrastinating or finding excuses and eat properly or in a couple of years from now you’ll end up like point #2. Use natural supplements, get your bio-signature done. Everyone that went through the program had amazing result. They felt healthier, stronger, brighter and felt like a new person.
7- Take at least one energy drink a day.
“The caffeine content of energy drinks varies over a 10-fold range, with some containing the equivalent of 14 cans of Coca-Cola, yet the caffeine amounts are often unlabeled and few include warnings about the potential health risks of caffeine intoxication,” says Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., one of the authors of the article that appears in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence (September 2008)[ix]. I freaked out when I saw the annual revenue of this ever growing industry, a whopping 5.6 billion and a growing rate of 55% each year. The biggest target for these energy drink companies are teens and in my opinion are the most vulnerable. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the cans looks so bad ass, with names like; Rockstar, No Fear, Amp, Adrenaline Rush, and Full Throttle. What’s sad is that nearly 30% of energy drink users interviewed say they have “‘weekly jolt and crash episodes’” and nearly 20% said they experienced heart palpitations when drinking these products. It says a lot on the state and energy of the next generation. Something needs to be done.
Problem Solver: If you are already healthy and need a mental boost, there is no other way to boost your energy. But seriously, do you really think that you can sell energy in a can. It starts from your habits. If you can’t wake up in the morning, maybe it’s because you need to go to bed earlier, and if you do go early and need to sleep all the time, take a look at points number 1,2,3,4 and 9, I am sure you will find an answer by using at least one of the problem solvers.
8- You have some defective genes:
You may be missing only one gene that is very important for DNA repair, to reduce homocysteine, for the detoxification of various toxins, helps in mood regulation and for cognitive function. The good news is (for those who are in the same boat) that as much as 50% of the population is missing that gene, the MTHFR gene aka methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. One of its most important roles is to make new cells which happens very often (read – all the time), for DNA repair which helps in the fight for cancer and all degenerative diseases. This defect impairs the function of an enzyme that turns on folic acid (B9) which is involved in cell replication and growth. In Greece, researchers examined 30 subjects with metabolic syndrome and 60 control subjects and concluded that MTHFR should be included as a risk factor[x].How can you know if you have that gene defect? Although you can go to the doctor and order a simple lab test kit, a simpler way to test it is to eat asparagus and if your urine smells later on, it means you have that gene defect. Those with the defect will have a harder time to break down the amino acid asparagine, which gives the urine that distinctive smell. It is a sign of poor methylation and linked with the MTHFR gene.
Problem solver: Methylator plus is what you need. It supports he methylation process by providing the natural folate L-5-methyl tetrahydrofolate with B6 and B12, choline and trimethylglycine.
9- Eat cereals for breakfast.
The breakfast of champions, like cereals and toast are part of healthy and balanced fat butt (poliquinism). The problem with grains is the rapid spike of insulin you get from eating it. The rapid absorption of glucose after consumption of high-GI meals will produce a series of hormonal and metabolic changes that will provoke excessive food intake throughout the day[xi].
Problem solver: Eat meat in the morning with nuts. Protein will kick up your metabolism for the rest of the day and the healthy fats from the nuts will boost up your tyrosine levels which are crucial for your concentration and mental alertness. The low levels of insulin needed to process the protein and fat will keep your blood sugar at optimal levels and will help you maintain a perfect energy balance throughout the day, without the negative hormonal cascade that a high carbohydrate breakfast can lead you to.
10- Eat before you go to bed.
You can’t help it; you have to eat before bed because you are afraid you won’t fall asleep since you are soooo staaaaaarving!
Problem solver: #1, you probably have skipped meals throughout the day. It seems like you want to look like a sumo wrestler, keep it up, you’ll wear a diaper soon enough. All joking aside, since you did not eat enough throughout the day, your body is craving food, calories, anything to compensate. So tomorrow, eat 5 balanced meals throughout the day, including a meat and nuts breakfast, and I garan’dam’tee that you won’t be as hungry at night and you’ll sleep like a baby too.
#2: You ate like a pig for diner, so your blood sugar is going way down, crashing and you need something to bring it back up, so it’s your fault. If you do what I say in reason #1, you won’t be tempted to overeat for diner and won’t be craving junk at night. Just do it for a while and you’ll see.
[i] Sleep More, Lose Weight Getting Enough Snooze Time May Be The Best Diet Secret of All, By Mary Shomon,
[ii] Rolls BJ, Shide DJ, (1992) The influence of dietary fat on food intake and body weight. Nutr Rev. 50:283–290.
[iii] Dietary fat in relation to body fat and intraabdominal adipose tissue: a cross-sectional analysis, DE Larson, GR Hunter, MJ Williams, T Kekes-Szabo, I Nyikos and MI Goran ,Department of Human Studies, University of Alabama at Birmingham 35294- 3360, USA. Abstract/FREE Full Text
[iv] Nicklas TA (1995) Dietary studies of children: the Bogalusa Heart Study experience. J Am Diet Assoc. 95:1127–1133.
[v] Kant AK, Graubard BI, Schatzkin A, Ballard-Barbash R (1995) Proportion of energy intake from fat and subsequent weight change in the NHANES 1 epidemiologic follow-up study. Am J Clin Nutr. 61:11–17.Abstract/FREE Full Text
[vi] Katan MB, Grundy SM, Willett WC (1997) Beyond low-fat diets. N Engl J Med. 337:563–566.
[vii] Allred JB,(1995) Too much of a good thing? An overemphasis on eating low-fat foods may be contributing to the alarming increase in overweight among US adults. J Am Diet Assoc. 95:417–418.
[ix] ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2008)
[x] Vasilopoulos Y et al. Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2011 Apr 7.