Monday, March 29, 2010

Fighting Hormones with Hormones

As you’ve may have heard me say before (and if you haven’t, you’re going to hear it now!), when you are breaking through a fat loss plateau or trying to get to the Final Phase of leanness, things get a bit murkier than they do with traditional fat loss.

Rather than dieting excessively in order to create a calorie deficit, we are now looking to enter into energy debt...and we do this with intelligently designed training protocols. That’s because keeping energy intake high ensures that Leptin levels don’t drop and throw another hormonal monkey wrench into the machinery.

You see, when you’re getting very lean or you’ve hit a plateau, fat loss is not just about calories in vs. calories out. It’s about your hormonal environment and the way that affects fat storage, and thereby fat loss.

When you’ve lost the first 20 or 30 or whatever pounds, you’ve lost the "easy" fat. What you’ll notice about your body is that you’re now holding fat specifically in your trouble areas; and those trouble areas are determined by your specific hormonal environment.

It’s not just about energy debt or cardio or to a lesser extent, diet (although all of those things do factor in quite a bit, obviously). When your fat loss has stalled and you’re trying to break through that wall, or when you’re trying to rid yourself of those last stubborn 5-10 pounds, it’s a hormonal battle.

And there is only one way to win: fight hormones with hormones.

So, let’s look at the three specific hormones that cause the most common types of regional fat storage.

1. Estrogen - The female sex hormone responsible for lower body fat storage patterns.

2. Insulin - Or rather, insulin resistance. This nasty little dude heavily influences fat storage in the love handles and lower back area.

3. Cortisol - The appropriately dubbed "stress hormone" is part of the reason you’ve got more flab than ab.

There you have it...those are your enemies!

Now, I want to talk to you about how you can actually increase the production of other hormones through the manipulation of training methods in order to offset the above mentioned "bad" hormones.

In this corner...

Estrogen vs. Testosterone

Now that we’ve established estrogen is the main reason lower body fat storage occurs, we need to know how to work around that.

Well, how else would you combat estrogen but with testosterone?

To put it bluntly, when it comes to fat loss and muscle gain...

Testosterone GOOD - Estrogen BAD

It’s for that reason that professional athletes, bodybuilders, and the juicers down at the Jersey Shore use illicit steroids that are derivatives of testosterone.

Of course, that’s not an option for us - and certainly not desirable.

Instead, we are going to increase testosterone levels naturally; through training. Not only will this increase the net fat-burning effect of all exercises, but more appropriate to our purposes here, it will also facilitate in getting rid of lower body fat.

I should mention something here to alleviate any concerns. It is NOT possible to produce a detrimental amount of testosterone through training. So ladies, you don’t have to worry about any masculinizing effects.

Instead, training produces what we would term a "high" amount of testosterone from a physiological perspective, relative to what your body normally produces. For the guys, this means that such training will help you put on a bit more muscle - just not steroid muscle.

Got it? Okay, moving on.

At this point, I know you’re thinking, "All right Roman, get to the point, what do I do?"

Great question! Well, the answer is Density Training.

Training in a way that seeks to increase training density is one of the best ways to spur your body to produce and release more testosterone, which will (obviously) help you lose that estrogen related fat storage.

Training density can be defined as the amount of work you do in a given amount of time during a training session. So, if you want to increase density, you can...

(1) Do more work (sets, reps, or both) in the same amount of time


(2) Do the same amount of work and decrease the time in which you do it

However, I’ve come up with a method of Density Training that is specific to radical fat loss! This means that not only will you produce the testosterone necessary to mitigate your regional fat issue, but you’ll also lose more fat on the whole.

Pretty cool, eh? So here is how we do it...

As an example, let’s pick 3 exercises: the overhead press, the dumbbell row, and the squat.

Setting these up in a circuit fashion, you perform them one after another with little rest in between.

Sounds like just about any circuit training protocol, right?


Instead of having a set number of reps, we’re going to be performing each of these exercises for TIME - you simply have to do as many as you can in a given time period.

To make it easy, let’s say you did each of the above exercises for 30 seconds. In performing such a circuit, your results might look like this:

Overhead Press - 25 pound dumbbells for 20 reps

DB Row - 40 pound dumbbells for 18 reps

Squat - 100 pound barbell for 22 reps

Not too shabby. Now, HERE is where it gets crazy.

We’re going to take advantage of some cool things that happen in the body; triggers that will make you more efficient and more capable.

So, to do that, we’re going to INCREASE the weight by 10-20% and try to do MORE reps.

Does that seem impossible? It isn’t.

Due to neuromuscular junction and neural activation, in almost ALL cases, you’ll be able to do just that.

Your second attempt at that circuit might look like this:

Overhead Press - 30 pound dumbbells for 23 reps

DB Row - 50 pound dumbbells for 20 reps

Squat - 120 pound barbell for 25 reps

Now, I know you’re having trouble believing that outcome is even possible (much less common), but I implore you, try it for yourself!

Density Training is fun, challenge-based, burns a heck of a lot of fat, and most importantly, is one of the best training modalities around for increasing testosterone production and release. And that’s why training for increased workout density will help you shed stubborn lower body fat AND more fat on the whole.

Insulin Resistance vs. IGF-1

Insulin resistance is combated very nicely by a hormone called IGF-1, or Insulin-like Growth Factor One.

Producing extra IGF-1 via training will help you (and me!) improve insulin sensitivity and begin to rid ourselves of our love handles and lower back fat.

We know that insulin resistance is very common, particular in people who were previously overweight. So, if you have lost some fat and you’re now struggling to lose a bit more (and that fat happens to be in your love handles), I’m willing to bet you’re suffering from some degree of insulin resistance.

In order to get rid of that fat, we need to do fat burning workouts (obviously) and increase insulin sensitivity to the greatest degree that we can. As a result, we need to employ what I call Dynamic Training.

Dynamic Training is pretty much the over-arching concept of how I design fat loss training programs; it consists of using fast-paced movements to teach the body how to move more efficiently.

Because this style of training is extremely expensive in terms of energy (calorie) demand, Dynamic Training is excellent as a general fat loss modality.

Perhaps more importantly however, is the fact that utilizing these types of exercises and setting them up in a non-competing circuit fashion under the Dynamic Training umbrella is an incredible way to produce IGF-1. And doing that is one of the most effective methods to mitigate insulin sensitivity.

Take it from someone who knows!

Nothing is better for combating love handle fat than increasing insulin sensitivity - and like I said, one of the most effective ways to do that is to produce more IGF-1 through Dynamic Training.

Cortisol vs. Growth Hormone

And now we come to our final bout of the evening--the main event, as it were.

We have touched on cortisol a bit, so I won’t rehash that too much. Suffice it to say that the higher your cortisol levels are, the more fat you’re going to be storing on your belly. Given that fact, it stands to reason that if you store fat primarily in the abdominal region, you’re a victim of high cortisol.

Never fear, though: Growth Hormone is here!

Also known as the "Fountain of Youth", growth hormone is the single most effective compound your body can produce to affect both fat loss and muscle gain. The more of it you produce, the faster you’ll lose fat and build muscle. It’s just as simple as that.

Now, in addition to that awesome little fact, growth hormone is going to whoop cortisol’s ass AND help you burn belly fat.

Also, you’ve probably heard that one of the ways to reduce your cortisol levels is to get more sleep. That’s something you hear on nearly all of the medical TV shows. What you don’t hear is the reason.

You see, sleeping is one of the main ways by which your body produces growth hormone. In other words, while you're sleeping, it’s your body’s primary opportunity to produce growth hormone. And, as I stated previously, growth hormone is one of the main hormones that reduces the effects of cortisol.

So, sleep more and you’ll produce more GH! Produce more GH and you’ll have less cortisol! Therefore, sleeping more, results in lower cortisol levels. Got it?

Of course, I’m not suggesting you can just sleep your way past a fat loss plateau (although getting more sleep does help). I’m merely illustrating the relationship between cortisol and growth hormone.

Which leads us to the production of growth hormone as it relates to training...

While nearly all forms of exercise produce both growth hormone and cortisol, some types are better than others.

For example, cortisol is heavily produced in long duration cardio sessions. But let’s not do that.

Instead, we’re going to utilize a style of training that produces more growth hormone...Lactic Acid Training (in order to get to the growth hormone, you must first produce lactic acid).

By definition, lactic acid is a by-product of the chemical reactions that take place during exercise. This substance is wildly irritating to the nerves, and your body responds. Think of lactic acid as a type of oil...igniting fires as it flows through you. Your body will put those fires out by dousing them with soothing, cooling growth hormone.

Okay, maybe I’m being a little simplistic with my metaphor, but it gives you a general idea.

In any event, we must structure training to produce the most lactic acid possible. And because lactic acid is primarily produced in the concentric (positive) phase of anaerobic exercise, we will extend that period, and decrease the eccentric period.

What that means is that we lift the weight very, very slowly. And then we lower it very, very quickly so that we can have a fast turn around.

As an example, if you’re doing a squat, you’ll descend to the bottom of the squat very quickly (drop down fast, but still controlling the weight somewhat) and then lift the weight sloooowly, oh so sloooowly - over a period of 4-6 seconds.

This will create tremendous amounts of lactic acid, which will in turn send GH production into overdrive.

Now, I must mention that training in this way necessitates the use of lighter weights than you would normally use on any given exercise. Therefore, if you’re interested in Lactic Acid Training, I suggest you reduce the weight you’d use on any exercise by about 30% in order to be both safe and effective.

With traditional training methods, you’d lift the weight pretty quickly and lower it slowly. Here we’re doing the opposite, in order to produce the most lactic acid possible...which will then lead to a corresponding increase in the production of growth hormone.

This will result in not only reducing cortisol, but also reducing cortisol related fat storage in your belly. And on top of it all, it’s great for fat loss in general!

Closing Thoughts

Although the battle against hormone-related fat storage can be a tough one, it’s certainly easier when you have hormones on your side - tougher, stronger, better looking hormones! So...

- Say goodbye to cortisol and belly fat by increasing growth hormone production via Lactic Acid Training.

- Make estrogen issues and lower body fat (and possibly, "man boobs") history through Density Training.

- And combat the ol' love handles and insulin resistance with Dynamic Training and IGF-1 production.

With Final Phase Fat Loss, stubborn becomes easy. Slow becomes fast. And it's all because every single workout within the Final Phase system has been specifically created to combat the hormonal reasons you're NOT losing fat.

So, are you ready to start losing fat again? Are you ready to finally see your abs? Then click *HERE* to get going!

The finish line is just around the corner...

Keep going strong,



Sunday, March 28, 2010

Avoid Weight Loss Schemes This Swimsuit Season

You can’t believe everything you read. Those “lose weight fast and easy schemes don’t work. If you do lose weight fast, you'll put it back on fast. If you want to be ready to sport your bathing suit this summer, don’t invest in fast fixes.

Television infomercials cater to those who need help losing weight to fit into their swimsuit this summer. These weight loss systems may help people drop some pounds, but fast weight loss results are mostly water weight loss, and water weight can be regained just as fast as it's lost.

Here are some of the more typical schemes that have been touting fast weight loss to everyone who wants to look great in their swimsuit.

Spot reducing - There is no such thing as spot reducing. That’s when you can exercise one muscle group and lose weight there and only there. It doesn’t work for your legs or your abs or anywhere else. Any exercise program that tells you their product can do that is not being truthful with you.

Fad diets – Eating strange diets that are not nutritionally sound can make you sick. When you're sick you are guaranteed to look worse than when you started getting ready to put on that swimsuit. Any diet that asks you to cut calories to a dangerous level is starvation. When your body goes into “starvation mode,” it holds onto fat, not knowing when the next meal will come. That can sabotage all of your efforts. Any diet that asks you to eat only one type of food will send your body into panic mode, as well.

Surgery – Having surgery for weight loss is costly, dangerous, and doesn't typically result in a total transformation as promised. For instance, if you are a size 14, you are not going to get liposuction and turn into a size 4 buxom beauty. It will tighten you up in some places but overall, you may still look the same size. Trying to achieve the perfect body by liposuction, plastic surgery, or stomach stapling is dangerous and ill-advised.

Liquid nutrition – Replacing your food with these shakes will not give you the fiber and nutrition you need. Healthy eating habits will provide your body with the vitamins and minerals you need without added calories. Substituting healthy meals with shakes will not help you lose weight and it may cause you to overeat because you will remain hungry.

You want your body to be the best it can, right? If you exercise and eat healthy, you'll achieve your goal in time. All the magic potions and weight loss schemes in the world won't get you where you want to go any faster. Those fast fixes are not really fixes at all when you inevitably end up in worse condition than you started in.

Begin today with a good sensible fitness program and you’ll be healthy and looking good in that swimsuit before you know it. Stick with it and you'll stay looking and feeling good for a lifetime.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Exercising Your Way To A Swimsuit Body

Eating healthy is only part of the equation if you want to look your best in that new swimsuit. Regular exercise will help you lose fat, reshape, and tone your body.

If you long to look like the model on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition, you're going to need a team of make up and graphic artists. But, if you want to look your very best, then we can help you with that. It’s going to take some hard work and dedication, but you'll achieve a firmer, stronger, and healthier body – your swimsuit body.

Start Slow

Summertime is fast approaching, but you still need to have a cool and collected head when it comes to exercise. Many people get out of the gate fast but end up finishing dead last, usually with an injury. You are trying to get your body to look the way you want it to in a swimsuit, but slow down and be sensible. Your exercise regimen is meant for more than one swimsuit season. What you learn will keep you going long after the warm weather has turned to cold.

Find an exercise that you like and you will be more likely to stick with it. Since the weather is warming up, try walking or bicycling. Both work the larger muscles of the lower body which are the last to start showing definition and tone but the easiest to work hard. In no time at all you will “feel the burn.”

Another good exercise is swimming. Buy yourself a 'working' bathing suit, something for exercising not lounging. Get yourself to the gym or neighborhood pool and start working out. You are working your body now, doing laps and water exercises. Work in the water now so you can lounge by the water this summer in your pretty, sexy swimsuit.

While you're planning your exercise routine, think about your eating habits. No amount of exercise is going to get you in shape to wear that bikini if you don't watch what you eat. You’ll be like a hamster on a wheel – going nowhere fast. A couple tricks to keep in mind about your diet and exercise program: 1) cut portion sizes and 2) eat energy-filled foods so you can exercise longer and harder.

Add Weight

But, I thought we were talking about losing weight? This is a different kind of weight. We're talking about workout weights – dumbbells. Adding weights to your workout is how you get those toned muscles. You don’t have to lift a lot of weight, but performing weight-bearing exercises speeds up your metabolism as well as tones those muscles both large and small.

It doesn’t take much. Consistently working on your upper and lower body at least three times a week for twenty minutes will put you on the road to a shapely body. Because smaller muscles tone faster, you’ll be able to rather quickly show off shapely shoulders and arms. And, don't forget that muscle burns fat, so the more muscle you build with weights, the faster your fat will disappear.

As an alternative to dumbbells, you can use fitness bands. They provide the resistance you need with great range of motion to work the entire muscle effectively. Any of this equipment will come with instructions about how to use and a variety of exercises to do.

The way to give your body a makeover before you put on that swimsuit is to eat a proper diet filled with healthy, fat burning foods, and get serious about an exercise routine. Add fun bike rides, walking, and swimming to your fitness program and you'll be looking great in your new swimsuit before you know it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nutrition Label Lies & Loopholes: Serving Size Sleight of Hand

By Tom Venuto

For years, concerned consumers and watchdog organizations have been screaming that the U.S. labeling laws are full of loopholes and in need of serious revision. After years of talk, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says they’re planning to so something about it. But will it be enough?

There are many food labeling issues we could complain about, but one of the biggest problems (due to its direct relationship to the obesity crisis) is serving sizes.

I’m not just talking about supersizing. What’s worse is that the actual calories are being disguised with serving size sleight of hand.

Let me show you some examples:

Tostitos touch of lime. Calories per serving: 150. Not too bad for tortilla chips, eh? Not so fast. Check that serving size: 1 ounce. That’s a whopping 6 chips. There are 10 servings per container. That’s 1500 calories in the bag.

Most guys could knock off half that bag for a cool 750 calories. Ok, suppose you have some restraint and you only eat a third of the bag (20 chips). You still get 500 calories. But who stops at 6 chips?

Vitamin Water. While I could rant about how sugar water is being marketed as health food, I’ll stick with the serving size sleight for now.

The label says there are 50 calories per serving. Wow, only 50 calories! Plus they add all those vitamins. Must be good for you and perfect for dieters, right? Think again. Look at the serving size and servings per container: 8 oz per serving and 2.5 servings per container.

Excuse me, but is there ANY reason for making it 2.5 servings other than to disguise the actual calorie content?

When you see that the entire bottle is 20 ounces, you realize that it contains 125 calories, not 50. Although 20 ounces is a large bottle, I don’t know many guys who wouldn’t chug that whole thing.

Sobe Lifewater? Same trick in their 20 oz bottles.

Healthy Choice soup, country vegetable. They make these in convenient little microwavable containers with a plastic lid. Just heat and eat.

It says 90 calories and 480 mg of sodium per serving. Wow, less than a hundred calories. Wait a minute though. Turn the container around and you see the serving size is 1 cup and the servings per container says “about 2.”

Huh? It looks pretty obvious to me that this microwave-ready container was designed for one person to eat in one sitting, so why not just put 180 calories per container on the label (and 960 mg of sodium). I guess 90 calories and 480 mg sodium sounds… well… like a healthier choice!

Ben and Jerrys chocolate fudge brownie ice cream.

This infamously delicious ice cream with its own facebook fan page has 270 calories per serving.

We all know ice cream is loaded with calories and should only be an occasional treat, but 270 calories per serving, that’s not too terrible is it?

Look a little closer at the label. The serving size is ½ a cup. Who eats a half a cup of ice cream? In fact, who hasn’t polished off a whole pint by themselves? (the “comment confessional” is below if you’d like to answer that)

According to Ben and Jerry, there are 4 servings in that one pint container. 270 calories times 4 servings = 1080 calories! That’s about half a days worth of calories for an average female.

I could go on and on - crackers, chocolate chip cookies, muffins, pasta, boxed cereals (who eats ¾ cup of cereal), etc. But I think you get the point.

What’s the solution to this mess? News reports in the last week say that the FDA may be cracking down. Count me among those who are pleased to hear this news. One of their ideas is to post nutritional information, including the calories, on the FRONT of the food labels.

The problem is, this move by itself could actually make matters worse. Suppose Tostitos started posting “150 calories per serving” right on the front of the bag. Most people would assume the chips were low in calories. Putting calorie info on the front of the label would help only if it clearly stated the amount of calories in the entire package or in a normal human-sized serving!

Ah, but the FDA says they’re on top of that too. They also want to standardize or re-define serving sizes. Sounds great, but there are critics who say that consumers would take it as approval to eat larger servings so the strategy would backfire.

Suppose for example, the government decides that no one eats ½ a cup of Ben and Jerry’s so they make the new serving size 1 cup, or half the pint-sized container. Now by law the label says 540 calories per serving instead of 270. Is that like getting official permission to eat twice as much?

I’m not against the FDA’s latest initiative, but what we really need is some honesty in labeling.

Food manufacturers should not be allowed to manipulate serving sizes in a way that would trick you into thinking there are fewer calories than there really are in a quantity that you’re likely to eat.

It would be nice to have calories for the entire package listed on the label at a glance. A new rating scale for caloric density would be cool too, if it could be easily interpreted. It would also be nice to have serving sizes chosen for quantities that are most likely to be commonly eaten. But standardization of serving sizes for all types of foods is difficult.

My friends from Europe tell me that food labels over there are listed in 100g portions, making comparisons easy. But when you consider how much each individual’s daily calorie needs can vary (easily 3-fold or more when you run the gamut from totally sedentary to elite athlete, not to mention male and female differences), standardization that applies to everyone may not be possible.

I think the recent laws such as requiring calories on restaurant menus are a positive move that will influence some people’s behavior. But no label changes by themselves will solve the obesity crisis. A real solution is going to have to include personal responsibility, nutrition education, self-discipline, hard work and lifestyle change.

Changes in the labeling laws won’t influence everybody because the people most likely to care about what labels say are those who have already made a commitment to change their lifestyles (and they’re least likely to eat processed and packaged foods - that have labels - in the first place). Actually, for those who care, all the info you need is already on the labels, you just have to do a little math and watch out for sneaky label tricks.

There’s one true solution to this portion distortion and label lies problem: Become CALORIE AWARE. Of course that includes educated label reading, but it goes much further. In my Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle system, here is how I define "calorie counting:"

square1. Get a good calorie counter book, chart or electronic device/software and get to know the calorie counts of all the staple foods you eat on a daily basis. Look up the calorie values for foods you eat occasionally.

2. Always have a daily meal plan – on paper – with calories printed for each food, each meal and the day. Use that menu as a daily goal and target.

3. Educate yourself about average caloric needs for men and women and learn how to estimate your own calorie needs as closely as you can based on your activity, weight, body composition, height, gender and age.

4. Get a good kitchen food scale and use it.

Keep counting calories and doing nutrition by the numbers until you are unconsciously competent and eating the right quantities to easily maintain your ideal weight becomes second nature.

Obviously, saying that calories are all there is to nutrition is like saying that putting is all there is to golf. Calorie quality and quantity are both important. However, it’s a mistake to ignore the calorie quantity side of the game. Serving sizes matter and even healthy foods get stored as fat if you eat too much..

You can play “blindfolded archery” by guessing your calories and food portions if you want to. Hey, you might get lucky and guess right. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend depending on luck - or the government - for something as important as your body and your health. I would recommend the personal responsibility, nutrition education, self-discipline, hard work and lifestyle change…

Tom Venuto, author of
Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle

Founder & CEO of
Burn The Fat Inner Circle

Burn The Fat

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a fat loss expert, lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, freelance writer, and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle: Fat-Burning Secrets of The World’s Best Bodybuilders & Fitness Models (e-book) 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: or

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How To Go From Calorie Clueless To Calorie Competent

By Tom Venuto

Why is it that any time you hear the words “calorie counting” or “food journaling”, people start running for the hills? If creating menus, counting calories and keeping a food journal are research-proven, effective tools for nutrition awareness, education, motivation and accountability (they are), then why is there so much resistance to it?

One reason is because it’s perceived as work and hard work doesn’t sell! Another reason is that skeptics say, “What about intuitive eating?” “What about people who lose fat without counting calories?”

Sure, you could choose not to count calories and eat what you “feel” your body is asking for, but if you do, that’s called guessing. If you guess correctly and eat the right amount, you lose weight. I would call that luck! Would you rather roll the nutritional dice or bet on a sure thing?

Nutrition journaling and menu planning replace guesswork with precision.

Perhaps even more important, they are also crucial parts of the learning process to raise nutritional awareness. There’s only ONE WAY to truly understand food and how it affects YOUR body: You have to go through all four stages of the learning process:

Stage 1: Unconscious incompetence - you are eating the wrong foods in the wrong amounts and you’re not even aware of it. (You don’t know what you’re doing and you don’t know that you don’t know what you’re doing)

Stage 2: Conscious incompetence - you are eating the wrong foods in the wrong amounts, but for some reason, you now become aware of it. This is often because of a “hitting bottom” experience or an “I’m not gonna live like this anymore” epiphany. (You don’t know what you’re doing and now you know that you don’t know what you’re doing!)

Stage 3: Conscious competence - you educate yourself and begin to eat the right foods, but it takes a lot of thought and effort to eat the right things in the right amounts. (You know what you’re doing, but you have to think about it and work very hard to make it happen because you’re using willpower and still learning)

Stage 4: Unconscious competence - you’ve made the conscious effort to eat the right foods in the right amounts and you’ve counted calories and kept a nutrition journal for long enough and with enough repetition that these behaviors become habits and a part of your lifestyle. (You know what you’re doing and you do it easily and automatically without having to think about it).

I think the concept of intuitive eating has merit. If we listened to our body’s true signals, I believe that our appetite, our activity and our body weight would properly regulate themselves. The problem is, in our Western, technologically-advanced culture with an obesogenic environment, a sedentary lifestyle, social pressure and food cues tempting us at every turn, our intuitive bodily wisdom constantly gets short-circuited.

In our modern society, being able to eat by instinct and successfully guesstimate your nutrition or trust your feelings of hunger and satiety are not things that come naturally or easily.

The only sure-fire way to reach that hallowed place of unconscious competence where eating the right foods in the right amounts becomes automatic and you truly understand YOUR body is by going through the nutrition education process.

Two simple ways to count calories and get this nutrition education you need are the meal plan method and the nutrition journal method.

The Meal Plan method

Using software or a spreadsheet, create a menu plan meal by meal, with calories, macronutrients and serving sizes calculated properly for your goals and your energy needs. You can create 2 or more menu plans if you want the variety. Then, follow your menu plan every day. You simply weigh and measure your food portions to make sure your actual intake matches your written plan. With this method, you really only need to “count calories” once when you create your menus. This is a method I use and recommend in my Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle program

The Nutrition Journal (Food Diary) Method

Another way to track your nutrition intake is to keep a nutrition journal or food diary, either on paper or with an electronic device, software or website. This is more like “calorie counting” in the traditional sense. Throughout the day, after each meal, you log in what you just ate, or at the end of the day, you log in all your food for the entire day. The former is the best option, since people seem to get really bad cases of “eating amnesia” if they wait too long before writing it down.

I recommend counting calories and keeping a nutrition journal at least once in your life for at least 4-12 consecutive weeks or until you achieve unconscious competence. At that point, it becomes optional because habit and intuition take over.

You can come back to your meal-planning and journaling any time in the future if you slip back or if you have a very important goal you want to work on. It’s a tool that will always be there for you if you need it.

Tom Venuto, author of
Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle

Founder & CEO of
Burn The Fat Inner Circle

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a fat loss expert, lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, freelance writer, and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle: Fat-Burning Secrets of The World’s Best Bodybuilders & Fitness Models (e-book) 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: or

Monday, March 22, 2010

5 Laws of New School Fat Loss

By Craig Ballantyne

I've just spent another weekend explaining what Turbulence Training is to new potential clients. By the end of the day I had my speech memorized, and decided to turn it into a new article for you called, "The 5 Laws of New School Fat Loss".

Here goes...

Turbulence Training is a structured routine that I came up with that allows you to get the most results in the least amount of time, no matter what your goals.

This revolutionary new workout system evolved from both scientific principles as well as personal experience.

And it originally came to me in a dream in University. (Just kidding.)

The truth is that during my graduate years at University, I was searching for an efficient and effective way to stay lean while I was stuck in the lab for up to 16 hours a day doing my thesis.

Obviously, I didn't have a lot of time to exercise...

So I based a new program on what I had read in hundreds of fat loss research studies, as well as my countless past workouts that I had recorded faithfully over the years.

And from that research and from my own personal workouts and results, Turbulence Training was invented and have given rise to the 5 Laws of New School Fat Loss.

Law #1) Use intense resistance training

NOTE: This doesn't just mean lifting heavy could also mean doing difficult bodyweight exercises or even explosive exercises (like I use in the TT circuits).

Here's why...

Intense resistance training stimulates what is called muscle protein turnover. This is important for two reasons:

a) It causes your body to burn extra calories and belly fat when you are not training (so while you recover, etc.).

b) It stimulates muscle re-modeling.

That means it will help you maintain your muscle (and sculpt your body) even while you are eating fewer calories and burning fat.

However, if you rely only on light weight & high reps, you won't keep that muscle and your metabolism will decrease.

Law #2) Switch from slow cardio to interval training.

Research shows that interval training is more effective for burning belly fat than regular cardio - even when you don't change your diet!

Interval training is what separates people with 20% fat from those men and women with the lean, athletic, sexy abs body type.

Interval training also builds better sport conditioning and "everyday fitness" that is more practical in life.

For example, how often do you ever need to run 5 miles? Pretty much never, right?

But how often do you need to climb a few flights of stairs or chase one of your kids? Those are every day demands...and will be best improved by interval training, not 30 minutes on the elliptical machine.

Law #3) Use non-competing supersets to do more work in less time.

By using the Turbulence Training system of non-competing supersets, where you do 2 unrelated exercises back to back, you'll avoid  muscle fatigue and get more work done in less time.

Therefore, you'll burn more calories compared to traditional workouts.

This is one of the major reasons Turbulence Training is so efficient and effective.

Law #4) Use Total Body Workouts

Skip the classic steroid-bodybuilder method of doing one body part per day. That will only give you overuse injuries and a big body set up for more injuries & chronic pain in the future.

Not what you want, right?

Of course not. So switch to three total-body workouts per week, using a variety of exercises, and when possible, using a variety of training methods - from dumbbells to kettlebells to bodyweight exercises. That's what you'll get in the latest TT workouts here:


Rule #5) Change Your Workout Every 4 Weeks

The Turbulence Training workouts are changed every 4 weeks, and sometimes every 3 weeks for advanced results.


To avoid the dreaded fat loss plateau. If you've been doing the same workout over and over for more than 4 weeks, your results will slow down and eventually come to a complete stop.

You MUST change your program...and that's why I create not just one, but TWO new Turbulence Training workouts every month for TT Members, so that they will always have a new program to keep their fat loss results moving along.

In fact, the Turbulence Training System is simple to adapt and easy to modify for the creation of an endless number of workouts - a great thing to know if you are a personal trainer or simply someone that loves the body transformation results of a fast workout.


Now a lot of this info was new - and even shocking - to the people I spoke too yesterday. They were still a little skeptical. And that's fine, it's totally natural.

So I suggested they try out the program for a few weeks, and you can do that too with the 21-day trial here:


For less than 5 bucks (that's less than the price of an apple, a banana, and a water here at the hotel!), you can try out the 5 Laws of Fat Loss and the Turbulence Training program for 3 weeks.

I promise you'll love the program and the fast fat loss results you are getting. And if for any reason you don't, just let me know and you won't pay a penny more.

Say goodbye to the old-school workouts and fat loss plateaus and use these 5 laws of new school fat loss to finally get results.

Now you know what really works,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Does Your Body Type Change?

Once an Endomorph Always an Endomorph? (Can Your Body Type Change?)
By Tom Venuto

Are you an ectomorph, mesomorph or endomorph body type? To maximize your results, regardless of whether your goal is fat loss or muscle gain, it’s helpful to know your body type and adjust your approach according to your type. But a big question that almost no one has ever answered is, “Does your body type change over time?” If so, then what? Do you have to totally change your nutrition and training again? And if your body type doesn’t change, does this mean you are stuck being a fat endomorph for the rest of your life, doomed because of genetics? Read on to find out.

Somatotype is a 3-part, 7-point body type rating scale developed by a guy named Sheldon back around 1940 or so. Ectomorphs are the linear, bony, lean types, mesomorphs are the naturally muscular body types (yeah, the ones we hate!), and endormorphs are the ones with the round body shapes and the genetic tendency toward storing more body fat.

Generally, you have a combination body type, which is why you are scored with 3 numbers (Arnold Schwarzenneger in his bodybuilding prime: think pure mesomorph with the highest score of 7).

The question is, Does somatotype change? this is a very interesting question that has been asked and debated before both by the layperson (often bodybuilding and fitness enthusiasts) and by scientists.

Two of those scientists were JE Lindsay Carter, a physical education professor from San Diego State University and Barbara Heath, and Anthropologist from the University of Pennsylvania.

There was initially a lot of debate and antagonism provoked by the classic Sheldon system of classifying human body types (“somatotyping”), because initially, Sheldon was very rigid in his insistence that body types were permanent and did not change.

However, Heath and Carter proposed that it was plain to see that body types DID change due to normal growth, aging, physical training and dietary deprivation (they cited the Minnesota starvation study, where subjects started out looking somewhat mesomorphic and ended up looking like ectomorphs (like POW camp victims, literally).

Heath and Carter weren’t trying to dismiss somatotpying, they supported it and wanted to validate it.

However, they wanted to address the shortcomings of the somatotyping method and one of those was the fact that the Sheldon system didn’t accommodate for changes in physique as a result of training and nutrition.

In their voluminous 1990 textbook on the subject, Heath and Carter define somatotype as:

“A quantitative description of the present shape and composition of the human body. It is expressed in a 3 number rating, representing three components of physique: (1) endomorphy, (2) mesomorphy and (3) ectomorphy. The somatotype can be used to record changes in physique and to estimate gross biological differences and similarities among human beings. This method of somatotyping is sensitive to changes in physique over time and is used for rating both sexes at all ages.”


Look at a guy like John Bartlett for example, one of our inner circle contributing authors and an outstanding natural competitive bodybuilder. When you see him today and you ask what is his body type, you would say, “MESOMORPH all the way!”

That’s because today he is ripped and muscular

But if you look at his before picture and ask “what is this guy’s body type” you would say, “Endomorph” all the way or at least “endo-mesomorph” because he did have a solid and stocky build before, but also a high body fat percentage.

Well, which is it? Or did his body type change? Clearly, John gained a lot of muscle and lost a lot of fat and looks totally different today. So could we say his body type changed? If we go by current outward appearance, then yes, absolutely.

But does this mean his body type really changed or did he overcome an inherent endomorph body type to achieve where he is now?

Or, to play devil’s advocate here, was he always a mesomorph inherently and he just really let himself go for a while and he was just returning to his normal body type of mesomorph?

These are interesting questions. The Heath-Carter method simply includes body composition as part of the rating scale of a person’s body type and says that you can rate someone based on how they look now. That includes bone structure (which changes little or not at all after adulthood) AND body composition (which can change throughout life). So you could say John was an Endomorph and is now a Mesomorph. Predominantly Mesomorph is his present classification.

However, at the same time, we could say that a person DOES have an inherent body type or set point - a physique that they will gravitate towards in the absence of circumstances or concerted efforts to change it.

I addressed this issue of changing body types versus an inherent (or “permanent” body type) in Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (BFFM). The way I explained it is that I said your true body type is what you will gravitate to naturally when you are not in a highly trained state. It’s your inherent tendency. In that respect, you could say somatotype does not change, while body composition does.

In chapter 5 of BFFM, I said there were three additional ways to know your inherent body type beyond Sheldon’s scale, which takes into account changes in physique due to training and nutrition:

  1. How you looked before you took up training (your “natural” body shape)
  2. How you respond to training and nutrition (ease of muscle gain or fat loss)
  3. How you respond to de-training (how well you retain lean mass and low body fat or how quickly you lose lean mass and gain fat on cessation of training)

If you wanted to make this even MORE complex, we could look at somatotyping by considering not just the outward bone structure and body composition of an individual, but also the metabolic (interior) characteristics.

My “Burn The Fat” system of body typing is like a combination of:

(1) Metabolic typing (internal metabolic characteristics like carb tolerance)
(2) Somatotyping (external body shape - linearity or roundness, fatness or leanness)
(3) Miscellaneous other genetic factors.

That would be a pretty good three-part body typing system that covers the concerns about changing body types, individual metabolic types (“carb intolerant types” or protein types, etc), and genetics (which is especially relevant since obesity genes have been identified fairly recently).

I hear criticisms of the somatotyping system all the time, where people say it is not useful. I disagree. Yes, it’s perhaps too crude of a system to base your entire training and nutrition plan upon, but I believe it’s very helpful as a general tool to “KNOW THYSELF”.

In other words, if you are inherently an endomorph and you KNOW IT, then you know darn well what happens when you don’t do any cardio. You know what happens when you cheat four or five times in a week. You know what happens when you slack off. You gravitate towards gaining fat, because that is your body type’s tendency! So you can adjust your training, nutrition and lifestyle accordingly.

If you are an ectomorph, then you know what happens when you skip meals… you don’t gain any muscle! You know what happens when you do too much cardio… you don’t gain any muscle, or you lose some!, etc. etc.

And if you’re a mesomorph…. did I mention…. we hate you!

If you’d like to learn more, chapter 5 in Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle is about body typing. It’s full of some really valuable and motivating lessons about knowing yourself, your body and your genetics and understanding the importance of taking personal responsibility, regardless of your hereditary predispositions. If you already have the book, it’s worth re-reading periodically.

Tom Venuto, author of
Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle

Founder & CEO of
Burn The Fat Inner Circle

P.S. Just kidding mesomorphs… we don’t really hate you, we just envy you!

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a fat loss expert, lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, freelance writer, and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle: Fat-Burning Secrets of The World’s Best Bodybuilders & Fitness Models (e-book) 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: or

Saturday, March 20, 2010

How they lost 100 lbs or more

Tom Venuto just sent this email and I was pretty impressed with the weight loss success from some of his clients

(one guy lost over 218 pounds!!!!) 


I thought you'd be impressed and would want to see this email too...

If you, or anyone you know has a LOT of weight to lose then you'll want to read this for sure. 

(Feel free to forward them this email along to anyone you think will benefit from it)

Have a great day,

PS - Here is the email Tom sent: 


Fwd:  How they lost 100 lbs or more

My jaw hit the floor with a loud THUMP when I read these emails!

Knowing just how effective the Burn The Fat system is, (because it's the truth about fat loss - it's not a gimmick or a pill), I was not surprised at these results.

But on the other hand, even after all these years of helping people drop 10, 25, 50 or even 100 lbs of fat or more, I'm still floored each and every time I hear success stories like these.

In just a one week period, four more people who had lost approximately 100 lbs emailed me to tell me about their success on the Burn The Fat program, despite the fact that they were "clinically obese" and had even been told drugs or surgery were the only options.

What prompted me to share this with you today was a question I received this morning about whether the Burn The Fat program would still work even if you had more than "just a few pounds" to lose:


Joseph wrote:

Dear Tom: I think I must have read every single page and FAQ on your website, and I read your newsletter every week, but I still haven't ordered your program because I'm not sure if it will work for me because I'm 120 lbs overweight. I have been told that I will probably have to get a gastric bypass and that nothing else will work in my situation. I have been on many Diets before and none have ever worked. Any advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated.


I believe very strongly in finding role models to inspire you. No matter how discouraged you are, no matter how skeptical you are, no matter how diappointed you may have been at past failed Attempts, when you see men and women in the same situation as you who have succeeded, then not only do you begin feeling inspired and you feel a sense of hope and optimism, you also begin to get the feeling that you can do it too!

That's why, instead of answering this question in my usual newsletter Q & A column format, I wanted to share these success stories with you today.

I hope this inspires you to make this the year you make it happen. The answer is YES, it will work for you, and you CAN do it! Anyone can do it!

Your friend and coach,

Tom Venuto, author of
Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle

Founder & CEO Burn The Fat Inner Circle:


I can't even tell you how much your Burn the Fat program helped me. I have diabetes and a year ago I weighed 350 pounds My blood presure was 260/180.   My resting heart rate was 120. I was a stroke waiting to happen. I have to admit, my doctor put me on meridia, an appetite supressant.  That started me on my wtLoss, but it didn't keep it going.  After two months I hit a plateau. I bought a Bowflex, it helped, but then I found your book, and the results increased exponentially.

I have followed your plan and have lost over 100 lbs! I need to loose about 30 more lbs, but with your plan I am totally stoked because I know I will achieve my ultimate goals. 

I would like to get to about 7% body fat, and about 220 lbs, and I am sure I eventually will achieve that goal.  Today my fat percent is at 12%.  I didn't think I would ever achieve that goal, but I have.  I still have a roll around my middle but will keep going until I see my abs! I owe most of my success to you and your book.  My doctor suggested that I have gastric bypass surgery, but I had a cousin that died from it and decided not to ever go that route.  The pills helped, but not as much as your book and nutrition plan and exercise plan. 

I have gained so much muscle, that I've had to go up in shirt size from large to extra large, because of my chest muscles. My shirts have become loose at the belly, and tight Across the chest.  I was a size 52 in Jeans, but today, I am at 36 and I love it. I still have more fat to go, but not much, and I am determined to finish with great success.  Thank you so much!
Your friend and admirer,
Charles Archer

Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (BFFM) is not a quick, short-term fix, but a lifestyle which requires profound change in your health habits and your attitude towards yourself. BFFM is about a life-time change which involves patience, discipline and perseverance.

To achieve your goal it is important to break the project down into short term tasks that would help you to keep motivated and provide you with the capacity to make adjustments when you have setbacks. It is important to begin with and N E V E R lose sight of the end in mind. This will allow you to stay motivated and enjoy every little achievement you make week after week.

At age 47, and after almost one year of sticking to the BFFM lifestyle, I have managed to reduce my body fat from 23% to 8% and counting. I have lost 30 pounds this year alone and altogether 100 pounds since I started of 2 ½ years ago. Day after day, week after week, month after month it has been the desire and vision of the end in mind that has kept me motivated and pushed me to become and stay lean and strong for the rest of my life.

- Erik Steinberg


I have struggled with yo-yo dieting for years. I would gain wt. and then burn it off by running - which is how we learned to loseIt in the Marine Corps. Unfortunately, I didn't know anything about proper nutrition. I would cut way back on my calorie intake, but still eat the same bad foods. So I would drop the wt. (along with a good chunk of lean body mass), only to gain it back as soon as I stopped running.

When I started Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (BFFM) in January last year, I weighed 317 pounds. I adapted my eating habits to foods that burn fat - with a particular emphasis on the BFFM "Top Twelve" best foods. I started regular cardio and weight-lifting.

As of Dec. 1, I have lost 91 pounds of fat. The lifting has enabled me to hold on to my LBM while losing fat. As a result I'm about 20 lbs. heavier than I was the last time I was able to wear 34" waist jeans. At this rate, I should reach 10% BF at 207 pounds.

My plan is to continue "cutting" fat on the BFFM plan until I reach 10% BF, then begin a 12-18 week bulking program. I'll then cut down to the high single digits and go from there. As such, I don't consider this a "success story" yet, since I am still very much a "work in progress". Still, 91 pounds of fat gone forever is a pretty cool thing!

Thanks, Tom, for writing such a clear, effective, "no BS" book. It has equiped me to avoid the yo-yo effect and stay "on course" to a heathy lifestyle.

Oh, and by the way... I turned forty this year. So if anyone out there is thinking that you are "too old" to experience significant results on the BFFM plan - think again.

Chris Brooke
Marietta, ga

114 Pounds Of Fat GONE Due To "Brain Surgery"

Don Dolechek said: 

My wife said I had 'brain surgery' after reading your book because I changed how I looked at food, exercise, and my entire life.  Over the past year I have lost 114 pounds of fat and now live an active life! 



"My initial weight: 425+ lbs... Walking 10-15 steps was killer then.

It would be safe to say that I'd wake up every day, just feel like gloom and doom. Every time I would wake up, there was no positive side, it was just another damn day.

Every day I would ask myself, "is this the day the ticker's gonna give out?" I was extremely overweight, had no confidence, had no drive, had no motivation, had no ambition, had no goals, and I just can't explain how tough it was just to wake up and not have any of the tools I have now.

I would study the new diets, the new super drugs and all that "good" stuff. I had always gone on something, and it was great for the short term. I would be perfect for four, six, up to even one time a couple months and I would typically lose 40 pounds at a time.

And every damn time, something, which I could never figure out, would just sabotage it and all my progress would go to hell.

When I saw 'Burn the Fat' on the internet, the thing that clicked the most, what Tom was trying to do was that even though there was this program he's trying to promote, there was absolutely not a single word that said it was easy. You know, he was honest about the exercise, the cardio, the nutrition - everything took hard work.

For once in my life, it clicked.

Today: 218 Lbs of fat put to rest! It changed my very foundation in life; there's absolutely no feeling like having control of your entire life again, there's just no price you can put on it"

- Mike Boyd,


I hope this helps you see that most of the principles of fat loss success are the same whether you have 10 lbs or 100 lbs to lose.

There are more success stories on the home page, with before and after photos and audio interview clips from men and women alike...

Mike Ogorek (burned 137 lbs of fat)
Brian Nordberg (burned 122 lbs of fat)
Ce Ce Evola (burned 173 lbs of fat)

Regardless of how much body fat you want to burn, this program can work for you too. visit:

Train hard and expect success,

Tom Venuto, author of
Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle

Founder & CEO Burn The Fat Inner Circle:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Medical Emergency; This Happened Today

My friend and fitness author Jon Benson sent me this email. I have his permission to share it with you, despite the really personal details... turns out that he had a near-fatal event in the gym and wanted to share the story with his readers. I was blown away by what he did in the name of "preventative medicine"... so read this. It may just save your life.



My Medical Emergency; This Happened Today
by Jon Benson   


Sometimes you have to nearly lose it all to realize what you truly have.

I can honestly say that I have come close to death several times in my life. I've had my share of accidents, medical emergencies, and a near-fatal accident while driving.

But there was something about just laying on the gym floor today with two doctors hovering over me that gave me serious pause.

Time for some major reflection.

Now, before you get too alarmed (for those who know me, or just think I'm a pretty good guy... ; )... fear not. I did not have a stroke or anything like that, thank goodness.

What I did have was a major drop in blood pressure... so much that I came dangerously close to entering the "coma" zone.

I kid you not.

And trust me... I felt like I was slipping fast.

My girlfriend was there with me. I had her kneel down and, just like Spock in an old episode of "Star Trek", I had her slap me several times in the face. Hard!

"If my eyes roll back, hit me harder."

The doctor probably thought I was nuts... but I know that's one way to elevate my blood pressure.

So, what happened? Am I falling apart at the relatively young age of 46? Is my dietary and exercise advise dangerous after all?

No... and here's why:

     I actually VOLUNTEERED for this.

Before you think I've totally lost my marbles, hear me out. If you listen to the rest of the story, you'll see that not only has my advice been of great value when it comes to exercise and dietary strategy... it actually ended up saving my butt!

Really Bad Genetics Meets
The Cath Lab:  A Wild Encounter

First, the "volunteered for this" bit needs explaining... right? Right.

If you read my first book, published in 2004, called "Fit Over 40" (read more at then you may recall that I went into great detail about my poor genetics and horrible health in my early and mid-30s.

Since then, and knowing exactly how bad my genetics are for such things as high blood pressure (oh, the irony!), heart disease, and stroke, I adopted the dietary plan and exercise routine I use to  this very day. The very ones I cover in "The Every Other Day Dietplan" and "7 Minute Body."

(If you don't have these books and want them, you can get both here... -- oh, and I have a short video up on this page if you have not seen on a 1-minute fatloss tip... )

Now, let's get real folks:  Dietary power and exercise MAY not be enough to overcome really bad genetics when it comes to certain diseases. And being ever curious, I wanted to know exactly how my own health was doing on my plan. So a month or so ago I paid a visit to the hospital to have some tests ran. All my yearly check-ups were okay, but I wanted a closer look at my heart... and I mean "literally".

I wanted to be "cathed"... this is where they insert a camera into your heart, going up the femoral artery in your right leg, and take a look around. If they find anything dangerous, like a clogged artery, they can fix it right then and there with a stent. A stent is a metal device that presses plaque against the artery wall and opens up a clogged artery.

Of course I hoped I would not find such a thing... and certainly nothing worse. I mean, can you imagine?  "Mr. Benson, you need a quadruple bypass!"

I could not, that's for sure... and I was fortunate because, as you probably guessed, I didn't hear those words from my doc.

It's hard to get a cath done as it's a risky procedure. I can't even tell you how I managed to pull it off ... that's how touchy the hospitals are when it comes to this kind of stuff. Afterwards, I volunteered to do 5-10 workouts at their heart care facility so I could hook myself up to some nifty gadgets. I get to watch my EKG (how my heart is functioning during cardio and weights... and it works like a charm!) and really nice doctor folks come by to check my blood pressure (which is always low) during the workout.

Yep... the doc and I wanted to put my workout plan to the test, I guess you could say. I wanted to do it just to make sure I was 100% healthy during my training. You never really "know" I suppose, so I was up for it. And my doctor wanted me to do it just in case what he found during the cath was serious. There's a lot to this process, and there's some details I don't wish to cover for privacy sake... but anyway, back to my story.

It's long, but it may save your life too. : )

The Good News... The Bad News...
And The Stupid Jon News!

Turns to find out I made a few mistakes... some pretty costly mistakes... but (get this) none of them had to do with my dietary or exercise plan.

During the cath, here's what the doc said:

"Jon, your heart's two primary arteries look good... hardly any obstruction at all. And they are nice and thick from exercise." For a guy who has had a cholesterol level of over 400 before, and a history of heart disease in the family, this was really good news.

"However, your genetics are catching up to you in one of your arteries.... and you need to be more aggressive with your drug treatment to make sure we don't have to go back in here one day!"

Er... what??

Yep... turns out that the only thing that saved me from a BYPASS (that's right) was what the doctor called "an enormous amount of peripheral arteries formed from years and years of weight training and exercise."


"Look right here Jon..."  (He showed me my beating heart on camera... freaky...) "See all these arteries? Well the average person doesn't have them. You do. Congratulations... you earned them."

Wow again. And remember, I only workout with weights 3-4 times per week and my workouts are rarely over 21 minutes (time under the weight.)

What I Did Right... And What
I Did Wrong... And Why This
Could Save Your Life

So, listen up folks as I'm about to tell you everything I did wrong for the past several years... how it ALMOST cost me dearly (a bypass?... no thanks!)... how I managed to prevent it... and how I ended up on the gym floor today with doctors all around me.

It's all related. And again, sorry for the novel-like email, but (again) this may save your life.

First, here's what my excellent cardiologist said I did RIGHT:

1. Exercise:  "Jon, your exercise plan, to put it bluntly, saved you from a great deal of pain... in fact it probably saved your life as these blockages would have been far worse without it." With it, I had only one artery with enough blockage to warrant the drug therapy that I should have been on for years... more on that in a second...

2. Dietary plan:  "Jon, your diet is perfect for this condition... low in carbs, high in protein and healthy fats is all anyone can do in order to help fight this genetic killer."  Yep... again... prevention in the form of dietplan saved my butt. Or rather my heart. : )  But it wasn't enough... at least for one artery. However, it WAS enough to prevent them from having to do surgery on me.

"Jon, the take-away here is simple:  Exercise and dietary plans, even the very best, may not be enough for super high-risk people... but in your case your lifestyle saved your life. And it certainly prevented you from having to have any serious surgery to correct a truly broken heart."

Talk about EXCITING news... yep... you CAN beat this killer, even when you have MY horrible family genetics. However, like me, you may need some help... more on that in a second.

3. Blood pressure:  "Jon, your blood pressure is excellent. Your lifestyle and very low-dose diuretic has kept your formerly sky-high blood pressure (it was 200/110 when I was 32!) to an excellent 118/78."  But you know doctors... even "excellent" isn't enough and they recommended a stronger BP med for "my intense weight training."

So, I listened... and ended up on the floor today. You see, many doctors do not realize the POWER of weight training compared to cardio. My blood pressure never budges during cardio, but less than 3 minutes into a resistance (weight-training) session it goes down like the stock market after a bad news day.

I mean SHOOTS down. I tried to explain this by letting the doctor see the veins in my legs... "Doc, my veins are MUCH larger than the average person's... trust me, my pressure is fine."  "Jon, just try it for a few weeks."

Bad mistake.... like I said, I ended up on the gym floor today with a blood pressure of 72/45. If I hit 40, I'm literally in a coma. 5 points away... very scary. Needless to say the doc took me OFF these meds and let me do it my way:  With my Every Other Day Dietplan (low-carb most of the days) and good-old exercise.

If you have high blood pressure, I URGE you to take up weight training or resistance (body-weight or band) training. Of course, ask your doc about it first... but I've seen first hand for three weeks now how powerful my weight training sessions are compared to intense cardio sessions.

They are night and day folks... weights RULE. Cardio is good, but weights are best. Both of course would be the best course for ultimate health, but most people do far too much cardio and far too little resistance training.


Now, here's what I did WRONG:

1. Cigars:  "Jon, you cannot afford to smoke cigars... ever. They have lowered your protective HDL to a dangerous level. Stop NOW!" That's all it took folks. Yes, I smoked cigars for many years, but fortunately I was never an addict. I quit that very day.

Guess what? 10 days later my HDL DOUBLED (no kidding)... and without drugs. Of course that's not all I did...

2. Fat too LOW:  "Jon, you've lowered your dietary fat too low... this affects your HDL."  Yep, I normally eat about 35% dietary fat... and I cut it down to 20% to help me get ready for a photoshoot. Now that I put it back to where it belongs, I still have my abs (yep!) and my HDL is raising as I type.

3. Stress:  "Jon, you are simply working too hard not to do some form of meditation or de-stressing."  So I dove back into my meditation CDs. (I'll tell you more about Holosync and my hypnosis CDs in my next email... very cool stuff.)

4. Advil:  "Jon, you take 4 Advil before you train? You're nuts! That stuff can cause sticky plaque formations!!"  You know, I may never even had an issue if I had known this (and not smoked cigars) a few years ago. Live and learn!

5. And finally... oh, this hurt to hear... no drugs!  "Jon, if you want to make sure you beat this thing, you simply must take some meds to help."  Okay, I resisted any form of statin drug for the past 15 years (drugs to lower cholesterol.) I opted to try natural stuff... but unfortunately for me I was never too consistent. And I paid the price.

So the doc and I came to a compromise:  I would take the LOWEST dose of statin along with 400 mg of CoQ10 (scary, but this was my idea, not his, and statins deplete this heart-friendly enzyme!) But I wanted a natural solution to the real issue:  small particle LDL. You see, I've known for years that I carry the gene that makes LDL "small". LDL is not dangerous unless it is small... that's why "total cholesterol" means nothing to me. I've seen folks have heart attacks with a cholesterol level of 130. No joke. But their LDL was super-small... like mine.

And guess what?  Dietplans cannot really help this. Well, they can HURT it (too many carbs, too many toxic fats, etc.) but they cannot shift the LDL from small to large.

For that, you need plain old niacin. Just a simple B vitamin... but in not-so-simple doses. In fact it's considered a drug at the dose you have to take, and you should NEVER take niacin over 50 mg without a doctor's supervision as it can be very toxic to the liver.

The Conclusion:  The Power
Is In Your Hands

In conclusion, I'm A-Okay... my heart pumps and functions "like that of a strong 20-year-old" (my doctor's quote) thanks to the extra arteries I developed from my exercise program (how cool!) ... but in order to keep that one artery in check, I'm taking his advice and taking much better care of myself than I have been.

Today I learned that this does NOT mean taking blood pressure meds...thankfully... : ) But I had to make some changes. Some of them were "stupid" changes... sure, I know cigars are not good for you. I know you need good fats in your dietplan. I could have used common sense and figured out that 4-8 Advil on workout days was... well, stupid.

But the good news, which is what I choose to focus on, is this:  In the areas that 95% of people NEVER change, I didn't have to change much at all.

Dietary plan and exercise.

Turns to find out that what I was doing works great... and it did, in fact, save my heart and quite possibly my life.

For more on my dietplan and exercise routine, go here:

Thanks for reading, and I wish all of you good health!

Yours In Fitness,

J O N   B E N S O N

P.S.   I got lucky in many ways, but especially so when it came to my doctors. Both of my doctors are young and savvy enough to be up on the latest research on nutrition. They know NOT to buy into this "low-fat" nonsense for heart health. (I'd use a harsher word, but kiddos may be reading... : ) That only works for about 10-15% of the population. The rest of us need to lower our CARBS, not our fats... but the way I do it I get to keep my favorite carbs in my dietplan every week.

The little that I do eat keeps me happy as a clam, and keeps my heart nice and healthy too. A little bit of bad food will not hurt most people... but eating it every day can flat-out kill you.

Please... take this seriously. I promise, my dietplan and exercise routine is a PLEASURE to follow... but if you don't follow it then find one that IS enjoyable for you to follow... and do it.

Life is too short, you know?

[Note: I’m an affiliate for the provider of goods and services mentioned in this post and as such may be compensated if you make a purchase. As always please note the Compensated Affiliate Disclosure at the sidebar!]

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The TT Abs Bootcamp Workout (and Big 7 Fat Burning Circuit)

This is just 1 of the new 31 TT Bootcamps workouts, and specifically, this is Part 2 of 3 for the TT Abs Bootcamps series.

It's called "Abs Endurance" because of the endurance nature of the abs circuit at the end of the program, but like all TT workouts, it is a total body fat blasting program.

REMEMBER - Train at your fitness level...take extra breaks if you need them. Do only one round of each circuit if you are have not been exercising recently.

Train safe, train smart, and have fun.


TT Bootcamps Workout #8 - Abs Endurance: Part 2 of the Abs Bootcamps

Warm-up (20 seconds per exercise) - 10 minutes
- Bodyweight Squat
- Stick-up
- Kneeling Pushup or Pushup Plus
- 1-Leg Hip Extension (20 seconds per side)
- Plank (40 seconds)
- Side Plank (20 seconds per side)
- Run in Place
- Rest 1 minute and repeat 1 more time.

TT Strength Circuit (30 seconds per exercise) - 5 minutes
- Bulgarian Split Squat or Forward Lunge or 1-Leg Deadlift (30 seconds per side)
- 1-Arm KB or DB Press OR Elevated Push-ups (30 seconds per side)
- Optional if you have equipment: DB Row or Bodyweight Row
- Rest 2 minutes before repeating 1 more time.

Water Break - 2 minutes

TT Big 7 Circuit (20 seconds per exercise) - 10 minutes
- Jumping Jacks
- Prisoner Squat
- Spiderman Climb Pushup or Close-grip Pushup
- Band Row or KB Row or Cross Crawl
- Diagonal Lunge (20 seconds per side)
- Inchworm
- Rest 2 minutes before repeating 1 more time.

Water Break - 2 minutes

TT Depletion Circuit (30 seconds per exercise) - 10 minutes
- Total Body Extension or Jump Rope
- Cross-Body Mountain Climber
- Reaching Lunge (30 seconds per side)
- Squat Thrusts
- Shuttle Run or Run in Place
- Rest 2 minutes before repeating 1 more time.

Water Break - 2 minutes

TT Total Body Abs Endurance Circuit (30 seconds per exercise) - 5 minutes
- Pushup Plank
- Get-up (30 seconds per side)
- Optional: Stability Ball Plank
- Rest 1 minute before repeating 1 more time.

Cool-down, Stretching & Water Break - 10 minutes

Hope you enjoy that workout.

And if you want Parts 1 & 3 of the TT Abs Bootcamp series plus all 31 new TT Bootcamps workouts, just visit this website:


You'll get 31 total body workouts - including the 3-part TT Booty Bootcamps program - that you can do with minimal equipment (and even use in your own bootcamps if you are a trainer).

To Your Success,

Arthur M.


[Note: I’m an affiliate for the provider of goods and services mentioned in this post and as such may be compensated if you make a purchase. As always please note the Compensated Affiliate Disclosure at the sidebar!]

Monday, March 15, 2010

5 Big Fat Burning Tips

By Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

I was just reviewing a big file of all the new exercise, diet, and research proven fat burning tips I wrote down for 2009, and I wanted to share 5 BIGGIES that can help your clients get more results AND make your awesome workers even better.

So here we go:

#5 - Recent research shows shuttle-running is tougher than running intervals in a straight line... if you want to burn fat faster than ever, make sure you incorporate old-school shuttle runs (i.e. classic suicide type drills) into your fat burning interval programs.

You'll find these new shuttle runs in the latest TT programs, including the new TT Bootcamps 2.0 System.

#4 - Use a food log.

"According to Men's Health (Feb 2009, p 38), keeping a food log helped subjects lose 3.5 more pounds than subjects that didn't keep the log."

#3 - Hit a personal best in each workout.

This is an oldie, but a goodie. There are a few reasons you need to do this:

a) First of all, everyone loves progress, and if you can achieve a personal record in each workout (i.e. could be # of pushups, plank time, etc.), then you will feel a HUGE sense of accomplishment.

b) More personal bests = more results. Plain and simple.

c) You will get addicted to the workouts, and always want to come back for more attempts at breaking records.

#2 - Get a trainer or join a bootcamp.

"According to Men's Health magazine, (Dec, 2009), beginners who work with trainers get more results than beginners who workout by themselves". Guaranteed.

#1 - Read a motivational quote every morning.

I promise you that it will elevate your motivation and inspire you to reach your fat loss goals.

Here's the first motivational quote you can read tomorrow morning:

"Be loud and proud of the healthy changes you are making in your life. There are many more folks secretly wishing someone will take charge and be a healthy role model for them. It might not happen overnight, but if you continue to lead by healthy example - without preaching or being condescending - you can build an entourage that will help you reach the next level." - Craig Ballantyne

Those are 5 unique tips to help you lose fat.