comment Add Comment

11 Things to Keep in Mind When Trying to Lose Fat

Losing fat has got to be one the most frustrating pursuits in all of fitness.  With so much temptation from all of our favorite foods it’s amazing that only half of the western world is overweight!

Despite its’ challenges, losing fat isn’t impossible.  It’s actually a pretty simple concept.  All that’s needed is a little bit of time and discipline.

Easier said than done I suppose.

Continue reading “11 Things to Keep in Mind When Trying to Lose Fat”

comment 1 Comment

Training and Life Lessons From the Last 15 Years – Part 2

I’ve got a few more things I’d like to share with you about my time in fitness industry.  If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, I strongly suggest you do, there’s some good shit in there!

Continue reading “Training and Life Lessons From the Last 15 Years – Part 2”

comment Add Comment

7 Benefits of Flexible Dieting (IIFYM)

I’ll be the first to admit that I find diets to be utterly frustrating and confusing. We’re all human beings yet there are so many different approaches to eating.

Are we all that different in how we process food?

I know there’s food allergies that may cause some deviations but how can there be so many COMPLETELY DIFFERENT trains of thought?

Continue reading “7 Benefits of Flexible Dieting (IIFYM)”

comment Add Comment

The Busy Person’s Guide to Healthy Eating…

I’m not sure if we’re actually busier or just more distracted, but it seems like people are finding it more and more difficult to find time to eat sensibly nowadays.

I mean, between working long hours, spending time with loved ones, raising a family, social media and reality television, who has time to prepare a healthy meal?

Well, fortunately for you, your dietary habits don’t have to go completely down the drain just because you have a busy schedule.  You can still maintain a lean, healthy physique simply by adopting a few tried and true habits that will keep you on the right path.

Continue reading “The Busy Person’s Guide to Healthy Eating…”

comment 1 Comment

How to Burn Fat – The Definitive Guide…

Training in essence is quite simple – training objectives that is.  Let’s be honest, most people fall into one of two major training categories – fat loss and muscle building.  Of course, there are other goals such as strength, work capacity, endurance and things like that, but most of us are either trying to achieve some combination of fat loss and increased muscle mass.

Today, we’re going to look specifically at fat loss and the most effective ways to shed those dreaded jiggly bits.  Notice how I used the term fat loss and not weight loss?  The problem isn’t weight, it’s fat!  Just because you lose weight doesn’t mean you’re any better off than you were before.  The idea is to improve your overall body composition to become healthier, stronger, and fitter overall.  Achieving this takes a little more than simply going on a cabbage soup diet and riding the elliptical for 2 hours a day.

What it comes down to is being smart and strategic with both your training and nutrition. If you’ve been training for any length of time whatsoever then you’ve probably made a few mistakes along the way including:

  • long, monotonous cardio sessions at the gym
  • crash dieting only to gain back the weight you lost and then some
  • switching from weight training to cardio exclusively
  • using light weights and high reps to try and get ripped
  • drastically cutting your calories
  • endless ab workouts that still leave you with a flabby belly
  • training 7 days/week

It’s all good though, making mistakes is part of the training process.  Learning from them is what’s going to take you to the next level.  Now let’s get down to business.

There are many ways to achieve great results but I’m going to outline some of the most effective methods that will burn fat AND preserve muscle mass.  That’s right, you have to be able to keep your hard earned muscle in the process otherwise what’s the point? Unless you just want to be skinny fat and have the strength of a 10 year old boy then you better listen up.

Here are some proven methods to burn fat in a SENSIBLE and SUSTAINABLE fashion:

1. Lift – Most people that want to lose fat will usually decide to take up jogging or some other cardio activity first.  Not the best move. The first step to burning fat is to actually build muscle and the only way to do that is to lift.  Studies have shown that people who weight train exclusively lose more fat than people that do aerobic exercise exclusively. Muscle is the engine that burns all fuel, the more you have the easier it is to burn fat.

2. Use big lifts – Once you’ve decided to start jacking weights, you’ve got to make sure you’re using the most effective exercises and those are the big compound lifts.  Exercises like squats, deadlifts, presses, and chinups use lots of muscle groups and elicit the greatest metabolic response compared to isolation exercises.

46-arnold-schwarzenegger-leg-squat

lift big to get lean

3. Interval train – There are numerous studies that point to the effectiveness of interval training.  Methods such as HIIT (high intensity interval training) and tabata are prime examples of how better results can be achieved in a fraction of the time.  As opposed to steady state cardio, interval training forces you to work at higher intensity causing you to burn more fat while preserving lean muscle tissue.  Greater improvements in aerobic conditioning have also been shown with interval training versus traditional cardio.  If you’re pressed for time and want a killer workout, give some of these firebreathers a try:

  • treadmill – 1min on/1min off x 8 @ 15% incline
  • sled pushes – 40 meters x 10 (60-90sec rest between rounds)
  • burpees – 30 seconds on/30 seconds off x 8

froningsled

sled pushes = intensity!

4.  Do steady state cardio after interval training – Now I know I just said that steady state cardio is inferior to interval training but all forms of exercise have value depending on how and when they’re used.  Studies have shown that interval training helps to effectively release fat cells into the bloodstream to be used for energy.  However, sometimes not all of those fat cells get used.  Something as simple as 10-15 minutes of steady state cardio after a hard session of intervals can be an effective way to pick up the leftovers and burn even more fat.  Think of this as the icing on the cake.

5. Fasted cardio – The idea here is to perform your cardio sessions first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.  This is also when your growth hormone levels are highest and insulin levels are lowest.  At this time, your body will efficiently use fat for energy.  Both steady state cardio and interval training will be effective at this time.  If you’re not a morning person or accustomed to training on an empty stomach then you may find it hard to workout at your normal intensity levels.  If the quality of your workouts are suffering too much then you may be better off training at other times during the day when your output is higher.  However, this is definitely a great option for those of you who like to get your workouts over and done with first thing in the morning.

6.  Complexes – This is disputably one of the most effective fat burning methods.  Complexes are when you perform a series of compound movements in succession with little to no rest in between each movement.  These complexes can be done with barbells, dumbells, or kettlebells as long as there is sufficient overload.  The overload allows you to burn more calories and maintain strength and muscle mass while you melt the fat off your body.  Here some complexes that never disappoint:

  • barbell complex – 10 hang cleans/10 thrusters, 9 hang cleans/9 thrusters etc… 1 hang clean/1 thruster (rest 60-90 sec between sets)
  • dumbell complex – 10 db squats/8 db bent over rows/6 db push presses x 5 (rest 60-90sec between sets)

When performing complexes, use the same weight for all the movements and keep strict rest periods to keep the intensity high.  The combinations are endless, they key is to go hard to get the best results.

Check out the video below of Rob Orlando crushing the “bear” complex.

[youtube id=”8IQftORtxqk”]

7. Crossfit – Yes, believe it or not, Crossfit is a fantastic way to rev your metabolism and shed some serious fat.  Much like complexes, Crossfit uses a wide variety of functional movements and when performed at high intensity you get one hell of a metabolic stimulus!  The intensity (doing more work in less time) is what makes Crossfit so effective (and controversial).  The proof is in the pudding, all you have to do is look at the physiques of some of the top competitors.  Of course, Crossfit isn’t for everybody but it’s hard to argue some of the tremendous results it delivers.  If you’re looking to spice up your workouts and shock your body, give Crossfit a try.

8.  Train 4-5x per week – Workout frequency is just as important as workout intensity.  To ensure you are getting enough metabolic output, you should be training  4-5 days/week.  This will keep your metabolism elevated and enhance your fat burning efforts.

9.  Keep your workouts under an hour – If burning fat is your number one priority, then your workouts should be shorter and more intense.  No more long, arduous sessions at the gym.  Focus on quality exercises and being efficient with your time.  Full body strength complexes or 15-20mins of strength work followed by 15-20mins of interval training is the way to get things done.

10.  Train explosively – Not enough good things can be said about the benefits of developing power.  Using explosive exercises like sprinting, plyometrics, and Olympic weightlifting are phenomenal for fast twitch muscle fiber development and smoldering fat cells.  To learn more about training for power click here.

powerclean

in the land of strength, power is king..

11. Get plenty of sleep – During sleep, the body has an opportunity to repair itself and set the stage for optimal fat metabolism.  Growth hormone and testosterone levels increase during sleep and are vital to burning fat.  Keep your hormones and metabolism in check by getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

12.  Eat only when you’re hungry – Sounds simple enough but you’d be surprised how quickly we turn to food to be social or to kill time.  If you listen to your body more and only eat when absolutely necessary, you’d be surprised how much less you’d consume.  I’m not suggesting you starve yourself just simply be more conscious of your intake.

13.  Eat plenty of protein – Adequate protein intake is necessary to preserve lean muscle and will keep you full longer.  This reduces the urge to snack on refined sugars and processed foods. Aim for at least .75-1 gram per pound of bodyweight.

14. Eat healthy fats – That’s right, eating fat will help you to lose fat.  Healthy fats found in foods like fish, avacado, nuts, and eggs don’t spike insulin levels the way refined sugars do.  This means that your body will better use these foods for energy rather than storing them as fat.  Also, these foods contain more vitamins and minerals making them a better food choice overall.

nutsssssss

15. Take caffeine before training – Caffeine has been shown to stimulate the release of fat cells into the bloodstream to be used for energy.  A cup of coffee 30-40 minutes before a workout can be enough to jumpstart your metabolism not to mention provide a nice energy boost before your workout.  If you’re sensitive to caffeine then less potent options like green tea may be more suitable.

16. Keep most of your carb intake around training – It’s important to maintain a reasonable carb intake even when trying to lose fat.  To help fuel your workouts consume some carbs 30-60 minutes before training.  Nothing too heavy, something that digests relatively quick like fruit is a good option.  To maximize recovery, consume fast acting carbs within 30-60 minutes post workout.  Your carb intake can be higher at this time since you are less likely to store excess carbs as fat.  Listen to your body and consume enough carbs to give you the energy you need to train without feeling sluggish or depleted but not so much that you are gaining weight.

17.  Cut calories effectively – If you’re the type of person that likes to count calories then you need to make sure you reduce them in a rational manner.  What I mean is that you don’t want to cut your calories too drastically.  If you do, you run the risk of 3 major pitfalls:

  1. slower metabolism  – the body is now burning less fat at any given time.
  2. reduction in lean muscle – the body is now burning muscle instead of fat for energy.
  3. increase in fat – restricted calories can lead to cravings for unhealthy, calorie dense foods that promote an increase in fat.

Don’t cut calories by more than 500 per day to ensure normal metabolic function.  It’s also important to note what calories you are cutting.  For example, you don’t want to reduce your calories from protein too much as they are needed to preserve lean tissue.  Manipulating fat and carb intake may be your best bet depending on what your consumption levels are at currently.

Sensible and sustainable are the key words to take home.  You can definitely use more extreme methods to cut fat but life will be miserable and you’ll most likely gain every single pound back and more.  Training should be enjoyable and rewarding and these methods will ensure it stays that way.

Don’t forget to subscribe below to get more great articles sent directly to you. Plus, you’ll get a FREE copy of the Pure Payne Method and Special Nutrition Report!

 

 

 

 

 

40 Nutrition Tips for Optimal Health and Performance..

Training to become the best possible version of yourself requires time, dedication, persistence, and just plain hard work.  To get the most out of your training, regardless of your goals, you need to get a stronghold on your nutrition.  That doesn’t mean you need to be a Nazi and never indulge in anything outside of mineral water and steamed broccoli,  but you certainly have to demonstrate some discipline and recognize the red flags when they’re placed right in front of you at the dinner table.

Nutrition can sometimes be like a chess game with its complexity, numerous choices, and the need to constantly adjust according to your current situation.  However, with experience comes wisdom.  Just like a savvy chess player, you learn what moves set you up for the greatest chances of success, you make fewer mistakes, and you start to win most of your battles.

To simplify the nutrition game, make more sensible choices, and get better results out of your training, I’ve laid out some tips that I apply to my daily routine as well as others that I’ve learned through years of research.

Let’s take a look at nutrition tips for optimal health and performance:

1.”When it comes to fat loss,  genetics may somewhat ‘load the gun’ but you don’t have to pull the trigger and reload it twice.” I love this quote.  Don’t use bad genetics as an excuse to eat poorly and not make an honest effort to get in shape.  The power to transform your body is in your hands, the question is how bad do you want it?

2. Never be hungry, never be full – Somewhere in the middle is just right.  When your body is in a comfortably fed state, your blood sugar levels don’t spike causing you to store excess fat nor do they plummet causing you too burn valuable muscle for energy.  Think of it this way, when you’re stuffed after a big meal how do you feel? When you’re starving because you haven’t eaten in over 6 hours how do you feel? Neither is a good feeling.  Aim to feel good all the time.

3. If it’s comes in a box or a can it’s not worth eating – Man has created many marvelous things to improve our lives, unfortunately food is not one of them.  Most foods that come in a box or can are highly processed and contain very little real food.  Stick to fresh, whole foods as much as you can. This gives a whole new meaning to “keeping it real.”

4.  “All You Can Eat” is a bad idea – Buffets provide great value but you are pretty much guaranteed to go overboard on your portions.  Especially for those trying to lose fat, this is the last place you want to be.  “All You Can Eat” might be light on the wallet but heavy on the waistline.

5.  Don’t fear fat – There’s a lot of misunderstanding surrounding fat in the diet.  Your body needs both saturated and unsaturated fats to function optimally.  Healthy sources include eggs, fish, avacados, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, and lean meats.   The key is to keep your fat intake in the right proportions relative to your protein and carbs.  Depending on your goals, fat should be make up 25-30% of your total intake.

6. Replace your starches with more colorful veggies – With the exception of sweet potatoes and yams, you want to moderate your consumption of starchy carbs especially if you are trying to lose fat.  Colorful vegetables are more nutrient dense and cause less inflammation and bloating than refined starches like bread, pastas, and other grains. As long as you consume adequate protein, you can still build and preserve muscle without a lot of starch.

7.  Don’t drink your calories – It’s pretty easy to start the day with a latte with whip cream followed by a soda or fruit juice to go with your afternoon snack.  These empty calories add up quick and before you know it, you’ve consumed an extra 750-1000 calories and you’ve got nothing to show for it except 2 extra inches around your waist.  Stick to water, dilute your fruit juices if you drink them, and remove all pop including the diet stuff (which is probably more poisonous).

SFS-007-WPS-PST-00862-26-0starbucks

the calories add up faster than you think!

8. Cut out sugar – There’s not a whole lot more to say about this other than sugar is public enemy #1.  With the exception of fresh fruit, you want to avoid processed and refined sugar as much as you can.

9.  Avoid gluten if it affects you – There’s a lot of buzz surrounding gluten these days but it only needs to be avoided if you have an intolerance to it.  For the rest of you, consume moderately and get on with your life.

10. Gluten Free isn’t always healthier – To further elaborate on #9, unless it never had gluten to begin with, like meat and vegetables, then that food is most likely processed and contains minimal nutritional value anyway.

11.  Keep your carb intake highest around training – The body best utilizes carbohydrates during intense workouts and post workout.  This means it’s OK to consume carbs prior to training to make sure you’re fueled properly and fast acting carbs should be consumed post workout to replenish glycogen stores and maximize recovery.

12. Drink more water – Most of us are far too dehydrated which impairs our ability to function and perform in the gym. Start the day by drinking 300-500ml of water.  Depending on your activity level, muscle mass, and water content of the foods you eat will determine how much water you need each day.

13.  Learn how to cook – Eating meals prepared at home will be far healthier than eating out at restaurants.  There are lots of quick and simple recipes that you can use to make healthy meals that actually taste good! For quick and easy recipes click here.

article_bio-robert-irvine_al

Robert Irvine knows his way around the kitchen and the gym!

14. Shop the perimeter – It’s safe to say that 75-80% of the foods in the grocery store aren’t designed for human consumption.  Sure they taste great but that doesn’t negate the fact that they’re highly processed and put you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and any other diseases that haven’t been named yet.  The perimeter of the grocery store is where all of the fresh produce and lean meats are found and this should be where you spend most of your time.

15. Prepare meals in advance – “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Having your meals prepared at least a couple days in advance is the best way to avoid impulse eating.  If you work long hours, having  dinners prepared in advance saves time and reduces the likelihood of ordering greasy takeout.  Packing healthy lunches will save you a few trips to the drive thru as well.

16. Eat enough protein to support muscle mass – There will always be a debate about low carb and low fat diets but no one ever got great results on a low protein diet. Whether you’re training to get leaner or to build muscle, you need to keep your protein intake in check to support the cause.  At least 1-1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight will be sufficient.

arnoldschwarzenegger2

Arnold definitely ate enough protein

17.  Take a greens supplement – Although I’m not a huge advocate of supplements without a balanced diet first, a greens supplement can provide a lot of nutrients to improve energy and gut health.  Start the day with a tall glass of water with some greens.  Who knows, before you know it, you’ll be a morning person.

18.  Supplement only what you can’t get from real food – As mentioned in #16, supplements should be taken when the rest of the diet is in order.  There’s no point in drinking 3 protein shakes a day if you’re pounding potato chips and Pepsi between meals.  Having said that, it can be tough sometimes to always get in enough nutrients from food so supplementing can help to make up the difference.  Don’t get too caught up in buying the “latest and greatest” products, you can’t lose with real food.

19.  Eat Breakfast – There is some debate nowadays about the importance of breakfast but I can say confidently that it has been the most important meal of the day for me.  A high protein breakfast with healthy fats provides you with loads of nutrients to start the day plus you are more likely to eat healthy throughout the day if your first meal is healthy.  Scrambled eggs with tomatoes and onions and a side of sliced bell peppers is how I like to get things started.

20. Eat the whole egg but skip the toast – The nutrients the egg yolk provides far outweighs anything you get from 2 pieces of refined toast.  Try a side of avocado or raw veggies instead.

21.  Never leave home without a healthy snack – Like your wallet or cell phone, you should always carry a healthy snack with you.  A piece of fruit or some mixed nuts are easy ways to tie you over until your next meal.  The last thing you want to do is starve then binge on comfort foods.

22.  Avoid dairy – What I like to refer to as “the unnecessary evil.”  Don’t be fooled, there’s nothing in a glass of milk you can’t get from less inflammatory foods.  Again, if you’re trying to lose fat, this is a high calorie food group you can do without.

gotmilk

so right yet so wrong all at the same time..

23. Avoid grains – Speaking of inflammation, grains are a primary culprit.  Bloating, allergies, and lethargy are just a few things to look forward to.  With the exception of steel cut oats and wild rice, there isn’t a lot of value in these foods.

24.  Avoid artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols – Found in a lot of “diet” foods and drinks, these are deceptive chemicals that the body doesn’t really like.  Try to get most of your sugar from fresh fruit. If you want to sweeten things up try stevia.

25.  Breakfast cereal is fast food – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day when it’s not a bowl of Count Chocula.

chocula

I guess I can thank my mom for never letting me have this as a kid

26.  Everything in moderation – If 90% of your eating habits are favorable then you can afford to indulge from time to time in the things you enjoy.  The further away your are from your goals the more strict you have to be.  Don’t always use junk food as way to reward yourself.  Looking better, feeling better, and performing better are the rewards.

27. Eat more raw veggies – Cooking food kills a lot of the nutrients so try to get a good dose of raw veggies on a regular basis.

28.  Eat more locally grown foods – The next best thing to growing it yourself is to eat from a local farm.  The fresher and less preserved the better.

29. Paleo isn’t perfect but it’s a great start – There is no perfect diet for everyone but the Paleo diet sends people in the right direction.  Less processed foods, more lean meats and vegetables and no sugar.  For the majority of the general public, I’d say that’s a great start.

30.  Use more spices and herbs instead of sauces – Cooking with herbs and spices like pepper, basil, garlic and tumeric provide lots of flavor without the preservatives and empty calories of bbq, teriyaki, and soy sauces.

31.  Black coffee and green tea are great engine starters – Jumpstart your metabolism, burn more fat, and have more energy for your workouts with coffee or green tea.  Nix the cream and sugar though.

32.  Avoid seed and vegetable oils – Seed and vegetable oils are highly processed and are high in omega 6 fatty acids which can lead to a number of health issues.  Stick to olive, coconut, and palm oils for cooking and dressing foods.

33. Avoid trans fats – Another highly processed fat that will do nothing for you except increase your risk of cancer.  Instead of margarine, use grass fed butter or ghee.

34.  Bulletproof your coffee only if your diet is bulletproof – Bulletproof coffee is as trendy as a foot long hipster beard.  That doesn’t mean it’s a good thing (the beard or the coffee).  You have to keep in mind that bulletproof coffee is high in calories (400-450cals) and provides very little nutrients other than fat.  It may keep you full longer but unless you are eating a lot of high quality foods the rest of the day you may be sabotaging your gains.  The safer route would be black coffee and a protein rich breakfast.

bulletproof-butter-coffee

cover-sparta

it’s debatable which is trendier..

35.  Bacon is Paleo but that doesn’t mean it should go on everything – Bacon gets a lot of love since it qualifies as Paleo.  This is another example of how the majority of food you eat must be high quality if bacon is going to make the cut.  High fat, high sodium, and filled with nitrates, bacon should be consumed sparingly.  You don’t need to have it with your eggs, on your burger, in your cookies, AND in your salad.

bacon-wrapped-turkey

HONESTLY??!!

36.  Focus on food quality rather than counting calories – Not all calories are created equal.  Just like not all exercise is created equal, the type of calories you consume are just as important as how many calories you consume.  100 calories from a bag of potato chips will be metabolized far differently than 100 calories from a sweet potato.  Learn and understand the types of foods that give you the best bang for your nutrient buck. Eat more of those foods and less shitty foods and you’ll never have to count calories again.  Does a stalk of broccoli have a food label on it? How about a bunch of bananas?  There’s a reason why whole foods require less scrutiny than fruit juices, low fat granola bars, and frozen yogurt.

37.  “Diet” and “Low Fat” aren’t healthier – When a food has been modified to reduce calories or fat it generally means that it has been replaced with artificial sweeteners or refined sugar to make up the difference.  You’re better off eating a smaller portion of the real stuff since it will wreak less havoc on your metabolism.

38. Speed and nutritional value are inversely related – With the exception of raw fruits and veggies, the faster it can be prepared the less nutritional value it has.  What takes longer, baking a piece of cod in the oven or deep frying it? Making a bowl of Wheaties or scrambled eggs with a side of spinach salad? The “slow food” industry is a niche market reserved for the patient and disciplined.  Another example of the tortoise and the hare perhaps?

Michael-Jordan-Wheaties-Box

Sorry Mike, I DID NOT have my Wheaties this morning!

39. Avoid high fructose corn syrup – High fructose corn syrup is like the Justin Bieber of food. It’s toxic, annoying as hell and it’s everywhere!

MV5BMTgzMDI2MTYxOV5BMl5Bbieber

Be careful, be very careful…

40.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – Don’t get too caught up in trends and fads if you are getting the results you want with your current eating habits.  Some of you might be eating more carbs than fats and vice versa and that’s totally fine IF IT’S WORKING!  Having said that, if you aren’t getting stronger, building muscle, getting leaner, or even feeling better then to put it mildly “your shit is broken!”  Take a step back and make small tweaks until you are headed in the right direction.

Hopefully these words of wisdom will help you take one step closer to reaching your goals.

If you haven’t already, subscribe below to download a copy of The Special Nutrition Report. It’s FREE so why not!

 

comment 4 Comments

27 of the Most Ridiculous Health and Fitness Myths Debunked..

Health and fitness is a booming industry and the demand to look, feel and perform better has never been higher.  With that, comes a lot of information and advice; some good, a lot bad, and some down right ridiculous.  This has made it next to impossible to decipher quality information from pure fallacies made up for the sake of telling people what they want to hear.

It’s no wonder so many people struggle with reaching their health and fitness goals; they’re too confused to make any progress! Drink 8 glasses of water per day.  Lift light weights to get ripped and toned.  Crunches are the best ab exercise to get a six pack. These are just a few of the most common myths looming in the fitness industry today.  It’s time for the hard truth and to put some of these myths to rest.  Here are some of the most common and RIDICULOUS  health and fitness myths debunked.

1. You can turn fat into muscle – Muscle and fat are two separate tissues that cannot be converted into one another. Both fat and muscle can be increased or decreased depending on diet and activity levels. Muscle is muscle and fat is fat.

2. Crunches are the best exercise to get a six pack – Getting a six pack is more a product of eating a clean diet and reducing body fat than any ab exercise you do in the gym.  If you want to see your abs, you need to get lean and that starts in the kitchen. Oh, and crunches are a shitty exercise by way.

3. Squats are bad for your knees – If this were true, I don’t think toilets would ever have been invented.  If squats were food, they’d be raw broccoli.  The truth is squats performed incorrectly are bad for your knees.  When done right, its hands down one of the best exercises in the gym.

4. Deadlifts are bad for your back – Another controversial exercise but again the danger lies in having shitty form. If deadlifts were food, they’d be spinach.  It doesn’t get any more functional than being able to pick an object up off the ground.  Another gem of an exercise once you get the right form.

5. Crossfit is dangerous – I love this one.  So is race car driving. So is NFL football. So is downhill skiing. People have suffered far more serious injuries from these activities but there never seems to be any controversy surrounding them.  Crossfit can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing and you don’t use appropriate progression but the same can be said for learning any athletic activity.  Not exercising for 10 years, eating and drinking excessively, and working a high stress job – THAT’S DANGEROUS!

6. High rep Olympic lifting is dangerous – This method of training is quite popular in the Crossfit community and has got the general public in a complete state of paranoia. Come on people, smoking is dangerous, drinking and driving is dangerous, high rep Olympic lifting is just hard.  Just because something is hard and requires some skill and athleticism doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.  ANY exercise performed for high reps and under a state of fatigue will increase the risk of injury. There is no evidence that high reps are doing the body any harm. In fact, one could argue that it’s having the opposite effect as evidenced by the everyday participation in Crossfit boxes across the globe.

7. You can’t get strong doing Crossfit – Crossfit sure does get a lot of press.  Contrary to popular belief, there is a great deal of strength training in Crossfit. All you have to do is look at the top performers and you’ll see some pretty impressive numbers.  500+ lb deadlifts, 400+ lb squats, and 300+ lb clean and jerks! Most people will train their whole lives and never hit those numbers.

8. You can’t put on muscle doing Crossfit – Last word on Crossfit I promise.  The ability to get big and strong doing Crossfit is definitely in the realm of possibility, it’s all in the programming.  There’s more to it than just endless burpees and kipping pullups. 9 times out of 10, you’re doing something with a barbell and that provides a lot of opportunity to get jacked!  Ironically, most guys that go to the gym are training to hopefully one day have the body of a Crossfitter.

portfolio-group-class

the real danger lies in standing on the sidelines

9. Lifting weights will make you bulky – If I had a nickel for every time I heard this one I’d already be retired.  The truth is ladies (yes ladies I’m talking to you) you don’t have enough NATURAL testosterone to build muscle mass the way men can.  In fact, lifting weights is the most effective way to  burn fat, increase bone density, and sculpt your body.  The body you want is just a few squats and deadlifts away.

tumblr_n3olawYvbw1qdjo2ho1_250

ladies, there’s no shame is moving some weight!

10. Use lighter weights for toning and getting ripped – Let’s put an end to this “toning” thing right now.  There is no such thing as toning.  You’re either building muscle or you’re not.  Your muscles already have tone, that’s what makes them muscles.  What you’re after is definition and that comes from reducing body fat.  As far as using light weight goes, this does not help you get ripped any faster.  Getting ripped is about getting lean and getting lean is all about what you do in the kitchen regardless of how heavy or light you lift at the gym. In fact, lifting heavy will help you to better preserve your muscle mass as you start to cut weight.

11.  Muscle weighs more than fat – What weighs more, a pound of concrete or a pound of feathers?  Don’t answer that.  Time for a little physics lesson.  Muscle does not actually weigh more than fat, muscle is more DENSE than fat.  Density is the weight of an object relative to its volume.  This means that a pound of muscle is smaller and takes up less space than a pound of fat.  This explains why a 200lb person with 10% body fat looks smaller than a 200lb person with 25% body fat.  Who says you never use physics in real life?

musclefat

muscle is more DENSE than fat!

12. Carbs are bad for you – Ridiculous. I’m not even sure when this phobia of carbs even began.  Your body’s main source of energy during intense exercise, GLYCOGEN, comes from carbohydrates.  What’s bad are shitty, processed carbs that provide no nutritional value.  Quality sources from fresh fruits and vegetables are optimal for health and nutritional balance.

13.  You can eat whatever you want as long as you workout – Sorry to break the news, but just because you workout doesn’t give you a free pass to eat whatever you want whenever you want.  In fact, exercise increases your appetite and if you’re making crappy food choices, you could end up putting on excess weight and body fat.  Eating sensibly will actually help you reach your goals faster with less effort in the gym.

fat-guy

not exactly the ideal post workout meal

13.  Jogging is the best form of cardio – Jogging is certainly the most CONVENIENT form of cardio but hardly the most effective.  Now, it certainly beats sitting on the couch eating a bag of baked Lay’s (at least they’re baked right?) but it’s a far cry from the best form of cardio.  Long distance running can be quite catabolic (muscle wasting) reducing your ability to burn fat and increase the risk of chronic injuries.  Shorter and more intense forms of cardio such as interval training are more effective at increasing cardiovascular endurance, reducing body fat, and preserving lean muscle tissue.

14.  Stretch after you workout so you don’t get sore – There actually isn’t any scientific evidence that stretching reduces muscle soreness. Muscle soreness is actually a product of microtears in the muscle fibers as a result of the stress that was put on them.  Stretching can provide temporary relief of stiffness and increase blood flow but does not reduce the level of soreness experienced after a workout.

16.  Lifting weights makes you slower – If this were true, the strength and conditioning industry would cease to exist.  Name a professional athlete (a good one) that doesn’t do any strength training. You can’t because there aren’t any. Lifting weights is actually one of the most effective ways to improve speed due to increased force production from stronger muscles.  Carrying excess muscle mass can make you slower simply because you have more weight to carry around.  However, an effective strength training program can make you bigger, stronger, AND FASTER!

17. Yoga and Pilates make you strong – If we’re talking about spiritual or emotional strength then maybe, but if we’re talking about good ol’ fashioned strength that allows you to lift heavy shit then it’s a hell no!  Yoga and Pilates have many benefits but strength is not one of them.  Without sufficient overload (resistance on your muscles), it is next to impossible to build any sort of notable strength. Pump some iron if you want to get strong.

downward-dog-yoga-pose

nobody ever got strong from just doing the “downward dog”

18.  Low fat is better for you – Sometimes.  Low fat versions of foods can sometimes be higher in sugar which spikes your insulin levels and will cause you to store more fat.  Eating high quality fats like avocados and fish are better for regulating your blood sugar levels and keeping you lean.  Read food labels carefully and watch out for excess sugar.

19. Milk does a body good – No it doesn’t.  One of the biggest farces in the health industry today.  There is nothing in milk that is a necessity in the diet that can’t be found in other foods.  In fact, most people, with the exception of those from Eastern European descent, are somewhat lactose intolerant.  We are the only species that drinks milk beyond infancy so that should tell you how “vital” it is to our diet.

arnold

20.  Eating late at night will make you fatter – What time of day you eat isn’t as important as the total amount of food you’ve eaten throughout the day.  If you have already met your daily caloric limit then eating late snacks will push you over the edge. The excess calories is what causes you to store fat not eating them late at night.

21. Longer, slower cardio burns more fat – This is only partially true.  When you work at low intensity, a larger percentage of the calories you burn come from fat.  For example, when you are sitting on the couch watching TV, you are burning almost 100% fat! We all know how effective that is don’t we?  Even though you burn a larger percentage of fat at low intensity, the OVERALL calories and fat burned is more at higher intensities.  For example, if you burn 500 calories going for a 45 minute jog and 75% of those calories came from fat, you burned 375 fat calories. However, if you burned 700 calories from 45 minutes of interval training, and 60% of those calories came from fat, you would have burned 420 fat calories. More calories and more fat can be burned at higher intensity and you can preserve more lean muscle tissue.

Hill-sprints-e1386862876538

hill sprints trump jogging any day of the week

22. Women need to do different exercises than men – If there’s one arena where men and women should be treated equally, it’s in the gym.  What’s good for the dudes is good for the gals.  The only difference between men and women when it comes to training is the adaptation to training. This is due mostly to differences in hormones and the distribution of muscle mass.  High quality exercises will serve both sexes equally well.

dudedeadlift

GGS-Conventional-DL1

what’s good for him is good for her

23.  Machines are safer than free weights – Universal exercise machines were created to make exercise more convenient not more effective.  They serve more as a marketing tool to attract naive customers to join their gyms.  In fact, if you don’t know what you’re doing, machines can be just as dangerous, if not more, than free weights.  Using improper form and/or too much weight can put you at risk for serious injury. Proper coaching and instruction is the key regardless of the equipment you’re using.

527292_10151138465879209_401973511_n-570x427

you can never go wrong with some good ol’ iron

24. Drink 8 glasses of water a day – I’m not sure where this one came from but I do admire the intention to keep us all hydrated.  The truth is that everyone’s hydration needs are different depending on a variety of things including your food intake, activity level and muscle mass. A more active and muscular person will need to drink more water than a sedentary person who is half the size.  Also, the food you eat also contains water and that is never factored into your daily intake.  Using your thirst and the color of your urine are good measures of your hydration.  8 glasses may be a good starting point but it’s hardly an exact science.

25. Egg whites are healthier than egg yolks – Unless you are on a very restricted diet, there is more than one good reason to eat the yolk.  There are loads of vitamins and minerals found in the egg yolk including vitamins A, B12, and D as well as calcium and omega-3s.  The egg yolk provides far more nutritional value despite the extra calories (16 cals in egg white vs 71 cals in egg yolk).

26. If you aren’t sore, your workout wasn’t hard enough – Muscle soreness is definitely a sign that you stressed your muscles and they will need some time to recover but it doesn’t tell the whole story.  You can have a great workout and have little to no muscle soreness and that is completely acceptable.  Depending on how long you’ve been training, you may not experience as much soreness as a beginner.  Use progress as your measuring stick for the quality of your workouts.

27. Cleanses are great for weight loss – You know what’s great for weight loss? Eating less and exercising more.  You can lose a couple of pounds from a cleanse but that is usually water weight that is gained back once you start to eat regular food again.  The body is actually quite efficient at cleansing itself with the kidneys and other antibodies.  Eating nutrient dense foods, staying hydrated and limiting your intake of processed foods will be way more beneficial than any cabbage diet.

I hope this sets the record straight.  Your path to greatness should now be a little more clear.  Train hard and enjoy the ride!

What other issues do you struggle with when it comes to fitness? Drop a comment below!

Don’t forget to subscribe below to receive the latest articles and updates FREE!

comment 75 Comments

The Secrets to Eating Healthier, Building Muscle, and Becoming Insanely Fit!

Getting to the gym consistently and putting in quality workouts can be challenging enough for most people.  Couple that with the necessity to eat a clean diet can make getting in shape a daunting task.  With the abundance of information available to us, it’s hard to decipher what is accurate and what is complete rhetoric – especially when it comes to nutrition.

Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, vegan, low fat, high fat, the list goes on and on.  At the end of the day, our bodies are all different and respond differently to a variety of foods.  So what is the right way to eat for optimal health and performance?? The answer is a resounding – IT DEPENDS.

Depending on your goals, body type, metabolism and a plethora of other factors, your nutritional intake is going to vary.  However, I’m a firm believer in principles and general rules of thumb.  This means that there are definitely certain types of foods we ALL should be eating more of and others that shouldn’t be within 50ft of us.

I recently stumbled across a great resource that eloquently lays out how to approach our dietary habits.  It’s quite informative and entertaining at the same time (which is why I was able to read the entire thing without falling asleep).  Some of the most popular questions are answered in this resource:

  • Do I need to take vitamins and other supplements?
  • How important is it to eat organic?
  • Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
  • How much should you eat in one sitting?
  • How many times/day should you be eating?
  • When and where should you be eating?
  • When is the best time of day to eat?
  • What are the most dangerous foods you should avoid?
  • What’s the easiest way to tell if the food you’re eating is good for you or not?
  • Should you keep a food diary?
  • How many calories should you eat per day?

All these questions and more are answered in this special report!  Find out how to get a kung fu grip on your dietary habits by subscribing below to get this SPECIAL REPORT FREE!  Plus, you will also receive the Pure Payne Method, a 6 week training program aimed at building a STRONGER, LEANER, and more CONDITIONED  you!!  Trust me, it’ll be well worth your time!!

 

 

 

comment 3 Comments

The 7 Habits of Highly Fit People…

We are all creatures of habit in some way, shape, or form.  I enjoy a cup of black coffee every morning while I check my email and prepare for my day ahead. As well, my afternoon naps are a definite must to get me through the day.  Our daily routines are what shape and mold us into what are.  In Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he outlines 7 key habits that a vast majority of successful people share.  These traits were found to help people become successful in business and in everyday life.  Similarly, there are habits that are shared by those that are killin’ it at the gym and getting great results.  Here are 7 habits of highly fit people, see how many of these are a part of your repertoire.

1. Journal your workouts – It has been said that those who keep journals of their daily activities and write down their goals are more likely to be successful than those who don’t.  Keeping a journal of your training helps keep you accountable and allows you to better track your progress.  Making note of little things like you’re energy levels  during your workouts or any aches and pains you may have had that day can provide a lot feedback for future workouts.

2. Post workout nutrition – We all know how important nutrition is to training – at least I think we all know. Making sure to get adequate protein and carbohydrate intake after a workout is important for recovery and replenishment of nutrients.  It does you no good to break your body down during training if you aren’t refueling it properly to rebuild and repair.  Get a shake or some high quality food in you within 60 minutes of training – PERIOD!

3. Sleep – With our lives becoming more hectic, sleep is becoming more and more of a limited resource.  However, that doesn’t change the fact that our body still needs it.  In order to get the most out of your workouts and recover efficiently our bodies need sleep and lots of it – I’m talking 7-9 hours a day.  This will help regulate your cortisol (stress hormone that prevents your body from burning fat)  levels and rejuvenate your nervous system.  If you don’t want to be slob, get to bed earlier and try to increase the quality of your sleep.

4. Intensity – This could be one of the most neglected habits of 98% of gym goers.  I’d like to thank Crossfit for not only defining what intensity is but also getting people to work harder than they ever thought possible.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, showing up is only the FIRST step to making gains.  Ask anyone who is in great shape and they’ll tell you that you’ve got to go hard if you want to go to the next level.  As they saying goes “everything you want lies just outside of your comfort zone” including that 6 pack and 500lb deadlift.

5. Consistency – Doing something right is good. Doing something right OVER AND OVER AGAIN leads to greatness.  The biggest, strongest, and fittest all put in time and lots of it.  They say it takes 10,000 hours to become and expert at something and building a body that looks and performs well is no exception.  Guys like Matt Chan, Jason Khalipa, and Dan Bailey (all pictured above) didn’t just wake up one day with physiques like that.  What you’re looking at is the cumulative effect of putting in solid work day in and day out.  Take each workout one day at a time and remember – the journey is the reward.

6. Mobility/Active Recovery Days – When you’re putting your body to the test on a regular basis, it’s important to take a step back and focus on the less glamorous things every once in a while.  Stretching, foam rolling, massage, chiropractic are examples of ways to keep the body supple and revving on all cylinders.  Deloading and  low intensity conditioning are also great ways to restore the body.  The better you get at the big things, the more the little things matter.

7. Train your weaknesses AT LEAST once/week – One of my favorite athletes of all time, Michael Jordan, came into the NBA demonstrating superior scoring ability. That wasn’t enough for him. In 1988, after a couple of seasons under his belt , he went on to win the Defensive Player of the Year award.  He also won the MVP award that year, making him the first player in history to win both awards in the same season.  That’s what I call turning your weaknesses into strengths!  Now, for the rest of us mortals, if your list of weaknesses is too long  just keep training and take it one workout at a time.  For the more advanced lifters, take the time to balance out any deficiencies at least once per week.  If you’re conditioning sucks, do some more interval training, if your overhead strength is lacking, work your shoulder presses and push presses. Whatever the case may be, don’t shy away from weaknesses and maybe one day you can walk with the athletic gods too.

pgqon1

The late, great Aristotle once said ” we are what we repeatedly do, excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”  I’m pretty sure he was talking about jacking weights when he said that too.  Regardless, the take home message is great habits lead to great results.  If you aren’t already practicing these habits, step your game up and start now!

Are there exercises that you struggle with? Let me know and drop a comment below!

If you liked this article, share it with your friends and subscribe to my mailing list to receive my FREE ebook, the Pure Payne Method and get free updates!

comment Add Comment

5 Simple Ways to Step Up Your Nutrition…

To reach your full potential with an effective exercise program, your nutritional intake must become an integral part of the whole process. The types of foods you eat as well as when you eat them are key to recovery and regeneration after exercise, providing energy throughout the day , as well as overall health and vitality. Developing good nutritional habits doesn’t have to be difficult if you start by following a few simple guidelines. Follow these Nutritional Commandments and you will be well on your way to gaining lean muscle and dropping excess bodyfat.

1. Eat a balanced diet – I know it sounds so simple but how many of us actually do this?  Aim to consume an ideal proportion of carbohydrates (40%), proteins (30%), and fats (30% primarily from good unsaturated sources) on a daily basis. Try to eat each meal in these proportions to regulate blood sugar levels and properly fuel the body prior to and after exercise. Aim to consume carbohydrates from unrefined sources such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and organic whole grains. Choose high quality proteins such seafood, chicken, beans and lean cuts of red meat. Fats should be consumed from primarily unsaturated sources such as nuts, olive oil, as well as fish and seafood.

2. Jumpstart your day with a good breakfast – It’s true what they say… Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Always try to get the day started off right with a nutritious and balanced meal, as this will provide your mind and body with the energy it needs. Skipping breakfast can cause the body to go into a state of starvation that slows the metabolism making it more difficult to burn fat. Never deprive your body of nutrients when it needs them. Organic oatmeal with fresh berries or a protein smoothie is a great way to start your day.

3. Water, Water, Water – The fact that water makes up over 80% of your total body composition, makes it the most important nutrient you can consume. Proper metabolic function and regulation of appetite and body temperature are a few of the main purposes this fluid serves. Drinking plenty of water is one of the simplest ways to detoxify the body allowing one to burn fat more efficiently. Aim to drink at least 8 tall glasses a day and even more on days when you are exercising.  DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES – especially if you are trying to get leaner.  As opposed to coffee, soda, and fruit juices, let water be your main beverage of choice on a daily basis. Try to carry a water bottle with you so you can sip periodically throughout the day.

4. Consume protein with every meal – This not only helps to keep the diet balanced, but also helps to maintain strong bones and joints, enhance recovery after exercise, and helps to regulate hunger and blood sugar levels throughout the day. Nuts, lean meats, seafood, and protein supplements are great choices.

5. Eat raw, whole foods whenever possible – To increase shelf life and production volume, numerous types of foods are processed or refined. This reduces the nutritional value of the food and can be quite toxic to the body. When making food choices, think of the way life used to be 100 years ago and consume raw, whole, and natural sources. Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean meats, beans and lentils should serve as the foundation of your food choices. Avoid foods that come in a box or can as they usually contain large amounts of preservatives, additives, and artificial flavoring. If it’s man-made, forget about it!

Those are just a few tips to get you started, in part 2 we’ll take a look at some more guidelines that will help you look and feel awesome.

What does your daily nutrition look like? What do you struggle with the most? Drop a comment below!