Thursday, November 27, 2008

The 2 Biggest Workout Mistakes

Quick Post today, with a little bit of tough love.

These two mistakes are ones that I see ALL the time.

If you are making either of them it is time to STOP. With these mistakes you could be missing out on almost ALL of the results from your workouts.

If you are trying to gain muscle then the #1 mistake you can make is not measuring your progress. Without solid metrics, you are just spinning your wheels and wasting your time in the gym.

It does not matter how great your pump is or how annihilated your muscles feel. If you don't track your progress then you don't know if you are making any progress at all.

Pick measurements that are important to you and that are trackable.

Then keep track.

It is simple, but if you aren't doing this you are wasting your time.

Strength and body part circumferences are easy and effective ways to track your progress in the gym.

If you are trying to lose body fat then the #1 mistake you can make is compensating with over nutrition. If you are drinking a 700 Calorie protein shake, or eating a giant pasta dinner after your workouts then you could be completely undoing all the work you just did in the gym.

It does not matter that you are soaked in sweat or how much your legs are burning. If you are an overcompensator, you have just WASTED YOUR TIME in the gym.

Post-workout nutrition has been glorified for the simple reason that it helps sell post-workout supplements.

And while post workout nutrition is very important for competitive endurance athletes, it can completely undo hours of hard work for anyone who is trying to lose body fat.

Avoid these two killer mistakes, and you will see results from your hard work.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Food, famly, friends

My little brother is back in Ontario visiting for the week. To celebrate, my parents hosted an 'open house' where neighbors, friends and family got together and we all had a chance to catch up.

We also ate.

Actually, given the way I was eating, I'm not sure if anyone else even had the chance to eat.

I was a glutton. I'm not sure why, but I think I subconsciously decided to either start training to be a professional eater, or was just trying to see if I could make my stomach explode.

It was THAT bad.

Personally, between you and me, I blame my sister-in-law-to-be's Xmas cookies. They are amazing, and they are what caused me to "break the seal".

To use lingo from my alma mater (the University of Guelph) - I crushed it.

Xmas cookies, walker's chocolates, muffins, some AMAZING meat balls (thanks Mom!), more muffins, more Xmas cookies, pastry, even more cookies....and a stick of celery ;)

It wasn't until my stomach actually started to hurt and BEGGED ME TO STOP that I realized I had gone WAAAAY overboard.

But this is what happens when you hit the holiday season. You over eat and when you do, there is a chance you overeat BIG TIME.

But here's some interesting info for you: At the height of my stomach busting gluttony, about 1 hour after my eating frenzy, I tested by blood sugar.

5.5 mmol/L (about 100 mg/dL)


Not even postprandial (the amount you would expect from an average person after an average meal).

Thank you 2 years of fasting and weight training.

I ate sugary cookies and pastries until I could barely keep my eyes open and still had a normal blood sugar reading.

Here is another great thing I want to share with you. On the drive home, I obviously knew I had overate, but I also knew it wasn't a big deal.

I knew I wasn't going to wake up 5 pounds heavier on Monday (I checked this morning..just to make sure)

And since I knew I could fast twice this week I still had everything under control.

So here's my point - We all mess up. And chances are if it's gonna happen, it's going to happen during the holidays. Yes I could have been a little better, but (AND HERE IS THE IMPORTANT PART) there is no need to stress out.

Devoting your entire life to losing fat and not taking time off to enjoy the cookies every once in while is a recipe for a very boring life.

Don't let your quest for weight loss get in the way of what truly counts.

Food, family and friends.


PS - Freedom comes from knowing that you CAN eat less. That your metabolism won't slow down and you won't lose muscle just because you decided not to eat for 24 hours.

Just as you can overeat every once in a while and not need to stress out
you can also under-eat without stressing out.

Eat Stop Eat – Experience freedom now.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Workout Video

Today I want to share one of my favorite exercises for you.

While I think that the standing barbell shoulder press is the king of upper body exercises, this is a pretty good assistance exercise for building strong shoulders and arms.


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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Your metabolism's dirty little secret

Boosting your metabolism is big business.

From supplements and foods to exercise and even meditation, everybody is pushing the idea that they can help you boost your metabolism.

You will see claims like Boosts Metabolism by 78% or 115%, and while this sounds promising, have you ever stopped to think about what this would actually look like?

An elevated metabolic rate is a physiological phenomenon. It does happen, but it also has clear and definite symptoms.

Take exercise as an example.

Whether you are running or performing an intense weight training workout, your metabolic rate is elevated during the time you are exercising. Because of this, you display all the CLASSIC SYMPTOMS of an elevated metabolic rate:

You are tired and sweating. Your heart rate is elevated as is your breathing rate. You are experiencing an increased level of thirst.

These are the classic symptoms of an elevated metabolic rate.

The drug Clenbuterol is often used by bodybuilders and fitness models because of its ability to increase metabolic rate.

The symptoms of Clebuterol use include:

Fatigue, increased sweating, elevated heart rate and breathing rate, increased thirst and even palpitations and arrhythmias.

Hyperthyroidism is a medical condition that is associated with an elevated metabolic rate. Some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

Fatigue, weakness, irritability, sweating, increased sweating and an increased heart rate.

All of these things share an elevated metabolic rate, and its associated symptoms.

Since most of us have not taken Clenbuterol or suffer from hyperthyroidism, the best example of an increased metabolic rate is exercise.

The next time you are in the gym, set the treadmill at a speed of 5 miles per hour and walk on it for 10-20 minutes.

Once you are done, stop and take note of how you feel.

To increase your metabolic rate by a LARGE amount all day long, this is how you would have to feel ALL DAY LONG.

Obviously a teaspoon of cinnamon or a cup of green tea is simply not going to have this effect.

The bottom line is that a truly elevated metabolism leaves you sweaty, fatigued and thirsty for the entire day. And as evidenced by medical conditions with elevated metabolisms can lead to some serious health problems.

Very small but prolonged increases in metabolism are beneficial, such as the effect of increasing your muscle mass, but this is nowhere near the 50%-100% increase in metabolism you read about in fitness magazines.

To lose weight, concentrate on eating less, not necessarily burning more. Use your diet to lose body fat and your workouts to maintain or even increase the size of your muscles. Things like green tea and cinnamon may have health benefits, but they are probably not going to help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism.


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How much weight will I lose with Eat Stop Eat?

I often get asked "How much weight will I lose with Eat Stop Eat?"

For the record, I answer this question in the FAQ's at the end of Eat Stop Eat, however it is an important question that I am also going to answer on this blog...

With the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle, you should be able to lose weight at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week.

I know there are lots of reports of people losing 3, 4 even 7 pounds a week with Eat Stop Eat, but these are people are anomalies...

Even when people lose 3-4 pounds per week for the first couple of weeks, this is mostly inflammation and excess water weight disappearing (and obviously some fat mass as well).

And while some people do see very impressive results over the first month or two, it is important to remember that Eat Stop Eat is not a starvation diet nor is it a crash diet.

Think long term sustainability, look for trends in your weight (remember it fluctuates by as much as 2-3 pounds day to day) and strive for long term weight loss success!

Eat Stop Eat was designed to be a lifestyle of sustainable weight loss,


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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bad news for Hoodia Marketers

I just read a very interesting article on titled "Unilever drops Hoodia"

After spending years studying the weight loss potential of Hoodia, the massive corporate conglomerate Unilever has decided to drop its interest in the herb after concluding that the super popular South African plant extract did not meet both safety and efficacy requirements.

While I can't say the comments about efficacy surprised me, the mention of safety is a tad worrying.

Just another reason to stick to calorie restricted diet and weight training. Save your money, get results.


PS- For more information you can visit - Hoodia Article

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Monday, November 17, 2008

The importance of small changes

One of the best things about Eat Stop Eat is that it allows you to really take control of how you eat.

After all, once you have gone without food for 24 hours a couple of times, you really start to get a feel for the real reasons behind why you eat, what you eat and when you eat.

Often times, hunger isn't one of these reasons. Habit and emotional connection are usually the culprit.

If you take this new found wisdom, you can create a big difference in the way you eat by making SMALL changes.

Take coffee for instance.

One of the first things I noticed when I started fasting was how much I loved my coffee with cream and sugar (I put up with black coffee during my fasts, but I DEFINITELY don't like it)

Fasting also made me realize just how often I craved coffee...typically drinking 2-3 cups per day.

I realized very quickly that this was the perfect opportunity to make SMALL CHANGES for BIG RESULTS.

My typical coffee was (at the time) was an extra large with two cream, two sugar - which contains about 280 calories.

I slowly weaned myself down to a large coffee with 1 sugar and 1 cream, which contained about 110 calories.

After about a week of drinking large coffees with 1 sugar and 1 cream I realized I wasn't enjoying my coffee nearly as much as I used to, so I switched to 2 cream, 1 sugar..about 180 calories.

This did the trick.

So, thanks to one small change I reduced my coffee calorie intake by 100 Calories, 2 to 3 times per day, saving myself between 1,400 to 2,100 Calories per week without cutting out any of my favorite foods.

In my opinion this is much better than simply trying to stop drinking coffee all together. After all, I enjoy my coffee, so this would have been punishment, and weight loss and eating healthy should NEVER be about self-punishment. Plus, I know that I would have lasted about 3 days without coffee before going back to my old habits, so it would have been futile punishment at that.

Small changes, big results.


PS- the other day I tried a coffee with 2 cream, 2 sugar (for old time's sake)..I can honestly tell you I like my coffee with 2 cream 1 sugar better!

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The truth about counting calories

Even in well controlled clinical research, counting calories is extremely difficult.

This is why good research uses tools like diet records and food frequency questionnaires as ways to identify changes in eating patterns, and not to measure calorie intake.

The truth is, it is very difficult to accurately measure how many calories you eat in any day. Anybody who tells you they eat EXACTLY 3,125 calories in a day is really telling you they eat somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 to 4,000 calories per day (average margin of error in research trials is 30%, and the more calories a person eats, the bigger the error becomes!).

I'm not against calorie counting tools and software, but I do think you should use them to identify trends, and not to measure the exact number of calories you eat.

To learn more, watch the video below:

Calories are definitely important, but obsessive over exact numbers is a recipe for diet failure.


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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Energy Scam

Boosts Energy!

Provides Energy!

Both of these statements are great claims to put on a food or supplement. After all, everybody wants more energy in their day. More energy to hit the gym, take the kids to swimming, make it through class, or just make it through the day.

But is this the type of energy we are talking about?

Unfortunately no.

If we take a look a the things that 'boosts energy' – eggs, milk, protein bars, so called energy drinks and lately...tuna.

The 'energy' these things provide is Calories.

Calories ARE energy.

So when a food or supplement tells you that it provides energy, what it is actually saying is that it provides Calories. And, 'boosts energy' simply means 'boosts the amount of Calories you eat'

Its a clever marketing claim that is based in semantics. They say the truth, and we interpret it in a completely different (and much more appealing) way.

The funny thing is, the type of energy that we are looking for – alertness and vigor can be created by these "Fab Five" – A good nights sleep, the right attitude, exercise, fasting and a stress free lifestyle.

Add these five things into your life and you will have days full of unlimited energy...without relying on foods or supplements that 'boost energy'


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Correlation verus Causation

Mistaking correlation for causation.

This is probably one of the biggest mistakes we make in nutrition and weight loss research.

If you added up every single grammar error and spelling mistake I have made on this blog over the past year, it still wouldn't even come close to the amount of times people have mistaken correlation for causation in weight loss research.

There are a lot of fancy definitions for correlation, but I like to think of it this way - If two 'things' are correlated, this means they are related.

This is very different than Causation.

Causation is when you change one thing, and you cause another thing to change.

They are similar, but quite different.

For example, I live in the small (but rapidly growing) town of Waterdown. If I were to conduct a research study on the women in Waterdown between the ages of 16 and 22, looking at the relationship between their body composition and the clothing that they own, I would most likely find a significant correlation that would read something like this:

There is a significant correlation in women who own Lululemon workout pants and Nike running shoes and having a low body fat and lower body weight. That is, the women who owned more pairs of workout pants and Nike running shoes, would tend to be leaner and lighter then women who owned less.

This is a correlation.

Obviously the Lululemon pants and Nike shoes did not CAUSE these women to be lighter and leaner (even though it would be great for sales), rather the women that own these clothes tend to go to the gym more often and live a 'fitness lifestyle' that includes watching what they eat, thinking about their health and working out regularly.

So the correlation is in the lifestyle.

This finding happens a lot in research and is often mistaken for causation.

Take for instance all the research that shows that people who eat more frequently tend to be leaner and weigh less than people who eat less frequently.

This would be a great example of a lifestyle correlation.

Over the last ten or so years the trend in the health and fitness industry has been to promote the idea of eating more frequently. And, as a result, people who are heavily into fitness and health tend to eat more frequently then people who are not into the health and fitness lifestyle.

This creates a lifestyle correlation. This does not mean that eating more frequently CAUSES a person to be just means that people who are lean live a lifestyle that (currently) includes multiple meals per day, because this is what is popular.

But what happens when we remove the lifestyle variable?

Well that is exactly what Karine Duval and her team examined in the research publication "Physical activity is a confounding factor of the relation between eating frequency and body composition"

When you removed physical activity from the equation, the correlation between meal frequency and body composition disappeared.

Or, as they put it:

"It is interesting that the associations between eating frequency and adiposity disappeared after correction for physical activity energy expenditure and VO2peak"

A perfect example of well conducted research proving that we often mistake a correlation for causation.

Scientific research is very difficult. And trying to control all of the components of a persons life so that you can make definitive statements about cause and effect still eludes even the most skilled researcher.


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Monday, November 10, 2008

How to workout with Eat Stop Eat

It's probably not much of a surprise that I like muscle. If you look through my previous posts I think it is pretty obvious that I am very much a workout junkie.

I like to do me best to be efficient about working out, and not to simply go the gym for the sake of being in the gym, but I do enjoy it.

And, if I thought fasting was going to cause me to lose muscle - even just a little bit - I wouldn't do it. Not for all the fat loss in the world.

To me, weight training is like an insurance policy. With weight training I beleive with 100% certainty that I am losing body fat, but not losing muscle.

I've tried many different workout styles and routines throughout my training days. Some I liked, some I didn't.

The key to working out is fairly simple - have a good plan of attack and execute that plan to the best of your abilities. It does not matter if you are following a full body training routine, a body part split program or some variation of the long as you have a plan that allows you to progress, and you follow that plan, you will get results.

To get the very best results out of your workout your exercises need to be challenging. And, while I am not an exercise physiologist by any means, I do have my favorite exercises, the ones that I enjoy doing, and the ones that challenge me the most.

So from time to time, I'm going to share some of my all time favorite exercises on this blog. Starting with the simple Chin-up made challenging with a big rubber band.

It's an exercise that takes a minimum amount of equipment, and that can easily be done in a commercial gym or in a home gym.


How to workout with Eat Stop Eat

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Fasting, Exercise and Blood Sugar

Here are two quick "Did you knows?" concerning fasting, exercise and blood sugar.

Did you know that it takes 30 to 60 minutes of running at 75% of your V02 max (for conditioned runners) to get your blood insulin levels down to the same level found in people who have been fasting for 23 hours? (Dohm LG 1986)

Did you know that when scientists studied people who exercised after fasting for 23 hours, their blood sugar levels were actually found to be slightly higher then when the same people exercised after a small meal? (Coyle EF 1985; Dohm LG 1986)

What this means to you- running at 75% of your VO2 max for as long as 70 minutes in well trained runners who had been fasting for 23 hours did not cause hypolgycemia (low blood sugar) So if you like exercising while you are fasted, this research suggests you don't have to worry about hypoglycemia (as long as your exercise intensity isn't way above these levels).

And it takes between 30 and 60 minutes of running at a VO2 of 75% to get the same insulin lowering effect as simply sitting around the house after fasting for 18-24 hours.

Two things to think about the next time you are fasting.


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The Next Wave of Multi-Vitamins

I've seen the writing on the wall for months, and the evidence is now strong enough that I am willing to say that the next wave - the future if you will - of multi-vitamin supplements will consist of products who derive their entire micro-nutrient list from fruit and vegetable sources.

The whole foods and organic people should be very proud. The demand they have created in the food industry has finally started to leak into the supplement side of things.

And if anyone knows how to identify a cash-cow when they see it, its the supplement industry.

Rip on them if you like, but the cold hard facts are, these people know how to make money, and there track record is very impressive.

So in time for the new year, keep your eyes out for multi-vitamins to claim "whole food sources" and to have ingredient lists that include extracts of:

Carrots, broccoli, spinach, cherries, blueberries, mangoes, tomatoes, onions, cranberries and almonds. it just me, or doesn't that sound like a really awesome salad? But hey, who wants to EAT their nutrients when you could simply pop them in a pill?


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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

How to measure weight loss

If you are on a diet, it's the trend, not the number, that counts.

Here is a quick and easy tip on how to measure weight loss without losing your mind.


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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obsessive Compulsive Exercise?

I just finished reading Craig Ballantyne's new book "Just say no to Cardio".

It's a great read.

One of the reasons I like this book is that it reminds me of Eat Stop Eat. It's quick and to the point - no fluff.

It's not 300 pages long and it doesn't contain filler (like the dreaded recipe section of any weight loss book!)

Craig's account of the ineffectiveness of cardio reminds me of OCE(1) (Obsessive compulsive eating). In fact, I'd go so far as to call cardio training OCE(2) (Obsessive compulsive exercise).

**unless you are actually an endurance athlete, but then its endurance training, not cardio**

When it comes to cardio training for fat loss, it is a ritualistic practice and very obsessive compulsive...Just like traditional dieting.

Since traditional cardio does not tend to give you great fat loss results, people end up doing cardio for longer and longer periods of time.

Then when very long sessions of cardio still don't work they start with the over analysis of WHEN they should do cardio, HOW they should do cardio, WHAT types of cardio....its a never ending downwards spiral, and Craig does a great job of pointing this out.

I even liked Craig's chapter on nutrition. Any one who's recommendations for weight loss involves the phrase "If you are not losing fat, eat less" is OK with me.

You can check out "Just Say No To Cardio" by clicking on the following link to visit Just Say NO

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Why Diets Stop Working

I feel very confident in saying that the vast majority of professional health care providers know that starvation mode is a myth.

I also feel confident in saying that any professional health care provider who would tell a patient that the reason they aren't losing weight is because they are not eating enough has no business giving anyone health advice.

To be blunt, the scientific community has debunked the idea of starvation mode.

But starvation mode was just a theory. And it was a theory that was created in an attempt to explain a phenomenon that is VERY REAL.

There is scientific evidence to support the statement that it is possible for people who are following extreme diets to stop losing weight. This is not a myth; it is a very real phenomenon.

And while you may think this is strange, what's even stranger is that when this phenomenon happens, the people it affects are STILL LOSING BODY FAT.

That's right, they are not losing weight, but they are losing body fat. Only you can't tell. In fact, it may even look like they are putting on fat.

No doubt you probably think I've gone 'off the deep end' and fallen deep into the murky waters of obsessive compulsive eating - but don't worry, this isn't some OCE scare tactic (I'm not going to try to scare you into eating in some methodical or obsessive manner). It's a real metabolic situation with a very logical explanation and very simple solutions.

It took some massive digging for me to find the answers to this phenomenon ( I ended up having to track down research from World War 2). When I finally found this research it completely changed the way I looked at weight loss, extreme diets and (believe it or not) bodybuilders.

I've put everything together in my newest audio file "Why Diets Stop Working" which is now available exclusively with the Eat Stop Eat Advanced Audio files.

If you'd like to know about this under-reported silent culprit that could be sabotaging your weight loss results, then it's time to listen to the Eat Stop Eat Advanced Audio files.

My goal with Eat Stop Eat is to help you lose weight easily and effectively, and also to help you see through the myths and pseudo-science that are so prevalent the field of nutrition.

I think this new project does a great job expanding on this goal.


PS - the Eat Stop Eat Advanced Audio files are available at

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