1. I am in great shape but want to get leaner. What do you
suggest? Diet? More cardio instead of weight training?
You’ve just asked the
million dollar question: “How do I get lean?” Getting leaner is fairly simple,
once you determine what formula works best for your body. Of course it’s going
to be related to your diet and exercise program — they are number one and two on
the how-to-get-lean list.
But you don't have to be in
great shape to be lean, and vice versa. Just ask any bodybuilder to run a flight
of stairs and you likely will get a great kick out of seeing this very lean
person look like an out-of-shape goof. And, on the other hand, look at your
cardio kings and queens who could exercise until the cows come home and still
keep on going like the Energizer Bunny but who look like they have never worked
out a day in there lives. It’s a complex situation.
So where do we start?
First of all, if you have
fat on your body, then you also have toxins in your body. If this is the case,
you may need to detox, go for a lymph drainage massage, or have your soft tissue
and bones adjusted.
You must find out which key
components are not functioning properly. This is done through a series of
questions and tests. One test will check you for candida, a yeast fungus, as you
may have a parasite robbing your body of nourishment. This also would keep the
internal organs inflamed and not functioning properly, giving your belly a
As far as diet goes, it’s
important that you eat according to your metabolic type. The Metabolic Typing Dietprobably is one of the best books available on
nutrition. Eat as much organic food as possible, making sure your have a balance
of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. You may need to supplement with flax seed or fish oil.
That covers most of the
general stuff when it comes to the chemical process of getting lean. Now, let's
tackle the mental outlook. Are you holding onto something in your life you need
to release? Sometimes your emotions will cause you to hold onto fat and not get
as lean as you want to be. Stress comes in all different forms, though the
body’s fundamental processing systems are physical, mental, and chemical.
Therefore, in order to truly get fit, you must tackle each part of the health
If you need help on the
mental/emotional level, I suggest you find an NLP (neural linguistic
programming) practitioner, or someone equally qualified, to help you work
through any unwanted baggage you may need to dump. As this is not my area of
expertise, I cannot personally help you out with this, but I know many qualified
people who can.
Lastly, let's get to the
physical side of things. Working out is a crucial component of getting lean.
Just look at your leanest athletes and consider why are they are so slender.
They got their lean, sculpted bodies by doing both cardio and weight training.
The leanest individuals would be the bodybuilders, then sprinters, gymnasts, and
so on. The common ground that makes them leaner is that they move in short
bursts of activity. Long-distance runners and cardio fanatics reside at the
other end of the spectrum, sharing the fact that they store more fat.
To burn fat and get lean,
you must put your anaerobic system to work. This means your weight training
exercises and cardio exercises should last only for about 60 seconds or less.
Using this system is so inefficient for your body (heart) that it makes burning
fat much more effective.
Typically, working out at 5
to 6 sets of 6 reps with no rest (a circuit 5-6 times through a complex set of
lifts) is the best method for shedding fat. However, this is a very complex
system, and I urge you to get professional guidance before beginning such a program.
Though I don't know what
program you currently are using, adjusting it regularly could work miracles for
your physique and get you leaner much more quickly. Then again, you and your
body might need some other steps not detailed here.
This information may seem
vague, but it will at least give you the insight to get started. If you want to
know how to create a program tailored precisely to your needs, set up a
consultation with me, and I will go over each detail to find out what it will
take for you to get as lean as you want to be.
2. What is the best way to get cardio? Interval training?
The best cardio activity
depends entirely on the person’s training goals, though I'm going to assume you
are referring to fat loss. Interval training, where you do sprints for 60
seconds or less, then rest, and repeat as many times as possible, is typically
the best for achieving significant fat loss.
However, this isn't the
end-all and be-all. There are other factors and considerations to be taken into
account, such as the individual’s overall health, current level of fitness, age,
and any injuries or issues that might require specific attention.
3. Is it true that if I exercise at my heart’s max rate, my
body is no longer in fat-burning mode?
No, this isn't necessarily
true. At the moment in time that your heart rate reaches its max, your body
probably will be using glucose for energy, but that doesn't mean you are not
burning fat. Fat burning is a cumulative process. You may not be burning fat at
this exact time and moment, but in the long run you will burn more fat if you
work at a higher max rate.
How does the body burn fat?
Fat burning occurs when your heart works at a certain percentage of its capacity
while you exercise. Your body primarily uses fat for energy (fuel), which is why
fat is broken down at the moment you are performing cardio. The percentage of
fat you burn depends on how hard you are working. You will burn a smaller total
percentage of fat when you work at your max heart rate, but the total amount of
fat burned will be greater.
Let’s look at the numbers
in the following example.
If I'm in fat-burning mode
and I burn 1,000 calories in 30 minutes, 55 percent of those calories will have
been fat calories, making a total of 550 calories from fat I lost during that
workout. Now let’s say I did cardio at 85 to 90 percent of my max heart rate for
30 minutes. And say the higher heart rate means I burned 2,000 calories in 30
minutes. Since I worked at a higher heart rate to burn those 2,000 calories, the percentage of fat I burned went down, with only 30 percent of the
calories I burned at that time being fat calories. However, 30 percent of 2,000
is more than 55 percent of 1,000 — making a total of 600 fat calories I
lost at the higher heart rate, 50 more than at the lower rate.
These are just round
numbers to simplify the example, but you get the idea. Yes, on a percentage
basis, it is more optimal to keep the heart rate within a certain range to burn
the most fat. However, the overall number to consider is the total calories
burned — and at the higher heart rate you can increase the total amount of
calories burned, making it far more effective for fat burning in the long run.
4. What are signs of over-training?
Signs of over-training are
pretty obvious. You look tired and fatigued, with bags and dark circles under
your eyes that make you resemble a raccoon. Low appetite, low sex drive, and
lack of drive or motivation are other signs.
Yes, this sounds like the
majority of the population — and yes, in a way, most people are over-trained.
While most people probably don't exercise and work out, they perform the same
routine every day, with no additional stress for their bodies to improve (super
Quality training involves
both ends of the spectrum: giving your body something new and more challenging
to do — and then allowing it time to rest and recuperate before the next time
you work out.
5. What's your opinion on the carb craze?
Let me again advocate for
William Walcott’s book, The
Metabolic Typing Diet. Read it, and you will understand that everyone
has a different bio-chemistry. Some people need more carbs, while others need
hardly any. Because we are all different, each of us should be on a diet that
works for our metabolic type. Low-Carb! Low-Carb — High-Protein! Low-Fat!
Low-Fat — High-Carb! These new diets are all just media hype and fads. Popular
diets like the current low-carb craze may work, but they won’t work for
everyone, and they will only be effective for a short time.
Short-term diets don’t work
in the long run. The only eating plan that will work long-term is one that is
tailored to your body’s specific physical needs. The best part about it is that
it’s not a diet, — it’s a life plan. Invest enough time in yourself to find out
what foods best nourish your body, and you will be well on your way to health
and the lean body you seek.
6. What do you generally suggest in the way of carb/protein/fat
I believe I may already
have answered this question. The ratio of carb/fat/protein intake all depends on
a person's metabolic type. I have found that once a person figures out their
metabolic type and begins eating accordingly, the fat just comes flying right
I typically help determine
metabolic typing first with a questionnaire, and then with some fine tuning.
With such precision eating, the person’s energy, mood, and cravings improve
dramatically. Again, this is all dependent on each person’s own specific
bio-chemistry. There are no one-size-fits-all programs or diets that really
work. This garbage that everyone should eat the same thing really is a bunch of
BS. You can tell that from the recent proliferation of allegedly “low-carb”
products. Food manufacturers don’t care about your health — they just want to
cash in on the latest craze. There actually have been ads for low-carb soda and
candy bars, for crying out loud! Don’t be fooled. Unhealthy is unhealthy,
whether it’s low-carb, high-carb, or no-carb.
Our bodies are all unique, and we react differently to
foods, making optimal eating a science that is distinct to each individual. So
you must take your nutrition and exercise programs seriously if you want great
results. A quick-fix, shotgun approach is just a waste of time, money, health,
and energy. Do it right the first time and you’ll achieve the results you want
without the headache and hassle.