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Showing posts with label Obesity and Weight Loss. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obesity and Weight Loss. Show all posts

A Six Month Plan to Lose 10 Pounds using 6 Minute Exercises

Lets pretend you currently weigh 200 lbs and you want to lose 10 lbs over a 6 month period (or 20 lbs over the course of a year). What would you need to do to accomplish that using purely exercise and no changes to your diet?

Well, first lets look at the math.

10 lbs is the equivalent of 35,000 calories.

Divided up into 6 months, that is a goal of losing 5833.33 calories per month. Or 194.44 calories per day.

If you go for a simple 6 minute walk during which you walk 0.5 km, a person who weighs 200 lbs will burn 37 calories. (Admittedly that is a fairly slow and leisurely walk.)

The person in question would need to do that same walk 157.65 times per month to burn the necessary calories to meet their monthly goal. That would be roughly 5.25 walks per day.

So a 6 minute leisurely walk just isn't going to cut it.

But a slightly faster pace and more time, 30 minutes walking 2.7 km, that would burn 200 calories.

A significantly faster pace, jogging for 15 minutes a distance of 2.0 km, that would burn 188 calories. Counting the Afterburn Effect, it would end up being over 200 calories.

However if the goal is to get the Afterburn Effect, then you would actually get the best results with the least amount of effort by using Interval Training.

Sample Interval Training Routine

1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.

So the person is getting in 5 minutes of running/jogging, which gets the heart pounding hard, following by light exercise in the form of walking. By spacing it out into intervals it causes a combination of multiple hormonal releases and multiple triggers of the fat burning Afterburn Effect. Interval Training is also easier for people who lack stamina and endurance, and over time they can change the routine to add more time jogging and less time walking. As a result they are burning fat, and building endurance so that they will later be able to burn fat at a faster rate.

The above routine would burn over 250 calories, plus a bonus amount depending on the Afterburn Effect. In theory they could do less time, 25 minutes instead of 30, and still be burning the 200 calories per day.

So what about 6 Minute Cardio Routines?

Well, you are not going to burn 200 calories in six minutes. That is basically impossible. Even the most intense exercise won't be able to burn 200 calories in six minutes.

But a 200 lb person jumping rope (fast) for six minutes will burn 108 calories. That means that if a person did that twice per day (once in the morning, once in the afternoon/evening) they could burn 216 calories per day.

So it is possible to break the 200 calories per day mark by doing 6 minute cardio exercises, but you would need to choose a very intense exercise and most people will not be able to do an intense exercise for 6 minutes straight.

Other intense exercises and the calories burned for a 200 lb person:
  • 6 minutes of Jumping Jacks, approx. 73 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Sprinting/Running 8 mph, approx. 122 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Kettlebell Training, varies on the weight of the kettlebell. Approx. 90 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Kickboxing, approx. 90 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Cycling, approx. 103 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Rowing Machine, approx. 79 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Stair Climbing, approx. 64 calories.
Notice something about all of the above exercises? They are all exercises that use both the legs and arms. Want to know what else burns lots of calories? Swimming.

Here are the same numbers but for different kinds of swimming exercises, again calculated for a person who weighs 200 lbs:
  • 6 minutes of Leisure Swimming : 71 calories
  • 6 minutes of Backstroke : 82.5 calories
  • 6 minutes of Front Crawl (Slow) : 82.5 calories
  • 6 minutes of Breaststroke : 118 calories
  • 6 minutes of Front Crawl (Fast) : 131 calories
  • 6 minutes of Butterfly : 131 calories
So if a person really loves swimming, this is certainly an option. Doing the 6-minute Butterfly exercise 300 times over 150 days (5 months) would burn 39,300 calories or 11.2 lbs. Doable? It really depends on how much you love swimming.

What about dieting?

After seeing the amount of exercising many people may be thinking "Hmm, maybe I should just diet instead."

In which case you will want to reduce your daily intake of calories to a more reasonable level. Your best bet is to be calorie counting, as that multiplies your chances of success. Aim to be consuming 200 calories less than the normal amount of calories you need per day, which means you will be burning fat stores instead. So if your body burns 1800 calories per day, aim to eat only 1600 per day.

So yes, dieting is certainly an option.

Or you could do both, diet and exercise. The combination of both is a surefire way of burning more calories than you are consuming. It really depends how much you want to lose and over what time period. Trying to burn 10 lbs in 1 month is possible, but would be extremely grueling. Doing the same amount, but spread over 6 months is much more reasonable.

Happy Exercising!

Five Exercises for Increasing Your Metabolic Rate

Increasing your metabolic rate is one of the easiest ways to get in shape and lose weight. Below are five exercises that boost your metabolism - and they're frugal, using only your bodyweight.

The primary purpose of these exercise is to get your heart rate up, which kickstarts the Afterburn Effect - a major boost to your metabolic rate and starts a fat burning process in your body. You should do the exercises until your heart feels tired, and then rest.

Best of all, these are exercises you can do every day, for 1 to 2 minutes each. 5 to 10 minutes per day isn't much, but if you are getting Afterburn Effect going then it will give you more energy for the rest of the day as you will feel more energetic, more alert, and you will be burning fat for approx. 24 to 48 hours after the exercises. Do them every day, and the Afterburn Effect is extended and multiplied, causing rapid fat burning.

Note - If you have a known heart condition you should consult your doctor before doing any exercises which could effect your heart.

Step-Ups - use a step or platform that is about 4-6 inches high. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and jump onto the step or platform at least 15 times. Repeat after walking around the platform in a complete circle.

Squats - stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your arms to your side. Pretend there is a chair behind you and almost sit bringing your arms out in front keeping your back flat and abdominal muscles pulled in.

Push-ups - begin on your knees or feet and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the step or platform. Inhale as you lower your body to the step and exhale as you push yourself up. Repeat for 15 repetitions. Pay attention to your form while doing push-ups, you want to do them properly to get the full effect.

Tricep Dips - sit with your back to the step and place your hands behind you on the step. Lift and lower your body using your tricep muscles to do the work keeping your elbows in line with your wrists. Repeat 12 times.

Lunges - stand with one foot on the step and place your other foot behind you so that your front knee is over your heel. Lower your body keeping your shoulders in line with your hips at least 12 times for each leg. Repeat on the other leg.


Jumping Jacks - These old school exercises are actually amazingly effective as they get your heart racing fast, use both upper body and lower body simultaneously, and they require minimal space to do. Jumping Jacks are amazing at boosting heart rate and consequently your metabolic rate.

Gardening - A Weight Loss Exercise Plan + Diet

Gardening can be a fascinating topic for some people - or really boring to anyone who has zero interest in plants. But if you are fascinated with the idea of growing your own food, I want to propose the following Exercise Plan / Diet.

The goal essentially is to grow your own food in your backyard. This will require lots of work (exercise), careful planning, time, cooking/baking skills, and a dose of determination.

I recommend planting the following, which I have listed in order of spectrum because I think it would be nice to have a garden that is ordered by colour:

Red Beats
Raspberries (Requires more space.)
Mini Red Potatoes (Smaller than regular potatoes, but tastier.)
Red Peppers
Orange Peppers
Yellow Peppers (Because it is nice to have variety.)
Sweet Corn (Requires more space.)
Green Beans
Lettuce (There are many different kinds of lettuce, I recommend planting 3 different kinds so you have variety.)
Watermelons (Green on the outside, red on the inside.)
Herbs (There are likewise many different herbs, such as basil, parsley, cloves, dill, etc. They are commonly used as spices, not as a main dish.)
Purple Cabbage
Purple Cauliflower

I recommend against planting anything huge like squash or pumpkins, because those plants take up a lot of space. So unless you have tonnes of space, you should focus on plants that produce more food for their smaller area. This is similar to the Sweet Corn above, which does take up more space, except that pumpkins and squash take up a LOT of space. Also don't expect to be growing any huge "prize winning pumpkins" on your first try. Most likely they will be quite small. (Also who wants to eat that much pumpkin???)

I also recommend against planting white or yellow potatoes, which contain a lot of starch and starch is fattening. I includes the Mini Red Potatoes above for variety and also because they taste better.

Baked mini red potatoes are also very tasty. Just bake on a pan, add some spices and yum!

Once you've got your garden growing your next step is to eat what you've grown. Some of that may require learning some new cooking / baking skills, but honestly the internet and youtube has lots of recipes for you to explore. Make a mistake? Oh well, you will know better next time.

The end goal is that you will be eating more healthy food that you've grown yourself - which often tastes better than anything found in a store.

All that exercise from tilling, planting, weeding, harvesting means you will have shed some pounds over the course of Spring to Autumn. Once you've harvested the food at various stages during the year you will reap the benefits of eating lots of healthy vegetables - whether they be the form of salads, stews, soups, berries with yogurt, on pizza, juicing, or whatever recipes you decide to cook up with them.

The end result is if you treat your garden as both an exercise plan and a diet plan, you are guaranteed to become a healthier weight / a healthier person in the process.

I also recommend weening yourself off sugary drinks and high sugar / high cholesterol snacks. Some foods are so addictive that people will get into a habit of eating them at a specific time every day and if they do not then they get cravings for sugary things at that time of day. (This happens to me every year when I visit my parents and my mother sends me home with bags full of cookies, squares, etc - and I end up developing a sugar craving during a particular hour of the day afterwards due to snacking on them that part of the day. Fortunately I eventually run out of them and the craving is forced to go into decline.)

There are three ways to ween yourself off addictive foods:

1. Eat less of them and stop buying them, you will eventually have to stop because you run out.

2. Go cold turkey, meaning cut yourself off from them completely. This is trickier because if they're in your cupboard / freezer you either have to ignore they are there or thrown them out. Option 1 suddenly looks more appealing, yes?

3. Eat berries. Berries have natural sugars in them, so they will fulfill your craving for sugar but you are switching your addiction from one food to a different food. Other foods that are also higher in sugar are: grapes, mangos, bananas, cherries, apples, pears, kiwis and pineapple. By replacing your addiction with something healthier this is a good way to ween yourself off sugary foods and make a gradual switch towards healthier options.

Exercise Addiction Induced Anorexia

Look at the two runners on the right.

Which of them looks more natural and healthy?

If you picked #396, you are correct. He looks way healthier than #301, mostly due to his more muscular physique, better form, whereas #301 looks like he could collapse and die any second.

The differences between #301 and #396 isn't limited to their clear differences in muscle mass however, it is also a matter of differences in how they trained their bodies, how much nutrition they gave themselves while training, and whether they overdid it during the training process or whether they optimized their training / nutritional habits.

There is also a difference in sport. #301 is a marathon runner, which requires endurance. #396 is a sprinter, which requires sudden bursts of sheer speed - which requires more muscle power. However being super skinny is not a necessity for being a marathon runner, rather it is a side effect of Exercise Addiction.

Exercise Addiction is very common to marathon runners because there is a strong tendency to get "Runners High". While running very long distances your brain starts to produce a variety of hormones which act as painkillers to the runner, so that they can keep running. Unfortunately those natural hormones make for a very unnatural cocktail of chemicals, and behaves like heroin on the brain. People get addicted to long distance running, they neglect their health in favour of going running, they aren't eating enough food to take care of themselves, and they end up becoming very skinny as their body starts cannibalizing their muscle mass as energy.

That cannibalization process makes the person head down a very dark road in which they slowly start looking like an heroin addict. (Celebrity and singer Amy Winehouse is an extreme example of this, as she had both an exercise addiction and a cocaine/heroin addiction before she died. She died of alcohol poisoning.)

Essentially what it comes down is that we should be encouraging people to take up sprinting more often, or hiking is also good, because jogging long distances clearly has its dangers.

Exercise Addiction also comes with a host of other health problems, including possible anorexia (which is potentially deadly).

Running marathons can be fun and challenging, but you have to know the risks and give yourself limits so you aren't hurting your body. eg. Anything more than 100 km per week is considered to be exercise addiction.'

Symptoms of Exercise Addiction
  • An unhealthy increase in exercise levels.
  • An unhealthy addiction to euphoric states, not just in the form of "Runners High", but the addict may also seek out other kinds of drugs to increase their addiction to euphoria.
  • Social dysfunction as their addiction causes the addict to push away friends and family.
  • Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, depression, guilt, tension, discomfort, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and headaches.
  • Exercising despite injuries and despite emotional trauma.
  • Obsession with appearance and maintaining a skinny physique.
  • May be combined with eating disorders.
  • May lead to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
  • Addict is dependent on exercise in order to feel happy and gains little or no happiness from social interactions.
As a personal trainer I try to steer my clients here in Toronto away from anything that could cause them physical harm, whether it be sports injuries or a mental disorder. It is in the best interest of my clients that they have a healthy appreciation for exercise and not an obsession which causes them harm. I have written a number of other articles about exercise addiction, often with respect to marathon running.

See Also

12 Tips for Running a Marathon

Tips for Marathon Runners

Running Gear

How to Succeed in a Marathon

Crossfit and Why it is Dangerous

The Importance of Rest Periods

Is Wearable Tech really going to help people lose weight?

Wearable technology like the iWatch, smart watches and other similar devices designed to track how much you are exercising is one of the big new fitness trends of 2015.

However, most of them are basically junk.

And those that are good at what they do, won't actually help you lose weight unless you're willing to put in the effort.

Which is really coming back to the same issue people always have with exercise - sometimes people just don't want to put in the effort.

Take for example the issue of counting calories in a journal.

Counting calories is basically a guaranteed way of losing weight through diet. You reduce your caloric intake and as long as you stick to the limit of how many calories you can consume in a day, and the limit is both sufficient for your dietary needs, but low enough that you will end up burning fat for energy, the end result is you will lose weight. Guaranteed. Even people with glandular disorders can lose weight using the counting calories method.

However counting calories every meal and every snack is time consuming and BORING.

So why not have a device that does it for you?

Well sadly having such a device is just as time consuming as using a pen and a journal. You aren't saving any time using an electronic device to count calories for you. If anything the operating system and the series of buttons to press is actually MORE time consuming as opposed to simply grabbing a pen and writing down "450" in the appropriate space in the journal.

On the exercise side of things smart watches can (sometimes) monitor heart rhythm and can attempt to calculate how many calories you are burning.

However a smart watch doesn't keep track of all of the following factors:

  • How much you weigh.
  • How much extra weight are you carrying.
  • Your speed / intensity while exercising.
  • Whether you have a heart condition which causes abnormally fast or slow heart rhythm.
  • Level of difficulty of the exercise which could effect caloric burn.
  • The Afterburn Effect.
  • Blood sugar levels - if you ate recently before exercising, you might be burning energy which was freshly consumed. Not stored energy in the form of fat.

It really comes down to the same problem devices and apps like these always have: They can never account for all the different factors, which ultimately means that such devices don't actually work as they claim they do. Furthermore when an app reminds you to go jogging/etc, you can always just turn it off - the exercise equivalent of a Snooze Button.

Years ago I experimented with an High Intensity Interval Training app. I later deleted it because I determined it was a pain to work with. You had to program in the number of intervals, how many breaks you wanted, and it was glitchy and annoying. There was no premade programs to choose from, no random HIIT workout. I was better off using an old fashioned stop watch...

Ultimately what I ended up using instead of the HIIT app was music. I would do one exercise until the song was over and the switch to either resting or a different exercise during the next song. The randomness of the music determined both whether it was an intense exercise, a relaxing exercise, or a break to catch my breath and drink some water.

Which begs the question, why bother with a smart watch when all you really need is a mp3 player? Or a record player if you prefer vinyl. Or a smart phone. Or a juke box.

What people really need is motivation. That is the true wrench that fixes the broken gears of exercise. If a person lacks the will to go exercise, no amount of new shoes, electronic gadgets, gym memberships or personal trainers* will matter.

* Ideally a good personal trainer should motivate a person to go exercise regularly - but trying and succeeding are two different things. The personal trainer can try to motivate the person, but if they are feeling unmotivated by other factors in their life the personal trainer is ultimately just another spoke in the gear. It is the other spokes which need to be unjammed in order to get the gears moving and the person exercising.


I came across the following list on a website, which dubbed the list "Top 10 fitness trends for 2016". However how can it be 2016 if we are still in 2015? Is this a list of predictions? Or is it based on a survey that happened in 2015? Or is it just a random list create by a fitness writer who is just making up what they THINK will be the trends in 2016? I think it is the last one.

So how much stock should you put in something written by some fitness writer who is making predictions? Not a lot if you analyze the list. See my notes in red.

Top 10 fitness trends during 2015 according to Joe Schmoe

"1. Wearable Technology: includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices. [We've had these before. I gave my sister a device that monitors foot steps 3 years ago for xmas. I am unsure if she ever used it.]

2. Body Weight Training: Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable.  ["Body Weight Training" has been a trend since the 1800s and likely earlier. It is not a "new trend" at all. It is old school exercises like push ups and chin ups.]

2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. These exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes. [This isn't new. HIIT has been "trending" for over a decade.]

4. Strength Training: Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise program for all physical activity levels and genders. [AKA, weight lifting. Also nothing new. When were dumbbells invented?]

5. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals: Given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose ... bla bla bla. [Just another word for "Certified Personal Trainers" and "Coaches".]

6. Personal Training: More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields, such as personal training. [Wait. This is exactly the same as #5. Clearly the author had difficulty coming up with a list of 10.]

7. Functional Fitness: This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related. [The elderly have been doing these exercises in senior homes for decades now. Nothing new.]

8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults: As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active. [Isn't this just the same as #7 but more specifically about the elderly and general fitness? Yep, yes it is. That is not a trend. That is stating something that many elderly already try to do.]

9. Exercise and Weight Loss: Health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients. [Wait, what? How is "exercise and weight loss" a new trend? Isn't that what people have been doing for decades? The writer clearly has a Masters in BS.]

10. Yoga: Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. This includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others." [Again, yoga is nothing new. It is literally thousands of years old. It is as old as Christian carpenters who build Arks.]

Buff Vs Obese, Why BMI is confusing to muscular people

Yesterday I wrote a post on the topic of stubborn belly fat titled: Why is it so hard for skinny people to shed the last few pounds?

During the post I talked about how people get too obsessed with trying to weight a specific amount because they have been looking at BMI charts and think that they need to be a specific weight in order to be healthy / attractive.

On the right here you see two cartoon people, both are 6 feet tall and both weigh 250 lbs. Lets call them Dave and Bob.

Dave is extremely muscular and weighs a hefty 250 lbs. Bob in contrast, weighs the same amount but has a lot more fat than muscle. The trick here is that fat takes up more space than muscle, because muscle is actually heavier than fat. 1 lb of fat takes up lots of space, whereas 1 lb of muscle takes up very little space. Thus even though they look very different, Dave and Bob still end up weighing the same.

And having the exact same BMI measurement of 33.9. Which is so heavy it isn't even on the chart below, because this chart only goes up to 215 lbs.

But what we do know is that 33.9 is in the low 30s, so that is the lower half of obese which ranges from 30.0 to 39.9. 40.0 or higher would be extremely obese.

However there is an obvious problem. Nobody in their right mind would call Dave obese. He looks like a bodybuilder. Thus the BMI chart is flawed because it ignores the possibility that a person might have more muscle mass (or possibly even more bone density, which is a factor people often ignore).

Thus we need better ways of measuring body weight / obesity. Well luckily there are ways to do that.

The following three methods are recommended.

#1. Body Adiposity Index

BAI multiplies your hip circumference by your height. Although clinical studies have not shown any proof, it is widely believed that Body Adiposity Index is more accurate than BMI as the resulting figures are approximate. BAI is also useful in areas whenever scales are not be available.

#2. Waist Circumference Measurement

Ah, the old fashioned tape measure. By measuring the natural waist you can get a good indication of the amount of abdominal fat you are carrying. Knowing the circumference of your waist can help determine your risk of getting heart disease and other medical conditions. According to physicians, the following figures indicate individuals in the 'at risk' group:

Women with a waist circumference of 35 inches and over.
Men with a waist circumference of 40 inches and over.

#3. Waist-to-Hip Ratio

The waist-to-hip ratio is not only an excellent way of calculating how much excess weight you are carrying, it can also be used to indicate susceptibility to a number of health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Using a tape measure, take a reading from your natural waist line and the widest part of your hips. Now divide the circumference of your waist by your hip circumference measurement. The World Health Organization considers abdominal obesity is represented by a waist–hip ratio above 0.90 for males and above 0.85 for females.

The following two methods are NOT recommended.

#4. Hydrostatic Weighing

Hydrostatic weighing is NOT an effective way of calculating body fat. The weighing process takes place underwater on a chair that is placed on a zeroed out set of scales. You then sit on the chair before exhaling all the air from you lungs and then placing your head underwater. Once the scales stabilize, your weight is then noted down. The resulting figure is then passed through a series of formulas which, ultimately, produces a body-fat reading based on the buoyancy of your body fat. That is a hugely inaccurate way of measuring body fat however as it ignores muscle buoyancy, ignores bone density, ignores how much air might be in your lungs, etc. So don't bother.

#5. Body Fat Measuring

By using a special set of callipers skin and fat measurements are taken from the waist, shoulder blades, biceps and triceps. The resulting readings, in millimeters, are added up to produce a single figure. The figure is then plotted against a chart that takes the patient's sex, age and measurement into consideration to determine the body-fat percentage figure. In theory the higher the body fat, the higher your risk of suffering from obesity-related conditions. However this method also suffers from inaccuracy as it also is confused by measurements due to saggy skin / very elastic skin, a more muscular physique, and even factors like disproportionate body shape.

Conclusions? Maybe stop worrying about the numbers and just exercise because you enjoy feeling healthy. It doesn't matter HOW you do it. Just enjoy doing it.

Why is it so hard for skinny people to shed the last few pounds?


"Hello! I have lost a lot of weight over the past 3 years - over 50 lbs - and my friends now describe me as skinny. However I still don't have abs. I have checked out other websites and articles on this topic, but nobody seems to have a proper answer for why is it so hard for skinny people to shed the last few pounds so I can see my abs? These days when I lose weight I only seem to lose muscle weight instead of fat, so I am definitely doing something wrong.

- Anonymous"


Hey there!

Many people have the same problem you do. They get down close to their desired weight and then they have difficulty attaining the desired number and the feeling / look of physical perfection they were hoping for.

Often people lose weight due to a combination of healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, but when they try to get something specific - like great looking abs, they find that everything they try doesn't seem to get rid of that last bit of fat layer on top of their abs. The stubborn fat that just won't leave.

Part of the problem is that your body composition has changed dramatically... and to explain this I am going to need to use an example:

Bob started off weighing 250 lbs and was overweight. He lost 50 lbs and now he weighs 200 lbs, but he still has some stubborn belly fat that he just cannot get rid of. He tries dieting, he tries jogging and other cardio activities, but the stubborn belly fat just won't leave. Indeed, he does lose weight during these attempts, but what he discovers is that he seems to be getting weaker, not thinner. His body is cannibalizing muscle tissue instead of using up his fat reserves.

This is because his body composition has reached a point where he has very little fat left to choose from but he has plenty of muscle his body can cannibalize for energy. Thus when Bob loses weight due to doing lots of cardio, he loses a lot of muscle weight and his body fat doesn't seem to change.

Bob also has it stuck in his head that he wants to weigh 180 lbs because he is 6'0" tall and he has consulted a BMI chart that states that being 200 lbs and 6'0" tall means that he is overweight because he has a BMI of 27.

So how should Bob fix this problem?

#1. Bob needs to stop worrying about his BMI and stop trying to weigh a specific amount. There is no "cruise control" for your weight. Everyone is different. Some people are not meant to weigh the amount they think they should weigh. Instead they need to change their focus to being healthier and worry less about the numbers.

#2. Bob needs to try a new way of exercising, one that won't decrease his muscle tissue. In Bob's case he should try weightlifting instead of cardio - and building muscle instead of trying to shed fat. He can do this one of three ways:

  1. Switch his cardio regimen to a purely weightlifting regimen.
  2. Split his exercise regimen to half cardio and half weightlifting.
  3. Gradually change from a cardio regimen to a weightlifting regimen, possibly 10% more weightlifting per week and gradually reduce the amount of cardio by 10% per week.
 By building muscle instead of trying to reduce fat, especially in combination with abdominal exercises if his goal is to have more pronounced abdominal muscles, Bob would end up building up muscle tissue and restricting his body to using ONLY fat stores for energy instead of using a combination of fat and muscle for energy. I recommend starting off with a gradual approach (eg. option 3 above) and focusing on core muscles (chest, abs, back muscles) first to build a strong foundation.

#3. It is possible Bob might also have a high cholesterol problem that is clogging arteries and preventing energy from being transferred in a healthy manner from fat tissue to his muscles during exercise. A low cholesterol diet might be beneficial to see if it helps make Bob more energetic, give him more endurance and change his blood sugar levels.

You can get those "six pack abs" you are looking for, but it will take extra time and effort to shed those stubborn last few lbs of fat - and it might mean you have to build up lbs of muscle during the process, just so you are not accidentally cannibalizing muscle tissue.

That means that in Bob's case he might actually put on weight and become a more muscular 220 lbs instead of his desired weight of 180 lbs and skinny. Maybe Bob is meant to look more like a muscular caveman than he was hoping for.

And this goes the same for the ladies out there. Many women have it stuck in their heads that women with muscles is unattractive. Absolute nonsense. Amazons are beautiful. Thus for women, sometimes the answer to shedding those last few lbs isn't more cardio. Maybe it is time to accept that you are an Amazon at heart and that your ideal body isn't a skinny mini, but a strong and beautiful Amazon.

Essential Fat Vs Non Essential Fat

Lets start with some definitions!

#1. Essential Fat

Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them. The term "essential fatty acid" refers to fatty acids required for biological processes but does not include the fats that only act as fuel.

So for example, omega-3 fatty acids is a chemical your body actually needs for brain function and other activities.

#2. Non Essential Fat

Non-essential fatty acids are important for the body too. Saturated fats are considered to be non-essential fatty acids because they are not required by the body and instead may cause harm - hence the name. Trans fatty acids, although these are a kind of unsaturated fat, are also non-esential fatty acids and should be avoided in the same manner that we should avoid saturated fats because of findings that increased consumption of trans fats is proportional to an increase in the risk of coronary heart disease. It is also used in supplements when used as development enhancements. Meanwhile, there are non-essential fatty acids which are simply classified as such because the human body can synthesize them from other nutrients like carbohydrates and other unsaturated fatty acids. These are the omega-9 fatty acids, which can lower bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, and control blood sugar. However, since the human body can create its own omega-9 fatty acids, there is no need to include them in one’s diet.

As shown in the above graphic men need dramatically less essential fat than women do, however their composition of non-essential fat is roughly the same.

People seeking to lose weight by dieting would be advised to add more eggs and fish to their diet, but cut back on sources of saturated fat. This way they are getting the fat that they need, but they are reducing their consumption of extra fat that their body doesn't actually need.

Understanding your Body's Composition

You have probably heard that the human body is mostly made of water - and this partially correct. But all that water is held together using carbon and other atoms. Some fad diets even try to reduce a person's body weight by reducing their use of water, and thus reducing a person's water weight - which makes a person dehydrated, long term lack of water can cause mental illness and a host of other problems. So those fad diets do work in the sense that person does lose weight, but because it is mostly water they end up regaining the weight as soon as they go back to a normal diet and have normal amounts of water again.

Attacking your body's use of water however is not the solution however. While water is found in both fat cells and muscle, it is not the cause of a person being overweight.

We should note also that fell cells never actually disappear. They just get bigger as they store energy or smaller as they expend energy. Eating healthier foods, getting lots of exercise causes the fat cells to store less energy and to be expending more energy than they are storing.

Your body's composition comes down a number of factors:

Bones and Bone Density

The more you exercise the stronger your bone density becomes. Thus bodybuilders and athletes often have surprisingly strong bone density. Not unbreakable, but still amazingly strong. (Although the film "Unbreakable" starring Bruce Willis suggests that it would be theoretically possible for a person to have unusually strong bones.)

Bone density can fluctuate due to diet, amount of exercise a person is getting, and genetic factors.

Muscle Weight

Muscles weighs more than fat. Try weighing some lean meat sometime and note how much little space 1 lb of lean muscle actually takes up space. Now compare that to 1 lb of fat further below. A person who is very muscular might not look very big, but they might still weight quite a bit. So someone who weighs 250 lbs, but it is all muscle will still look pretty impressive with their shirt off - but might look like a proverbial Bruce Wayne when they are dressed in a suit and tie. For fun see my past article about Christian Bale's muscle gains and losses. When preparing for the role he once weighed 210 lbs, but had to back it down a bit because he ended up looking too beefy.

Muscle weight can also go up or down quite suddenly and rapidly. Being sick for a week, a person could easily lose 10 lbs of muscle. When "Spring Training" athletes can often gain back 20 lbs of muscle in the first 2 to 4 weeks because they have been slacking off during the winter. I myself have a tendency to take it too easy during the winter and often put on 20 lbs of muscle every Spring when I get back into exercising outdoors. This year I am planning to put on extra muscle this upcoming winter.

Body Fat

Fat takes up a lot of space in your body. By volume it actually does not weigh very much, it is light weight - but it is HUGE. A lb of fat is roughly the size of an adult fist. So 5 lbs of fat is about the size of fists. All that space however is basically just for storing energy - energy for exercise, energy for keeping the body warm, and also acting as insulation against the cold.

During the Autumn, as temperatures drop and humans start getting less Vitamin D from the sun we start storing more energy inside our fat cells. Around Christmas time we store lots of food, not just because of traditions, but because our bodies crave more food when we are low on Vitamin D. This storing of energy as fat is hard-wired into our DNA, part of our "caveman genes" and is used as a survival mechanism to keep you alive during the long cold winter. Learn more about Vitamin D by reading "Can Vitamin D help you lose weight?"


Speaking of caveman genes, lets talk about genetics in general. Your body's composition of fat, muscle, bone density, etc is effected by your body's genetics. The same thing that makes your hair black and your eyes green also effects how much fat you store, how easily you build muscle, your bone density, metabolism, etc. However it does not CONTROL it. Just because you might be genetically predisposed to having more muscle, does not mean you will automatically be muscular. It will still take years of exercising, weightlifting, helping friends move into new homes and carrying their furniture, working at the construction site, etc. In other words you still have to work at it. Nothing comes easily in the world of weightlifting.

The same thing goes for the reverse. You might have a genetic disorder that makes it difficult to lose weight. But that does not make it IMPOSSIBLE to do so. It simply means it harder than an average person trying to do the same thing. You might have to get it 150% effort compared to your peers in order to see changes, but you will see changes if you keep making the effort.

Organs and Metabolism

Some of your body's weight is made up of all your organs. Brain, heart, lungs, liver, spleen, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, digestive system, etc. These things are all necessary for life. Thus you can't really do anything about the weight of such things, and you shouldn't worry about them.

Sometimes people do get "fatty organs", such as a fatty liver which can lead to liver damage, cancer, fatty liver disease, etc. However such things can be prevented by exercising regularly and eating healthy. Your body's organs consume / produce chemicals that are used as building blocks to repair your body, and energy for both repair and for activities - all of which are necessities.

Definition of Metabolism: The chemical processes by which cells produce the substances and energy needed to sustain life.


There isn't much to worry about regarding your bones, organs and genetics. Those things will continue to do what they are meant to do. However the balance between muscle weight and body fat can be altered by the individual. How you choose to do so is up to you. You might choose to focus more on diet over exercise, or more exercise over diet, or some balance of the two - but in reality it is always a balancing act, because you have to eat and you have to move. How you choose to achieve your ideal balance might depend on whether your goals are to lose weight, build muscle or combinations of the two.

If you live in the Leaside area of Toronto and are looking for a personal trainer, you know who to call.

Gradual Weight Loss in 1 Year

The photos on the right is of a woman who gradually lost 88 lbs in 1 year through a combination of diet and exercise.

She didn't use any fancy diets or any special exercise program. She simply made an effort to eat healthier, watch her calorie intake, and she exercised more often.

That was it.

88 lbs in 52 weeks.

It is really more a matter of math, determination and knowing it can be done. In other words motivation to stick with the healthy diet and to keep exercising regularly was the primary reason she succeeded. Had she adopted a defeatist attitude of "this is impossible" or "I will never succeed" then she would have failed simply because she had no confidence in her own ability to succeed.

Lets say you have two twins who are identical in every way except the way they think, and these two twins agree to have a marathon race (42.195 km or 26.22 miles).

The first twin thinks "I can do this, all I have to is run slightly faster at the beginning than my twin does and then keep ahead of them the rest of the race."

The second twin thinks "I don't think I can even run 5 km, let alone 42 km. I might as well just quit now. Even if I try I only have a 50% chance of winning anyway, so why bother?"

Obviously the first twin is the one who will likely succeed simply because they have set a positive goal for themselves and have even worked out a strategy for staying ahead. The second twin will likely give up the moment their more positively thinking rival sprints ahead at the beginning.

The correct response to that situation is to set a goal of "I am going to keep pace right beside him the whole race and at the end I am going to sprint and pass him."

Thus knowing you can succeed through perseverance and positive thinking can make a big difference.

I also mentioned math earlier.

88 lbs in 52 weeks means she was losing approx. 1.69 lbs per week. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories, so she needs to burn or reduce 5915 calories in one week. Almost 6000 calories per week.

Or more concisely 845 calories per day.

If she adopts a diet of 1600 calories per day (a reduction of 400 from the 2000+ calories she is normally getting) and then spends 90 minutes per day exercising in an effort to shed an extra 445 calories, yes, it can be done.

Note - She doesn't have to burn a whole 445 calories from 1 exercise. By doing cardio activities she could trigger the Afterburn Effect and end up burning 25% to 100% more calories than normal. eg. If she burns 300 calories by doing High Intensity Interval Training, she might trigger the Afterburn Effect and burn an extra 200 or 300 calories. The Afterburn Effect is triggered whenever a person's blood sugar goes below a certain point and their heart rate is elevated due to intense exercise, thus triggering a fat burning effect that lasts up to 48 hours after the exercise is over.

Thus any person who adopts a more intense exercise routine will burn more calories simply because they are triggering the Afterburn Effect.

The beauty of the Afterburn Effect is that the fat being burned makes the person feel even more energetic, and it is addictive. The heightened level of energy makes the person want to do it again every day and the next thing they know they are exercising religiously every day, chasing that energy high. It is basically a fat burning induced sugar high.

Craving sugar? Go do an intense exercise and note the feeling of excitement and invigoration you feel afterwards. That is the Afterburn Effect burning fat and the feeling it gives you.

Positive thinking combined with positive reinforcement of getting a sugar high off exercising every day can have a dramatic weight loss effect on a person. It can change their life completely.

It can change your life completely too. All you have to do is try, keep trying, and keep doing it. When you see the results you will know it is working.

The #1 Reason Why So Many People Fail To Lose Weight

Do you want to know the #1 reason why many people who set out to lose weight via exercise fail to lose the weight they are looking for?

The answer is...


Many people who go to the gym (or set up a home gym) do so by lifting weights or doing various forms resistance training, which in turn builds muscle.

What often happens is the person ends up GAINING WEIGHT due to increased muscle mass. They aren't reducing their overall weight and while their body fat percentage may go down slightly, they are not going to get the results they are looking for.

It is basically an issue of people equating cardio exercises like running, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc with weightlifting exercises and thinking that they can get the benefits of weight loss from weight lifting - and instead they gain weight by building muscle, while seeing no change at all in their waistline. They have fallen victim to the myth that "you can lose weight by weightlifting".

There are of course, exceptions. I will give you a few:

#1. Put weights around your ankles and go for long walks. That is basically combining weight lifting for your legs with cardio - but it is still effectively cardio.

#2. Put a 20 lb backpack on and then go cycling. Yes, you are lifting extra weight on your back, but the more important factor is that cycling = cardio.

#3. Combine aerobic exercises with small 5 lb dumbbells. Yes, you are lifting weights, but again the bigger factor is that aerobic exercises = cardio.

So yes, of course, if you combine weightlifting with cardio you could lose weight - but the bigger weight loss factor is always going to be the cardio.

Your primary goal during a cardio exercise is to get your heart rate going - and trigger the Afterburn Effect (heightened metabolism as your body burns fat for energy). If you don't get your heart rate high enough to trigger the Afterburn Effect, then you are going to have difficulty trying to lose weight. Often people exercising with just weightlifting are just going to use up the energy in their blood (sugar, fat, etc) and then feel hungry and tired.

In contrast if you trigger the Afterburn Effect you suddenly feel energized - more energetic and alive, for the rest of the day as your body starts burning fat to refuel your body's energy levels. Scientific studies show that the Afterburn Effect can last up to 48 hours after the person achieves a high heart rate from doing cardio - and the more prolonged their heart rate is higher, the more their body starts burning fat.

Triggering the Afterburn Effect is part of High Intensity Interval Training and other forms of Interval Training. So if your goal is to lose weight, you might want to consider Interval Training as a method of getting your heart rate up in your goal of losing weight.

The goal during High Intensity Interval Training is to get your heart rate up doing one intense exercise, and then relax while doing a less stressful exercise, and then get your heart rate back up again by doing another intense exercise.

Example 1. Sprinting, Walking, Sprinting, Walking, Sprinting, Walking, etc.

Example 2. Aggressive Mountain Biking, Relaxing Cruise, Aggressive Mountain Biking, Relaxing Cruise, Aggressive Mountain Biking, Relaxing Cruise, etc.

Example 3. Fast Swimming, Leisurely Swimming, Fast Swimming, Leisurely Swimming, Fast Swimming, Leisurely Swimming, etc.

Scientific studies have also shown that 30 minutes of  High Intensity Interval Training is more effective for weight loss than 30 minutes of jogging - because your heart rate gets higher while sprinting, and a higher heart rate triggers the Afterburn Effect better.

So not only are people often doing the wrong exercises for their goal, people are often opting for exercises they consider to be easier - because they know sprinting and similar intense exercises are pretty hard.

But not impossible.

Sprinting is basically just running as fast as possible for a short period of time. Anyone with working legs can do it, so chances are likely you have no excuses.

Anyone with bad knees would be advised to do swimming instead.

But once you start doing more intense cardio on a regular basis you will feel invigorated every time you do - that is how you will know the Afterburn Effect is working. The feeling of invigoration.

Walking to Fitness - Why many people ignore this as an option

Many people think they already walk quite a bit, but often they spend most of their days sitting in an office chair in a cubicle - or sitting on a chair or sofa at home.

In other words they really are not walking as much as they think they are.

Furthermore, when it comes to weight loss they ignore walking as an option because they don't realize how many calories the simple act of walking burns. They think it is such a tiny amount that they ignore it.

But I am going to show you the math behind how one woman in Iowa - who weighed 370 lbs when she started her walking regimen - lost 200 lbs just by walking around the airport terminal where she works. (You can Google the appropriate keywords to find this news story if you want to. The woman's name is Jill Vento.)

1 lb of fat = 3,500 calories.

200 lbs of fat = 700,000 calories.

Now you might think "Hey, that is going to require a lot of walking!"

But probably not as much as you think.

The woman in question did it by walking 15 minutes at a time (during breaks / etc), twice per day, 5 days per week. The news articles talking about her feat don't tell us how fast she was going, but we can assume as she got stronger and thinner she started walking faster.

Thus I have done the math for how many calories a 370 lb woman burns for 3 different speeds:

Walking 2 mph for 15 minutes - 117 calories
Walking 3 mph for 15 minutes - 183 calories
Walking 4 mph for 15 minutes - 216 calories

In the beginning she was only shedding 117 calories each time, and in the beginning she was only doing it once per day. But as she got stronger / more motivated she started walking twice per day and eventually three times per day. So for simplicity's sake we shall calculate that she was doing 10 fifteen minute walks per week. 117 x 10 = 1170 calories. Slightly more than one third of a pound of fat.

At that speed it would have taken her 600 weeks (11.53 years) to burn 700,000 calories. And yes, that would be a lot of walking - were it not for the fact that she started walking faster, getting additional exercise, and eating healthier too, thus speeding up the weight loss process.

In the first 9 weeks of walking she would have noticed that she lost 3 lbs - possibly more if she was getting additional exercise from other sources and eating healthy - which would explain why she eventually started walking around the airport terminal 3 times per day to speed up the process.

Plus as she got stronger she started walking faster and faster. So now we have to do the math again.

At this point lets assume she has already lost 70 lbs and now weighs 300 lbs instead of 370 (which conversely means she only has 455,000 left to go). But we will calculate that she is walking 4 mph instead because she gotten a lot faster.

Walking 2 mph for 15 minutes - 95 calories
Walking 3 mph for 15 minutes - 148 calories
Walking 4 mph for 15 minutes - 176 calories

As you can see she is using less energy at the slower speed, and the 3 mph speed is only marginally using more energy. The 4 mph speed is where she really burning calories fast.

At this point we will also calculate that she is walking at this speed 15 times per week. 176 x 15 = 2,640 calories. That is 75% of 1 lb. So she is losing 3 lbs every 4 weeks at this point.

At this point she has really started to see the difference. She is having to buy new clothes that fit her better, she is feeling super positive about herself, she doesn't binge eat when she is depressed any more (this is a common problem for obese people who binge eat their favourite comfort foods). She is seeing lots of results. At that rate she is losing 39.2 lbs per year.

Probably more if she is getting outside and doing other activities simultaneously, trying new activities, taking up bicycling or swimming.

Walking may not seem like it burns a lot of calories, but you know how people like to say that cigarettes/pot are gateway drugs? Well walking is a gateway exercise that gets you exercising plus opens your body and mind to the idea of other exercises.

Walking is a gateway exercise that gets you exercising plus opens your body and mind to the idea of other exercises.

And the next thing you know, it is several years later, you've lost 200 lbs and you feel really proud of yourself. Losing 50 lbs per year means you can be a whole new person in just 4 years. And all it takes is the will to start walking.

A journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step.

Does Vitamin D help you lose weight?


"Hello! I keep hearing that Vitamin D helps people lose weight and that a lack of Vitamin D causes people to gain weight. Is this true? How can a Vitamin make people lose weight?



Hey Samantha!

Well the good news is YES, Vitamin D does help people lose weight and yes it is equally true that a lack of vitamin D also causes people to lose weight.

How does it work? Well it is very complicated, but I will break it down for you so you can understand all the things Vitamin D does.

#1. Vitamin D regulates how the human body stores fat for the winter. During the summer when people are outside (hopefully exercising outside) their body absorbs sunlight on their skin and the human body absorbs that sunlight and then your kidneys creates vitamin D. You don't actually need to eat food with Vitamin D in the food, although that helps too.

#2. Whether you eat the Vitamin D, get it from sunlight, or even from a Vitamin D supplement, the end result is that Vitamin D triggers a fat burning mechanism in your body and gives you more energy. It basically acts like a catalyst causing your body to burn more fat, make you more energetic, and then the extra energy being used causes you to lose weight.

[What actually happens is our skin absorbs UVB radiation from the sunlight and uses that energy to make Vitamin D which goes into our blood; The liver converts the Vitamin D in your blood into Hydroxy D - and then Hydroxy D does the rest of the work.]

#3. When the human body has a lack of Vitamin D (from sunlight or other sources) what happens is the opposite. The human body starts storing up fat for the winter. Basically this is our Cro-Magnon Man genes at work, telling us that we need to store up fat for the winter.

#4. A lack of vitamin D also makes people more hungry. They start eating more than they need to in an effort to store up extra fat for the winter. You don't even consciously know you are doing it, but your body is sending signals to your brain (and vice versa) telling you to eat more because "Winter is coming."

And yes, that was totally a Game of Thrones reference.

Vitamin D also has numerous other health benefits including disease prevention by boosting your immune system, stronger bones, boosts insulin production, and helps prevent heart disease and diabetes.

Fish, vegetables, fruit and milk are all excellent sources of Vitamin D. So eat all those healthy foods during the winter and you will see results around your waistline. And if you get a chance to go someplace sunny for a vacation during the winter, take it!

To learn more on this topic I recommend reading the following two posts:

All About Vitamins - What do they do?

Winter Weight Gain and What to Do about It

10 Exercise Tricks that Help Burn Fat FASTER

Want to learn how to lose weight faster? Well then you need to learn how to burn calories FASTER!

#1. Move faster when doing cardio activities - including daily activities like running to catch the bus. The faster you move the more calories you burn.

#2. Try harder - The harder and faster you do an activity - whether it be yoga, jogging or even sex - it burns more calories!

#3. Angry? Upset? Want to key your boss's car? Time to exercise! Exercising while angry or upset is a great way to burn more calories faster and it relieves stress.

#4. When weightlifting do the exercises SLOOOOOOOWER. Cardio exercises you want to do fast, but for weightlifting you get better results if you do things slowly. Lifting a weight slowly takes more energy and burns more calories - and it builds more muscle, faster! Seems counter-intuitive, but it works!

#5. Music makes you burn more calories faster - especially if it fast paced music that gets you excited. More excitement equals more calorie burn.

#6. Try to do everything - exercise wise - perfectly. It takes more energy, but you reap more rewards. So if you're doing yoga - try to do each pose perfectly instead of being lazy about it. If you are weightlifting, use perfect form while lifting - which means lifting slowly and watching your form carefully, sometimes even in a mirror.

#7. Exercise with a friend. You lose track of time, you exercise longer, you help motivate each other, you even compete with each other, and you burn more calories overall. No exercise buddy? See trick #10 instead.

#8. Stay hydrated. You burn more calories if you can try harder while properly hydrated. Don't bother with the energy drinks (they're mostly a waste of sodium which will give you more "water weight"), good old chilled water works wonders.

#9. Eat before you exercise. Not after. Helps burn more calories and you won't feel hungry afterwards. Sometimes people binge eat after they exercise, and it ruins what they were striving for.

#10. Hire a personal trainer. Me. Someone else. It doesn't matter. We can teach you a much longer list of ways to burn calories faster.

The Hidden Dangers of Your Excess Abdominal Fat

Did you know that the vast majority of North Americans have excess abdominal fat? If you've been following the obesity epidemic in the USA and Canada then you know what I am talking about.

The most common thing that most people think of is that their extra abdominal fat is simply ugly, that it is covering up their abs from being visible, and makes them self conscious about showing off their body.

However, what most people don't realize is that excess abdominal fat in particular is also a dangerous risk factor to your health. Scientific research has clearly demonstrated that although it is unhealthy in general to have excess body fat throughout your body, it is also more dangerous to have excess abdominal fat.

There are two types of fat that you have in your abdominal area. The first type that covers up your abs from being visible is called subcutaneous fat and lies directly beneath the skin and on top of the abdominal muscles.

The second type of fat that you have in your abdominal area is called visceral fat, and that lies deeper in the abdomen beneath your muscle and surrounding your organs. Visceral fat also plays a role in giving certain men that "beer belly" appearance where their abdomen protrudes excessively but at the same time, also feels sort of hard if you push on it.

Note - There is also "baby fat", which most people lose when they are kids or teens, but for people who are obese when they were children they might still possess some of their baby fat because they never used any of it as energy.

Both subcutaneous fat and visceral fat in the abdominal area are serious health risk factors, but having excessive visceral fat is even more dangerous than subcutaneous fat because of its proximity to your internal organs. Visceral fat dramtically increases your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, various forms of cancer, and other degenerative diseases.

Another reason visceral fat is particularly dangerous is that it releases more inflammatory molecules into your body on a regular basis.

If you care about the quality of your life and your loved ones, reducing your abdominal fat should be one of your TOP priorities! There's just no way around it. Besides, a side-effect of finally getting rid of all of that excessive (and ugly) abdominal fat is that your stomach will flatten out, and if you lose enough stomach fat, you will be able to visibly see those sexy six pack abs that everyone wants.

So what gets rid of extra abdominal fat?

There really is only one solution: Exercise, in particular cardio exercises like swimming, cycling, running, jogging, etc. (Or more specifically, exercise + a healthy diet. You need to do both to fix this problem.)

You aren't going to find any cheap/quick fix solutions like a diet pill or anything like that which only targets your abdominal fat. [Ignoring liposuction, which is expensive and not recommended - especially in a day and age when you can get gastric bypass surgery to reduce your stomach to the size of an apple so you are forced to eat smaller meals and have no choice but to cut down on over-consumption.]

Thus, ignoring elective surgery, your only real option is exercise and a healthy diet.

Which honestly doesn't take that much time. Read any of the 6 Minute Cardio Workouts posted on my website.

Or read my recent post in which I answer the question "How much dieting is actually necessary to achieve results?"

And here is an important bit:

The people who only diet often end up yo-yo dieting and their weight going up and down.

The people who eat a healthy diet and exercise - no yo-yo-ing because the changes they make become lifestyle changes. Just straight results in which they make changes in their lifestyle by exercising more and eating more healthily, and they achieve results faster and safer than any fad diets ever could.

Want fast results that are permanent? Change your lifestyle.

And if you pick a sport that you enjoy, you will find the new lifestyle is a lot more enjoyable than you ever could of expected because the sport will help motivate you and make it fun to exercise.

Waist Training, Skinny Waists and Training Corsets

Myth Busting on Training Corsets

For women (and historically, some men did this too) one of the techniques people used to lose weight / prevent over-eating was 'training corsets' designed to cinch the waist together so that they could achieve an hourglass shape of their chest to waist to hips ratio.

1950s Pinup Model Betty Brosmer
The purpose of training corsets was not for it to be worn as a fashion piece, but to train the waist so it was a specific shape whenever the corset was NOT on.

You can see the results in the photo on the right from the 1950s.

Or at the photo of Kim Kardashian further below. In the case of Kim Kardashian there has been a lot of social buzz about whether various photos of her were photoshopped to make her waist looking small and her hips look bigger. But if you are familiar with the history of corsets you will know that Kim's waist and hips don't need photoshop. There were plenty of women (and men too) from history who had highly cinched waists who had curvier / more hourglass shaped figures.

Doing this is basically just another form of body modification similar to piercings, tattoos, breast implants / pectoral implants, botox, liposuction, synthol injections, steroid addiction, cosmetic surgery, rhinoplasty, circumcision, eyeball tattooing (I bet you didn't even know that one existed), microdermal / transdermal / subdermal implants, silicone injections, tongue splitting, cranial binding, foot binding, branding, ear shaping, scarification, tooth filing, etc. Many of these activities are the result of body dysmorphic disorders / mental illnesses in which the person feels inadequate unless they can change their body in a specific way.

Kim Kardashian taking a Selfie

In the case of waist training, it is true that many practitioners do lose weight because it is a bit like Gastric Bypass Surgery in that it restricts how much a person can eat. (Gastric bypass surgery is a surgical procedure in which the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower "remnant" pouch and then the small intestine is rearranged to connect to both. The small stomach can then consume less food, resulting in the person having smaller meals and they lose weight over the long term.)

However the health effects of tightlacing / corset training causes havoc with the individual's internal organs. Below is a list of health defects that can result from an addiction to tightlacing.

Short term effects of tightlacing
  • Extreme discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Faintness
  • Indigestion
  • Chafing of the skin
Long term effects of tightlacing
  • Weak abdominal muscles
  • Spinal problems / back pain
  • Problems urinating / leaky bladder (a practitioner might end up having to wear diapers)
  • Broken ribs / osteoporosis in the ribs
  • Compression of internal organs (similar to when organs are compressed during pregnancy)
  • Decreased lung volume / shallow breathing (intercostal breathing)
  • Mucosal build up in the lungs causes frequent bouts of pneumonia / coughing, which caused a Victorian myth that corset wearing caused tuberculosis
  • Liver is pushed upwards towards the ribs, forming ridges in between the ribs and accessory lobes - the connection of which can be quite thin, which resulted in the Victorian myth that corset wearing can 'cut a liver in half'.
  • Stomach volume compressed resulting in long term problems with indigestion, heartburn, gastric reflux. Practitioners avoid carbonated drinks, beans or any gassy foods.
  • Intestine compression causes constipation / anal leakage / rectal discharge (again, necessitating the use of diapers)
Dietary problems
  • The reduced stomach volume means many practitioners need to eat 6 smaller meals because eating 3 larger meals is no longer possible due to insufficient volume. Failing to eat sufficient nutrients can result in severe weight loss and accompanying health problems.

If people really want to try waist training that is really their personal choice. But they should at least get into it knowing the health dangers/embarrassement they face (back pain, diapers, heartburn, etc). The prospect of diapers alone is enough of a reason in my opinion.

We should also note that sometimes training corsets are sometimes used to deliberately correct the curvature of the spine, in the case of people who have suffered traumatic injuries to the spine.

3 Ways to Track Calories More Easily

One of the best ways to lose weight is to count calories so you can have a specific number of calories every day (and if you overeat, schedule more time to exercise to burn off any excess calories).

But to do this means a lot of math and some people don't like math. So how can you make it easier for you to do?

#1. Get your kids to do the math

Think of it like extra homework or chores. If you already reward your kids doing their chores / doing homework with an allowance then this will just be another way for your kids to earn $$$. So this is a win for your kids and a win for you.

#2. Calorie Counting App

Get a calorie counting app for your smartphone and start keeping track of everything using the app. Pretty easy, but you have to remember to do it every time you eat so much as an apple or a yogurt.

#3. Meal Plans

Plan your meals and snacks so you know exactly how many calories you are consuming each day based on the menu for the day.

This way you know you are getting 300 calories for breakfast and lunch, 200 calories during snack breaks at 10 AM, 3 PM + 8 PM, and 400 calories for supper. So [300 x 2] + [200 x 3] + 400 = 1600 calories daily.

As long as you just stick to your daily pre-planned meals and snacks, you don't even have to do any math beyond the initial calculations of how much to eat of each thing to make the total amount of calories for each meal. Once you've gone through all that, you've done the math, you just have to follow the plan.

Note - #3 is basically how Weight Watchers Meal Plans, Jenny Craig Meal Plans, and similar brand name meal plans work. They're designed so you just follow the plan and don't have to do any math.

You can find a variety of different types of pre-made meal plans online. Everything from vegan meal plans, paleo diet meal plans, weight gain / muscle gain meal plans (for weightlifters who want to bulk up), etc. Below are some sample meal plans, but basically you can just Google "vegan meal plan" or whatever topic you are looking for and find plenty of examples of meal plans that might suit your needs and then pick one you like.

5 Surefire Ways to Lose Weight

Various people are always having difficulty when it comes to losing weight - and keeping it off. Below it 5 surefire ways to shed the pounds, and pay close attention to #5 because it is the key to keeping it off.

#1. Do cardio exercises on a regular basis. Running, swimming, cycling. Even if you have mobility issues such as sore knees it is exceptionally important to at least walk on a regular basis - or in the case of injuries / chronic disability, swimming is very therapeutic.

#2. Track the calories you are eating and drinking, and reduce the total per day to 1400 to 1700 depending on your body size (1700 if you are tall, 1400 if you are petite). Every sip and every bite needs to be kept track of and limit yourself accordingly. Thus if you are of a medium height (5'8" tall for example) aim for 1600 calories per day.

#3. Make a habit of making sure you are getting enough sleep. People often overeat and don't exercise simply because they are exhausted. They use sugary and fatty foods to prop up their energy levels and unused energy ends up being stored as fat. Making sure you get a good night's sleep every night means you have more energy to exercise and you are less likely to overeat.

#4. Eat healthy - even when you don't want to - and aim to eat healthy foods you already love. Remember #2 above, to count calories, but also aim to make the foods you are eating as healthy as possible too. Your goal here is to make sure you are getting enough nutrients, minerals and protein to make your body a well oiled machine. Avoid anything you know is bad for you and aim for fruits and vegetables that you know you love.

#5. Repeat #1, #2, #3, #4 until they simply becomes a permanent lifestyle change. This is how you make permanent changes and keep off the weight. If you just go back to your old habits, the old weight will simply return - sometimes a lot faster than you expect. You might eventually stop doing #2 (counting calories), but exercising, sleeping well and eating healthy need to become permanent lifestyle changes.

Remember - It is okay to fall off the horse once in awhile. Just got right back on the horse and keep riding until you get to your destination. And once you get there, keep riding!

The Two Step Approach to Weight Loss

Two Steps...

Step One - Eat healthy.

Step Two - Exercise daily.

We all KNOW these two steps, and yet people are often looking for shortcuts and excuses to not do either one or both of these two steps. How you accomplish steps one and two are largely up to the individual. You might listen and read to the advice of others, but in the end it is the individual who decides to take action in whatever manner they see fit.

Or lack of action as is often the case.

There are many different ways to eat healthy.

Eat in moderation.
Count calories.
Low or moderate carb diets.
High protein diets.
Low fat, low sugar diets.
Avoid anything unhealthy diets.
Vegan / vegetarian diets.

And likewise there are many ways to exercise.

Walking daily.
Jogging daily.
Going to the gym daily.
Weightlifting at home daily.
Yoga daily.
Various sports, daily.

Some people won't even do them daily, they might only be exercising once, twice or three times per week and still be doing well physically because they are at least exercising regularly and they are eating healthy.

The problem I find is for people who get easily discouraged, who cannot find an activity they really like, who think they don't have the time to exercise (and yet have time to watch TV or answer messages on Facebook), and who have difficulty controlling their eating habits.

My advice is to not despair. Do not give up. Do not get discouraged. Stay focused. Keep exercising. Keep eating healthy. How you do it is not the problem, that you keep doing it is the most important factor.

If a diet / exercise plan doesn't seem to be working for you, the answer is not to stop using it. The answer is to either keep doing it until it does work, or to try a different diet and exercise plan that does work. Don't just stop altogether. Change it until it works.

And don't cheat on your diet / skip exercise sessions and expect to lose weight. Cheating on your plan and then blaming the plan is not the solution. You only have yourself to blame if you skip exercising / cheat on your diet.

And don't stop just because you cheated on your plan either. Just get right back at it, keep working at it. Giving up because you made one or two mistakes isn't going to solve your problem. You need to stay focused.

Some people like to claim that weight loss is 90% exercise and 10% diet, or 10% exercise and 90% diet, or whatever combination they say it is. They're all wrong.

What it really is is 10% diet, 10% exercise and 80% willpower.

Willpower to keep going. To never give up. To stay focused. To keep doing it even in the face of mistakes.

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