How many BURPEES does it take to burn off 1 grande-sized Pumpkin Spice Latte?

Here at @HealthHabits, I like to try and answer the big questions that have been plaguing mankind since the beginning of time.

  • Where do we come from?
  • Where do we go when we die?
  • How many burpees does it take to burn off 1 grande-sized Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipped cream?

Today, we’re focusing on the PSL…

Note:

It takes a “fit” person approximately 10 minutes to do 100 burpees. That means, burning off the calories in just one grande-sized Pumpkin Spice Latte will take Mr. or Ms. Fitness 34 minutes of non-stop burpee action.

34 minutes of this…

burpees

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Truvia is NOT Stevia…but it is a fantastic insecticide

Wait a second. How can Truvia be safe for me to eat and yet it kills fruit flies like Dexter Morgan on crystal meth???

According to study authors Sean O’Donnell and Daniel Marenda, “during an examination of the effects of commonly used non-nutritive sweeteners on the longevity of Drosophila melanogaster (aka the Fruit Fly), they discovered that erythritol, the main component of the sweetener Truvia, was toxic when ingested by fruit flies as compared to similar concentrations of nutritive sugar controls (sucrose, corn syrup) and other non-nutritive sweeteners.”

  • In their study, they found that fruit flies raised in tubes containing Truvia (see above), lived for an average of 5.8 days.
  • The average fruit fly lives 45 to 60 days.

They also found that Truvia-fed flies had difficulty in climbing up a small vial, indicating impaired motor function.

The problem, the team discovered, lies in an ingredient present in Truvia but not in the other six sweeteners: erythritol, a commonly used food additive approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

This is the same erythritol that has been found to be safe for rats, dogs, humans, etc in previous studies referenced by the fine people at Coca-Cola and Cargill.

What does all this science this mean???

  • If you’re a fly, this is bad news.
  • If you’re a human who hates fruit flies buzzing around the bananas on your kitchen counter, it’s good news. According to the science, we now have evidence that erythritol baits could be used as effective insecticide against fruit flies.

However, if you’re a consumer of food products containing Truvia, you have a choice to make.

One of the core assumptions of modern toxicology is “the dose makes the poison.” Drinking a glass of water is good for you – Drinking a barrel of water is toxic to you. Conversely, the most acutely lethal toxin known to science is the botulinum toxin – the same toxin used millions of times around the world to get rid of wrinkles.

Based upon this assumption (and the safety studies mentioned previously), Erythritol, and by extension Truvia, is…

  1. Safe to humans
  2. Deadly to fruit flies

However, not every scientist in the world believes in the infallibility of “the dose makes the poison.”

  • Some scientists question whether doses that are “safe for human consumption” are equally safe for babies in the womb.

For example, this study found that a dose of atrazine (a commonly used herbicide) 20,000 times lower than the lowest level known to affect adult frogs caused 20% of tadpoles to become hermaphroditic in adulthood.

And it’s not just the effect of toxins on our little frog babies. Not all toxins follow the “normal” monotonic curve in which the response to a dose of toxin increases with the size of the dose. Some toxins respond as per the non-monotonic curves pictured below.

For example, this study found that lower doses of BPA (bisphenol A) can have larger impacts upon the proliferation of prostate tumors in adult male humans than higher doses. Weird but true.

At the end of the day, what does all of this mean to you???

  • Should you buy and consume products containing Truvia and/or Erythritol?
  • Should you buy and consume products containing Truvia and/or Erythritol if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant?
  • Should you buy a jar of Truvia and leave it open in your kitchen to kill fruit flies?

Me?

  • I would rather drink water
  • If I had to choose a calorie-free sweetener, I would choose stevia over Truvia
  • I would also advise all potential parents to follow my lead.

What about you?

  • What do you think of the research?
  • Do you consume Truvia?
  • Will you continue to consume Truvia?

Reference

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Finding Your Fitness / Fat Loss Fingerprint

For over 26 years, I have been helping people transform their bodies…melting body-fat, getting stronger, getting fitter, getting healthier, etc.

During that time, I have employed about a bazillion different strategies…meal plans, supplement protocols, training programs, mind-body techniques, psychological counselling, pharmaceuticals…the list goes on and on and on.

While most of those techniques were “borrowed” from other trainers, medical professionals, workout buddies and scientific research, the most important part of my education came from the people I worked with.

Because no matter how effective my transformation programs are, as soon as you introduce the human element into the equation, all bets are off.

What works for one person almost never works with the next victim/client.

There are so many factors at play – physical, mental, emotional, social, financial, legal and of course genetic/epigenetic.

Unlike an exact science like physics and chemistry, transforming an adult human being from this….

fitness fat loss

… into this, is not as simple as…

fitness fat loss(Diet #1 + Training Program #2) x (Motivation / Peer Pressure) = Successful Physique Transformation

Like our fingerprints, all of us are unique. Each of us has…

  • A unique genetic makeup
  • Unique life experiences
  • A unique social life
  • Unique belief systems
  • A unique knowledge base
  • Unique financial resources
  • Etc, etc, etc…

And because of this uniqueness, applying a one-size-fits-all solution to a complex problem like permanent fat loss is usually doomed to failure.

Like our fingerprints, we are complex…full of unique loops, whorls and arches.

So….before you run out and spend some cash on the latest diet book, weight loss supplement or fitness program, I want you to stop, take a long hard look at yourself.

Will this one-size-fits-all solution fit YOUR fitness / fat loss fingerprint?

NOTE: I hope this article didn’t discourage you. While I truly believe that physique transformation can be complicated at times, it isn’t rocket science. If you’re having trouble getting yourself in shape, there are lots of great people out there with the knowledge of what needs to be done. Renting their knowledge, confidence and support may cost you some cash up-front, but the pay-off at the end is definitely worth it.

It’s the same reason I don’t try to do my own car repairs. I need my car for work and I suck as a mechanic. 

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Use Your Mindset to Lose Weight, Get Fit and Be Healthy

Why do some people seem to lose weight easily while others fail year after year?

  • Is it genetics? Money? Willpower?

While it’s true these may play a small part, there’s something else that has a much larger role.

  • It’s mindset.

And yours may be holding you back.

In this article, we’ll explore the science behind your mindset and underlying philosophy, and show you some proven ways to take action to improve it–so you can finally use your mindset to lose weight, get fit and be healthy.

What Is “Mindset”?

  • Mindsets are beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities.

Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, who wrote a book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, says there are two different types of mindsets: fixed and growth-oriented.

People with a fixed mindset think talent alone creates success. When faced with a challenge, they tend to take the easy way out to avoid failure and embarrassment. This is a psychological principle known as self-handicapping.

People with a growth mindset believe they can improve their abilities and create successes by working hard, practicing, and learning. They take on challenges even at the risk of failing. They embrace failure because they know they’ll learn valuable lessons from it.

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How Mindset Affects Your Health

Research shows your mindset can profoundly impact your life—especially your health. Here are several studies that prove it.

In a study published in the journal Psychological Science, hotel cleaning crews were told that the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle. Subjects in the control group were not given this information. Four weeks later, the first group perceived themselves to be getting significantly more exercise than before. As a result, compared with the control group, they showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index. Mindset alone caused physiological changes in their body.

In another study published in the journal Health Psychology, participants were divided into two groups. Each group received a 380-calorie milkshake but one group was told they were drinking a 620-calorie “indulgent” shake and the other was told they were drinking a 140-calorie “sensible” shake.

The researchers then measured participants’ levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates your brain to increase appetite.

Those who thought they drank the 620-calorie shake experienced a dramatically steeper decline in ghrelin after consuming the shake. The study authors concluded that “Participants’ satiety was consistent with what they believed they were consuming rather than the actual nutritional value of what they consumed.”

In other words, your mindset about a particular food can affect your hunger and levels of fullness. If your mind tells your body you’re drinking a “skinny” shake, you won’t feel as full. You CAN use your mindset to lose weight, get fit and be healthy.

Finally, in a study published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review that looked at the science of optimism, researchers found that an optimistic mindset can lead to better health outcomes too—optimistic people tend to be healthier on average.

How to Change Your Philosophy and Mindset

So the science clearly tells us that your mindset can have a dramatic impact on your health. The question is, how do you change a mindset that may be holding you back?

This is what Dweck suggests in her book:

Step 1. Recognize fixed mindset thinking.

Even if you have a growth mindset, that pesky little fixed mindset voice will sneak its way in once in a while. You know … the one that produces these types of thoughts:

  • “I have bad genes, there’s no way I can lose that much weight.”
  • “What if I fail?”
  • “I don’t want to embarrass myself.”
  • “I don’t have the willpower to stick with a healthy diet.”
  • “I’m just not as smart/lucky/talented.”

When this happens, simply recognize and accept it. Then do this …

Step 2. Reframe negative, fixed mindset thinking with a growth mindset voice.

Once you recognize a fixed mindset thought, you have a choice: believe those negative thoughts … or reframe them. For example:

  • No excuses this time … I’m getting started.”
  • If I fail, it’s okay. Great accomplishments don’t happen without risk.”
  • Forget diets. I’ll take it slow and making eating healthy a lifestyle.
  • If I don’t know how to do something, I’ll learn.

Step 3. Take action.

Once you reframe a fixed mindset thought, the next step is to take action.

Here are some strategies that will help you:

1. Write it down. One of the most effective ways to improve your philosophy and mindset is to keep a journal or planner. Use it to capture your thoughts, plan your day, and track your goals. For example, here’s what I do:

  • At the start of every day I write a positive quote at the top of my daily planner (today’s quote is “Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it”).
  • Next, I write down everything I plan to do over the course of the day to accomplish my goals (for example, “Write new blog post, network with 3 people, lift weights for 45 minutes, find recipe for healthy dinner”).
  • Then, I evaluate what I accomplished at the end of each day.

Writing things down feels good, and it’s proven to help you cultivate positive mental and physical changes in your body. In one study, participants wrote for 20 minutes each day for three consecutive days about either a positive life experience or a control topic.

Three months later, the students who wrote about positive experiences had improved physical health and higher levels of focus—just from writing about it. That’s powerful stuff. If you want to change your mindset, write.

2. Embrace learning. We all consume massive amounts of information every day. You have a choice whether that information helps you or holds you back. Checking your Facebook page 10 times a day may be mindless fun, but what if you spent that time reading books that helped you cultivate a growth mindset?

I recommend Mind Is The Master by James Allen, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and Make Today Count by John Maxwell. Even if you don’t like to read, buy audio books and listen to them while you drive. Imagine the impact those books and others you’re interested in can have on your mindset over time.

3. Take calculated risks. Whether you want to start your own business or get in the best shape of your life, ask yourself this question: will you be better off by never starting or by taking a chance and risking failing?

It’s an easy answer. Embrace failure. Because it will give you the most valuable feedback in the world. The foundation of the growth mindset is the ability to learn from your failures and become a person who continuously improves.

On Carol Dweck’s website, she says, “Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments – everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

In other words, your mindset is like a muscle: the more you use it to both learn and focus on positive thoughts, the stronger it becomes.

Dream big but start small. Focus on your mindset first and you will open doors to anything and everything you want to accomplish in life….perhaps starting with losing weight, getting fit and being healthy.

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Your Unconscious Mind is Making You Fat

There I am.

  • Sitting on the couch watching NHL playoff hockey at the end of a long day.
  • The wife offers me some of her potato chips.
  • I decline

I’m a personal trainer dammit, and personal trainers don’t eat potato chips.

Fast forward 20 minutes…..

I am now sprawled out on the couch…..totally immersed in the game…..screaming at the referees for blowing another call….and absent mindedly reaching over and grabbing a handful of potato chips out of the bag…and then another…and then another

your unconscious mind is making you fat

WTF!!! What just happened?

I don’t eat potato chips….seriously. So what happened? Where did my will power go?

I’ll tell you what happened.

  • When my wife first offered the chips, my conscious mind did a quick pro/con calculation and decided to take a pass on the salty/greasy delight.
  • Soon after, my conscious mind became fixated on the hockey game.
  • Soon after that, my unconscious mind snuck behind the back of my conscious mind, and by using a mixture of sensory inputs, old memories, emotions, brain chemicals and hormones, managed to hijack my body and convince it that eating those chips was suddenly a great idea.

Damn you unconscious mind!!!.

  • This is a big reason why diets fail.
  • Your bad habits live in your unconscious mind.
  • Your bad habits have built up powerful connections within your mind and body.

And if you let your unconscious mind run the show, you WILL return time and again to your old habits…your over-eating, under-exercising, making you fat kind of bad habits…

Next PageThe Unconscious Mind…and why it loves making you fat…

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10 Ways to Workout Smarter….not Harder

Every day I go to the gym and I see the same people doing the same workouts.

  • Runners get on a treadmill and run
  • Yoginis perform their poses
  • Bodybuilders squeeze & flex their muscles
  • Powerlifters lift heavy stuff
  • Aerobicizers attend their group fitness classes
  • And the dude at my gym who wears Adidas soccer shorts from 1978 stretches out his hamstrings threatening to dislodge his “fellas” from their cotton prison (the horror…the horror)

And while all of these activities are laudable and are infinitely better for you than sitting on the couch eating chips and watching reality tv, they all have their limitations. And since it is a new year, I thought it was the perfect time to outline 10 ways to workout smarter…achieving better results, in less time, with fewer aches & pains.

Tip # 1 – High Intensity Interval Training aka HIIT

There is an ever growing body of evidence showing that HIIT workouts are superior to traditional cardio training in almost every conceivable way.

  • Less time required per workout – I never, ever perform more than 20 min on a HIIT workout
  • Reduced chance of overuse injuries – just ask a runner about their aches & pains
  • Faster & greater improvements to the cardio-vascular system
  • Increased fat loss due to increased levels of EPOC  (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption)
  • Increased total body strength
HIIT sprints
Before HIIT – After HIIT

To recap, HIIT takes up less of your time, is easier on your body, is better at improving the function of your heart & lungs and will help make you stronger and leaner more efficiently than cardio training. Sounds pretty smart to me.

Here are a bunch of articles I have written on HIIT to get you started:

Next Page : Movements not Muscles…

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Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

It seems like I hear some version of this question each and every day. Just this past weekend, it was posed to me by Angela.

  • Angela is a forty-something year old woman, with two kids and an executive position at an insurance company.
  • Angela is 5’6″ and weighs approximately 170 lbs.
  • Angela doesn’t want to weigh approximately 170 lbs.

Maybe, some of you can sympathize with her story.

Why Can't I Lose Weight?

Angela’s Story

All the way through high school, Angela was an average, healthy weight. Not thin; healthy. She participated in gym class and enjoyed playing tennis. In university, she fell victim to the dreaded “freshman fifteen”. By the time she graduated, it was more like 20 lbs.

After graduation, she lost most of that weight by exercising at a health club and watching what she ate.

Why Can't I Lose Weight?

Next came the babies…

After the birth of her two children, Angela found herself reunited with that extra 20 lbs. Throwing herself back into that same exercise and nutrition program, Angela managed to lose most of that 20 lbs….And then gain it all back….and then lose most of it again…..and then gain it all back plus a little bit extra.

This takes us back to the present day.

  • Angela has 35 lbs. of excess fat that she wants to be rid of.
  • And she feels completely lost.
  • She has read every diet book.
  • She has exercised like an Olympic athlete.
  • She has cleansed.
  • She has popped dietary supplements.
  • She has joined and quit three different diet programs.

Nothing works anymore. So she asks me, “Why can’t I lose weight”?

So Why Can’t She Lose Weight?

The truth is; when it comes to burning off excess body-fat, Angela has no idea what she is doing. But it’s not her fault.

  • The multi-billion dollar diet industry sets people up for failure. If every dieter was successful, who would buy the next best selling diet book? Who would buy the pills or the bars or the shakes or the… Well, you get the point.
  • The diet industry promises you easy weight loss. But when you fail, it is always due to your lack of will-power. So why don’t the diet gurus help you generate that will power?

Why don’t they give you a complete weight loss program involving:

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise, and
  • Mental / Emotional / Spiritual Strategies

Starting on the next page, I will attempt to do that

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How to get in the best shape of your life by actually trying less, not more.

How many times have we all started a diet or an exercise program, only to call ourselves “lazy” in the end?

  • When we start an exercise program but feel way too tired to get off the couch and “just do it”, we feel we lack self-discipline. We should try harder.
  • When we start a diet but accidentally slip…we feel terrible. It was our responsibility to take care of what we eat, and we are now letting ourselves down by not eating the right foods. We have to try more.

But what if I told you, that you could enjoy more success if you tried…less?

What if I told you that you can easily stick to exercise and avoid the “couch temptation” even when you’re tired…without having to use self-control, or self-discipline?

Or, what if you could easily eat the right thing, even when you go to a restaurant and all your friends around you are having a culinary feast?

That’s exactly what I am thoroughly describing in my healthy habits book “Surprisingly…Unstuck”, and what I’m including in my 10-week 5-min exercise video service Exercise Bliss to make exercise ridiculously easy to stick to.

You see, there are “little things” that have a major impact in what you do or don’t do. However, even though they have a major influence on you, you have no idea you’re under their spell!

Using these “little things” in your favor can you help you get in the best shape of your life by actually trying less, not harder.

Yes, you read that right. LESS.

The “little things” to get in the best shape of your life by actually trying less.

Do you want to know why watching TV instead of exercising, or eating more when you’re out with friends, are both so irresistible?

It’s because our habits take over. And when habits take over, we find ourselves doing things without even realizing them!

You see, our habits are unconscious. They make us do stuff almost automatically without even thinking about them. That’s how fast they can be. Just like when you accidentally ate meat during your “going vegetarian” experiment. Ooops! You realized it only when you had already swallowed.

eating too much food - restaurant

If you master what habits get activated vs. what habits don’t get activated, then you can easily find yourself doing the right thing…no matter how tired you are and without using any self-discipline.

Habits get initiated by cues in your environment, aka triggers. A trigger can be any kind of sensory cue (something you see, hear, smell, feel, or taste), something you remembered, or even one of your existing routines. They are little things that are all around you, yet powerfully affect what you do.

For instance, when you get in the car, you wear your seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt is the habit, but your brain gets the message to do it when you first experience the car setting environment: The movement of getting in the car, feeling the seat beneath you, leaving your bag at the back of the car, etc.

Your day is inundated with habits: brushing teeth, having breakfast, even how to put on hot water in your shower is an established habit. Even eating is a habit.

Just like triggers can initiate bad habits – without you being consciously aware of that, they can also initiate good habits. Learning how to identify the right triggers and manipulate them in your favor can make the difference between you EASILY getting in the best shape of your life, or you trying really HARD but still failing.

Next Page….How to stick to exercise…even when you’re tired

 

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What Happens When Superstar Athletes Endorse Junk Food

  • In a free market, superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams are free to negotiate celebrity endorsement contracts with any company that they choose.

lebron sprite

  • In a free market, parents, pediatricians, anti-obesity advocates and health & fitness nerds like myself are free to be peeved that superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams choose to endorse products with a direct link to childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc.

fat-kits-eating-mcdonalds

  • In a free market, anti-obesity advocates like Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity are free to research which superstar athletes are most likely to trade their celebrity status with children for big endorsement contracts with companies who market  products with a direct link to childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc.

athletes market junk food

  • In a free market, anti-obesity advocates like Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity are also free to distribute that research to the media in an attempt to shame superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams about their decision to endorse products that threaten the health of their young fans.

freeoreos1

  • In a free market, public health experts are free to postulate what would happen if superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams had been exposed to the same kind of celebrity endorsed messages that today’s kids are exposed to.

fat lebron

  • In a free market, we are free to absolve Big Food corporations of any & all responsibility and choose to heap all the blame on the parents who buy their children junk food.
  • In a free market, we are also free to recognize that childhood obesity isn’t as simple as “blame the parents” or “blame the corporations” or “blame the government”, and that parents, government, food producers and superstar athletes like Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Serena Williams have all played a role in the obesification of our children.
  1. Parents feed their kids too much junk food.
  2. Government officials are manipulated by the lobbyists of Big Food producers into placing corporate profits ahead of the health of our children as well as the exploding healthcare costs that threaten the financial health of our countries.
  3. And superstar athletes (and other celebrity endorsers) ignore the reality that the kids who look up to them are being harmed by their financial decisions.
  • In a free market, we are free to use social media to tell our sports heroes that we want them to stop selling junk food to our kids
Click to expand
Click to expand
  • In a free market, we are free to tell our politicians to cut junk food subsidies, promote healthy eating and to force Big Food producers to stop advertising junk food to our pre-teen children.

twinkies1

  • In a free market, we are also free to accept our share of the responsibility and stop feeding our children huge quantities of junk food.

choose-real-food

Childhood obesity is a real threat to the future health of our children and there is more than enough blame to go around.

What Now???

  • If you want to check out the study looking at superstar athletes and their involvement shilling for junk food companies, head over to the Rudd Center website and read it – Athlete Endorsements in Food Marketing – Pediatrics
  • If you want to apply some pressure on the athletes named in the study, go to their social media profiles (Twitter & Facebook are a good place to start) and tell them that you are not impressed. You can also contact the teams that they play for and tell them that you are not impressed with the behaviour of their employee.
  • If you want to apply pressure to the government, write/email/call your representatives directly and tell them that you expect them to start putting the health of young kids ahead of the health of corporate balance sheets.
  • And if you want to apply pressure to the producers of junk food….STOP BUYING JUNK FOOD FOR YOUR KIDS.

.

What do you think?

  • As a parent, do you appreciate Peyton, LeBron and Serena telling your kids to eat junk food?
  • How would you feel if they were advertising cigarettes or alcohol?
  • Should today’s athletes be expected to project an positive image of health & fitness?
  • If an athlete’s image is tarnished for taking PEDs, shouldn’t it be tarnished for marketing junk food to children?
  • Do athletes in team sports have a duty to their team to project an image of sportsmanship, athleticism,etc?
  • Do you consider the modern athlete a positive role model for our kids?
  • Do you appreciate junk food producers running advertisements on programs/websites dedicated to pre-teens?
  • Do employees of junk food producers have an ethical responsibility to not manipulate pre-teens?
  • Tobacco, alcohol and firearm producers are prohibited from marketing to children…why not producers of products that promote obesity, diabetes and heart disease?
  • Should our political representatives be placing the health of our children above the profits of junk food producers?
  • Should our politicians be placing the profits and jobs of junk food producers over the health of our children?
  • Should parents stop their kids from watching tv shows with ads for junk food?
  • Should parents contact tv networks to complain about junk food advertising aimed at their kids?
  • Should parents contact their politicians and demand expanded limitations on marketing products to children?
  • Should parents teach their kids about what advertisers are trying to do by running ads during Sesame Street et al?
  • Should parents be teaching their kids about living a healthy lifestyle?
  • Should parents ignore their kids demands for junk food?
  • Should parents feed their kids healthy food most of the time?
  • Should parents eat healthy and teach their kids by example?
  • Should I take a chill pill and stop stressing about junk food producers trying to brainwash our kids, politicians placing their financial wants over the health of our kids and parents abandoning their responsibilities and feeding their kids junk food every day???

Reference

Super Scary Obesity Statistics

  • Until 1980, fewer than one in ten people were obese.
  • In 2010, 35% of Americans were classified as obese.

obesity-rates

And it’s not just the US of A.

  • In 19 of the 34 OECD countries, the majority of the population is now overweight or obese.
  • OECD projections suggest that more than two out of three people will be overweight or obese in some OECD countries by 2020.

overweight-rates

Maybe it’s time to do something about this???

A Plan to Reverse Childhood Obesity

In January 2012, the Ontario Government got serious about childhood obesity and created the multisectoral Healthy Kids Panel …asking them to sketch out a framework designed to help us reduce childhood obesity by 20 per cent within five years.

Here is what they came back with:

1. Start All Kids on the Path to Health

1.1 Educate women of child-bearing age about the impact of their health and weight on their own well-being and on the health and well-being of their children.
1.2 Enhance primary and obstetrical care to include a standard pre-pregnancy health check and wellness visit for women planning a pregnancy and their partners.
1.3 Adopt a standardized prenatal education curriculum and ensure courses are accessible and affordable for all women.
1.4 Support and encourage breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life.
1.5 Leverage well-baby and childhood immunization visits to promote healthy weights and enhance surveillance and early intervention.

the-Healthy-Kids-Strategy

2. Change the Food Environment

2.1 Ban the marketing of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, beverages and snacks to children under age 12.
2.2 Ban point-of-sale promotions and displays of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages in retail settings, beginning with sugar-sweetened beverages.
2.3 Require all restaurants, including fast food outlets and retail grocery stores, to list the calories in each item on their menus and to make this information visible on menu boards.
2.4 Encourage food retailers to adopt transparent, easy-to-understand, standard, objective nutrition rating systems for the products in their stores.
2.5 Support the use of Canada’s Food Guide and the nutrition facts panel.
2.6 Provide incentives for Ontario food growers and producers, food distributors, corporate food retailers, and non-governmental organizations to support community-based food distribution programs.
2.7 Provide incentives for food retailers to develop stores in food deserts.
2.8 Establish a universal school nutrition program for all Ontario publicly funded elementary and secondary schools.
2.9 Establish a universal school nutrition program for First Nations communities.
2.10 Develop a single standard guideline for food and beverages served or sold where children play and learn.

healthy-kids

3. Create Healthy Communities

3.1 Develop a comprehensive healthy kids social marketing program that focuses on healthy eating, active living – including active transportation – mental health and adequate sleep.
3.2 Join EPODE (Ensemble Prévenons l’Obesité des Enfants – Together Let’s Prevent Childhood Obesity) International and adopt a co-ordinated, communitydriven approach to developing healthy communities for kids.
3.3 Make schools hubs for child health and community engagement.
3.4 Create healthy environments for preschool children.
3.5 Develop the knowledge and skills of key professions to support parents in raising healthy kids.
3.6 Speed implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
3.7 Continue to implement the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.
3.8 Ensure families have timely access to specialized obesity programs when needed.

Unfortunately,  Canadian media ignored the entire report, except for the proposed ban on marketing high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, beverages and snacks to children under age 12.

Instead of focusing on the health of our kids, they decided that the real story was the potential restriction of the rights of processed food producers to convince our children to crave ‘food’ that promotes obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Well done Canadian media…I’m looking forward to your next story on childhood obesity and how we have to do something about it.

Jerks.

Reference 

When it comes to HIIT – Quality trumps Quantity

Anyone familiar with Health Habits knows that I am a big fan of HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

I love HIIT is because…

  • HIIT makes you faster
  • HIIT saves time with short workouts
  • HIIT make you more powerful
  • HIIT burns calories for hours after you’ve finished your workout
  • HIIT is challenging
  • HIIT makes a workout more fun
  • HIIT improves your aerobic endurance
  • HIIT improves heart function
  • HIIT improves your aerobic endurance
  • HIIT helps heart disease patients regain their health
  • HIIT is appropriate for almost all trainees
  • HIIT makes you look like a total BADASS in the gym

Unfortunately, just as soon as HIIT left the fringes of exercise science and moved into the mainstream and your local YMCA, the central concept behind the success of HIIT came under attack.

HIIT works as well as it does because of intensity of effort. Not length of sprint…or length of training session…or number of sprints performed…or restricting rest periods…HIIT works because of a complete 100%, pit-bull chasing you down the street type of intensity.

Each HIIT sprint should feel FAST. When your sprints start to slow down, you need to…

  1. Increase rest period length, or
  2. Shorten sprint duration, or
  3. Reduce resistance, or
  4. All of the above

Remember – When it comes to HIIT – Quality trumps Quantity

the flash bw

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Canker Cure Cures Obesity?

Back in 2009, U of Michigan researcher Dr. Alan Saltiel published a study indicating that the genes IKKE and TBK1 have a major impact on metabolic balance and obesity.

His research indicated that when someone cuts calories in an attempt to lose weight, IKKE and TBK1 become active and “act together as a sort of brake on metabolism.”

  • You want to lose weight
  • You go on a diet
  • You cut calories
  • IKKE and TBK1 become active
  • Your metabolism slows down
  • Weight loss stops
  • You get frustrated…
  • Eat a box of Krispy Kremes
  • And gain back all that body fat

Based on his thesis, Dr. Saltiel went searching for compounds that…

  • would inhibit the expression of IKKE and TBK1
  • prevent reduced-calorie metabolism slowdown
  • help calorie-counting dieters lose weight

Using high-throughput chemical screening, the researchers came upon an approved off-patent drug – AmlexanoxCurrently, amlexanox is being used to treat canker sores in the US  and asthma in Japan for the past 25 years.

Here Comes the New Research

After discovering that amlexanox may be a cure to the IKKE and TBK1 weight loss dilemma , Dr. Saltiel organized a study of the effectiveness of amlexanox as a weight-loss drug on a group of lab mice.

Credit: Shannon Reilly
Credit: Shannon Reilly

Here’s what they found…

Treatment of obese mice with amlexanox…

  • elevated energy expenditure (caloric burn)
  • through increased thermogenesis (heat production),
  • producing weight loss,
  • improved insulin sensitivity (lowering risk of type 2 diabetes)
  • and decreased steatosis (fatty liver).

As if that wasn’t enough: Because of its record of safety in patients, amlexanox may be an interesting candidate for clinical evaluation in the treatment of obesity and related disorders.

amlexanox-graph-1

Conclusion: Because of its record of safety in patients, Dr. Saltiel believes that amlexanox may be an interesting candidate for clinical evaluation in the treatment of obesity and related disorders.

What’s Next?

As it stands right now, Dr. Saltiel doesn’t know “if humans respond with the same pathway, or if the discovery of amlexanox’s effectiveness in mice can lead to a compound that is safe and effective for treating obesity and diabetes in humans.

To find out, Saltiel is…

  1. Teaming up with clinical-trial specialists at U-M to test whether amlexanox will be useful for treating obesity and diabetes in humans.
  2. Working with medicinal chemists at U-M to develop a new compound based on the drug that optimizes its formula.

Fingers crossed people. If we’re lucky, this canker cure could cure corpulence (aka obesity).

Reference

Reebok: Live With Fire

Back in the olden days, before I started blogging as Health Habits, I ran a pretty darn successful personal training business up here in Toronto.  I trained clients six days a week and helped other trainers grow their knowledge & client base.  And I felt pretty good about my contribution to make the world just a little bit healthier, fitter & sexier.

But it wasn’t enough. There were only so many hours in the day that I could work with clients.

  • So…I started Health Habits. And after a few months, I started interacting with all these awesome people who had found my blog.

But that wasn’t enough. It’s really hard for us wee fitness bloggers to get noticed by Google. (Google still favors the big guys Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Livestrong, etc).

  • So…I started messing around with social media…Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest.  And after another few months, I started interacting with a whole new group of people interested in talking about health & fitness.

But it still isn’t enough.

To really have an major effect on the health & fitness of people around the world, you need money and global brand recognition and celebrities and more money for advertising…print, online & tv.

And that’s where a company like Reebok can play a super-important role in helping turn around our current global culture of obesity, inactivity and poor health.

reebok-live-with-fire-1

Here’s the deal…Reebok has recently launched a new brand/clothing line/advertising campaign called Live with Fire.

And as with most sport/fitness ad campaigns, Reebok has put together a bunch of extremely motivational commercials focusing on a bunch of uber-fit athletes. Believe me, this first commercial will get you pumped.

However…unlike the typical sporting goods ad campaigns, Reebok is going beyond the typical hero worship commercial. Reebok seems to be really, really serious about getting Joe Six-Pack and Suzy Soda-Pop to see these athletes not only as role models…but as actual human beings who have to work really hard to be as fit as they are.

  • Reebok isn’t selling us the dream of being a pro athlete.
  • They’re trying to sell us a potential reality….of what we can be if we work at it….if we Live with Fire.

And of course….if we choose to buy a whole bunch of Reebok gear, then I’m sure that’s fine with them too. They are a business after all.

It’s brilliant. We all know that we need to eat better…and move better…and live better. But most of us are also lazy as hell.

And that’s where the mega-bucks and brand recognition of Reebok can have an effect far greater than anything little ole Health Habits can do.

So, check out the Live with Fire videos and spread the word to all your friends who NEED some motivation to get in shape.

And if you want to tell them about Health Habits at the same time…I would appreciate it.

Thanks in advance.

reebok-live-with-fire-2

Lose Weight with Electro-Shock Therapy

A new study, published in the journal Obesity and Weight Loss Therapy, has found that cranial electrotherapy stimulation was able to amplify the weight loss effects of both…

  • Low Calorie diets
  • Low Carbohydrate diets

Cranial-electrotherapy-stim

The Science

After 2 months of simultaneous treatment with electric stimulation and diet there was an average weight loss of…

  • 7.07 kg in the reduced calorie diet group
  • 9.48 kg in the ketogenic/low-carb diet group

whereas in the non-electric stim groups, the researchers observed an average weight loss of…

  • 5.9 kg in the reduced calorie diet group
  • 7.17 kg in the ketogenic/low-carb diet group

This means that the electric stimulation participants lost…

  • 20% more body-fat on a low-cal diet
  • 32% more body-fat on a ketogenic/low-carb diet

electroshock-diet-graph

What does this mean to you?

Maybe nothing. If you take a look at how the experiment was conducted, you will notice that in addition to following the prescribed diet, the “Food-Watcher” group were asked to use the device twice a day before meals. The control group were not provided with a “fake” version of the “Food-Watcher” to simulate cranial electrotherapy stimulation.

electroshock-diet-measureme

In my mind, this lack of blinding presents a significant problem.

On one hand, you have a group of people being asked to cut calories and/or cut calories and eliminate carbohydrates from their diet. On the other hand, you have a group of people being handed a magic box designed to help potentiate their diet.

  • Which group is going to be more motivated?
  • Which group is going to be more hopeful?
  • Which group is going to lose more weight?

So, do we ignore this research?

Nope…we accept it with all it’s flaws, and wait for another study…without an obvious a placebo effect to cast doubt upon it’s findings.

‘Cause the idea of a magic weight-loss machine seems pretty cool to me.

Reference

Best Body Transformation 2013

For the past two years, I have been posting free workouts here at Health Habits

These workouts employed all manner of fitness equipment and as such, were more appropriate for people with gym memberships.

This year, we are going to focus on people who workout at home.

  • To begin with, we will only be doing body-weight exercises.
  • After a month or so, we will add in some strength band workouts. I suggest you buy yours NOW!!!
  • As we go along, I might add in a kettlebell or some other piece of home fitness equipment. I will give you lots of notice OR give you alternative exercises.

The workouts we will be posting online are exact replicas of the ones I am using with one of my newest clients. In fact, to show you how effective these workouts can be, my little guinea pig  has agreed to track his physique transformation as the year progresses.

His goals are as follows:

  1. Reduce body-fat
  2. Get fitter – stronger, more flexible, agile, etc
  3. Get healthier
  4. Look great in the buff

Which are probably the same goals as 93% of y’all.

Here’s what we’re starting with…

Measurements : Day # 1

  • Weight : 283 lbs
  • Waist – landmarked @ Belly Button  : 50″
  • Hips – landmarked @ Butt : 45″
  • Upper Arm – Midpoint between Shoulder & Elbow : 17″ relaxed – 18″ flexed
  • Thigh – Midpoint between Hip & Knee : 28.5″
  • Neck :19″
  • Chest – landmarked @ Nipples : 53″

[colored_box color=”yellow”]There are a few other health issues that we will be tracking, but will not be reporting here at HH (as per client request). Nothing out of the ordinary, but he wants to retain some modicum of privacy. If, in the future, he decides to open up his life a little more, I will report how this transformation has affected these issues.[/colored_box]

Pictures: Day 1

Transformation---1---Front

Transformation-1-Side-right

Transformation---1---Back

Transformation--1--Side-Lef

  • On Monday, I will post the first resistance workout.
  • On Tuesday, I will lay out the dietary / lifestyle plan that I put together for our guinea pig
  • On Wednesday, I will post the second resistance workout.
  • On Thursday, I will make some recommendations about future exercise equipment purchases.
  • On Friday, we have the 3rd resistance workout.

If you have any questions for me or the GP, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me a message on Twitter.

alpha-flight-canadian-super
after pic???

The Immorality of Obesity

Last week, media mogul Rupert Murdoch pissed off a whole bunch of people with the following tweet about a woman in New York who suffered injuries when the sidewalk she was walking on collapsed out from under her.

rupert-murdoch

Obesity apologists all around the twitterverse were freaking out…hunting and pecking out expletive-filled anti-Murdoch tweets and blog posts. It was a veritable orgy of obese indignation.

And yet…it got me thinking.

  • Why is it that so many people in our society feel free to mean so damn nasty to fat people?
  • Why is it a character flaw to be fat?

We all have bad habits. We all do things that aren’t 100% healthy for our bodies.

Even personal trainers like me.

For example, this past Saturday night, I spent about 5 hours…

  • sitting on my butt
  • watching Hockey Night in Canada
  • and drinking beer with friends and having one heck of a fun evening.

Does this make me a bad person?

Would it have made me a bad person if (instead of being an uber-healthy personal trainer) I had been that 400 lb woman who fell through the sidewalk?

Maybe it’s time we create a little separation between people and their actions.

Obesity and related lifestyle medical conditions ARE a significant medical problem….costing millions and millions of dollars. But instead of being a giant A-hole like Rupert Murdoch or a Fat-Apologist like the Jezebel blogger I linked to, maybe we should focus on the actions that have led to increased rates of obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, etc…

  • Maybe we have a little more sympathy for people who make poor decisions,
  • And a little less sympathy for people who exploit those bad decisions for financial & political gain

America-obesity-epidemic

Aspire Assist = Medically Assisted Bulimia

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but we now live in a topsy-turvy world where….

  1. Obesity is a major medical and financial problem.
  2. Young girls (and now boys) are under a lot of peer pressure to NOT BE FAT.

As a result of #2, doctors tell our kids that bulimia is very, very, very bad and that instead of binging & purging, they should eat a healthy diet and be more physically active.

bulimia-2

Unfortunately, as a result of #1…

  • We have also seen an explosion in the number of people undergoing major surgery to help them lose weight, and
  • We have the creation and medical approval of the AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System…

aspire-assist

A medical device which replaces a bulimic’s fingers with….

  1. A tube which is surgically implanted in the stomach and is attached to…
  2. A Skin-Port which is equipped with a valve which is attached to…
  3. A battery operated pump which…
  4. Sucks a portion of your stomach contents out of your gut…
  5. And mechanically vomits/poops them into your toilet.

Don’t believe me?

If that wasn’t gross enough for you…here is a real-life example of the AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System in action.

Does anyone else see the irony here???

  • Self-directed bulimia is BAD
  • Medically-assisted bulimia is GOOD

confused-emoticon

This is quite a society we are building here. Idiocracy…here we come.

The 2013 Fitness Bullshit Detector

Every January, millions of people resolve to…

  • Lose weight
  • Get fit
  • Get strong
  • Get healthy

And every January, a bunch of  douchebags try to take advantage of those people with their bullshit health & fitness products.

This year, I thought that I would help everyone who has resolved to make 2013 they year that they finally get in shape by creating a 2013 Fitness Bullshit Detector (FBD).

FBD Tip #1

If someone promises that you can lose 7 pounds in 7 days…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-4

FBD Tip #2

If someone offers a revolutionary new “shortcut”…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-1

FBD Tip #3

If someone has a secret for “killing lower abdominal fat”…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-2

FBD Tip #4

If someone has gone from “string-bean” to “bodybuilder” all thanks to one weird secret…it’s bullshit.

bullshit fitness ad 6

FBD Tip #5

If someone has discovered a “weird spice” or suggests that cinnamon rolls can make you lean…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-5

FBD Tip #6

And if someone tries to convince you that 7 Odd Foods are the secret to an uber-lean belly…it’s bullshit.

bullshit-fitness-ad-3

FBD Tip #7

I hope these specific examples have helped make my point…..that if it sounds just a little too good to be true, it probably is…or in other words…it’s bullshit.

Five Weight Loss Secrets the Experts Will Never Tell You

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business. It’s a multi-billion dollar business which combines recycled weight-loss theories with new celebrities year after year. It’s a multi-billion dollar business which sells the promise of transformation…while secretly hoping that you never succeed.

Today, I thought I would let you in on a few of the secrets that they will never mention in their weight loss books.

  • All Diets Work

Whether they have you counting calories, restricting food groups or modifying when you’re allowed to eat, almost everybody will lose weight at the beginning of a new weight loss program. Their program is not nearly as special as they want you to believe.

  • All Diets Fail

Most people already know the difference between diets that make you lean and diets that make you fat. The problem isn’t lack of knowledge…it’s lack of consistency. The world’s most perfect weight loss diet is 100% useless if you don’t follow the rules.

  • Following the Rules Can Be Extremely Uncomfortable

In addition to being affordable and almost-always available, a large percentage of us rely on junk food to modulate hormones and neuro-chemicals in an attempt to reduce stress levels and make raw nerves feel…less raw. It’s the same reason why other people drink, do drugs, beat their spouses, etc. When you take away your emotion-soothing foods, you may be able to rely on willpower for a while as you try to ignore your “stuff”, but eventually, your willpower won’t be strong enough…and the siren’s call of Ben & Jerry may just be too strong for even the most awesome of celebrity endorsed diets.

  • Uncomfortable Doesn’t Mean Impossible

No matter how much you rely on junk food, there are psychological, neurological and nutritional approaches that can help reduce your dependence on food to modulate your emotions. And most of them are free or at least very reasonable. MP3s of guided meditations, brain wave entrainment and/or hypnosis require very little cash and almost zero effort from you…and can be very, very helpful. Supplements like Chill Pills cost less than $1 a day and can have a profound effect on your mood. Dr. Judith Beck lowers the cost of using Cognitive Behavior Therapy as a weight loss aid by laying out her techniques in her book – The Complete Beck Diet for Life.

  • You are Your Best Diet Guru

No weight loss expert will ever know what it’s like for YOU to lose weight. They won’t feel your cravings…or have to resist your urges to snack late at night…or have tell your friends that you will be eating a bowl of chicken vegetable soup instead of sharing their giant platter of Nachos Supreme!!! But then again, they can’t judge how your body responds to a week of Intermittent fasting or how peri-workout nutrition has helped you gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. They can’t make the very specific observations and adjustments that will help you overcome your weakness while maximizing your strengths and advantages.

What should you do with this info?

I have met and talked with a lot of weight loss gurus over the past decade…and most of them are pretty decent people with an honest desire to help overweight people lose weight and get fit. They realize that there is no perfect diet. They realize that what works for you might not work for me. They realize that weight loss can be a long, drawn-out, incredibly frustrating endeavor.

Unfortunately, if they wrote that in their book… NO ONE would buy it.

So…take what you read in a diet book with a giant grain of salt. Think about the theory behind the weight loss plan. Think about how easily you would be able to integrate that plan into your lifestyle. And if you decide to take the plunge, pay attention to how your body, mind and emotions respond. And be ready to make tweaks to customize a “one-size-fits-all” diet to make it fit your life.

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Body Transformation 2013

Starting next month, I am beginning a series of articles detailing all of the nasty details involved in the transformation of a new client of mine.

We will be looking at all of the interconnected factors involved in this process:

  • Dietary
  • Physical activity – amount, type, etc
  • Psychological / Emotional / Motivational
  • Medical
  • Social

The client is a 40-something year old man who…

  • needs to lose 50 pounds
  • suffers from insulin insensitivity
  • is clinically depressed
  • and has hypertension

This series will blend into other HH articles as he will be performing the Best Body 2013 workouts. This means that the BB 2013 workouts will initially be designed for an obese, de-trained client and will be increasing in intensity & complexity as the transformation will allow.

Note – We will be posting pictures, but since my client is well known here in Toronto, we will be cropping his head out of the images.

Does Ketone Drink = EZ Weight Loss?

Oxford researcher, Dr. Kieran Clarke has created a new type of ketone-based endurance drink designed to…

  • Generate significant weight loss
  • Improve mental alertness
  • Improve cognitive function

…as well as treat, prevent or reduce the effects of…

In short, this supplement MAY make you leaner, smarter, healthier, faster, stronger and less prone to diabetes, alzheimer’s, parkinson’s, huntington’s, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Note that I say MAY.

The science is all very new. According to Doc Clarke:

“We are very excited about our research, which we think shows great promise. Our primary interest so far has been to understand how the body’s metabolism responds and makes use of our ketone drink.

We are a long way yet from showing meaningful benefits as a treatment for disease or in aiding athletes’ endurance, and while we think it is possible that the ketone drink may have benefits in slowing Alzheimer’s progression, no one has done much research on this as yet…although this remains of great interest to us.”

How great an interest???

Great enough to apply for a US patent.

Can you imagine how much money Dr. Clarke will make if this product lives up to it’s potential?

The Science

  • Previous research indicates that a state of elevated ketones may improve physical and cognitive performance.
  • Unfortunately, direct administration of ketone bodies is unpractical and potentially dangerous
  • Fortunately, there are ketone precursors that might give her the same effect without any of the downsides.

On of those ketone precursors is  (R)-3-hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate, the ketone monoester that Dr. Clarke has been administering in the form of a meal replacement drink to her healthy human volunteers.

In one pilot study, eight adults with type 2 diabetes to see whether the drink produced any effect. The volunteers had three ketone drinks a day for five days and had their weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar monitored. Their weight dropped an average of nearly two per cent (in 5 days), as did their levels of glucose, cholesterol and fat in the blood.

In another study, Dr. Clarke gave 22 elite rowers the ketone drink and monitored the distances they achieved in 30 minutes on an indoor rowing machine.

One rower broke a world record and five others beat their personal best.

Conclusion

I am thoroughly geeked-up about the potential of this supplement.

Fingers crossed people.

Reference

5 Ways to Jump Start Your Weight Loss

In the 12+ years I have been working as a personal trainer, I have met a lot of very smart, very successful people with a broad knowledge of weight loss tips, tricks & secrets….and yet most of them weren’t able to get the results they wanted.

And sometimes, the answer to their weight-loss problems was as simple as one little tweak.

Here are some of my favourite “tweaks” to jump start your weight loss.

Cleansing

Most people think that cleansing is all about…

  • starving yourself, and/or
  • drinking a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup & hot sauce, and/or
  • shoving a colonic tube up your butt

WRONG.

In it’s essence, cleansing is all about…

  1. ignoring our taste buds for a SHORT period of time, and
  2. putting our Gastro-Intestinal tract in the spotlight for a SHORT period of time

And as un-fun as that sounds, your guts will thank you.

Without getting all alternative-health-y on you, just about every client of mine has seen health & weight-loss improvements via the occasional use of cleansing protocols.

HIIT

The beauty of HIIT training is that you don’t need to mess with your usual routine to reap the benefits.

For example, I worked with a cyclist a couple of years ago who was interested in increasing his power. Unfortunately, he and his coach weren’t willing to cut back on his high-volume cycling regimen. So, I integrated a series of HIIT sprints into his cycling program.

And while we weren’t able to test his strength improvements in the gym as I usually do, he did see a vast improvement in performance and a perceived improvement in power when race season began.

Nutrient Cycling

There are many different ways to cycle nutrients to maximize recovery from exercise and encourage fat loss. This is my favorite method:

  1. Simple carbs during workouts – Gatorade, Fruit Juice, etc.
  2. “Fill you up” carbs post workout – starchy veg, grains, etc.
  3. Crunchy carbs & greens the rest of the day – spinach, broccoli, etc.

The idea behind this plan is to manipulate insulin secretion to minimize fat storage and maximize muscle recovery via the re-filling of muscle cells with blood sugar & micronutrients.

Eat Dinner Like A King

This sounds counter-intuitive to common sense…and it is..sort of.

Normally, I advise clients against eating a big dinner because their day is winding down and that big blob of dinner calories is going to get stored as fat while they watch tv and drift off to sleep.

However, with this dietary tweak…

  • I ask them to have a medium sized breakfast made up of protein & fat foods with next to no carbs (ex scrambled eggs & peppers)
  • I ask them to have a small lunch consisting of protein & fat foods with next to no carbs (ex Greek salad with 1/2 chicken breast)

NOTEThis plans works best with people who are busy throughout the day. We’re trying to take advantage of the appetite killing effect of a busy work-day.

At the end of their work-day and before they eat dinner, I ask them to exercise. It might be a trip to the weight room or a group exercise class or 20 minutes of swimming or even a 10 min session of HIIT bike sprints.

After the workout, they get to eat a nice big satisfying dinner consisting of whatever foods they want. This big meal results in a ton of pleasurable brain chemicals and related hormones being dumped into the body…resulting in emotional pleasure and no sense of dietary deprivation.

 Have an Open Mind

There is a Chinese proverb that states “a closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood”.

And when I look at the mainstream approaches to weight loss, I see a whole lot of closed minds recycling the same old inefficient weight loss techniques year after year after year… with little real-world success.

What I want you to do is come at your weight-loss with an open mind.

  • Think of yourself as a really small-scale science experiment.
  • Stop repeating the same old weight-loss techniques that have failed you in the past.
  • Try something new for a month or two
  • Evaluate it
  • If it’s not working…dump it
  • Try something else…until you find something that works.

And if you still can’t find something that works, come back to Health Habits. I have lots more weight-loss tips & tricks to jump start your weight loss.

Jump Start Your Weight Loss
Be like water my friend…like water

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Can You Lose Weight with Virtual Reality???

This new study flies in the face of my personal prejudices re video-gamers, but…. according to Dr. Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz, when an individual strongly identifies with their online avatar, that avatar can have a strong positive influence on that person’s health and appearance, and may lead to the creation of new forms of obesity treatment and help break down racial and sexual prejudices.

“The creation of an avatar allows an individual to try on a new appearance and persona, with little risk or effort,” said Dr. Behm-Morawitz. “That alter-ego can then have a positive influence on a person’s life.

For example, people seeking to lose weight could create fitter avatars to help visualize themselves as slimmer and healthier.”

The Science

  • Dr. Behm-Morawitz had 279 Second Life users answer a questionnaire about their engagement with their avatar and relationships they developed online, as well as their offline health, appearance and emotional well-being.
  • Self-presence, or the degree to which users experienced their avatars as an extension of themselves, was found to predict the influence of the avatar on people’s physical reality.
  • A strong sense of self-presence in the social virtual world positively promoted health and well-being of study participants. People with high degrees of self-presence in the cyber world reported that their experience with their avatar improved how they felt about themselves offline. Self-presence also correlated to greater satisfaction with online relationships.

Of course…there may be one giant flaw with this plan.

  • Individuals who strongly identify with their uber-fit avatars are probably spending a lot of time online as those avatars…and as we all know, sitting in front of a computer screen has direct connections to obesity, musculo-skeletal pain & overall poor health.

But then again…as computing power increases, who knows how avatar technology could be woven into our lives in a way that would actually encourage living a healthy life.

NOTE – Dr. Behm-Morawitz is in the process of researching “how avatars may be used to encourage tolerance of diversity. A person’s race, gender or ethnicity can be altered in the virtual reality world and they can be put into simulated situations where they suffer prejudice and discrimination.

And that is pretty darn cool.

Reference

Get Fit & Lose Weight – Emotional Jeet Kune Do

Every day I help clients discover & push the buttons that they need to push…. if they are going to…

  1. Get the exercise their body needs
  2. Eat the food their body needs
  3. Think the thoughts they need to think and
  4. Feel the feelings they need to feel

…in order to become the healthiest, fittest, sexiest, most awesomest selves they can possibly be.

Here’s an example of the plan I used to help one of my clients lose 185 lbs over the past two years.

  • 319lbs – 185 lbs = 134 lbs

Small carb-free meals for breakfast and lunch

For example, breakfast would be 3 scrambled eggs with butter AND lunch would be a small Greek salad with feta, olives, lettuce & tomatoes – no dressing.

My reasoning behind this approach was that she was a busy executive and was very, very busy throughout the day. The combination of a busy day and not being around food made it “easy” to focus on work and forget about food.

It took a few weeks for “easy” to become easy. She hated me a little bit at first.

Large Paleo meal at dinner after her evening workout

1 big plate full of paleo-friendly food after her workout. That means loads of veggies and a good sized piece of animal protein. She was also allowed to have a piece of fruit for dinner. One of her favorites was the sauteed apples I posted about here.

She was full after dinner every single night.

Supplements

  • 1 tbsp of fish oil every morning
  • Probiotics with breakfast
  • Digestive enzymes with each meal
  • Multi-vitamin and minerals
  • Workout energy drink – I had her use Scivation Xtend

Emotional Jeet Kune Do

My client is a very, very smart woman. And very self aware. So when I told her that she WOULD transform her body into something even more awesome than what she was asking for…she told me that I was full of shit. Literally…she told me I was full of shit.

And after I finished laughing my ass off…I explained to her that over the 20+ years I have been training people, I have learned two things:

  1. Massive physical change is theoretically possible for just about everyone
  2. I am really, really good at making the theoretical happen

And to make the theoretical come true, I employ a system of emotional Jeet Kune Do on my clients. And like Bruce Lee, my emotional Jeet Kune Do is a style with no style.

This means that since we’re all unique creatures with our own individual thoughts, feeling, emotions and peculiarities…there is no fitness/diet plan that will produce awesome results for all of us.

We all have our own unique buttons that need to be pushed to get us to break and replace our bad habits.

And in her case, I asked her to lie to herself.

  • First, I asked her to imagine herself as a total freak of nature…super healthy, super fit, super sexy, etc…
  • Second, I asked for her reaction to this visual picture
  • She came back with another “you’re full of shit” comment
  • After which, I went into my spiel  about being good at making transforming people and that I truly 100% believed that we can make this change with her body. And that the biggest impediment was that she didn’t believe me.

Here’s where the Jeet Kune Do comes in.

  • I asked her to start lying to herself

Whenever she doubted my plan…or her ability to not eat ice cream…or that she would ever have a butt you could bounce quarters off of…I wanted her to:

  1.  Accept her doubts (past history + emotions will not be ignored or minimized)
  2. Get angry and tell the doubts to “Fuck Off…because  she’s going to do exactly what those doubts say she can’t”

And the reason I think this worked for her is because in her business career she has been faced many times with people, boards, companies & governments who told her that she couldn’t do what she wanted to do.

And most of the time, she responded by getting angry, getting to work and kicking their asses (after telling them to fuck off…inside her head)

The essence of emotional Jeet Kune Do is to search for your buttons…not your friend’s buttons, or the fitness guru’s buttons…YOUR BUTTONS.

An Amazing Real Life Weight Loss Story

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business. And to make sure that those billions keep rolling in, weight loss companies pay celebrities huge piles of cash to convince you that only they have the secret to rapid & permanent weight loss.

And I have to call BULLSHIT on that.

You want to know how to lose weight…. you need to talk to Pedro Oliva.

Pedro is a Twitter buddy of mine who has managed to radically transform his body/health/attitude over the past year. Here is his story…in his own words.

  • Q –  From your before & after picture, it’s obvious that you have lost a LOT of weight…how much and how long have you been working at it?

It’s been a year and I have rid over 100 lbs.

  • Q – Do you have a goal weight and if so, have you reached it?

My Goal weight is somewhere around 230. All time high was 385

  • Q – What changes (pro/con) have you experienced in your life as the pounds came off?

The pros are way more energy, I’m more active. The cons is some of the loose skin.

  • Q – What made you decide to lose the weight?

My kids are my inspiration. I did not want to die young.

  • Q – What made your efforts so successful?

I gave up soda. I was a huge soda drinker, also gave up fried foods.

  • Q – What tips would you give to someone who has tried to lose weight but has never been successful?

Stay focused and give yourself little goals. Take your time, results will come

  • Q – What’s more important to you…weight or health?

Health, being alive is the key

  • Q – Did you follow a specific diet?

I try to eat the right foods, lots of chicken and fish, vegetables

  • Q – Do you still follow that diet?

I do but some times I reward myself.

  • Q – Anything else you want to add?

Do not let anyone say you can’t do it alone. I am proof you can if you dedicate yourself and have a realistic approach, this will not happen overnight.

Reference

The “Eat Like a Dog” Diet

One of my clients had an epiphany yesterday.

  • For the past 4 months, she has been busting her butt losing weight and transforming her body.
  • For the past 3 months, her husband and her dog (not pictured) have also been put on a healthier diet (not by their choice).

And after 3 months, the unofficial winner of the familial weight loss challenge has been….THE DOG.

WTF?  How did the dog emerge as the weight loss champ?

It’s simple…the dog never cheated on his diet. Not once in 3 months.

  • He ate the food that his “Mom” put in his bowl
  • Lacking opposable digits, he was unable to open his bag of kibble or work the can opener to get more wet dog food.
  • He went for a walk everytime someone grabbed his leash.

In short, he was the perfect personal training client.

Unfortunately for us humans, we have opposable thumbs that are capable of ordering an XL pizza for delivery…ruining our diet and causing us to lose a weight loss challenge to a dog.

So….here’s my question for you…how can you modify your lifestyle so you eat & move more like a dog and less like a human???

America’s Great Big Fat Problem…is getting worse

America has a big, big, big problem.

According to the report F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2012, “if obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, by 2030…

  • 13 states could have adult obesity rates above 60 percent,
  • 39 states could have rates above 50 percent,
  • and all 50 states could have rates above 44 percent”.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, this could lead to a 10x increase in the number of “new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis between 2010 and 2020—and double again by 2030”.

Obesity could contribute to more than…

  • 6 million cases of type 2 diabetes,
  • 5 million cases of coronary heart disease and stroke,
  • and more than 400,000 cases of cancer in the next two decades.

But maybe you’re like me and take your health/fitness seriously and you don’t need to worry about these health warnings.

Unfortunately, this rise in obesity rates is going to affect you financially.

By 2030, medical costs associated with treating preventable obesity-related diseases are estimated to increase by $48 billion to $66 billion per year in the United States, and the loss in economic productivity could be between $390 billion and $580 billion annually by 2030.

Although the medical cost of adult obesity in the United States is difficult to calculate, current estimates range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year.

This means….

  • Your health insurance rates will increase
  • Social healthcare costs increase
  • Federal & state tax revenues are reduced due to lost productivity

And we all know what happens when government revenues can’t keep up with government spending…

  • Your taxes are increased, and
  • The quality & quantity of government services are decreased

so…what do YOU think…is it time that we did something real about reducing obesity across the board???

Reference

Is Your Brain Hardwired to Make You Fat?

In a recent study, researchers have found that “obese prone” (aka chubby) individuals are more likely to have lower gray matter volume in the insula, medial orbitofrontal cortex and cerebellum than those individuals who describe themselves as “obese resistant” (aka skinny).

Looking specifically at the insula region of the brain, the researchers found that insula gray matter volume was negatively correlated with leptin concentration..

And as we know from a bunch of studies, low leptin levels are associated with increased feelings of hunger and the consumption of massive quantities of nacho chips.

This research dovetails nicely with previous research linking the insula region of the brain to addictive cravings – cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, etc. So, it’s not too surprising that it’s linked to over-eating as well.

Conclusions

The Researchers – “These findings suggest that individuals at risk for weight gain have structural differences in brain regions known to be important in energy intake regulation, and that these differences, particularly in the insula, may be related to leptin”.

MineSo what!!! Genetic causes are irrelevant to everyone except for the scientists looking for a “cure”. If your brain structure makes you prone to overeating and obesity, that’s just your (and my) bad luck. Unless you’re a neurosurgeon willing to operate on yourself, the structure of your insula is pretty much set.

Start eating & moving smarter.

Reference

Get Ripped, Get Huge ASAP

The Holy Grail of Bodybuilding

  1. Get ripped…
  2. while packing on slabs of muscle…
  3. in a short time frame….
  4. without drugs.

And here’s how we’re going to do it.

andreas-munzer-ripped

NUTRITION

Calories

Between 10 – 12 calories per pound of Lean Body Mass (LBM)

  • LBM = your total weight – body-fat weight

Example

  • a 220 lb man with 20% BF has an LBM of 176 lbs
  • An LBM of 176 = a range of 1760 to 2112 calories per day

Peri-Workout Nutrition

Drink a serving of Gaspari Nutrition’s Size On Max Performance during the course of your workout.

  • Creatine + whey protein hydrosylate + leucine + carbohydrates + some other “stuff” = my favorite workout drink.  (180 calories)

Post-Workout Nutrition

  • Whey Isolate protein shake – water, 2 scoops of  protein, shake, chug – (200 – 260 calories of muscle re-building-ness)

[box type=”note”]If you’re finding that you’re not gaining or shudder…losing some muscle mass on this plan, I want you to add extra carbs to this shake – fruit, sweeteners, whatever Take the calories away from the carbs you eat during the rest of the day[/box]

Rest of the Day Nutrition

In addition to the workout supplements, I recommend 2 tbsps of fish oil to be taken each day. Personally, I take 1 tbsp in the morning and the second spoonful before I go to bed.

Next, we need to subtract the supplement calories from the daily allowance…

  • Fish Oil (240 cal)
  • Size On (180 cal)
  • Whey Protein shake (200 – 260 cal)
  • Total – 620-680 calories

This leaves our test subject with between 1080 and 1492 calories for the rest of the day

Here’s how he’s going to get those calories

  • 1/2 will come from carb-free Protein sources – eggs, beef, chicken, fish, etc…
  • 1/2 will come from the approved vegetable list

If you need to use fat to prepare your meals, subtract those calories from your protein sources

Approved Vegetable List

  • Leafy, green, salad-type vegetables – Amaranth, Arugula, Beet greens, Bok choy, Broccoli Rabe, Borage greens, Brussels sprout, Cabbage, Catsear, Celery, Celtuce, Ceylon spinach, Chaya, Chickweed, Chicory, Chinese Mallow, Chrysanthemum leaves, Collard greens, Corn salad, Cress, Dandelion, Endive, Fat hen, Fiddlehead, Fluted pumpkin, Garden Rocket, Kale, Komatsuna, Kuka, Lagos bologi, Lamb’s lettuce, Land cress, Lettuce, Lizard’s tail, Melokhia, Miner’s Lettuce, Mizuna greens, Mustard, Napa cabbage, New Zealand Spinach, Orache, Pak choy, Paracress, Poke, Radicchio, Sea beet, Sea kale, Sierra Leone bologi, Soko, Sorrel, Spinach, Summer purslane, Swiss chard, Tatsoi, Turnip greens, Watercress, Water spinach, Winter purslane and Yarrow
  • Flowers and flower buds – Artichoke, Broccoli, Caper, Cauliflower, Courgette flowers and Squash blossoms
  • Bulb and stem vegetables – Asparagus, Cardoon, Celeriac, Celery, Elephant Garlic, Florence fennel, Garlic, Kohlrabi, Leek, Kurrat, Lotus root, Nopal, Onion, Pearl onion, Prussian asparagus, Spring Onion/Scallion, Shallot, Welsh onion and Wild leek
  • Root and tuberous vegetables – Bamboo shoot, Beetroot, Burdock, Broadleaf arrowhead, Camas, Canna, Carrot, Cassava, Chinese artichoke, Daikon, Elephant Foot yam, Ensete, Ginger, Hamburg parsley, Horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke, Jícama, Mashua, Parsnip, Pignut, Prairie turnip, Radish, Rutabaga, Salsify, Scorzonera, Skirret, Swede, Sweet Potato or Kumara, Taro, Ti, Tigernut, Turnip, Ulluco, Water chestnut, Yacón and Yam
  • Sea vegetables – Aonori, Carola, Dabberlocks or badderlocks, Dulse or dillisk, Hijiki, Kombu, Laver, Mozuku, Nori, Ogonori, Sea grape, Sea kale, Sea lettuce and Wakame
  • Other Vegetables/ Fruits – Bell pepper, Bitter melon/Bitter gourd, Chayote, Courgette, Cucumber, Ivy Gourd, Eggplant/Aubergine/Brinjal, Luffa, Pumpkin, Squash, Sweet pepper (Capsicum), Tinda, Tomatillo, Tomato and Winter melon
Approved Supplementary Fats
  • Avocado oil, bacon fat, butter, coconut oil, ghee, lard, tallow, nut butters, walnut oil, macadamia oil, and olive oil (over salads & veg only – don’t cook with olive oil)

TRAINING

This series of workouts will pile on muscle mass faster than a big tub of steroids.

.Reference

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White Fat – Beige Fat – Brown Fat

Obesity researchers around the world are all in a tizzy over beige fat.

  • Last month, I introduced you to this waist-reducing super-fat
  • This month, we have a new study which is looking for a way to convert your energy-storing white fat cells into energy-burning / heat producing beige fat cells.

Here’s what we know now…

  • Based on previous research, the researchers already knew that brown fat needs the neurotransmitter cGMP to do what it does.
  • And according to new findings, they know that this is also true for beige fat.
  • We also know that vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) plays an essential role as a switch on the VASP/cGMP signaling pathway that slows down the formation of white fat cells into beige fat cells.

From all of this… the researchers believe that if they can manipulate this signaling pathway, they can regulate the beige fat and if they can regulate the beige fat…they can regulate the size of your belly

So Now What?

In this latest study, the researchers “engineered” a bunch of VASP deficient lab mice.

Upon studying the VASP deficient mice, they found:

  1. The mice had an enhanced responses to cold exposure (indicative of increased brown adipose tissue function)
  2. Their white adipose tissue showed evidence of “browning,” a process in which white fat cells acquire the characteristics of brown or beige fat cells.

As a result, the VASP deficient mice were ripped.

Additionally, the results also suggest that VASP could be targeted by drugs “to enhance metabolism by stimulating the energy-dissipating activity of brown adipose tissue and making white adipose tissue behave like brown”.

Long story short…. drug companies around the world are going to be jumping all over this.

Reference

Researchers Discover an Enzymatic Ignition Switch to Fat Loss

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have discovered a unique enzymatic ignition switch which allowed them to supercharge our fat-burning enzymes… and triple the working hours of our lipase enzymes from a lazy 15 percent of the time to a much more respectable 45 percent of the time.

And by making the enzymes work longer hours, the theory is that we “should” be able to burn three times as much body-fat per 24 hours.

And if that wasn’t cool enough…. not only could this mean the end to obesity and other fat-related diseases like diabetes, cardio-vascular disease and stroke…but the researchers believe that this switch may be a common characteristic of many more enzymes.

And since enzymes are vital to every chemical reaction that occurs in your body, the impact of this discovery is potentially MASSIVE.

If it turns out that many different types of enzymes can be switched on and off using this Enzymatic Ignition Switch, it could be applied to a wide range of diseases, environmental problems, industrial applications, etc…

It’s kind of a big deal.

Of course, this research is in the preliminary stages and may (probably will) turn out to be a dead-end, but you never know… fingers crossed

Reference

Reduce Blood Pressure & Lose Weight with Green Coffee Bean Extract

Earlier in the year, I wrote an article about the fat burning effects of Green Coffee Bean Extract (GCB).

Since then I have found out a little more about GCB…and it’s all good.

Not only does…

  1. It look like a more effective fat burner than the two pharma fat-burners (Qysmia/Qnexa & Belviq) recently approved by the FDA,
  2. It seems to have a blood pressure lowering effect

And it’s this positive effect on blood pressure that makes Green Coffee Bean Extract unlike any other fat-burner (drug or supplement) on the market today.

And considering that a lot of my clients who come to me for help losing weight also have high blood pressure, I may finally have a supplement that I recommend…even after talking to their doctor.

Here’s some of the science:

And when we combine all that with another 2012 study which showed how GCB  lowered body weight, BMI, percent body fat while producing a small decrease in heart rate (BPM), we end up with a product worthy of significant interest from the medical community

  • Cheap
  • Healthy
  • Effective

Sounds like a great fat burner to me

NOTE: There is more research to be done on GCB. If you are going to experiment with it as a fat burner, I HIGHLY recommend talking with your doctor and paying close attention to how your body responds. Just because the science looks good up to this point, doesn’t mean that they won’t find a problem next year

NOTEYou can buy Green Coffee Bean Extract here.

Reference

Capsaicin for Weight Loss

I’ve got some interesting research for everyone out there trying to drop a few pounds.

Published in the journal Obesity, researchers have found that topical application of 0.075% capsaicin to male mice fed a high-fat diet significantly reduced weight gain and visceral fat.  In addition…

  • Fat cells were markedly smaller in the mesenteric and epididymal adipose tissues of mice treated with capsaicin cream.
  • The capsaicin treatment also lowered serum levels of fasting glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides
  • increased expression of adiponectin and other adipokines – leading to increased fat burning and insulin sensitivity
  • and reduced expression of tumor necrosis factor-α and IL-6 – leading to reduced inflammation

fat mouse skinny mouse obesity longevity

 

In short, the “hot sauce” mice lost weight and got healthier.

Note – This research is very, very, very preliminary and it will be a while before human research is conducted.

However, nothing is stopping you from buying a tube of 0.075% capsaicin and smearing it on your jelly-belly and love handles. But remember, if you’re going to play lab rat, make sure not to get the capsaicin cream into your eyes…that’s gonna sting.

Is capsaicin safe?

According to WebMD, experts in the United States generally consider capsaicin to be safe. But it can cause some unpleasant effects, especially for those who are not used to it.

Begin with small amounts, and increase the amount as you get used to it. You can put the creams on your skin up to 4 times a day. You may feel a burning or itching sensation the first few times you use the cream, but this will gradually decrease with each use.

Wash your hands thoroughly after each use to avoid getting the cream in your eyes or on other moist mucous membranes, where it can cause a burning sensation. Do not use the cream on areas of broken skin.[/box]

Reference

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Make Insulin Your Friend… and Get Leaner, Stronger & Healthier

Over the next few months I am going to be conducting an experiment about the interaction between nutrition, exercise, blood sugar, insulin, body composition and overall health.

Here’s the plan…

Using a blood glucose monitor (supplied free of charge by Roche Diagnostics), I am going to have one of my clients measure his blood sugar, blood pressure and body composition again and again and again…. and we’re going to see how it reacts to different types of diets and training modalities.

Starting next week, he will begin taking his measurements upon waking, pre-meal, post-meal, pre-workout, post-workout and before bed.

I will track all the data and (fingers crossed), we should generate some pretty interesting data.

We will be testing how his body responds to:

  • a Standard American Diet (aka junk food)
  • a meat & potatoes diet
  • a vegetarian diet
  • a low fat diet
  • a high fat – Atkins style diet
  • a Paleo diet
  • a Mediterranean diet
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Cardio workouts
  • Health Habits workouts…. lots of HIRT
  • Heavy lifting – power bodybuilding style of workout
  • No workouts
If you have any suggestions, leave me a comment.

Is Nintendo Wii Boxing the Future of Fitness???

In a study published in the Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal, researchers found that “thirty minutes of Nintendo Wii Sports boxing provides a moderate to vigorous aerobic response in healthy young adults and can contribute to daily recommendations for physical activity”.

This study backs up another 2012 study which found “that Nintendo Wii Fit “Free Run” may act as an alternative to traditional moderate-intensity aerobic exercise in fulfilling the American College of Sports Medicine requirements for physical activity.”

And another study which found that “exergaming has the potential to increase physical activity and have a favorable influence on energy balance, and may be a viable alternative to traditional fitness activities for children of various BMI levels”.

Pretty cool…huh?

But before you cancel your gym membership and go buy some exercise video games, there are a few limitations to exercise video games.

  • These games are primarily upper-body dominant. In a 2011 study, researchers found that “current Wii and PlayStation Exer-Fit technology failed ACSM guidelines for cardiovascular fitness….but that a specially adapted lower limb controlled PS2 allowed participants to exceed the ACSM guidelines”.
  • In my experience, video game playing quite often includes copious quantities of Doritos and Coke. This may have a negative impact on the health benefits of Wii boxing
  • Gamers don’t play exercise video games – and exercisers like to actually exercise… in real life
The Top 10 Video Games of 2012…include one exercise-friendly game.
  1. Mass Effect 3
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  3. NBA 2K12
  4. Just Dance 3
  5. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  6. Battlefield 3
  7. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
  8. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
  9. UFC Undisputed 3
  10. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Of course…all of these pros and cons are technology dependent.

Who’s to say that in 5 years, we don’t have a fully virtual gaming experience where the movement of our avatar is directly related to the movement of of physical bodies in a much more accurate manner. If you want your character to sprint out of the line of fire…you have to sprint…same with jumping, diving, pushing, pulling, etc…

That would be pretty cool.

Reference

Childhood Obesity Leads to Heart Disease

Dutch researchers have found that 2/3 of severely obese children (aged 2–18 yrs) have been diagnosed with at least one cardiovascular risk factor:

  • 56% of the kids had hypertension,
  • 14% had high blood glucose,
  • 0.7% had type 2 diabetes,
  • 54% had low HDL-cholesterol

Even scarier….62% of severely obese children aged ≤12 years already had one or more cardiovascular risk factors.

Study Highlights

  • The definition of severe obesity started at a body mass index (BMI) of 20.5 for a 2 year old, at 31 for a 12 year old, and at 35 for an 18 year old.
  • Only one child’s obesity was attributable to medical rather than lifestyle factors.
  • Nearly one in three severely obese children came from one parent families.

Study Conclusion

“The prevalence of impaired fasting glucose in these children is worrying, considering the increasing prevalence worldwide of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents,” write the authors. “Likewise, the high prevalence of hypertension and abnormal lipids may lead to cardiovascular disease in young adulthood,” they add. And they conclude: “Internationally accepted criteria for defining childhood obesity and guidelines for early detection and treatment of severe childhood obesity and underlying ill health are urgently needed.”

My Conclusion

Childhood obesity isn’t cute… and parents who enable it are doing their kids a HUGE disservice. 

 

Reference

Just Say NO to Bread Back

Bread Back is defined as “the loaf of back fat between a woman’s bra and her underwear”. (ref: 30 Rock)

http://cdn.hark.com/swfs/player.swf?pid=mwgwfylyvg
Older women have bread back

Your Anti Back Fat Prescription

What the Heck is Beige Fat and What Can it Do for You?

For years now, obesity researchers have been teasing us with promises of converting white fat (aka your love-handles) into calorie-burning, 6-pack making brown fat.

But now, it turns out that most of that brown fat they found in adult test subjects isn’t brown fat at all – it’s BEIGE FAT.

Beige fat  looks like brown fat and it has the calorie burning abilities of brown fat, but it ain’t brown fat.

beige-fat1

 

A Primer on Body-Fat

It turns out, adults have 3 different types of body-fat:

  • White fat – which stores calories and contributes to obesity
  • Brown fat – initially thought to exist only in babies, brown fat arises from infant muscles and is designed to help keep their little baby-bodies warm. “More recent imaging data suggested that adults, too, maintain some brown fat’.
  • Beige fat – similar looking to brown fat, beige fat doesn’t come from muscle, but is created by the “browning” of white fat in adult humans. It is found in “scattered pea-sized deposits beneath the skin near the collarbone and along the spine in adults”.

What is Beige Fat and What Can it Do for You?

We’ve already established that beige fat is created by the “browning” of white fat cells. And that it looks pretty much identical to brown fat.

But with this new study, we now know that beige fat cells are “genetically somewhere in between white fat and brown fat”.

At baseline, beige fat cells have low levels of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) – a protein required by mitochondria to burn calories and generate heat – similar to white fat. But the beige cells also have a remarkable ability to ramp up their UCP1 expression, turning on an energy-burning program – enabling beige fat to burn calories nearly as effectively as brown fat.

And here’s where it gets really interesting…

The team also found that beige cells respond to a hormone known as irisin to turn on the energy-burning program. That’s particularly notable because irisin is released from muscle with exercise, and it is responsible for some of the benefits that physical activity brings.

Irisin might just be the long-sought treatment aimed to increase those coveted energy-burning fat cells. In addition to the therapeutic potential, the new findings might also lead to new and better ways to characterize important differences amongst people in the numbers of beige cells they carry.

How cool is that???

Reference

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I am the difference between fatness and fitness

 

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A Last-Minute, Super-Effective Fat Burning Diet…that may actually be healthy for you

Today’s post is for everyone who:

  • Got fat over the winter
  • And forgot that summer, shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits were just around the corner

Today is June 20…and summer starts tonight.

If your belly looks like the before picture, you need to get serious and follow the rules I am going to lay out below.

RULE #1 – You’re going to need to cut calories

  • Total calories per day are NOT to exceed 12 calories per pound of lean body mass

Note – Lean body mass (LBM), is how much you weight without any fat – This is calculated by subtracting your fat mass (bodyfat % x bodyweight) from your total weight.
Ex. 200 lbs weight – 50 lbs fat (200 x 25% body-fat) = 150 lbs LBM  – 150 lbs x 12 = 1800 calories

RULE #2 – You’re going to increase your protein and decrease your carbs. We need to control insulin

  • Eat between 1 and 1.5 grams of protein per pound of LBM

>Ex. Our 150 lb LBM guinea-pig needs to consume between 150 and 225 grams of protein per day (600 – 900 calories).

RULE #3 – You need to eat FAT.

  • I want you eating 20% of your calories as fat. That can come from your sources of protein and/or supplementation with healthy oils – fish, flax, coconut

Ex. Our 150 lb LBM guinea-pig needs to eat 360 calories / 40 grams of fat per day (1800 x 0.2)

RULE #4 – The majority of your Carb Calories are to be eaten before/during/after your workouts

Our 150 lb LBM guinea-pig is eating 1800 total calories  (600-900 cal of protein &  360 fat). This leaves 540 – 840 calories for carbs.

My recommendation is that you eat:

  • Lower Carbs/Higher Protein on your Low Intensity workout days, and
  • Higher Carbs / Lower Protein on your High Intensity workout days

For more info on workout nutrition, check out this article – Peri-Workout Nutrition

The idea is that fast absorbing / nutrient dense carbs (rice, sugar, etc) are eaten to fuel/re-fuel your workouts and that the rest of the day, your carbs are limited to crunchy vegetables – greens, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, etc.

RULE #5 – Schedule a cheat meal once per week – don’t count calories, eat what you want, don’t feel guilty. I’m not saying eat until you make yourself sick, but feel free to chow down on all the food you’ve been day dreaming about.

RULE #6 – Keep hydrated – thirst disguises itself as hunger – keep hydrated!!!

RULE #7 – Try and make this plan fit into YOUR lifestyle.

  • Prepare meals in advance
  • Measure / weigh foods – you gotta do it!!!
  • Stick to a small number of foods – a varied diet increases caloric consumption and it will make your prep easier if you’re not calculating calories of new foods in each meal
  • Eat when you’re hungry
  • Get your friends & family on board with your plan
  • Reward yourself – If you stick to your diet all day, you get to watch that cheesy reality tv show no one knows you watch – if you cheat, you have to delete it from TiVo

RULE #8 – Pay attention to your body and modify the diet if needed.

  • This is a blueprint designed to “sorta” fit everybody.
  • But your DNA, lifestyle, history with food isn’t the same as mine.

Make small tweaks – increasing/decreasing protein or carbs, more calories on training days and less on non-training days may work best for you – and pay attention to how your body responds.

RULE #9 – Take a multi-vitamin or two per day

  • Your calories have been lowered,
  • you will be oxidizing fat like crazy
  • we need to keep your micro-nutrient levels nice and high

RULE #10 – This is a short-term eating plan

Don’t hesitate to tweet me or leave a comment if you have questions.

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The Cure for Obesity : FOX01, Gpr17 and Your Hypothalamus???

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have identified a brain receptor (FOX01) that appears to play a central role in regulating appetite.

“We’ve identified a receptor that is intimately involved in regulating food intake,” said study leader Domenico Accili, MD. “What is especially encouraging is that this receptor belongs to a class of receptors that turn out to be good targets for drug development, making it a highly ‘druggable’ target. In fact, several existing medications already seem to interact with this receptor. So, it’s possible that we could have new drugs for obesity sooner rather than later.”

What is FOX01…How did they find it… and what does it do???

Previous research on the hypothalamus region of the brain suggest that the hypothalamus regulates appetite via a neuropeptide (brain regulator) called AgRP.

Unfortunately, up to this point, we don’t have a firm grip on the factors that influence AgRP expression.

In this study, the researchers “found new clues to appetite control by tracing the actions of insulin and leptin. Both hormones are involved in maintaining the body’s energy balance, and both are known to inhibit AgRP. “Surprisingly, blocking either the insulin or leptin signaling pathway has little effect on appetite,” says Dr. Accili. “We hypothesized that both pathways have to be blocked simultaneously in order to influence feeding behavior.”

To test this hypothesis, they engineered a strain of lab mice whose AgRP neurons lack the FOX01 protein. They focused on FOX01 because it is integral to insulin & leptin secretion and therefore should have a strong effect on appetite.

What happened when they got rid of the FOX01?

“The mice that lack Fox01 ate less and were leaner than normal mice,” said lead author Hongxia Ren, PhD. “In addition, the Fox01-deficient mice had better glucose balance and leptin and insulin sensitivity — all signs of a healthier metabolism.”

Alright, now we’re on to something…what’s next?

Unfortunately…. Fox01 is a poor drug target…. so the researchers searched for other ways to inhibit it.

Using gene-expression profiling, they discovered that the gene Gpr17 is highly expressed in mice with normal AgRP neurons but is effectively silenced in mice with Fox01-deficient neurons.

To confirm that the Gpr17 receptor is involved in appetite control, the researchers injected a Gpr17 activator into normal mice, and their appetite increased. Conversely, when the mice were given a Gpr17 inhibitor, their appetite decreased. Similar injections had no effect on Fox01-deficient mice.

What does all this science stuff mean to ME and my Jelly-Belly???

According to Dr. Accili, since Grp17 is part of the so-called G-protein-coupled receptor family, it greatly increases the odds of actually creating and effective anti-obesity drug.

  • About a third of all existing drugs work through G-protein-coupled receptors.
  • And the receptor is abundant in AgRP neurons but not in other neurons, which should limit unwanted drug side effects.
Of course, we’re probably still years and years away from a drug being on the market…if at all.

 

Reference

Why is America so Fat

The Free Market Doesn’t Give a Shit About Your Health…

… and why should they?

McDonald’s isn’t your Mommy.

  • They prepare food
  • You buy it
  • Their stock price tripled in the past 8 years
  • As did the ass size of the typical McDonald’s customer.

Unfortunately for fast food restaurants, childhood (and adult) obesity has become a major medical, political & social issue.

fatkidatmcds

 

A big enough issue that at the most recent McDonald’s shareholder meeting, a small group of shareholders came forward to say that “McDonald’s can no longer ignore the spiraling costs of its business practices on our children’s health and on our healthcare system. This issue is not only critical to the health and well-being of generations to come, but also to shareholders who should be better informed about the liabilities associated with the businesses they’re investing in.”

The resolution would compel the Board of Directors to assess how the growing body of evidence linking fast food and its marketing with diet-related conditions will impact McDonald’s finances and operations.

In response to the proposal, McDonald’s board of directors recommended a “no” vote on the proposal, calling it “unnecessary and redundant.”

  • 93.6% of McDonald’s shareholders agreed and voted NO.

Hmmmm…. a cynical person might assume that 93.6% of McDonald’s shareholders and the entire board of directors already know how McDonald’s menu & marketing practices impacts childhood obesity…and they don’t want to see their profits, share prices and performance bonuses get hammered by the truth.

  • And why would they?
  • Their job isn’t keeping our kids healthy.
  • That’s our job.

Just know that McDonald’s (and KFC, DQ, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc) doesn’t give a shit about your health or the health of your children.

Reference

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The Weight of the Nation : Change Maker or Obesity Porn?

As America’s problem with obesity grows…

  • The cost of medical treatment grows…
  • The cost to the economy grows…
  • The cost to our quality of life grows…
  • And the opportunity to make a ton of money grows

As a result of these 4 issues, obesity has grown from a quasi-medical issue into a topic worthy of mainstream media and HBO documentaries.

[box type=”important”]And as much as I think all of this attention focused on obesity is vital to instigating change… I wonder if we will ever develop the public will required to combat the money being spent by companies who make their profits from overeating.[/box]

Because if we are ever going to reverse our current obesity epidemic, it’s going to take a whole bunch of ordinary people making their voices and choices heard.

  • Lobbying politicians to put their public need ahead of corporate want
  • Making better food choices for their families
  • Organizing to help make neighborhood playgrounds safe for our kids
  • Telling food producers to stop overdosing us with sugar, salt & chemicals
  • Getting off our collective asses and leading by example

And documentaries like The Weight of the Nation may help to spark this type of change.

But then again, maybe this new wave of obesity awareness is nothing more than obesity porn… where we are shocked & awed by all those gross fat people who can’t muster the willpower to walk past McDonalds.

Green Coffee Bean Extract & Weight Loss

A couple of months ago Dr. Oz read one of my articles about Raspberry Ketones and decided that RK supplements were a pretty cool way to melt off excess body fat.

Not wanting to keep this info to himself, he decided to do a segment about RK on his daytime tv show. And the day after that…. the supplement world went absolutely crazy with requests for RK pills.

I wonder what’s going to happen when he finds out about the next big natural fat burning supplement – Green Coffee Bean Extract.

The Science behind GCB and Weight Loss

There have been a number of studies over the years which showed that GCB extract had a positive effect on human fat loss.

This latest study is a little different in that it is the first to investigate how different dosages of GCB extract impact the effectiveness of fat loss.

Here’s what the researchers did….

Subjects received high-dose GCB (1050 mg), low-dose GCA (700 mg), or placebo in separate six-week treatment periods followed by two-week washout periods to reduce any influence of preceding treatment. Treatments were counterbalanced between subjects. Primary measurements were body weight, body mass index, and percent body fat. Heart rate and blood pressure were also measured.

The Results?

  • At the end of the study, 16 of 16  lost fat.
  • The subjects lost an average of 10% of their weight
  • There were no adverse side effects
  • 16 of 16 completed the study

  • When participants were on the high dose of GCB extract, the weight came off quickly
  • When participants were on the low dose of GCB extract, the weight came off more gradually
  • When participants were on the placebo, weight loss stopped

How do these results compare to pharmaceutical fat burners?

  • 30-40% of test subjects dropped out of studies testing sibutramine, orlistat or rimonabant
  • Compared with placebo, orlistat reduced weight by 2.9%
  • Compared with placebo, sibutramine reduced weight by 4.3%
  • Compared with placebo, rimonabant reduced weight by 4.1%
Conclusion
  • GCB extract produces results far superior to big pharma fat burners
  • GCB has no adverse side effects
  • GCB extract is waaaaaayyyyy cheaper than a prescription fat burner
 Reference

45 Reasons Why America is Obese

America…like other countries… is getting fatter day after day after day. And if you listen to the mainstream media / medical “experts”, most will tell you that it’s all about Calories in vs Calories Out. A small minority will reference the power of insulin while some obesity-apologists will blame their DNA.

So, I raise the question….Is there a one size fits all cause and/or cure for obesity?

Or are there a whole bunch of factors coming together to create America’s obesity epidemic?

To aid in the discussion, I have put together a partial list of the factors that I think influence human obesity.

45 Unique Causes of Obesity

Food

  • Quantity of food – Calories
  • Quantity of food – Volume
  • Type and Quality of food – Macronutrients – Carbs, Fat, Protein
  • Type and Quality of food – MicronutrientsVitamins, Minerals, Enzymes, Phytochemicals, etc…
  • Type and Quality of food – Nutrient Density v.s Caloric Density
  • Your beliefs and emotions regarding food – food as pleasure, food as fuel
  • Dining habits – eat on the run vs sit down dinner

Pizza Hut Hot Dog stuffed crust pizza

 

Next Page – Your Body…

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The World’s Best Weight Loss Laboratory…

… is the one between your ears.

There is a ton of great information available online to help you lose weight, get fit and look great naked. But all of that information means nothing if you don’t incorporate it into your life in a way that produces results.

But until you….

  • learn to recognize and manage your destructive emotions & unconscious thoughts
  • learn how to incorporate healthy eating into your life
  • learn which physical activities your body thrives on
  • learn how to handle your obstacles to health & fitness
  • learn how to modify workouts & exercises to suit your body, your fitness level, your aches & pains
  • learn how to manage your time to include daily exercise
  • learn how your body responds to a new diet
  • learn how to shop for healthy food that fits your budget

…you are doomed to failure.

That’s because, even the absolute best health & fitness advice is 100% theoretical, until you:

  1. Put it to work on your body,
  2. Listen to the feedback you’re getting from your body
  3. Adjust your diet/workout in response to that feedback
  4. Repeat #2 & #3 until you get things “perfect”.

It ain’t rocket science. But it does require some practice…and you’re going to make mistakes.

But it’s those mistakes that are going to eventually point you in the direction of tip-top fitness and an ass you could bounce quarters off of.

20 Minute Workouts for the 21st Century

Back in the early 80’s, CityTV brought aerobic exercise to the masses with a new tv show – The 20 Minute Workout.

And for a 13 year old boy, it was the best tv show of ALL TIME.

But that’s not what we’re talking about today.

Today, I’m going to show you a bunch of 20 minute workouts that will have you sweating body-fat from your pores like a garden sprinkler….gross but true

WORKOUT # 1

5 MINUTE WARM-UP

Joint Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Push-Ups & Bodyweight Squats  – 10 rep sets until the 5 minutes are up

15 MINUTE WORKOUT

4 Cycles of the following HIIT Bike Sprint protocol:

  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 20 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 40 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 50 seconds

REPEAT 3 more times…for a total of 800 seconds or 13 min & 20 seconds

DONE – stretch, shower and get on with your day

WORKOUT # 2

5 MINUTE WARM-UP

Joint Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Swing Snatches & Jumping Jacks  – 10 rep sets until the 5 minutes are up

15 MINUTE WORKOUT

5 Minute Superset #1 – alternating between the following 2 exercises:

  • Body Weight Squats – 5 Reps
  • 2 Arm Rows (Band/BW/Machine/Barbell) – 5 Reps – Choose a weight you could perform 20 reps with

No rest between sets

5 Minute Superset #2 – alternating between the following 2 exercises:

  • Alternating DB Shoulder Presses – 5 Reps – Choose a weight you could perform 20 reps with
  • 1 Leg Deadlifts (BW/DB) – 5 Reps – Choose a weight you could perform 20 reps with

No rest between sets 

5 Minute Superset #3 – alternating between the following 2 exercises:

  • Reverse Crunch with Hip Extension – 5 Reps – feel free to push the hip extension higher
  • Chest Presses (Band/BW {aka Push-Ups}/Machine/Barbbell/DB) – 5 Reps – Choose a weight you could perform 20 reps with

No rest between sets 

DONE – stretch, shower and get on with your day

WORKOUT # 3

5 MINUTE WARM-UP

Joint Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Shuffle Lunges , Push-UpsLateral BW Squats  – 10 rep sets until the 5 minutes are up

15 MINUTE WORKOUT

HIIT Bike Sprints #1

  • Pedal slowly for 50 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Pedal slowly for 50 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds

Resistance Superset #1

  • Slo-Mo BW Squat – 5 Reps – Keep the movement slow & smooth – no stops & starts
  • BW Jump Squats – 5 Reps – Choose a weight you could perform 20 reps with

HIIT Bike Sprints #2

  • Pedal slowly for 50 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Pedal slowly for 20 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds

Resistance Superset #2

  • Slo-Mo Push-Ups – 5 Reps – Keep the movement slow & smooth – no stops & starts
  • Explosive Push-Ups – 5 Reps – fast & powerful

HIIT Bike Sprints #3

  • Pedal slowly for 50 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Pedal slowly for 50 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Pedal slowly for 50 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds

Resistance Superset #3

  • Slo-Mo Overhead Press (DBs) – 5 Reps – Keep the movement slow & smooth – no stops & starts – use a 20 rep weight
  • Explosive Overhead Press (DBs) – 5 Reps – fast & powerful – same weight

HIIT Bike Sprints #4

  • Pedal slowly for 50 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Pedal slowly for 20 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Pedal slowly for 20 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds

Resistance Superset #4

  • Slo-Mo Bicep Curls (DBs) – 5 Reps – Keep the movement slow & smooth – no stops & starts – use a 20 rep weight
  • Explosive Bicep Curls (DBs) – 5 Reps – fast & powerful – same weight

DONE – stretch, shower and get on with your day

P.S. – Feel free to mix & match warm-up exercises

The Rob Ford Weight Loss Program

Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford is a big man.

And not just in a political “big man around town” kind of way, but in a 300+ lbs of former football player turned politician kind of way.

And in keeping with his political promise to stop the excessive “gravy train” spending at City Hall, the Mayor may be extending that agenda to include his own personal Gravy Train.

In an interview with Newstalk 1010, the mayor’s big brother (Councillor Doug Ford) said that the mayor is considering making a New Year’s resolution to drop some of his excess girth.

“In the new year, there is a chance, we could be seeing a slimmer, trimmer version of Toronto’s Mayor. Going further, the Councillor suggested that it’d be a good idea, and even suggested that he himself would join in and try and lose a few extra pounds. To add to the challenge, he suggested that they could make it a fundraiser, or a competition with proceeds going to a charity”.

So, as a public service to my home town, I’m gonna help the Mayor out.

I’ve decided that my next series of Best Body Workouts will be designed for trainees who need to make significant transformations to their health & physique.

  • Weight Loss
  • Cardiac Function
  • Pain caused by Muscular Imbalances
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • and generally feeling tired and crappy all the time

The program will include:

  • Daily Exercise Tips
  • 3 Custom Health Habits Workouts per week
  • Daily Nutrition / Diet Suggestions with links to recipes
  • Additional suggestions regarding motivation, supplements, physical therapies, etc…

And because I love my city so much, I will also have some suggestions of how a program such as this can and should be made available to all Torontonians

For now, I would like to suggest that the Mayor and his brother download my FREE eBook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century as well as take  a look at the Best Body workouts that I have been posting throughout 2011.