3 Things You Absolutely Must Do If You Want To Strip Fat After 40

Yep. Getting older sucks. Gone are the days when all you needed to see some abs was to lay off the junk for a few days. It’s harder to lose that belly fat for sure.

Harder…But not impossible. Here are the 3 most important things you need to do to strip fat after 40. 

1. Boost Your Ageing Metabolism

It’s no secret your metabolism slows as you get older. Everyone talks about it. But no one really knows what to do about it. 

Your metabolism is tied closely to a few things. Age, Sex, Energy Intake, Muscle Mass, Body Fat, Stress Levels, Lack of sleep, Hormonal Profile…no wonder why it’s so confusing!

Unfortunately, there’s a little bit more to fat loss than just dropping a few calories. This becomes even more apparent as you get older.

One of the biggest mistakes people make in their fat loss efforts as they age is they drop their food too much. You might not actually be eating enough food as it is – or not enough of the right food anyway – and that might be precisely part of the problem!

Truth is there are specific strategies available to maximise your food intake, boost your metabolism AND decrease body fat all at the same time. Specific nutrition principles that work to help you eat more food and consume less while doing it. In fact, one of the biggest problems most people have at the beginning of the The Silver Fox program is they can’t fit all the food in! If you want your metabolism firing on all cylinders, you need to learn how to eat more. Not less. 

The other major component you can influence here is obviously the type of exercise you do. You want to focus on exercise that will work to boost lean mass and strip body fat. Exercise strategies that work to not only maximise energy burned during the workout. But for hours after as well. Up to 4-7% increase over a 24 hour period in some instances. These are the kinds or workouts you want to focus on and these are types of workouts we also focus on during the program. 

Boosting your metabolism is therefore critical. And you CAN influence it in a large number of different ways. Nutrition and Exercise are just two of these. There are also ties to the following factors. 

2. Boost Your Failing Hormones

Two problems here. Getting older sucks. And the lifestyle that comes with being and adult sucks. And – once again – these are all working against you.

Unfortunately, the hormones that stimulate Fat Loss, Boost Metabolism and Increase Lean Muscle Mass DECREASE.

While hormones that promote Fat Gain, Decrease Metabolism, and Decrease Muscle Mass INCREASE. 

Hormones – such as testosterone – that are critical for muscle mass and body fat loss, naturally decline with ageing. To compound the problem, modern lifestyle, lack of activity, lack of sleep and stress all work to further promote the decline and make the situation worse. 

At the other end of the spectrum, fat storage hormones such as esteogen, cortisol and insulin are usually pumping through your system and make fat loss even harder. They all work to increase fat, decrease muscle mass and decrease your metabolism.

Your literally accelerating the decline of the good and accelerating the increase of the bad. Talk about your proverbial pushing $hit up hill. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. Your overall energy intake is obviously important. BUT it is only important when looked at in conjunction with all of these other factors as well. 

It’s quite often said, it’s not just about calorie intake, but calories PLUS hormone optimisation that’s critical. 

And this is getting worse as you get older!

Fortunately it’s not all bad news. And the “lifestyle” part of that whole equation has a much greater effect than the natural age related changes do. So, it’s all in your power!

Unfortunately most people only focus on one or two of the critical aspects affecting your metabolism and hormonal environment. Not the whole picture. 

The Silver Fox Program ensures all your bases are covered and maximises the strategies to optimise nutrition and training to boost metabolism AND optimise your hormonal environment. By implementing these strategies you can literally turn back your body clock and have it functioning as it was years younger. 

As we’ve mentioned a couple of times already. The final missing piece of the puzzle is 

3. Manage your Stress and Sleep

I’ve written extensively about the effects chronic stress hormones like cortisol can have on your metabolism and body fat in the past. 

I’ve also written recently about the effect that chronically under sleeping can have on your metabolism, fat loss, testosterone levels, etc. 

And let’s be honest. These two are BIG lifestyle factors that you definitely can do more about. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I get it. Life is hard. You have work, family, finances, kids, they’re all not going away soon. And we can’t do too much about those external stressors a lot of the time. But we CAN influence our response to these. And control what we have control over. 

Again, we look to adopt specific strategies that improve your stress and sleep to offset any of the negative effects these can bring. 

Overall. There are many age related changes that are compounded by modern lifestyle. The most important and most powerful of these ARE actually more within your control than you think. 

Even though changes take place as you age, you can influence these more than you think. You’re not a slave to your years and you would be surprised at how much you can change in such a short amount of time if you focus your efforts in the right areas. 

As mentioned previously. Most programs focus on only one or two of these areas. Don’t underestimate the compounding and interdependent effect these can have on each other to magnify your results.

Nutriton + Exercise = great results

But Proper Nutrition + Correct Exercise + Stress Management + Sleep Optimisation = even greater.

It’s like 1+1+1+1=5. 

The Silver Fox Project was developed specifically to combat all of these areas simultaneously. It has all of the nutrition, exercise and lifestyle management strategies to take care of your sluggish metabolism, faltering hormonal system and your stressful and sleepless lifestyle. 

Yep. Getting older sucks.

Or, if you’ve seen the latest Jumanji movie “Getting old is a gift..”

Truth is, are you doing enough to take advantage of that gift?

It’s not too late to join the project. Click here to register.

How Your Lack of Sleep is Killing Your Gains, And You

What if I said there was one thing you could start doing today that would immediately 

  • Reverse your Testosterone back 10 Years Younger
  • Boost your Metabolism
  • Accelerate your Fat Loss
  • Decrease your Risk of Injury by up to 60%
  • Improve Performance by up to 20-30%
  • Decrease your risk of Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimers

AND It requires absolutely No Effort, No Workout, No Gym and Costs You Nothing

Would you do it?

Sadly I honestly don’t think you would

But it I’m going to do my best to convince you…

This is probably the most important and eye opening article I have ever researched and written.

For years and years I have studied, researched and written the hell out of topics on nutrition, exercise and fat loss. But this topic has literally been a game changer for me. (Not to be confused with the other “game changer” that is literally about nothing)

I’ve always known and talked about how important your Sleep is. But the more I dove in to the research, the more I’ve come to appreciate just how important. 

This information is by no means new, but a lot of the details are definitely new to me. And hopefully new to some of you too.

It is no secret that the idea of surviving and thriving on less sleep is championed and often praised in modern society. People talk about it as if it is super human and others wear it like a badge of honour.

I’m definitely guilty of that, often priding myself on only getting 5-6 hours of sleep each night. Thinking I am somehow more productive, like it is a testament to my dedication, my ambition and my drive to be more and do more each and every day.

Thinking I am absolutely crushing it, that I am somehow super human. While everyone else is just…lazy…

And I am happy to admit I am 100% absolutely and positively wrong.

It shouldn’t be something that is celebrated. It shouldn’t be something to strive for. It should be something that is feared. It should be something that is viewed as the antithesis of exactly what I am trying to live and preach.

We’ve known for a while now that chronic sleep deprivation (read modern lifestyle) increases your risk of

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimers

Now, the reason I think most people don’t take this seriously is because it seems EVERYTHING today causes all of those things. Modern Life causes all of these things.

Myself included. I already knew this, but when you look at some of the more specific and insidious ways in which sleep deprivation affects your body, it really does hit closer to home.

And it really does make you appreciate just how you are contributing to your own lack of results in your fat loss efforts and a slow path towards a decrease in health…and death.

Let me just start by saying, according to the research, you should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep each and every day. If you are one of the few people that are consistently getting this, then, well done, you might want to read on to see all the things you are saving yourself from.

If you are like me and only get 5-6 hours a night (anything less than 7), or you work shifts, OR have kids, then read on. This is definitely for you.

And, the best part, all of it is EASY. It’s FREE. And it takes ABSOLUTELY NO EFFORT on your part.

***Sign up to our Newsletter and get your FREE 5 Essential Steps to the Perfect Night’s Sleep. Easy actionable steps for you to start getting a better nights sleep straight away***

It Destroys Your Exercise Gains

“Men who sleep 5-6 hours a night will have testosterone levels of someone 10 years their senior…” (Walker, 2018)

This is especially worrying for middle aged men who’s test levels are already on a downward spiral. Imagine being mid 40’s (where it’s already been declining over the past decade) and having the test levels of someone mid 50’s?? If there was a way you could literally get the test levels of someone 10 years younger and you could do it NATURALLY, would you do it? You freaking bet!! So why aren’t you?

Being chronically sleep deprived also

  • Decreases Insulin Sensitivity
  • Increases Cortisol
  • Decreases Thyroid activity
  • Causes Hypogonadism

All of these things lead to increase body fat, decreased muscle mass, decreased metabolism, increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, you name it.

Talk about totally working against your fat loss efforts. It’s no surprise then you are more likely to lose muscle over fat when in a calorie deficit when you are sleep deprived. In fact “70% of the loss when in a calorie deficit is from muscle loss when you are sleep deprived” (Walker, 2018). Some of these factors can be offset with exercise, but even then, you are having to exercise your butt off just to break even, so to speak.

If you are a shift worker, it is even more bad news. Shift workers have higher rates of

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimers
  • Cancer, especially prostate, bowel and breast.

(*see how these words keep cropping up again and again??)

If you sleep 5-6 hours per day, you are also more likely to eat 200-300 calories MORE each day. People who are under slept are more likely to eat more and eat more of the WRONG things, such as high sugar and high processed foods. This is through a complex mechanism of certain hormones (leptin and grehlin) which I won’t be covering here.

In a nutshell, it’s harder for you to lose fat, it’s harder for you to get improvements in body composition, you are more likely to over eat on the wrong foods and you have serious health consequences…These reasons should be enough to wake you up (reverse pun intended). But, if you need any more reasons, read on…

Decreases Performance

Sleep deprivation also leads to a dramatic loss in performance. People who get 6 hours of sleep or less, your “time to physical exhaustion drops by up to 30%” (you fatigue quicker)

And, anything less than 7 hours, you get measurable decreases in performance in

  • Peak muscle strength
  • Vertical jump height
  • Peak running speed

If you have ever tried doing a high intensity workout the morning after a bad nights sleep and it SUCKED, you now know why. Think of that on a chronic scale.

Just in case you’re not following the story so far. It robs you of your workout gains, AND it makes your performance during your actual workouts suck.

These numbers are some of the first I have ever seen that are the hard numbers in decreased performance. And, to be honest, they’re worrying.

Impairs Motor Skills and Learning

It turns out, sleep is absolutely critical in the process of you learning a new skill. Researchers measured brain cells firing while learning a skill and then during sleep. What they found was the brain replays the exact same sequence, at a speed that was 20 times FASTER! It’s like it is replaying it again and again on fast forward, laying down the track for the neural connections.

The results is, you come back the next day “20-30% better in terms of your skilled performance than where you were at the end of your practice session the day before” (Walker, 2018)

If you have ever been frustrated with trying to learn something new, or been stuck on a problem, the old adage of “sleep on it” proves to be true.

This also breeds the new axiom of

Practice doesn’t make perfect

Practice Plus Sleep Makes Perfect

“Sleep is the greatest legal performance enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting” (Walker 2018)

The reverse is also true. Lack of sleep leads to impairment of mental function. You have heard before that being sleep deprived is equivalent of being legally drunk. The most important part of that is YOU AREN’T AWARE of the deficiencies.

Most people sleep less hours because they think they will get more done with their day, turns out the REVERSE is actually true.

By getting more sleep and better quality sleep, you will be more alert and you will be more productive. Period. MORE productive than if you are sleep deprived. 

Increases Injury Risk

This is one big for me, especially coming from a physiotherapy stand point. There is a perfect linear relationship between how many hours you sleep and your risk of injury.

The less sleep, the higher your injury risk. In fact, if you go from 9 hours to 5 hours sleep, you will have a 60% increase in probability of injury risk! (Walker, 2018)

Makes you think twice about all of those athletes who go out partying the night before a big game…

This is due to stability muscles failing when don’t get enough sleep along with changes to neurological timing and coordination

Do Alcohol and Drugs Help Get You To Sleep?

In a word. No.

Alcohol and Marijuana can put you to sleep quicker in some instances, but they actually block REM sleep.

Sedation is NOT sleep. So watch those night caps…

One final bonus bit of information

Incidences of Heart Attack INCREASE 24% the Monday after the change over to Daylight Savings and DECREASES 21% on the changeover back. (heart.org)

If these Stats aren’t seriously something for you to stand up and take notice, I don’t know what is.

Summary

So, there you go. Just by the simple act of getting more sleep you can

  • Improve your Test levels up to someone 10 years younger than where you are at the moment
  • Decrease your Risk of Injury by up to 60%
  • Increase Performance by up to 20-30%
  • Improve Fat Loss
  • Boost your Metabolism
  • Improve your Insulin Sensitivity
  • Increase Mental Alertness and Producitivity
  • Decrease your risk of Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes Alzheimers. Some of the BIGGEST killers in terms of diseases today.

All of this by NO ADDITIONAL EFFORT ON YOUR PART.

I seriously work my butt off with my clients to even get a FRACTION of these results, when they can EASILY start doing something positive for themselves every day.

This is why it is now such a big part in the SILVER FOX PROGRAM. If you want to learn more click here

Obviously, there are 2 parts to this. You need an increase Quantity of sleep. But, just as important, you want Increased QUALITY. That’s why I’ve put together this helpful little manual below to help you maximise BOTH of these.

As this article is already WAAAAAY too long, you can download the manual here for free if you sign up to our Newsletter. Just hit the link below.

Sign up to Our Newsletter and receive FREE your own 5 Essential Steps to the Perfect Nights Sleep

References

Matthew Walker Why We Sleep (2018)

Effects of sleep restriction on metabolism-related parameters inhealthy adults: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Review article Zhu B, et al. Sleep Med Rev. 2019.

Association between Sleep Duration and Subclinical Thyroid Dysfunction Based on Nationally Representative Data. Kim W, et al. J Clin Med. 2019.

Effects of Two-Week Sleep Extension on Glucose Metabolism in Chronically Sleep-Deprived Individuals. So-Ngern A, et al. J Clin Sleep Med. 2019.

Metabolic and hormonal effects of ‘catch-up’ sleep in men with chronic, repetitive, lifestyle-driven sleep restriction. Killick R, et al. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2015.

Impact of Sleep Deprivation on the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal Axis and Erectile Tissue.
Lee DS, et al. J Sex Med. 2019.

https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/10/26/can-daylight-saving-time-hurt-the-heart-prepare-now-for-spring

Should You Train While Injured?

Here are 3 reasons why you should be training even harder!!

What are you usually told when you are injured?

“You need to rest it”

“Don’t do anything, you have to let it heal”

“You can’t keep training, it’ll just make it worse”

“You can’t train your other side, you’ll become unbalanced”

On the surface, all of these sound pretty reasonable. If you want to recover quickly and safely, this is the most logical approach right?

Well, what if I was to say this was the WORST thing you could possibly do while injured? That training through your rehab not only helps keep your strength and fitness up, but that it also works to accelerate the recovery process and prevents imbalances down the road.

Here are 3 Scientific / Evidence Based Reasons Why You Should Be Training HARDER When Injured

1.Don’t Punish Your Good Side

Even health professionals are guilty of advocating time off from training completely. Some even go so far as to recommend NOT training your good side in an attempt to reestablish “balance”.

“But, but, if you have a 10-15% difference in strength between sides you increase your risk of injury by…”

Ok. Settle down there junior. Adults are talking…

So, if I’ve got this right, you’re telling me you are deliberately trying to DETRAIN your GOOD SIDE to CATCH UP with your WEAKER SIDE???? Who thinks this backwards logic actually makes sense??

The only thing you’ll achieve here is TWO weaker sides that will be more prone to injury when you try and return to normal activity.

Here’s a pro tip

You want each side to be as strong as each other at the END of rehab. NOT THE START

I’ll repeat that again. The goal of your rehab..is for both sides..to be as strong as each other at the END of your rehab. Not the beginning. I’ll give you time to let that sink in….

Secondly, the only thing you achieve by resting is losing all fitness and conditioning you did have, as well as decreasing the overall capacity for your body and tissue to handle load. Both of these an even a bigger risk for overloading the tissue when you do return back to “normal” training.

You’ll be weak, unfit and won’t be able to perform better, but hey, you’ll be in “balance”

2. Use the Magic of Cross Education

If I told you you could train your good side and it would help to make your injured side stronger, would you believe me? Or would you think it’s some sort of pseudo science BS made up? Well, rejoice, because thanks to the neuromagical wizardry that is known as Cross Education, you can!

Training your good side actually affects the opposite side and helps to offset any decreases in strength that occurs when you can’t train the affected limb directly.

It’s something physio’s have used for years in rehab. It’s something you should be using too.

So start training your good side even harder. This will have an overflow effect on to your injured side and actually help offset any strength loss and facilitate it’s recovery later.

This is where people will usually regale you with “you’re going to have one huge side one small side” or “you’re just going to become unbalanced”. In truth, you’ll be lucky to maintain strength and size on your good side (you’ll most likely still lose some) and you will attenuate losses on your injured side to the best you’re able to. Both pretty big positives in anyones book. So you have my permission to reply with “hahaha, yeah, get ($*&%”

3. Train the Chain

No movement in the body ever happens in isolation. Jumping, for example, involves the ankle, knee and hip joints, and – not surprisingly – a large number of muscle groups around and adjacent to these areas. Muscles coordinate with each other to perform specific movements and we’ve termed these coordinated groups a Kinetic Chain. Ok, stay with me here, I’m going somewhere with it…

You may have heard the term Posterior Chain when describing powerful hip extension. This posterior chain is made up of muscles such as your Hamstrings, Glute’s and Lower Back erectors and it’s the powerful coordination of these groups that add to power in a lot of sporting activities such as jumping, squatting, deadlifting, etc.

When you injure a joint, muscle or ligament, you not only affect everything in its immediate vicinity, but you also affect all the other related muscles further away in their respective Kinetic Chain.

Therefore, one of your goals in rehab is to not only prevent strength losses in the affected area, but also to promote strength in all of the muscles in the Kinetic Chain that are important for activity.

Sprain your ankle? There is evidence the Glutes can become inhibited for 6 weeks after. It’s imperative then you incorporate exercises to address all of these muscle groups. Not just focus on the injured area.

In other words, you have to TRAIN THE CHAIN. 

Also. You have 3 other fully functioning limbs!! Use them! Keep training. Keep active. There is no reason to EVER stop training and pushing yourself harder. By training hard through your rehab process you will stay fitter, stronger and return to full activity faster.

To Summarise:

Keep training your good side HARD. Keep training key muscles in the Kinetic Chain

  1. You want both sides to be strong at the end of rehab, not the start
  2. Cross Education helps mitigate strength loss on the injured side
  3. Keep the muscles in the adjacent areas and the Kinetic Chain strong

The obvious caveat to these are to consult your health professional for the appropriate exercises and loading progressions to suit YOUR own individual circumstances. If you are suffering from low back pain or neck pain, these specific rules may not apply to your situation.

If only there was a trainer, that was also physio, that was also qualified in nutrition that knew how to implement all of these things for you…🤔

If you want to know more about what is applicable for your individual situation, contact me for a consult today

Or join us now for the next 6 week challenge starting November 4th. If your niggles and injuries are stopping you from making the commitment, now there’s no excuse.

References:

Jill Cook Lecture Series Trust Me Ed, Current Concepts in Tendon Rehabilitation 2019

Ebonie Rio Lecture Series Trust Me Ed, Tendons – Load, Pain and the Brain 2019

Nutrient Timing – It Still Matters

Do you remember the old days when nutrient timing was a thing? And then the Calorie Counting zealots and Keto crew made their comeback and then it wasn’t a thing?

Well, I’m here to tell you that even though Nutrient Timing is not THE most important thing, it’s still a thing.

One question to keep in the back of your mind when reading the following, is the best nutrition for performance the same as best nutrition for body composition? Can you get the best of both worlds?

In some instances yes, in some no. The most important thing to do is always look at the context of what the results are trying to tell you.

Without trying to make this a long bloated and drawn out post, I’ll try and keep the following points as short as possible.

  1. Just because you have a protein shake with some fast acting carbs after your workout DOES NOT mean you are going to get god like gains. Overall macro intake for the day is obviously more important than when. However, as you know from previous articles, you CAN optimise meal number, frequency and protein composition to optimise results (read previous posts on protein consumption). Having fast acting carbs and protein post workout DOES increase muscle protein synthesis rates and replenish carbohydrate stores.
  2. Yes, even if you spread your carbohydrate intake throughout the day, or have it in one bolus dose post workout, your muscle glycogen replenishment over a 24 hour period will be the same. BUT are the results in body composition the same?? Ironically, people cite research to prove themselves right in one area, and often fail to see the implications in another. Remember when you were told you shouldn’t eat carbs after 4pm or 5pm? Then a whole bunch of research came out proving this false? One research paper proving this was completed in 2011 (1). This research showed that people who consumed 80% of their daily carbohydrate intake at night actually lost more weight and fat than those who consumed their evenly spread throughout the day. Can you see the implications of the above two bits of research? If you want the best results in performance AND body composition you are better off consuming the bulk of your carbohydrate intake as a bolus dose rather than spread out evenly throughout the day. Recovery for glycogen is the same, but one method is superior for body composition results.
  3. Something we’ve known for a long long time, but “During high intensity exercise, the provision of carbohydrate is a good strategy to offset fatigue and enhance performance.” (2) Again, put this in to context of the above research. Not only are you better off consuming the bulk of your carbohydrates in a bolus dose, if you want to optimise recovery and performance, you need to distribute this optimally around your workout too.

 

My theory is and has always been: optimise nutrition to get your body composition results, but you don’t want your workouts to suck either. The better quality of your workouts, the better results you will get in body composition goals.

Protein intake should be spread evenly throughout the day to maximise the muscle protein synthesis response. Carbohydrate intake needs to be distributed correctly to optimise workout performance and recovery as well as maximise desired body composition gains.

Ensure macro targets for overall body composition goals. Nutrient timing to maximise performance and recovery

If you want to know how this works in practice for your own individual circumstances, be sure to contact me.

References:

  1. Sofer, S., Eliraz, A., Kaplan, S., Voet, H., Fink, G., Kima, T., & Madar, Z. (2011). Greater weight loss and hormonal changes after 6 months diet with carbohydrates eaten mostly at dinner. Obesity, 19(10), 2006-2014.
  2. Sport Nutrition Conference 2008 Repeated Sprinting: Application in Team Sports. Stuart Phillips, Ph.D.
    Exercise Metabolism Research Group McMaster University

When Should You Do Your Cardio To Get The Most Fat Loss?

For those that know me, you know all too well how I feel about cardio as a form of training for fat loss.

In fact, I’ve had many people that have prepped for competitions (myself included) that have done zero cardio during the entire prep process. Let’s face it, you don’t have all the time in the day to dedicate to training, so the precious time you do have should be allocated to the most productive means necessary.

When it comes to body composition changes, cardio should be looked at as the icing on the cake, not the cake in itself. Layne Norton has summed up this approach probably the best with the following

“If you’re a bodybuilder and you’re spending more time doing cardio than you do lifting weights, something is wrong”

You don’t have to be a bodybuilder in the competition sense for this to apply to. If your goal is to increase some lean mass and drop body fat, then the same rules apply to you.

With that said, cardio can definitely add extra fire to your fat burning goals if you want to add it in there. But I still see people who miss out on some basic application of cardio principles.

So, if you absolutely must add cardio in to your training mix, one of the most common questions usually comes around to When Is the Best Time To Do My Cardio For Fat Loss?

“Should I do my cardio on an empty stomach first thing in the morning?”

“Should I do my cardio before training?” “After training?”

Here are some simple cardio truths for you:

  1. There is NO EVIDENCE that doing cardio BEFORE weight training causes more fat loss. In fact there is evidence that “performing cardio before weight training actually inhibits resistance training adaptations” (Norton, 2018) This one has been around forever, and makes perfect logical sense when you think about it. Exercises that demand higher skill and higher strength output should ALWAYS be prioritised at the beginning of your session. Exercises and activities that require more endurance and are less demanding skill wise – i.e. repetitive cyclical movements like running, other cardio – should be put at the end of the workout. This ensures the more demanding exercises receive the full attention before your body gets fatigued.
  2. Ideally, you want to do your cardio on separate days to your weight training. If that is not possible, then try and schedule as much time between your cardio sessions than your weight sessions
  3. If all that fails – for reasons stated above – do your cardio AFTER your weights session. It won’t necessarily be better for your fat loss quest, but it won’t interfere with your weight training session as much.

Currently there’s no good evidence suggesting that fasted cardio in the morning is better for fat loss. The only rule you need to remember about cardio is this:

Just as long as you get it done the results are all comparable.

Don’t overthink when you should do it. Just do it.

The only thing you really need to worry about with regards to timing is making sure you do it at a time that will have the least impact on your resistance sessions.

Keto vs High Carb vs Even Macro Split – What is the TRUE energy intake of your favourite diets?

It’s been drummed so hard in to us over the years that fat loss always comes down to creating a negative energy balance. In plain terms, your energy in has to be less than your energy out.

As you will all know if you’ve read anything I have written in the past, this is not always as simple as just counting some calories. And there are MANY, MANY other factors that come in to play that govern whether you will store or lose fat.

One factor that has been discussed repeatedly when looking at energy equations is the Thermic Effect of Feeding, or TEF for short.

The Thermic Effect of Feeding basically means your body uses energy during the digestion process to extract energy from the foods you eat. Some of which is lost as heat. Different macronutrients operate at different efficiencies.

For example, if you eat 25g of Protein, this works out to be about 100 calories. BUT, protein only operates at about 70% efficiency, meaning 30% of those calories are LOST AS HEAT. So, the true calorie intake is actually 70 calories.

Compare this to Carbohydrate, which operates around 85% (average), and in the same 100 calories, you end up using 85 calories.

Fats operate at a much higher efficiency rate of 97%, which means that only 3% of the calories you eat are lost as energy. In the same 100 calories ingested in the examples above, this means you are actually using 97 of those 100 calories.

Thermic Effect of Feeding:

% Lost as Heat
Protein 30%
Carbs 15%
Fats 3%

 

True Energy Intake:

True Energy Intake from 100 Cals
Protein 70cals
Carbs 85cals
Fats 97cals

 

As you can see from this, NOT ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL. And you can’t simply just count calories if you want to compare the effects of different diets.

If you want to maximise fat loss, one of the things you should be focusing on to help you create your negative energy balance is to MAXIMISE the THERMIC EFFECT OF FEEDING.

The problem is, you don’t eat just one of the macronutrients in a day, but a combination of all three.

The question then becomes, what is the best ratio of macronutrients to maximise this thermic effect?

Below we’ll compare 3 popular diet / macro ratio’s to see which is best for maximising the TEF.

For simplicity sake, we have chosen 1500 calories. The different % breakdown of 3 different popular macronutrient breakdowns are detailed below.

Three Diets with the SAME calories

Energy Intake Protein Carbs Fats
Even Macro 40% 30% 30%
1500 600 450 450
 
Keto 20% 10% 70%
1500 300 150 1050
 
High Carb : Low Fat 15% 60% 25%
1500 225 900 375

 

Now let’s compare what the TRUE energy intake for each of these 3 diet ratio’s are once they have been adjusted for the TEF.

TEF ADJUSTED DIETS (the more energy lost the BETTER)

Even Macro
1239 420 383 437 LOSS
Calorie Difference 261 17.4%
Keto
1356 210 128 1019 LOSS
Calorie Difference 144 9.6%
High Carb : Low Fat
1286 158 765 364 LOSS
Calorie Difference 214 14.3%

 

The TRUE Calorie Intake:

Even Macro’s: True Calories = 1239cals

Keto: True Calories = 1356cals

High Carb : Low Fat = 1286cals

From the above, you can see the TRUE energy intake from an Even Macronutrient Split is actually 1239 calories from the total of 1500 ingested. This is a LOSS of 17.4% as heat.

For the Traditional Keto diet, you only lose about half as much as heat at 9.6%. Your true energy intake out of your 1500 here is 1356.

For the High Carb : Low Fat diet, 14.3% is lost as heat, leaving you with 1286 calories out of your original 1500.

The KETO diet is actually the HIGHEST true energy intake out of all 3!

So what gives? How can keto in some instances help you to lose MORE fat than the high carb version (I’m not going to go in to detail on any keto debate here, but yes there is a lot of research showing this). The truth lies in the fact there are OTHER factors involved with fat loss than just the Thermic Effect of Feeding helping create a negative energy balance. Most of which I have written in detail about in the past.

What Does It All Mean?

When looking to create a negative energy balance, there are different ways you can improve on this EVEN WHEN THE CALORIE INTAKE IS THE SAME.

In the above example an EVEN MACRO SPLIT is actually the MOST EFFECTIVE in maximising the TEF and creating the OPTIMAL TRUE ENERGY INTAKE.

The best diet ratio that does this is an even macronutrient split consisting of

  • Maximising TEF
  • Maximising Fibre Intake
  • Optimising Hormonal Environment

If you want to maximise a negative energy balance AND create an optimal environment for fat loss, you need to maximise the TEF AND optimise the hormonal environment for this to operate in.

Obviously your total macronutrient intake and maintenance calorie intake for the day is an individualised calculation. But these are the principles you can use to optimise fat loss at any given calorie calculation.

For help in calculating the most effective fat loss macronutrient calculations for your own diet, contact The Courage Corner on info@thecouragecorner.com.au

The Long Lost Book of Nutrition Secrets – Regulation of Muscle Protein Synthesis

If you want the best results from your training, you obviously want to know what factors regulate the growth (or loss) of your hard earned gains.

The gain or loss of muscle is influenced by a number of factors. Ultimately they work to control what scientists call “Muscle Protein Synthesis”.

What causes Muscle Protein Synthesis to Increase?

What causes it to decrease?

Here is a summary of the most important information on Muscle Protein Synthesis summarised in to one table below:

Take Home Message?

Get sufficient Protein intake from quality protein sources spaced throughout the day.

Lift weights.

Adequate recovery.

Adequate energy intake

For all the science over the years and new methods, techniques, etc. It always comes back to some pretty basic principles. Eat, train, rest.

Science (*cough-internet-cough*) can seemingly overcomplicate things. But the principles will NEVER change.

Stop with the Hip Thrusts Please!!!

Why the hell don’t girls squat any more?!?

Is it because they finally figured out that leg day is hard?

Rewind the clock back a few years and couldn’t go a day without some BS meme filling up my feed of some girls backside with the title “she squats” #peach somewhere in there. But today? Today all I see is Hip Thrusts. EVERYWHERE. Great. You can load up that thing to have 200kg on it and do some crap partial Thrust. The contribution to your total booty gains? Zero. And don’t get me started on banded “dog taking a piss on a fire hydrant” for 100 reps.

Where did this all come from?? The Glute Guy, Bret Contreas of course. Or your instagram feed. Depending on what you consider a “valid resource” these days.

That’s not to take anything away from Bret. He’s great. And the Glute Bridge / Hip Thrust is definitely an integral part of Glute re education / training. Especially when I’m rehabing a client.

But for the best Glut development. There’s not an exercise out there that’s been taken more out of context than the Hip Thrust.

Even check Bret’s work himself. What’s the best way to full Glute development? A LOT of hip extension movements. NOT JUST THE BENCH BRIDGE. You have to work that thing from the bottom up to the top down and everything in between if you want the best Glute development. Read the last line of the page below. And then read it again.

“if one wants to optimise the gluteus maximus hypertrophic response, he or she needs to incorporate multiple hip extension movements such as hip thrusts, squats, and deadlifts.”

Let me expand on that.

  • Squats and variations
  • Deadlifts and variations
  • Hip Thrusts
  • Lunges / Split Squats
  • Step Ups
  • 45 Leg Press and Variations
  • Good Mornings
  • Back Extensions
  • ANYTHING that involves HIP EXTENSION!!!!!

From different angles. That allow sufficient resistance to elicit a response.

So, for the love of all things gym related. In the time it takes you to set up your damn bench, with the barbell. The ridiculous amount of weight you think you can thrust and the rest. You could’ve done a whole freaking leg workout that’ll give you better results.

Treat the hip thrust as a great Glut Exercise that is an adjunct to your overall Leg / Glut Workout. It is a great assister to your Squats and Deadlifts. It is not meant to be the THE ONLY exercise you load up and then do a million banded walks afterwards.

2 Meals, 3 Meals, 5 Meals…Does It Even Matter?

Back in the “Bro Science” days of bodybuilding, it was normal practice to eat 5-6 meals a day and not go 2-3 hours without eating a meal. Then, in the last few years, all that changed, as new research came along apparently disproving this practice and everyone was quick to jump on the “it doesn’t matter when and how many meals, it all comes down to just the daily intake”.

So, what is the truth? Does it matter the number of meals you eat each day? Or is it just about how much you have, regardless of whether it 1,2 or 6 meals??

Original “Bro Science” Reasoning:

Anyone who has lifted, that was born before the year 1990, remembers that everyone aimed to eat every 3 hours in order to keep the metabolism firing and to stay “anabolic”. God help you if you missed a meal as you would literally see the muscle wasting away from your frame. Or so it felt…

Anything less than 5 meals a day and you were a bodybuilding noob with the metabolism of your 80 year old grandmother.

The New Research:

Once scientist finally got around to actually doing some research on this, it was quickly found that this wasn’t really the case. Truth is, it didn’t really matter if you had 2 meals, or 3 meals or 6, the actual effect on your metabolism was actually pretty similar across the board.

The regular community and those that lift without crippling OCD breathed a big sigh of relief as you didn’t now have to spend 17 hours in the kitchen each week meticulously prepping  and partitioning equally 30 meals to last you Mon-Fri.

It also gave rise to IF, IIFYM, or any other acronym people can add more letters to to reinvent the wheel and profit from.

BUTTTTTT…..

Is it all as open and shut as that?

Let’s take a look at what we know and put it in to some context.

There are two things we need to look at when trying to optimise body composition:

  1. What strips body fat
  2. What maximises muscle retention (increases muscle protein synthesis)

Obviously you want to create an environment conducive to getting leaner. i.e. relative energy deficit, maximising metabolism. But you also want to make sure you are not losing any of your hard earned gym gains.

So, just because your meal distribution may not necessarily affect your Metabolism. IT DOES play a role in maximising Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS). You know, the building / keeping your muscle part…

I’ve written extensively about Muscle Protein Synthesis and the factors that influence it (well, maybe like 2 facebook posts and an instagram story, but I digress). So, I won’t go on about it here. Needless to say that it requires a fast digesting protein source containing about 3g of Leucine amongst a few other things.

This influx of amino acids in to your system after a meal makes MPS peak about “45-90 minutes following a meal, and returns to baseline values by 180minutes”. (Wilson, et al, 2008-9). Translation: the most effective part of eating a meal with regards to building muscle peaks about 45-90minutes after you eat and then tapers off back to normal after about 3 hours.

The researchers found the “addition of a bolus of carbohydrates, leucine, or both, at 150minutes was able to both reinstate the ATP status of the cell as well as prolong protein synthesis.”

Paddon-Jones and colleagues also found the addition of a “low calorie (220 calories) amino acid and carbohydrate supplement between meals drastically improved protein balance through a 24hour period.

So What Does It MEAN????

  • To maximise MPS you need to optimise protein distribution NOT just hit your daily macro target
  • You can do this by eating a high quality protein source every 3 hours or so
  • OR “alternate whole meals containing 25-35g of whole protein sources with snacks containing either BCAA’s, or a combination of carbohydrates and BCAA’s”
  • in other words 3 meals and 2 snacks

Potato. Potato. (that doesn’t really have the same effect when written). It all says the same thing. Eat some quality protein every 3 hours.

If you want to maximise MPS the Amount, Quality AND Distribution of your protein intake are ALL important factors.

Especially if you are trying to get leaner and on any sort of restriction.

YESSSSS. OLD SCHOOL BRO SCIENCE FOR THE WIN!!!!! Stick that one in your Kombucha damn new age insta hippies.

Are You Drinking Enough Each Day? Probably Not…

We all know how important staying hydrated is. Despite this, I would hazard a guess to say not nearly enough of you drink enough water each day.

Staying hydrated is not just good for overall health reasons, but for athletic performance as well.

How much water you need to drink is obviously going to differ depending on a number of factors. Sex, weight, weather, etc.

You’ve probably heard the general 8 glasses of water per day rule. But, this may be undershooting it for you.

A more accurate calculation is to times your body weight by 0.0.35. This is easy enough to do, grab the calculator on your phone, type your bodyweight x 0.035 and done.

So, if you weight 70kg, this would be about 2.5 litres you need to drink EACH day.

How Much Should You Drink During Your Workouts?

A body water reduction in excess of 2-3% is considered to adversely affect performance. So, if you weigh 70-80kg, this is only a drop of 1.5kg.

How do you know how much to drink during your workout? Here’s 3 easy steps.

  1. Weigh yourself before you start your workout
  2. Weight yourself at the end of the workout
  3. If you weigh less at the end of the workout, you have to drink that equivalent in water weight.

So, if by the end of the workout, you weigh 500g less than when you started, you have 500ml of water you have to make up for, as 1 litre of water is equal to 1kg.  Obviously you should be drinking and staying hydrated during your workout. This is just calculating if you’ve had enough during the workout and if you need to make up for anything at the end.