Archive for the tag - fat

How To Lose Weight Fast: Don’t.

men-male-diet-tummy-tuck-weight-lossIt seems like everyone is concerned with losing weight fast.

I get it. Immediate gratification is tempting. But this is your health. Rather than quick weight loss, let’s pursue a sustainable and lasting transformation. Let’s pursue a strategy that doesn’t involve losing 10 pounds in 10 days, and then gaining 15 pounds next month. Let’s be in it for the long haul.

F*ck fast. Let’s talk about effective.

As it turns out, fast and effective don’t go hand in hand; quick fixes and yo-yo diets don’t produce lasting results. In fact, through excessive calorie deprivation, they almost always slow down your metabolism and hinder further fat loss down the road. It creates a vicious cycle that does nothing to prioritize your health or fitness goals.

So what does work?

If you want a sustainable plan for losing fat and feeling great, there are three parts.

The first is rebuilding and repairing the relationship with your body. Again, this isn’t something that happens fast. It’s an ongoing process that sometimes requires the help of a trained professional. A lot of us have strained and abusive relationships with our bodies, so it takes time and energy (and sometimes guidance) to learn to love ourselves again.

The second is moving more. Increasing calories burned is a big part of losing weight. Beyond walking, running or other cardiovascular exercise, it also means using our muscles to strength train. By strength training, we maximize fat loss and minimize weight loss.

The third part is about nutrition. If you want to drop excess fat, it means consuming fewer calories than you burn. But this isn’t a death sentence. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. As you make wiser food choices, you’ll be delighted by the way your body feels. For most people, cutting just a few hundred calories per day can create lasting results. To make wiser food choices and to consume fewer calories, eat whole fruits instead of sugary snacks or beverages. Opt for complex carbs. Eat lots of vegetables; they’re delicious and filling. Eat real food, and not crap that comes frozen in bags. Eat only when you’re actually hungry. Minimize alcohol. And be patient.

Losing excess fat isn’t about extreme dieting or quick fixes. In fact, I don’t think about it as a diet at all. It’s more about changing your lifestyle. It’s about making adjustments so that your actions are in alignment with your goals. And it’s about making decisions that honor your body and your life.

Or you can lose five pounds in five days and gain it all back (and then some) next week. The choice is yours.

P.S. If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide, I recommend Davey Wavey’s Weight Loss Program. Because it’s effective and sustainable, it’s the last weight loss program you’ll ever need.

Am I Gaining Fat Or Muscle?

Dear Davey,

I’ve recently started strength training at the gym and eating more calories because I’m trying to build muscle. Over the last two months I’ve gained 12 pounds. How do I know if it’s muscle or just fat?

From,
Shaun

muscle-mirror-selfie-manHey Shaun,

Congratulations on starting with a strength training program and kudos for sticking with it.

When it comes to exercise, evaluating results against our goals is crucial. Beyond helping us stay motivated, tracking progress lets us know what works – and what doesn’t work. By evaluating results, we can make changes toward a more efficient workout.

In your case, building muscle is the goal. Gaining weight, as you’ve noted, is an incomplete metric to measure against your goal. Excess weight can be indicative of added fat, increased water retention, muscle mass or any combination thereof. This is why it’s important to think beyond the scale.

Though there are fancy body composition tests that you can take and equations that can be utilized, there is a very simple trick for measuring muscle gains versus fat gains. Get a tape measure. Using a tape measure, record the circumference of your biceps, neck, chest, forearms, etc. Every few weeks, mark down your new measurements.

As a general rule, larger muscles and an unchanged waistline means that you’re gaining mostly muscle. If your muscles and waistline are both increasing, it means you’re adding both muscle and fat. And if you’re just noticing an increase around your waistline, then it’s mostly fat.

Taking a picture of yourself under the same lighting conditions (i.e., same time of day) every few weeks can also be helpful in observing changes. You can also notice how your clothes fit differently over time. Or, if you have the resources, take a monthly body composition test and crunch the numbers.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you want a guaranteed strategy for adding lean bulk, download Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle!

Is Lard Healthier Than Butter?

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 11.45.52 AMI get a lot of questions asking if this is healthier than that.

Is brown sugar healthier than table sugar? Is McDonald’s healthier than Burger King? Is diet soda healthier than regular soda?

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about lard. More specifically, is lard healthier than butter?

Growing up in New England, I’m vaguely familiar with lard-fried foods. In fact, a restaurant near my parents’ home in southern Rhode Island still fries their clamcakes in pure lard. It’s worth noting that they’re the most glorious thing I’ve ever eaten.

In recent years, lard is making a comeback. But the truth is, real lard is hard to find. Most supermarkets only have hydrogenated lard, which turns it into a solid at room temperature. Unfortunately, hydrogenation is also the source of unhealthy trans fats which simultaneously boost bad cholesterol while lowering good cholesterol.

As detailed in a read-worthy article from Food & Wine, the process of procuring lard is actually tedious. In part, this is because many of today’s pigs are raised to be lean. To get enough pork fat to produce lard, you’ll need to find farmers who raise the pigs of yesteryears.

But let’s cut to the point: Is lard healthier than butter?

Despite its really, really bad rap, lard actually does have some nutritional advantages versus butter:

  • Lard is 60% heart-healthy monounsaturated fats; butter is only 45%
  • Lard has a higher smoke point than butter, making it ideal for frying – and less likely to turn burn and turn carcinogenic
  • Lard has half the saturated fat found in butter

While these attributes make a better case for lard than butter, let’s be clear: Neither butter nor lard are healthy. Foods cooked with either tend to be high in calories, and thus must be eaten in moderation.
In other words, lard is not the new kale.But lard may be on the brink of making a comeback in our diets. And in terms of it replacing butter or hydrogenated fats, that isn’t a bad thing.

P.S. To change the way you look and feel through the foods you eat, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter. You’ll get my 5-day ab workout videos as a free gift!

 

 

Which Fats Are Good And Bad?

mens_fitness_18793A decade or two ago, low fat diets were popular. If you’re looking to drop body fat, cutting dietary fat would seem logical. But that’s not really how things work. Through science, we’ve come to realize that things are a bit more complex than that – and that we still have a lot to learn.

If you read the nutritional labels (and I hope you do!) of the foods you eat, you’ll notice that there’s total fat, saturated fat and trans fat. Here’s what they all mean.

  • Total fat: The cumulative fat content in a serving, displayed in grams and as a percentage of your recommended intake. Keep in mind these percentages are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your actual caloric needs may be different. Total fat doesn’t seem to have an effect on health. Instead, it’s the type of fat consumed that has an impact.
  • Saturated fat: Until recently, nutritionists have warned against saturated fats because they raise the type of cholesterol that clogs your arteries. However, researchers have been unable to establish a correlation between saturated fat and the risk of heart attack or stroke. As such, saturated fats may actually be neutral. But that’s not a free pass to eat a pound of bacon.
  • Unsaturated fat: These are the heart-healthy fats found in fish, olive oil, etc., that appear to have a protective effect on your health. Of course, unsaturated fats are still calorie-dense – so continue to eat these fats according to recommendations.
  • Trans fat: These are the bad guys, and are most often found in processed foods. Trans fats simultaneously raise bad cholesterol while lowering good cholesterol. As such, the American Heart Association recommends minimizing trans fats in your diet by not exceeding more than 1% of your total caloric intake. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, that’s 2 grams of trans fat per day. You can find trans fats in many cakes, fries, doughnuts and baked goods. Though many manufacturers are moving away from trans fats, it’s important to check nutrition information.

The truth is, all of us need essential fats to survive; cutting all fat out of your diet would be a very bad thing. Instead, be mindful of the type of fat you eat – with an emphasis on heart-healthy unsaturated fats.

P.S. If you want to cut body fat, there’s no better way to do it than by downloading Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Program. Through a strategy called high intensity interval training, you’ll incinerate excess body fat while preserving muscle.

Weight Loss Vs. Fat Loss.

Dear Davey,

I’ve been reading your fitness blog for a few years now, and I’ve noticed that you don’t use the terms “weight loss” and “fat loss” interchangeably. Why not? What’s the difference?

From,
Austin

Hey Austin,

Todd-McCullough-Bro-Yoga-Shirtless-Red-Bathing-Suit-05132014-01Thanks for being a loyal reader – and for such a great question.

Weight loss and fat loss mean very different things. Weight loss is a reduction in body weight. It’s the result of decreased energy intake and/or increased energy expenditure. That is, fewer calories come in than go out. But it’s worth noting that the weight can be pretty much anything. If you lose body fat, you’ve lost weight. But if you lose muscle or body fluids, you’ve also lost weight. Every time you pee, you lose weight. Someone could chop off your arm and you’d lose weight.

While weight loss is very general, fat loss is very specific. And when people typically talk about weight loss, they really mean fat loss. Fat loss, by definition, is a reduction in body fat. This is a much wiser and worthwhile goal than just losing weight; after all, who wants to give up their hard-earned muscle mass?

When you create a calorie deficit by decreasing calories going into your body and increasing the calories going out of your body, you’ll definitely lose weight. It’s science. But to ensure that you’re losing primarily body fat and not muscle, it’s important to continue with a challenging strength training program. By engaging in a strength training program (lifting weights, doing push-ups, etc.), you signal to your body that it still needs muscle. As a result, less muscle and more fat will be lost.

Not only will that extra muscle keep you strong and look good, but it also helps keep your metabolism up. Muscle takes a lot of energy to maintain; by keeping muscle mass on your body, you’ll actually be helping your fat loss goals.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you’re looking to shed excess fat, download Davey Wavey’s Weight Loss Program and get started today!

Whey Protein BEFORE Working Out Burns Fat?

Dear Davey,

A friend of mine mentioned that eating protein before you workout is a smart idea because it burns more fat. Is there really any truth to this?

From,
Sean

Bryce Thompson by Rick Day 16Hey Sean,

Your friend is likely referring to an often-cited Michigan State University study that was published in 2009.

When we talk about protein, it’s often about the role it plays in muscle growth – and the emphasis is often on post-workout protein consumption. For example, we know that consuming whey protein after a heavy strength training workout can help improve results.

But for the aforementioned study, researchers examined the role of pre-workout protein consumption on something called resting energy expenditure (REE). REE is the amount of energy, usually expressed in food calories, required for a 24-hour period by the body during resting conditions. For many of us, this measure is especially important because it can account for 60% – 75% of your total energy expenditure. If you increase REE, you burn more total calories – and, in theory, store fewer calories as fat.

In Michigan State’s study, experienced lifters were given either a whey protein supplement or carbohydrate supplement 20 minutes before working out. After 24 and 48 hours, REE was measured and compared to the baseline. While both supplements increased REE 24 and 48 hours after the strength training session, the whey protein supplement resulted in a much higher REE at the 24-hour mark compared to either the carbohydrate supplement or the baseline.

Keep in mind, increasing REE isn’t the same as burning fat. To make a very long story short, weight loss is achieved when you consume fewer calories than you burn. REE increases calories out, but that’s only one side of the equation. And weight loss isn’t the same as fat loss. What we call weight loss is really a combination of fat and muscle loss; to minimize muscle loss, continue with a challenging strength training program.

In other words, it’s a bit more complicated than your friend implied. But there is truth to his statement. If you want to incorporate the findings of this study, consume whey protein before working out. Keep in mind, post-workout whey protein and carbohydrates are also recommended for maximized results.

Love,
Davey

P.S. For everything you need to know about losing weight, download The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program and get started today!

How To Lose Your Stomach Pooch!

Dear Davey Wavey,

I’ve started bulking at the gym to build muscle. I’m consuming 2,900 calories a day and I’ve made great advancements. But there is one problem. There’s a little pouch around my navel and I’m not a fan. I do your HIIT sprints once or twice a week and I’ve been eating well. I’m skinny by nature but this thing has always been there. Do you have any tips for getting rid of it?

Thanks,
Danny

best-way-to-lose-belly-fat-for-menHey Danny,

Ah – yes, that pesky pooch! It’s actually a very common problem and something about which I get tons of emails.

First things first, if a small pouch on your lower abdomen is your biggest problem, you’re doing really great. In fact, you’re leaps and bounds ahead of most people, especially considering that two thirds of Americans overweight.

Second, it’s going to be hard to lose the pouch while you’re bulking. Increasing your mass requires consuming more calories. Losing excess body weight means cutting calories to create a calorie deficit. In other words, building muscle and cutting fat are difficult to achieve simultaneously (unless you’re a beginner). Once you reach your desired musculature, my suggestion would be entering a “cutting” phase by reducing your calorie intake. You won’t be adding additional muscle mass during a cutting phase, but you can reduce the amount of fat on your body.

To cut that last five pounds from your midsection, follow these steps:

  1. Take a hard look at your diet. Because you only have five pounds to lose, your diet may already be pretty clean. But look for some areas where you can cut calories – including sugary drinks or fried, buttered or battered foods. Also be aware of your portion size. Reducing the portion is an easy way to cut calories and create the needed calorie deficit.
  2. Try HIIT sprints. If you can, perform HIIT sprints three times per week. I do 15 minutes of alternating between 1 minute balls-to-the wall uphill sprints and then 1 minute jogs. This gut-busting exercise will boost your metabolism and incinerate extra fat while minimizing muscle loss.
  3. Continue strength training. Many people looking to lose fat stop lifting weights. This is a huge mistake. By lifting weights, you show your body that you still need your muscle mass. This will ensure your body breaks down fat for energy and not hard-earned muscle.
  4. Be real. Everyone has a little bit of a pouch – even the models you see in magazines. In their case, it just gets photoshopped off. For some people, the pouch is the result of stretched skin from weight loss. It can be the result of pregnancy or sagging skin. For others, it’s largely genetic. Sure, do what you can to lose that last five pounds from your midsection – but also be realistic!

For many men, the lower abdomen is the very first place to gain weight and the very last place to lose it. Though you can reduce the pooch through diet and exercise, you might also find that it’s not worth the time, energy and effort to accomplish this cosmetic result.

I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you’re looking to improve the way you look and feel through the foods you eat, I recommend downloading Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.

Is Saturated Fat Good For You?

ButterFor decades, we’ve been told that unsaturated fats are healthy – and that unsaturated fats should be minimized. In the 1960s, studies showed that unsaturated fats raised LDL cholesterol levels. LDL is the bad type of cholesterol that clogs your arteries. Because saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol, the assumption was that this type of fat must increased the risk of heart disease.

However, research is showing that this assumption might not be true. The link between heart disease and cholesterol is, according to researchers, much more complicated.

Over the past 40 or 50 years, researchers have tracked saturated fat intake and followed individuals to examine their risk of heart attack or stroke. After all these years, researchers haven’t been able to prove a clear correlation between the two.

The latest theory holds that an individual’s ratio of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) to bad cholesterol is a clearer indicator. In terms of heart disease risk, saturated fats may actually be neutral.

Of course, this isn’t a free pass to load up on bacon and ice cream. Indeed, many products high in unsaturated fat are calorie dense and often lack other important nutrients. But this latest finding does illuminate a broader, more complicated approach to nutrition that doesn’t focus on just one nutrient.

When dieters focused on low fat foods in the 1980s and 1990s, for example, we got even larger than ever. A reductionist approach to nutrition just doesn’t seem to work.

Instead of focusing just on fat or just on calories or just on carbohydrates or so on, a wiser approaching is to eat a balanced and colorful diet that focuses on whole foods like vegetables, nuts, fruits and some lean meats like fish or chicken.

 

 

The Worst Fast Food Salad…

One of the big advantages to cooking at home is that you know exactly what goes into your food. There’s no guesswork or clever marketing involved. And the same is true for our salads.

Though grabbing a salad sounds healthy, the reality is that many fast food salads are actually less healthy than the obviously unhealthy alternatives – like a Big Mac. With 550 calories and 30 grams of fat, there’s no question that the Big Mac is a gut-busting and unhealthy choice. But even the Big Mac doesn’t have anything on these salads.

Drum roll please… Some of the worst fast food salads include:

Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad

While the name sounds both innocent and slightly offensive (didn’t we stop using the term “Oriental” a long time ago?), this massive calorie bomb of a salad is no laughing matter. With 1,390 calories and 98 grams of total fat, you are not doing your body any favors with this meal choice. This salad contains 15 grams of unhealthy saturated fat. For most people, that’s an entire day’s worth.

Crispy_Chicken_SaladBut wait, things get worse…

IHOP’s Crispy Chicken Salad

As soon as you see the word “crispy,” run the other way! It’s code for fried. With a mind-blowing 1,400 calories, 88 grams of total fat and 26 grams of saturated fat, this is a terrible salad choice.  Bizarrely, with 28 grams of sugar, it has almost as much sugar as a can of coke. Yikes.

And then for the worst salad of them all…

Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion Salad

With 1430 calories, 96 grams of total fat and 28 grams of saturated fat, this salad is truly an explosion of everything your body doesn’t need. It’s about the equivalent of two and half Big Macs. Don’t do it. Just don’t.

The bottom line: Salad isn’t synonymous with healthy. Play it safe and smart by preparing your salad at home. If you must grab a salad on the go, make sure you Google the nutrition information – even if the salad sounds like a healthy choice. Opt for grilled over fried, ask for no cheese and no bacon and select a dressing that isn’t creamy.

What Skinny People REALLY Think About Fat People At The Gym.

skinnyban20f-2-webThis morning, I noticed a woman signing up for a gym membership at the front desk.

While she was very overweight, the first thing I noticed was her body language. She seemed nervous and uncomfortable – as though she felt out of place.

After putting my clothes away in the locker, I saw her again in the cardio room. I introduced myself and gave her a friendly, reassuring smile. After a minute or two of chatting, she told me that this was her first time in a gym – and that she was literally terrified. She said, “Women like me don’t belong in places like this. I feel like everyone is looking at me and judging me.”

The truth is, she does belong in a gym. We all do. Taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle is important for each and every one of us.

As for people judging her, I suspect it’s the contrary. Most gym goers would be quick to recognize her bravery. And they’re probably impressed by her willingness to make a positive change in her life. Rather than a “look at her” mindset, I bet most people would think “good for her” – if they’re going to think anything at all. In reality, most people are too engrossed in their own workout and their own iPod playlist to really give any of it much thought.

I’m sharing this because I get countless emails from unfit, overweight or obese individuals who are too scared or too intimidated to go to the gym. My point is: Don’t be. Don’t be paralyzed by your fear – which, ultimately, is just another excuse preventing you from creating what you really want.

I think you’ll quickly discover that it’s much scarier in your mind than it is in reality.