Nutritional based articles straight from's specialist writers 

Posted 23 April 2011 by Ask:

Natural Pro Dr. Layne Norton


What’s the best science based nutritional tip would you give to anyone trying to gain muscle?

Honestly it would be to not do anything extreme. Most extreme diets are garbage and they are only extreme because people are trying to sell you something that is nothing but hype.

What’s the worst bit of ‘BRO' science
advice you ever heard?

God, there's so much. Well the other day I heard someone say that you shouldn't eat carbs and protein together because they 'cancel each other's digestion out' which is complete garbage. Also heard someone say you 'poop out' excess protein, also not true as excess nitrogen is excreted in the urine via urea. Probably the most common is that "you can only absorb 'X' amount of protein at a meal. That is also garbage. Not only is this broscience not rooted in any kind of fact, it is actually a misnomer in and of itself. Absorption refers to the amount of a certain substance that makes it into circulation (plasma) from the digestive tract. The body will absorb almost all of the protein you eat regardless of the amount of protein in the meal (though there is a limit to the percentage absorbed and it will vary between protein sources). Now the amount of that protein that will be partitioned towards muscle building, that is a different store entirely.

Do you throw away the yolk or eat the whole egg?

Depends on the macronutrients I am trying to hit for the particular meal and how much fat I am trying to get in the meal. But generally I'll have a few egg yolks each day

Do you remember the first time you
picked up a dumbbell?

Sure, I was 14 years old and my dad had some sand weights in the basement that I had to duct tape together to keep the sand from falling out lol.

What do you think about when you have to dig deep and push out that last rep?

I think that I better finish because if I don't, someone else will.

Does it matter when you consume supplements/food postworkout? Is there a time window?

It matters to an extent. When you workout you cause an acute catabolic situation and your muscle does not become anabolic again until you consume sufficient protein. You also get an increase in insulin sensitivity by working out so you can more effectively tolerate and utilize carbohydrates post workout so it also makes sense to put more carbs post workout as compared to other times of the day.

What mistakes did you make as a newbie?

Expected results too fast and bought into the fear of 'over training'

Does creatine make you hold water?

Well it increases fluid retained inside the muscle cell, but last time I checked, that was a good thing!

What supplements do you take?

Whey Protein, Xtend, Beta-Alanine, Novem (from Scivation), Lipoic Acid, EssentialFA, Betaine, Elastamine, Multivitamin, Taurine, Vitamin D, and CLA. Others I may add in at various times.

Is it possible to build muscle and
burn fat at the same time?

Yes it is, but it only really significantly occurs in people who are either:

1) Beginners
2) Very overweight or
3) On anabolic drugs or a combination of any of those 3.

Not saying it can never ever happen, but to have it happen significantly is quite rare. To burn fat you need to create a caloric deficit. To build muscle you need a caloric surplus in most cases. You can't have a deficit and a surplus simultaneously.

What rep ranges do you prefer?

All of them. Reps from 1-100 all have various benefits for various reasons and you should incorporate a variety of rep ranges into your training. There is no one 'best' rep range.

To create the leanest most jacked physique possible what top 7 foods work?

Hit your protein/carb/fat/fiber goals. There are no 'magic' foods. That's broscience.

What vitamins would you recommend
to the serious gym warrior?

Well besides a typical multivitamin, I would also recommend taking extra Vitamin D

What’s your diet like when trying to
get in peak condition?

Well it changes from week to week depending on how my metabolism responds. But my last precontest diet I was eating 270g protein/100-230g carbs/and 40-60g fat on low carb days and 250g protein/280-400g carbs/and 40-50g fat on high carb days obviously I started dieting at the higher end of that range and slowly dropped calories to bust through fat loss plateaus.

What’s your training routine like when trying to get in peak condition?

My training doesn't change from precontest to offseason or vice versa. I incorporate a non-linear periodized style of training that I call Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training. This is a sample of one of the PHAT routines I have used in the past:

Click image below to get a PDF example of Dr Layne Nortons routine.

More of Layne at

Posted 23 April 2011 by Matt Weik

Guide To: Eating Healthy

On A Budget

 You’re starting to wonder how in the world you can afford to eat healthy when it seems “healthy foods” are so much more expensive. You start to consider paying a lot of money for a source of lean protein or hitting up the cheap menu at Wendy’s instead. The truth of the matter is, you don’t have to spend a lot on healthy alternatives, you just have to be smart about what you are buying. The biggest factor in keeping money in your pocket is to STOP EATING OUT. Prepare all your own meals. This article will show you different ways to make your money work for you and keep you healthy and fit.

Where to shop

Where you shop really doesn’t matter as long as you have a grocery list of what you need and are sticking to what is on your list. Every food store has the usual name brand items as well as the generic brands. Obviously the generics are much better on your wallet and offer the same nutritional value (most of the time). I’ll touch more on the specifics of what to purchase a little later in this article. If you are planning on buying products in bulk, try and find locations that are wholesalers such as Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club, etc. These places allow you to purchase a large quantity of an item and are able to discount it for the most part cheaper than you can buy at a normal grocery store. Stay clear of convenience stores as they are generally more expensive than grocery stores on just about everything you find in them.

How to shop

We all know that in “inner” area of the grocery store is full of all the junk and stuff you should stay away from. Therefore make the outer perimeter your main focus when you arrive. This is where you will find your grains, lean protein sources, produce, and dairy. If you have items that are on your list that are on the inside aisles of the store look above and below the name brands and you will find the generic versions which are less expensive. Most of the time you will find the name brands eye-level to entice you into purchasing them.

Buy everything you can in bulk as long as you will be able to use it before it spoils or goes bad. If you are purchasing protein sources that can be frozen this makes it easy to keep food good for when you want to use it.

Look for sale items and take advantage of coupon savings. I understand that it might take a few minutes out of your day to look through ads and cut out coupons for items that you regularly use throughout the week. The time spent cutting out coupons will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Try and buy produce in season. When you start purchasing out of season produce is when things start to get pricey. You can always purchase the frozen version as that will obviously keep longer than the fresh version. If you decide to go with the frozen version just make sure that it doesn’t contain any other ingredients like sugar/syrup/creams/etc. Nutritionally, frozen/fresh produce is the same so pick whatever is the least expensive (you might have to go back and forth from the produce section to the frozen foods to check prices). The best choice when it comes to produce is organic. Yes, organic versions are normally more expensive but if you check the prices you might be surprised to see that some of the prices are not far off and you can go with the organic option and not break your bank.

What to buy

Some of these options were mentioned above so let’s dig a little deeper into how you can get more bang out of your buck and make healthy food choices. First things first though… NEVER SHOP ON AN EMPTY STOMACH! It doesn’t matter what’s on your grocery list, if you are hungry, you will buy whatever looks good.

  • Look for lean meats that are on sale (normally every grocery store has something on sale every week.
  • Buy your protein sources in bulk when possible and freeze anything extra you aren’t going to be eating in the next day or two.
  • Buy the 90% lean meat to save yourself some money and when cooking just be sure to drain all the extra fat after cooking.
  • Don’t buy the ready-to-cook meats as they are expensive, instead buy your lean protein source and skin/season it yourself.
  • Eggs are a fairly inexpensive protein source and can be prepared in many different ways.
  • Purchase fresh fish as a lean protein source or utilize the canned version (make sure it is canned in water).
  • If ground meat is not on sale look for the leaner version—that being ground turkey.
  • Purchase brown rice rather than white rice.
  • Whole wheat English muffins are a great replacement for breads and can be used to make many different meals.
  • Whole wheat tortillas can also be substituted instead of using bread.
  • Purchase the biggest container of plain oatmeal you can find and make your own rather than buying the expensive flavored versions (make yours with something like honey, nuts, fruit, cinnamon).
  • Stop buying soda and start drinking more water.

Written by: Matt Weik

Posted 12 April 2011 by Dre Farnell

Eat Often, Build Muscle

And Burn Fat!

Let’s take a look at transforming how your body looks. Many people simply need to stimulate muscle growth in order to attain the level of definition that they seek. Others have to lose body fat in order to see the muscle that they already have. Both problems can be remedied with the presence of muscle. Growing muscle and leaning out can seem to be totally impossible. Becoming muscular and defined can be achieved by incorporating both a bulking cycle and a cutting cycle. Skeletal muscle is nature's fat burner, the less muscle you have on your frame the softer you will be.

The key to growing muscle and seeing unparalleled definition in your body has to do with cycling. Cycling is lifting with a purpose. Cycling enables your body to reach a desired result in a specific time frame at which time you switch gears in both your nutrition as well as your training to attain another predetermined goal. This shocks the human body and also reaps new results by eliciting a new body response. I personally like to begin with longer cycles, the changes that you can make in this time frame are more visible. Cycles that are 8-12 weeks in duration are very good for the beginner. As you near your goal then you should make your cycles shorter in duration - 2 week bulking and cutting cycles make for a good maintenance routine. You would eat and train at an intensity that will elicit a certain response. Let’s say that you wanted to put on as much muscle as possible. To do this you will have to change the amount of food you consume as well as change the way that you lift. To lean out you will have to cut the calories and burn a heightened amount of calories through exercise.


To force muscle to grow you have to create an anabolic environment in the body. You will have to create excess calories for your body to stimulate growth. You get to eat more calories to stimulate growth! One pound of muscle consumes 35-50 more calories per day than fat. Gaining 10lbs of muscle will burn 350-500 calories per week. A major thing to keep in mind is that you should consume slightly more carbohydrates and fats (good fats, flax seed, polyunsaturated fats, nuts, olive oil etc.). Carbohydrates will fuel the taxing workouts that you will have to perform in order to stimulate muscle growth. You will have to push hard during this “Bulking” cycle. For a beginner I will suggest that you start with a 6-8 rep range. Yes, even for you ladies, especially you ladies! Put down those sad 5-10lb weights that you have been lifting for years. You should use a weight that you can barely perform 8 repetitions with not 9 or 12 if $1,000,000 was at stake. Work with that weight for 3-5 sets. Breaks should be 90-120 seconds in duration between sets. A weight that you can only do 6-8 times is too heavy for you. Heavy weight training places a lot of stress on the body. To remain in an anabolic state you will need rest. Sleep is key to muscle growth, and stunts a lot of people’s growth. A high protein diet with slightly higher levels of fats and carbs will fuel the muscle growth needed to become CutAndJacked.

The actual structure of your workouts will vary from person to person. Some people’s bodies’ respond to dropsetting, pyramiding, supersetting, compound setting, straight sets, negatives etc. You will have to make that choice based on trying them all and maybe incorporating some combo of them all into your routine. They can be interchanged during your training cycle. The most important thing is that you train heavy, with good form and plenty of rest. Injury will put a terrible halt to your efforts. By the end of the 12th week of your bulking cycle you should be heavier than when you started. How lean you are would depend on your interpretation of when I said “you should consume slightly more carbohydrates and fats”. At this point you should switch gears.


Switching to the cutting phase will seem very restrictive at first. Keep in mind that this is all for the greater good. You will still need carbohydrates so do not cut them out completely. Your diet should switch from any simple carbs to complex carbs (pasta and rice to veggies and fruit) as well as a reduction in calories -500-700 cals. Now you should work with weight that you cannot do another rep at 10-12 as opposed to 6-8, also add more sets perform 6-8 sets. This will burn more calories and allow you to maintain the muscle that you created over the last 12 weeks. Cardio should be done most if not all days of the week. Two of those days should incorporate short bursts of high intensity cardio. Body fat will start to melt off as you train this way. High intensity interval training will also stimulate muscle growth as you burn massive amounts of calories in short periods of time. Drink about half your body weight in ounces each day in order to keep it all clicking. You may need to utilize glutamine or other amino acids to ensure that you are not moving into a level of muscle wasting. You will know that if despite your weight training efforts your muscles look flat and your strength starts to wain in the gym. The result of cycling growth and cutting phases for a man is a leaner and larger version of your self. The result for a woman is a toned and sculpted goddess.

There can be very good results gained using as little as 4-6 week cycles. The results will also keep the muscles of the body guessing, which is the key to change. As you get closer to the goals that you are working towards you can lessen the amount of time of each cycle. Utilize both bulking and cutting cycles to change your body. You will eventually be able to find the right cycle and rhythm that works for your body.

Written by Dre Farnell


Posted 13 April 2011 by


Marinated Grilled Chicken

Marinated Grilled Chicken


  • 1/4 cup (50 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) grated lemon rind
  • 3 tbsp (50 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) dried dill weed
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) each salt and pepper
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts


  • 8 leaves lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes


In bowl, whisk together oil, lemon rind and juice, garlic, dill weed, salt and pepper. Add chicken, turning to coat; let stand for 10 minutes. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.) Place chicken on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until no longer pink inside, about 12 minutes.

Top grilled chicken with lettuce and tomatoes, if desired.


Calories: 934
Protein: 91
Fat: 58
Carbs: 12

Posted 09 April 2011 by


Protein Pancake

Dry Ingredients

* 1/2 cup ground flax seed
* 1/4 tsp baking powder
* 1/3 cup dry oats
* 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/4 cup mixed nut meal (pistachio, almond, pecan, cashew ground up in a blender)

Mix dry ingredients together.

Wet Ingredients

* 2 whole omega 3 eggs
* 4 oz egg whites
* 3 tbsp cottage cheese
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 1/3 cup frozen mixed berries

Mix wet ingredients through.

Cooking Instructions

Pour mixture into a personal sized pan and cook (covered) on medium for 4 minutes then flip, cook for another 4 and serve.

Posted 09 April 2011 by Dre Farnell

WATER GUIDE: 5 key tips

For A Ripped Physique

Water is the fluid of life. About 70% of the earth is covered in it. Water is needed for every metabolic process in the human body. While training for life and morphing into your ideal version of “YOU” keep everything lubricated with H2O. Here are 5 things to keep in mind as you drink.

1. Are You Getting Enough?

Do not count coffee and soda when tallying up your daily water intake. In fact, they function as diuretics and strip the body of this much needed nutrient. When this occurs the body then fights to retain water levels causing bloating (see point#4). Conventional wisdom tells you 6-8 glasses of water is enough per day. If you're training for an unconventional physique, you need more. Aim for at least half your bodyweight in ounces a day. Adjust this amount dependant on your level of conditioning and intensity of training.

2. Water Clears Out Toxins

Water flushes out toxins and other metabolic waste products from the body. Water is especially important when following a "high protein" diet, as it helps remove excess nitrogen, urea (a toxic substance), and ketones (by products of protein synthesis). If weight training to increase definition (tone) you will need even more water to help your kidneys do their work.

3. Water Helps Metabolize Fat

Without enough water your kidneys will not function properly. When this happens, some of the filtering workload is transferred to the liver. The livers main function is to metabolize stored fat for energy. If the liver is doing both jobs, it will process less fat. Studies have shown that consuming 2 liters throughout the day leads to increased calorie burn on a daily basis. Water also mitigates feelings of hunger.

4. Water Reduces Fluid Retention

Contrary to popular belief, drinking water can actually help you shed excess water weight. When water is in short supply the body stores it in extra-cellular space. This storage can lead to bloating. If water retention is a chronic problem, it may be because there is too much salt in your diet. Read your food labels and try to consume less than 2400mg per day. The higher your sodium intake the harder the body will work to retain its’ precious resource (water).

5. Water Keeps You Regular

Too little water, and your body pulls it from various organs including the colon. When this occurs it can lead to constipation and impeded digestion.

Keep water in mind as you work, live and play. Take small steps every day to reach the “Best” version of you!

Written By: Andre Farnell

Posted 19 April 2011 by Erick Ruiz Salgaldo

Get Ripped Abs with

Our Core Guide!!

Getting ripped six pack abs is the result of proper nutrition, effective training and living a lifestyle that places your fitness as a priority. I will focus on ab training for the purpose of this article.

Ab Anatomy

Your abdominals or abs are stabilizing muscle that stretch over your midsection. Their main purpose is to work with your lower back to stabilize your upper body. Without you abs you would not be able to prevent yourself from falling backwards, or get up for that matter.

The abs can be broken down into 4 muscle groups:

  1. The Rectus Abdominis (extends from the top of the pelvis to the sternum and is composed of upper and lower abdominals)

  2. The Oblique Muscles (the muscles at the sides of the waist that contract to tilt the torso, as well as twist it, from side to side.)
  3. The Intercostal Muscles (lie between the ribs and show as bands of muscle angling downward in the sides of the rib cage)
  4. The Serratus Anterior (the finger-like strands of muscle on the rib cag)

    To get ripped six pack abs focus on what will give you the most bang for your buck. Focus on your Rectus Abdominis with some oblique training. The Intercostal Muscles and Serratus Anterior will be worked during regular weight lifting sessions.

K.I.S.S. Ab Training

I am a very simple, straight to the point kind of guy. I hate it when someone bores me with details that I’m really not interested in and this mentality transfers to my training style. Do not over complicate your ab training. They are a muscle just like other muscle and do not need special treatment to pop out. You just have to diet consistently enough to see the fruits of your labor.

You do NOT have to train abs every day.

You do NOT have to do 100 of sit ups.

You do NOT have to train abs for hours at a time.

I train abs 2-3 times a week. I may take a day off just to train abs and do some cardio or I may train them after legs. I generally try to hit my upper and lower abs, as well as the oblique’s with each ab workout. I will try to stimulate the muscle by focusing on fully contracting the muscle with every rep. I also add resistance and slow down the movement to increase abdominal stimulation. I do not swing or rapidly pump out reps.

A great exercise that targets the lower abs is the leg raises. You can do them using back support or hanging. If you keep you legs straight you will get more resistance with this exercise. To start let your legs hang down and then raise your legs up until your abs are fully contracted. Slowly lower your legs back down and repeat until you have done 4 sets of 20. If twenty reps feels too easy, slow down the movement and hold each rep when your abs a fully contracted for a second before letting your legs back down.

Another great exercise for upper abdominals is the crunch. You can do them on a ball or on the floor. You can have your feet on the floor or have them in the air. Arch your back when you start so your abs are fully relaxed and stretched. Then crunch your abs as tight at you can without using your hips to lift your upper body off the ground. When you lift your upper body off the ground you take the focus off the abs and place them on your hip flexors. Focus on your abs. Again do 4 sets of 20 and slow down the movements if this seems too easy.

For the oblique’s I love to do oblique crunches or side crunches. Lay on your side with your knees bent and your feet slightly elevated off the ground. You can twist you upper body so that you’re facing the ceiling or you may remain facing the wall. Contract the oblique’s which will raise your upper body. Again, remember to slow down the movement to put more emphasis on the oblique’s. Repeat for the other side until you have complete 4 sets of 20 on each side.

These three exercises will help build the foundation for your six pack abs but you can alter the workouts at times. I will often substitute one or more of the following exercises into my ab routine.

Try replacing the leg raises for V – Ups. The V-up is preformed my balancing your body on your butt while you crunch. Sit on the floor with your legs out and try to make your knees touch your chest. This should fully contract your abs. Then relax while keeping your legs and upper body elevated and contract again. Repeat for 4 sets of 20 and slow down the movement when necessary.

You may also do cable crunches instead of regular crunches. Simply kneel in front of a cable machine with the set above you, grab the handle or rope and pull your elbows into your knees. This should contract your abdominal muscles. Feel free to add weight and slow down the movement to increase the emphasis on your abs.

Instead of doing oblique or side crunches, try doing alternate heel touches. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet planted about shoulder width apart. Alternate between touching your right heel with your right hand and your left heel with you left hand by bending sideways. Repeat until you have done 4 sets of 20. Do 20 reps on each side to complete a set.

How to Accelerate your Results

Working out your abs will not get you six pack abs if you do not eat properly.

The factors that will determine how ripped your six pack will be:

  1. Diet
  2. Resistance Training
  3. Cardio Training
  4. Supplementation
  5. Lifestyle

Remember to eat clean, lift weights regularly, incorporate up to two 45 minute high intensity interval training cardio sessions 3-5 days a week, take quality supplements, and live a lifestyle that promotes health and fitness (limit alcohol consumptions and get adequate rest). Follow the training tips I outlined and you will be well on your way to be sporting a mean set of abs.

Getting six pack abs does not happen overnight. When most people ask how long it takes to get six pack abs, I tell them most bodybuilders give themselves 6 months to get in peak conditioning. Be patient, stay motivated and get them!

Written by Erick Ruiz Salgaldo

Posted 20 April 2011 by Linda Cusmano

Bikini Division

Contest Prep Tips

Bikini Division Contest Prep Tips

The latest division added a few years ago to NPC/IFBB has taken like wildfire. Ladies love the fact that they can come in looking fit and toned without the need for bulk. A good healthy lifestyle and attention to diet will help you get this look which can be easily attainable naturally and held most of the year realistically!

This division opens the door to a more mainstream physique with a lesser budget. The bikinis are much more ‘beach style’ and less extravagant and because there is no need for a routine all you need to master is a nice smooth walk in some sexy high heels. This division is very budget friendly and perfect for the ladies who do not want to get at muscular as fitness or figure women. With this type of body you can fit the training and proper meal regimen into your day because it is what most healthy lifestyles should look like in general.


Posing is not standard so you get some flexibility in the poses you choose for front and back stance. Smooth transitions are crucial when walking, standing, posing and shifting into the next pose.
The key is fluid movement which comes with practice in front of the mirror in the heels and bikini. The one thing you want to work on is a signature stand facing the judges and then a back view stance which is slightly different. Learn to step and turn smoothly to eliminate extra stepping, practice the step turn.


You will want to work toward a long lean muscle type so the type of workouts you do will depend on what cycle of training you are in relative to contest day and your fitness level at that time. I have found that in general crossfit type circuit work is excellent to help with fat loss, tone and conditioning toward the longer lean muscle bellies. Keep flexible so that length shows and train through full range of motion.

I like to use combo exercises so that you get in multiple muscle groups and tweak out the fat burning because you use compound muscle combinations. Do not fear muscle gains, it is very difficult to build so you will not get huge!

3 exercises you can try which are on my website that can help you get that bikini body:

Thrusters, Inverted Press and Dolphins

These exercises (video examples below) help peak your frame so that your shoulders and legs accent a smaller waist.

Work for higher reps or timed reps, muscular endurance is typical of the bikini body.

I would look for a show that is 6-12 months away depending on your conditioning at the moment, then plan toward that show giving you time to look into it more, attend one maybe. You can get familiar with the division, the photos of contests showing the body types placing top 10. This also gives you time to fully budget things out, food, tan, entry, suits, you name it.




For bikini the beauty aspect is looked at so you want to have fabulous hair which you can do yourself back stage or come ready done, shows can start very early so unless you have a hair person who can come very early, be ready to be self sufficient. Nails, tan and details need attention.


Balance your meals keep carbs clean, proteins lean. Do not fear protein drinks they can add to your nutrients without making you feel too full. Greek no fat yogurt is also a great alternative for those who do not like protein drinks. Check out my tuna stuffed avocado for a great meal idea.


Water is a key factor for your lean appearance and amazing skin, 2 liters per day at minimum up to 2 gallons. Do not cut out fats; eat the right ones, nuts, avocado, fish, olives and olive oil as well as flax, hemp and blends of these.


For bikinis I like to refer my clients to, Amy can make up great bikini division suits for an affordable cost. If you like an edgy suit you can also check out some of the sinful brand suits from affliction which are stunning.

Written By Linda Cusmano



Posted 20 February 2011 by Josh Hewett

3 In-Depth Effective Tips

To Get Lean!!!

Everyone wants to lose fat, but most people mistakenly indicate “weight loss” as their goal. As I will explain, this is not necessarily the same thing. Reducing body fat and improving one’s body composition is a common goal for both serious athletes and the general fitness enthusiasts. With such a strong interest in “battling the bulge”, fat loss has become a huge industry, with new fad diets, weight loss plans, abdominal toning products, and fat burning supplements popping up on the market every day!

Unfortunately, despite all of the attention directed at this subject, obesity is still on the rise. The purpose of this article is to outline some basic and effective principles for attaining permanent “fat loss” and a transformation of your physical appearance.

We are inundated with so many different diet and exercise programs and there are so many weight loss myths floating around that it becomes difficult to know what to believe. Let me assure you that proper nutrition and exercise (along with certain lifestyle changes) are STILL the solution to losing fat permanently and getting that lean, cut-looking physique. The following 3 Fat Loss Tips will help you achieve your “Fat Loss” goals.

Tip #1: Don’t Starve Yourself

Cutting too many calories, pushes the body to conserve calories rather than burn them. It also forces your body to break down muscle tissue to fuel its vital operations. But muscle tissue is the key to your metabolism (the speed at which you burn calories).

When you go on an extremely low calorie diet, your body goes into starvation mode. This leads to several negatives consequences, including fewer fat-burning enzymes in your body, lower levels of fat burning hormones, muscle wasting, greater appetite, and low energy. The bottom line is that it’s physiologically impossible to achieve permanent fat loss on a “starvation” type diet.

In the short term very low calorie programs may get you some results, but in the long run they can actually make you fatter. You will almost certainly regain additional body fat once your diet ends! Don’t trust a diet plan that recommends the same calories for everyone. If you are more active you will need more energy.

Tip #2: Increase Calorie Deficit by Exercising

This ties in nicely with the first principle. The key to long term fat loss is to focus on burning the fat, not starving the fat. To metabolize more body fat while only cutting calories slightly below maintenance, you will need to burn more calories by increasing your activity level. I know it sounds obvious, but you would be surprised by how many people look for ways around this, and search for quick fixes in order to avoid putting the extra effort into getting results!

Resistance Training

Your physical activity plan for fat loss should focus primarily on resistance training with weights. Whereas you will burn fat as a fuel source during cardiovascular, resistance training will not only metabolize body fat during your workout, but it will stimulate your body to continue eating up your fat stores after exercise as well. This is sometimes referred to as the double-reducing effect, or “after-burn”. This effect is caused by raising your basal metabolic rate: essentially, weight training boosts your metabolism!

Muscle Equals Metabolism

Not only will strength training get you “Jacked”, but the more lean tissue you have on your body, and the more active your muscle tissue becomes, the higher your metabolism is. This is why I say it’s a mistake to focus on losing weight, rather than reducing body fat. Muscle weighs much more than fat, but because it is also much denser it takes up less space on your body. So think about “reshaping” your body, rather than shrinking it. This will leave you cut AND jacked, rather than just skinny and soft.

Circuit Training

Circuit training involves a single set of each exercise one after another, with minimal rest between sets. An effective way to increase your metabolism in a circuit training workout is to perform a series of exercises alternating between lower body, upper body, and core movements. This can be accomplished using minimal equipment, or by performing bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, pushups, dips, and abdominal exercise variations.

Interval Training

Interval training involves alternating periods of low intensity cardiovascular activity with higher intensity sprint intervals. This not only burns more calories in a shorter amount of time, but it will help to stimulate and preserve your hard-earned lean muscle tissue. An example of an interval training workout could be alternating periods of jogging for 4 minutes and running hard for 1 minute, repeating these intervals for a 20 minute workout.

Tip #3: Changing Your Eating Habits

Exercise alone won't make you leaner. You can still gain fat due to poor eating habits. Here are some important nutritional habits you can adopt to help you lose body fat while maintaining your lean muscle tissue:

Eat More Often

This may sound contrary to your objective, but by eating more frequently your metabolism is increased and your portion sizes will be smaller. Controlling portion size is absolutely essential to reducing your body fat. View it as throwing wood chips on the fire (your metabolism) all day long to keep the flames high, rather than smothering it with a log once a day. Try to eat 5 to 6 smaller healthy meals or snacks throughout the day. Eating every 3 hours will help regulate your blood sugar levels and keep your metabolism roaring.

Consume Good Fats

Fat is a misunderstood nutrient. Many people still believe that all fats are “bad”, and think that eating fat makes you fat. However, not all fats are created equal and consuming the right type of fat is not only essential for good health, but it will aid in the metabolism of even more body fat. The good fats are called essential fatty acids (EFA’s) and include the Omega 3, 6, and 9 oils. Foods containing these healthy fats include fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil, among others. Flaxseed oil and fish oil are common sources and are popular in supplement form as well.

Stay Hydrated

Water is the most important nutrient, especially when you’re trying to lose weight. You need it to flush the waste products your body makes when it breaks down fat for energy, or when it processes protein. To stay well hydrated, let water and green tea be your main beverages. Fruit juices, sodas and other beverages contain calories and often have added sugar. Therefore, avoid juice, pop, and sports drinks and focus on drinking plain water and green tea instead. A good guideline for water intake is to drink one liter for every fifty pounds of your bodyweight per day.

Avoid Refined Starch and Sugar

Sugar is the enemy if your goal is to lose fat! Sugar contains empty calories (minimal nutrient value), which provide a quick release of energy without actually feeding your body, and then a rapid energy slump soon afterwards. Sugar also interferes with fat loss, because your body will prefer to metabolize the sugar before getting into using fat stores. By including foods high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats you can control this rapid fluctuation in blood sugar. Foods rich in fiber help control blood glucose and insulin levels. Reduce consumption of most processed, low-fiber breads, cereals, breakfast bars, potatoes, and pasta.

Following these basic suggestions will help you lose body fat, increase your metabolism, and improve your health!   ....Stay CutAndJacked!!

Written by CutAndJacked Specialist contributing author Josh Hewett

Edited by Owner "Rolsey"


Posted 07 June 2011 by, Writer: Nick Nilsson

What Will Make Or Break

Your Fat Loss?

In my years of training, I've learned that there are factors that are absolutely critical when it comes to fat loss. And I've also learned there are many factors that would SEEM to be critical but actually AREN'T!

The critical factors for fat loss are actually pretty simple - you probably know them already. It's the things that WON'T break your fat loss routine that can throw people off!

In this article, I’m going to give a quick rundown on BOTH.

What will MAKE Your Fat Loss

  1. Eating less - duh. You've got to eat less than your maintenance level of calories to see fat loss. If you don’t eat less than your maintenance than your body doesn’t really have a reason to burn fat.
  2. WHAT you eat - if you eat crap foods, it'll be harder to lose fat. All calories are NOT created equal. If you eat junk food but still stay below your maintenance levels, your body won't give up its fat as easily. 1,500 calories worth of greasy pizza isn’t really the same nutritionally as 1,500 calories worth of lean, wholesome, natural foods. Eating less is important but eating quality is important, too.
  3. Training properly - continue to train hard with heavy weights. Add in interval training for cardio (not the long, slow stuff - it's gotta be challenging). Your body needs heavy weight while training for fat loss. Think about it this way…what do you think is going to burn more calories and boost your metabolism more strongly…lifting a light, easy weight or lifting a heavy weight that’s a challenge to your body. Not only is the heavier weight going to burn more calories, it’s also going to tell your body it needs to hold onto muscle mass to deal with the heavy loads being placed on it!

What Will BREAK Your Fat Loss

  1. Eating too many calories - this is a simple one. If you eat too much, you're not going to lose fat.
  2. Not eating ENOUGH calories - your metabolism needs fuel. Simple as that. If you don't eat enough calories, your body will desperately hang onto whatever fat it's got and start burning up muscle tissue.
  3. But here's the kicker - you CAN go VERY low calorie for short periods of time and get really good results. I'm talking 800 to 1000 calories per day. It'll be tough to do and it's hard to train hard at that level but it CAN give your fat loss a kick in the pants. Just be sure not to stay at this level for too long - a few days at the most, then bring your caloric intake back up.
  4. Training wrong - using nothing but light weights, high reps and slow cardio. There are exceptions to the rule, but overall, you have to train hard and heavy. This is the one thing with fat loss that really seems to throw a lot of people off. Granted, you CAN results by training this way…just not very GOOD results.

What Doesn't Really Matter!!

  1. Doing cardio first thing in the morning - honestly, you can do your cardio any time! You may see a bit more fat loss if you do it first thing in the morning but here's my take...if you're doing interval training (like you should for losing fat) and you can't drum up a lot of intensity first thing in the morning (I know I can't), it's not going to do much good to train first thing in the morning. Personally, I get more out of it doing cardio later in the day. I'm more awake and train harder. If you can train hard first thing, totally fine! That'll work too. Bottom line - it doesn't matter when you do your cardio as long as you actually do it and do it hard!
  2. Eating 6 meals a day - it's nice if you can do it. It'll certainly help somewhat with your fat loss. But if you can't eat 6 times a day, it's not going to break your fat loss results. Don't fret if you can only eat 3 meals a day. I do it all the time, even when training for fat loss. I keep my muscle and my metabolism is raging because of the training that I do. Just make sure you’re eating quality food and keeping the caloric deficit going.
  3. Letting yourself get hungry - oh, the horror! Hungry...while on a diet!! Think of it this way, hunger is a sign from your body that it doesn't have food in the stomach and it has to work on STORED FUEL to function. That sounds like fat to me. Certainly muscle may be broken down a little as well, but it's not a big a problem as some people make it out to be. When you train with weights, it's a HUGE stimulus for your body to hang onto that muscle. Eat enough protein during the day, train hard, and you won't lose muscle. Honestly, I like to let myself get hungry while dieting, especially before training. If you train on an empty stomach, your GH response to training increased (which helps burn fat and build muscle). You'll get better results. If you're on a muscle-building program, you don't want to go hungry. You WANT your body to have a constant supply of nutrients so that it think it can start storing everything. When you're losing fat, you're using up stored nutrients.
  4. Taking fat burner supplements - contrary to all the ads in the magazines, fat burners don't give you THAT much in the way of results. Your own metabolism and training (and nutrition) do a FAR better job of it. Some of those pills can help (not many are any good at all) but only by about 5% or so. You can't just take pills and get shredded. Doesn't work that way. You've gotta work for it. If you think about it, your Basal Metabolic Rate is up in the thousands of calories per day. Fat loss pills can’t burn THAT many calories! So fine-tuning your eating and training is definitely the way to go.
  5. Eating some junk food once in awhile - it's what you eat 90% of the time that gets you the results. It's tough to be absolutely perfect all the time when dieting and trying to be perfect is a surefire way to disappoint yourself when you DO break it. So why not accept that and PLAN it into your diet? It's not going to throw off your entire program if you eat some pizza one day. Or somebody gives you a piece of birthday cake. Digest it and move on! You can be strict again on your next meal. It's only when you cheat CONSTANTLY that it'll affect your results. Heck, I find the occasional cheat to be quite helpful by giving my body a shock! A quick trick to make it think it's not on a diet anymore :)
  6. Waiting an hour after training to eat - if anything, this will actually HURT your progress. That "afterburn" that some people talk about - when they refer to the body continuing to burn fat after a workout, goes on REGARDLESS of what you eat. Even if you eat carbs, which you would think would stop fat burning in its tracks, your body will continue to burn fat post-workout. Why? The post-workout recovery process is FUELED BY FAT. It doesn't matter what you eat (naturally, don't eat crap), fat will be burned. So why not take advantage of this primetime for recovery by eating protein and carbs to help your body out! It'll help keep your metabolism from shutting down sooner.


Many of these things I talked about are pretty straightforward, especially what’ll make or break your fat loss. I hope it opened up your eyes about what WON’T make or break you, though! As long as you’re doing the big things right, the small things like training on an empty stomach first thing in the morning won’t be a big deal.

Written by Nick Nilsson




Join Our CutAndJacked Newsletter

Subscribe to get our latest tips & fitness content by email.


    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Powered By ConvertKit