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We’re going to discuss how to utilize your training and your body’s own processes to maximize your fat loss. Here is a representation of a cross section of your muscle to utilize and explain this; how we’re going to train to maximize your fat loss.
Now, when I talk about sugar (glucose) that’s coming from carbohydrates, you have limited storage for energy (glucose) in three different areas and basically an unlimited storage as fat. Your body can store sugar in the blood. Of course, your body will work to keep your blood glucose level at 110. You can also store a limited amount of sugar in your liver and your muscle tissue. Every muscle in your body is truly like a sponge. It can store sugar, which comes from your carbohydrates, turned into glucose and stored in the muscle as glycogen.
You have two main types of muscle fibers. Your slow twitch muscle fibers are small in size. Slow twitch fibers have limited potential for growth and strength. They’re more like your endurance muscles. We also have fast twitch muscle fibers which are larger in size. Fast Twitch muscle fibers have the greatest potential for growth and strength. This is where explosive strength and power is generated from within your body. Each muscle is made up of a varying ratio of these two different fiber types which is determined by your own individual genetics.
Now, I’ve drawn out a representation here (see white board picture above) with green being our fast twitch, blue being our slow twitch and I’ve tried to represent the size of each just as an example. I’ve also drawn out a representation of what different levels of intensity or load might look like. For example, if you were doing an aerobic or cardio based workout like Tabata or a beginner CrossFit, maybe Insanity, etc. with body weight alone. Yes, you are using a lot of energy but you are not challenging the maximum number of muscle fibers possible. Your body only fires enough muscle fibers required to make each movement which is determined by the LOAD. If you are simply bending your arm upward as you would in a dumbbell curl, only enough fibers will be fired to raise your arm. Lifting your arm will only activate a small number of your “slow twitch” fibers compared to the amount of slow and fast twitch fibers that will be activated to do a dumbbell curl with a 50-lb. dumbbell. Maximizing the total number and type of muscle fibers fired during your workouts will have a direct impact on your GOAL.
In order to maximize the potential within each muscle, use 75% or higher of the load potential for that muscle. This is where you’re going to get the maximum amount of energy from sugar (glucose) burned and remember, your muscle fibers store sugar. So, the larger the muscle group, the more muscle fibers activated within that muscle, the more sugar you’re burning, therefore, the more calories you’re burning during that workout. You’re always going to hear me say, “You want to keep your intensity high, Anchor yourself in Muscle!”
The Spider Web Effect – Micro Trauma Tears
Now, the greater number of muscle fibers you use and the higher intensity, you will create micro trauma tears within the muscle. I like to use the spider web effect of a windshield shattering to try to imagine what it’s like when you create these micro trauma tears. Your body has to repair this minor damage. This is a survival mechanism; your body will naturally try to adapt to your intense training by repairing its muscle tissue and building new tissue. It needs to be bigger / stronger / faster to be better prepared for your next training session. Your body does the majority of your cell regeneration (repair) at night while you’re at rest (sleeping). The preferred energy source of your body for muscle repair are FAT STORES. Isn’t that the goal? Burning fat?
So, that’s how we’re really going to multiply the effects of our training. If we use the maximum amount of fibers during our training, we use more of a full body workout. You’re burning the maximum amount of sugar, the maximum number of calories. If you take your intensity as close as you can to the maximum capacity of that muscle, create those micro trauma tears, then at night while you sleep, you’re getting your body recovered. Your body predominantly uses fat stores to make those repairs. So, not only are we using up the maximum amount stored energy (calories) in the muscle we have, we are now creating the need for muscle repair (muscle building) which our body uses FAT STORES directly to perform. We are building new muscle that requires energy (calories) to maintain raising our metabolic rate 24 hours per day, turning you into a FAT BURNING machine.
The Greater The Resistance = The Greater Activation
The difference between a 20 lb., 30 lb., 40 lb. and 50 lb. dumbbell, the heavier you go, the more resistance you have. No matter the type of resistance, whether it be body weight, a resistance band, a dumbbell or a machine, the greater resistance, the greater activation you will get. The greater number of muscle fibers that will be fired equals a greater amount of sugar (calories) that you burn in that workout. Now, you can maximize that by using full body or compound movements within a full body workout. Squats, Leg Press, Bench Press, Shoulder Press, Cable Pull Downs, Pull Ups, Bent Over Barbell Rows, Cable Rows and Dead Lifts are all great examples of large compound movements that require the involvement of the greatest amount of muscle groups for each movement. Building your workouts around these large compound movements will definitely take your results to the next level over using small isolation movements like dumbbell curls and dumbbell flies.
I recommend most people, “general public”, start with at least three days per week of full body training based around the compound movements discussed above. The more muscle groups that you train in any session with high intensity and heavy loads the more calories are burned during that workout session. Of course, along the way, yes you will need to progress as you make progress and your body adapts to your weight training. The next progression would be towards an upper body / lower body split which then allows more focus to be put on each on different days respectively. Beyond that is where you get into a push / pull / legs split and on to the more traditional “BRO SPLITS”.
Meal Timing, Blood Sugar & Insulin For Weight Loss
What I’m going to talk about here is meal timing, blood sugar, insulin for weight loss. Now, typically what I see in most everyday people is they just don’t eat often enough; number one. They don’t eat enough and when they do eat, they eat a ton of calories which are usually simple carbohydrates like bread (a lot of bread). Mashed potatoes, french fries or anything that is highly, easily digestible. It hits your body really hard. Your body can take it up into the blood really, really fast and create a huge spike in your blood sugar.
Type II Diabetics – PAY ATTENTION!!!
Type II diabetics listen up! Your body wants your blood sugar level to stay at 110 which would be situation normal for the body. A typical person eats breakfast at 10:00 a.m. (not good). A lot of people wake up, drink coffee or cokes, they get busy and really don’t eat a meal till around 10:00 a.m. Usually, the second big meal comes in at dinner around 7:00p.m. What’s going on here?
Two words: starvation mode. A metabolic adaptation and a slowed metabolism as a result. You have to consider metabolism on a 24-hour day basis. So, if your meal last night was at 7:00 p.m. and that was your last (final) meal, you have 15 hours before you have the next meal. Your body thinks it’s starving. If you’re eating this way over a long period of time, let’s say, over a lifetime (months and years), your body really slows down because it thinks it’s in a state of famine (a long winter). Anything you do give it, it’s going to pack away, storing it as body fat. Your metabolism’s going to slow. Your body is not going to require as much energy because internally, your body is kind of “turning off light switches” as you would in your home to conserve energy. What your body is trying to do internally is keep your ass alive and functioning on very little energy. You have essentially put it on a minimum wage budget.
How Does Meal Timing Play Into All This?
Now, you’ll also hear me talk about meal timing and the benefits. If you eat every 3 hours, at 6:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., noon, 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and again at 9:00 p.m., you have a shorter period of fasting. That’s only nine hours of fasting compared to the fifteen hours discussed above. It’s a very short window. Your body will typically use up the calories from your last meal and finish final digestion around midnight. Really, you’re down to only six hours without a steady flow of calories. Now, every time you eat, you’re getting a little bump. A little boost in metabolism.
Another benefit is when you begin making better choices, like choosing complex carbohydrates which break down very slow, you will get a rolling, level blood sugar and insulin response. Now, when you eat that really big meal which probably consists of simple carbohydrates (i.e. hoagies, white bread, tortillas, chips, french fries) and you have a coke, you’re just flooding your body with a bunch of sugars resulting in a high spike in your blood sugar. Your body goes into a panic. That’s an emergency situation for your body. Remember, it doesn’t want blood glucose level to be over 110.
Again, Type II diabetics, listen up because your whole goal here…and the problem is right here in this difference; you have spiked your blood sugar up high. This is where insulin comes into play. Your body is like “oh fucking shit.” “I’m about to die.” “Send insulin and send it now in a high amount to correct the situation.” You’re in an emergency situation. Insulin’s job is to carry sugar out of the blood to different storage sites, just to get it out of the blood. Your body wants to get the excess sugar out of the blood and get back to normal as quickly as possible.
Where Does It All Go?
You really have four different sites where your body is going to store sugar. Carbohydrates are turned into sugar (technically glucose) in the blood stream. What happens is, insulin is going to come running and it’s going to seek to carry that excess sugar out of your blood. We have sugar (glucose) in our blood, it’s stored in our liver, muscle tissue and any excess will be stored as BODY FAT. First of all, it’s going to go to our liver and muscle where it will be stored in the form of glycogen. Think about your muscle tissue and your liver like a sponge. Glucose can be stored in both but that storage is limited. If the muscle’s full, it’s going to go to the liver. If your blood glucose is at 110, your muscles are full and your liver is also full, any excess will be stored as body fat.
Now, if you get in a situation where you’re a very sedentary person, not moving around, not burning off any energy throughout your daily activity, your metabolism is already very slow, and you’re not requiring a lot of energy to begin with. Your body’s already in panic mode by not eating enough and having a slow metabolism. When you spike your blood sugar, it’s like “oh fucking shit!” “Number one, my blood sugar’s way too fucking high but hey, there’s some more energy.” “I don’t know when I’m going to get fed again.” “So, we’re gonna store as much of that as we possibly can and make sure the muscle’s full.” You’re not doing shit and you’re not being very active. Once again, the muscle’s full, you’re not very active so the liver’s full also. It’s going to fat stores and that’s how you can really, literally eat two meals a day and continue to gain weight.
I know you’ve heard the term insulin resistant. Now, what is being insulin resistant? You have billions of muscle cells. The muscle cells themselves have little receptor sites the insulin carries glucose and hooks up to, allowing the sugar or glucose to pass through and into that cell. Now, when you’ve been going for years and years creating these giant peaks and valleys, every time you spike it, it floods your blood with insulin trying to get rid of that extra sugar, bombarding the muscle. Insulin is like the key to get inside that cell. It becomes like a worn-out lock in your house on a door. It just doesn’t work right and now the key won’t unlock the door. That’s called insulin resistant.
Typically, what doctors do is give you some type of medication which is like a glucose disposal agent. A lot of times you’re going to pass that through urine or God forbid, they put you on insulin. What they’re doing is, they’re injecting an insulin with a slightly different signature. You still have high insulin from your body but it’s just not recognized. Your muscles aren’t recognizing it and letting the sugar pass through. You’re injecting even more insulin but now, it has a little bit different signature and your body can accept the glucose into the muscle cell.
Keep in mind keys here. Anytime you have an excess of blood sugar, your body is going to try to take it out of the blood. So, first and foremost, if you’re not a very active person, you are sedentary, your liver and muscle are going to be full and that’s when it’s going to go to fat because that’s its long-term storage site. Your 401 K, which is for long term energy reserve (your nest egg for the future). So, you never want to put your body in a situation to where it feels like it has to save energy for later.
ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU ARE DIABETIC!
Make the switch. Eat complex carbohydrates which break down much slower and won’t SPIKE your blood sugar.
NEVER eat carbohydrates alone. Always eat the proper portion of PROTEIN with any carbohydrates as PROTEIN slows down the digestion rate of carbohydrates, reducing any rise in blood sugar.
Add green veggies in with your meals which also further slows down the digestion rate of carbohydrates and provides you with the critical vitamins, minerals, trace elements and phytochemicals your body needs to operate at peak performance and speeds your metabolism. If you hate veggies and refuse to eat them, consider a high quality multi vitamin. I recommend M-Factor Hero for men and M-Factor Goddess for women by 1st Phorm.
Be consistent with your meals. Get your portions and combinations right and eat every 3 to 4 hours! This will level out your blood sugar, insulin response, boost your metabolism and reduce fat storage.
Reduce or eliminate sugary drinks, this should be obvious as it’s sugar in liquid form.
Get moving. The more sugar (glycogen) you can burn up from liver and muscle stores, the more room your body has to deal with the carbs you eat. MUSCLE BURNS CALORIES! Weight training burns up a lot of sugar (glycogen) and building NEW muscle tissue REDUCES insulin resistance by regenerating receptor sites and building new ones.
I recommend FULL BODY weight training workouts at least 3 days per week.
If you can’t cook all of your meals in advance or don’t have time to stop and eat, consider a meal replacement protein shake, I recommend LEVEL 1 by 1st Phorm. That’s what I use.
If you don’t eat fish 4 to 5 times per week and aren’t getting in your essential fatty acids, consider a fish oil supplement which can improve many things but for the purpose of this blog, let me highlight that it helps with fat loss and improves INSULIN SENSITIVITY. I recommend 1st Phorm’s FULL MEGA.
Another supplement to consider is GDA by 1st Phorm. GDA is an all-natural supplement that can help maximize the amount of sugar your muscle can hold again lowering blood sugar.
The answer to your weight loss goals is NOT blindly cutting calories and doing a ton of work. If you want to lose weight, make sure you aren’t doing too much and not eating enough. Most people will decide at some point that they need to lose weight.What do they do?They cut calories and begin some aggressive cardio routine or weight train thinking high reps with a blistering pace is the answer because they have to “burn fat”. This is NOT the answer and is OFTEN setting you up for failure in the long term. Most people have gained this weight while only eating 1 or 2 meals per day. In reality, they have been UNDER EATING and have a slowed metabolism.
So, here’s the lowdown. I see this all the time. I’ve seen a grown man of 300 pounds, asked him to log down what he was eating everyday so I can see what his calorie intake was at that time before he started his diet, the result, he was undereating. He had been eating just over 1000 calories per day. Ladies are included in this scenario also. I’ve seen ladies eating 750 calories per day and GAINING weight. Why is this?
Your Body The Machine
When we go so long, eating so little calories, our body (an adaptive machine that doesn’t care if you look good) and metabolism starts to slow down. It’s like turning off lights switches that you don’t need in your home. Your body is trying to CONSERVE energy. It’s working to adapt to your low-calorie intake and hold on to its LONG-TERM reserves, FAT! All it cares about is keeping your ass alive!
What is your metabolism? Your metabolism is the hundreds of thousands of chemical processes that go on in your body every day. So, if you’re not feeding it the right amount to sustain these processes and your muscle tissue with the right timing, your body begins to slow everything down. You might notice that you’ve gotten lethargic, tired and you don’t have much energy. Maybe your hair doesn’t grow as much. Your fingernails don’t grow as fast. Maybe you really just don’t notice it because it’s been happening slowly over time.
Your Body The Cannibal
As great as it is that you’ve made a choice/decision that you want to go all beast mode, if you just go out there and get started this way, you’re breaking your body down even further. Muscle is very expensive for your body in calories and by not eating enough, you’re already in the hole.Muscle tissue will get broken down in a catabolic state (muscle burning / fat storing). Your body will break down muscle tissue to become more efficient at burning LESS calories and use it as fuel while holding on to its long-term energy stores, FAT. Once the muscle tissue is broken down, it can no longer help you burn calories to lose fat which was your original goal, right? You are setting yourself up for FAT regain once you stop dieting and risk gaining even more fat than what you had at the beginning.
Are You Stuck?
Cleaning up your choices, eating more frequent and smaller portions will be the process of making a change for a person who has been extremely sedentary for a very long time. Just getting up and getting moving will spark change, however, if you go too far, too fast, you will put yourself in the rough situation I discussed above. If you’re working out and beating that treadmill down two hours a day, sure you may lose a little weight at first. Next, you stall but you keep going. Your body won’t budge, you have hit a plateau, your body is fighting you, it’s trying to survive and that’s what it’s supposed to do!
Keep this in mind! Even though you make some progress, your body adapts to what you are doing quickly. Your body adapts to that level of work and you have to maintain it to keep your progress. You are then forced to do even more and eat even less to get progress again. Once again, there are levels to this shit. You basically have to keep your body on its toes. You have to make small changes in your routine and nutrition along the way for STEADY PROGRESS.
The number one problem is not eating enough and doing too much. What do you do? Well, of course, you will want to know where you are right now. There are lots of apps out there to use or you can contact me for help. I will calculate what your intake should be right now and compare that to what you’re actually eating. With this information, we can make a plan going forward that ensures you are getting adequate calories to sustain your muscle and your activity level without triggering your body to fight you.
You never want to do more work or put more stress on the body than is absolutely necessary to make progress or start losing weight. You need to build muscle because it is the muscle that’s going to burn calories on 24-hour day basis, helping you lose weight and get lean. Once you start making better food choices, you need to use meal timing and increase your meal frequency. Don’t freak out but you need to get to where you’re eating every three to four hours in the correct portions with cleaner, better choices. If you need help with that, I’m certainly here to help.
I wouldn’t recommend any more than three days per week for a beginner starting out on weight training. Muscle building is the way to go! Remember, muscles burn calories. Weight training (resistance training) is the way to your long-term goals. Start out and progress appropriately over time by making small adjustments in your calorie intake and food choices. You didn’t gain weight overnight, you’re not going to lose all that weight overnight.
Be sure you are eating properly and have a proper plan. Of course, it’s better to just get out there and get started than to do nothing at all. However, you don’t want to do any more work than is absolutely, 100% necessary. Do just enough work to get progress. When that progress stalls, then you may have to make an adjustment. You’re not going to cut calories and get one workout program that’s going to solve all your problems for the rest of your life. That’s just not the way it works.