Nutritional based articles straight from's specialist writers 

Posted 17 June 2013 by Jeremy Scott

Recipe: Gluten Free 5 Minute

Protein Power Pancake

5-minute Gluten-Free Protein Power Pancakes 

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These pancakes are so simple to throw together and are jam-packed with protein. All of the ingredients get tossed in your food processor or blender. These are not only gluten-free, but also grain-free, and taste amazing. Tip: Make extras and freeze them for easy breakfasts all week long.


• 1 ripe Banana
• 3 Eggs
• 2 Egg Whites
• 1 cup Almond Milk, unsweetened
• 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
• 2 ¼ cup blanched Almond Flour
• 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
• 2 tsp Baking Soda
• ¼ tsp Salt

• 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil for cooking


  1. In your food processor or high-speed blender, blend together banana, eggs, egg whites, and Almond Milk until smooth. Add almond flour, protein powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Heat some of the Coconut Oil in large skillet, and add batter to make 3-4 inch diameter pancakes. Cook about 3 minutes until golden on bottom and pancake wants to flip easily (when bubbles start to appear and pop). Feel free to add blueberries or other fruit to pancakes before flipping, if desired. Flip and cook 2 minutes longer. Add more oil as necessary.

Makes about 20 - 24 pancakes.

Nutritional Information (for 2 pancakes):

Calories: 194

Fat: 13.1g

Carbohydrates: 10.8g

Protein: 13.6g

Recipe By
Jeremy Scott & Kim Maes 

Posted 16 June 2013 by Salman Kassam Pn1 iTS BCT

Part 1: Your Fitness Questions

Answered By Expert Salman K.

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1. Ann Marie Levy - When taking a thermogenic,
do you take it on your off days too?

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ANSWER: Yes take them on off days as they will still boost your metabolism. They’ve also been shown to curb your appetite especially when you first start your cycle. Be aware that take the longer you take them the less effective they become so a reduction on off days may prolong their effectiveness. Beware if you are using them to allow yourself to eat sloppily, because when you come off them you won’t have developed the discipline to keep at your goal weight.

2. Anina Robb - Is there such a thing as adrenal fatigue?

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ANSWER: The medial communities are split over whether this is real or not. For anyone who’s suddenly found their strength and size gains stop for no apparent reason, it’s very real. You just can’t explain why you are so physically and mentally exhausted all of a sudden, even though you’re training to the max. Our adrenal glands influence all of the major physiological processes in our body. If they are not allowed to recover from heavy bouts in the gym, you are using stimuli like fat burners or pre-workout & you are
not dealing with stress at home or work, you will suffer AF & problems with your lifting will follow soon after. Train smart; going heavy or hard every day is not the way to go. Ensure that you have a de-load week every third or fourth week. Cut one set per exercise from that weeks training and keep the previous weeks weights. Use the extra time you have this week to get an hour or so more sleep. The next week you should find you strength gains are far greater and you can keep progressing.

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3. Jake Goldsmith - Best diet to put on size and cut fat! Low carb? No carb? Or I.F.?

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ANSWER: To put on mass while cutting fat is not possible, and you are always going to loose some conditioning when you put on size. That’s why it’s usually advised that you bulk from your leanest point. Dependent on how well you keep to your bulking plan, you can limit the fall out to an increase in body fat of less than 5%.

IF is a calorie restriction technique, and is definitely not a suitable option. How can you increase mass without the building blocks to do so? Calories need to be increased gradually to around 800-1000 calories over your personal maintenance level. Your maintenance level is the amount of calories you usually consume without putting on weight. Dependent on your somotype (genetic body shape) you’ll need to have different ratio of macronutrients (fat, protein vs carb) so seek out a Precision Nutrition Coach or Biosignature Practitioner to work these out for you.

4. Craig Yemm - Best time to take multi vit/fish oils, morning pre/post work out, before bed and why?

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ANSWER: Fish oils need to be consumed in the morning with a purely protein breakfast to shift your body from a catabolic state into an anabolic one (carbs should follow 30 minutes afterwards). Do not take them after a workout as you need nutrients to be absorbed quickly into the muscles, and the fat will simply show down the process. The timing for multivitamins is generally in the morning, but if you are taking specific vitamins such as Zinc, these are best consumed at different times throughout the day.

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5. Scott Bubba Melnyk - I have 200+ pounds to lose and was told to do just walking for a year. No weights. Is that right?

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ANSWER: I’ve trained a lot of big guys and cardio has to be twinned with weight training. I would recommend the walking to help you develop cardiovascular fitness (not running as this will destroy your knees), don’t be fooled by those idiots on Biggest Loser! Use machine weights until your have developed the appropriate coordination and muscular recruitment patterns. Don’t be impatient, as a loss of 1-2lbs per weeks should mean you are losing fat and not lean mass. Generally those who lose weight purely from cardio, do so too quickly end up looking like deflated balloons when they remove their shirt. Add in the weights as well and it’ll shape everything up nicely.

6. Danielle Amodeo - I'm looking into taking supplements. BCAA, but not sure how much
should I take?

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ANSWER: For the guys - shoot for around 10g 45 minutes before your session, and another 10g during. Women - half this should suffice. Anyone on a calorie-restricted diet can benefit from interspersing his or her meals with similar dosages of BCAA’s an additional 3 -4 times per day.

7. Gloria Saenz - Alot of people don’t do cardio on legs day Why is this?

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ANSWER: If you’ve just hammered your legs they need to recover - rest is the most underrated tool when it comes to muscle growth. If you’ve trained your legs hard enough, you should struggle to walk, let alone run!

8. Courtney Holmes - Should I take my BCAAs, etc on off days?

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ANSWER: A key benefit of BCAA’s is that it helps prevent muscle loss when away from the gym, so sipping a mixture in your water bottle throughout the day is highly beneficial. In fact I recommend that my clients take daily doses when away on holiday to limit muscle wastage as well.

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9. William Jacob Nehrig - I work out first thing in the morning and add another workout 3x a week at night. Is eating a healthy meal or a protein shake before bed a good thing to do?

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ANSWER: All your body cares about is if it is getting the right fuel to sustain or accelerate what you are asking it to do.
What you do just before bed depends on whether you’ve hit your macros for the day; if you are short on calories then have the shake or meal. There are two main benefits of a shake; the speed of consumption (there’s nothing to prevent quick uptake of nutrients). and convenience. Other than that, unless you are struggling to consume the quantity of food you need, whole food is always better than a shake.

10. Praveen Babu - Right side trap is bigger than left, what can I do, the difference is too much that u can clearly notice that even wearing a shirt.

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ANSWER: If one trap is larger than the other this may be a result of its overactivity. I’d recommend seeing a good sports masseuse to calm down the signals it’s receiving when training. This may in itself reduce some of its mass. If the difference is still obvious when performing unilateral shoulder exercises add an extra two sets on the side that’s lacking. This shall add the symmetry you’ve lost.

11. Felix Shavers - General training question about front squat, deep squat, half squat. Which muscles are the most concerned, which is the best for quads, for glutes?

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ANSWER: Half squats or sissy squats as I like to call them will work your VMO (the tear drop quad muscle the most). On their own I think they look stupid but performing a half squat followed by a full squat can nicely shape your legs. Full squats performed correctly will hit both quads and hamstrings hard but most people struggle with the technique and when it gets hard they cheat by folding forward, taking the emphasis off the quads. Front squats are the winners (hamstring to calf depth) as they have been shown to hammer both quads and hammies, plus you can’t cheat without dropping the bar. It’s important to note that if your front squat isn’t 85% of your back squat, then your form on your back squat is falling short.

12. Oancea Cosmin - Is crossfit training better than normal training if your goal is to lose fat gain muscle?

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ANSWER: Crossfit philosophy is to allow you to achieve overall fitness, it’s not a specialized program for weight loss or muscle gain. Weight-loss and muscle gain maybe an outcome of their workouts but not the goal. Crossfit is thrashing yourself without a nutrition plan, and you can’t out-train bad nutrition. Due to the lack of a periodized program, you may end up a little more cut, but definitely not jacked.

13. Richard Stone - What is normal percent of caloric intake from fat, protein and carbs? How does that change when cutting and what is the total % adjustment to total caloric intake?

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ANSWER: Whoa! There is no such thing as a normal macronutrient split, that’s why you don’t see ripped people subscribing to the latest celebrity diet. If you are serious about getting cut, you need to be serious about your diet and invest in a proper bespoke plan. Whether we like it or not, we are all dictated by our genetics. Some of us do better with carbs, others without, high fat, low fat blah, blah, blah. Getting this wrong will have drastic effect on your body shape. Save up.

14. Patrick Skinner - What’s the benefit of actually weighing your food rather than prepping your meal without weighing it and making sure that you have a decent balance of calories, carbs, and protein? Are the results groundbreaking or minimal?

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ANSWER: Groundbreaking. When you weigh your food, you know what’s going into your body and you get immediate feedback based on how you react / look. You can then tweak this if you are unhappy with the result, or if you are changing your phase of training. If you are looking to get sub 10% then you need to be weighting out your food. How do you know what to change if you are not measuring it? Sub 10% the smallest of changes matter. You have to measure.

15. Nathan Wilson - Currently experiencing problems developing my lower abs. I have been told that it’s possible to fuse your lower abs together? Is there a way to undo this once this has happened?

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ANSWER: I’ve never heard of this happening; generally this happens when two different muscles sit on top or overlap each other, as with your quads. The only way to separate out muscles is to see a good sport masseuse. Poor tissue quality and tight fascia can effect muscle size and development. Tissue quality should never be overlooked if you are training a muscle. Make sure you haven’t fallen into the trap of training your abs more than 3 times a week, it’s a fallacy that they don’t need as much time to recover as other muscle groups.
Also, remember for most people, lower abs only show through at your very leanest point, so it all depends if you have dieted down far enough.

Answers by Fitnesss Expert Salman Kassam Pn1 iTS BCT


Facebook fanpage:

Posted 05 June 2013 by Georgia Simmon UKBFF

8 Steps To A Healthier

Competitive Diet

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8 steps to a healthier competitive diet

The recommended daily intake of calories for a man in the UK is 2,500 calories per day and for a woman it’s 2,000. These figures are of course wholly unreliable when dealing with athletes or fitness competitors as the calorie deficit created by extreme exercise activities means that bodybuilders should be consuming more than our relatively sedentary office-dwelling counterparts.

Why then is it that so many competitors are paying trainers to put them on diets that are sub-800 calories per day, are made up of white fish and rabbit food, and that give absolutely no consideration for the athletes long-term physical, mental or emotional well-being?

The answer is simple: we are told that bodybuilding is meant to be hard, which it is, but we are also often told (incorrectly) that our food should be bland, boring, dry, and served in hamster sized portions out of a Tupperware, and that in order to be a bodybuilder you must also be starving hungry…
Not only is this premise wrong but it is also fundamentally unhealthy and can lead to metabolic shut down, brittle bones / osteoporosis, stomach ulcers, tooth and gum problems, skin disorders and anemia to name but a few.

The below is not a bible and it is not a fail safe, catch all guide, but it is aimed at raising awareness amongst competitors and those new to the sport.

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1) Calorie Cutting

You should not be cutting your calories below around 1,400calories a day – diets of under 1,500calories per day are considered “low calorie diets” by the medical council and anything under 800 calories per day is medically termed a ‘VLCD’ or very low calorie diet, and medical guidance is issued that only people with a BMI of 30 or more should ever engage in a VLCD diet.
Side effects of low calorie diets include fatigue, constipation, nausea, and diarrhea, as well as dizziness, forgetfulness, mood-swings, cravings and irritability.
The lower you cut your calories the less responsive your body becomes as your metabolism grinds to a halt. This is because your body is smart enough to react quickly to the knowledge that it is getting less food for the foreseeable future and thus must hold on to and store what little fat reserves it has left.

2) Create a deficit through what you’re doing

Wherever possible create a deficit through additional exercise and training as opposed to withholding food.
It is easier to cut food out than it is to force yourself to sit on a bike for an extra 15 minutes or to push through an additional 30 minutes of HIIT training first thing in the morning, but the effect on your body is incredible. If you have the energy in the first place it is easier to burn it off and the positive effect of more calories and micro-nutrients on the body is unparalleled.

3) Learn your diets

There are a vast number of diets out there and people often follow a diet because other people are doing it or because they read 1 article about it in the newspapers healthy lifestyle section on the way to work, or because their mothers-cousins-best-friends-niece tried it once and they heard it was good…
The problem with this sort of diet application is that it is often poorly researched, based on hear-say or “bro-science” and only loosely follows the original scientific or medical parameters set out for the purposes of the diet.

For example: ketogenic diets. Very simply a ketogenic diet is the principle of cutting out all carbohydrates (from which we gain energy via the breakdown of carbohydrate via insulin), and replacing these carbs with HIGH amounts of fats. From these fats (and our own body fat) we utilize energy via the use of enzymes. This process of fat / energy breakdown is known as: ketosis, hence ketogenic diet.

Now, a ketogenic diet utilizes GOOD fats such as avocado, oily fish, nut oils, virgin olive oils etc. However, many people just hear the words “fat for energy” and start using any old fat, heighten their risk of cholesterol, fill themselves up with saturated fats and become very unwell.

Likewise other people grossly underestimate the AMOUNT of fat you need to run a body and end up massively depriving themselves of calories.
Side-effects of ketogenic diets include halitosis, kidneys problems and a dry mouth.

In summary, learn your diets, don’t pick and choose parts of a diet to suit you, and if you cannot understand a diet, do not try to utilize it as it can do more harm than good.

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4) Carbs are not the enemy!

The number of fitness people who say the words “I’m on a low carb or a zero carb diet” is slowly making it an industry-wide, accepted phenomena. The question that no-one is asking these people is: so where DO you plan to get your energy from if you’re not eating carbs?
Carbohydrates are not the enemy: they are utilized by the body for fuel and to allow it to use it’s protein sources to repair itself. It is the type of carbohydrates that need to be monitored and reduced, not ALL carbohydrates.

5) Check your micros

Many competitors put themselves on restrictive diets either imposed by themselves or by the trainers that they are paying for advice and follow them blindly without questioning what they are being told to eat.
Many “competition” diets are so restrictive that the athletes taking them often find themselves with iron deficiencies, vitamin B deficiencies or other micro-nutrient problems.
Many micro-nutrient vitamins and minerals can be sourced easily from vegetable or other protein sources which will barely effect your calorie, protein or carbohydrate intake but which will hugely effect your overall health and wellbeing.

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6) Supplements should be just that: Supplement!

If you rattle when you walk and if someone shook you upside down you’d spit tablets all over the place like a pez dispenser then you are probably taking too many supplements. Supplements should be just that: supplements. They should not be used in place of real food or to fix a poor diet.
Many synthetic supplements can’t even be utilized by the body effectively!
For example: has anyone ever noticed having fluorescent green urine after drinking berroca supplements? This is because your body cannot synthesize the synthetic riboflavin (vitamin b) that Berroca is packed with and so it is filtered out in your urine by your kidneys and you don’t utilize it at all.

7) Is your trainer starving you?

Are you blindly following the instructions of somebody else even when you know deep down that it’s wrong, you feel unwell and have no energy? Then stop! Although there are many good trainers out there there are also many who don’t know what they’re doing and who can really cause you long-term damage.

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8) Are you setting yourself unrealistic diet goals?

If you are unable to get in to condition HEALTHILY within the parameters you have set yourself then you are not ready to be in that condition full stop. Look at yourself objectively, set healthy achievable goals and work towards them by using a balanced, healthy diet that allows you to come in to condition slowly and with maximum health and vitality.

Written by: Georgia Simmon UKBFF

Posted 16 April 2013 by Amy Jo Horvath - NPC Figure Competitor

Recipe: Healthy

Blueberry Muffins


Recipe: Healthy Blueberry Muffins

I love muffins but do not love what they do to my waistline, so what could be better then a delicious blueberry muffin without added refined sugar, flour or loaded in butter. These are naturally sweetened by the blueberries, a cup of mashed banana and a touch of raw honey. The coconut oil keeps these moist and adds a healthy fat to the muffin. These healthy muffins will be sure to please yet save you from the dreaded muffin top!


  • 3/4 cup Whole Grain Spelt Flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbsp of Pure raw Honey
  • 4 Tbsp of Coconut Oil (measure the Tbsp when liquid)
  • 1 Cup of mashed banana
  • Juice from 1/2 of a fresh lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries


Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside. Beat the whole eggs and egg whites. Mix in the mashed banana, vanilla, honey, oil and lemon juice. Add in the dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in the blueberries. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, pour batter evenly into 12 prepared muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 14 - 18 minutes or until slightly brown on top.

Nutrient stats: 1 Muffin

  • Calories: 127
  • Fat: 6.1g
  • Saturated: 4.7g (Healthy fats from the coconut oil)
  • Cholesterol: 53.8mg
  • Sodium: 184 mg
  • Potassium: 92.4 mg
  • Carbs: 13.3g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.8g
  • Sugars: 5g
  • Protein: 4g

Amy Jo Horvath:

Posted 09 July 2013 by Adam Bisek

Cheating to Leanness: Make

Cheat Days Work In Your Diet

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Cheating to Leanness:
How to make cheat days work in your diet

If you are wondering how the occasional deviation from your plate of chicken and broccoli benefit you, you're in the right place. Cheat days, or what I call "refeed" days, shouldn't be a green light for an all out sloth, but rather a strategically planned aspect of a well implemented fat loss diet. Both from a physical and a psychological standpoint I have had many clients who cheating to leanness q1.pngreap the benefits of enjoying their favorite foods. When it comes down to it, our basic physiology and psychology backs the notion of refeed days, and my clients do as well.
A sneak peak at the hormone Leptin will shed a little light on how cheating helps us lose fat. Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells, and to an extent the cells lining the stomach. Leptin essentially gives a real-time play-by-play to a part of the brain known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus for all intents and purposes controls metabolism and hunger. There is an inverse relationship between our body fat and our fed state in regards to leptin's signals and subsequently the hypothalamus's actions. Theoretically, the fatter we are and the more fed we are, the higher our metabolism will be and the lower our hunger hormones should be (see figure below). There are of course exceptions as seen in leptin resistance, which is a whole separate article.

   ↓ Fat = ↓ Leptin = ↑ Hunger Hormones + ↓ Metabolism

   ↑ Fat = ↑ Leptin = ↓ Hunger Hormones + ↑ Metabolism

So that leaves us with the questions, "What does cheating on your diet and leptin have to do with each other, and how can their relationship help my six-pack?" Really it's pretty simple once you know the mechanisms. When you partake in modern day famine, or what we would cheating to leanness q2.pngcall dieting, your body's natural defense mechanisms try to preserve you. This manifests itself when you chronically restrict calories and consequently leptin's signals to the brain decrease, making the hypothalamus turn the dial down on your metabolism. It seems pretty intuitive doesn't it? Much like our ancestors, if you haven't stumbled upon a water buffalo or a bushel of berries (bear with me, think chicken breasts and sweet potatoes) in quite some time, your body will want to keep enough insulation on you for the winter to come. Thus the body will decrease what it can control, your metabolism.

Don't fret however, the fate of your metabolism plummeting can be blunted by an occasional dietary sidetrack. Leptin is sensitive to acute, or short-term, increases in carbohydrate consumption. That is to say if you have been dieting on both a calorically restricted diet and carbohydrate restricted diet, occasional periods of high carbohydrate consumption will increase leptin levels. Thus the higher carbohydrate "refeed," is born. Carbohydrate cycling ring a bell? By increasing leptin during caloric restriction through higher carbohydrate days, and keeping insulin in check on lower carbohydrate days, carbohydrate cycling sheds fat and keeps the metabolism humming. Of course the organization and implementation of a carbohydrate cycling diet is individual, and dynamic.

With this all in mind I would be remised to leave you without a plan to implement all this information into your nutritional regimen. After all, your reading this with the aspirations of an Adonis-like physique, and the luster of a cheat day to help you do so. As promised, below is a basic protocol to implement a higher carbohydrate cheat, or "refeed," day into your diet:

Day 1: 0.5grams of carbohydrates per lb bodyweight
Day 2: 0.5 grams/lb bw
Day 3: 1.5g/lb bw
Day 4: 0.5g/lb bw
Day 5: 0.5g/lb bw
Day 6: 0.5g/lb bw
Day 7 (Cheat Day): 2.5-3g/lb bw

Bear in mind while the above may not be a typical carbohydrate cycling protocol, it certainly enables fat loss results. On the lowest carbohydrate days (0.5g/lb bw), the source of carbohydrates should come from non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and green beans. Proteins and healthier fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, and almonds should make up the lion share of your calories. On the medium day (1.5g/lb bw) starchy carbohydrates such as oatmeal, brown rice, and sweet potatoes can be incorporated in your post-workout meal. And finally, what you have been waiting for, on your cheat day (2.5-3g/lb bw) it's your choice! However, I would recommend an abundance of healthy starchy carbs, like the ones mentioned above, if your intensions are to get lean and mean.

Remember though, you are aiming to increase carbohydrate consumption not fat consumption. Personally, my cheat day involves a trip to my favorite Mexican restaurant for corn chips and salsa, as well as fajitas with corn tortillas, as I am gluten intolerant.
There you have it! The how and why to cheat on your diet. So break out your calculator and figure out just how much you can liberate yourself from the rigors of dieting one day a week. You'll not only be looking forward to that cheat meal, but also looking at a more chiseled physique in the mirror.

Written By Adam Bisek

Posted 18 March 2013 by Kwesi Keller

10 Common Fitness And

Nutrition Questions Answered


1) How long should my workout last?

The length of a workout is dependent on multiple factors. To build muscle a workout may last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. When lifting to grow muscle, the attempt is not to Uncommon_kwesi_path_q1.pngexhaust the cardiac muscle, but to strategically break down muscle tissue through moving objects against gravity. The average rest time between sets may be anywhere from 1 -2 minutes; allowing the muscles to re-oxygenate and allowing for maximal effort in every set. If the attempt is to burn fat and increase muscular and cardiovascular endurance, effective techniques are supersets, tri –sets, and shorter rest duration; between 30-45 seconds.

2) Can I do abs every day?

Working the core every day is a bad idea. The abdominal muscles are a thin layer of muscle that needs recovery time like any other muscle. The core is used during every movement of the body, so to continually break down the muscle is counterproductive. To maximize each workout, train the abdominals intensely like any other muscle group.

3) How often should I cardio?

It is important to understand the difference between cardio and burning fat; many people confuse the two. Cardio is strengthening the cardiac muscle (heart). The body burns fat in two ways: 1) Long and slow bouts of energy expenditure or 2) high intensity/short in duration interval training (sprints, sled pulls, and running stairs). To answer the question posed, cardio every other day is appropriate. Cardio is a workout, and just like lifting weights, muscle is broken down and the body produces cortisol (hormone use to convert muscle into energy source); so it is important to allow the legs to recover before breaking them down again.

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4) What do you consider a rest day?
Is it a day without weights, cardio, or both?

A rest day is just that, a day to do nothing but eat and allow your mind and body to rest. The mind controls hormone regulation in the body; therefore, it is essential to allow the body time to recover and regain balance. When the body is constantly worked with no rest it can fall into a state of over training. Over training is easily identifiable:

• Prolonged muscle soreness
• Strength loss
• Muscle strain/pains
• No muscle gain

5) Is it better to do cardio before
or after lifting weights?

If cardio as discussed earlier is being completed, it should be done on its own as a workout. If a person is attempting to complement their nutrition by burning a few extra calories, then anytime of the day is good. However, if it is done in the morning a person must understand Uncommon_kwesi_path_q2.pngthey have to combat the hormone cortisol that is being produced due to the fast of the night. The ways a person can offset this hormone is to take BCAA or hydrolyzed whey protein to blunt the effects of the hormone. If done after a workout (not recommended) it’s important to understand the body is producing cortisol; therefore a hydrolyzed whey (protein peptides broken down to allow for faster absorption) should be used. This blunts cortisol but does not interfere with the bodies GH (growth hormone) production.

6) Is diet or working out more important?

Neither is more important than the other, rather they complement one another. Diet without exercise will leave the body absent of shape and tone. Exercise without proper nutrition is counterproductive because for the body to repair itself, the nutrients and elements used have to be replaced. When these elements or nutrients aren’t replaced the body will use muscle tissue and bone minerals as a substitute.

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7) How do I get a flat stomach?

Bottom line, a flat stomach or washboard abs are both made in the kitchen. Everyone has abs but what separates a flat stomach from a fat stomach is adipose tissue (belly fat). A proper nutrition plan is the only way to a flat stomach.

8) What should I eat after a workout and why?

This is a two part answer so let’s start with what to eat if you are doing weight training. A common myth is that after a workout a simple carbohydrate should be consumed. This is a myth because the scientific studies conducted that led to this conclusion were inappropriately evaluated and applied; all of these studies where comprised of runners. For a weight lifter hydrolyzed or micronized whey protein should be consumed to allow the body’s growth hormone to stay elevated. For an endurance athlete a simple carbohydrate is appropriate to replenish glycogen stores depleted during the event.

9) Why do I never see results after months of training?

There are so many possible reasons that it would be impossible to determine without proper evaluation, but here is a list of possible reasons:
• Lack of a plan
• Lack of sleep
• Poor nutrition
• Poor training form
• Over training

10) Why do athletes take sports enhancement drugs?

I can’t answer for every athlete, but I can explain what sports enhancement drugs do and then I’m sure everyone can form their own opinion. These drugs are not miracles; these athletes still have to eat clean, train hard, and recover.
Sports enhancement drugs are synthetic hormones that speed up the body’s natural abilities to repair muscle fibers, metabolize food, and suppress other hormones that are counterproductive to muscle growth. They are not legal nor are they advised, but they do not take away from the hard work, discipline, and desire of an athlete who is willing to put it all on the line for their dream of being the greatest at their craft.

Written by: Kwesi Keller, interview with Kwesi Keller

Posted 07 March 2013 by Brad Borland, M.A., CSCS

No More Breaking The Bank:

Big results on a skinny budget

 Big results on a skinny budget


Have you ever thought to yourself that if you only had the time, money and conveniences of a successful competitive bodybuilder of fitness model you too could achieve the physique of your dreams? You too could workout when and how you wanted to, prepare and eat all the skinny_budget_q1.pngright kinds of foods and supplements, and get the rest you need to repair and grow new muscle. You say to yourself that you just don’t have the time and resources like those “other guys and girls” do. Those “other guys” have “the life” conducive to the bodybuilding/fitness lifestyle. It is so easy for them and you have such a difficult time inching up the ladder scrapping every morsel of time and bit of knowledge just to gain an ounce of progress.
Hopefully this article will shed a little light on scheduling your time, finding ways to save money on food and supplements, convenient food preparation, and other little tricks to help you reach your goals a little easier. Sometimes all it takes is a little tweaking to make your workouts a little more effective and to get more out of each set, rep, meal and supplement you take. Being more efficient and effective will enable you to reach those goals all the while saving a little time and money on your journey.


Below is a list of tips and tricks to help you make the road to success a little easier on your schedule and your wallet.

1. Wheel and Deal

1. Wheel and Deal: When joining a gym see if the facility is running any specials such as the first month being free or waiving the registration fee. Maybe they have a special couples rate for your significant other. Most fitness facilities want your business so they will try to work with you to get you in their door, but don’t be afraid to ask about special offers just in case they were not offered up front. For college students there are ways to utilize on-campus facilities such as recreation centers specifically for students which are usually included in the price for tuition. Many facilities will also offer student discounts.

2. Buy in Bulk

2. Buy in Bulk: Get a membership at a local wholesale warehouse. They sell foods in bulk which break down to be cheaper per serving. Remember when buying in bulk to freeze most of your meats and thaw as you prepare them for the week ahead. You can easily buy large amounts of chicken, ground meats, beef, oatmeal, rice, frozen vegetables, milk, and other staples of your nutrition plan. You will have large amounts of food and less trips to the store.

3. Clip Coupons

3. Clip Coupons: If you do not have access to one of those wholesale stores you can always find ways to save at your local grocer. Many stores have special discount cards, coupons to save 10 or 15%, and 2 for 1 deals. Keep an eye on their deals and what time of the week they are running them.


4. Be Supplement Savvy

4. Be Supplement Savvy: As I said regarding food, have the same mindset with supplements. Look for deals at your local supplement store. Find out if they have specials during each month and/or if they have a special discount club to belong to. Even better, look online for great prices. Many sites will also offer you free gifts with your purchases. Compare prices and carefully look at prices per serving as to serving sizes and servings per container vary from product to product.

5. Brown Bag It

5. Brown Bag It: Try to prepare your meals at home as much as possible. Take meals to work instead of going out to lunch every day, make smoothies and protein shakes at home instead of buying them pre made, and going out to dinner should be kept to a minimum. This will ensure you are eating all of your goal friendly meals on a regular basis and will give you consistency and keep you on a schedule toward your goals. Make going to lunch or dinner a treat and something that you do only once a week or so.

6. One at a Time

6. One at a Time: No one said you had to use every supplement on the planet to guarantee success. Try one supplement at a time to see what effects it will have. You will know if most are working within six weeks or so. This will not only save you money in the long run but will also let you know which ones work and which ones you are wasting your time with. Experiment and stick with the ones that work for you.

7. Spend Your Time Wisely

7. Spend Your Time Wisely: If you are the type to go home from work before hitting the gym, save some time and pack a gym bag and head to the gym right after work. If time permits you may want to train in the morning before work or class to free up time for other things in your personal life. It takes a great commitment to schedule your time wisely. If time is not on your side when in the gym try supersets and staggered sets during your workout. It not only saves time but will also give you a cardio effect. Do calves in between sets of arms or superset chest and back or biceps and triceps together.

So there you have it, just a few tips for the financially struggling but committed. There are ways to your goals you just have to be creative and careful in your choices. If you want it bad enough you will find resources and creative techniques to get you there without breaking your bank. Good luck.

By: Brad Borland, M.A., CSCS 

Posted 16 February 2013 by Brad Borland

A Simple Guide To What Is

In Your Supplements


Your simple guide to what is in your supplements
and other odd sounding compounds

Microfiltered, isolates, extracts, ethyl esters, concentrates, acetyl-L, sulfates, what on earth do all of these terms mean? Is monohydrate a good thing? Do I really need to include guggulsterones to my supplement plan? Will I actually burn fat with forskolin? You may have heard of some of these words attached to your favorite supplements such as creatine ethyl ester, microfiltered whey isolate, and acetyl-L-carnitine.

But, what do these added compounds signify regarding the efficacy of these supplements? supp_guide_q1.pngHow do they improve absorption, metabolism, and integrity so that you can build a leaner, more muscular physique in the quickest time possible? More importantly, what the heck are they?

Supplement science has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last decade from the improvements of creatine to the new forms of protein. With all of these new developments one can now devise a precise supplement plan based on absorption, timing and bioavailability.
Below is a short list of some of the more popular supplements on the market and what these different forms or additions actually do. Let us begin by explaining a new twist on some your old favorites.

World Of Whey

When milk is made into cheese, whey is the substance that has floated to the top due to the separation process. Whey protein concentrate goes through a couple of manufacturing processes known as ultrafiltration and diafiltration which leave most of the proteins intact with a small amount of fats and carbohydrate. Although whey concentrate is somewhat fast digesting, it is still slow compared to its relatives.

Whey protein isolate is next in line when it comes to speed of digestion which is due to the extra step in processing that concentrate does not go through. Ion-exchange chromatography, which is a longer filtration process, allows isolate to be purer and the protein to absorb faster, however, some protein fractions are lost in this process.
supp_guide_q2.pngThe fastest sibling in the protein family is whey protein hydrolysate. This protein is taken to an even more thorough filtration process known as hydrolysis to break the amino acid bonds increase absorption. That is why hydrolysate is the best protein to take immediately after a workout.

Whatever whey protein form you choose, try taking it around your training times and first thing in the morning when amino acids are critical for continued growth. Try 20 grams in the morning about a half hour before your first solid meal, 20-30 grams before training and 40-50 grams after training. Of course you must weigh all your options when choosing a whey protein product such as price, availability and taste.

Casein, Casein, and Casein

Casein is the largest compound found in milk. It is slow to digest and some forms take up to six to seven hours to fully metabolize. That is why casein is a great choice when you know you may not eat for a while or right before bed. This slow release of amino acids will ensure your muscles are getting exactly what they need to keep growing.
Caseinate is a form of casein that is made mostly of protein and is somewhat soluble.

Usually as calcium caseinate, potassium caseinate, or sodium caseinate manufacturers like the solubility of caseinate as it mixes well in fluid.
Micellar casein protein undergoes a microfiltration process to separate lactose, fat and whey from the casein part of the milk. Because of this extra process micellar casein does not mix easily with fluid but it is the slowest digesting of the casein proteins making it ideal for nighttime use.

Lastly, the fastest digesting protein of the casein family is hydrolyzed casein. It goes through a process called hydrolysis where amino acid bonds are broken making short-chained proteins. Due to the faster absorption rate hydrolyzed protein is a good addition to your pre and post workout shakes.

Try utilizing Micellar casein at times when you have a long time period between meals and before you go to bed. The slow release of amino acids will ensure you are getting what you need for accelerated muscle growth. Hydrolyzed casein is best used in combination with your post-workout whey shake. Its fast action will supply yet another form of protein so you get a full spectrum of the building blocks of your physique.


Monohydrate, Malate and Ethyl Ester

Creatine monohydrate is the simplest form of creatine which is formed from arginine, glycine, and methionine and helps support ATP in muscular contraction. Unfortunately a significant amount of creatine has the potential to bypass absorption and be expelled while causing bloating and discomfort. Other forms have been designed to remedy this problem. Enter creatine malate and Creatine ethyl ester.

Malic acid (which helps to provide energy) and creatine monohydrate combine to make tri-creatine malate. Tri-creatine malate potentially makes creatine more bioavailable and can reduce gastric discomfort as well as impact the ATP cycle more effectively. All of these positives give creatine a greater chance to do what it was meant to do; replenish energy stores in muscle tissue for more muscular endurance and subsequently strength and muscle mass gains.

Creatine ethyl ester works a little differently. Creatine is combined with an ester, which are compounds that help transport creatine across cell walls for greater absorption. Ester utilizes fat in a way so greater amounts of creatine actually react inside of the cell instead of outside creating water retention. The results? More creatine is absorbed, less is wasted, and you get longer and stronger workouts.

If you want to try creatine and are somewhat on a budget, try monohydrate and pay close attention to the effects. If you feel bloated or gastric discomfort then try the malic acid or ethyl ester varieties to see which works best for you. 3-5 grams pre and post workout should do the trick.


Carnitine is synthesized in the body from the amino acids lysine and methionine. By transporting fat to the mitochondria of cells carnitine helps burn it for fuel. Not only will it utilize supp_guide_q3.pngmore of your fat stores for energy, it will also enhance recovery after those long bouts in the gym. As if the benefits couldn’t get any better, carntine will increase the number of testosterone receptors in muscle cells to enhance muscle growth. Once L-carnitine takes fatty acids to the mitochondria of muscle cells it is converted to acetyl-L-carnitine which has been shown to positively affect the body by preventing brain-cell death and to protect nerve cells from degeneration due to aging or disease.

The best bet for L-carnitine in either form is to start slow with 1 or 2 grams per day around workout times and slowly build up to 4 or 5 grams with one gram in the morning, pre and post workout, and a gram before bed. L-carnitine is not an overnight sensation like creatine, but it will help you get leaner and help protect you from chronic muscle damage.



As the active compound in the mint herb Coleus forskohlii, forskolin will help boost testosterone levels and increase fat loss. This natural thermogenic compound activates enzymes to start a chain of events breaking down fat stores in fat cells and using them for fuel. Try 20-40 grams three times per day preferably before meals.


Guggul is from the gum resin of the guggul tree Commiphora mukul. Its thermogenic effects cause a significant increase in fat loss by boosting metabolism. Additionally, it helps prevent fat from being stored. Guggulsterones are added to many fat burners to help burn calories while dieting and intense training. Usually manufacturers suggest 30-60 mg three times per day with meals.


Usually used to spice up foods Cayenne is a pepper plant found in South America also known as Capsicum annuum and Capsicum frutescens. The medicinal properties of cayenne are derived from a chemical called capsaicin which gives the pepper its heat effect. This has been shown to raise core temperature, increase blood flow and burn more fat in the process. Cayenne (in pepper or powder form) can easily be added to any diet and it is found in numerous fat burners.


Also referred to as yohimbe, yohimbine is the active ingredient found in the African Pausinystalia yohimbe tree. The positive fat loss effects of this natural compound are numerous; it helps fat cells release fatty acids more easily to be burned as energy, it causes blood vessel dialation to occur much like the effects of nitric oxide, and it helps to maximize norepinephrine levels which is the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating. 2-8 mg three times per day included in your favorite fat burner will do the job.

Green Tea Extract

Contrary to popular belief green tea’s main component regarding fat loss is a compound known as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and not caffeine. EGCG inhibits an enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine resulting in higher levels of the metabolic hormone and increased fat loss. Combined with caffeine, green tea extract is one powerful and widely used natural supplement. When supplementing with green tea extract shoot for 500 to 1000 mg three times per day before meals.

Written By Brad Borland, M.A., CSCS,

Posted 10 February 2013 by Brandan Fokken

What You Need To Know

About Sugar Alcohols

What You Need To Know About Sugar Alcohols

You go to the grocery store and read some food labels and notice sugar alcohols listed as part of the ingredients. It doesn’t mean it is sugar, nor does it mean it is alcohol. So yes, the name is a bit misleading. Or maybe you’ve heard of the big craze with labels that read “sugar free” or “no sugar added”. Instead they use sugar alcohols which are a form of carbohydrate that add some sweetness to foods and are added to your favorite ice creams, cookies, gum, chocolates and countless other food items in your local grocery store.

The most common sugar alcohols you will see and hear about are:

•Erythritol – 0.2 calories per gram and 60% to 80% as sweet as sugar
•Isomalt - 2 calories per gram and 45% to 65% as sweet as sugar
•Lactitol – 2 calories per gram and 30% to 40% as sweet at sugar
•Maltitol – 2.1 calories per gram and 90% as sweet as sugar
•Mannitol – 1.6 calories per gram and 50% to 70% as sweet as sugar
•Sorbitol – 2.6 calories per gram and 50% to 70% as sweet as sugar
•Xylitol - 2.4 calories per gram and as sweet as sugar

What They Are:

As noted, the term “sugar alcohol” can be very misleading. And keep in mind, there is no alcohol in this sugar substitute, so take a deep breath – you will not be getting tipsy! Despite the name, there is no sugar in sugar alcohols either. The name originates from their chemical structures, which are similar to the chemical structures of both alcohol and sugar. Sugar alcohols are a type of carbohydrate that is used to sweeten foods, but have half the calories of sugar.

Where They Come From:

Sugar alcohols originate from various plant products, such as fruits and vegetables. Each type of sugar alcohol will vary in sweetness, ranging from 25% to 100% + the sweetness of real sugar; also dependent on the food that it is being used in. The carbohydrates contained in these plant products is then altered through a chemical process, which then leads to the production of the sugar alcohols you are familiar with and found on food labels.

Why They Have Carbs:

Sugar alcohols are a known type of carbohydrate named “polyols”. Part of the chemical structure of sugar alcohols resembles sugar, and another part resembles alcohol. But sugar alcohols are carbohydrates your body does not completely absorb, but are still classified as a type of carbohydrate, as they will affect blood glucose levels to a certain degree; varying for each person – a spike in blood sugar levels for some, while no spike at all in others. When you view a food label, you will find that the sugar alcohol will be accounted for in the total carbohydrates column under the Nutritional Facts.


Tips for Carb Counting and Sugar Alcohols

The effect that sugar alcohols have on your blood glucose can vary so it is difficult to know how sugar alcohols will affect your blood glucose levels every time. Because there is less of an effect from sugar alcohols than either sugar or starch, you can use the following tips to estimate how much carbohydrate from a serving to count in your meal plan for foods that contain more than 5 grams of sugar alcohols.

If a food has more than 5 grams of sugar alcohols:

•Subtract ½ the grams of sugar alcohol from the amount of total carbohydrate
•Count the remaining grams of carbohydrate in your meal plan

How They Act In Your System:

Sugar alcohols are similar to sugar, but in fact your body will not absorb them completely. As a result, your blood sugar levels may be impacted very little or not at all. This is great for people who are on low carbohydrate diets or those who are diabetic. But it’s also important to note that all sugar alcohols don’t behave the same exact way.

Sugar alcohols do contain some calories; roughly 2 calories per gram depending on which specific sugar alcohol we are talking about (where sugar itself contains 4 calories per gram). This is due to the fact that sugar alcohols are converted into glucose more slowly, which is how your body metabolizes them. And because your body does not absorb sugar alcohols completely, like fiber they simply pass through your body. But because they are absorbed differently than sugar in the body, gas and bloating are side affects you may experience if too much is consumed.

Are They Safe:

Sugar alcohols have been used for many years, so yes, you can now sleep at night – they are safe! The United States has classified sugar alcohols as safe for consumption by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

With the sweet imitation of sugar and lower calorie count, it would only be fair that they also have some cons, right? Well unfortunately there are some cons. Sugar alcohols can lead to bloating, diarrhea and gas if they are eaten in large quantities, can cause cravings, not to mention we don’t know what the long term affects are yet. According to the American Dietetic Association, consuming more than 50 grams of sorbitol or 20 grams of mannitol per day can cause diarrhea. The FDA requires foods and drinks that contain sorbitol or mannitol to include a warning label describing this laxative effect.

Your personal experience will depend on your body’s level of sensitivity. So to avoid such complications, it’s best to stick to eating less than 50 grams of sugar alcohols per day; and to completely avoid such food items if they cause great discomfort.

How We Burn Them:

Like any other food source that we consume, which contains calories, we need to exercise in order to burn off the calories and maintain a healthy weight. So although sugar alcohols may not affect your blood sugar levels as sugar does, and contain half the calories, if they are not burned off with exercise, you can experience weight gain. So yes, they are a choice, but haven’t been created with the magical ability to cause no weight change either. As a result, straying away from exercise is not an option when consuming foods containing sugar alcohols.


Sugar alcohols are great for satisfying your sweet tooth, as well as helping you manage your waist line and reach your low carb diet goals. Just be sure not to overeat, as you do not want to gain any extra unwanted pounds and to avoid gastrointestinal distress. So yes they contain fewer calories, are safe for diabetics, and you’ll even have a greater smile! How so? Well because sugar alcohols are not metabolized by the bacteria that cause tooth decay, visits to the dentist won’t be so frightening anymore. Another added bonus! Eat these foods in moderation, while continuing with an overall healthy diet.  

Team Athlete Brandan Fokken

Posted 31 January 2013 by Adam Bisek

A look At Getting Ripped Via

(IIFYM) 'If It Fits Your Macros'


Getting Shredded: If it fits your macros, really?  (IIFYM)

Much debate exists amongst dieting gurus these days. Many different methods have shown great anecdotal results, even with greatly contrasting approaches. One of the most argued approaches is the "If It Fits Your Macros" or IIFYM for short dieting approach. From a very general standpoint, IIFYM is concerned with the quantity of the food in your diet rather than the quality. Shades of gray do exist within IIFYM approach, and thus through a quick logical view, I plan to help distill whether it's quantity, quality, or somewhere in the middle that leads to a shredded 6-pack!

What's really the argument?

To truly disseminate the "If It Fits In Your Macros" (IIFYM) approach to dieting, you must understand its basic concepts as well as its different methods. To utilize IIFYM simply means that your meals, and subsequently your diet, need to fit the outline protein, fat, carbohydrate, and overall calories assigned, but the actual foods take a metaphorical backseat. Layne Norton, IFPA & NGA pro bodybuilder, uses what could be categorized as an IIFYM approach for his physique clientele, but ensures that enough fiber is consumed. Norton essentially states that as long as the fiber content is high, and you are truly hitting the correct ratios of macronutrients for a physique competitor style diet, then it would be hard to eat a box of "pop tarts" a day and still be doing it right

With Norton's technique, he himself has had much success bringing a well-conditioned physique to the stage, as have many of his clients. Norton's style, however, is not necessarily used by all in the IIFYM culture.

While some use the IIFYM method to bring some laxity to their diets, others take the freedom a bit further. The post-workout window brings about 20oz Mt. Dews and half pint of Ben and Jerry's for those who really take fitting solely their macronutrient requirements. "Why not, the logic is to get an insulin spike right?" I would affectionately give this the trendy phrase "bro-science;" a term used for undereducated gym members half-hazardly using their interpretation of the current literature. On the other end of the spectrum, more modest IIFYM'rs would substitute white rice for brown as a carbohydrate source, or lighten their caloric load earlier in the day to allow for a meal with friends that may be more calorically rich in the evening. While at the end of the day both examples above use the IIFYM approach, you can see much variation in the implementation exists.


Questioning IIFYM methodology

Venturing back to the "golden days" of the bodybuilding movement really sets the context for any legitimate discussion on diet. The original basis by which health seekers engaged in this lifestyle was to become just that, healthier. The idea was to eat healthy nutritious foods and train in such a manner that the combined effect would create both a health vibrant external being and an equally healthy inside. It seems as though this mindset of extremes has become iifym_q1.pngtransient amongst almost every facet of the sport of bodybuilding and the fitness industry in general. A good contrast would be a classic bodybuilder reaching for a banana as his or her post-workout carbohydrate source, while the IIFYM bodybuilder trying to pack on as much mass could reach for a mountain dew. While depending quantity, these two options may have similar carbohydrate content, one is rich in micronutrients and has some fiber, while the other is devoid of the latter and is loaded with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which in excess has a plethora of proposed negative health correlates.

If I were to bring about an argument refuting IIFYM and its implementation it would focus on its overall message and abuse. When I work with clients the message I want to get across is that sustained, practical weight loss and positive body composition change occurs with a habitual adaptation to consuming healthy foods. The idea is that if you eat the right foods the numbers (i.e. macronutrients and calories) will fall in line. To my point, any novice can spend the day matching up Little Debbie's snack line up to their macro's, but I think they would be better served reading Myotropics author Stacey Natio's article about learning what types of healthy fats could meet their requirements. Below is a list of ways to Implement the IIFYM methodology in the way I believe it was originally meant for; a means to decrease dietary rigidity, and increasing practicality of dieting while still being healthy on the whole.


Switch up your starches: Don't be afraid to occasionally use white or basmati rice instead of brown, or red skin potatoes in lieu of yams. One of my favorite treats is Ezekiel sprouted bread made into French toast. The idea is that you don't have to have 8oz of sweet potatoes at each sitting to get ripped. And as you may already know, protein consumed at the same meal as the aforementioned starch switch hitters will decrease the glycemic index of the meal.

Swap protein sources: Getting stuck in the extra lean ground turkey and tilapia rut is no fun, and I can certainly empathize. Don't be afraid to use fattier types of meat such as 93/7 ground meats or even more marbled cuts of steak. Again, if the fat content fits into your fat macronutrients then it should be fine, just remove what may have been a tablespoon of peanut butter from your meal plan and you’re golden. Using fattier fish like salmon can fit in, and certainly make room for egg yolks, just simply account for the fat, it's what the whole idea of IIFYM really is.

Be compliant, not perfect: I like to use the 95:5 compliance rule with my clients. Let’s say you have 35 meals in a week, that's 5 meals a day, pretty normal, right? That means that 2 meals a week can be meals that are not typical meals in your diet. This could be a night out with your friends and you have a burger, maybe even an adult beverage. This "allowance" of a cheat meal can give psychological and physiological benefits.

Wrapping it up!

In reality, the IIFYM model on dieting isn't an inherently bad approach. When the concept utilizes whole, nutritious foods on a 95% basis to reach the assigned macronutrient and caloric requirements is when it flourishes. This allows 5% for that night out where you can indulge. Not only have I found this approach to be even more successful than complete rigidity, but also keeps dieters sane. So when it comes down to it, IIFYM correctly can be a great approach to dieting, but like I said, when done correctly!

Adam Bisek (Bodyspace)



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