Thursday, June 21, 2012

Weight Loss - Motivation Tips and Strategies

How do you maintain your weight loss motivation beyond the first 5 or 10 pounds?

We've all been there, you make incredible progress in your weight loss program, only to fall "off the wagon" a few days later because you lose that initial weight loss motivation.

It's true, your mental attitude is 90% of the battle in achieving rapid weight loss.

Here are 6 weight loss motivation tips you can use next time you hit the wall in your weight loss program

Weight Loss Motivation Tip 1
Set realistic goals. By planning to lose 10 pounds each week, you are setting yourself up for a letdown.

Weight Loss Motivation Tip 2
Set flexible goals. Understand that you will lose more weight in the first 2-weeks of your weight loss program than you will after.

jojopig.comWeight Loss Motivation Tip 3
Have a support system in place. If you can set goals with a friend or support group, you will have more motivation to succeed.

Weight Loss Motivation Tip 4
Make sure your weight loss program includes exercise. Exercise results in positive chemicals being released in your brain which helps with staying positive and achieving maintaining weight loss motivation.

Weight Loss Motivation Tip 5
Have a strategy to combat stress. Stress is the 1 cause of uncontrollable activity in our lives. Practice meditation as part of your weight loss program.

Weight Loss Motivation Tip 6
Set goals beyond losing weight. Set goals linked with happiness, feeling better, looking better, having more energy - less focus on pounds lost to overall health will give you more motivation.

Check out the 17 minutes HD "Weight Loss Motivational Tips" Video for better weight management


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What is Metabolism?

Some people think that the metabolism is a kind of organ, or a body part, that influences digestion.

Actually, the metabolism isn’t any particular body part.  

It’s the process by which the body converts food into energy.  

Hence, you’ve likely heard of the phrase metabolic process used synonymously with the term metabolism, because they both mean the same thing. 

The Medical Myths 

This isn’t a complicated medical text (which should be great news to most of you!), and so we don’t need to spend an unnecessary amount of time and space focusing on the layered complexity of the human body and its extraordinary intelligence.  

Yet without drilling deeply into medical details -- which are not relevant for our general understanding purposes -- it’s helpful to briefly look at the biological mechanisms behind metabolism. 

Metabolism, as mentioned above, is the process of transforming food (e.g. nutrients) into fuel (e.g. energy).  The body uses this energy to conduct a vast array of essential functions.  

In fact, your ability to read this page - literally - is driven by your metabolism.  

If you had no metabolism - that is, if you had no metabolic process that was converting food into energy – then you wouldn’t be able to move.  

In fact, long before you realized that you couldn’t move a finger or lift your foot, your internal processes would have stopped; because the basic building blocks of life - circulating blood, transforming oxygen into carbon dioxide, expelling potentially lethal wastes through the kidneys and so on - all of these depend on metabolism.  

Keep this in mind the next time you hear someone say that they have a slow metabolism.  

While they may struggle with unwanted weight gain due to metabolic factors, they certainly have a functioning metabolism. 

If they didn’t, they wouldn’t even be able to speak (because that, too, requires energy that comes from, you guessed it: metabolism!).

It’s also interesting to note that, while we conveniently refer to the metabolic process as if it were a single function, it’s really a catch - all term for countless functions that are taking place inside the body. Every second of every minute of every day of your life - even, of course, when you sleep - numerous chemical conversions are taking place through metabolism, or metabolic functioning.  

In a certain light, the metabolism has been referred to as a harmonizing process that manages to achieve two critical bodily functions that, in a sense, seem to be at odds with each other.   

Anabolism and Catabolism 

jojopig.comThe first function is creating tissue and cells.  Each moment, our bodies are creating more cells to replace dead or dysfunctional cells.  

For example, if you cut your finger, your body (if it’s functioning properly) will begin – without even wasting a moment or asking your permission –the process of creating skin cells to clot the blood and start the healing process.  This creation process is indeed a metabolic response, and is called anabolism.

On the other hand, there is the exact opposite activity taking place in other parts of the body.  Instead of building cells and tissue through metabolism, the body is breaking down energy so that the body can do what it’s supposed to do.  

For example, as you aerobically exercise, your body temperature rises as your heart beat increases and remains with a certain range.  

As this happens, your body requires more oxygen; and as such, your breathing increases as you intake more HO.  All of this, as you can imagine, requires additional energy.  

After all, if your body couldn’t adjust to this enhanced requirement for oxygen (both taking it in and getting rid of it in the form of carbon dioxide), you would collapse!   

Presuming, of course, that you aren’t overdoing it, your body will instead begin converting food (e.g. calories) into energy.  And this process, as you know, is a metabolic process, and is called catabolism.

So as you can see, the metabolism is a constant process that takes care of two seemingly opposite function: anabolism that uses energy to create cells, and catabolism that breaks down cells to create energy.  

Indeed, it’s in this way that the metabolism earns its reputation as a harmonizer. It brings together these apparently conflicting functions, and does so in an optimal way that enables the body to create cells as needed, and break them down, again as needed. 

Metabolism and Weight Loss 

By now, you already have a sense of how metabolism relates to  weight loss (catabolic metabolism, or breaking cells down and transforming them into energy).  

To understand this process even more clearly, we can introduce a very important player in the weight loss game - the calorie. 


Calories are simply units of measure.  They aren’t actually things in and of themselves; they are labels for other things, just like how an inch really isn’t anything, but it measures the distance between two points.

So what do calories measure?  

Easy: they measure energy.

Yup, the evil calorie - the bane of the dieter’s existence - is really just a 3-syllable label for energy.  

And it’s important to highlight this, because the body itself, despite its vast intelligence (much of which medical science cannot yet understand, only appreciate in awe) does not really do a very intelligent job of distinguishing good energy from bad.  

Actually, to be blunt, the body doesn’t care about where the energy comes from.  Let’s explore this a little more, because it’s very important to the overall understanding of how to boost your metabolism, particularly when we look at food choices.

In our choice-laden grocery stores, with dozens of varieties of foods - hundreds, perhaps - there seems to be a fairly clear awareness of what’s good food, and what’s bad or junk food.  

For example, we don’t need a book to remind us that, all else being equal, a plum is a good food, whereas a tub of thick and creamy double-fudge ice cream is a bad food.  

Not bad tasting, of course; but, really, you won’t find many fit people eating a vat of ice cream a day, for obvious reasons. So what does this have to do with calories and energy?  

It’s this: while you and I can evaluate our food choices and say that something (like a plum) is a healthy source of energy, and something else (like a tub of ice cream) is an unhealthy source of energy, the body doesn’t evaluate.  Really.  

It sounds strange and amazing, but the body really doesn’t care. To the body, energy is energy. It takes whatever it gets, and doesn’t really know that some foods are healthier than others.  It’s kind of like a garbage disposal: it takes what you put down it, whether it should go down or not.

So let’s apply this to the body, and to weight gain.  When the body receives a calorie - which, as we know, is merely a label for energy - it must do something with that energy.  

In other words, putting all other nutrients and minerals aside, if a plum delivers 100 calories to the body, it has to accept those 100 calories.  The same goes for 500 calories from a (small) tub of ice cream: those 500 calories have to be dealt with.  

Now, the body does two things to that energy: it either metabolizes it via anabolism, or it metabolizes it via catabolism.  That is, it will either convert the energy (calories) into cells/tissue, or it will use that energy (calories) to break down cells.

Now the link between calories/energy, metabolism, and weight loss becomes rather clear and direct.  

When there is an excess of energy, and the body can’t use this energy to deal with any needs at the time, it will be forced to create cells with that extra energy. It has to.  

It doesn’t necessarily want to, but after figuring out that the energy can’t be used to do anything (such as help you exercise or digest some food), it has to turn it into cells through anabolism.  

And those extra cells?  Yup, you guessed it: added weight!  

In a nutshell (and nuts have lots of calories by the way, so watch out and  eat them in small portions…), the whole calorie/metabolism/weight gain thing is really just about excess energy.   

When there are too many calories in the body – that is, when there’s too much energy from food - then the body transforms those calories into stuff.  

And that stuff, most of the time, is fat.  Sometimes, of course, those extra calories are transformed into muscle; and this is usually a good thing for those watching their weight or trying to maintain an optimal body fat ratio.  

In fact, because muscles require calories to maintain, people with strong muscle tone burn calories without actually doing anything; their metabolism burns it for them.  

This is the primary reason why exercising and building lean muscle is part of an overall program to boost your metabolism; because the more lean muscle you have, the more places excess calories can go before they’re turned into fat.

Check out the Video about Metabolism 


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fitness FAQ

How many reps do I need?

How many reps you need to do depends on your goals. As a guideline try and stay within 2 to 6 reps for strength and power, 8 to 12 reps for muscle size and 15 to 20 reps for endurance. If your goal is to build muscle then your reps range should be around 8 to 12 reps i.e. the weight should be heavy enough to allow only 8 reps, actually you should only be able to get 6 reps with great difficulty on the 6th, but you need to continue on to fight for those last 2 reps, it should be an absolute struggle to get those last two reps. That's
where the muscle growth is. You always need someone there to watch over you when you are performing reps like these. On your next visit you should aim for 9 reps, then 10, 11 and 12, these reps should also be a struggle. When the time comes that you can force out 12 reps with great difficulty, it's time to up the weight.  

How many sets for muscle growth?

Not counting warm ups, 1 good heavy set is enough to induce muscle growth, if done correctly to total muscular failure, however, very few people can or know how to use the 1 set principle correctly so 2 to 3 heavy sets is usually better to ensure muscle growth stimulation. Anything above 3 sets per exercise is usually a waste of time and recovery energy. 

How many days a week should I workout?

You should workout 2 to 4 days a week and no more. You simply cannot fully recover and grow when you are working out 5 and six days a week. It usually takes 48 to 72 hours for a muscle group to recover from an intense weight training session. Only until after full body recovery will muscle growth happen. An every other day routine is good. 

What exercises should I be doing for muscle mass?

You should be doing the heavy basic exercises like squats, dead lifts, and basic presses. These are the exercises when done correctly and safely will produce the best results for muscle mass. The "simple" isolation exercises can be added on later when you have gained a respectable amount of muscle from the basics. Don't waste your energy doing isolations if your goal is muscle mass fast.

How much rest between sets?

As much as you need. You should allow your body to recover between sets and let your breathing return too normal. Usually 1 to 2 minutes sometimes you'll need 3 or more minutes to recover, it depends on the exercise and how hard you pushed yourself.

Should I warm up?

Yes you should warm up, it is very important that you do, but just don't spend half the day doing so. A few light muscle stretches followed by a couple of light sets of the first exercise you are going to do that day. Then stretch again in between those light sets.

Should I stretch between sets?

You should stretch between sets on your first exercise only. Don't over do the stretching, the idea is to loosen up muscle for heavy lifts, not burn out muscle before you execute heavy lifts. 

Should I workout at home or join a gym?

It's a matter of personal preference really. Do you like the gym atmosphere or would you rather the privacy of your own home. 3 questions to consider: Can you really concentrate at home to lift really heavy? have you someone there to help? Have you got enough weights and equipment? If you've answered yes then maybe you could train at home for a while and see how you get on, otherwise I think the gym would be a better option for you. 

Do I need a fitness trainer?

You could consider a fitness trainer if you find that no matter what you try to do, you are not getting the results you desire. If you find that you cannot concentrate on your workouts then you could consider hiring a personal trainer for a time.

What supplements do I need for muscle building?

jojopig.comIf your diet is perfect then you don't really need supplements to support muscle building, but whose diet is absolutely perfect? When it comes to supplements I find that the basics are great like Whey and casein protein powders, creatine, multivitamin/minerals, vitamin c, Vitamin e and zinc. There are "super supplements" available that you could try out for 8 to 12 weeks but I like to stick to the basics. How far you want to take supplementation depends on the individual's goals.   

There's a lot of talk about creatine, is it any good?

Yes it is good, it's very good. Creatine increases energy production in the muscle cells so you can lift heavier and for longer. Creatine helps you to quickly gain weight making you stronger, and the more you can lift means the more muscle fibres you can stimulate for muscle growth. It pulls fluid into the muscle cells making you look bigger. 

What type of protein powder is the best?

There is no real best when it comes to protein powders but Whey protein isolate (WPI) is a fast acting protein and is better than whey protein concentrate because it is purer and has a higher BV (biological value) around 170 compared to 104 for the concentrate which means that the WPI can be used more efficiently by the body. The higher the BV the better. Egg Protein has a BV of 100. Milk protein i.e. whey and casein has a BV of 85 and Beef Proteins about 75.

When should I take protein shakes?

You should take protein shakes (whey protein) before and after a training session i.e. about 30 minutes before and within 1 hour after. You can take a casein protein last thing at night for a steady flow of amino acids for growth and repair while you sleep. On non-training days you can take the whey protein anytime.

Should I eat anything before bed?

You should not eat anything before bed because it could keep you awake all night, especially if you eat a carbohydrate food. Having said that, you can take a casein protein supplement without your sleep being affected.

How can I speed up recovery?

You can speed up recovery by taking a creatine supplement immediately after a workout and about 40 minutes later take a whey protein supplement, then within an hour after that have a highly nutritious real meal supplemented with vitamins and minerals. Vitamin c and e is great for fast recovery.

Should I wear a lifting belt?

Some people find lifting belts great while others can't stand them. I would recommend you wear a lifting belt on your heavy sets and on your heavy sets only, like squats, dead lifts, shoulder presses and bent rows.

Should I wear gloves?

You don't really need gloves. It's a matter of personal preference. Some people will tell you that gloves help them lift more weight, while others will tell you that it detracts from their lifting strength. I like to wear gloves because they give me a better grip on the bar.  

How many reps for building strength?

To build strength you need to concentrate on low reps with very very heavy weights. Reps should be in the 2 to 6 range and the weight should be heavy enough to only allow you perform 2 to 6 reps. You should always have help on standby when you are lifting like this.

How do I bring out my abs?

To bring out your abs you need to watch your diet closer and cut out all the junk with the empty high calories like cakes and sodas. You could do 3 exercises in tri set style eg: Crunches 1 x 15 then hanging leg raises 1 x 15 then onto lying leg raises 1 x 15 repeat 4 times dropping the reps i.e. 12,10,8s. Rest between sets is as long as it takes you to walk over to the abs exercise area or about 20 seconds rest.

Should women lift weights?

Yes women should definitely lift weights. Lifting weights will be a great help in their weight loss, health or fitness goals. Some women believe they will get huge muscles if they lift weights, this is not true, women don't have enough of the male hormone muscle builder testosterone. Weight lifting is a truly excellent form of exercise not just for men.    

How fast or slow should I perform reps?

You need to ensure that your muscle fibres actually do the work. The reps should not be performed too fast using momentum. Use a Slow and controlled pace that should take you about 2 seconds to raise the weight and seconds to lower the weight, it's also a good idea to pause for 1 second in the extended position. It looks like this 2 1 4. Try various lifting speeds to see which one works best for your goals, you could also try a 3 2 5: 3 seconds to lift, 2 seconds hold and flex on extension and 5 seconds to lower it. 

How do I build massive legs?

You need to get off that leg extension machine and learn how to squat correctly. The squat is the king for building massive legs, along with the dead lift and the leg press. If you want massive legs you need to master heavy squats, and heavy standing calf raises. You could try adding super sets to your leg routines with a pre-exhaust technique if you have the weight training experience, if not then straight sets with the squat involved should be enough.

Do I need cardio while building muscle?

Some cardio while on a muscle building course would be beneficial but don't over do it. 20 minutes on the bike or rowing machine before or after a session should be enough.

How many body parts a session?

2 body parts per session is ideal, that way you can fully concentrate on the body parts and put in 100% effort. It drags on a bit if you have to do 3 and 4 body parts a session, the required intensity just won't be there. Keep it at 2 per session.

Should I change my routine?

Yes you should change things around every 8 to 12 weeks for renewed motivation and goal setting, and for a boost in results.

How often should I increase the weight?

The ideal rep range for muscle growth is 8 to 12, so if you find yourself getting 12 reps or more no problem then it's time to up the weight to bring you back down to the almost impossible 8 rep sets. 

What does intensity mean?

It means how hard you need to work to complete the required action i.e. if your lifting a certain weight and you absolutely struggled to get 8 reps and you wanted so much to quit at 6 but somehow managed 8, that's high intensity. Muscles require a high intensity effort to warrant muscle growth stimulation.

How can I build my stubborn calves?

You need to concentrate more on every rep of every set and get a complete stretch. Don't rush your calf training by just throwing in a few sets at the end of your leg training. Try training them first in the session and use a full range of motion with heavy weight.

How much time does a muscle need to recover?

Muscles usually require from 48 to 72 hours to fully recover from a hard training session. Your nervous system also requires full recovery. It depends on the person’s level of training experience and best recovery practices.

What's the best time to train?

About 2 to 3 hours after you get up out of bed is the best time because hormone levels are high and your back has re-adjusted itself by then, but anytime is a great time to train. It all depends on your daily schedule.

How much protein do I need?

Not as much as you think but certainly more than the average Joe or Jane. 1.14 grams of protein per pound of body weight is a good guide, though lean body weight should be taken into consideration for a more accurate figure and not total body weight.  

How should I take my creatine?

Some people say that creating loading is unnecessary but I like to load creatine 20grams 4 x 5gs daily for 5 days then 5g after training for about 8 weeks.

How can I get motivated to get to the gym?

You're the only person that can make you go to the gym, but bear in mind that the thought of going to gym is much worst than the actual application of going to the gym, once your at the gym you're fine and once you finish a great workout you're glad that you went. Just go ahead and go to the gym regardless of what you think at the time.

How do I stay motivated?

You can stay motivated by writing down everything you do at the gym. Write down your sets reps and weight used so you can see how much progress you are making. You can also change your routine every so often to avoid staleness and keep motivation high. It's also a very good idea yo have training goals and strive towards those goals, and when you reach them you need to set more goals.

Will smoking affect my muscle gains?

Yes it will. Smoking will slow down your progress and keep you from reaching your goals. It's also bad for your health, but you knew that already. I suggest that you try some quit smoking techniques until you find one that works for you.

Can I workout with a hangover?

You certainly can but don't expect to perform at 100% level and don't mark it as a great workout. You should stay away from the gym if you're not feeling 100% from a hangover or from a cold or flu. Imagined laziness is different, you should ignore that and get to the gym.

Should I bring a notepad to the gym?

Yes. You need to track your progress so that you know what is working and what's not. Tracking everything is also a great motivator.

How can I shock my muscles into new growth?

By changing your routine or by trying a different training principal like super sets or the pre-exhaust method. You can also shock your muscles by changing the sets or reps and by adjusting the weight accordingly.

How do I prevent stretch marks?

Eat high quality nutritious foods and take a good multi-vitamin/mineral. Take vitamin C, E and zinc. You could also try a good vitamin e cream if you already have stretch marks.

How can I speed up my time spent in the gym?

You can speed up your time spent in the gym by doing less in the gym, which is actually better for you than doing a long drawn out session. Realise that you’re at the gym to work and not stand around talking. Get in, get it done and get out.

Which is better free weights or machines?

Both are good but free weights are better for overall body mass and strength conditioning. More muscles are involved using free weights, this is a good thing. Machines are good to isolate a muscle group and can be used to preexhaust the muscle before the heavy basic free weight exercise.

How much sleep do I need for optimum muscle growth?

You need 8 to 10 hours of sleep for optimum muscle growth. If you're serious about gaining muscle mass then you should ensure that you are getting at least 8 hours every night.

How can I increase testosterone naturally?

You could try zinc and magnesium taken last thing at night or try a product called ZMA. You could also try limiting your rep range to 5 reps but the weight should reflect these 5 rep sets. You will need someone there to help with a true 5-rep range.

Should I workout with sore muscles?

No. Absolutely not. Sore muscles are a clear indicator that you have not recovered from your last session. You need another day or two off. It doesn't matter if your chest muscles are sore and you are training legs - your overall body system has not fully recovered. You could ignore it and go anyway but you will be wasting your time or make things worst on a cellular and nervous system level, then you will need double the time off to fully recover. Your muscles will refuse to grow if you continue to train while not fully recovered from previous sessions. The gym will always be there so take that day or 2 extra off to fully recover and grow. You will then come back to the gym 100%
recovered and ready to go to work on another muscle group or 2.

What's the best way to build muscle?

The best way to build muscle is to purchase a muscle-building program from a person that you know, knows what they're talking about. Don't try and guess it yourself, get the information from an expert. You will also need highly nutritious foods and some supplementation. You need to set clear goals and work very hard to achieve them. You could also try and reduce your time spent in the gym by limiting your training sessions to 1 hour only, when the hour is up you need to get out, go home, recover and grow. Discipline and commitment is also required.

I'm over 40, is it too late for me to build muscle? 

It's never too late to build muscle. If you have a decent training routine and sound nutritional practices and the commitment to improve then it doesn't matter what age you are. You can build muscle at 70 but just don't expect to be Mr Olympia.

Should I use a full range of motion or not?
95% of the time you should use a strict full range of motion with a weight that will just about give you your rep range. You will be able to lift more with sloppy 3/4 reps but it's not as effective as a full range of motion. You could get away with 3/4 reps on your last rep sometimes but a full range of motion is recommended most of the time.

How do I build massive strength without getting too big? 

You need to lift weights that are extremely heavy and do the basic exercises like squat, presses and dead lifts. Rep range should be 2 to 5. You will need 1 or 2 people there to help you while to pump out those very heavy sets. You also need to be experience in weight training to effectively tackle this type of training. Find yourself a good strength or power lifting routine and execute that safely.

I can't seem to build muscle no matter what I do.

You could need a better training routine, better high quality nutrition, higher quality calories, more protein, more rest, more weight, less time in the gym, more commitment. The best thing you could do is get advice from an expert that you know you can trust and you could try a personal trainer for a while. If you go with a personal trainer make sure you tell him/her exactly what you're looking for i.e. if you're looking for massive muscle growth, tell them, make it clear that you're not in it just to get fit and toned.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Make Healthier Choices When Forced to Eat Fast Food

jojopig.comI was out recently with some friends and we stopped at a fast food joint. I hate fast food joints, but sometimes when everybody else wants to go there, you just have to make the best of it and find something at least somewhat healthy. If you're forced to eat fast-food, here's a tip to make sure that you're not doing much damage to your body...ALWAYS AVOID the soda and anything deep fried including french fries, hash browns, and anything breaded like chicken nuggets, chicken patties, or breaded fish sandwiches. These are all absolutely soaked in deadly trans fats from the industrial hydrogenated vegetable oils they use to fry all of these items. Remember, as I've said before, I've seen studies indicating that as little as 1-2 grams of trans fat per day can have serious degenerative internal effects in your body such as inflammation, clogging and hardening of the arteries, heart disease, various forms of cancer...not to mention packing on the ab flab. That's as little as 1-2 grams! Consider that a typical fast-food meal of a breaded chicken sandwich (or fish sandwich), along with an order of fries can contain as much as 10 grams of trans fat! Add on a cookie or small piece of pie for dessert (which are usually made with deadly margarine or shortening), and now you're up to about 13 grams of trans fat with that entire meal. If 1 gram a day is slowly killing you, imagine what 13 grams is doing! And that was only one meal that you ate. Some people are consuming 20-30 grams of trans fat per day, and not even realizing what they're doing to themselves internally. Please realize that nobody, I mean NOBODY, is looking out for your health, except for YOU. Anyway, back to the topic of how to avoid this stuff and eat a reasonably healthy meal on the rare occasion that you're forced to eat fast-food. As for drinks, avoid the sodas...they're nothing but chemicals along with heavily processed high fructose corn syrup which will surely end up as extra belly blubber. Water is always the best drink, but if you need something with flavor, try unsweetened or lightly sweetened iced tea. At breakfast, the best choices are an egg, ham, and cheese on an english muffin (not on a croissant, which is full of nasty trans!), or one of those fruit & nut salads. At lunch or dinner, the best choices are a grilled chicken sandwich, the chili, a grilled chicken salad without croutons (again...croutons = more trans), or even just a plain cheeseburger. The main take-away point from this little fast-food article is that the nastiest stuff at these fast food joints are the sodas and fries, and any other deep fried items. For any of you that have seen the movie "Super-Size Me", you saw how eating fast food every day absolutely destroyed that guy's health, but did you happen to notice the one guy that was the king of eating big macs (or some kind of burger)? I don't remember what kind of burger it was, but basically this guy has eaten these fast food burgers almost every day of his life for the past 30 years or something like that. Did you notice that he stated that he almost never eats the fries or soda, even though he eats the burgers every day? And he's not necessarily overweight. Now I'm not saying that fast-food burgers made with their refined white bread and low quality beef and cheese are the healthiest thing, but the point's the fries and sodas that are the real health disaster. Alright, so next time you're out at one of these places, remember these tips and choose smart! By the way, if you haven't heard yet, McD's has started adding a nutrition label to all of their food wrappers, so now you can at least be aware what you’re eating. Remember that as little as one gram of trans may cause some internal harm and now you can actually see how many grams of trans fat you're eating right on the food wrapper. That might change your mind about finishing it. Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this e-book. I tried to give you some of my insider secrets of a fitness junkie for developing a lean, muscular, and truly healthy body for life! Again, feel free to email this e-book to any of your friends, family, or coworkers that you think might enjoy this information. 


Friday, April 13, 2012

Don’t be Afraid of Dietary Fat. Even Some Saturated Fats are Healthy for You

I’ll preface this section by saying that it will help if you have an open mind and accept that some of these facts are a slap in the face to politically correct nutrition in this day and age where fats are admonished by many well intentioned, but mislead health professionals, doctors, the mass media, etc. 

jojopig.comTo start, eating an adequate supply of healthy dietary fats is vitally important to your overall health. Fats are one of the main components in all of the cell membranes throughout your entire body. If you eat enough healthy natural fats, your cellular processes will proceed normally. On the other hand, if you eat manmade, heavily processed, chemically altered fats (damaged fats) that are found in most processed foods, your cellular function will be impaired as these damaged fats become part of your cell membranes, the body will have to work harder to operate correctly, and degenerative diseases can develop. In addition, healthy dietary fats are essential for optimal hormone production and balance within the body and are therefore essential for the muscle building and fat burning processes.  Did you know that eating a diet that is too low in fat will reduce your testosterone levels? You know what the results of that are: less muscle and more fat on your frame. Females, don’t be afraid…your testosterone is not going to go through the roof by eating more fat. It helps to keep everything in balance for both men and women, as long as you eat the right fats (more on the right fats in a minute). Other important functions that dietary fats play in a healthy body are aiding vitamin and mineral utilization, enzyme regulation, energy, etc. 

jojopig.comI cringe every time I hear so called "health experts" recommend restriction of dietary fat, claiming that a low-fat diet is the key to good health, weight loss, and prevention of degenerative diseases. Restriction of any one macronutrient (protein, carbs, or fat) in your diet works against what your body needs and can only lead to problems. All three basic macronutrients serve important functions for a lean, healthy, and disease-free body. As Dr. Mary Enig, Ph.D, and one of the leading fats and lipids researchers in the world notes in several of her books and  articles, there is very little true scientific evidence supporting the assertion that a high fat diet is bad for us. For example, if these so called "health experts" that admonish fat are correct, and a low-fat diet is the solution to good health, then why did traditional Pacific Islanders who typically obtained 2/3 to 3/4 of their total daily calories from fat (mostly from coconut fat), remain virtually free from heart disease, obesity, and other modern degenerative diseases (that is, until Western dietary influences invaded)? Also, why did traditional Eskimo populations, consuming up to 75% of their total caloric intake from fat (mostly from whale blubber, seal fat, organ meats, and cold water fish), display superior health and longevity without heart disease or obesity? Why did members of the Masai tribe in Africa remain free from degenerative diseases and maintain low body fat percentages on diets consisting of large quantities of raw whole milk, blood, and meat? What about the Samburu tribe of Africa, which eats an average of 5 times the quantity of dietary fat (mostly from raw whole milk and meat) as overweight, disease-ridden Americans,yet Samburu members are lean, healthy, and free of degenerative diseases? What about traditional Mediterranean diets, which are known to be very high in fat (sometimes up to 70% fat), and are also well known to be very healthy? 

These examples of high fat diets and the associated excellent health of traditional populations around the world go on and on, yet it seems that many doctors, nutritionists, and government agencies still ignore these facts and continue to promote a diet that restricts fat intake. It’s not that their intentions are bad, it’s just that everyone has been brainwashed by poor science over the years, when in fact, there really is no hard evidence that natural unprocessed fats are bad for us. 

Well, the problem that has led to this misconception is that the good fats (the natural, unprocessed, health promoting fats) have gotten mistakenly lumped together in nutritional advice with the deadly processed fats and oils that make up a large percentage of almost all processed food that is sold at your local grocery store, restaurant, deli, fast food joint, etc. These deadly processed fats are literally everywhere and almost impossible to avoid unless you know what to look for and make smart choices in what you feed your body with.  Take note that I’m not  recommending following a super high fat diet. Active individuals that exercise on a regular basis certainly also need adequate supplies of healthy carbohydrates for energy and muscle glycogen replenishment, as well as good sources of protein for muscle repair. The above examples of the high fat diets of traditional populations and their corresponding excellent health were simply to prove the point that you
don’t need to be afraid of dietary fats as long as you make healthy natural choices and stay within your daily caloric range to maintain or lose weight (depending on your goals). Following is a list of some of the healthiest fatty foods (some will surprise you!) as well as some of the deadliest fatty foods to try to avoid at all costs:

The Healthy Fatty Food Choices:• Coconut fat (and other tropical oils): Coconut fat is approximately 92% saturated fat, yet surprisingly to most people, is considered a very healthy natural fat. The health benefits of coconut fat lie in its composition of approximately 65% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Specifically, about 50% of coconut fat is a MCT called lauric acid, which has very potent antimicrobial properties helping to enhance the immune system. Also, MCTs are more easily utilized for immediate energy instead of being stored as body fat.  Coconut oil is also an excellent cooking oil for stir-frying, baking, etc. since saturated fats are much more stable and do not oxidize like polyunsaturated oils when exposed to heat and light, which creates damaging freem radicals. The best sources of healthy coconut fat are organic coconut milk, virgin coconut oil, or fresh coconut. Palm oil (nonhydrogenated) is another healthy tropical oil that is highly saturated. Keep in mind that most mainstream health and fitness professionals have been brainwashed to believe that tropical oils are unhealthy. So you will see other health professionals all over the place writing statements such as “avoid saturated fats at all costs” and similar. Come on now. Think about it. A large portion of our natural food supply on this planet is composed of saturated fats, substances that we humans are meant to eat and thrive on. It is only when we humans take natural food and put it through all kinds of chemical  and physical processing (that it was never meant to undergo naturally), that it becomes unhealthy. If you’re interested in a detailed article regarding why saturated fats can actually be good for you, and how you’ve been brainwashed with decades worth of propaganda against saturated fats.• Extra virgin olive oil:  Olive oil is approximately 71% monounsaturated, 16% saturated, and 13% polyunsaturated. Choose “extra virgin” olive oil, which comes from the first pressing of the olives and has higher quantities of antioxidants. Unlike most other oils on supermarket shelves, extra virgin olive oil is not extracted with the use of harmful industrial solvents and is one of your healthiest choices for liquid oils. Try making your own salad dressing by mixing a small amount of olive oil with vinegar. This is healthier than most store bought salad dressings, which are usually made with highly processed and refined (chemically damaged) soybean oil extracted with industrial solvents.• Dark, bittersweet chocolate (>70% cocoa content):  The cocoa bean is a very concentrated source of antioxidants and responsible for part of the health benefit of dark chocolate. The fat portion of the cocoa bean (cocoa butter) is a healthy natural fat, composed of approximately 59% saturated fat (mostly healthy stearic acid), 38% monounsaturated fat, and 3% polyunsaturated fat. I’ll limit the description of healthy chocolate to ONLY dark bittersweet chocolate with >70% cocoa content. Most milk chocolates are only about 30% cocoa, and even most dark chocolates are only about 50% cocoa, leaving the remainder of those products composed of high amounts of sugar, milk fat, corn sweeteners, etc. Look for a quality dark chocolate that lists its cocoa content between 70%-80%. A dark chocolate with cocoa content in this range will contain mostly cocoa and very little sugar, but still have a mildly sweet taste with a smooth and creamy texture. Keep in mind that although dark chocolate can be a healthy treat, it is still calorie dense, so keeping it to just a square or two is a good idea.• Avocados or guacamole:  The fat in avocados (depending on where they’re grown) is approximately 60% monounsaturated, 25% saturated, and 15% polyunsaturated. Avocados are a very healthy natural food that provides many nutrients, fiber, and healthful fats, while adding a rich flavor to any meal. Try sliced avocado on sandwiches or in salads or use guacamole in wraps, sandwiches, or quesadillas. 

• High fat fish such as wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, trout, etc.: Just about any fish or seafood are good sources of natural omega-3
jojopig.compolyunsaturated fats, but the higher fat fish listed above are the best sources of omega-3’s. Due to the radical switch to a higher proportion of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats like soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, etc. in our food supply during the middle of the 20th century, the average western diet is currently way too high in omega-6’s compared to omega-3’s, which wreaks havoc in your body. This is where good omega-3 sources like high fat fish, walnuts, and flax seeds can help bring you back to a better ratio of omega-6/omega-3.• Nuts (any and all - walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, macadamias, etc.): Nuts are great sources of healthy unprocessed fats as well as minerals and other trace nutrients. Macadamias, almonds, and cashews are great sources of monounsaturated fats, while walnuts are a good source of unprocessed polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3’s). Try to avoid nuts that are cooked in oil. Instead, choose raw or dry roasted nuts.• Seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, etc.):  All of these seeds are great sources of natural unprocessed healthy fats. In particular, flax seeds have received a lot of attention lately due to their high omega-3 content. However, keep in mind that omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are highly reactive to heat and light, and prone to oxidation and free radical production, so freshly ground flax seed is the only way to go. Instead of using the store bought ground flax seed, you can buy whole flax seed and use one of those miniature coffee grinders to grind your own flax seed. Try grinding fresh flax seed into your yogurt, cereal, or even your salad. If you’re using flax oil, make sure it’s a cold-pressed oil in a light-proof refrigerated container, and use it up within a few weeks to prevent it from 
going rancid. NEVER cook with flax oil!

• The fat in organically raised, free-range animals:  This is one area where  most people have been misinformed by the mass media. Animal fat is inherently good for us, that is, if it came from a healthy animal. Human beings have thrived on animal fats for thousands of years. The problem lies in the fact that most mass produced animal products today do NOT come from healthy animals. They come from animals given loads of antibiotics and fattened up with hormones and fed un-natural feed. The solution is to choose organically raised, free-range meats, eggs, and dairy. At this time, the price is still a little higher, but it is worth it, and as demand grows, the prices will come down.  

The Deadly Fatty Foods:• Hydrogenated oils (source of artificial trans fats):  These are industrially produced chemically altered oils subjected to extremely high pressure and temperature, with added industrial solvents such as hexane for extraction, and have a metal catalyst added to promote the artificial hydrogenation, followed by bleaching and deodorizing agents…..and somehow the FDA still allows this crap to pass as food. These oils aren’t even worthy of your lawnmower, much less your body! They’ve been linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. Even small quantities of as little as 1 to 2 grams of trans fats/day have been shown in studies to be dangerous. For comparison, if you eat a normal order of fries at a fast food joint or any restaurant, you can easily get 5 grams or more of trans fats. Now if as little as 1 gram daily can be dangerous to your health, imagine what you’re doing to yourself with 5 grams…and that was only the fries! What about all of the cookies, cakes, chicken fingers, donuts, and other stuff people eat on a regular basis? Some people are getting more than 20-30 grams of trans fats every day and don’t even realize that they’re slowly killing themselves with this crap. If you care about your health, check the ingredients of everything you buy, and if you see partially hydrogenated oils of any kind, margarine, or shortening, protect yourself and your family by choosing something else.  If I were asked to pick one thing that is most harmful to our health that is used in our food supply, it would be the artificial trans fats by a landslide. They are simply THAT dangerous that they must be avoided. In my opinion, artificial trans fats are right up there with cigarettes in terms of negative health effects. Because of the growing awareness and concern over the negative health effects of trans fats, the FDA mandated that all food manufacturers show the quantity of trans fat on all labels starting back in January 2006. However, they can still claim that their product is “trans fat free” or “no trans fat” if it has 0.5 grams of trans fat or less per serving according to regulations in the US. So all they have to do is reduce the serving size portion small enough so that it has 0.5 grams of trans, and they can claim “no trans fat”. Don’t trust them! You must inspect the ingredients for yourself to know if it’s free of hydrogenated oils, margarine, or shortening.• Refined oils:  Even if the oils are not hydrogenated, most oils on your supermarket shelves are refined, even most of the so called “healthy” canola oils. Most refined oils still undergo the high temperature, high\ pressure, solvent extraction, bleaching, and deodorizing processes. Anything labeled vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, and even many canola oils have been damaged by this refining process. This damages the natural structure of the fats, destroys natural antioxidants, creates free radicals, and produces a generally unhealthy product. Take note that the explosion of heart disease in the middle of the 20th century coincides quite nicely with the rapid increase in the use of hydrogenated and refined oils in the food supply at that time, while the consumption of saturated fats has actually decreased between the early 1900’s and present time.  Think about that. I think you’ll begin to see the real culprit for heart disease…hydrogenated and refined oils, not the natural healthy saturated fats that have received an undeserved bad rap.• Anything deep fried: including tortilla chips, potato chips, French fries, donuts, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, etc. It’s all fried in hydrogenated or refined oils…most of the time using cheap oils like cottonseed or soybean  oil. All of this crap doesn’t even pass as real food in my opinion! If you can actually find something that’s deep fried in a non-hydrogenated tropical oil like palm or coconut (which are stable oils under heat), then that might be the only deep fried food that’s acceptable. It’s unlikely you’ll find that these days though.• Homogenized milk fat: Milk fat is a very healthy fat in its natural raw state. Traditional populations around the world thrived in perfect health while consuming huge quantities of raw, non-pasteurized, non-homogenized, full fat dairy products.  Once again, food processing ruins a good thing by pasteurizing and homogenizing milk fat, rendering it potentially dangerous inside the human body. Unfortunately, you will find it almost impossible to find raw milk in the US unless you personally know a farmer for more info on the benefits of raw milk and to find out if it’s available near you. As an alternative, cultured dairy products like yogurt have at least had beneficial microorganisms added back to them making them better for you.  Just watch out for the yogurts that are loaded with refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Instead, find one that’s just lightly sweetened with honey or real maple syrup, or just use plain yogurt and add your own fruit to sweeten. Realistically, since you probably won’t find raw milk, sticking to skim milk is probably the best option. Just keep in mind that a large percentage of the population has difficulty digesting (or has allergies to) cow’s milk either due to the lactose for some people, and the proteins for others. If you use butter for cooking, cultured organic butter is the best option. 

Dietary Fat Complete Information Video 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Healthy Trans Fats vs. Unhealthy Trans Fats

I'm going to talk about something in this section that most of you have probably never heard...that there is a distinction between good trans fats and bad trans fats. There is some evidence that the good trans can help you with fat loss, muscle building, and even cancer prevention, while the bad trans fats have been shown to cause heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and the general blubbering of your body.

I'm sure most of you have heard all of the ruckus in the news over the last few years about just how bad man-made trans fats are for your health. If you've been a reader of my newsletter and my "Truth about Six Pack Abs" e-book program, then you definitely know my opinion that these substances are some of the most evil food additives of all and are found in the vast majority of all processed foods and fast foods on the market today. In my opinion, man-made trans fats are right up there with smoking in terms of their degree of danger to your health. After all, they are one of THE MAIN factors for the explosion of heart disease since approximately the 1950's.

As you may have heard recently, the FDA has mandated that food manufacturers include the grams of trans fat on all nutrition labels starting back at the beginning of 2006. This means that as inventory is replaced in the grocery stores, you should start to see grams of trans listed on all packages from now on, providing you with an easier way to avoid them.

With all of the talk about trans fats in the news these days, I wanted to clarify some things, particularly regarding bad trans fats vs. good trans fats. If you've never heard of good trans fats before, let me explain in a bit.

The Bad Trans Fats

jojopig.comFirst, the bad trans fats I'm referring to are the man-made kind. These are represented by any artificially hydrogenated oils. The main culprits are margarine, shortening, and partially hydrogenated oils that are in most processed foods, junk  foods, and deep fried foods. These hydrogenated oils are highly processed using  harsh chemical solvents like hexane (a component of gasoline), high heat, pressure, have a metal catalyst added, and are then deodorized and bleached. A small % of the solvent is allowed to remain in the finished oil. This has now become more of an industrial oil rather than a food oil, but somehow the FDA still allows the food manufacturers to put this crap in our food at huge quantities, even with the well documented health dangers.

These hydrogenated oils cause inflammation inside of your body, which signals the deposition of cholesterol as a healing agent on artery walls. Hence, hydrogenated oil = inflammation = clogged arteries. You can see why heart disease has exploded since this crap has been loaded into our food supply over the last 5 to 6 decades. As time goes on, and science continues to unveil how deadly these oils really are, I feel that eventually they will be illegal and banned from use. The labeling laws were just the first step. In fact, certain countries around the world have already banned the use of hydrogenated oils in food manufacturing or at least set dates to phase them out for good.

However, keep in mind that as companies are starting to phase out the use of hydrogenated oils in processed foods, they are replacing them, in most instances, with highly refined cheap vegetable oils. These are still heavily processed oils using high heat, solvents, deodorizers, and bleaching agents. Even refined oils are known to produce inflammation in your body...a far cry from natural sources of healthy fats. Once again, for the best results, your best bet is avoiding highly processed foods altogether and choose whole, natural, minimally processed foods. Your body will thank you!

The Good Trans Fats

Ok, after having trash talked the man-made trans fats, let me clearly state that there IS such a thing as healthy natural trans fats. Natural trans fats are created in the stomachs of ruminant animals like cattle, sheep, goats, etc. and make their way into the fat stores of the animals. Therefore, the milk fat and the fat within the meat of these animals can provide natural healthy trans fats. Natural trans fats in your diet have been thought to have some potential benefit to aid in both muscle building and fat loss efforts. However, keep in mind that the quantity of healthy trans fats in the meat and dairy of ruminant animals is greatly reduced by massproduction methods of farming and their grain and soy heavy diets. Meat and dairy from grass-fed, free-range animals always have much higher quantities of these beneficial fats.

One such natural trans fat that you may have heard of is called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and has been marketed by many weight loss companies. Keep in mind that these man-made CLA pills you see in the stores may not be the best way to get CLA in your diet. They are artificially made from plant oils, instead of the natural process that happens in ruminant animals. Once again, man-made just doesn't compare to the benefits of natural sources.

Now that all of your labels should be listing grams of trans fat, keep in mind that if a quantity of trans fat is listed on a meat or dairy product, it is most likely the natural good trans fats that we've discussed here. Otherwise, if the quantity of trans is listed on any processed foods, it is most likely the dangerous unhealthy crap from artificially hydrogenated oils, so stay away! I hope you've enjoyed this interesting look at good trans fat vs. bad trans fat and use the info to arm yourself with more healthful food choices for a better body.

Video about FAT in your Diet


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Post-Workout Nutrition - Secrets to a Hard, Lean Body

As you’ve probably heard before, your post-workout meal may very well be your most important meal of the day. The reason is that when you’re finished with an intense workout, you’re entering a catabolic state where your muscle glycogen is depleted and increased cortisol levels are beginning to excessively break down muscle tissue. These conditions (if left to go too long) are not good and the only way to reverse this catabolic state (and promote an anabolic state) is to consume a quickly digestible post-workout meal as soon as you can after training.  The goal is to choose a meal with quickly digestible carbs to replenish muscle glycogen as well as quickly digestible protein to provide the amino acids needed to jump start muscular repair. The surge of carbohydrates and amino acids from this quickly digested meal promotes an insulin spike from the pancreas, which shuttles nutrients into the muscle cells. The post-workout meal should generally contain between 300-500 calories to get the best response.  For example, a 120-lb female may only need a 300-calorie meal, whereas a 200-lb male may need a 500-calorie post-workout meal.  Your post-workout meal should also contain anywhere from a 2:1 ratio of carbs:protein to a 4:1 ratio of carbs : protein. While most of your other daily meals should contain a source of healthy fats, keep the fat content of your post-workout meal to a bare minimum, since fat slows the absorption of the meal, which is the opposite of what you want after a workout. 

jojopig.comWhen choosing what to make for your post-workout meal, the first thing to realize is that you DON’T need any of these expensive post-workout supplement formulations that the magazines (who advertise for them) will tell you that you absolutely NEED! As with any nutritional strategies, natural is always better. A good source of quickly digestible natural carbs such as frozen bananas, pineapples, raisins, honey, or organic maple syrup are perfect to elicit an insulin response that will promote muscle glycogen replenishment and a general anabolic (muscle building) effect.  The best source of quickly digestible protein is a quality non-denatured whey protein isolate, some fat-free or low-fat yogurt, or even some fat free or low fat ricotta cheese. Ricotta is mostly whey protein, so it is fast digesting. Cottage cheese, on the other hand, is mostly casein and is slow digesting and would not be good as a post-workout meal (even though it is great any other time of day).  Here are a couple ideas for delicious post-workout smoothies that will kick start your recovery process:

Chocolate Banana - blend together 1 cup water, ½ cup skim milk, one and a half frozen bananas, 2 tbsp organic maple syrup, and 30 grams chocolate whey protein powder - 38 g prot, 72 g carb, 0.5 g fat, 440 calories.

Pineapple Vanilla - blend together 1 cup water, ½ cup vanilla yogurt, one cup frozen pineapples, 2 tbsp honey (preferably raw), and 30 grams vanilla whey protein powder - 35 g prot, 71 g carb, 0.5 g fat, 425 calories.

When looking to lose body fat, keep in mind that post-workout meals should have the opposite characteristics of all of your other meals throughout each day.  While post-workout meals should have quick high glycemic index carbs, quickly digested proteins, and minimal fat, all of your other meals throughout the day should be comprised of low glycemic index, slowly digested carbs, slow release proteins, and ample healthy fats.  These are powerful strategies towards developing a lean muscular body with a low body fat percentage.  Another great thing about postworkout meals is that you can satisfy even the worst sweet tooth, since this is the one time of the day where you can get away with eating extra sugars without adding to your gut. Instead, it all goes straight to the muscles! Enjoy!


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