50 Fitness Facts You Need To Know

I love this awesome list of fitness facts!  Just when I thought I could call myself an ‘fitness geek’ BAM.

Some of these facts really surprised me.  Did any of them surprise you and if so, which ones?

  1. Carbohydrates, protein, fat, and alcohol have 4, 4, 9, and 7 calories per gram respectively.
  2. It takes a 3500 calorie deficit to lose 1 pound.
  3. Insulin and growth hormone have an inverse relationship.
  4. The average person can store 500 grams of glycogen.
  5. Only fat and protein are essential macronutrients – carbohydrates aren’t.
  6. Muscle glycogen is about 3 parts water to 1 part glucose.
  7. You burn more calories during the 23 hours you don’t exercise than the 1 hour you do.
  8. You don’t need to do cardio to lose weight.
  9. The fat burning zone does not burn more total fat calories – only a higher percentage of calories from fat.
  10. You’re never too old to do squats.
  11. Weight loss is not a physical challenge – it’s a mental one.
  12. The scale cannot measure body fat percentage.
  13. You can eat anything you want and still lose weight – but weight doesn’t always equal fat.
  14. You can’t target fat loss – fat loss is systemic.
  15. Muscle does not weigh more than fat – it’s just denser than it.
  16. 0 grams of fat on a label doesn’t always mean there’s no fat in the food product.
  17. Whole grain bread is still a processed food.
  18. Eating healthy is not more expensive than a junk food diet.
  19. You can’t calculate body fat percentage from height and weight alone – you need to physically measure it.
  20. You can get glucose from both protein and glycerol – not just carbohydrates.
  21. Just because a box says “whole grain” on it, it doesn’t make it healthy.
  22. You should never attempt weight loss at the expense of your health.
  23. Being vegetarian doesn’t just mean you don’t eat meat – it means you follow a plant-based diet.
  24. Workout times and negative side effects are positively correlated.
  25. Gym membership prices are negotiable.
  26. Cooking your food can both lower some nutrient content, and make some more bioavailable.
  27. There’s a high correlation between the fitness level of the people close to you, and your own physical fitness.
  28. It’s harder to put on 10 pounds of muscle than it is to lose 10 pounds of fat.
  29. Once an adult, fat cells can be created, but they cannot be lost – only shrunken.
  30. Eating at night does not make you fat – overeating does.
  31. You don’t need to do curls to get good biceps.
  32. Being skinny does not automatically mean you have a low body fat.
  33. The perimeter of the grocery store is where 90% of the healthy food is.
  34. If bad food is in the house, you’ll be more likely to eat it.
  35. Thyroid hormone output and exercise intensity are positively correlated.
  36. Healthy levels of testosterone are good for both men and women.
  37. You don’t need a gym membership to strength train.
  38. Unless you weigh less than 100 pounds, it’s unlikely you need less than 1000 calories to lose weight.
  39. Workout intensity is positively correlated with the degree of EPOC – the afterburn effect.
  40. There are 3 types of skeletal muscle fibers – type I, type II-A, and type II-B.
  41. 80% of people who begin an exercise program will quit.
  42. The body has 3 energy systems – ATP-PC, anaerobic glycolysis, and aerobic.
  43. Strength gains come from muscle hypertrophy and improved muscle fiber recruitment.
  44. Dehydrating a muscle by 3% can cause a 10% loss of strength.
  45. The thermic effect of food (TEF) is highest for protein.
  46. Lactic acid is not the cause of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
  47. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
  48. Direct abdominal exercises are not necessary to get good abs.
  49. You can lose weight and still gain muscle; likewise, you can also gain weight while still losing fat.
  50. Consistency and patience are key to long term successful weight loss.

(source: coach calorie)

Banish Belly Bloat

Experiencing a little post-summer belly bloat from all of the barbecues and other indulgences?  Here are some of the best ways to help you get your flat tummy back:

1. Get hydrated! Start each day with 12-16 ounces of warm water with a splash of organic lemon.

2. Skip the sugar  – in all of its forms. Especially liquid calories from any source (soda, juice, alcohol) all of which store belly fat. Be on a mission to get high fructose corn syrup out of your diet as it is especially good at laying down belly fat.

3. Ditch the flour – wheat flour, especially, is just like sugar. Did you know that two slices of whole wheat bread raise your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of table sugar?

4. Start the day with protein, not starch or sugar.  Try whole omega-3 eggs, a protein shake, nut butters or even kippers! Skip the bagels, muffins, donuts and cereal.

Along with these simple rules, you can also work on blasting belly fat by adding in these healthy foods that will contribute to a svelte stomach:

  • Greens 
  • Chia Seeds
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Oats, Oat Groats and Steel Cut Oats
  • Fermented Foods (kefir, saurkraut)

**Note, laxatives and harsh cleanses will only temporarily relieve bloating but will not heal the issue.  In fact, these things will only cause more bloating and digestive discomfort in the long run

(article adapted from

100 Reasons to Exercise Now!!

  1. Because it makes you feel confident
  2. Because it helps you get stronger
  3. Because exercise helps combat depression
  4. Because you’ll feel proud of yourself
  5. Because you have goals you want to reach
  6. Because you’ll feel bad if you don’t
  7. Because you want to move forward, not backward
  8. Because it burns more calories than not working out
  9. Because it improves your heart health
  10. Because you want a great butt
  11. Because it prevents diabetes
  12. Because you want to be a good example to your kids
  13. Because you want to feel good in your clothes
  14. Because it reduces your risk of cancer
  15. Because your body was made to move
  16. Because you want to be an athlete
  17. Because you want to look better
  18. Because it lifts your mood
  19. Because you want to stand taller
  20. Because it reduces back pain
  21. Because it feels good
  22. Because it makes you feel accomplished
  23. Because you spend most of your day on your butt
  24. Because swimsuit season is always coming
  25. Because strong is the new skinny
  26. Because dieting only works so much
  27. Because it strengthens your bones, too
  28. Because it helps you lose weight
  29. Because it allows you to eat more food
  30. Because it’s the best way to spend “me” time
  31. Because it helps you de-stress
  32. Because it’s cheaper than therapy
  33. Because you want a strong core
  34. Because you want to take care for yourself
  35. Because you take pride in your body
  36. Because it strengthens your legs
  37. Because it helps your clothes fit better
  38. Because you want to push yourself
  39. Because you are capable of more than you ever imagined
  40. Because moving your body feels good
  41. Because it keeps your mind sharp
  42. Because it helps you beat belly bloat
  43. Because it helps you sleep better at night
  44. Because it gives you energy
  45. Because you want to stay healthy as you age
  46. Because you want to look younger
  47. Because you want toned arms
  48. Because it improves your balance
  49. Because it burns off last night’s dessert
  50. Because it boosts your immune system
  51. Because sweat is sexy
  52. Because you want to live longer
  53. Because you want to get better at your game
  54. Because you want to catch someone’s eye
  55. Because exercisers earn more money
  56. Because you’re more likely to eat better when you exercise
  57. Because you want to shave time off your running pace
  58. Because you want to breathe easier
  59. Because you want to see the scale drop
  60. Because exercise improves your sex life
  61. Because you are worth it
  62. Because being fit makes everything in life better
  63. Because you promised yourself that you would
  64. Because you deserve a better life
  65. Because it’ll help you drink more water
  66. Because you want to do real push-ups
  67. Because it reduces your health care costs
  68. Because you’ll miss fewer days of work
  69. Because you want to create a new future for yourself
  70. Because it’ll help you like what you see in the mirror
  71. Because it makes clothing shopping more fun
  72. Because you want to look and feel incredible
  73. Because exercising can be fun
  74. Because it’ll give your skin a glow
  75. Because it’s a good way to spend time with your friends
  76. Because it’ll help you prevent the middle-age spread
  77. Because it reduces your blood pressure
  78. Because you don’t want to let yourself go
  79. Because you don’t want to squeeze into an airplane or rollercoaster seat
  80. Because it strengthens your spirit
  81. Because it’s a cheap way to entertain yourself
  82. Because you’ll be able to reward yourself
  83. Because you need a reason to wear those new workout clothes
  84. Because you’re tired of being tired
  85. Because not working out is not going to get you very far
  86. Because it’s a great way to spend time outside
  87. Because you made a commitment to yourself
  88. Because you’re tired of starting over
  89. Because there will always be another wedding, vacation or reunion
  90. Because you’re not a quitter
  91. Because it improves your cholesterol
  92. Because it boosts your metabolism
  93. Because it prevents age-related muscle loss
  94. Because if you can do this, you can do anything
  95. Because a fit body is a healthy body
  96. Because it beats sitting on the couch
  97. Because  everyone has at least 10 minutes to spare
  98. Because you want to be stronger than your excuses
  99. Because not working out isn’t working out for you
  100. Because the only workout you ever regret is the one you skip

Which reason resonates with you?

(source:, image: weheartit)

We made it through another winter everyone…holla!

Today is the first official day of spring and is the day that I consider the first of my New Year.  

Celebrating my New Year when nature is starting to come alive again makes sense to me.  Plus if I f^&* up on my resolutions then I get a second chance ;)

I want to invite all of you to celebrate with me as if it was the start of a New Year for you or perhaps just a very special day where you can energetically release patterns, behaviours, relationships and other stuff that doesn’t really serve you and focus on cultivating joy and achieving your goals.

Think of today as your very own blank canvas.  Consider these questions:

Are you having trouble eating healthy? Start today.  

Have your workouts been irregular? Go today.

Is there someone/something in your life that is draining your energy? Release them today.

What do you want to feel more of? Write a list.

What do you want to stop doing? Write a list.

What do you wish to achieve this year? Set an intention.

What makes us come alive and feel joy? Focus on those things.

This is a precious day that will never be repeated.  What will you do to celebrate it? Do it.

(image: flickr)

So What’s The Deal With Carb Cycling?

Can carb cycling help you lose fat? YES

Many of the clients that I work with ask me about this subject.  As many of you know, my journey to getting healthy and lean included a battle with carbs as I was once terrified of them.  Once I began to include carbs into my diet, I noticed DRAMATIC results…my waist line shrunk, I had tons of energy to put into my workouts, which translated into better results, I could think, remember, concentrate and my dreams came back during sleep.  Not only that, but eating carbs made my life and relationship to food improve so I actually enjoyed eating food and no longer felt restricted.  That meant no more binging or emotional eating.  It was a total and complete win-win!

So what’s the deal with carb cycling?  I know that many of my readers are working on fat loss and this is an amazing bodybuilding technique that can be used for a MAXIMUM of 3 Weeks to accelerate fat loss.  If you carry this practice on any longer, you will begin to lose lean muscle tissue and this could lower your metabolic rate meaning that you will have to eat less to burn more and that goes against EVERYTHING we have been learning on creating a healthy lifestyle.

Although I no longer practice this because I am at my ideal weight/body fat %,  I have tried it before and I do recommend it to my clients for a short period of time.  This also a great technique before a show, photo shoot or big event.

I also ensure that my clients NEVER go below a 30% carb intake even on LOW DAYS and carbs are always low-glycemic varieties such as brown rice, quinoa, sprouted grain breads, whole grains, etc.

I thought I would break it down for you and so I would like to share one of my favourite articles on the topic so that you can get a better understanding of carb cycling.  

 - By Jessica Hershberg

Interest in carb cycling diets is on the rise because of the appeal of being able to eat cheat foods and still lose weight quickly. Carb cycling involves eating low carb for a period of time followed by a day of increased carbohydrate consumption. Learning to carb cycle may help speed weight loss and prevent you from dropping your diet when you slip up and cheat.


Carb cycling has many benefits over a strict low carb diet. Psychologically, it can be easier to eat low carb when you know you can have a high carb day every few days. Allowing yourself to enjoy your favorite high carb foods every few days can strengthen your willpower for the days when you eat low carb.

Carb cycling can also be a great fat loss tool. Eating low carb teaches your body to burn it’s own body fat for fuel instead of relying on dietary carbohydrates. Once your body increases it’s ability to burn fat, your occasional high carb days won’t derail this ability and you will lose weight.

Cycling carbohydrates also regulates hormones related to hunger and allows your body to restore it’s muscle glycogen stores. This can be helpful if you are an athlete, as glycogen is necessary for exercise.


There are a couple of different approaches to carb cycling. One of the most popular is to eat low carb five days a week and high carb on two days of your choice. The days can be back-to-back or separated by a few days. Your carb intake on high carb days should not exceed about 50 percent of your daily calories, and your calories on those days should be right at about the level that a weight loss calculator suggests for maintenance. On your lower carb days, your carbs should be zero to 50 grams a day and your calories should be lower than on your high carb days.


For a 160 pound female, your carb cycling diet may look like this:

Monday: low carb, 1,150 calories, 0 to 50 grams carbs maximum

Tuesday: high carb, 1,950 calories, 243 grams of carbs maximum

Wednesday: low carb, 1,150 calories, 0 to 50 grams carbs maximum

Thursday: low carb, 1,150 calories, 0 to 50 grams carbs maximum

Friday: low carb, 1,150 calories, 0 to 50 grams carbs maximum

Saturday: high carb, 1,950 calories, 243 grams of carbs maximum

Sunday: low carb, 1,150 calories, 0 to 50 grams carbs maximum

Use an online calorie calculator to determine how many calories you need to maintain weight based on your age, height and weight. That is your calorie count for high carb days, with no more than 50 percent of calories from carbs. On low carb days, aim for a calorie count that will create a 1 to 2 lb. loss every week with no more than 50 grams of carbs per day.


You will have best results if you stick to healthy foods as much as possible. Try to choose lower glycemic index carbs for one of your high carb days and higher glycemic foods on the other. This allows you to enjoy all your favorite foods but also encourages fruit and vegetable intake instead of getting all your carbs from less healthy sources such as sugar and white flour. Lower glycemic index carbohydrates have been shown to be better choices for weight reduction than high glycemic carbs, according to a study published in March 2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


Finding success with a carb cycling diet plan can mean letting go of the idea of dieting and feeling guilty about low willpower and slip-ups that often cause people to give up on their diets. Realizing that eating cheat foods can actually help your weight loss efforts is the first step in getting off the yo-yo dieting cycle. 

Learning to eat in a way that satisfies your cravings and supports fat loss and lean muscle gain is the key to changing your body composition for good, and carb cycling can be a good tool to use to find dieting balance.

This is some additional information that I think you may find useful:

Low-Carb Days

According to the Mayo Clinic, boosting protein and fat on low-carb days increases satiety, which may result in a reduction in calories and promote fat burning. Muscle and Fitness recommends keeping carbs between 100 and 125 g on low-carb days.

High-Carb Days

High-carbs days not only augment the metabolism, but they also give a psychological break from low-carb dieting. According to Muscle and Fitness website, eat between 400 to 500 g of carbs on high-carb days. On these days, decrease fat intake a bit to prevent calories from going too high.

Choose Low-Glycemic Carbs

Research published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” cited that choosing low-glycemic carbs resulted in a greater loss of body fat compared to those eating high-glycemic carbs. While carb cycling, choose low-glycemic carbs, such as brown rice, quinoa, apples, rye bread and broccoli.

What’s the Big Deal About Antioxidants?

To explain the usefulness of antioxidants, one must understand free radicals. In addition to being a musical band (You have heard of the Free Radicals, haven’t you? No? That’s okay, I don’t like them anyway.), they are also a source of harm for your body.

Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. Although there are several enzyme systems within the body that scavenge free radicals, the principle micronutrient (vitamin) antioxidants are vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Additionally, selenium, a trace metal that is required for proper function of one of the body’s antioxidant enzyme systems, is sometimes included in this category. The body cannot manufacture these micronutrients so they must be supplied in the diet.

Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol. A fat soluble vitamin present in nuts, seeds, vegetable and fish oils, whole grains (esp. wheat germ), fortified cereals, and apricots. Current recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 15 IU per day for men and 12 IU per day for women.

Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin present in citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries. The RDA is 60 mg per day. Intake above 2000 mg may be associated with adverse side effects in some individuals.

Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A (retinol) and is present in liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, yams, tomato, cantaloupe, peaches, and grains. Because beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A by the body there is no set requirement. Instead the RDA is expressed as retinol equivalents (RE), to clarify the relationship. (NOTE: Vitamin A has no antioxidant properties and can be quite toxic when taken in excess.)*


9 Ways to Curb Sugar Cravings

When it comes to sugar, some of us fall short and give into cravings.  I have noticed this most when I am feeling fatigued or close to a menstrual cycle; however, over the years, I have learned to overcome this simply through creating new neuro-impulses in my brain.  In short, making the choice not to self-soothe with sugar but opting for other ways.

Each time you are about to reach for sugar or something sweet that may throw you off your program, you have a CHOICE.  You can choose to have it and you can choose not to.  It’s that simple, really.

I know it may not always feel that way but if you pause for a moment and give yourself some space (ie. practice mindfulness) you can identify whether or not you actually want to enjoy that treat or if it is even necessary.

I love this article by Meg Worden on nine awesome things to help you curb sugar cravings easily - (from

1. Breathe: When you feel a craving come on, take three deep breaths. Your brain needs oxygen to think, to consider what else you might want to do. Deep breathing not only feeds your brain a direct hit of O2, but it calms the central nervous system, brings you from fight/flight back to chill and gives you a couple of extra seconds to remember that you are actually capeable of choosing. It’s true. You aren’t a hapless victim at the mercy of your every craving. It is entirely possible for you to have a craving and respond according to what is in your highest interest.

2. Drink Water: Drink water all day long for a variety of worthwhile reasons. But if you are having a sugar craving, right after you breathe, then go drink a tall glass of water. Often cravings are actually the body calling for air and water. Our high stress lives cause dehydration and shallow breathing. It will also buy you some more time to remember that you are a powerful choice maker and you have excellent reasons to stand by your choices.

3. Eat Your Vegetables: No matter what you feel hungry for, make a point to eat a meal of vegetables. Or mostly vegetables. Pile them high on your plate and dig in. It will keep you full and fed. Veggies give your bod a high dose of nutrition and quality nutrition keeps cravings at bay. Salads are wonderful meals. Make them even more satisfying by adding healthy fats for satiety, like avocado, cashews, raw pumpkin seeds, cubes of baked sweet potato and high quality extra virgin olive oil.

4. Have Fruit For Dessert: When you have an after meal sweet tooth, have an apple or some berries with a little bit of honey. Eat fruit as fresh, local and seasonal as possible for the most exciting and satisfying flavor. Train your palate to enjoy a more subtle sweetness. Fresh, white summer peaches, plums, pineapple…Also, is the grill hot from dinner? Throw some fresh fruit on the grill. You won’t believe how the heat brings out the sweet.

5. ExerciseGet out and sweat. This will get your heart beating, your blood flowing and make you feel really good about yourself and your body. It moves stagnant energy around and you will be far less likely to want to ruin it all with pie. Instead, have a post-workout smoothie with frozen mixed berries, coconut flakes, raw cacao, blue-green algae, and coconut water.

6. Procrastinate: Put those procrastination skills to good use. Make no mistake, sugar is addictive. It gives you a temporary high, then a crash that makes you crave more. Sometimes just making the decision that you are going to quit  is enough to send you into a binge spiral. A better option is to just not eat it right now. Procrastinate. Table it. Put it on the back burner. Call it up and make some lame excuse about how you’d rather wash your hair. I promise that by getting  some temporal distance from it will calm the cravings. Especially if you are doing all of the other things on this list.

7. H.A.L.T.: Classic addiction advice. HALT stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Cravings are likely to show up when you are any of these things. So it’s always valuable to assess whether your craving is masking a true hunger that can be fed with a healthier option, or whether it’s another emotion that can be solved by calling a friend to vent, calling a friend to hang out, or taking a nap. You can think about this while you are breathing and drinking water.

8. Get Clear On The What And The Why: Do you want to be healthy? Lose weight? Feel great? Sleep well? Have more energy? Win a Pulitzer? One of your daily life practices should be getting and staying really clear on your goals. And I’m calling this a practice because it takes practice, engagement and refinement. Life is dynamic, it is constantly shifting around and your goals will need subtle alterations. So this means staying aware of what you actually want out of your life is a powerful state to be in.

Cravings can be turned into a trigger to remind you of what you want, why you want it and empower you to choose for yourself the option that gets you closer to those goals. Think of why you don’t want to eat sugar. What will you gain? Then what will you gain if you get that? And what will you gain if you get that? Keep going until you get to your core motivation. Then see if you can pare it down to three to five words, a short sentence that can be like a mantra for you to easily remember throughout the day, and especially when cravings surface.

9. Change Your Story: This is related to number eight. Instead of telling yourself  “I quit eating sugar,” which sets you up for failure in the event of a slip, tell yourself “I don’t want to eat sugar.” Extra bonus points for adding in why you don’t want to eat the sugar. “It makes me sick/depressed/low energy/spastic.” Or perhaps you think about all of the things you are without the sugar, radiant/energetic/masterful/sexy… you get the idea. It will help strengthen your resolve and create less dissonance if you accidentally eat the cupcake. Which could happen. But just keep going. Give it time. A little distance from the sugar habit and you will be feeling fantastic, empowered and reaching for the peaches with a juicier abandon and no remorse.

As a last thought, I want to say that I am not suggesting that you never ever eat sugar as long as you live. Less is definitely more and if you want to eat zero, I support you completely. But if there is some special dessert that you can’t imagine your life without, please eat it. But when you do, savor it, love it and only sometimes.

Now go. Do. Breathe, drink water and figure out how you really want to live this one precious life of yours. Then hold on to that vision.

I love this article by fitness model Monica Brant.  Here she pretty much sums it up with her thoughts on diet an other important aspects of a fit/health lifestyle.

Monica Brant has been one of my training role models since I started improving my physique and training for fitness.  She has a super strong and positive outlook and she runs fitness camps for women several times a year. 

Check her out:

Monica Brant Female Fitness Model Best Diet Secrets

Now that we’re all thinking about beaches, boardwalks and bathing suits, dieting is on the forefront of everyone’s minds. We thought we’d take five minutes and ask someone who looks great all year round “Monica Brant” about her summer dieting secrets. For those people like Monica living in a warm climate, dieting is a constant concern. Let’s see what Monica has to reveal about her diet and how she maintains her superb physique.

On Diets

I’ve been competing for about eight years now and during that time, I’ve tried many approaches to dieting. Especially during the past year, I’ve learned a very important lesson: different diets work differently for different people. There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” diet. I know what works for me not for anyone else. And this is true for everyone. One of the most important things you can learn is to know your body, understand what works for you as an individual. It’s basically a process of trial and error. Personally, it took many years of experimenting before I found the right diet, which I put to use at last year’s Fitness Olympia. During the competition season, I follow a modified 40:30:30 diet [protein:carbs:fat] with more protein than carbs. Everyday, these ratios changed slightly. I don’t like to follow a certain ratio too rigidly. By keeping my diet variable, my body doesn’t have a chance to adjust. Understanding my genetic limits, I know what I can get by with what I can eat and what I can’t.

On Diet Plans

There’s nothing wrong with trying out different diet plans. Just because one diet doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean you should quit trying to lose weight altogether. If nothing else, dieting teaches you discipline. Whenever you start a new diet plan, you should pay attention to how it makes you feel. Try to write everything down in a log book. For example, try the Zone Diet for 6 weeks to see if it works. Then, try the Atkins Diet for six weeks and see how it compares. The main thing you need to remember is discipline and consistency. You’ve got to stay with a program for a minimum of six weeks. Two or three weeks is not enough for your body to adjust to a new diet. You have to train your body to stay at a lower bodyfat level, especially if it’s a new level that it hasn’t been accustomed to before.

On Bingeing

I know what my body craves sugars and starch. I also know that these things keep me chunky. Once again, the real trick is consistency. I eat “clean” about 75% of the time. Since this can be really tough, I give myself little breaks here and there. For instance, I treated myself to a rich dessert yesterday at a restaurant. Don’t be afraid to splurge once a week, maybe on the weekend, and eat something sinful. It will help keep you honest for the rest of the week. Not only that, it will help prevent your body from falling into a regular pattern.

On Protein

I try to eat protein with every meal, whether it’s chicken, turkey, tuna or a protein shake. If you’re like me and travel a lot, there are a couple ways to make sure you’re never without protein. For example, I always pack some canned chicken/tuna in water. It’s really convenient. Whey protein is also really easy to take. My favorite is Universal’s Orange Creamsicle Super Whey Pro. Instead of taking the whole bottle, what I do is spoon out measured amounts of protein into little plastic baggies and take them with me wherever I go. That way, I can be sure to get a lot of protein. I usually want at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. When I’m training intensely, I take about 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight up to 200g per day. The reason why women need more protein is because without adequate amounts, their bodies will eat away lean mass, especially when they diet. And with less lean mass, your metabolism slows down.

On Exercising

Everyone knows cardiovascular exercise is important during dieting. I try to work out every day, even when I don’t have access to a gym (for example, doing sprints on the beach or running up the stairs at a hotel). Running is definitely a good idea if your knees can handle it. I enjoy interval training. According to conventional wisdom, you should aim for a target heart rate of 138-148 when you’re performing cardiovascular exercise. I personally prefer 145-160 instead. When I’m interval training, my heart rate can hit the 180s. And during my routines, my rate is 180 the entire time. That’s why conditioning is so important. If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to exercise for at least 20-30 minutes, minimum. What can you do in ten minutes except warm up your muscles. If I’m training legs, I’ll get on stationary bike and do interval sprints. Whatever you do, the best time to exercise is in the morning before breakfast or at night after your last meal. I’d also recommend weight training for all women. Twice a week would be awesome. Resistance training definitely makes you feel better and lean mass burns more calories than fat. Besides, weight training is the only way you’re going to get that toned look.

On Water

Water is a must. Proper hydration is critical for staying in top shape. Personally speaking, I drink at least a gallon of water per day. No matter where I am, I have water handy I keep it next to my bed so that I can drink from it in the middle of the night. I have a bottle in the car, and another one in my gym bag. Wherever I am, I have water.

On Supplements

Supplements can definitely make a big difference. I would strongly suggest it for people who are serious about sticking to a weight-loss program. Go with what you feel comfortable with. Because Ripped Fast 2 is so powerful, I’ll only take one capsule at a time. Universal also has an effective formula called Herbal ThermoStack E/C/A which works better for women because it doesn’t have ephedra in it. Remember, stick to a program for at least six weeks. Do the cardio. Hit the weights. By doing so, fat burners will work even faster. In addition to these fat burners, I also use plenty of whey protein and a good multivitamin. Women’s Fitness Pak is about as complete as you’re going to find. In terms of snacks, my favorite is the Muscle Bar. This little bar packs a lot of nutrition with protein, a little carbs, and a little fat. For women who want a little more lean mass, I’d recommend Creatine Chews. It’s got plenty of creatine and it even tastes like Sweet Tarts.

On Hunger
Contrary to popular myths, the key to dieting is to eat something when you’re hungry. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should be snacking on Doritos all day long or a Snickers bar. Instead, pick up a nutrition bar or mix a protein shake. If you just can’t avoid something sugary, at least have it with a meal to blunt your body’s insulin response. It’s important to keep your blood sugar levels even. Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day will help you achieve this. And always stay within your means. As I mentioned earlier, everyone’s means will vary from individual to individual.

On Rest

Rest is definitely important. If I’m tired and feeling run down, I want to eat sweets. On the other hand, if I’m well rested and exercise regularly, my desire for these foods are greatly diminished. Try it and see for yourself!



YEAH…I’m talking to you.

Let’s start with some cold hard facts:

  • 1 Cup of Mini Eggs is 1082 Calories and has 42 Grams of Fat (not the healthy kind) and 140 Grams of Sugar
  • 1 Cream Egg is 150 Calories and has 8 Grams of unhealthy Fat and 20 Grams of Sugar
  • They are full of artificial colour, corn syrup, flavour and ‘modified ingredients’ what the F is a modified ingredient anyway?
  • Once you start eating these, you will not stop.  They are highly addictive and they are meant to be
  • The sugar and fat in this delicious crap (yes, I realize they are amazing I’m not trying to pull the wool over your eyes here) will mess up your hormones and will affect your mood, not to mention after a mini gorge on them, you probably won’t feel so hot.

The last thing you need is to sabotage yourself by binging out on Easter chocolate, trust me, I have been there and its not worth it.  I don’t even buy them anymore…I know…Bah Humbug! Who cares? If you are tempted, its better not to put yourself in the line of fire.

Here’s a little helpful trick:  If you start on the eggs, think about how you’re going to feel when you wake up on Tuesday morning, it always works!

Why not respect your body this Easter?

If you are dying for some chocolate or are in the mood to celebrate with something sweet, try snacking on a bit of dark chocolate OR one of my sweet treat recipes that will actually make you feel great, fill your body with healthy fats and superfoods and will having you indulging guilt-free.

Whattdoyousay you kick that egg to the curb and whip up a bowl of THIS instead!

Break Free From Your ROUTINE

Routine can be as addictive as a tub of Ben & Jerry’s right after a…well let’s just be real…after one spoonful.

And while enjoying this (as a major treat every now and again in the correct portion…OMG I sound like my mother, sorry) is relative to savouring the moment, it can also sabotage all of your efforts to live a healthy, fit, lifestyle.

Same goes for routine.  I know it may not seem that way but it’s true.  

Taking a break every now and again from your routine is necessary to achieve balance and lasting health.  Really, it is.

Routine offers little room for spontaneity so it is invaluable for us to break free of our regularly scheduled training, eating and timings.  How many of you honestly, feel compelled to eat the same foods day in day out or train your bodies the same way everyday?

Although this may be helping you achieve results physically, what do you think it is doing for your mind and spirit? 

One word: SUFFOCATION and deep down inside, especially overtime, you start to get the feeling of, is this all there is?

HELL NO. Life is happening.  

Here are some of my favourite ways to jump on the freedom train:

1. Get out of town - You will be forced to try new cuisine, experiences and train in a different setting.

2. Take a new class or train at a different gym - Never tried yoga or barre? Why not grab a friend and have some fun trying it out? Perhaps sign up for a guest pass at another gym or taking your workout outdoors.

3. Try a new recipe every week or a new food each day for a month - Need some inspiration, click here.  Check out what foods are in season and as you are walking in the market, see what draws your attention. eat intuitively.

4. Book a spa day - Pamper yourself at your favourite spa.  Enjoy a massage or a treatment package either on your own or make it a date with a friend.

5. Try shopping at a DIFFERENT market - One where you don’t know your way around and enjoy the experience of trying new things.  Farmers Markets are amazing if you have access to one.

6. ***Write down areas in your life where you are dedicated to your routine and notice how you feel in those areas of your life.  Do you feel in control? When you break free do you feel out of control? Notice and become aware of your control patterns.  The need to control is based in fear and does not serve your higher self.*** 

Sometimes, I wish I could do this to myself and have all of the impressions and beliefs that I have stored in my head washed away.

When I think about the crap that I have exposed my mind to over the years in the form of pictures, magazines, advertising, television, social media, other people’s ideas and beliefs etc, it’s no wonder there’s been confusion, fear, self-doubt and self-harm in response to it all.

When was the last time that you took a step back from the media and people that you surround yourself with so that you can take a good look at it from a different perspective? Is there toxicity and if so where?

If you read and follow the same media day in day out, do you notice that your beliefs and what you hold in the highest regard has started to emulate that?

I know I did, looking back, I have been so brain washed that I even started to take on dreams that were not even mine!

It took a lot of space in the form of meditation and detoxing my life to come back to my own reality, beliefs and actually listen to the voice inside my heart.

If you find yourself feeling full of society’s ideas about how you should look, what you should and shouldn’t eat, how you should move your body, wear your hair, dress/act/speak a certain way, NOW is the time to BREAK FREE because the bottom line is, you have been given this life and this time to be who you are on this planet and to express yourself not be a puppet of society.

Zain’s Brain Wash:

1. Step away from media.  This may be challenging I know but try it for a day. During that day, spend some time in nature and on your own.  

2. Meditate. This will help you to create the space you need from your own thoughts.  Observe your mind from a distance.

3. Journal. I mean, really get down and dirty. Write out your beliefs and what matters most to you.  Are you living those values daily? 

4. Take a look in the mirror, I mean really f'n look. Hard. What do you see?  Do you see your beauty or your imperfections? What are the judgements you have on yourself and where did they come from?

5. Are there any breaks that you can take from media permanently? Subscriptions to emails that you can unsubscribe from? Magazines that are no longer serving your higher self? 

6. Where do you feel most like yourself? During walks? Yoga? Can you spend more time doing those things and cultivating your true beliefs?  Is there a friend in your life who really helps you to see clearly, even thought their message may be challenging to hear?  Can you connect with this person?

Let’s get back to beautiful selves, shall we?

How Much Does The Mind Really Matter?

If my journey has taught me anything, it is that your thoughts can truly affect your potential to achieve your fitness and health goals.  We have all heard that demanding and self-defeating voice inside of our head that tells us ‘we can’t’ and more often than we like to admit, we listen.  

In my experience, I have allowed my mind to hinder me through self-compromising thoughts telling me that I will never lose the weight when I was heavy or that I would never be able to stop the vicious cycle of binge eating/restricting especially after a relapse.  

In my opinion, the most difficult thing in the journey to reach your ideal and optimal health and achieve the body that you want as well as your fitness goals is overcoming your own mind and using it to create positive beliefs.

If you stop to think about it, what are your beliefs about your body?  Do you believe that you can lose the weight? Do a pull-up? Run that 10km? Or do you doubt yourself?  

Do you compare yourself to others and wish that you had what they have rather than focusing on what you do have?  Do you believe that your genetics prevent you from being slim or that you can never have a nice round butt because you were born with a flat one?  Do you believe that certain foods or food groups are fattening or bad for you? Do you believe that you should never eat carbs because they will make you gain weight? 

I have been thinking about this and how it relates to my life and I wanted to share this example with you:

I am still somewhat afraid of certain foods, especially of cheats.  In my current program, I am able to enjoy a couple of planned cheats per week and although I have tried to enjoy them, I still have the guilt associated with the enjoyment of such treats and I know that this is something that will take time to overcome.  Somewhere deep inside of me, is the belief that if I eat the cheat meal that I will lose control or experience the same negative feelings that I have mentally attached to weight gain, especially since I am really happy with where I am at physically.  In short, I have created the belief, that that slice of pecan pie at the local pie shop will be enough to make a significant change in my body and so rather than enjoying it, I decide not to have it.  Because the belief has been created in my mind, the pie would probably affect me more than the next person. The truth is, the pie would do absolutely nothing to my body or to my weight or measurements except maybe for a day or so and I would return to normal after a couple days because of the fact that I eat clean and train regularly.  This way of thinking takes practice and I have been working on challenging my current mental state so that I am able to break through such barriers.

Alternatively, my fiancee, a fit man with a sculpted body who also trains and eats clean would enjoy the pecan pie wholeheartedly as he holds no belief that the pie would do anything to affect his body and therefore, it wouldn’t.

Check out this awesome article written by the gorgeous WBFF Bikini Pro Ali McClafferty.  I love this woman, she is one of my fitness role models and I find her articles to be filled with honesty and the richness of her experience.

We have all heard the phrase “Mind over Matter”, but how much does the mind really matter? I am not talking about going to the extremes of being able to walk over hot coals without flinching, but we do have to learn to push through pain and accomplish things when we do not think we can.

This concept can be applied to everyday circumstances, but when it comes to working out, eating healthy, and accomplishing goals, the mind matters quite a bit.

With any goal we set for ourselves, we have to be mentally tough to conquer them. This could be talking yourself into getting up early to workout or leaving that cookie alone, even though it’s calling your name and telling you to eat it.

When it comes to working out and staying in shape, you may have to be physically strong, but you need to be mentally stronger. More times than not, your mind will give up before your body does. Your will is your power. Having a strong will is crucial to get through your workouts and learn to push yourself beyond the point of giving up. The fatigue that you will feel or the pain of lactic acid rushing through your muscles will be unpleasant, but if you have no connection with your will, you will fail to push through. You must learn to be mentally energetic when your body is weak.

A good way to test your will power is to complete a task that you would consider “uncomfortable.” It is natural for our bodies to avoid doing things that we know will hurt or make us feel uncomfortable. One of the best ways to step out of your comfort zone is by getting into the gym and doing something to break out of that comfort zone. Your body will attempt to look for an escape route for what it sees as unnecessary pain it has to go through. This can even happen before you step foot into the gym.

The anticipation of knowing a workout will be hard, or physically exhausting, can trick the mind into thinking of several ways to come up with an excuse as to why you should skip the workout. We are in constant battle with our minds and we are our worst enemies. When we challenge ourselves to do something we are afraid of and we then succeed, we increase our confidence, which in turn, increases our mental toughness.

A great w ay to overcome this fearful situation or that situation that makes us feel uncomfortable is by practicing self-talk and positive thinking. There is a direct correlation between our every day lives and how we act in the gym.

Testing our limits, pushing ourselves beyond the comfort zone, and becoming mentally stronger can have a positive influence on every day activities and essentially, who we are or who we want to be.

Zain’s **No More CELLULITE** Game Plan

Not sure if its something in the air this week but I have received several messages on social media asking about tips on how to deal with cellulite.

As the warmer season approaches and we start bearing more skin, we women become super conscious about the little fat pockets that like to park right up on our thighs and hips.  

Before I started living the way I live and eating the way I eat, I too dreaded the ‘cottage cheese-like’ lumpy skin around the tops of my legs but I can honestly say that now, due to my lifestyle, it is nowhere to be found.  

Cellulite is simply fluid retained in fat cells that increase as weight/body fat increases and due to a lack of oxygen in the area, they get squished together creating the dimply look.  Free-radicals, age, diet and lifestyle have a lot to do with it but let me tell you, clean eating is a major game changer.  I had more cellulite at 25 than I have at 33 and that is a fact.

So here’s what I do to keep cellulite at bay:

1. Diet

Choose foods that oxygenate the blood and help release fluid retention

  • beet root
  • radish
  • parsley
  • asparagus
  • lemon
  • salmon and other fatty fish
  • flax seeds
  • spinach
  • kelp
  • cucumber
  • berries
  • dill weed
  • anise
  • fennel

*drink at least 3 liters of water per day, every day as well as lots of herbal tea

*my PURIFY VITAMIN WATER works wonders for fluid retention so sipping on this all day will benefit you big time in the cellulite department

*coconut water works wonders 

*enjoy foods packed with healthy fats and oils as they will help your body let go of the fat it is holding onto.  I recommend fatty fish such as salmon or black cod as well as coconut oil, walnuts, avocado and chia seeds

*avoid highly acidic foods and stick to alkaline foods, to find out more about what this means click here.

*avoid sugar, salt, alcohol and caffeine (including chocolate, not raw cacao) as these things SUCK the oxygen right out of your blood stream.

2. Training

A regular weight training and cardio program will do wonders for you.  Weight training, transforms fat cells, which hold 25% water, into muscle cells which hold 75% water.  The magic ingredient in water is….you got it….oxygen.

Here are some of my favourite cellulite-fighting training activities.  Try to incorporate these activities into your life at 4-5 days per week.

  • HIIT sprints
  • full-body weight training
  • functional training
  • yoga
  • barre classes
  • hiking
  • running

3. Secret Tips & Tricks

Being the complete tomboy that I was growing up, I was fortunate to have a sister who was really in the know about all things beauty related. Her natural talents for creating amazing skin and body care recipes as a kid ultimately led her to becoming the founder of an incredible skincare line sold and used at some of the top spas around the world. Her stuff is the only product I will use on my skin and body and its made with organic indigenous ingredients such as kelp, clay, oils and herbs.  

*That said, you should look for a product line that is all-natural, that suits your particular body.  Don’t buy into all the humbo jumbo magic creams.

*My sister also swears by something called dry-brushing.  For those of you unfamiliar with this, you use a dry loofah brush in a circular motion on your 'cellulitey’ areas and this helps to break up the fat and increase circulation.  To see a demonstration of how to perform dry brushing technique, click here.

Here is a little recipe for a masque that my sister would make for cellulite.  This should be applied directly to your trouble areas to help oxygenate, tighten and relieve fluid retention.

AntiCellulite DIY Masque -

Combine 1 avocado, 1 beaten egg, 1 tsp of kelp powder, 10 drops of sweet orange oil, 5 drops of fennel oil, 1 tbsp coconut oil and 1 tbsp raw honey.  Mix together and store in a mason jar in the fridge.  

Start by dry-brushing the area then apply this masque to your trouble areas 2-3 times per week allowing the masque to sit until it dries, then wash off with cool water. 

Remember, cellulite will not vanish overnight but if you remain committed to a clean diet with lots of antioxidant fighting foods, train regularly and practice dry-brushing, you will start to notice your body transform and your cellulite will become a thing of the past!



Fruits In Season

Over the last few years we have learned how to improve our health and reduce our carbon footprints by eating locally grown produce.  When it comes to fruit, most of us are spoiled for choice and although we may stick with what we are used to, the options are there to venture out if we so choose.  

One health tip that I always try to think about when purchasing fruit is to buy fruit that is neither too ripe, nor too raw.  In Japan, where health statistics are excellent in comparison to other countries and populations, a study was conducted on their fruit intake and it revealed that in Japan, fruit is normally consumed when it is slightly less than ripe.  This is when fructose levels are low and thus nutrient absorption is high and blood sugar remains stable. 

Many of my clients who are working to lose weight tend to shy away from fruit and limit their intake to less than one serving per day.  The key to incorporating fruit into your diet is portion control with a fair portion being 1 piece of fruit ie. one apple, banana, pear or peach and a cupped hand for all other fruits and berries with no more than 1 Tbsp for dried fruits.

I am a lover of all fruits and nothing makes me happier than to welcome in a new season with a delicious harvest.  Nutrient and enzyme rich, nature’s candy keeps our skin glowing and our bodies lean due to fruit’s high fiber content.  Fruit also hydrates our bodies on cellular levels so if you are not getting your daily fruit servings in, perhaps this chart will inspire you to do just that.


Thinking about making the switch?  It can be pretty confusing right?

I know. 

With all of the information on veganism out there, it is difficult to understand what exactly you need.  Of course everyone’s needs are different, the key is to ensure that you are nourishing your body with all of the right macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Now before I go further on this subject, I want to say that I am someone who believes that our Higher Self knows intrinsically what is beneficial for us. Before making a major switch, I deeply encourage you to meditate on this decision for a few days until you know that this is the right move for you.  Also know, that a vegan lifestyle may be something that stays with you for a period of time in your life, after which, you may transition out of it. 

Making the switch can be a very healing and empowering decision physically, mentally and spiritually.  A balanced vegan lifestyle linked to an increase of energy a reduced risk of disease a more alkaline internal environment and a healthier physique overall.

Zain’s Balanced Vegan Plan: 


Women need between 45g - 60g (if you’re active) 

Men need between 56g - 90g (if you’re active)


Lentils 1 Cup = 18g/Black Beans 1 Cup = 15g/Non-GMO Tofu 4oz = 11g

Tempeh 1 Cup = 30g/Almonds 3oz = 18g/Chickpeas 1 Cup = 15g

Quinoa 1 Cup = 11g/Peas 1 Cup = 9g/Oats 1 Cup = 7g/

Peanut Butter 2 Tbsp = 8g/Whole Wheat Pasta 1 Cup = 8g



Women require 8mg - 18mg

Men require 8mg - 11mg


Soybeans 1 Cup = 8mg/Lentils 1 Cup 6.6mg/Kidney Beans 1 Cup = 5.2mg

Chickpeas 1 Cup = 4.5mg/Swiss Chard 1 Cup = 4mg/Molasses 2T = 7mg


Both Women & Men require 800 - 1200mg daily


Broccoli, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Tahini, Soybeans, Kale, Almonds, Sesame Seeds, Herbs, Flax Seeds, Non-GMO Tofu, Brazil Nuts


Flax Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Walnuts, Purslane, Vegan DHA Suppliments, Chia Seeds, Cauliflower, Tahini, Brussel Sprouts


Sunshine, Rice Milk, Mushrooms, Fortified Orange Juice & Cereal, Vegan D3 Supplements

The best part of a vegan diet is that almost all of the other nutrients, vitamins and minerals that the body requires, it receives in super high doses with a vegan diet!!! 

Enjoy fresh fruits, a range of colourful vegetables, whole grains, protein, 

Don’t Just Love Yourself on Skinny Days

That just says it all doesn’t it?  Trust me.  I know what it’s like to have the scale or a recent binge dictate the way you treat yourself.  Did you eat or drink a little too much this weekend?  

If your weight is slightly higher than usual, what does that mean for you?  Are you  mean to yourself on ‘fat days’?

For me, a 'fat day’ or 'fat week’ would normally mean I would be extra strict with my eating. I would force myself to eat tiny amounts of really unpleasant food such as plain oatmeal or raw veggies cooked with no love, warm or sweetness.  It would mean a torturous day of training and I would never consider doing kind things for myself like sleeping in if I was tired, going for a massage or even getting my hair trimmed until my weight dictated that I was ready to do those things again.

This lasted for years and it did NOTHING to help me heal.  What did help was for me to find that compassion for myself that gave me the strength to break this vicious cycle.

I have to make something very clear:

After all of these years of taking difficult steps toward recovery and finally achieving the natural control over how and what I eat and discovering that eating MORE would actually transform my body into the physique I have always dreamed of having, it does not take away from the fact that psychological residue is there regardless.  

Yes, even thin, fit, girls have fat days.  

They do not come as frequently, save for if we are close to period time and our hormones are out of what or if we have eaten too much popcorn at the cinema, gone on a trip and fallen off our meal plans for extended periods of time or for some women, post competition. 

They have the potential to really mess with your head but what signifies health is how you choose to treat yourself through them.  Take it from someone who was once very mean to herself on fat days, torture is not the solution.  

My Top 10 Ways to Deal With a Fat Day

  1. Eat an extra delicious breakfast (no skimping on flavour or calories) this keeps your metabolism high and sets the tone for a healthy day- Before I would not even think of having breakfast on a fat day
  2. Get to a Hatha or yin yoga class - taking time to ground yourself and center changes everything. I take a class that is slow, easy and gives me the chance to go inward rather than focusing on it as an exercise.
  3. Follow your healthy meal plan.  If you do not have one, you can use resources such as the Eat Clean Diet series of books to help you, create your own plan or ask me, I offer many kinds of plans including weight loss plans and ones that initiate recovery from eating disorders. In the past, I would pretty much eat nothing all day except for a few veggies and maybe some nuts.  This would almost always turn into a night of binging due to the restriction. Break the cycle now.  Also, be sure to include a healthy intake of vitamin and mineral rich foods and especially omega 3’s.
  4. Don’t give in to 'fat -talk’ - I know, easier said than done right? But with practice, you can begin to change the relationship you have with yourself into a loving and respectful one.
  5. Pamper yourself - I like to take a long bubble bath or book in for a treatment such as a facial, accupuncture, massage, reiki or reflexology. You can also read a book, practice a hobby such as guitar, art, dance etc. listen to your favourite music, watch comedy.
  6. Spend time with loved ones - If there is a day that I am feeling down on myself or if my weight or hormones are affecting me, I usually speak to my partner and he and I arrange to spend some time together just the two of us.  He is my best friend and time with him is always comforting.  Whether we snuggle up and watch a movie or go for a chill bike ride or walk in the forest, the time spent helps me to sit with my feelings and allow myself to 'feel’ them rather than numb them with food, exercise or starvation.
  7. Journal - Write down how you feel, you may be surprised with what comes out on paper. I always try to spend some time writing on days when I am feeling down as it helps me to understand a little more about myself.  It’s a place that I can be honest, not feel judged and not judge myself for what I have written.
  8. Practice Mindfulness/Prayer/Meditation - Realizing that who you truly are is a spiritual being not just a body and a mind will help you to separate yourself from damaging and torturing thoughts. Check out my video on practicing mindfulness here.
  9. Stick to a balanced training program - Often, when you are feeling fat, the last thing you want to do is squeeze into a pair of tights and hit the gym. For others, they cannot stop themselves and will spend hours on the step master until they have nothing left.  The key is to find a balance so that training is enjoyable and that you can reap all of the amazing benefits it has to offer.
  10. Spend time with Mother Nature - just get outdoors or be with your pet.  Time in nature can really shift perspective.

Fasted Cardio in the Morning – Better for Fat Loss?

Can early morning fasted cardio help you lose fat faster than other cardio methods? To better understand how it could be beneficial, we first need to understand why it would work.

This is a question I get asked often and although I no longer choose to train this way because I feel that it does not serve my body, others feel best this way.  Here’s the science for you to decide for yourself:

Early Morning Fasted Cardio

The basic idea behind fasted cardio is that your body will be more likely to use its own fat stores for fuel instead of the food you just ate. This idea however, is quite simplified and somewhat misleading. Fasted cardio will help you lose more fat during your cardio session, but the reasons for why it works are a bit more complex.

Does Fasted Cardio Work?

In short – yes, it does work. Fasted cardio works because:

  • (A) – It helps you to become more efficient at using fat for fuel


  • (B) – Because your hormones and metabolism are all in the perfect alignment for fatty acid mobilization

Fasted Cardio Helps Mobilize Fat

First thing in the morning, after you’ve been fasting all night, your body’s natural hormones have the perfect profile for fat loss. After a good night’s sleep, you’ve got all of the following working for you:

Low Insulin Levels - After not eating for the last 10+ hours, your insulin levels are very low. This is good because fat cannot be mobilized in the presence of high insulin levels. With low insulin levels, your body is better able to release and transport fat to be oxidized.

Low Blood Sugar – Some people might think this is a bad thing, and it can be – if it ends up impairing your cardio performance. However, if it doesn’t, low blood sugar forces your body to draw on fat reserves because there is not enough glucose to power your workout.

Higher Growth Hormone Levels – Your growth hormone (GH) levels will be higher while you are sleeping. All throughout the night your body is pulsing out GH. Come morning time, your levels will be lower, but they will be higher than at other times during the day. Growth hormone and insulin are antagonists. When one is high, the other is low. Since your insulin levels are low upon waking, your GH levels are higher. Growth hormone is highly catabolic to fat cells – ie breaks down fat stores.

Fasted Cardio Trains Muscle to be Fat Burners

As was explained, fasted cardio is beneficial because of the state your metabolic environment is in. Those low blood sugar levels and low liver glycogen stores resulting from a night without eating forces your body to learn how to metabolize fat more efficiently. While anaerobic exercise uses glycogen/glucose for fuel, the point at which your body stops using fat and starts using glucose can be manipulated. Training on an empty stomach first thing in the morning is one of those ways.

Should You Incorporate Fasted Cardio?

Whether or not you decide to use fasted cardio will depend on some individual circumstances. I would recommend fasted cardio to those that have normal to below normal body fat levels. Those are the people that are going to see the biggest benefit. If you’re above that body fat level, any amount of cardio at any time of the day would be best. The important thing is to make sure you are consistently doing it.

The other time I wouldn’t recommend fasted cardio is if your cardio sessions are suffering because of a lack of energy. Don’t forget that there is an afterburn effect (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption – EPOC) that helps you burn calories even after you’re done exercising. To get this effect, you need to be able to train at a decent intensity level. If your intensity levels are lower because of fasted cardio, you’d be better off focusing on using nutrition to get that extra bit of fat loss. Are you a morning person? If so, that early morning cardio might be for you.

(source: coach calorie)

Planning to Chow Down and Work It Off in the Gym?

Think again! I am certain that most of you are well aware of the fact that the quality of calories you consume makes a tremendous difference in your physique.

This awesome article written by Kim Dolan Leto for Oxygen Magazine’s Yummy Mummy blog had this to say on the subject:

How many times have you eaten something and said, I’ll work it off in the gym?” Before I educated myself I believed I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I worked out, but this is not true. You can’t out train a bad diet. Counting calories is a common tool for weight loss, but the source of the calories is the real issue. Last week, I heard a girl say to her friend, “time to burn off those Krispy Kreme Donuts.” While it’s true your body is going to burn calories as you workout, the way your body looks will be greatly affected by the type of calories you take in.

Consider the following thoughts:

  • You can’t select and trade the calories you eat for the ones you burn. What you eat has EVERYTHING to do with how you look.
  • There are the same amount of calories in a creme filled donut and a chicken breast, small salad, and sweet potato, however the body they produce is vastly different.
  • Eating a diet of junk and doing solely cardio, will make you skinny fat.
  • If you want tight-toned-dimple free skin, a clean eating plan, as a lifestyle, is paramount in achieving this.
  • Skipping meals will not make you lose weight. Your metabolism will just slow down, store fat and use muscle to live off of.
  • Quick weight loss is from water and sadly… muscle.
  • Eating junk doesn’t satisfy hunger. Your body will still crave food, because empty calories from sugary foods do not provide you with the nutrition you need.

Have you ever thought if I skip lunch, I’ll save an extra 500 calories only to be so hungry at dinnertime you devour a pizza? Or have you thought if I eat that Pizza I’ll do extra cardio tomorrow? Does it work? I believe there really isn’t any way of getting around the lifestyle part of this. Eating a consistent menu of clean meals that are full of nutrition will support healthy and sustainable weight loss or muscle gain. We can’t out train our cheat meals. Yes, we burn calories, but you can’t look at a treadmill and trade one hour for one donut.

Do you believe you can eat whatever you want and then when you go to the gym you can burn that meal off? Do you play games with yourself? I did, and it got me nowhere. If you’re really serious about making a change, will you consider these points?

The Dangers of Soy

You may have read some of my previous articles on the dangers and harmful effects of soy products.  This issue was recently brought to my attention again by a very talented photographer (who I hope to shoot with one day soon) and supporter of my work Vasko Obsura - Vasko Photography.

It easy to forget once we are already familiar with certain subject matter that there are many out there who have not yet been informed.  

Is soy really harmful?  In a word, yes.

Vasko was kind enough to send me this video that explains the negative impact that genetically modified soy can have on your body and specifically on your hormones.

As with any genetically modified food, there are many concerns but the issue is that soy has been presented to the public with such a spotless image for decades.  For vegans and vegetarians, there are so few decent, protein rich meat alternatives that it has become too easy for people to opt for soy.

Here Are Some Of the Dangers of Soy:

    • Soybeans and soy products contain high levels of phytic acid, which inhibits assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc.
    • Diets high in phytic acid have been shown to cause growth problems in children.
    • Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders.
    • Test animals showed stunted growth when fed trypsin inhibitors from soy.
    • The plant estrogens found in soy, called phytoestrogens,disrupt endocrine function, that is, the proper functioning of the glands that produce hormones, and have the potential to cause infertility as well as to promote breast cancer in adult women.
    • Hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer may be caused by soy phytoestrogens.
    • Infant soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
    • Soy has been found to increase the body’s need for vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
    • Fragile soy proteins are exposed to high temperatures during processing in order to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein, making them unsuitable for human digestion.
    • This same process results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines. (Doesn’t sound like anything anyone would want to eat, does it?)
    • MSG, (also called free glutamic acid), a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing. Many soy products have extra MSG added as well. (Seevideo on the dangers of Aspartame, MSG’s chemical first cousin.)
    • Soy foods contain elevated levels of toxic aluminum,which negatively effects the nervous system the kidneys and has been implicated in the onset of Alzheimer’s.

If this list of the dangers of soy isn’t enough to make you run out the door of your local health food store, keep reading. It gets worse.

The phytoestrogens in soy mimic harmful, distorted estrogens that manipulate gene function in the body similar to what plastic or bpa does to the hormones. 

As the video details one of the major concerns of soy aside from the effect on hormones is the fact that it blocks iodine from the thyroid. As the master gland of the body the thyroid is responsible for so many important functions including metabolism, sex hormones, digestion, body temp, emergency responses and so many others. 

Feeding Babies Infant Soy Formula Is Like Giving Them Birth Control Pills

Pretty scary statement right?

People often say, well, don’t Oriental cultures eat lots of soy?

Yes, however, these are traditionally fermented soy products such as miso, tempeh, natto, shoyu and tamari (tofu is not fermented).

The reality is:

    • Soy foods account for only 1.5 percent of calories in the Chinese diet, researchers found. (1977 Chang KC)
    • The actual soybean consumed today is not the same one used by traditional Oriental cultures.
Medical Conditions Potentially Contributed to Soy:
Asthma, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Diabetes, Heart Arrhythmia, Heart or Liver Disease, Infertility/Reproductive Problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Learning Disabilities/ADD/ADHD, Pancreatic Disorders, Premature or Delayed Puberty
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Thyroid Conditions:Uterine CancerAuto-Immune Thyroid Disorders (Graves’ or Hashimoto’s Disease), Goiter, Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism
Thyroid Nodules, Thyroid Cancer, Other thyroid disorders, Weight Gain

If you’re wondering if the FDA knows all of this information, the answer is yes, again.

If you simply do a search on ‘soybean’ at the Poisonous Plant Database of the United States FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, you can see this information yourself.

Scary stuff. Scarier still that many are unaware.

Hope that helps to give you some more insight. It’s wonderful to know that people are now coming across these powerful videos and pieces of information. 

(adapted from: