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Herbal Supplements

 Are you familiar with the term snake oil salesman? In case you’re not,  snake oil salesman is a term used for someone who sells a product or elixir touted to cure or resolve anything that’s wrong with you.

In the 17 and 1800’s this was usually a guy who traveled in a wagon from town to town. When he arrived in your town, he would park his wagon and set up shop selling some sort of potion that would cure all your ills, make you healthier, or help you lose weight, live longer, etc. etc.

Fast forward to today. The majority of supplements you see advertised in the media sort of fit the same category. That’s not to say that all supplements are fakes or forgeries because some have real value when it comes to your health. However, when it comes to weight loss I would say that the majority of products you see advertised really don’t do the job.

Back in the 1990’s ephedra was isolated and sold as a weight loss product. It really worked well, but it came with some health concerns, more specifically heart and nervous system problems. When ephedra was eventually banned from the market, supplement companies scrambled to find other ingredients to stimulate metabolism and weight loss.

Today, most all supplements that claim to create weight loss contain some form of caffeine, nitrous oxide and or some other herb that will stimulate metabolism.

Stimulating metabolism is what this is all about. Let me explain. The average 165 pound male has a resting metabolism of about 1000 calories/day. This means that if he lies on his back, awake for 24 hours with no movement, he would burn about 1000 calories (imagine a car motor at idle speed). Now let’s add the extra calories he burns in his typical day. Every movement he makes creates heat and requires energy (revving up the engine and burning more gas/calories). The average additional calories from movement for a person his size is about 800 to 1000 more for a total of about 2000 calories/day.

The truth Is, if he adds a good herbal weight-loss supplement as directed, his 2000 cal /day total would be increased by about 400 calories to about 2400 (resting metabolism-1000 plus the added “movement “calories-1000 plus herbal addition-400). The increase of 400 cal is caused by two things. The herbal stimulants and caffeine raise the resting metabolism, plus, our subject becomes more energized thereby moving more during the day burning more “movement” calories. So now is total caloric need is 2400 calories/day rather than 2000.

You should know from my earlier blogs that consuming your maintenance calories per day creates neither weight gain nor weight loss. In this case, if his is caloric need is 2400/day per day he can eat 2400 calories/day rather than 2000 without adding body fat. On the other hand, if he continues to eat 2000 calories/day he will lose body fat at the rate of 400 calories/day, or about 1 pound of fat every eight days.

If you really want to increase fat loss you have several tools at your disposal. you can Increase your activity which will raise your caloric need, if you like add a fat burning supplement and thirdly, increasing muscle mass over the long term raises your resting metabolism. If our subject has and uses all three of these tools he could potentially have a daily caloric need of over 3000 calories/day. Then he would really have control of his body composition.


This blog is the second part of the series on reps and sets for maximum muscular growth.

Let’s start with an example. Look at marathon runners. They are all extremely thin, almost to the point of looking anorexic. Do you think they want to look like this? The answer is no. Their physique is simply a result of the body’s response to type of training. Running great distances requires no upper body size or strength. As a matter of fact, any weight or thickness in the upper body is extra baggage that the body has to carry over these distances. It represents tissue that must be oxygenated and maintained by your internal physiology.

Running, at this level requires a lot of oxygen to course through the system and this upper body “baggage” is part of the system so upper body mass actually decreases the runner’s efficiency.

Now let’s look at bodybuilders. Building muscular size is an anaerobic activity as opposed to an aerobic activity like marathon running. Anaerobic activities do not require large amounts of oxygen coursing through the system.

This brings us to our comparison of repetitions. The marathon runner does thousands of repetitions (steps) in one set to carry him 26 miles. The reps are light and numerous.

On the other hand, bodybuilders do many less reps per set and get a completely different physiological response. The muscles grow in size to accommodate the heavier and less repetitive resistance.

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter. That is, the specific number of reps per set required to gain maximum size. We will examine the range of one rep to 15 reps. Doing one to five reps generally creates more densely packed harder muscle like you see in a typical power lifter. Doing 10 to 15 reps tends to create longer muscles like you would see in a “conditioned” athlete.

The ideal number of reps for maximum size is between six and eight. And believe it or not, there is a huge difference between 6 to 8 and 10 the 15 reps in the body’s response. The key is to train your muscles to accommodate to doing six to eight reps. For some reason we have this mindset of having to do 10 to 15 reps per set to get the best results.

If you are currently on a program doing 10 to 12 to 15 reps per set, simply try this. It will take two or three workouts to accustom your body to less reps when you have been doing more. However, by the fourth or fifth workout, you will begin to see and feel a difference. You will be able to use more weight and consequently gain more size.

I Can’t Lose Weight. Why is That?


In this blog I would like to explain a second and very important reason besides excess calorie intake that most of us can’t lose weight.

We live in a fast-paced society. From the moment that we are born and become aware we are sensually bombarded with a rapid fire barrage of information. We are stimulated continuously at a very quick pace. We live in an age where we are trained and conditioned to crave constant stimulation. We all know, for example that kids going through school are constantly on the move with activities, sports  and various other interests commanding most of their time.

At this point you might say, what’s this got to do with me being fat?

Let me explain. Somewhere along the way we developed processed and refined foods that when eaten provide a high impact of flavor. The sweeter or fattier a food item is the more you are stimulated when you put in your mouth. Since we’ve been trained to crave constant, repetitive and nonstop stimulation we have somehow translated this need from visual and psychological to taste cravings.

The key here is knowledge because knowledge is power. Once you realize that you may be eating simply for stimulation perhaps you can powerfully and purposefully slow down when it comes to eating.

Here are some tips to help you alter the situation. Take smaller bites, chew your food slowly and intentionally take longer to really enjoy your meal.

A growing number of studies confirm that just by eating slower, you’ll consume fewer calories, in fact, enough to lose 20 pounds a year without doing anything different or eating anything different. The reason is that it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full. If we eat fast, we can continue eating past the point where we’re full. If we eat slowly, we have time to realize we’re full, and stop on time. It’s hard to enjoy your food if it goes by too quickly.

Also,I think it’s fine to eat sinful foods, if you can, infrequently eat small amounts and eat them slowly. Think about it: you want to eat sinful foods (desserts, fried foods, pizza, etc.) because they taste good. But if you eat them fast, what’s the point? If you eat them slowly, you can get the same amount of great taste, but with less going into your stomach. That’s math that works for me.

And that argument aside, I think you are just happier by tasting great food and enjoying it fully, by eating slowly. Make your meals a gastronomic pleasure, not a thing you do rushed between stressful events.

depressed, fat and old

There are several reasons for the fact that we have to watch our diet more as we age. First of all, as we age we tend to move less. Every movement we make burns calories, therefore if you move less you burn less calories. Secondly, as we get older our systems become more inefficient. Thirdly, we lose muscle tissue as the years go by.

Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat. So if you’ve got less muscle tissue, you’re burning less calories.

We don’t naturally eat less as we get older because the reasons we eat are still present. We still go out on the weekends and eat generally large meals. We still have birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays and we still enjoy the taste of food as much as we did when we were younger. All these societal temptations are still there too. We tend to exercise less because we don’t have time, or at least that’s what we say.

As we age into the workforce we also tend to have jobs that require less physical activity, and finally, to make matters worse, we tend to not be as active at night because either we’re married and settled down or just don’t feel like going out (You could easily burn 600 cal dancing on any given evening).

We probably also consume more calories at night because that’s the time of day that were relaxed, watching TV or just sitting around eating the types of foods that are calorie dense (sweets, chips, cookies, soft drinks, etc.).

How BMR Affects Weight Loss and Weight Gain

get moving, get active

junping rope is fun

We hear all these stories about our metabolism: I’ve got a slow metabolism, I’ve got a fast metabolism, my metabolism is completely stopped or be sure to eat breakfast to get your metabolism started.

Hopefully I can straighten all this out for you.  Let’s start with a basic definition of what metabolism is. It is the sum total of energy required to maintain the basic processes of the human body at rest. Included here are processes like breathing, brain function and heartbeat. In short, BMR or basal metabolic rate is represented by the calories you would burn lying flat on your back, awake and not moving for 24 hours.

Now let’s assume you are an average female and your calorie maintenance level (body weight divided by 2.2 x .9 x 24) is 1800 cal a day. Your BMR is usually about 30% less than your maintenance level or about 1260 calories in this example.

 Let’s look at this from this fictitious female’s  perspective in a day to day life scenario. Tomorrow she wakes up and doesn’t move, yes just lies in her bed, awake of course for 24 hours. She will burn about 1260 cal.(BMR). Now, the next day she does exactly the same thing except she gets up one time to go to the bathroom then it”s back to bed. This particular day she would burn 1260 cal plus about 30 more to get up and go to the  bathroom for a total of 1290 cal. The next day she does the same thing except that she gets up twice to go to the bathroom, burning 60 extra calories for a total of 1350 cal for the day. That’s how works.

You start with your BMR (30% less than your maintenance level) and every movement you make layers on this BMR number.

I’ve always used UPS drivers as an example of a vocation that burns a lot of calories. The typical driver steps in and out of the truck over 100 times per day. That’s four steps up and down 100 times per day. The driver will burn an extra 800 to 1000 cal per day and it wasn’t even intentional, just part of the job and the equivalent of about two hours of hard exercise in the gym.

Now, there are many physical benefits this person would not receive burning 900 cal in this way that they would receive in a compact 1 to 2 hour well-designed exercise session but nevertheless the caloric burn is as stated.

This is why experts urge you to just get moving in some way because every movement you make, you’re burning more calories and your caloric need for the day is higher. The higher your caloric need today the harder it is to eat more than your need which is the pattern that adds body fat. It’s certainly easier and more fun to eat 2000 cal than it is to eat 1500 cal. We all know that..

Here’s another myth. Not eating enough will cause me not to burn fat or lose weight. Over the years this idea has been put forth, usually by companies trying to sell you something.

The truth is when we say not eating enough that’s exactly what it means. You’re not eating enough which means that your body will use its reserves and possibly some muscle tissue to maintain life. There’s no way around this. You can’t violate the law of physics which tell us that you need a certain number of calories per day to maintain your current body mass.

A calorie is not an object rather it’s a measure of heat. When you consume food it’s either converted into body mass, burned as energy or stored as body fat depending on your total intake versus your caloric expense over time.

Here is the truth. Your body does make some metabolic adjustment to starvation. When you consume less calories than you need for maintenance, your body perceives that you are in starvation and responds by slowing metabolism. However, it can only slow metabolism by about 10% at the most.
Here’s an example: Let’s say your body needs 2000 cal a day to maintain its current mass. It doesn’t matter whether you eat 1900 or 100 cal per day, your body will senses starvation mode because both values are under 2000 cal. If your body reacts by adjusting metabolism by 10% this means your body needs about 1850 cal a day now to maintain its current mass.

Continuing, let’s say that you’re actually on a 1000 cal per day diet. Your body needs 1850 cal, your eating 1000, so there’s an 850 cal difference. It takes 3500 cal to constitute 1 pound of fat loss. So, it would take you approximately 4 days to lose 1 pound of fat (4×850 equals about 3500 cal).

Diet myths come from the same sources as literary myths do; meaning there is usually some basis in truth which is stretched or altered to fit a given situation or to sell a given product.

I Can’t Stop Eating in the Evening

Are you one of those people who each almost nothing all day and then when you get home in the evening at dinner time you eat a huge meal followed by snacks and junk food later in the evening and by bedtime your stuffed? Well there’s a reason that you’re so voracious when you get home in the evenings. During the day eating almost nothing causes your body to think that you’re experiencing short term starvation, so when you finally see some food your body causes you to eat a greater volume because it thinks this may be the only thing you’ll get today. It truly is a survival mechanism. What can you do about this? Multiple small meals always works. Try it sometime. Try eating 3 or 4 small 3-400 calorie meals each 3-4 hours apart before 6pm. You’ll see that all of a sudden this tremendous psychological need to eat huge amounts is not there. In addition, you’ll see that you have greater energy during the day, plus you’ll get a more balanced flow of nutrients, fluid and fiber eating multiple small meals. Doing this will take some planning. However in today’s markets there are many food choices that make this easier. For example, all the 100 calorie packs you see advertised, plus there are hundreds of prepackaged bars and snacks some of which are actually healthy choices. These types of foods are convenient, you can store them for long periods of time and are pre-packaged, so you can take them with you anywhere you go. Just open and eat.

All Carbohydrates are not the same

Myth number five – all carbohydrates are the same. First let’s list some carbohydrates: table sugar, green beans, white bread, an Apple, honey, brown sugar, pasta, corn, soda crackers, most sweetened kids cereals and oranges. All of these foods either are 100% carbohydrates or mostly carbohydrates. As you will notice some of these foods are healthy and some not so healthy. The difference lies in the fact that some foods are whole foods and some are processed foods, healthy or unhealthy if you will. Whole foods contain all of the vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrient, and other elements that nature intended. Processing on the other hand involves the removal of many or most of these elements. In addition, processed foods are more calorie dense than whole foods so you tend to consume more calories when you eat processed carbohydrates. So, as you see all carbohydrates indeed are not the same.

Speed Up your Metabolism

Myth number 4 ….I can’t lose weight because I have a slow metabolism. The speed of human metabolism ranges about 20%. Some people have a  metabolism up to 10% faster than average. On the other hand some people have metabolisms up to 10% slower than average. In layman’s terms, the average female with a 10% slower metabolism than average would gain about 13 pounds a year more than a person with an average metabolism. If you think you have a slow metabolism, all you have to do it’s adjust your caloric intake down by about 10% and you’ll be the same as someone with an average metabolism.

High sugar diet will kill you

Myth number 3….Sugar in your diet will make you gain weight.  The truth is, sugar which comes in many forms is a necessary part of your daily diet.  In the average diet sugar is a portion of our consumption.  Along with fat, protein, fiber, water and essential nutrients, sugar is used for immediate and short term energy.  While ”processed” sugar (all the healthy components removed) can increase the chances of Diabetes and rot your teeth, it’s not the culprit responsible for fat gain or loss.  It is the number of calories consumed vs. the number burned that causes this loss or gain.

and remember

More later

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