Lose Fat, Gain Muscle


I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but a good looking cover doesn’t hurt… especially when it comes to attracting women.

I mean, seriously, you can like fuck up your approach… and lose steam 15 minutes in… but if you’ve got a great presence, the girl will still be interested in you. I got this concept of “presence” from Brad P.

Part of having a great presence is taking care of your body (other parts: body language, fashion, grooming).

Anyway, the reason I’m even bringing all this up at all is because I just found out I passed my personal trainer final exam. I’m now a certified personal trainer!  Puh-Pow

In celebration, I wanna share some stuff I learned along the way about getting fit and staying fit.

Yes, yes, I know. Personality attracts women more than physical looks. You’re absolutely right. But like I said, having a nice physique doesn’t hurt either.

For one, women read into things. They’ll ask, “What does this guy’s physical appearance SAY about him?” Where we’re like “Ooh, nice tits,” they’re like “He’s wearing white socks with black shoes… what’s THAT say about him?”


So, if you’ve got your health handled, what message do you send? Exactly. You’ve got your life handled, too. That’s attractive.

For two, more important than attracting women, getting a nice body is important because, well, the woman is kinda right. Get your health together, and it’s a good sign you’re getting your life together, too. Making time to exercise and eating right honest-to-God helps you get your whole LIFE into shape.

For three, a woman who takes care of herself is attractive to us…



Same damn thing for them.

And for four, probably the best part of it all, getting your health handled gives you an added strut of confidence to your inner-game. Sweet.

Oh, one last thing before I spill the good stuff.

I got my certificate through ISSA (Internal Sports Science Association)…


There’s a lot of places to become a trainer, but most of them are crap. There’s only five places that’s recognized as credible…

1. American Council on Exercise (ACE)
2. National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
3. International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
4. American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
5. National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

…and as you can see, ISSA is one of them. The textbook I had to read was 600 pages and my final exam was a practicum (110 pages of written) and 200 multiple choice questions. They’re serious.

So, here’s the good stuff. You only really need three things to get a kick-ass physique. They are:

1. Right Food

2. Right Exercise

3. Right Rest

4. Consistency

That’s it.

I just put that there because that’s a nice looking stomach. Plus the words are true too.

Eat right, exercise consistently, AND sleep 6-8 hours per night.

  • Right exercise: shapes and sculpts your body.
  • Right eating: provides blocks to build muscle, and burns fat
  • Right sleep: builds muscles and produces testosterone.
  • Consistency: establishes new and lasting homeostasis in your body

You’ll get damn good results from that. No short cuts or magic bullets. Just good old fashioned work. Then, if you wanna keep the results you got, make all this a lifelong habit.

Now let’s take each of these four things and break it down.



I remember this one time I was trying to lose weight and I exercised every day. After about a month or so I was the same weight. I was like “what the hell?” Then I looked at what I had been eating.


Um, no wonder I wasn’t losing weight.

Exercise all you want, but if your diet sucks, you ain’t gonna be losing any weight.

Not only that, I had this girlfriend once who told me she ate whatever she wanted while exercising and she lost weight. Yeah, right. But let’s say the miraculous happened. Guess what happened after she stopped exercising? Welcome back thirty pounds!

Abs are made in the kitchen. 70% of losing weight and keeping it off is in what you eat.


How do you eat right? Here’s the Top Eight List I follow.

1. Find Out How Many Calories Your Body Burns A Day, and Eat Within That.

Here’s a way you can figure this out right now:

STEP 1: Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). If you were to lay down all day and do nothing, this is the number of calories you would burn. It’s the basic amount of calories you need to be alive: breathe, pump blood, grow hair, blink.

_________________ (Your Body Weight) x 10 =  _________________ (BMR in calories)

STEP 2: Calculate your daily activity burn. These are the calories you need for your daily movement, but without the exercise.

_______________ (Your BMR) x 20% =  ___________________ (Your Daily Activity Burn)

STEP 3. Add the calories you need for exercise. You’ll burn anywhere between 300 – 600 calories, depending on how long and how intense you exercise. Let’s take the number 300.

_________ (Your BMR) +  ________ (Daily Activity Burn) + 300 = ______ (Energy Amount)

STEP 4. Find your energy amount in the table below to determine your daily caloric needs.

  1. Your Energy Amount
  1. Caloric Level
  1. 1,800 – 2,399
  1. 1,800 calories/day
  1. 2,400 – 2,999
  1. 2,400 calories/day
  1. 3,000+
  1. 3,000 calories/day

YOUR DAILY CALORIC NEEDS = ______________________

Eat that amount in calories each day.

It’s a numbers game. Expend more calories than you consume, you’ll lose weight. 3,500 calories make up a pound of fat. Burn 200-300 of these fat calories a day, and you’ll get there. It’ll take some time. 90 days of this and you’ll see awesome results.

Oh, and by the way, as you lose weight, your daily caloric needs will change. So, recalculate when necessary.

2. Eat less calories to burn fat, eat more calories to burn muscle.

For the longest time I thought you were supposed to eat 5-6 meals a day.

The idea was simple. Eat lots of small meals, your body works more and becomes like a sauna… which burns more calories. Eat less, your body goes into “starvation mode”… and starts storing calories so you don’t starve later. Your metabolism drops. You burn less calories.

I saw that message EVERYWHERE. The p90x Nutritional Guide, Bill Phillips’ “Body For Life” book, articles in Men’s Health magazine. I thought it was medical doctrine.

Turns out it’s not.

Doesn’t matter if you eat one large meal a day, two large meals, or you divide your caloric intake into eight or ten meals. All that matters is your caloric intake. Eat less than your caloric intake, you burn fat. Eat more than your caloric intake while lifting weights and you gain muscle.

I learned the fallacy of the “6 meals a day” doctrine from a book called “Engineering The Alpha,” by John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein.

This book blew the "Eat 5-6 Meals a Day" Myth

This book blew the “Eat 5-6 Meals a Day” Myth out of the water.

At first I was like, “No way in HELL! That’s impossible!”

But then I tried it out, and they were right. I didn’t gain weight from eating only two big meals a day. In fact, I burned some off.

If you’re curious how that happened, read on. If not, you can skip this next part.

Cool, you’re still reading.

Okay, so their diet plan (in my opinion at least) was kinda strange, now that I look back on it. They call it “intermittent fasting.” They use the word ‘fasting’ probably because it sounds spiritual, but it’s not. Really you’re intermittently STARVING yourself. Obviously you can’t call it that (what it really is) because it sounds awful.

Here’s the idea: you’re only allowed to eat within eight hours. The rest of the sixteen hours you starve, um, I mean don’t eat, or “fast” or whatever you wanna call it. The one cool thing about this is: if you start your breakfast later (at like noon) and stop eating eight hours later (at like eight), you eat less food than if you had breakfast at 8am and didn’t stop eating until like 1am. That part of it made sense.

During the eight hours, you can eat however many meals as you want, as long as it’s below your caloric intake. And as long as it’s high in fat and protein, but SUPER LOW in carbs. So, low you’re like “I can’t have that apple because that’d put me above how many grams of carbs I can eat.” Warning flag maybe?

They say it’s the least restrictive diet out there. That’s bullshit. It was the MOST restrictive diet I’ve ever done. Because most foods are made from carbs, so you’re cutting a lot of food (and variety) from your diet. And not eating for four to eight hours after you get up (depending on when you had your last meal before bed) is a challenge. You do kinda get used to it after a week or two, and it is kinda cool to challenge yourself. But it is a challenge.

They say it’s a really cool diet because you get to eat steak and eggs and burgers (without the bun), and use lots of oils. But after a while I couldn’t even stand the sight of steak and eggs without my stomach churning, because you got tired of eating the same kind of stuff over and over.

(Luckily, I had purchased a recipe plan as a bonus to the book. That bonus was available only if you I bought the book online. And the recipes give you some good variety. Unfortunately, these recipes aren’t in the book itself.)

The next part of their diet is this. One day of the week, you get to eat WHATEVER the hell you want.

Romaniello tells a story about how he ate something like 14,000 calories in a day during an ice cream eating contest. So, when they say whatever, they mean whatever.

I loved my cheat days. LOVED THEM. I’d go to Dunkin Donuts in the morning and have donuts for breakfast. Go to McDonalds for lunch and eat fries, quarter pounder with cheese, Big Mac, and McFlurry. And then for dinner I’d have deep dish pepperoni pizza, wings, beer, and a brownie sundae. It was awesome. Okay, maybe your cheat days were not restrictive.

This was not only allowed, it was REQUIRED to have a full-out feast day. Every day I was counting my days to my feast day.

Only problem is, after your gorge fest, you’d have to fast for the entire day after, and then half the day after that. That’s like 36-48 hours of not eating. Then you start back to eating only eight hours a day. So, you eat a total of five and a half days per week.

Instead of “intermittent fasting, maybe a better name would’ve been “Feast and Famine” model. Here was their rationale for the model.

When you eat below your caloric intake and lower your carbs, you burn fat. The downside is it also lowers your metabolism and your body does go into starvation mode. That’s why they require you to have that pig out fest once a week. To wake up your metabolism again. And they make you do the 36 hour fast the day-after to clear out the crap in your body.

Their program has you do this for FOUR MONTHS.  Four moths. Four months is a long-ass time to do this. And they give you some creative exercise programs to go with it.

I definitely got the most cut six pack abs after I finished the program. But I had also lost muscle and my body fat percentage was strangely higher than when it was when I started (even though I had decent abs).

Here’s the biggest problem I had with this method. Cutting carbs from your diet DOES work to cut up your body. You know, in getting those six-pack abs. But it’s dangerous to sustain that kind of diet for the FOUR MONTHS. Because your body and your brain NEED carbs. And your body starts craving carbs like crazy. It might be cool to do this for like 4-5 weeks, but not four months.

Man, I was so relieved and happy when I had finished that diet.

So, I wouldn’t recommend it. I mean, try it for yourself and see if it works for you. But for me, looking back, I wouldn’t do it again. I’m glad I did it, and I learned from it though. Here’s what I learned:

  • You don’t have to eat 5-6 meals a day.
  • You don’t have to eat within an hour of getting up.
  • You can eat right before you go to bed.
  • If you eat breakfast later in the day (like 4-6 hours after you get up), you end up eating less food.
  • Cutting carbs out for a 4-5 weeks can help you get that six-pack you want.
  • Saturated fats are okay to eat. It’s TRANS FATS you need to avoid like the plague.
  • Fats are a source of fuel, too.
  • Each pound of muscle burns 6-10 extra calories (NOT 50 calories as some people say). That means having more muscle increases your metabolism.
  • When you eat lower than your caloric intake, you burn fat. But to gain muscle you have to eat MORE than your caloric intake.

As for that last bullet point: how then do you both burn fat AND gain muscle?

Bodybuilders do something ISSA calls “Zig-Zaging.”

You eat 800-1,000 calories ABOVE your caloric intake while lifting weights. You won’t be able to build bigger muscles if you don’t have those extra calories. They’re the building blocks that ADD muscle to your body.  Yes, your fat percentage increases in the process. But because you’re lifting weights, it doesn’t all turn to fat. A lot of it turns into muscle. Do this for like two months, and you’ll gain an inch to your biceps.

Then eat like 200-400 calories BELOW your caloric intake and LOWER your carb intake for like 4-5 weeks. It’s cool how it works, but it burns off that last stubborn fat. This is what’ll cut you up, and get you those abs. Cut carbs and calories, but just for a month or so. Yes, you lose a little muscle in the process, but you’ll still have more than when you began.

Keep repeating that process. Or just eat within your caloric intake to maintain.

I learned that less from the Alpha book and more from this program:

Body Beast made by Beach Body. As promised, you will gain 10 pounds of muscle in 90 days. I definitely did.

Body Beast made by Beach Body. As promised, you will gain 10 pounds of muscle in 90 days. It definitely happened for me.

What the Body Beast program looks like.

What the Body Beast program looks like.

Body Beast also has some killer recipes, too.

So, the Alpha program starves you. You’ll gain abs, but lose muscle. In the Body Beast program, you eat A LOT. You’ll gain muscle AND get abs.

Here’s the last lesson I’ve learned about eating within your caloric intake. It comes from one of my favorite sayings by the ancient Greeks:

“Everything in moderation.”

In America, land of “Super-Size,” food portions are HUGE. Everything is either Jumbo Size, Super Size, Extra Large or a Double Big Gulp.

Our bodies just don’t NEED that much food. Stop eating when you’re full. Eat only as much as you NEED.

I wanna share one more story about this point.

I had a college girlfriend, who may or may not have been a little chubby… and who I may or may not have expressed I wanted to breakup (not because of the weight) before we left for summer break. Well, she came back from the break not chubby anymore.

I was like “holy shit!” I asked her how she did it. She said she had listened to her body. She said when her body said it was full, she stopped eating.

She was right. We don’t need as much food as we think we crave. Especially when eating sugary, fatty foods. Those kinds of foods just make you want more and more and more. When you eats only what your body needs and there’s a balance between carbs, protein, and fat your body feels sooo much better.

That girl looked great. We still broke up. But that’s another story.

3. For Each Meal Eat Carbs, Protein, and Fat.

credit: http://www.allmaxnutrition.com

It’s not just the quantity of calories that matters though. The QUALITY of proteins is just as, if not MORE important. What does that mean? In EACH meal/snack eat protein, carbs, and unsaturated fat.

Let’s take each one of those groups.

First, carbs. They are THE primary source of fuel. And one of the best carbs you can eat is brown rice.

Actually, here’s a great rule of thumb I learned about determining what are “good carbs” from the “bad carbs.” The whiter the sugar, the worse the carb. Because it has less fiber and less nutritional content.

When you think about it, THAT’S the real issue these low-carb diets have. It’s not that carbs are bad. It’s just most of us North Americans eat so many EMPTY carbs (with no fiber or nutritional value: muffins, sugar in coffee, sugar in soda, white bread, candy bars.

The fact we consume food with more fat than protein doesn’t help either. Pizza, burgers, hot dogs, fries, donuts, muffins, sodas… you see a pattern:

(KEY: 1 gram of fat = 9 calories; 1 gram of carb = 4 calories; 1 gram of protein = 4 calories)

Reeses Peanut Butter Cup
  • 246 calories
  • 14 grams of fat = 126 calories = 51%
  • 25 grams of carbs = 100 calories = 40%
  • 5 grams of protein = 20 calories = 9%
Cheese Pizza Slice
  • 204 calories
  • 8 g fat = 72 calories = 29%
  • 25 g carbs = 100 calories = 48%
  • 8 g protein = 32 calories = 15%
Hot Dog
  • 145 calories
  • 13 g fat = 117 calories = 79%
  • 2 g carbs = 8 calories 6%
  • 5 g protein = 20 calories = 14%
Hot Dog Bun
  • 114 calories
  • 2 g fat = 18 calories = 16%
  • 21 g carbs = 84 calories = 74%
  • 3 g protein = 12 calories = 10%
  • 349 calories
  • 17 g fat = 153 calories = 44%
  • 29 g carbs = 116 calories = 33%
  • 20 g protein = 80 calories = 23%
Burger Bun
  • 126 calories
  • 2 g fat = 18 calories = 14%
  • 23 g carbs = 92 calories = 73%
  • 4 g protein = 16 calories = 13%
  • 361 calories
  • 17 g fat = 153 calories = 42%
  • 48 g carbs = 192 calories = 53%
  • 4 g protein = 16 calories = 5%

Do you see how HIGH the fat and carbs are? And how LOW the protein is? That’s an average of 39% from fat, 47% from carbs, and only 14% from protein. Our North American diet consists mostly of fat and carbs. And we tend to eat lower protein. No wonder a lot of us carry more fat than muscle.

One tweak that’s changed my eating for the better is to reverse this. I make sure to eat high amounts of protein FIRST. This naturally lowers any unnecessary fat and carbs.

Here’s the ratio I shoot for: 20% of my calories come from fat, 50% from carbs, and 30% from protein. So, let’s say I’m eating 1800 calories a day. 360 calories (or 40 grams) come from fat, 900 (or 225 grams) come from carbs, and 540 calories (135 grams) come from protein.

In fact, I simply make sure I’m eating 135 grams of protein a day. Again, that forces me to eat less fat and less carbs automatically.

And the carbs I look to eat has gotta have fiber and nutritional value. Those are the “good carbs,” by the way. The ones that have fiber and nutrition (that give you vitamins and minerals). These carbs tend to be whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts.

Oh, and also I’ve learned that packages that say “low fat” is deceiving. Sugar tends to replace the fat.

My point is: carbs aren’t a bad thing. True, if you cut down carbs, your body will eat your fat deposits. It’s a great way to get a six pack. That’s how body builders get cut up. But don’t do this for more than four weeks. It’s unhealthy. Because after your body eats the fat deposits, your body starting chowing down on your muscle (and other protein) for fuel. That’s why the Atkins diet can be so damn dangerous. You might lose weight at first, but you’ll lose muscle, too.

Another girlfriend I had (man I’m talking a lot about my girlfriends here, huh) told me a story I’ll never forget. She had cut protein out of her diet to lose weight. I can’t remember why. Maybe she was a vegetarian or something. I don’t remember. Anyway, when she noticed she was losing hair, that’s when she decided to starting eating protein again. Hair is made out of protein after all. After she put protein back into her diet, her hair grew back. Thankfully.

Which brings us to the next thing we need in our diet. Protein.

Your body is constantly changing. In 3 months you’ll have a new skeleton, in 5 days a new stomach lining, in 6 weeks your cells in your liver are replaced, in 1 month you’ll have new skin, and in a year 98% of your atoms will be replaced. Now, where does your body get the stuff to replace the old cells with? From the food you eat. Specifically, PROTEIN. Protein is made up of amino acids. Amino acids build your body.

And if you want to gain muscle? Holy crap, protein is a MUST. You tear down your muscle when you lift, but you need protein to build the muscles back bigger and stronger. Whey protein and cottage cheese (surprisingly) are great sources of protein. So are eggs, white meat, fish, and natural almonds.

Finally, we need unsaturated fat, too. Unsaturated fat is the body’s second preferred source of fuel (after carbs are used up). They also pad vital organs and your skeleton, make up cell membranes, and they help absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K. Saturated fats are okay too.

Avoid Trans fats. They’re unnatural and clog the arteries.


trans-fats vs other fats







FDA to ban trans fats


But how much of each… carbs, protein, and fat… does the body need?

Great question.

There’s a ratio I learned from ISSA that’s killer. It goes like this. Eat 3 parts carbs, 2 parts protein, 1 part fat. Now, what does THAT mean?

Imagine a pie and cut it into six pieces. Three pieces would be carbs, two pieces would be protein, and only one piece would be fat. This is how you can figure out your own ratio right now:

STEP 1. Calculate how many calories are in a part.

____________ (Your Daily Caloric Needs)  / 6 =  ___________ (Calories per “slice”)

STEP 2. Calculate how many calories you need from each nutrient

How many calories from fat

__________________________ x 1 part = _________________ (Fat)

How many calories from protein

__________________________ x 2 parts = __________________ (Protein)

How many calories from carbs

__________________________ x 3 parts = ___________________ (Carbs)

STEP 3. Convert the calories into grams

Fat grams per day

________ (calories from fat) / 9 calories per gram of fat = ___________ (Fat grams per day)

Protein grams per day

_______ (calories from protein) / 4 calories per gram of protein = ______ (Protein grams per day)

Carb grams per day

_______ (calories from carbs) / 4 calories per gram of carb = ________ (Carb grams per day)

Now, make sure to eat that amount of carbs, protein, and fat in each meal/snack you eat.

4. Add Veggies to (at least) 2 Meals, And Fruits To (at least) 1 Meal.


This is another gem I got from Bill Phillips, and it works. Add a portion of vegetables to at least 2 meals every day (a portion is the amount of food that could fit into the palm of your hand). Add at least one portion of fruit to a meal every day.

5. Drink 64 Ounces Of Water Per Day.



Here’s a tip I learned from Eben Pagan the world-famous information-business entrepreneur (and the guy behind David DeAngelo). Drink 16 ounces of water when you first get up. Then drink three more of these glasses throughout the day. That’s a total of about 64 ounces of water total each day (4 16-ounce glasses or 8 8-ounce glasses of water total).

6. Supplement.

Whey Isolate

By far, my favorite supplement is protein power. You can put this in everything. Pancakes, yogurt, cottage cheese, mixed in with milk or water. It tastes like dessert and helps you get enough protein. When you increase protein in your diet, guess what? You naturally lower fat intake and moderate  carb intake. And you help increase testosterone and muscle.

I especially love whey protein isolate. What’s whey protein you ask? I had wondered the same thing, so I looked it up.

Whey’s a byproduct of cheese making. It’s also one of the two protein in milk. The other protein in milk is casein, and the whey protein can be separated from the casein. What’s awesome about whey is it’s a “complete protein.” It contains all 9 essential amino acids, and is low in lactose content.

Avoid soy protein like the plague. Unless you wanna grow a pair of tits and a vagina. Okay, so you might not grow a pair of tits and a vagina. But it does turn into estrogen rather than testosterone. Whey enhances your testosterone.

That’s why I like whey isolate protein powder. It eliminates the soy. It’s a couple bucks extra but it’s totally worth it.

I take just 3 other supplements: multi-vitamin, anti-oxidant (OPC3 or a cup of green tea works), and Omega-3 (for the heart). And drink protein as “snacks” between breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


Isotonix OPC 3
I like the isotonic version because of this:
This is the reason I consider it the best… and yes, I’m biased.


7. Cheat Once A Week.

The Rock on his cheat day
The Rock on his cheat day

Once a week, cheat. Eat WHATEVER you want. Go to town. Have fun. You deserve it. Incorporating some crap actually helps you to keep eating healthy. There’s less temptation for it later.

Plus, after a few months of eating healthy, you’ll compare how your body feels after binging on crap versus eating in moderation. You won’t like it. You’ll feel the difference. And you won’t be able to wait to the healthy stuff. No joke.

So, it’s a psychological trick. Like Carl Jung once said, “What your resist, persists. What you allow to be disappears.” Allowing the crap (once a week, mind you) can actually help it to disappear.

8. Journal Your 5 -6 Meals At First Until It Becomes A Habit.

When starting out, it helps to keep a food journal each day. It ensures you eat 5 -6 times a day, keeps you accountable, and helps to establish a eating habit that lasts the rest of your life. I made a link to a food journal that you can download at the end of this post. Check it out.



Now, here’s the flip side to eating right. You’ve gotta exercise, too.

Another time, way back before I discovered what an exercise was, I was trying to lose my McDonald’s Coca-Cola Belly. ALL I did was eat below what my body burned in calories per day.

And that worked. I did lose weight. But…


…I had no muscle, and no shape to my body.

Muscle changes the shape of your body. Abs are made in the kitchen, yes, but exercise SHAPES your body. And it keeps your body working well and tuned up.


So, how do you exercise? Here’s another Top Ten List. It’s based on the famous “F.I.T.T. Principle” of gym rats everywhere.

1. FREQUENCY: Exercise between 5 – 6 days a week. Rest on the 7th day. Alternate between cardio and weight lifting each day.

If you only do cardio you look like a marathon runner. If you only do weights you look like a body builder. Combine the two you get the body of a gymnast or swimmer:


From what I hear, women like that body the best.


::: Cardio :::

Bill Phillips has a great suggestion for this. Break your intensity into 10 levels. Level 1: sitting on a couch watching TV. Level 10: balls to wall everything you got. You only need like 20 minutes of cardio if you incorporate the higher levels of intensities.

For example, on a stationary bike. Let’s say you do 20 minutes on it. The first 2 minutes: you’re at level 5. At minute 3 you’re at level 6; minute 4 level 7; minute 5 level 8; minute 6 level 9; minute 7 return to level 6. Repeat that sequence three more times. By minute 19 you’re at level 10. At minute 20 you return to level 5.


  1.             5
  2.             5
  3.             6
  4.             7
  5.             8
  6.             9
  7.             6
  8.             7
  9.             8
  10.             9
  11.             6
  12.             7
  13.             8
  14.             9
  15.             6
  16.             7
  17.             8
  18.             9
  19.            10
  20.            5

“Interval Training” does a very similar thing. You start at a low intensity for 20 seconds, go to a medium intensity for 20 seconds, and finish at high intensity for the last 20 seconds. You repeat this low-medium-high intensity over and over again with different exercises. Do this for 20-30 minutes. It burns calories like crazy.

Here’s a third way to gauge intensity. Wear a heart rate monitor, and exercise at your maximum heart rate.

What’s your maximum heart rate?

Subtract your age from the number “220.” So, if you’re 30 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 190. If you’re 50 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 170, and so on.

But the best way I’ve found is gauge intensity is to mix lower intensity (to catch your breath) with higher intensities (balls to the wall). You can tell when you’re balls to the wall.

::: Resistance:::

As a general rule, max out between 8-10 reps. That means using weights that exhaust you at reps 8, 9, or 10. (For example when I started out I maxed out with 20 lb dumbbells doing biceps curls at rep 9 or 10 for 3 sets. I’m now at 40lb dumbbells.)

Now, if you want even more size, max out at 4-6 reps. Never do 7. Just kidding.

For calisthenics, like pull-ups and pushups, it’s a little different. For pull-ups a good place to start is 10 – 12 reps. If you can get up to 20 – 25 reps in one set… nice. For pushups a good place to start is 30 reps. If you can get up to 75 reps in one set… again, nice.

The basic rule is whenever a set gets too easy, add more reps or more weights. If 30 pushups are too easy, do 35. If 30 lbs dumbbells are too easy, do 35’s.

When it’s easy, no gains. When you feel the burn, it’s working.

In my workouts, I’ll do at a MINIMUM of 3 sets for one body part. For example, I’ll do 75 standard pushups, 30 diamond pushups and 30 pushups where my feet are on a chair. That’s all for the chest.

3. TIME:

::: Cardio :::

You only need 20-30 minutes per cardio workout. Anything over 60 minutes, and you enter “Over-Training” Land, which is counter-productive.

::: Resistance :::

Rest for at least one minute between sets. Your muscles need about that time to recoup enough energy for the next round. Total resistance workouts should take you between 30 – 60 minutes. Again, anything more than 60 minutes per workout, is counter-productive.

4. TYPE:

::: Cardio ::::

Sky’s the limit here. Biking, swimming, running, plyometrics, basketball… Make sure it lasts for at least 20 minutes, and you’re working up to your highest intensities during your workouts.

::: Resistance :::

I used to be confused about resistance exercises. There seemed to be so many different ones out there. After I did my exam, I realized there are only a few core exercises. Everything else is a variation on those themes. And each core exercise is based on a body part. For example:


i. Biceps: Dumbbell curls
Dumbbell Curls
ii. Triceps: Dumbbell extensions, bench dips
Dumbbell Extensions
Bench Dips
iii. Shoulders: Dumbbell press
Dumbbell Press
Dumbbell Press
iv. Chest: pushups, dumbbell bench press
Dumbbell Bench Press
Dumbbell Bench Press
v. Back: pull-ups, dumbbell rows
Dumbbell Rows
Dumbbell Rows


vi. Quads: Squats and Lunges
Dumbbell Squats
Dumbbell Squats


vii. Hamstrings: Romanian Deadlift (keeping knees slightly bent)

Romanian Deadlift

Deadlift Woman

Eye candy

viii. Buttocks: Dumbbell squats
Eye Candy
A little more Eye-Candy for ya
ix. Calves: Dumbbell calf raises
Dumbbell Calf Raises
Dumbbell Calf Raises
x. Abs: Crunches

5. Breathe.

Exhale during the difficult parts of a resistance exercise, and inhale during the easy parts. Also, don’t tighten your face. This can actually work against you. Make it easier on yourself. Relax your face.

6. Warm-up, Cool-down, and STRETCH.

Warm up for 3 – 5 minutes before your workout. Cool down for 5-10 minutes after your workout. During the warmup and cool down, STRETCH!

Brittle things break easier. Elastic things are more durable. Stretching gives you durability. So, it prevents injuries. Also, it gives you flexibility, which makes your body more excellent.

7. Rest.

Your body needs to recuperate. Get 7 – 8 hours of sleep.

8. Drink plenty of water.

Here it is again. ‘Cause it’s important. Drink 64 ounces a day. This cleans your body from the inside out. It’s got minerals. No poison. And it’s free (unless it’s bottled of course).

9. Consistency is key.

If you get off track, no prob. Just keep showing up. As long as you show up you WILL succeed. There’s no such thing as failure unless you quit.

I now see exercise like showering or brushing my teeth. It’s a hygienic thing I do daily. After all, it flushes out toxins, opens my heart, and gets me inside my body. And it clears the mind. The byproduct (not so much the goal) is a great body. The never-ending goal is daily renewal of inner-strength, and care of the self.

10. Track your workouts.

Before you start exercising do this:

  • Get clear on your WHY you wanna workout and what your goals are. Make your goals specific. Numbers are specific (“lose 3% body fat is more specific than lose fat.”) Also, pics are specific. Find a picture of the exact body you want to have. This’ll help you get through the program when you want to quit half-way there.
  • Measure your waist (measuring tape around your belly button), chest, biceps, quads, and calves. Then measure these after 90 minutes. You’ll see exactly where you were and how far you’ve come.
  • Measure your weight and body fat percentage. I use a scale that measures both. You can also use a caliper to measure body fat percentage, or a body fat monitor. Again, these’ll help you keep accurate records of where you were and how far you’ve come.

Then, while I’m exercising I do this:

I mark each workout I do on my calendar. It holds me accountable, and keeps me on track. Again, I made a link at the end of this post for some workout logs. Please, definitely, check em out.

I’d also recommend getting a heart rate monitor, especially the Timex model, that tracks how many calories you’ve burnt in a workout and to measure whether you should be working out harder or less harder.

One other thing before I leave this section about exercise. I learned this really cool thing from ISSA.

We humans aren’t supposed to die at 70 or 80. We’re supposed to live until 110. You can shed 30 years off your age through exercise. A person in their 70s or 80s who exercises is as strong as person who’s 40 or 50. Exercise is the closest thing we have to an anti-aging pill.

Makes sense. If you don’t use your body it disintegrates. If you use it, you keep it sharp and healthy. Exercise is just as important as right eating… and brushing your teeth.


The five stages of sleep. Credit: http://intergalacticteachingpress.blogspot.com/2012/11/dreams-dreaming-lucid-dreaming.html

The five stages of sleep. Credit: http://intergalacticteachingpress.blogspot.com/2012/11/dreams-dreaming-lucid-dreaming.html

This one’s easy.

  • Exercise: breaks down muscle.
  • Food: building blocks for muscle.
  • Sleep: builds up muscle.

If you don’t get enough rest, doesn’t matter how much you exercise. Your body won’t be able to build up the muscle.

Also, you body makes testosterone when you sleep. A good way to lower your testosterone is NOT sleeping.

So, get 6-8 hours of sleep per night.



Way, way, way before I learned this stuff, I thought if I exercised a couple of times and ate healthy a couple of times, magically I would get a rippling 8 pack abs and 16″ biceps. Two workouts and I thought I’d see results. I was so sad when I learned that’s not how it works.

When I did learn all this stuff and finally lost 40 pounds and gained some muscle, I asked myself how the hell I did it. When I look back I realize it was because of one thing.


I exercised six days a week and I cut out the crap food… day after day after day. It took me about 4 or 5 months to do, but through CONSISTENCY I finally did it.

ISSA taught me why consistency works.

It’s because the body is so damn stubborn. The technical term is “homeostasis.” That means the body likes to stay the same. So, to get results, it’s simple. Work over and over and over again. That must be why they call it “training.” Through consistency you train your body into a new way of being or a new “stasis.”

So, the first step of consistency is to make the decision to change. The second step is to commit to a plan to get there (see “right eating and right exercise”). The third step is to execute that plan over and over again. Even when you’re tired or sick and don’t want to, exercise 4 – 6 times a week and eat healthy.

Magically… or not so magically… when I followed those steps, I lost 40 pounds of blubber and gained muscle. Hell, yeah. Same exact thing for you.

Now, let me just say this one last thing. It’s easy to get off track. It happens to me all the time. It happens to everyone. It’s no reason to stay off track though. Just get back on the horse and keep going at it. No need to get discouraged. With consistency or persistency or whatever you want to call it, you WILL win the battle against your body’s stubborn homeostasis. No doubt.

Keep showing up. Over and over again. That’s all it takes.

What’s Next?

You can create your program, you can hire a trainer, or… the way I got my head start was doing p90x. It’s an awesome program. I used to be a varsity athlete, and this program reminded me of those intense preseason trainings. It’s also like having your own personal trainer… that you can keep forever.

The down fall is p90x takes about 50 min – 90 min a workout. The good news is Beach Body… the company that puts out p90x… just came out with p90x3 this year (I’m writing in 2014). Each workout’s only 30 minutes!


The other thing about the p90x programs: You’ll have to purchase some dumbbells and a pull-up bar.

The pull up bar fits right into your doorway. It's not expensive. Works back, chest, shoulders, biceps, forearms. Awesome

The pull up bar fits right into your doorway. It’s not expensive. Works back, chest, shoulders, biceps, forearms. See, you don’t have to spend lots of money on gym memberships to get fit.


bowflex 1090

Bowflex 1090. Get two (for each arm) and it costs about $500 (there are payment plans). Takes up less space. Has every weight from 10lbs to 90lbs. Your own gym for $500. Not bad.

I mean, that’s not really a downfall because it’s so worth it. Lifetime investment. And if it’s important enough to you to get your body back into shape, it’s very easy to make time for those workouts. Doing p90x was a life changer for me. No gadgets or fad stuff. Just good old fashioned fundamentals that have been around forever. It’s such a solid program.

But if you want to start less intense, Beach Body has some other great programs like “10 Minute Trainer” or “Power Half Hour.” They’re shorter workouts that get a good job done, too.

Their website is p90x.com, in case you want to check it out.

Here’s a website, if you want a little more eye candy, I mean, inspiration.

Finally, here’s some Trackers I made that you can use: a food journal and some workout logs.

Again, eat right, exercise six days week CONSISTENTLY, and sleep 6-8 hours per night… you WILL lose weight and gain muscle. Guaranteed.


47 thoughts on “Lose Fat, Gain Muscle

  1. chriovmeyg

    What are you saying, man? I realize everyones got their own opinion, but really? Listen, your blog is awesome. I like the energy you put into it, specially with the vids and the pics. But, come on. Theres gotta be a better way to say this, a way that doesnt make it seem like everybody here is stupid!

      1. Firsh

        Hi man I’m still here reading your blog. You’re a scholar, the amount of good and free content on this site amazes me. What’s better is that you do it in such a good and fun way, it just sticks. For example I started weight training a couple of months ago and I put together a diet off the top of my head. When I later re-read this article I was nodding through it – as it actually became a part of me so I did in fact learn things from it. My not-so-secret plan is to read through everything. If I had to choose 1 single blog or resource that reveals how LIFE is worth living, I’d pick this. Anyone who is afraid to read will have a hard time, but I love the long articles. It’s all about content but you know that already. Anyhow you continue to be a daily inspiration and thank you for sharing all this knowledge with others. I’m a WordPress developer by trade and I know how good it is to receive a nice comment and feedback every now and then. If you have any tech questions let me know that’s the least I can give back.

    1. renaissan

      @ Firsh: That’s one of the best comments I’ve ever received. Thank-you so much. That story about creating a meal plan for yourself and how the stuff from this article stuck with you was such a specific comment, it especially opened my ears. That’s phenomenal! The reason I pack so much into my articles is for stories like those.

      Speaking of writing a lot, yes, there is a lot to read. But I’m glad you said it’s not too painful to read. I jam so much in for myself, so I can get the “whole picture” and to get clear, and of course to share. That’s why WordPress is “da bomb.” It gives you the ability to do that.

      You also do me great honor saying this stuff has been like a resource for LIFE. Exactly! This stuff is more than about succeeding with women (although that’s a huge part of it). It’s more about becoming a more excellent man. Thank-you for noticing that.

      Anyway, your comment has given me a huge dose of strength. Can’t tell you how much that means. Especially coming from a WordPress developer.

      I might take you up on your offer to hit you up for some tech questions. I’m gonna be transferring this blog to a commerce site. Almost done writing a book, and I’m stoked to share it. I have a little fear around the transfer, so a question or two might help.

      And speaking of questions, how’s your eating plan going? Hit me up with questions of your own. Would love to hear from you again. (May even have to send you sample of the book.)

      Thanks again, man.

      1. firsh

        @renaissan: I only said the truth. About 10 years ago a wise tech guy (at livejasmin) told me: do a lot of reading. Just read. A lot. Turned out to be a wise advice. One can learn anything by reading! So, I like those who write 🙂

        I write a lot too (for demonstrating and marketing my product). Also a personal digital diary about every day for the last 8 years 🙂 Yes if you write passionately about something, to teach others then you too learn a lot in the process.

        There is also a lot to learn from MM (excellent foundation as you wrote in your debate article with IP). I read MM many times though haven’t been in the field much. Mystery: “In fact, to improve in a certain area, sometimes you must first focus on and improve another area.” I like to focus on myself first (becoming a more excellent man like you said). I prefer to call a healthy way of creating my self. One concept I adapted is that I need Health-Wealth-Love to live. I found none of these is easier to attain than the other. Sure most people are “healthy” but they take it for granted! Countless of times I seen family, relatives, friends at a relatively old age just not being able to move, in bed all day essentially dying (cancer, lack of excercise: fat mass and no muscle etc). I decided I’ll do whatever it takes to not end up like that. I saw a pic on FB of a 100 year old man who goes skiing every year to a local ski area. That was very inspiring. I want to be that guy 🙂

        Why transfer all the content to an ecommerce site (even if you want to open a shop). Bring ecommerce into WordPress. Try WooCommerce plugin. There are other solutions that help you sell digital goods, one single book, manage affiliates etc. I see no reason to switch platforms as that is tedious. I have a flagship gallery product that’d look excellent used with your “EXTREMELY hot” pictures and similar. Not trying to sell you anything, we could just trade – your book sounds great! 🙂

        The plan is going well I find it easy to stick with it as I like the taste and don’t crave shit food anymore. Also it’s very quick to prepare meals. Like with any habit I did it one step a time – aim for 1 month then it will just stay – to replace bad stuff with the healthy and introduce new activities.

        Margarine got replaced with quark (not the elementary particle) and cottage cheese. White bread -> wholegrain brown seedy stuff. Sunflower oil -> olive and coconut oil. Beef and pork -> chicken breast. Potato chips and other crap -> pistachios and mixed nuts. Sugar -> honey. Sausage, meatloaf, hamburgers -> I eat salmon, tuna, cod liver on brown rice very frequently. Tomato, cucumber, apple, banana, green tea, lots of water – but alcohol very rarely. In a nutshell 🙂

        Should I cardio regardless of body fat %? I’m at 10%. Instead of just swimming every 1-2 weeks now I do 3 weight workouts per week, it started as 1-2 due to initial DOMS I couldn’t do more. I’ll soon be ready to add 2 more per week: yoga / swimming again / elliptical or similar.

    2. renaissan

      Your eating is awesome. The way you put it is beautiful, too. You’ve simply replaced the crap with a healthy alternative, for example whole grain bread for white bread.

      10% body fat is way impressive.

      Cardio is cool, but weights and resistance (like pushups/pullups) is primo for us guys because it builds muscle and testosterone along with it. Besides, muscle eats fat. You burn calories by having muscle, so the more muscle you have, the more fat you’ll burn. Cool, right? Cardio doesn’t have that benefit.

      You mentioned swimming: funny thing is, swimming’s like the perfect marriage of cardio and resistance. It’s probably why swimmers have that ideal body. Not too muscly like body-builders, not overly skinny like marathon/cardio runners. They’re the middle way between those two extremes.

      But it sounds like what you’re doing is great. I can’t tell you how great swimming and yoga are for cardio options. I love Yoga. Not only does it work the heart but you’re stretching, you’re balancing, and you’ve got that mind-body connection. Sweet. Elliptical is okay but kicks the treadmill’s ass. Way easier on the knees, and you’re using your arms as well as your legs. You know all this though.

      Anyway, you’re totally on the right path. Keep up the great work.

      I’m very interested in that gallery product you mentioned. A trade sounds great. Oh, and by the way, if you’ve got a blog yourself, I’d love to follow you.

      Last, I don’t want to leave WordPress (love it too much) or go to an ecommerce site per se, but I was thinking of transferring my blog to BlueHost. Wise or unwise?

      1. firsh

        Thanks 🙂 It’s great you approve.

        Well I was never fat (despite sometimes eating junk food) so 10% is not an achievement but a great spot nonetheless.

        I’d like to keep my cardio interesting so I think I won’t stick with only one option, I’ll mix it up so it’ll stay entertaining.

        How do I stay away from infections etc when I swim? I used to have itches and dandruff and ear inflammation when I swam. No matter how rigorous showers I took afterwards and always washing the speedos.

        Yeah I feel the need for more stretching so Yoga sounds perfect. I’d get into it with online resources and apps then when I’m at an acceptable not-so-ridiculous level I’d get into some classes. Probably a good place to meet beautiful women, on a side note.

        I do elliptical for warmups and I like it much better than treadmills and running in general.

        The gallery is justifiedgrid.com I’m building a new site for it because the current does not appropriately convey what it is, but at least buyers have lower expectations. On the new site I’ll start a blog, but currently I don’t have one.

        Bluehost is primarily cheap grid hosting for starter websites, or at least started out as such. I don’t believe it’s something to upgrade to, but I don’t know where you are hosting now (wp.com multisite?). Not sure about your needs, traffic and budget but a slightly more proper hosting does not hurt. You can also use server caching with a plugin called W3 Total Cache and the free CDN called CloudFlare. These I always recommend to my customers. My site uses these so if you find it relatively fast then that’s the reason.

    3. renaissan

      Great advice! Didn’t realize Bluehost is more for “starter” websites. I had considered GoDaddy… but they told me everything I’d written here would be wiped out with the transfer. That scared me. Went to Bluehost and they said that wouldn’t happen.

      By the way, checked out justifiedgrid. Sleek, man! I’ll definitely consider using that.

      Now, that W3 cache plugin you mentioned… you’re saying I might be able to stay with wp and just use that plugin to sell the book? And to answer your question, I am hosting through wp right now.

      Can’t tell you how much I appreciate these tips. You’re timing is so perfect, because I was planning to transfer this blog within the next week or two. So, I’m super grateful for your advice.

      As for the swimming question, I don’t know the answer. It makes sense you’d get the infections at a public pool. I actually workout at home. For cardio I’ll do things like jump rope, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, burpees for 20-30 minutes, or pop in a p90x3 DVD. I

      f you’ve been getting infections like that even with all the showering you’ve been doing before and after… maybe you’re right to avoid the pool. What about adding two to five minutes or so of like jumping jacks and jumping rope to the end of a resistance workout?

      1. firsh

        Hi man,

        avoid GoDaddy, BlueHost or DreamHost. The problem lies in a finite amount of servers and millions of customers for shared grid hosting. Meaning that more and more people share 1 machine meaning even though they have lots of resources, if just a few sites get attacked or poorly written, it’ll slow things down for everyone on that server. They are counting on the fact that no one is using their services “that much”. Whenever a company tries to sell you “UNLIMITED” storage space or traffic etc with even ridiculously high numbers, they are lying. They can’t guarantee that for everyone. It’s better to choose professional or new hostings with smaller user base who can afford to manage users better. And tell you exactly how much space you have, how much traffic and bandwidth you get because they are facts and they can pretty much guarantee it. Ex: MediaTemple or MDDhosting. At a good company they offer to move your site even for free. It can be moved with about 100% success rate with a plugin called BackupBuddy but it’s a bit costy. Of course it can be done without that as well, but it’s always tricky. I’d say you don’t have to move. If wp.com does not limit your ability to install good plugins or sell stuff then it’s good. I haven’t worked with wp.com hosted sites, interestingly.

        W3 Total Cache: is for making your site faster.

        WooCommerce: shop plugin for selling goods, probably possible to sell digital goods with it as well.

        Easy Digital Downloads: https://easydigitaldownloads.com/ another good candidate.

        I haven’t ruled off swimming yet. There are these tailormade silicone earplugs that could protect my ear. There was a time when I did cardio by jumping while watching a girl called “zuzka” do that on youtube. Nah I’d rather do something else 🙂

        Ok another silly question, about bulking. So if I don’t workout on a given day, basically just sit all day long, should I still eat more calories than I burn? I’d say so, since muscle is not built in the gym, it’s built with nutrients one takes and while resting between workouts (repairing “damage”). So if I train on Mo We Fr, I should eat roughly similarly on Tu, Th, and the weekend, right?

    4. renaissan

      Logically that makes sense, but I’ve never done that. From all the trainer literature I’ve read as well as the personal trainers I’ve worked with, I haven’t heard that. What I’ve heard is this:

      In your bulking up phase, eat more calories and protein. In your losing-body fat phase, eat less calories and less carbs. That phase should only last three to four weeks, because carbs are so important (our body’s primary fuel, and our brain needs it).

      One reason why it might not matter to eat more calories on the “off-days” is probably because guys who are bulking up are working out six days a week. They may be working on a different body part each day or if they’re not they might be doing some form of cardio.

      Here’s a website trainers use to find out how many calories to consume a day: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/harris-benedict-equation.

      The ratio between carbs, fats, and protein I follow is about: 50% from carbs, 33% from protein, 17% from fat. So, if I eat 2,000 calories a day, about 1,000 calories from carbs, 700 calories from protein, and 300 calories from fat (just avoid trans fats).

      To translate that into grams, divide carb calories by 4, protein calories by 4, and fat calories by 9. So the above example would be: 1000/4=250 grams of carbs; 700/4= 175 grams of protein; 300/9=33 grams of fat. Those are “give-or-take” numbers.

      I know those are a lot of number, so I focus on meeting my protein numbers and caloric intake. That seems to take care of the other two. I eat fairly consistently like that throughout the week (except on my cheat days–God bless cheat days).

      But here’s a KILLER way to gain muscle fast. A lot of guys think loading up on arm curls or tricep extensions is the key. Hell, no. The secret is to target your biggest muscle groups: the thighs and back. They’re the body’s biggest regions, they support the heaviest workloads, and they bring the most muscle gains. Squats (for the thighs) and barbell rows (for the back) are great ways to do this.

      You’re right. You need the building blocks too, to bulk up. And you’re right: we build muscle while we’re sleeping. But I’m not sure if that means you need to eat more calories on the off-days. I know I haven’t. I’d say find your daily caloric/protein numbers and roughly stick to those numbers each day.

      As for your tips… holy crap, man. GOLD! Thank-you so much. I checked out all your recommendations. Tight. Can’t thank you enough.

      My only confusion: you recommend not moving from wordpress.COM… and I want to follow your advice… but according to the forums I’ve read, I need to migrate this site to wordpress.ORG to sell any products?

      1. firsh

        Hi, sorry for the delay. First, happy new year!

        So I don’t know the licensing terms of wordpress.COM vs .ORG, ask their support for these specific questions. I don’t like the legal mumbo jumbo I just like to code and design 🙂

        Yeah I know those numbers and I use them on a daily basis. For example while I’m eating something I often “entertain” myself by reading the nutrition facts of a given food (if it’s packaged like cottage cheese etc). So I always know what I am eating.

        Yeah I heard that too, to target the thighs and back (but it doesn’t mean I should only do that and forget about everything else, I still do the rest of them on other days). What I do for squats is that there is a horizontal machine that you sit into and push a panel away from you using your legs. I call it squat machine, and I set it about 30% heavier than my body weight for starters and it’s a bit challenging. Is this machine almost as good as normal squats with weights? I’m not that comfortable squatting with a barbell near my neck.

        Do you have any tips to prepare fro the skiing season?

        As part of leg day I do those squats I mentioned, sitting leg extension, lying leg curl, standing calf raises (without a machine or weights, as it still gives me some DOMS, apparently my calf adapts slower..).

      2. renaissan

        I took your advice and I found a great way to get my ebook out without having to leave wordpress.com. If it wasn’t for your tip I probably would’ve been over at .ORG kinda miserable. So THANK-YOU!

        You’re totally right: it’s as important to work the rest of your body as your legs and back. Absolutely. I just know a lot of guys (not you) like to work the biceps the most and neglect the legs and backs. But it’s legs and back that give a guy size and power.

        Here’s what’s funny though.

        I’d say legs and back is key to prepping for ski season. You probably use quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves the most skiing. Plus you’re bent over and you have to keep your back in that position, so back and abs are important too. Triceps and biceps help you push off the poles and stabilize your shoulder joints, so that’s important too. But legs and back are where it’s at for skiing.

        And sounds like you’re working on that already. Nice.

        The only other thing I’d add: Stretch. It’ll keep your body flexible and may help you prevent injury on the slopes.

        Endurance, too. I remember you said you incorporate cardio into your workouts anyway. Keep that up. You know already how much endurance skiing takes.

        Sounds like you know exactly what you’re doing. So that’s awesome.

        Oh and one last thing. To answer your question about the squat machine: if you feel a burn, the muscles are working. That’s great.

        But you’re right again… free weights are superior to the machine. ‘Cause free weights has you use stabilizer muscles. The machine does all the stabilizing for you.

        When I do squats, I actually use dumbbells and I keep ’em to the side. That might be another alternative to the barbell squats…

        Lemme know if any of this helps. Hope your training is going well. And thank-you for all the help you’ve given me.

      3. firsh

        No problem! 🙂

        I went skiing and it went much much better than last year, so I must have been doing something good at the gym. I was less tired and could continue down the slopes with less stopping. So both endurance and strength wise, it turned out to be better. The most problem I had was with my lower back and core, rotary torso, must do the hyperextensions more regularly, it seems. I saw a guy hold hyperextension in a horizontal position for like 2 minutes (like with plank), in kind of a superman-flying position. That seemed good!

        If I were to learn Yoga, is that good for stretching (I mean complete substitute)?

        I’ll try your suggestion for squatting with dumbbells first, rather than starting with barbell behind the neck outright. Thank you 🙂

      4. renaissan

        Man, yoga is da bomb. It’s an awesome substitute for stretching. You know why? Not only do you stretch and get more flexible, but it helps with balance, breathing, calmness of mind. All stuff I bet would help on the slopes, too. HIGHLY recommended.

    1. renaissan

      Isotonix is the shiznit! It’s what I take first thing in the morning. I mix a capful of multi-vitamin and OP3 (they come in powder form) with 4 ounces of water. Drink it like a shot. And I’m good to rock n roll. I used to get sore throats all the time. Since taking OPC3 I haven’t had that for longest time. Another buddy of mine who had a bad case of asthma doesn’t have asthma anymore after taking it.

      Only thing is they’re a little pricey. About $50 for one 90 day supply. It’s sold through a network marketing company called Market America so can you also make a commission selling them. But I definitely swear by them.

      Out of curiosity, what do you take for a multivitamin?

  2. mailmidnight

    Okay I read now a lot about OPC and you get it when you eat some apples. (this is even more natural and you save a lot of money.)

    I only take BCAA’s, Omega 3 and a vitamin C/ vitamin D mix.
    Caffeine before cardio workouts.

    1. renaissan

      Good call on the caffeine before a workout. I’ve heard it gets your metabolism going, so it burns calories faster. Gets your blood flowing from your heart to your body. And increases adrenaline, and gives you a rush of glucose and oxygen to your muscles. NOT bad. I need to follow your advice and start taking caffeine before my workouts, too.

      I didn’t know you could get OPC3 from apples. I know it comes from grape seeds, red wine, pine bark, and green tea. Okay, that makes apples kick even more ass.

      By the way, you comment made me look up the connection between OPC3 and apples and I found a killer website that lists other places you can get OPC3 as a supplement (outside of Market America and cheaper): http://www.tamietreatment.com/Nutrition.html

      Thanks for the comment. I definitely learn from you.

    1. alex

      “Eat less calories to burn fat, eat more calories to burn muscle.”
      Eat less calories to burn fat, eat more calories to gain muscle.


      1. renaissan

        Haha Exactly! Only thing I’d add is…

        Eating more calories builds muscle (food provides building blocks for muscle)… IF you’re ALSO lifting weights (breaks down muscle) and sleeping 7-8 hours a night (builds the muscle). Otherwise, those extra calories might build an extra stomach. 😉

        And you’re right about burning the fat by eating less calories. Amazing how much of this comes down to the kitchen, right?

        Thanks for your comment man. You’ve got a knack for synthesizing all that info above into an easy to digest bit. Nice.

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    1. renaissan

      Thanks for the kind words man!

      I didn’t design this blog myself. WordPress has a few free themes you can choose from. This one is called “The Choco Theme.” There are others you can purchase too, but there so many great ones that are free, like this one.

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    1. renaissan

      That’s quite the compliment, thank-you!

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  9. Indianproblems

    Very detailed. Glad to see someone who writes stuff that I’ve been thinking about for a really long time on the web. I do exactly what’s told here. Right exercises, posture, timing, proteins etc. Thing is, I cheat 2-3 times a week. bummer! My family is Indian. They make absolute FLC (Feel like crap) food. It’s so tempting. Indian food is the most tempting thing in the universe bar none, not even sex. I’ve told my family to eat clean but they don’t listen and have severe health problems because of all the fats and carbs they’re taking in. They never listen. Whatever, I’m gonna try my best to stay out of eating Indian food.

    1. renaissan

      Amen! I’m a huge fan of Indian food, so I feel ya. You may not have to cut Indian food completely out.

      As long as you’re eating clean 80% of the time, you can away with cheating 20% of the time. For example, if you have one cheat day a week that adds up to eating clean 85% of the time (6 days out of seven days equals 85%). It’s what I do, and I love it. Plus I still have the six-pack even though I have Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, pizza, burgers, and pancakes once a week.

      What about having one day a week where you get to pig out on Indian food? The cheat day may even help rev up your metabolism, especially if you eat under your caloric intake during the week.

  10. Luke

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    1. renaissan

      Thanks for the comment man! And I appreciate you browsing the blog. Let me know how the p90x thing goes.

      By the way, p90x3 has even shorter workouts at 30 minutes per workout. The regular p90x program is awesome but the workouts can run between 1 hour to 1.5 hours.

      Let me know how your luck with women is going, too. Would love to hear about it. And if you have any questions I’d love to answer them.

      Thanks again for reading and taking the time to comment!


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