Yesterday was the first full cheat day that I had in quite some time. If you have been following along, I have been on a mission to get my body fat down to 10% or less and I have a firm deadline in place. I am finally starting to train hard again, a year after my knee injury. So, what does my current diet look like? Its very simple and there are no secrets. I have as much passion for fat loss, hypertrophy and diet/nutrition as I do for training, which is one of the reason’s I have been striving to make Newell Strength known for both. They go hand in hand, like 2 wheels on a bike. ‘The bike don’t work properly when both wheels aren’t working together’.
For the majority of the week, I have been doing a protein and fiber rich diet and low to moderate fat. I consume very little carbohydrate, coming in the forms of veggies. This is very similar to what I used to do when I was competing. Am I doing this for the long term? Probably not, rather I am using it to jump-start the fat loss process. On Friday nights I have been doing a small reefed, this past Friday nights meal consisting of five rolls of Sushi. This is just to get my through Saturdays workouts, yes that is plural. I’ll address the workouts in a minute. On Sunday nights, I have been doing a 3-hour window of ‘re-feeding’ to offset some of the downturns in metabolism that we will see when in caloric deficit. These include drop in thyroid levels, testosterone levels, IGF-1, leptin to name a few. So you see, these windows do serve a purpose. Here is the problem: most people focus too much on the re-feed or cheat, making it the sole purpose of the diet. I made this mistake too at one point in my more immature dieting days and it is surely a road to nowhere. And if you are too fat, say above 15% for a male and 25% for a female, you don’t really need a cheat meal window physiologically. You may need it psychologically and I don’t believe one meal per week will do any harm in your efforts, but for sure its not needed physically.
Back to my diet. Remember, this is for fat loss and body recomposition, which means trying to maintain a relative weight or in the neighborhood of 225 but shift the balance of muscle and fat. So far, its been working. My cheat day yesterday, which was a success, looked like this:
1. I started with a 40 gram Metabolic Drive protein shake with one cup of raw milk. I did this because I was starving and I wanted to at least control myself at my in-law’s Mother’s Day breakfast. I grabbed a coffee with a shot of espresso on the way to the breakfast (normal Sunday morning routine).
2. At breakfast, I had half a loaf of chocolate chip crumb cake, 8 mini chocolate and cream cheese strudels, 3 sausage links, 4 cage free whole eggs, 4 small pancakes, 1 cup of potatoes and some rasberries.
3. When we got home, I had 2 large cinnabon rolls with 1 large bowl of fruity pebbles. I took a nap, woke up and hour later and repeated the exact same meal along with some meatballs Devon had cooked up. I used vanilla almond milk with the cereal.
4. I sipped on two glasses of Jersey Devil wine while making my family burgers and such for my side of the family. I had an 8oz grass fed beef cheeseburger on a bun, one large baked potato, 1 cup of potato salad and a few French fries.
5. For dessert, I had 1 3×3 inch piece of ‘slutty brownie’ that Devon made, along with 3 scoops of ice cream.
6. To top it off, I had one more bowl of fruity pebbles before going to bed.
How do I feel today? Absolutely great, actually very hungry. This is one of the signs I look for after a full cheat day. I also woke up sweating last night, meaning I had to ‘disrobe’ down to my boxers in the middle of the night because my clothes were soaked. Notice that my cheat day had a purpose though, I was trying to get in as many carbs as possible to refill glycogen levels for the week ahead. Based on my hunger levels after breakfast, I’d say I fell a bit short.
Notice that some of what I do is based on my intuitive knowledge and some of it is based on science. All good coaches do this. I have been reading up a bit on Metabolic Typing and it reiterates the point that every single body is different. I know what works for me and I can replicate it time and time again. I do get a kick out of prospective clients that want me to ‘fix’ them in a month so they can be jacked and ripped. A good coaching relationship takes time to cultivate and for me to learn the athletes body.
And I am in the process of hiring my own personal coach for the next year, as I do believe in the value of having your own Coach, wouldn’t I be a hypocrite if I thought otherwise? Is it a necessity? No, but it is a time saver and a learning experience. As far as training is concerned, I am very concerned with a trend I am seeing and that is: people think they can just follow a nutrition plan and train half ass and get results. NO! You must train intensely along with your diet plan. Otherwise, you may lose weight, but we can do that by chopping off an arm too. If you are trying to re-composition your body, it is going to take some serious effort, not three 40 minute workouts per week. And cutting out on things like leg day or lower body day is not the right mentality. And if you tell me that you don’t have time, then that’s fine, but you won’t get the results you are after.
There is a big psychological and behavioral component to this as well but that is a different article for a different day. I will also be writing about metabolic destruction this week and why I follow the plan I am following after years of competing and chronic dieting. Stay tuned!
HEAT SEEKING MISSILE AND FAT LOSS
Luckily, I got to snap this pick while waiting at a traffic light. What the F? It is a pitiful state when people get so damn fat and out of shape that they need to roll around town in an electric scooter. I do not feel bad for them and they are a burden to the health care system. I will be writing a follow up article on this entire article, but for those that say: maybe they don’t know what to eat. To that I say, listen to your body! If you feel like sh** two hours after you ate, something is wrong and your body is telling you something. I don’t want to hear thyroid and faulty metabolism, etc. AND, think about this, have you ever eaten anything by accident? My friend on the scooter put years and years of work into that physique. But with that said, I do have people in pretty bad shape that do seek me out to help and for them, I give them an ovation. Change is hard but riding around in a scooter because you are too fat/lazy/can’t move right, should be a clear sign that your body has had enough abuse.
I am often astounded at the lack of effort you will see from an ordinary man. Many, many people are just happy to be average and ‘not stick out’. Let me ask you a question….did God or whatever you believe in not provide you with more than enough opportunity to do great things with? I pride Newell Strength on being a place where clients and athletes can be propelled on to do greater things in their life. If you don’t think kicking a workout’s ass and owning it have anything to do with the rest of your life, you are making a big mistake.
You need to take time every year, month, day, to be awesome. This means that you have to attack something with all your passion and become superior at it. That is one of the main reasons I always loved competing, because of the supreme focus it gave me and knowing I was doing something that 99% of people would be too soft to do.
As you may or may not know, right now I am in the process of getting my body fat down under 10%, nothing super compared to 5% but it’s a tangible goal and a place for me to start. I am not doing this for health reasons so much as I am for the simple idea of being awesome, doing something hard to get focused and to remind myself of what my athletes and clients are feeling. I do not mind being hungry or any of the side effects of dieting as I embrace them and when I feel them I put them back in their place.
When you are trying to achieve something out of the ordinary, you must expect balance to go out the window along with it. Don’t worry, you can regain your balanced life once you hit your goals, whatever they may be. This should add to your sense of urgency to reach your goals even faster. People have been asking me this week what I have been doing, since they can notice the change in my face and arms as I get leaner and I don’t really have a good answer for them. I simply envision myself as a heat-seeking missile and go after it. There are no options, no choices, I simply do!
Last weekend we went over to a birthday party for my niece but since it wasn’t cheat night for me, guess what? You got it, I didn’t have pizza or cake, although I would have loved to and I brought a bag of chicken to throw on the grill. You see, too many people have too many ‘wants’. You either want to be lean and lose fat or you don’t. If you want to have your cake a couple of times per week, then there is your answer. And no, don’t take it personally, it is what it is. When you make up your mind to do something you don’t also create an option B because it will only distract you.
As you may have seen in one of my other articles, I have an alter ego, some combination of Danny Trejo, Marshall Mathers and the Terminator and no I am not kidding. You have one too, even if you try to ignore it. Why is it important? Because you will be having conversations with yourself constantly when you are trying to do something hard that is going to push you outside your comfort zone. The alter ego(s) must be there to take a stand and not give in to your quibbling.
To be a heat seeking missile, you cannot let other people get in your way and more importantly you must get out of your own way. This goes for the athletes I train at Newell Strength that may have no concern for fat loss but who desire to be the best. Are you going to wake up early to practice? Are you going to take time to prepare your meals? Are you going to be that kid that leaves the party to go life (I was). If you aren’t, then there is your answer. Being awesome looks good and sounds good on paper but your actions will speak louder than your words.
I have often talked about time and the value of it. Or in some cases, the lack of value most people place on it. Time is often thrown away, spent for nothing in return and rarely thought about. I went down to see Charlie Weingroff (see video below) the other morning and the only time we could both make work with our schedules was 6AM down in Marlboro, about 40 minutes away. I didn’t hesitate to book it because I knew the visit would help me.
One of the worst excuses in the world is that you don’t have time. We all have the same amount of time, we just choose to use it differently. I wrote a few months back about how while I was driving out to my grandmother’s funeral in Pittsburgh, I decided to listen to a time management CD by Dan Kennedy. I realized after listening for the 8+ hours how much I have been slacking off on commanding my time. Some of my friends think I am crazy that I schedule out my weekdays down to the minute, but I get so much more done this way. If you have ever tried calling me unscheduled you now know why I do not pick up. And when I do have a phone appointment, I make sure it has a definite ending time before I get on the phone. Again, respect your time, let other people throw theirs away.
If you want to accomplish great things in life, you need to command your time. I am not sure who it was, maybe one of the Schwab’s off the top of my head, but he was asked for a secret to his success. So he took out a napkin and scribbled something on it, handed it to the inquirer and said, “If you follow the secret on that napkin, it will yield you know less than $25,000 extra in the next year (equivalent to over half a million now days). When the inquirer opened it up, he was disappointed to see that all it said was simply: “Schedule your days out the night before.”
There is nothing sexy about it, nothing magical and all it takes is a little discipline. I can hear people saying now that they don’t have time for this type of thing, see what I’m talking about? People want to be great but they can’t bring themselves to do something as simple as this. What is the purpose of this entire maniacal attitude towards my time? I love the sense of purpose and accomplishment I get during and at the end of each and every day and it allows me to create my ideal life, which means no more working on the weekends since I’ve stopped teaching. This allows Devon and I time to enjoy each other without my being distracted.
Want to get lean? Use your time wisely and wake up early if need be. If you can’t do that, then you don’t really want to be lean, you just like the idea of it. I cannot tell yo how often I have people tell me they want to be lean and in the best shape of their life yet they are the same one and two months later. How come they couldn’t do it but others could? Is it some secret ‘thyroid’ issue? Nope, just a difference in attitude and with that, how they use their time towards their goal. I have a definite deadline of June 1st to be under 10% body fat. I know what I will look like and where I will go from there. Dave Tate once told me that when you are on a mission, set a start and ending date, otherwise there is no urgency. While talking with my boy, the Wolverine, last night, we decided where we are going to be at certain dates throughout the summer. We used to be buddies on the competition trail and now we do it for the love of being awesome and getting in the best shape we can. If you need a contest to get lean and in shape, you are employing backwards thinking. That doesn’t mean I am opposed to competing, it means you need to be clear on what you are doing and why.
Finally, the point you thought I’d never get to. Some dieting advice and tips to look for. I always become ultra aware of these things when on the journey myself and it follows the same patterns almost every time. So, if you are trying to get lean, really lean, look for these things to happen:
• You will start to get lean in certain areas first. Usually the face and cheek and then from there its individual. For me, I have a certain vein that comes out in my right arm and I know I am on the right track. For guys the belly will be one of the last things to go and for the females it will be the glues and thighs.
• Your body temperature will drop. This is normal when you are in the appropriate caloric deficit. Leptin, thyroid, testosterone, IGF-1 and other hormones will crash after just 4 days of a deficit. Your body will literally begin to shut systems down and you will notice body temperature coming down. This is one of many reasons you need re-feeds.
• Getting up in the morning should be much easier and I attribute this to keeping insulin under control on a consistent basis.
• Hunger is constant, but not severe. You will always have the feeling (besides your cheat meals) where you could definitely eat more.
• Urination levels will go up. This is due to two reasons. 1)Less carbohydrate for your water to bind with. We are aiming for lower glycogen levels any way to lose body fat, but look at the name carbo-HYDRATE and you will see that for every one gram of carbs it’ll bind with 3 grams of water. 2) As your body begins to break down and mobilize body fat, it will release the toxins in the fat cells, and thus they will have to be excreted via the urine.
There are many more, but if you are just starting, these will save you some time to know if you are on the right track. By the way, the Wolverine and I will be starting our own Internet radio show unlike everything you have ever heard before. And, if you are interested in the fat loss stuff I spoke of, check out the banner with the link to my fat loss seminar page. Win the day!
Below, I am putting the first part of an article from world famous strength coach, Charles Poliquin. I had the pleasure of going out to see him this past weekend in
Arizona and it was the best seminar I’ve ever been to. I will be writing a lot more about the BigSignature method I was schooled in, but I can tell you that switching to a meat and nut breakfast is critical in anyone’s daily routine, for a variety of reasons. For example, did you know that the first 30 grams of protein you eat during the day go to detoxifying the body and the second 30 grams you eat go to aiding your immune system? So you are already 60 in the hole without taking training into account.
By far, the biggest requests I get from my members and consulting clients is for fat loss and I prided myself in being the most knowledgeable in the area for quite sometime. I haven’t been this excited about something in this field in a long time both personally and because of how I am going to be able to help people.
Check this article out and then implement it!
When people ask me for the best single dietary tip for optimal leanness, energy and sustained mental focus, I invariably tell them to try the rotating meat and nuts breakfast. Clients ranging from NHL & NFL stars to corporate executives rave about the increased mental acuity and focused energy they derive from this food combination. The meat allows for a slow and steady rise in blood sugar. The nuts provide a great source of healthy smart fats that allows the blood sugar to remain stable for an extended period of time. To continue with this article go here.
I find it funny when people tell me that the workout wasn’t hard enough or they need more. The simplest thing I can say is that exercise is like a prescription. You prescribe it in the lowest dose possible to get the desired effect.
If you had to take medicine, would you take 5X the recommended dose just because more is better, even though one pill would get the job done just fine? People come to Newell Strength in all different phases of their ‘training career’. Some have been training longer than others, some need to gain muscle, some need to lose fat and so on.
The goal will always dictate the training program. So what tools do I have at my disposal when designing programs? The different variables include sets, reps, rest periods, frequency of exposure, tempo and exercise selection. When I get out my pad to write down the ‘prescription’, there is interplay between all these variables.
If sets go up, reps go down. There is an inverse relationship between the two. A rep is really a measure of time, how long is the muscle system under tension? A rep is work and power. Work is force times distance and power output it work divided by time.
Rest periods will be dictated by training level and if you are after maximal strength, muscle growth or fat loss. Rest periods seem to be the most overlooked aspect of most trainees as they will rest one minute here, two minutes the next time and 20 seconds on the final set. How are we supposed to track progress or manipulate that variable if its all over the board. We have now started giving all the athletes and trainees stop watches to keep during their workouts so they are more conscious of the rest periods we prescribe.
Another overlooked aspect is frequency of training. Are you training by body part split still? Are you only training a body part once a week? If so, you are robbing yourself. A muscle is ready to go within 48 hours and similar movements can be trained daily, just look at blue-collar workers, for example, lumber jacks. They don’t seem to over train the muscles they work day in and day out, do they?
Tempo is the rep speed. Are 8 reps performed in 8 seconds going the same effect as 8 reps performed in 24 seconds? Definitely not! But most people or trainers I should say never pay this any mind. If you are after fat loss, time under tension should be longer as we will get a greater boost in lactic acid, causing a rise in growth hormone. So in that case, more time under tension is also critical in gaining muscle mass. Rest periods and nutrition will dictate which effect you get.
And lastly, exercise selection. You would probably be shocked to learn that your body adapts to the actual exercise selection the last. You could stick with the same basic exercises all year and manipulate that other variables and get phenomenal results. Pareto’s principle states that we get 80% of our results from 20% of the things we do. Exercise selection definitely fits this principle. Hoepfully this clarifies some of the aspects of what goes into your program as you shouldn’t be just wining it. A workout is not the same as a program…prescribe and let the effects happen.
While I was driving into to school this morning, listening to Stern, he was interviewing the infamous Steve O from JackAss. I love Stern because he does such a great interview and somehow he got to talking to Steve O about various life stories. For a while, Steve O volunteered to have government drugs tested on him for money to see what the side effects would be. One of the drugs of which I cannot even recall the name because it was so long, which was designed to make cattle more muscular and leaner,although it wasn’t an anabolic steroid, had to stop being given to Steve O because his resting heart rate jumped up to 150 beats per minute.
I am a big fan of naturally fed animals, meaning grass fed, wild caught, etc. and as you can see from the Steve O example, toxins will poison your body. If you do nothing else, start paying a little more to buy those cage free eggs, grass fed butter. etc. Your body will not build muscle or lose fat optimally if it is full of toxins. And, a second point, water dilutes toxins. Imagine a large glass filled a quarter of the way with straight lemon juice. Drinking that would be pretty gross, but if you filled the rest of the glass with water, it wouldn’t taste so bad, because you have diluted it. I use lemon juice as an example, but lemon juice is actually a great liver detoxifier.
Next big nutrition point for the day: breakfast. I am starting to lean more and more to the side of thinking that if you over work you digestive system, you will again not be able to achieve optimal body composition. I am rarely hungry for breakfast, so most mornings I just have bullet proof coffee mixed with grass fed or raw butter to make a very nice tasting latte. My body still thinks its fasting and I can go til noon somedays on nothing but this. My brain functions better, growth hormone levels stay high and my body has time to digest and clean out my body, and according to Steve Maxwell (as you will see in my upcoming book), prime time for this is between 3-11 AM. Tweaks can be made if needed, but I am fine with doing this even on days when I workout first thing. Eat when you are hungry and only fill the tank 80%. Such a simple nutritional rule but overlooked by most so called ‘experts’.
Which brings to me to my final point to make while I finish out my lunch break. It is rare that I have come across a qualified expert of nutrition. That is why the my coaches have all been long distance in relation to me, because of such a lack of expertise locally. A nutrional program must really be based on principles and it must be functional, another point I was typing in my book yesterday. It doesn’t matter how perfect it looks on paper if the athlete or client cannot follow it adinfinitum. This means that high school athletes must get simple breakfasts that pack a punch (think gluten free bagel with 3 tbsp. of raw peanut butter and a protein shake, cold processed). If you have a busy executive as a client, you must take into consideration that they aren’t going to have the time to sit down and eat a tupperware meal for most of the day. How do you solve this? Well, that is where experience and expertise come in to play. Nutrition shouldn’t be overly complicated and if you are on my email list, I will be emailing out my Newell Strength nutrition manual later this week. After taking a look through it, you will see that its the principles that are key, every thing else is just implementation.
I was going to make a back porch video for you guys today, but as it is raining here, I will save a few of those for later in the week….today’s topic: carb intake.
I have trained very few athletes that can have indiscriminate carbs throughout the day. The exception would be high school athletes that are trying to gain weight, but just because they can eat carbs at more times throughout the day doesn’t mean they should just be pounding sugar all day.
Food is a drug in every definition I know of drug and carbs are the precursor to a very powerful drug: insulin.
So, here are a few ways I use carbs when designing a program for a client:
1)Around the workout, even if they are trying to lose fat. By workout, I mean a muscle building workout, not a fat loss workout. I like to place a complex carb in the pre-workout shake a long with some protein and fat. I want a steady supply of energy for the workout.
2)Simple carbs with protein immediately after the workout. This allows for anabolism by spiking insulin and driving the amino acids into the muscles. Think honey, waxy maize, white rice, etc.
3)I would use carbs the same way with an athlete in season in regards to their game. There is something to placing simple carbs after a workout in that it will reduce soreness, so in that regard, depending on the profile of the person, I may even have them sipping on a concoction during the game or workout.
If you eat carbs at every meal, when you clearly don’t need them at every meal, you are gonna have insulin control problems and a lot of unwanted body fat. Think of your glycogen stores as a fuel tank, you want to fill it up but no more. More means more body fat.
I can tweak this even for those looking to gain size. But remember, if you are designing nutrition programs, take into consideration what the client or athlete is more likely to follow through with….
I will update you about the ‘state of Kyle’ at the end of this blog, but first, I wanted to start with a few of the things we do at the gym with our athletes and members.
The only difference between the athletes programs and the other members programs is the pace of the workouts. Because strength is more of a focus of us with the athletes, they are allowed a little more rest between sets.
For core, we always use a ton of ‘anti’ movements such as stabilization, anti-extension, anti-rotation and anti-flexion. There is a ton of new research showing that these anti-movements are the way to go when training core. They have a direct carry over to the field: as much of sport is bracing and ‘anti’, allowing the body to transfer force from the ground out to the extremities. The great thing about training this way is that bracing can and will make a person instantly stronger when using these techniques on ‘global’ exercises such as the dead lift, squat, bench and overhead press (we always want to stabilize the spine).
For the main part of the workouts, we usually follow Louie and perform some variation of one of the big lifts first. This could be a variation of the bench, squat or dead lift and it will either be a max effort, dynamic effort or repeated effort. This is followed up by chaotic and assisting movements (ala Smitty) which are designed to get the athlete faster, bigger and stronger while at the same time having more of a direct carry over to their sport. Remember above when I was saying that the ‘anti’ movements directly correlated to performance? Well, we normally place an exercise such as chaotic pull-ups, un-even split squats, multi-force lunges, etc.
Forces in sport don’t really care that the athletes would have an easier time with nice linear movements, it just isn’t reality. So we train our athletes to be able to handle all sorts of movements and situations on the field.
We always have a touch of power training thrown in as well. This will usually take the form of ‘contrast’ training near the beginning of the workout. This complex will usually involve either a jump of some sort, a sprint or a combo of either with med ball work. One of the main overlooked factors when training for power is the ability to sustain that power throughout the course of a game.
This is where I stole some of my older methods from when I was competing (even using them on myself now) and I will place a combination such as jumps with one arm snatches, the goal being able to maintain the power and speed throughout the set or complex. It is impossible to perform either of these two exercises in a slow manner (this is an example). If speed diminishes to much, we shut that complex down and it is a clear sign that the athlete must become better with their ‘power-endurance’. The athlete that is stronger and able to maintain their speed and power longer will normally come out on top.
Those power endurance complexes are great for inducing oxygen debt as well. Meaning, they are great if you are aiming to drop so major body-fat and recruit some highly anabolic, ‘fast-twitch’ fibers.
Obviously, it would be impossible to go over every-thing we do at Newell Strength in one blog post, but hopefully this gives you some ideas and things to implement in your own programs.
Now, onto my own progress….
THE JOURNEY TOWARDS BEING THE HEALTHIEST EVER!!!
I have been disciplined and driven this past week towards my goal. My energy is way up, getting out of bed in the morning is easier and hunger is constant. I am heading out to IHOP in a bit for my once weekly cheat meal (which serves a purpose by the way-spiking leptin and preventing a downshifting of the thyroid hormones). Urination is through the roof and thirst is way up. I got all of my workouts in this week and another nice side-effect was the sharper memory and recall. Food is a drug in every sense of the word and the effects can show it.
My body fat has gone from 22.8% last week to 15.4% this week. Although it would be near impossible to lose this much in one week, I did go down in my skin folds significantly. My weight dropped from 238.6 to 234.4!
As a 1%, I know it is never wise to coach yourself, so this upcoming week I am bringing John Meadows on board to be my coach. He is the guy that inspired me to start with being much more conscious of what the food ate that I am eating (raw milk,etc.). I will keep you posted. Win the day!
Over at the gym, Randee Staats has been turning into one of the more dedicated members that I have. Randee has a reality show that is starting filming in January (it will be on MTV by the way) and he came to me looking to get into better shape for the show. On top of that, he was also coming off knee surgery last year in which they had to fix the ACL amongst other ligaments.
Randee has followed everything I have given him to a T. The funny thing, he and Ripped Van Winkle work out a lot together and it seems they are going down similar paths.
Check it out so far:
My assessment: Randee has currently been following a version of the cycle diet. This means extreme dedication during the week and then a re-feed on Saturdays. I am going to be stepping up his conditioning starting this week. Randee has steadily improved his strength to the point that he is benching 275 at a bodyweight of 168. So, I would like him to drop some more body fat while at the same time focusing on putting on a little more muscle. This can be a tricky balancing act, but it can be done. Keep it up Randee!