It’s way more complicated than just “burning calories”…

…especially if you’re not working out the right way.

It’s frustrating to see people using those heart rate monitors and digital calorie counters in the gym. Are those things even accurate?? I think all they do is measure heart rate and make an estimate, which doesn’t even take into account what type of exercise you were doing, whether it was sprinting, cardio, or weight lifting, whether it was heavy and intense, etc. Lets get real. Stop trying to burn as many calories as possible in the gym. It’s a hopeless endeavor, even if calories burned even mattered…

It does not matter how many calories you burn while working out. That’s not how it works. If it were, once you ate a meal after your workout, you would have effectively undone all those grueling hours of useless boring cardio. Not only that, but hours of cardio has been shown to actually hinder long-term fat loss results, because it becomes a chronic stressor of the bad kind, increasing cortisol and inflammatory markers perpetually. Eventually you end up with that beer-gut or cortisol-gut as the inflammation catches up with you.

If we work out effectively, we will cause an adaptation. The correct type of exercise actually changes the way your body works. It normalizes your body fat regulating hormones, and makes better use of the nutrients you eat. You become more efficient, and along with the proper diet, become adapted to burning primarily fat for energy, instead of glucose. The best type of exercise actually raises your energy expenditure for days afterwards, increasing fat oxidation as well.

What type of exercise causes these beneficial changes? It’s the type of exercise that hits all the muscle fibers, not just the slow twitch type 1 muscles we use during endurance exercise.

mark post 2 pic 1 Copy

In order to cause the adaptation we are looking for, to increase post-workout energy expenditure and fat oxidation, we must exhaust all the muscle fibers, type one and type two.

First, high-intensity exercise training induces secretion of lipolytic [fat-burning] hormones including growth hormone and epinephrine, which may facilitate greater post-exercise energy expenditure and fat oxidation. Second, it has been reported that under equivalent levels of energy expenditure high-intensity exercise training favors a greater negative energy balance compared to low-intensity exercise training.”

B.A. Irving, University of Virginia

That’s right. High-intensity training, NOT cardio. Doing high intensity training enacts the same cardiovascular benefits as hours of cardio, in less time, and with better long-term results for health and weight management.

The development of type 2b muscle fibers leads to a reduction in accumulated white adipose tissue and improvements in metabolic parameters independent of physical activity or changes in the level of food intake. These effects occur independently of muscle oxidative capacity and are associated with increases in fatty acid metabolism in liver…The results from the current study indicate that modest increases in type 2b skeletal muscle mass can have a profound systemic effect on whole-body metabolism and adipose mass.

The metabolic improvement in this model cannot be entirely explained by a reduction in fat-pad mass, indicating that type II muscle counteracts the actions of excess adipose tissue on whole-body metabolism. These findings indicate that type II muscle has a previously unappreciated role in regulating whole-body metabolism through its ability to alter the metabolic properties of remote tissues.

They also noted that these muscle fibers improved insulin sensitivity and caused reductions in blood glucose, insulin, and leptin levels, and that, these effects occurred despite a reduction in total physical activity. Sounds to me like we should get the heck off the treadmill (unless you’re sprinting on it).

When we do high-force and short-duration exercise we don’t exclusively work our type 2b fibers, we work all of our less forceful fibers and our type 2b fibers. We try to lift something heavy, and our muscles try to generate enough force with our weakest type 1 fibers first. Those do not generate enough force, so our muscles also activate our more forceful type 2a fibers to help. If that’s still not enough, we keep the type 1 and type 2a fibers going, and add the stronger type 2x fibers. Keep going and don’t stop working the other three, and bring in our most powerful type 2b fibers, until finally we reach what’s referred to as positive which we have absolutely exhausted all muscle fiber types to the point of being unable to lift another repetition. Thanks to this cumulative activation of all of our muscle fibers (known as orderly recruitment), we have caused an acute stressor which will cause our body to adapt. Here is where the magic happens! In the 6 days (at least) of recovery, your energy expenditure goes up, as well as fat oxidation, your muscles heal, you start to get leaner, and you grow stronger!

This is why olympic sprinters are lean and muscular, and long distance runners are frail, sick, and emaciated. This is why those lean ripped dudes at the gym never have to step foot on an elliptical machine. This is why Michael Phelps can eat 20K calories a day and stay ripped. This is why you only see tortured tired looking people on the treadmill who never seem to lose weight. This is why people who do CrossFit and olympic weightlifting are lean, mean, Paleo-eating machines.

Don’t want to get huge, bulky muscles? Don’t worry about it. It won’t happen unless you do steroids. Here’s why.

Myostatin (GDF-8), a member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) superfamily of secreted growth and differentiation factors, is a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth. Loss of myostatin function is associated with an increase in muscle mass in mice, cows, and humans.

– M.N. Elkasrawy, Medical College of Georgia

That means that as you get more muscles, you naturally down-regulate your ability to gain more muscle, so that over time you get diminishing returns, until you eventually reach the physiological limit of your muscle-building capacity. For women, that’s pretty low. Same is true for a lot of guys too. Most of us just are not naturally able to build and maintain tons of muscle.

The base levels of myostatin and muscle in most women and most men make it impossible for them to naturally build bulky muscles. It does not matter how much resistance we use. The majority of us, especially women, do not have the genes to build bulky muscles via any form of exercise.

Those few people who are able to get big, they’re athletes, they naturally gravitate to sports, because their physiology allows them to build supernatural-ish capacity. If this was you, you’d know it. If you’re reading this, it’s pretty safe to say that you’re one of us normal folks.

What types of workouts do I do to stimulate all my muscle fibers?

Here’s an example of my most recent setup, scroll down the page in [this post].

Heavy weights, that cause positive failure. I use about 6-8 reps-to-failure on compound lifts, and about 8-12 reps-to-failure on isolation lifts. I work out 3 times a week, and I do the same exercises each monday, for example, to allow a full week of recovery for those muscle groups. I.e. Monday is squats, Wednesday is shoulders, Friday is back. Something like that. 

I do high intensity interval training about once a week. Windsprints on a bike or running. Doesn’t matter. This stuff is brilliantly better than any type of conventional cardio, and usually only takes about 15 or 20 minutes.

Lots of active recovery: walking, hiking, biking, etc. (Super low-level stuff has a lot of benefit too).

~ Dan

Related Posts:

It’s way more complicated than “counting calories”…

My Progress. Growing Triceps.

How does fat make you fat?


It’s way more complicated than “counting calories”…

…especially if you’re still eating crap food.

I get so irritated when I hear people discussing the number of calories in their breakfast sandwich, on an english muffin…Then they go on to say, “well, if we added a hash brown that’s only 300 more calories, but it’s all from fat”…wtf!?!? Let’s stop glossing over things here. There’s definitely a lot more going on physiologically than meets the eye.

First off, if you’re trying to lose fat mass, you definitely should be eating less. But you can’t simply go on the interblogz, hypernetz, world-wide-net-whatever, and use some magical calculator to decide for you how many calories you need. Your body does not utilize calories in the same manner as someone else identical to your age, weight and body composition. That traditional approach is way over simplified.

You have to account for your current condition. Do you have insulin resistance or other hormone resistance? Do you have chronic stress? What’s your activity level? Do you have thyroid issues, or systemmic inflammation? If so, what’s the level of inflammation at the hypothalamus? (Well, it’s impossible to tell unless we take it outta your brain, but you’ll then be dead, and that’s the most permanent weight loss of all…). Trouble is, it’s difficult or impossible to measure all of these things and come to a conclusion about how it affects the calories you eat.

The hypothalamus is very important. It controls everything about regulating fat mass. It manages your hormones for hunger and satiety, insulin, ghrelin, leptin, you name it. It also controls how your body responds to calories, and how much energy you actually absorb from the food you eat. It even controls the speed of your metabolism. Now, throw off the hypothalamus with some systemmic inflammation, and whammo, we have the perfect recipe for fat-ass syndrome!

So what’s the easiest way to eat less? That’s easy: eat only nutrient dense, high quality whole foods that are unprocessed and unadulterated. That means plenty of healthy fats from whole food sources like coconut, olives, avocados, 100% grass fed beef, 100% grass fed dairy, game animals, or whole eggs from free range fed hens. Along with that you’ll be sure to get all the fat soluble minerals you need to stay full for longer periods of time. You’ll also be getting just the right amount of protein to help keep you sated. Along with that, get lots and lots of high quality vegetables, of all colors shapes and sizes, for their wonderful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals too!

The brialliant thing about avoiding all the industialized processed crap, and nutrient-void “foods” like grains and sugar, is that it allows your body to auto-correct. It eliminates all the exogenous dietary sources of chronic inflammation that throw off your body’s regulating mechanisms.

Veggie oils – Cause inflammation via oxidation. They break down (oxidize) super easy because these fats are highly polyunsaturated. Polyunsaturated fat contains two or more pairs of double bonds without hydrogen atoms occupying the open space, and it’s the carbon that lies between the double bonds that is wide open to oxidation. All it takes is a little heat or a little time, and poof, oxidized lipid! If you eat out a lot, or cook with canola oil etc, I guarantee you are getting a giant surplus of oxidized lipids floating around wreaking havoc on your body.

Grains – Contain little to no beneficial nutrients, and cause systemmic inflammation via gluten, lecins, phytates, and a host of other anti-nutrients that pass through the gut into general circulation. Not only do you take in a bunch of empty calories, but once your body realizes there’s nothing of value in there, you get hungry soon after.

Sugar – Same deal as grains. Added sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, dehydrated-whatever solids, bleh. Empty calories, insulin surge, stresses they body’s natural regulating mechanisms, systemmic inflammation, unhappy hypothalamus, fat-fat-fattie.

…There’s a lot of other “foods” I haven’t discussed, but these are the main ones to look out for.

Now, assuming all that inflammation has been corrected, and you’re on your way to a healthier, happier you, it’s time to talk about those calories again.

It does matter how much you eat, because bottom line is, if you eat too much, your thrifty hunter-gatherer genes will tend to store the extra energy as fat for later use. Still, trying to actually count is pretty useless, because even when all your systems are back to normal and you’ve minimized systemmic inflammation, your individual calorie needs will still differ from everyone else’s. It’s literally impossible to tell exactly how much energy you individually absorb from any given meal, and it changes all the time based on your state of metabolism and activity level, nutrient needs, etc. Again, the hypothalamus regualtes all this stuff. In a healthy human it speeds up or slows down metabolism, and changes how much you absorb from food consantly depending on how much you eat, need, move, etc.

So how can you lose fat mass, not count calories, and not eat too much? For the most part, listening to your body is the best way. When you are truly hungry, and not just bored or stressed out, eat a nutrient dense, complete meal of whole natural foods complete with plenty of fat, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Think about this: have you ever tried to eat more than 4 whole eggs in one sitting? It’s not that easy, not many calories, it fills you up super quick, and it keeps you full for a long long time. It’s even more filling when it’s cooked with lots of grass fed butter and a couple strips of pasture raised bacon! I can tell you, anecdotally, any day of the week I eat a meal like this, I am full for the entire day. This includes the weekeneds when I am most active in the garage or walking around downtown. No joke. But it makes a ton of sense, right?

Had I combined that same meal with some english muffins, I would easily get hungry a few hours later. It most likely has to do with the phytic acid in the grains binding up many of the nutrients in my gut, making them just get pooped out later on. Im sure the glucose-rush doesn’t help either, flooding my body with insulin. The subsequent drop in blood glucose after the insulin surge stimulates hunger, as it acts in concert with your other hunger regulating hormones. If I did this every day, I might develop leaky-gut due to gluten and lectins. Lectins would be passing through the gut into circulation, binding to other organs causing dysregulation and systemmic inflammation, eventually reaching my hypothalamus, where the long term fat-gain really starts getting revved up. What a vicious cycle!

So yah, calories matter, but it has nothing to do with the government guidelines, which are likely way too high anyway, since they are probably based on the “needs” of a metabolically disregulated McAmerican population.

I’d say don’t bother counting too carefully. There are a lot of other factors that play into this that I won’t get into here. You can read this fantastic article over at Mark’s Daily Apple, about listening to your body, and when it might not always work.

~ Dan

Protein Powder

Someone asked me what I thought about casein protein powder. I gave them the same answer I give anyone regarding whether to take protein or not.

If you can tolerate it, and you are not lactose intolerant, protein powders are safe and should not pose any issues from a health standpoint.

But, it suddenly becomes easy to overeat. Since protein powders bypass our natural satiety mechanisms. You just downed a few hundred calories, and now you’re ready to eat another full meal.

The fullness mechanisms, or satiety mechanisms, like chewing, texture, taste, smell, fullness, etc, all tell our bodies how much we are eating, and when to stop, because our body is now replete with the nutrients it needs.

Chew your protein. You’ll be getting plenty to support growth of new tissues and muscle, without consuming a whole bunch of extra calories, not to mention sweeteners and additives.

If you are one of those people who does not get hungry and becomes sated from protein powders, go right ahead, just make sure you are using it to replace a meal, or a large part of a meal, and don’t add those calories back in the form of other food, unless you have a really high activity level and can utilize the extra energy.

Self experiment a little. I’m sure most people will find that protein powders are really not necessary..

~ Dan

Exercise intensity matters more than total calories burned. Men and women, take note.

The article cited (bottom of page) is of great importance and ties in with my discussions about the important role of muscle mass for health and longevity in men and women.

As conventional wisdom dictates, and seems to prevail unfortunately, lots of women avoid heavy lifting, to their disadvantage. Many overweight men are guilty of this as well, chosing instead to trudge away on the eliptical machine for hours a day.

As it turns out, more intense exercise, the type that uses heavy weights and lower reps, or high intensity interval training, actually produces better results in terms of fat loss. It also helps create a “reserve capacity“, that is, heightens your ability to keep that fat from coming back. Your little cheat meals and diet-divergences here and there won’t matter as much, since muscle has a greater capacity to store excess energy in the form of glycogen.

This is often why you see celebrities (Oprah is a prime example) bounce back and forth between fad diet programs. While every few years you see their weight fluctuate. What they were able to lose in fat, they did not build up reserve capacity in muscle, and as soon as they got off the “diet train” (most likely because low-fat high-carb isn’t really sustainable), they become fat again.


This is because these fad diets are usually all some version of the same thing; the high-carb, low-fat standard junk food american diet. And they all advocate lots and lots of boring, grueling cardio, and lots of light weight training with little pink weights. Of course, none of this creates lasting results, not to mention meaningful change to your body composition. Stop listening to the commercial interests, and start listening to common sense.

The Study

This article looked at twenty-seven middle-aged (51+/- 9 yrs) obese women with metabolic syndrome. The subjects underwent either 1) no intervention, 2) low intensity exercise below the lactate threshold, or 3) high intensity exercise above the lactate threshold.

Note: High intensity exercise is characterized by producing pyruvate from anaerobic metabolism more quickly than the mitochondria can use it. Pyruvate builds up and is acted upon by lactate dehydrogenase to produce lactic acid. This places you above the lactate threshold.

The results of the study are very clear. The high intensity group significantly reduced total abdominal fat, abdominal subcutaneous fat, and abdominal visceral fat. There were no changes observed in the non-exercise group or the low intensity group.

Note: The results are correlated with exercise intensity, NOT total calories burned! Each exercise session was controlled to expend the same number of calories, and based on total calories burned, the low intensity group had the “advantage” since they worked out more days per week. Despite this “advantage”, the low intensity group did not lose fat. This is a key concept: when it comes to losing body fat you cannot achieve it by “burning calories” in an attempt to influence the calories in/calories out equation.

Fat will be mobilized by depleting glycogen out of the muscle, creating a need for replenishment via the insulin receptors. As insulin sensitivity improves, serum insulin levels drop and body fat can be mobilized. As this scenario is repeated, triglycerides can be tapped from fat cells to supply energy for high intensity exertion, compounding the fat loss effect.

The subjects weren’t lifting weights, but it doesn’t matter

From a metabolic standpoint, what is important is that the intensity was high enough to exceed the lactate threshold, and that’s what this study was looking at. Our understanding of how to exceed the lactate threshold gives us a number of valuable tools. We can utilize high intensity interval training, like sprints or tabata intervals, to rapidly deplete glycogen and create growth spurts while enhancing aerobic capacity. We can also utilize intense weight lifting to failure with heavy weights, to minimize time in the gym, deplete glycogen, increase numbers of fat-burning mitochondria within the muscle, and increase our “reserve capacity” with great looking lean-mass. If the goal is to look good naked and be healthy for life, these tools should be your mainstay.

Women, take note

This is especially important for you, simply due to the fact that most women have less lean mass than men, your capacity for glycogen storage is at a disadvantage. As a result, your glycogen stores become full much more easily and quickly from sugars and carbohydrates. This makes women much more prone to the throws of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Only high intensity exercise activates the adrenaline cascade that mobilizes huge amounts of glycogen out of the muscle. When you work out hard, by lifting heavy to failure or doing high intensity interval training (HIIT), you are activating the process that empties the muscles of excess glucose, creating a scenario where glucose will have to be replenished within the muscle. This process is controlled by insulin and its receptors. By making room for more glucose in the muscle, you increase the sensitivity of these receptors. Glucose is then less likely to become stored as fat.

None of this matters….

unless you have the proper diet. No amount of training or exercise can undo a poor diet. Anything derived from the seed of plants (grains) is high in rapidly absorbable sugars. Also, seeds of plants contain phytotoxins (lectins, phytic acid, gluten) which help to protect the plant’s reproductive elements from being eaten. These toxins keep animals from reproducing and thriving by disrupting their hormone function. Commercially processed vegetable oils (sunflower, corn, canola, etc) oxidize extremely easily, because of their high polyunsaturated fat content, and cause systemmic inflammation that leads to the disruprion of hormones and body systems, and causes numerous diseases. We may be able to “get by” eating things like this, but it’s definitely not optimal for long term health.

Effect of Exercise Training Intensity on Abdominal Visceral Fat and Body Composition. Irving BA, et al. Published in Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Oct 8.

You might also like to read:

Is high-rep weight training a waste of time?

Thoughts on High Intensity Interval Training

How bad is saturated fat and cholesterol?

Why women should deadlift

Get muscles, burn fat faster

Is carb loading or carb-refeeding necessary for big muscles?

In every circle of body builders and body science experts there are folks trying to find shortcuts for getting bigger and stronger in less time. Protein timing, meal timing, workout timing, carbo-loading, etc, it’s all scrutinized and debated into the ground.

One of the most common things you’ll hear is that carbohydrates after exercise is “absolutely necessary for protein synthesis”, or that “carbohydrates increase protein synthesis beyond what can be achieved with protein supplementation alone”.

What’s the reason for this belief? I think a lot of it stems from conventional wisdom. You know, that driving force that keeps everyone following the USDA dietary guidelines, stuffing themselves with cheap sugar calories in the form of bagels, pasta, and “hearthealthywholegrains” (they do form the base of the food pyramid, by the way).

Another driving force is the fitness and health industry, people who are licensed to parrot that conventional wisdom to anyone who is willing to pay for their “training advice”. Most of the things that are taught through personal trainer licensing programs and dietitian programs, etc, teach these people basic weighing and measuring of carbs-protein-fats. They even teach them formulas to calculate the exact amount of carbs you will need for your given activity level. This, again, makes carbs appear to be a necessary part of our lives.

The final and possibly most influential force in the belief that carbs are needed for big muscles? The big-muscle guys themselves. Again, it’s merely conventional wisdom rearing its ugly head. Something so basic and incorrect can be repeated a million times by huge influential dudes in the community, and that thing suddenly becomes truth, because it’s been repeated over and over. But where’s the proof?

I think one thing that drives people to accept this theory lies in the fact that carbs (and sugar) cause a spike in insulin secretion. Insulin is a growth hormone that forces nutrients into cells (as long as you aren’t insulin resistant like most Americans). Forcing nutrients into cells is what body builders want, because it initiates growth and repair of damaged muscle tissue. That’s exactly how you get bigger muscles, faster.

But wait, is that all there is to it?

Did you know that protein initiates an equal, if not larger amount of insulin to be secreted compared to carbohydrates? That’s pretty interesting to know, because that fact by itself disproves the idea that carbs are required because of the insulin effect. Given enough protein ingestion, there will be plenty of insulin response to get your tissues growing.

Now, what about replenishing those lost glycogen stores after our brutal workout?

Well, if you are already eating a Paleo type diet, high in vegetables, starchy tubers, and some fruit, your daily diet will supply enough “carbs” to easily refuel your lost glycogen. It can even be replenished across a few days. Your liver even takes care of this via gluconeogenesis if you are on a very low carb diet.

And, if you are sticking to a fairly moderate exercise plan, about 3 times per week and no longer than an hour each, there is no need to “carb up” so rapidly, since you really aren’t draining your glycogen stores that much. If you are doing lots of HIIT (more than once or twice a week) or you are an endurance athlete, this changes a bit, as you may want to have more carbs in your diet, but I’m not talking to you marathoners right now.

There is one caveat to all this carb loading stuff. If you are doing occasional carb-refeeds or some sort of other carb-cycling protocol like Leangains to get rid of that last few percentages of stubborn body fat. There is a time and a place for that, but it really does not relate to the purpose of this discussion (which is whether or not carbs are required for protein synthesis or increased protein synthesis).

Bottom line, carb-refeeding or cab-loading is not necessary, and carbs are not required, for normal or increased protein synthesis.

Let’s look at the proof.

Here is a study that looked at just that. They compared protein synthesis post workout after ingestion of 20 grams of protein. They then compared it with the same amount of protein+some carbohydrates. The outcome? Nada. None. No difference in protein synthesis.

This study looked at the difference in protein synthesis and growth hormones after consumption of protein OR carbohydrate, and strangely enough, found no difference in protein synthesis versus consumption of just protein or just carbs. They did not state whether or not the subjects had fasted before hand, so they very well could have already eaten and had some amount of amino acids already floating around in their blood, waiting to be used. This seems to suggest that had you eaten at all that day, eating anything at all after workout will stimulate a similar amount of growth. Huh!

This last study can be confusing because of their wording. They tried to make it appear that carbs were necessary to facilitate increased protein synthesis. The problem is, they were comparing Protein+Carbs to Carbs only. The protein+carbs group had a higher myofibrillar, but not mitochondrial protein synthesis. And the amount of carbs in both groups was small at 25g. Having more grams total in the P+C group is likely the major contributing component.

Edit 4/18/12: Also, another reason that carbs are not required to fuel muscle building!Branched chain amino acids, which are found natrually in the protein of animal products and also as a workout supplement off the shelf, can convert to glucose as your body demands. This is great for those of us who do fasted training, because taking BCAA’s pre workout will stop our bodies from breaking down precious muscle mass to produce glucose for fuel. It’s the isoleucine and valine that convert to glucose, while leucine converts to ketones. So there is absolutely no need to consume “carbs” before or after workout to prevent muscle breakdown!

So there you have it. Carbs necessary for protein synthesis or body building? Nope! Just get plenty of protein and nutrients, and you’re golden!

Like this post? Leave a comment!

Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

You wanna talk calories? Lets talk calories.

Are you still worried about the amount of calories in fat? Is that what’s holding you back from going Paleo? Let’s get this out of the way nice ‘n’ quick.

Here’s what I eat for the ideal lunch; a good Paleo lunch. It will keep me full for the rest of the day. Check out the RDA% graph below. Many of them are off the chart.

  • 3 oz of T bone steak with fat trimmed to 1/4″
  • 3 oz of beef liver with onions
  • 1 cup of kale cooked with 1 tbs of butter
  • Club soda with some limes

Total cals: 551. Total fat: 59 grams. Total protein: 36.3 grams.

Now, here’s what the average American low-fat healthywholegrains-monger will mow-down.

  • One multigrain bagel
  • 2 tablespoons of ‘lite’ cream cheese
  • 1 brownie 3″ square
  • 20 oz ‘diet’ cola 
  • Demure little grab-bag of white potato chips

Total cals: 820. Total fat: 32.6 grams. Total protein: 21.4 grams.

Just for giggles, here’s what happens when I take out the brownie…

Total Cals: 627.

Now, I don’t know about all you people, but after eating one bagel with some cream cheeeeeeez? Tell me you’re not going to go sit at your desk within the hour and start munchin’ on peanut M&M’s or some sugary ‘lite’ yogurt cup, or even some sugary fruit…WHY? Because you got hungry. Again. Right after you ate your lunch. dummy.

Know why?

Look at how sad and pathetic that nutrient composition is. Of course your body is screaming for more food, you didn’t give it what it needed! And that’s not taking into account the bioavailability (or lack there of) of what you just ate. Since the nutrients in that bagel aren’t even bioavailable thanks to phytic acid and lectins, you can go ahead and cross off the following vitamins and minerals: A, E, Protein, Calcium, Copper, Iron, blah blah blah. Thanks to those grains, you’re now deficient! Great job, cowboy!

Think you can pop a multi vitamin to make up for that? (as if they didn’t already attempt to “enrich” the flour) Think again! Most of that stuff is synthetic and not actually bioavailable.


ALLERGEN INFORMATION: Contains dairy, soy and wheat.


Now, when I look at that steak and veggies meal…

I know I’m not gonna be hungry for AT LEAST 4 or 5 hours. Many of those nutrients are off the charts, and I got close to 25% of my daily protein needs, plus a good dose of healthy satruated fats! ROCK ON! Looks good to me.

I will be full of energy and not crash mid-afternoon, because I didn’t flood my body with glucose and decrease the activity of my orexin cells. I’m also avoiding inflammation from the grains and sugars. So, not sluggish, not inflamed, not lazy, not foggy-brained. I’m super powerful and feelin’ fine!

If you’re still talking about counting calories or cutting calories, GET OVER IT! It’s about nutrient density. Calories are an arbitrary number assigned to the temperature of burning sugar, and have no real meaning for humans. Plus, there’s a variation between individuals based on metabolism and how many “calories” you actually absorb from a given meal. Besides, your body doesn’t care about calories, it cares about amino acids, fatty acids, and nutrients.

Learn what to eat and your body will take care of the rest!

Check out some of the links on this page for more interesting articles about being awesome, looking awesome, and feeling awesome. AWESOME!

How to lower your body fat setpoint

Leptin is the chief body fat setpoint regulating hormone. It acts on the hypothalamus region of the brain to control our metabolism, nutrient uptake from food, hunger and satiety signals.

Here is how your normal body regulates fat mass and caloric intake

In normal functioning humans, leptin increases as you begin to overeat, and as fat begins to accumulate. The rise in leptin signals the hypothalamus that enough nutrients have been taken in. The increase in leptin tells your body to slow down the hunger signals, speed up the metabolism, and reduce the absorbtion of nutrients.

Likewise, as you fast or fat mass decreases, leptin also decreases. The hypothalamus notices a lack of leptin, and signals the body to slow down metabolism, increase nutrient uptake, and increase hunger.

Here is how a malfunctioning body regulates fat mass and caloric intake

In poorly functioning humans, such as the obese, the leptin signal is muted, and the hypothalamus has difficulty “hearing” the signal. This causes the body to continue to uptake nutrients, slow metabolism, and increase hunger, until the leptin signal is amplified by a greater fat mass, to the point that the hypothalamus is finally able to “hear” the signal. This is how the malfunctioning body defends an incorrect higher-fat mass.

This is called leptin resistance, or a lack of leptin sensitivity.

What causes leptin resistance at the hypothalamus? Inflammation!

Lowering systemic inflammation in the body, by eating a functional Paleo diet and removing neolithic food toxins, as well as staying away from hyper-palatable high hedonic reward foods, is the best way to “deflame” your body, and bring leptin sensitivity back within a healthy range.

Once you have eliminated inflammation and your hypothalamus is able to accurately read leptin signals, your body will self-regulate to a lower body fat setpoint, making fat loss and body recomposition easier.

The Caveman Diet. It’s About Nutrient Density.

Posted from Free The Animal. A comment Richard made on his post about nutrient density of a vegan diet versus one that includes nutrient dense animal meats.

[It’s about] the superior nutrient density of animal products. Why don’t you do ahead and try your hand at comparing a kale and spinach meal with an equal calorie meal that includes meat.

And don’t forget, we [paleos] can eat kale and spinach too.

It’s not what you are eating because we can eat everything you do (in terms of fruits, veggies, tubers or even nuts). It’s what you can’t/don’t eat that is calorie for calorie, more nutrient dense.

For instance, take your kale and spinach meal, reduce whatever it is by 400 kcals and replace that with 400 kcals of some animal product: meat, fish, fowl, eggs or even dairy. You only improve the nutrient profile.

That’s the point.

And that’s my point, too.

I’ve got better things to do than eat 6 or more large meals a day. I can’t be carrying around all that food on my back, I’ve got shit to do. I’d rather have 2 or 3 small nutrient dense meals a day, not be hungry, and be able to have a kick-ass fasted lifting session at the end of it all.

Missing Link(s) 1/20/2012

Are you ready? cus I am! This friday is gonna be so cool, because I wrote this!

Why less calories and more exercise don’t equal weight loss

Help prevent cold and flu by making bone broth soup

Make your own kombucha

Track your intake of amono acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Cool!

I told you eating too many PUFAs is bad

BCAAs have many benefits in fasted training

Do you REALLY wanna look like this twat?

I see muffin tops. Someone get him a barbell, QUICK!

Sure you lost 400 lbs, but how many PULL-UPS can you do?

How bout this one? Sure she lost a ton of weight, but I wouldn’t want to be in the same house as her when she’s in the bathroom! Taco Hell diet.

Yup, she’s thin alright. But that’s about it. Where’s the shape? Can she even lift a grocery bag full of meat and veggies? I doubt it.

Compare her to…..

Yah, that's what I thought

Now go forth and LEARN!

On a Diet to Lose Weight? Most of What You’re Losing isn’t Fat.

A new study (referenced below) attempts to reveal the relationship between protein and weight. A number of indibiduals were fed very specific diets in a controlled environment for 8 weeks. They were fed what was considered “40 per cent more calories than estimated to be required for weight maintenance. This equated to overfeeding of an average of about 950 calories a day”. Here’s what the calorie percentages for each diet looked like:

                       Protein       Carbohydrate       Fat

Low Protein:     6%                 42%              52%

Med Protein      14%               41%              44%

High Protein      26%              41%              33%

Notice how high the carbohydrate % is for each diet. Without knowing what type of foods the carbs came from, we should assume each diet used the same type of carb-food, (most likely cheap processed carbs). The measurements after the 8 week study can be seen below:

  weight change lean mass change fat mass change
low protein +3.61 -0.70 +3.66
medium protein +6.05 +2.87 +3.45
high protein +6.51 +3.18 +3.44

Notice that each of the groups put on “weight”. Also, each group put on approximately equal fat mass. Considering the amount of carbohydrates between groups is relatively similar (around 40% of calories), it’s my opinion that the high % carbohydrate contribution had the most influence on overall fat gain. 

Also important, is the high-protein diet put on the most lean mass. Had the carb count been lower, or from whole food sources and not cheap processed carbs, We might see a reduction in the fat mass change for this diet

What’s most interesting to me, is that the diet that most resembles the USDA recommended guidelines (low protein-low fat) resulted in the least lean mass gain, and the most fat mass gain. In fact, the low protein diet actually resulted in NEGATIVE lean mass change!

Now, the USDA and common wisdom villify saturated fats. The best protein rich foods contain saturated fats (animals!), so it stands to reason that people on a conventional-calorie-counting-low-fat-diet will be avoiding protein rich foods, in order to avoid the fat (dummies). This diet had a calorie EXCESS. Imagine how much you would lose on a calorie deficit! It’s all lean mass!

It should be obvious to you now that a combination of low-protein, low-fat and low-calorie dieting will lead to a loss in mostly LEAN MASS. Not only will you be weak, but you will become skinny-fat. There’s no beauty in frail weakness.


Bray GA, et al. Effect of Dietary Protein Content on Weight Gain, Energy Expenditure, and Body Composition During Overeating – A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA 2012;307(1):47-55


Another Example of Your Body’s Natural Ability to Regulate Caloric Intake

When eating real food, and avoiding grains, legumes, sugar, and processed food, counting calories becomes obsolete.

Just a personal example of huger regulation in a well functioning body. I have been eating this way for a year. I have lost fat, become leaner and more muscular. I have increased my ability to resist illness. I have cured my heartburn, allergies, acne, eczema, dry skin, and stomach pains. I have become smarter, faster, and more focused. I have also increased my sex drive, and decreased my recovery time from injury and working out.

Can you say the same after following the USDA’s recommended low-fat, crap-food, high-sugar prescribed diet? I highly doubt it.

When you were a kid, you could come downstairs for breakfast, and EASILY polish off an entire box of cereal.

I bet you could still do the same today. And you would be ravenously hungry a few hours later. How many eggs could you eat? Not many I’m sure. The amount likely hasn’t changed much at your current age. I have a hard time eating more than 3 in one sitting. Today I was barely able to force down 4 of them before the eggs became un-appetizing. The same thing seems to happen with other whole foods, such as steak and veggies at dinner.

This difference in caloric intake can be attributed to your body’s natural ability to sense nutrients and nutrient density.

Your body doesn’t count calories per-se. It wants calories, but does not limit your intake when the “food” you are consuming is nutrient-void. However, when the food you consume is nutrient-rich, everything works in harmony, and your body says STOP once it’s had enough. The most satiating factor of food is fat and protein. The more of each is in a certain food, the more satiating it becomes. This means you will only be diven to eat as much as your body NEEDS. Once it’s replete with nutrients, you are no longer driven to eat. This occurs whether you are physically full or not. It’s possible to push past that barrier, as I did when I forced down that 4th egg today, but it’s difficult.

This is why counting calories is useless and tedious.

You’ve got these built-in mechanisms to tell you when you’ve had enough to eat. Leptin, insulin, ghrelin, etc all working in harmony to elicit hunger and satiety responses. They get thrown off balance by calorically dense food that lacks the nutrients our bodies need. Even if you consume whole foods along with grains and sugars, you are still tricking your body by giving it excess empty calories. There are no complete nutrients to balance out the extra caloric intake from a bagel or a bowl of cereal or a plate of spaghetti.

When everything works properly and nutrient rich food is consumed, calories are irrelevant. Try it for a couple weeks. Eat only meats, eggs, veggies, and fruit. Notice how much clearer your mind is, how much more vibrant your body feels. Notice how you will not be tired after meals. The inevitable afternoon “food coma” will be eliminated. Your body will naturally correct itself, bringing body wetight down to a normal level. You’ll become more active, since you will have more energy. Those “off” days will cease to exsist.

I’m full of energy, and not anywhere NEAR being hungry. My first meal of the day was at 11:00 AM. It was 4 eggs, a tbs of pastured butter, and some turkey. It’s 5:00 PM right now, and I haven’t thought about eating yet. No snacks, just some water. And I still put on muscle each week at the gym. Wow I rule! I’ll probably have a protein shake after the gym, and a fat steak with brussels sprouts for dinner. That’s how I win!

FUCK Calories!

This book is super funny, and a really great read. If you’ve ever lacked the motivation to change your habits, this is the book for you.

“Fortified” means “We took the good stuff out so we have to put it back in.” Except what we put back in is rarely as good as what was in there in the first place. Grind up a vitamin pill and mix it into some sawdust. Congratulations. You just “fortified” that sawdust. Pour some milk over it, and you’re of breakfast cereal. You think I’m kidding? Hell, wood pulp is probably better for you than most cereals. In fact, look for “cellulose” on the label of your favorite foods. That’s mashed up trees, and it’s in your Eggo Waffles, Fiber One cereal, breads and bagels, and pretty much anything from McDonald’s. Even your Jimmy Dean frozen breakfasts. If you own a wood chipper, you could start your own cereal business.

Download this baby here for FREEEEE!!!

The moral of the story? Don’t count calories, eat real food, and be kickass!

Stop Counting Calories. Your Body Regulates Hunger.

“Calories in. Calories out.” How many times have you tried to cut your caloric input, or increase your output, just to fail, binge, or not lose any fat?

If you did succeed, how long did it last before you bounced back to your old weight? How did you feel while dieting? Were you hungry, tired, depressed, irritable, or just plain unhealthy? Did you have to lie to yourself that you weren’t really hungry, just to “stay on the wagon”? Did you have to utilize a “support group” like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, in order to muster enough motivation to just “hang in there”?

It’s not natural to spend weeks or months worrying about caloric intake. Plus it takes way too much energy to count grams-of-this, or calroies-of-that. It tries your patience, makes you worry too much. The stress alone is probably counter productive, since stress plays a major role in weight management.

From birth, your body is naturally programmed to regulate it’s own caloric intake. It does this using hormones that regulate hunger and cravings. Leptin, Insulin, and ghrelin, just to name a few. They work in harmony to signal your brain that you need (or don’t need) nutrients.

After years of eating modern food, like hyper palatable packaged processed garbage-food, (baby formula, canned pasta, boxed snacks, soy products, grain products, vegetable oils) your hormones get thrown out of whack, waaaayyyyy out of whack. Grains in particular are especially damaging to your bodies natural systems. They initiate systemic oxidation (systemic inflammation), immune disfunction, and hormone imbalances with gluten, phytates, lectins, and high glycemic load. That’s a pretty potent punch!

Your goal is to get your hormones back in sync, and let your body determine when you are TRULY hungry, and what you REALLY want to eat. The first step is to remove the processed crap, the grains, the sugar, and get back to REAL fucking food. The stuff you were BORN to eat. The stuff you EVOLVED to eat. The REASON THAT WE ARE HOMO SAPIENS. The reason we have the power of reason!

Why Does Modern Food Throw Off Your Natural Hunger Regulating Mechanisms?

It’s because hyper palatable modern food is also hyper-tasty! It creates an unnatural amount of hedonic reward, that is, your body sees modern food as an extremely dense source of calories, but it’s unbalanced by the fact that modern food is nutrient void. They are made of ingredients that are so nutritionally void, yet so dense with calories, that they never tell your body to stop consuming them. You could simply keep eating until you were nauseous and had consumed pathological amounts!

Your body’s natural mechanisms for sensing nutrient intake continue to drive hunger. Ever wonder why you get ravenously hungry a couple hours after breakfast, even though you ate a WHOLE BOX OF CORN FLAKES? Your hunger mechanisms recognize that even though you were STUFFED a couple hours ago, you didn’t fulfill your basic biological needs. Not only did you not give yourself complete amino-acids, or enough fatty-acids to last through the afternoon, but all the vitamins and minerals in the “enriched wheat flour” were unabsorbed by your gut. All thanks to grains being the wonderful staple that they are. Hooray USDA (ppbbthppbbthpbthbb!).

Snack after snack. Trip after trip to the vending machine. Still hungry? How ’bout a Coke! Mmmmm that’s right. Satisfyin’. Fat-free yogurt? Sure! Let’s go ahead and make it taste good by loading it with SUGAR or fake sugar! That’s TOTALLY better for you. Because we all know that fat makes you faaaaaat. [End sarcasm]

How Do You Correct Your Hunger Regulating Mechanisms?

Start by eating real food. Follow my very simple rules: Eat This. When you stop tricking your body into over consuming calories, it will begin to regulate caloric intake on its own. When you are hungry, EAT! Eat complete protein, good fats from free-range animals, lots of vegetables, and fruit (always along with a protein/fat). When your nutrient intake has met sufficient levels, you will stop wanting food. You may not even be full, but your body tells you to stop, and the food becomes less palatable. These are the normal signals your body uses to regulate hunger and keep you healthy. When you crave salt, or fat. EAT IT!

The best part about following a whole food Paleo or Primal lifestyle is that your calorie intake may actually seem too low, or just right if you happen to keep track one day. It is right on par with what your body actually needs, because your body is built to REGULATE ITSELF. You may find that some days, you only want to eat twice. You won’t even need to snack. Doing Intermittent Fasting for weight loss will become easy. You can pull off an 18 hour fast like a breeze, without having distracting hunger pains!

See for yourself. Do it. Now. There’s no reason to put it off any longer. Start eating like the predator you were born to be, and BECOME A FUCKING SUPERHUMAN!!!!!111!22

Leave me a comment first, though……