Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Go Bonkers For Breakfast

Research shows that our capacity to feel satisfaction from our food is stronger in the morning and grows progressively weaker throughout the day. If you eat more in the morning you can trick your body into eating less at night.

One study showed that when obese dieters ate a big breakfast starting with healthy protein, they lost significantly more weight than dieters who ate only half that much. The dieters who ate a big breakfast naturally ate less at night. Those who ate a smaller breakfast got the munchies and ate more of the bad stuff before bed.
Scientists now believe that circadian and diurnal rhythms -- the body’s natural daily patterns -- determine this effect. When we eat a good breakfast, especially with high amounts of protein, our rhythms are set correctly for the day and late night snacking is not as much of an issue.

Most people skip breakfast or eat fast carbs like donuts, rolls, bagels, and the like which create a spike in blood sugar. This in turn causes cravings and hunger to increase through the rest of the day and peak at night. Coffee makes this effect even worse, so you can see how most Americans are sabotaging themselves every day without even knowing it.

Those who eat mostly protein for breakfast don’t have the resulting blood sugar spike, and their hunger stays more level instead of the drastic swings from the coffee and carbs. They effectively “set” their body rhythm clock and keep it ticking on pace by starting their day with the right type of calorie.

Another good reason for protein in the morning is that it burns more fat off your body than other types of calories. We all wake up in a fat burning state because we have been fasting all night. Eating protein keeps us in this state, while carbs and coffee shut it down. Protein effectively extends this fat burning window and even bumps it up a level as it causes a natural metabolism increases.

Most Americans eat lots of carbs and little protein before bed, so their fat burning won’t start until all those carbs are burned off. This can take 4-7 hours, so they have a very short fat burning window before they shut it back down with their coffee and croissant the next morning.

Since protein for breakfast will also cause you to eat less in the evening, and therefore start your fat burning window sooner, it’s a double whammy for fat loss! You are stretching your fat burning window out longer in the morning and starting it sooner in the evening and are therefore attacking it from both sides.

Try to get clean protein to optimize your fat burning metabolism. This means eating organic scramblers, omelets, or protein shakes for breakfast, and organic white meat, wild fish, or grass fed red meat for dinner. Organic cheese and plain Greek yogurt are other good sources. You can mix Greek yogurt with berries and liquid Stevia to make it taste like the full sugar stuff and double the protein while slashing the sugar at the same time. Use this same formula for organic cottage cheese and you have a treat rivaling many deserts.

The calorie in-calorie out theory has been debunked for many years. Those still preaching it simply haven’t kept up with the research. It’s about the timing and the type of calorie that dictates whether you lose fat or not. My book “Cracking Your Calorie Code” discusses this and other calorie strategies and can be ordered through our website at

Saturday, November 15, 2008

If You Have a Big But, You Probably Have a Big Butt

Excuses are often the biggest reason for the size of your butt. I have heard them all, ranging from “I’d like to exercise, but I just don’t have the time” to, “I have tried it all, but nothing ever works.” There is always a “but” stuck in there somewhere when folks with big butts are trying to explain why their butts are so big.

Your “but” is based on your personality and how you were raised. You learned somewhere that excuses get you out of uncomfortable stuff and make life easier, but in the end, excuses just grow your hind end.

Using “buts” are just a way to keep you within your comfort zone. Staying within your comfort zone often means staying within the parameters of your “minds eye”. Everyone has a certain way they see themselves, and when their fitness progress exceeds that visual picture programmed into their subconscious, sabotage and “buts” take over so everything goes back to normal and within the comfort zone.

No one got fit by staying comfortable, and if that is your goal, you will never be fit either. Real fitness means stretching your comfort zone and pushing your envelope to expand it and make it bigger. It means doing workouts that aren’t comfortable and addressing the mental roadblocks that cause your “buts”.

It also means changing your minds eye by regularly picturing yourself the way you want to look and feel, and feeling that sensation in the present tense. This practice actually changes the wiring in your brain and will not only help you reach your goals faster, but will also help you stay there once you reach them.

You simply cannot have both comfort and fitness. You must pick one and fully commit to it. The X Gym workout takes only 20 minutes twice a week, and it is the most intense workout there is. Nutritional commitment is also required, and that takes some stretching of the comfort zone as well.

Stretching your comfort zone causes growth. The more you stretch it, the faster you grow, and as with all living creatures, you are either growing or dying. There is no in between. Comfort will kill you. Pushing your envelope will save you.
People tell me I look younger every year. They say that I now look like I am in my 20’s, and I do feel that young, but my driver’s license says I’m 42. I am in the best shape of my life, I eat the most calories I ever have, I’m the leanest I have ever been, and I’m the strongest too. My cardio fitness is also the highest of my life, and you can bet I don’t try to stay comfortable!

Other X Gym trainers tell the same tale. Zach just placed 2nd in the Fireman Combat Challenge and earned a trip to the world championships in Vegas. Jenn just won the Fall City run, and then a month later, took 2nd in her first ever sprint triathlon. Scott qualified to compete in the World Ironman competition in Canada recently, and earned the title “All American” for his efforts.

All of us have small butts because we don’t use the word “but!” We are no different than you either. If we can do it, so can you. It’s just a matter of deciding between comfort or fitness and then committing fully to your decision. If you do decide to get rid of your “but” you will also find that you will get rid of your “butt!”

Monday, November 3, 2008


Our hunger sensation is a tricky bugger. Most people’s hunger center doesn’t work right anyway because they are either misreading it or are chronically dehydrated. Understanding how hunger works will be the most important step towards translating your own sensations and reading them for what they really are.

There are seven types of hunger. Cellular, mass, blood sugar, volume, thirst, cilia, and emotional hunger are all various contributors to the sensation.

1.) Cellular hunger is our most instinctive hunger sensation. This hunger is caused by our cells craving certain things due to a deficiency or addiction. If your cells are low on a certain vitamin or mineral, certain hormones will send messages to your brain that tell you to eat.
In the same way, your cells will also report low levels of addictive drugs or even certain food ingredients if the cells have become addicted to them. This will launch specific cravings or just general hunger to try to fill that void.
Dehydrated cells will also cause hunger messages to be sent out which are often answered with more food consumption instead of the water they are really asking for. Water is the best weapon to win that battle so be sure to guzzle it down before you fill up on what you “think” you are craving.
Cellular hunger can be a very valuable tool and even help you survive. Most of the time however, it tells us to eat the wrong things. When you are eating enough dark greens and protein, and drinking enough water, this type of hunger will be much more reliable and will cause you to crave healthy foods.

2.) Hormonal hunger relates to the hormones and chemicals produced in your body that cause hunger. There are many different hormones and chemicals responsible for this response so going into each one will only confuse matters. What you need to know is the best plan to balance the hormonal hunger and read it correctly.
Getting quality sleep, adequate water, and quality exercise (especially high intensity exercise) will regulate your hormones better than any medication. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep, 3-4 quarts of water, and 2-3 sessions of high intensity exercise to reach peak hormone balance.

3.) Blood sugar levels play a very important role in your hunger. When sugar levels are low, your insulin levels will typically follow. In extreme low situations, you may even feel weak and sometimes shaky. Stomach growling can begin, your core body temperature my drop, and almost any food looks good to you.
This type of hunger can quickly be satisfied with a piece of fruit or sport drink. Most people go overboard however, and overeat or binge to make the sensation go away because this is one of the most uncomfortable hunger sensations when it is happening. Mood swings are also common and can make rational thoughts about how much to eat go out the window.

4.) Mass related hunger has to do with the weight of the food. The heavier the food, the sooner that hunger component will send its signals. This is why water and protein are so important. Water is of course, one of the heaviest materials you can put in your stomach. Protein is also heavy, and lean meats are even heavier than water.
The weight of food in your stomach will send signals to stop eating. This response is delayed however, and takes 15-30 minutes to register, so fast eating or “gorging” will rob you of this useful cue.

5.) Thirst response is the most often misread hunger cue. Most American are chronically dehydrated anyway and this causes the thirst mechanism to send the wrong signals. People feel hungry when they should be feeling thirsty because their signals are getting crossed. As you develop proper hydration habits, this mixed messaging will stop.
In the short term, you can fight this hunger miscue by drinking water 20 minutes before eating. Then reassess, and if your hunger level hasn’t changed, it might very well be another reason.

6.) Cilia hunger is an anatomically powered sensation that relates to the volume of food in your stomach. There are certain mechanisms at the top of your stomach which look like fingers sticking down that sense food when the stomach is full enough for the food to touch them. At this point, signals are sent to your brain that tells you to stop eating.
This hunger satiating response is another delayed mechanism that takes 10-20 minutes to register, so slow eating will help this work correctly as well. Some people can desensitize this response with repeated “squashing” of the cilia from overfilling the stomach. The messages also become less effective if they are sent to often with repeated overeating.

7.) Emotional hunger is often the most powerful sensation. We frequently medicate our brains in an attempt to alleviate stress, depression, and other emotional issues and feelings. This can be a temporary quick fix but always ends in a rebound of a worsened condition. Then the downward spiral begins until the food is part of the addiction library we store in our tissues and brain.
Now that you understand hunger a little better, you can face it down and manipulate it to eat less of the wrong foods and more of the right foods. Remember that the cravings you are receiving might be for the wrong things so stop and check yourself first, Think about what your body really needs and not what your brain thinks it wants. It might even be as easy as grabbing a glass of water!