12 Weeks To Your Future Physique: Frequently Asked Questions - (Part 10)

Here I will answer some commonly asked questions about diet, nutrition, and more!
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Q

How many meals should I be eating per day?

First of all let's eliminate the name "meals". From experience, my client's interpretation of a meal is more like a feast. My advice to them from the start is to increase the number of meals to five everyday, then they look at me feeling sick at the thought of eating so much so often. What they don't realize is that healthy fat loss foods aren't as calorie dense and not as filling as other meals. Quantity is also decreased, so from here on we'll call meals "snacks" or "grazing intervals"

From today I want you to increase your number of snacks to 5 per day - at least. This will kick-start a sluggish metabolism. I know it's hard to grasp that eating more food will reduce body fat so allow me first explain a complicated little fellow called your "metabolism."

If you can think of your metabolism like a barbeque fire, first of all you put the paper on the bottom then sticks and some bigger logs, once you light that fire up it will start burning bright and hot. If you don't keep fueling that fire constantly, it will go out, and then you need to go through the same procedure to get it going again.

The same principle is true to our own body's metabolism; if you don't keep fueling your body with good nutritious foods, your body's metabolism will go into starvation mode and slow down to conserve all possible energy sources.

When you eat food your metabolism momentarily increases, so the more often you eat the allowed foods on this program the less chance your metabolism has to slow down.

A faster metabolism = more fat burned. Let your body work for you, treat your body like a fat burning furnace, the more quality wood (food) you put in the fire (your body) the larger the fat burning flame will burn resulting in fat loss. Remember it has to be the right combination for foods at frequent intervals for this to happen efficiently.

The majority of obese people who come to see me for help are asked how many meals they are currently eating per day and as a general rule, the response is normally two to three meals per day.

This automatically tells me that their metabolism is very slow. The ones who are eating more meals per day are generally eating the wrong types of foods. For example, too many carbohydrates or sugars that are condensed with calories.

If you eat pizza, you could consume around 1500 calories which could easily be your whole day's recommended calorific intake in one meal. Now try consuming that many calories eating chicken, vegetables and some rice, you would be sat down eating it all day.

Can drinking water help me lose body fat?

It sure can and lots of it. It's widely known that drinking room temperature to warm water can hydrate you more efficiently than ice cold water. But did you know that by drinking ice cold water you can actually burn more calories.

Before you start reaching for the fridge you must adhere to this rule of making sure your body is always internally saturated with water. Remember warm water will hydrate you better but providing you have plenty of ice cold water (3 liters of water per day at least) you will stay just as well hydrated.

By drinking ice cold water your body will go into overdrive just trying to heat the water to a temperature that your body will be able to absorb. Because your body cannot adapt and lower itself to this icy cold temperature your body's core temperature will act like a kettle element and heat up the water. Because this is your involuntary muscles doing the work to heat up this water, you are burning off calories without even breaking into a sweat.

If you have ever read any fat burning product labels, you can see many of them work by raising the body's internal temperature (these are called thermogenics) above the normal 37 degrees. By drinking ice cold water you are practicing the same procedure only this time you are raising your body's internal temperature from below the normal to normal body temperature.

Remember that every time you eat food this also increases the bodies core temperature, so add a very good fat burner to this equation, you have a fat fighting trifecta that will tone you up in no time.

So you're not thirsty? Doesn't matter, you can't trust your sense or your body on hydration. When you're thirsty, your body has possibly already started to dehydrate thus limiting everyday performance and energy levels which can cause cramps, headaches, dizziness, nausea and heat exhaustion. Stay away from alcohol, coffee and caffeinated drinks especially before a workout as they act as diuretics.

One cup of coffee can dehydrate you as much as 3 equal cups of water. Check to see if your urine is clear. If it is colored dark or cloudy this is usually an indication of dehydration. Don't despair if this is evident early in the morning or when an individual is taking large amounts amino acid supplements, at this time it is common to have discolored urine.

Water makes up 60-70% of the human body so it goes without saying our body would not function adequately without a sufficient supply of water in our system. Water carries our nutrients to required parts of the body whilst acting as a cooling system just like a radiator to a car. If you don't have enough water in your car, it increases the risk of over heating or more importantly burning out all together, especially when being pushed to the limit. So take care of your body the same - keep it hydrated.

How should I space my snacks and supplementation?

Because it is our aim to prevent muscle atrophy (shrinkage) and burn body fat it is essential that we keep our snacks within a three hour time frame to keep our metabolism high enough to burn excess calories. Before you throw your hands up in the air because you believe it is impossible for you to eat every three hours, I have a solution. It's called supplements. There are hundreds of different supplements brands which can be daunting and confusing so let me shed a little light on what you should be looking for. It would be a good idea to have a good quality multi-vitamin/mineral, anti-oxidant formula.

Try to go for one that includes chromium, potassium and magnesium, which is important for the prevention of muscle cramps. You may well endure cramping in the first 2 weeks for the fact that you will be eliminating most salts from your diet and will also be lowering carbohydrate content, which will in turn lower fluid resources in the body. We produce free radicals whilst exercising, so beta-carotene, vitamin C & E are the perfect supplements to assist with damage control.

A supplement that will help you achieve the 3 hour graze is a meal replacement coming in the form of a tasty protein snack bar or drink. The recommended way to mix these shakes is with fat free milk or cold water. If possible go with water as milk, even low fat milk has high sugar content. If you don't like it with water then perhaps try it half water, half fat free milk.

If I do sit ups or abdominal crunches every day, will I get a six pack?

No, doing sit-ups or crunches alone will not give you a six pack. Chances are you already have a six pack; it's just covered with a layer of fat. Cardio combined with a good healthy nutritional intake (as outlined over these chapters) and selective abdominal exercises (2-3 times per week) will give you a six pack.

Being a female, if I was to start weight training would I bulk up and grow big muscles?

No, females do not have the amount of testosterone necessary to build "big" muscles quickly like men unless they are following a proper exercise and nutritional regime customized for muscle gain.

When I finish the program am I going to put back the body fat I lost and lose the muscle?

No, providing you do at least one whole body work out once per week and maintain a healthy eating plan and eradicating carbohydrates in your last meal.

If I'm sweating does that mean I'm burning fat?

No not necessarily. Sweating is the body's natural cooling system that regulates your temperature. You have probably noticed well conditioned people and athletes often sweat a lot and they probably don't have much body fat, but the real reason is that their body is conditioned more to regulate heat. Other contributing factors of sweating include levels of hydration in the body, foods eaten before exercise, body fat levels and the temperature and level of humidity in the surrounding environment.

If it is fat free can I eat as much of it as I want?

No, fat free products have mostly been filled with some sort of sugar to give you the sweeter taste than the full fat version. The majority of the time, the fat free option will also carry calories, just from a different ingredient and if your peddling away on your bike or stepper thinking you are burning fat, the ugly truth is, is that you are probably burning off the calories in that fat free product instead.

As a competitive bodybuilder, I follow a high protein diet. My girlfriend, who is a registered dietician, says that protein intake over the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) will lead to kidney problems and a loss of bone density. Is this true?

Modern research is only just catching up with what a lot of athletes always known. Higher protein intakes are needed for growing muscles during training sessions. The old saying, athletes don't need additional protein higher than the RDA is finally dying. Another old saying is that diets with higher protein intakes than the RDA will lead to health problems. These suggestions have been proven to be incorrect but unfortunately these beliefs and habits die hard. More recent and accurate research has shown health advantages from higher protein diets.

Some interesting conclusions came about in one recent study called "Optimal Intake of protein in the human body." The study showed data that a high protein diet may in fact be beneficial for reducing blood pressure and stroke attacks. Although early and less accurate studies had suggested high protein diets would place stress onto the kidneys. No data has ever shown kidney function to be compromised in healthy active adults.

However, I would suggest anybody with pre-existing kidney problems should stay clear of high protein diets because of the length of time the kidneys take to break down protein and that they may have problems breaking down other nutrients. Some of these early studies have also suggested that higher protein intakes have caused the excretion of calcium which leads to bone loss, recent studies have also debunked that assertion.

Higher protein intake over the RDA does not appear to show any health hazards to healthy active adults and higher protein intakes may in fact have health advantages in ever emerging research.

I am a 26 years old female. When I have used weights in the past, my muscles seem to grow quite quickly. Does this seem to be a common problem for women or are weights just men's toys in the gym.

If you want to strengthen your muscles but don't want to look like a Bodybuilder, you have no need to worry. Bodybuilders have a complete regime to follow to actually get to the size they want. This is especially the case for women, as women do not have enough testosterone in their bodies for muscular growth like men.

To begin with, it can appear that your muscles are growing quite rapidly, don't worry this will soon plateau. Your muscles will begin to burn calories more than normal. Whilst maintaining a consistent structure to your regime and healthy eating plan, your muscles will begin to be more visible by burning fat from over the muscle, thus giving you a more defined and toned look.

Advertising Scams

Thousands, maybe even millions of people every year fall into the hands of advertising sharks promising their all to loyal would be customers that with their ground breaking brand new product, they can get the body of their dreams in just 5 weeks. Or buy the bonus package and get that dream body with only five easy minutes a day.

Exercise only five minutes a day, one per week and look fantastic...yeah, sure! Your body didn't fall out of shape overnight so how on earth do you expect it to fall into shape overnight? It's not possible, period!

There are so many gadgets on the market promising to burn fat in a very small time frame without the individual having to break a sweat. The AB-Doer is a very prime example. It has promised to burn all body fat while flattening your stomach, then researchers from California State University of Northbridge tested these claims revealing that the AB-Doer did very little to raise heart rates - thus little fat is burned.

You can't buy your ideal body fat percentage; you have to work hard for it, very hard if you want your results in a very short time frame. So keep your hard-earned cash in your pocket and let me explain to you how you can reach your goals in a reasonable time frame.

Reasonable, "why not an immediate time frame" I hear you ask. Yes I could tell you how to drop weight in a very quick time frame, but chances are you would lose a lot of muscle density. Also, when you when you have completed this kind of dramatic fat loss ritual, the chances are your body fat percentage would shoot straight back up to your previous dimensions, maybe even worse, this is what's known as the Yo-Yo diet.

What is the Yo-Yo diet? How do I avoid it? What is the solution?

The Yo Yo diet is the aftermath of "quick fix" dieting. A huge percentage of people are still experiencing the negative effects of this popular fix, and have been for many years.

How individuals get themselves into this problem program is by eating a lot of vegetables, fruit and salads but cut out much of the protein as a lot of diets recommend.

Proteins main role within the body is to improve cell rejuvenation. Skin, hair, nails growth, maintenance of eyes etc. The main role for dieting purpose is to prevent muscle breakdown through transportation of the blood stream. You maybe wonder what use muscle to you, "I don't want big muscles, I want to be skinny", I hear you say. When a diet consists with too little protein consumption, the body wills breakdown muscle to fuel as energy, which will in turn result in weight loss, but little fat loss.

A person who carries more muscle density than another with is able burn twice, maybe three times as many calories than the person with less muscle density. A dieter can take off around 20 lbs and still carry roughly the same body fat percentage as before. Anorexic people can have a high body fat percentage while being under weight just as an overweight person carry low body fat percentage.

The importance of maintaining as much muscle as possible whilst dieting should be obvious, it burns much more calories. Remember I'm not talking about big muscles; I'm talking about muscle density. Having protein within every meal on this program will prevent your body from going into a catabolic state thus resulting in muscle atrophy (muscle loss), and in turn fat gain - the yo-yo effect.

Conclusion

Knowledge is power, and the more that you learn about yourself the more you will be able to control every facet of your life. Bodybuilding.com has a wealth of knowledge that is constantly being updated and has every tool imaginable for your future physique, whether you are an absolute beginner to an elite athlete, providing information, motivation and supplementation.

Information

You need to know what to eat, what workouts to follow, what supplements to take, and more so you don't waste your time and effort with misinformation. Information can come from experts (doctors, trainers, or pros) or social networks (friends, people that have had success, online community members, or people with your same goal).

Motivation

You need to be able to get motivated enough to start your program and then stick to it for the rest of your life. Fitness is not a "12 week plan". It is a lifestyle. Motivation is the most important part of any program. It's 90% mental and 10% physical. Your body doesn't decide to get off the couch and do your cardio, your brain does.

Supplementation

Supplements are an important part simply because they can help you get faster results from your diet and workout program. They are not magic, but they can help you reach your goals quicker, which will help keep you motivated. The right supplements will not only help you gain muscle and lose fat, but they will help you feel better, and stay healthy.

If you know what type of workout and diet program to follow, take the right supplements, and stay motivated, there is no doubt that you will have the body that you want and all of the health benefits that go along with it. The entire site is designed to help you with these three keys to success.

By now you have already learned a lot about yourself and have probably gained many friends from the BodySpace and Forums. Continuing to keep in touch with these people can help you stay in touch with yourself and your journey to be a better person with each passing day. I was once that struggling person dreaming that having a physique like Mark Whalberg was just a... well, dream.

Today I have published 100's of articles in an attempt to educate and help other. You have just read the largest and most informative article I have ever written and I decided that's it proper home is within the Bodybuilding.com site because the tools and support is nothing like I have ever encountered and is something that cant be published on paper.

The combination of this article and the website is something that is as close to a personal trainer one could hope for. I hope we have helped many of you take your steps to health and fitness success and I encourage you to take many more.

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