Ripped Roundtable, Vol. 1: Fat-Loss Secrets

Need some fat loss guidance? These three fitness pros reveal what they do to stay lean. Their moderator? None other than our own Ripped Dude.

The school of fitness doesn't always provide simple "yes or no" answers. Some exercise experts give Olympic lifting the thumbs up; others say no way. Some authorities rail against cheat meals; others give them the green light.

Many health-and-fitness questions don't have simple answers. That's why The Ripped Dude has brought together fitness pros Joe Donnelly, Lauren Christine Frahn and Everette Henderson to share their fat-burning advice in a roundtable. They won't always give the same recommendations—which leaves you to do some thinking, experimenting and learning!

What are your top four tips for fat loss?

Joe Donnelly:

  1. Be active every day for an hour.
  2. Cut dairy and cut fruit.
  3. Have slow digesting carbs before bed.
  4. Keep your body guessing—try not to do the same type of cardio every day! You need to constantly switch up your workouts to avoid plateaus.

Lauren Christine Frahn: The first tip is to lift heavy weights! Yes, even you ladies. By building lean muscle, you will burn more fat. Second, it's best not to neglect your cardio. I do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I feel that fasted cardio helps to burn fat faster and it helps me tremendously. The third tip: Make sure you get good sleep. Sleep is essential for muscle growth and muscle repair. The fourth tip: Drink lots of water! It's essential for fat burning.

Everette Henderson: Tip one is to plan ahead! Make sure you plan your meals and workout in an organized fashion. My second tip is choose a plan! Choose a diet and training plan that works for your body type; don't just pick something out of the air. Third, set small and realistic fitness goals for yourself. Shoot for a 3-pound loss this week and when you reach your goal, it will keep you motivated to hit the next one. Fourth tip: Love your foods. If what you eat doesn't taste good, then modify it or season it to make it enjoyable.

What is the best macronutrient ratio to get ripped?

Joe: I do not follow any typical macronutrient ratio. I just eat whatever works for my body.

Lauren: I have found that sticking with the basic split of 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat works the best for me. When I deplete my carbs below that range, I find that I significantly lack energy and stamina! I eat the majority of my carbs earlier in the day and then post-workout. I stick to non-processed carbs, no sugar or white flours! The majority of my fats are unsaturated, predominately from fish oils.

Everette: I usually start around 2,200 calories per day and work my way down based on how I look. I never get too technical in my macros because I don't want to become a slave to my Tupperware. I focus on ingesting about 300 grams of protein per day, and try to keep my carbs around 80-to-100 per day. I get more fats in on days I'm feeling drained and on days when I feel I can push the envelope in the gym.

What are the best fat-burning foods?

Joe: Proteins rich in Omega 3s: salmon, scrod, sole, mahi mahi, grouper and halibut. Any of those combined with raw oats, baby spinach, asparagus, broccoli and all green vegetables.

Everette: For me it's a toss-up between grapefruit, cashews, and ground flax seeds. Even leading up to a show or event, I eat at least one grapefruit each day because it's loaded with vitamin C and other nutrients to help shed fluids. Flax seeds are great because your body burns a ton of calories trying to process those bad boys. And they're loaded with healthy fats.

What is the best form of cardio for fat loss?

Joe: Sprinting is bar-none the best for fat burning. You can also run hills, bleachers or do ladders on the football field. You can burn upward of 2,000 calories in an hour of sprinting; or you can walk on a treadmill for six hours. It's an easy choice for me.

Lauren: My personal preference is to stay lean year-round; I don't need to do a tremendous amount of cardio because I keep my diet very strict. I do cardio about 2-to-3 times per week, focusing on higher-intensity plyometrics or stair climbing. Also, I make it a point to take very little rest between sets when weight training and I often superset to keep my heart rate up!

Everette: Usually steady-state cardio first thing on an empty stomach will get me down to the body fat percentage I need to be. I throw in some HIIT maybe twice per week to keep my body guessing. I've always found that when I push it too hard in the morning, I tend to overeat in the evening. You have to let the diet do what it's intended to do. Don't get caught up in the sweat equity game.

What are the best exercises for abs that pop?

Joe: Hanging upside down using gravity boots doing slow, controlled crunches. Or, reverse crunches with ankle straps attached to low pulley to target the lower abdominals.

Lauren: I truly feel that getting my abs to pop has much more to do with my clean diet than it does with the number of crunches that I do. However, my favorite exercises for abs are the cable crunch and the exercise ball crunch, which I do holding a plate or dumbbell, for added resistance! For lower abs, I like weighted reverse crunches.

Everette: I don't do a ton of dedicated abs training. I keep my abs tight and basically use them my entire cardio session, so my cardio becomes abs training. When I do traditional abdominal training, I usually do triple sets of weighted crunches, side oblique work and hanging leg raises to failure for four rotations. That's really it.

Do you eat cheat meals? If so, what's your favorite?

Joe: I will not have a cheat meal within seven days of a shoot, but when I cheat outside that time window, it could be anything from a whole pizza, pasta, hamburgers to a 3-pound-bag of Sour Patch Kids. Hey, it happens!

Lauren: One of my favorite topics! I am a sucker for all things sugary, sweet and full of carbs! To satisfy my cravings, I typically allow myself a cheat meal once per week. It makes sticking to my diet plan much easier, which in turn allows me this guilty pleasure. But, I have a secret: I don't feel guilty one bit! Ha! I know that I work my butt off, so I just say, "You've earned this, girl!"

Everette: I cheat at least once per week! I love my cheat meals and live for them. My go-to cheat meal is ribs and cheese fries with some sort of chocolate cake or brownie and, to polish it all off, a Diet Coke. Ha ha!

Accelerate Your Fat Loss

Contact Info:
Like his Facebook fan page:
Twitter Info:!/obadike1
Email address: