Monday, December 31, 2007

New Interviews, New Website

Happy New Years Eve Everyone!

I just got back home from Canada yesterday, after an overdue visit with my family and friends. The flight home was a bit unpleasant (I got sick), but it was well worth it.

A few new things to mention before the craziness of 2007 is over.

First, my new website is up at Please check it out and let me know what you think. I still have some material to add to it, but those will happen in the next few days.

Then, yesterday, despite still feeling a bit nauseous from the flight, I did an interview with Kevin, Jimmy and Jen on The Fitcast. In it, we spoke about the new book with Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove, "The New Rules of Lifting for Women". To hear the interview for free, please go to episode 79 of

Finally, while in Prince George, BC (my home town in Canada), I did an interview with The Citizen, the local newspaper. Frank Peebles did a great job. To read that, please go here.

I hope everyone has a great New Years Eve. I'll be with my fiance and friends and will hopefully go to bed soon after midnight since I've got a lot going on the rest of this week.

Looking forward to 2008! It's going to be a great and exciting year!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Low Fat or Low Carb? Or Neither?

With all the conflicting headlines about diet in recent years, it's no wonder you're confused about what diet you should follow. You ask yourself, "Should I restrict carbs because everyone following Dr Atkins plan loses a ton of weight? Or, should I restrict fat because that's what most bodybuilders do, and they're almost fat-free!?"

Then, you ask yourself, "Maybe I shouldn't restrict any nutrient, and just eat a careful balance within a certain caloric parameter?"

What's the best answer? What should you do if your goal is to shed fat, lose size and keep your weight stable? (Personally I think question number 3 is the best)

You see, there's really no correct single answer for every woman. Each of us is completely different than the next. What works for your girlfriend to keep her lean and healthy, may not be the option that works for you. The best explanation for this is that you're not what you eat, but you are what you DO with what you eat. If a food causes you to store calories, where in another women it causes her to burn them, you'd want to stay away from that food, where should would want to eat it.

This is why you'll see thousands of women tout that carbohydrate-restricted eating patterns are the best of all the options, and then hear that cutting back on fat is the best pattern for a thousand others.

I even see this in my research experience. In highly controlled settings, I'll have some participants respond extremely well to a low-carb diet, while others do completely horrible. The ones who have a bad response say that they're always hungry and they feel terrible eating so much meat, fat and no whole grains or fruit. The ones who do well tell me they can barely eat all their food, and don't have any cravings for sugars or sweets (where as before, they couldn't stay away).

It all comes down to differences in how your body metabolizes and utlizes certain macronutrients compared to others.

The overall point of all this is that to take control of your eating habits and reach a goal (whether it be body composition or health-related), you have to find what works best for YOUR body. Sheild yourself from all the news headlines and just stick with what is working for you.

If you're trying something that's supposed to be amazing, and you feel terrible, stop it right away. Your body is a smart machine and will guide you to the right choice. Yes, there are times when your mind will trick you (i.e., tempting you to eat all those Christmas cookies), but think before you act and understand if your brain is really trying to tell you something important or if it's just testing your ability to think about the most ideal nutritional choice.

I hope that you all can discover the right plan for your body no matter what your goals may be - just remember, you're unique and there is a right plan for you, but it might not be the same as the person next to you. Don't give up.

From my family to yours, Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Exercise Hyperphagia

"Exercise what?", you ask?

Hyperphagia = noun, Abnormally increased appetite for and consumption of food

In Gary Taubes new book (with which I’m completely absorbed), “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, he suggests that exercise may not be the answer for weight loss because it increases one’s appetite.

This statement is completely true. Exercise does increase your appetite. How many times have you had a totally hard workout, where you’ve almost completely lost all desire for food because you were so tired, to then feel completely famished only a few hours later? This massive desire for food sometimes just doesn’t seem to be satisfied to matter what you decide to eat. You’d like to keep on eating, but you knew that all your efforts in the gym would be negated, if they weren’t already.

This phenomenon is exactly what Gary has presented and it’s more than just the thought of one author. Here in our exercise research lab at the University of Connecticut, we’ve observed the same thing. In some of our exercise & weight loss studies, especially those involving a lot of aerobic activity, many participants have a hard time losing weight because they’re always hungry. Interestingly, this occurs more often in women than it does in men.

Now, this sexual dimorphism (i.e. difference between men and women in hunger response to exercise) may be due to the energy deficit women experience compared to their male counterparts. To explain, say you have Joe and Jane, both eating and exercising to lose weight. Joe’s body needs at least 2000 calories to maintain his metabolism (his RMR) and eats 2600 calories a day to see his abs. When he exercises, he expends 350-400 calories which leaves him about 200 calories over his RMR, but still loses weight and fat, and isn’t hungry. Now, Jane only needs 1500 calories to support her RMR, but, due to the silly weight loss advice she reads in most magazines, she’s only eating 1200 calories a day to minimize her thighs and make her waist smaller. When she exercises, she expends about 250-300 calories per session, which now puts her in a severe calorie deficit. She loses some weight and fat, but she can barely control her appetite because she’s basically starving herself. She can hardly stick to her diet plan and usually binges several times per week. Clearly, if Jane ate more, and ate foods that were more satiating, she’d have a better chance at meeting her weight and fat loss goals.

The difference between men and women may also be due to the energy conservation mechanisms that are inherent in a women’s genetic makeup. Women are traditionally the child-bearers, which is an activity that requires plenty of energy (food). When exercise is thrown into the picture, the energy lost tries to be recovered by the body through an increase in appetite.

Despite the fact that exercise can greatly increase hunger, especially in women, it’s still beneficial for body re-composition goals. When one is trying to change the way their body looks, exercise helps to diminish fat stores and increase muscle mass so the body appears firmer and more sleek. Exercise is also beneficial for the cardiovascular system, enabelling you to sustain activity for a longer period of time without feeling like someone kicked you in the lungs. Finally, it is well known for reducing risk of developing chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

So, if exercise makes you so hungry that you feel like it’s not even worth it, what should you do?

Well, first, since you’re more than likely going to be hungry after you workout, have a plan in place of good things you should eat. Don’t hide cookies in your cupboard, with hopes that you won’t find them, because when your hungry strikes, you’ll reach for them for sure. Make sure you have easily accessible good protein, fat and carbohydrate foods pre-prepared, such as cooked chicken, or tuna in a can, raw nuts and avocados, and fresh fruits, vegetables and whole cooked grains like barley and brown rice. This way, when you come home after a long day and a hard workout, you won’t be tempted to order out for pizza, but instead have a healthy satisfying meal at home.

Then, always make sure you don’t wait too long after eating to engage in a serious workout. For example, if you usually workout at 4:30 pm, always make sure you eat a complete protein with some fat and/or carbohydrate no later than 2:30 pm. If you know your workout is going to be more than an hour and a half long, you should eat no later than 3:30 pm. As I’ve said before, you need this food to allow you to have an effective workout. If you’re concerned about fat loss, then just wait at least 30 minutes AFTER your workout before you eat to lengthen the fat-burning window. A good pre-workout food would be something like a scoop of whey protein, mixed with water or milk, poured over 1/3 cup Fiber One cereal + 1/3 cup Kashi Puffed Whole Grains, with 1 Tbsp of unsalted sunflower seeds.

Finally (for now), since blood sugar fluctuations are a major stimulus of hunger, prevent extreme highs and extreme lows by eating slow-digesting, low-glycemic carbohydrates (such as spouted grain bread vs. a honey bagel) with a small amount of health fat (such as almond butter) and a complete protein (such as whey protein, chicken, fish, eggs, etc). If you let your blood sugar levels spike by eating food rich in sugar or refined starch, you’ll never be able to control exercise-induced hunger when it strikes.

In my new book, the “Women’s Health Perfect Body Diet”, I write a lot more about why we’re hungry and how we can prevent it. Although the title of the book says “diet”, the book is more than just an average Jane diet plan. It comes complete with 75 original recipes that I created (that actually taste good and are easy to make) and 3 effective workout programs, that are specific to your body type. Also, in our book, "The New Rules of Lifting for Women", Lou, Alwyn and I emphasize over and over again that women have to eat quite a lot of calories or their bodies will revolt and halt their progress in the gym.

(Note, this blog didn’t start out as an advertisement. I’d been thinking about this topic for a few days and just realized that the information tied into my new book. You don’t have to buy the book. I just thought I’d pass along the word).

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ladies, eat to support your workout.

On Friday I had to go to NYC to do media training for my other new book, Women's Health Perfect Body Diet.

I got up at 6 am (I'm not a morning person) and was on the road at 7 am for an hour drive to get to the New Haven train station that would take me to the city in another hour and a half.

I always eat in the morning, unless I'm doing cardio under 20 minutes in duration (don't want to lose any muscle I've built). So, at 7 am, while my fiance was driving me to the train, I ate my scoop of whey protein mixed with 1/4 cup of old fashioned oats and a Tbsp of ground flax (all mixed in water), as per usual.

I also always pack food with me wherever I go, and today I had a baggie of raw pecans and sunflower seed kernals. But for some reason, I didn't pack any more, which in retrospect, I should have. I snacked on a handful or so of those at about 9 am, because in the morning, I'm hungry every 2 hours no matter what (mostly because I train at night).

When I got to Grand Central at 10:30 am from New Haven, I needed to eat again because I knew with my schedule that day, I wouldn't be able to eat again until about 2 pm. Nothing really appealed to me, but, I got a small dish of tabouli, which (naturally) came with a slice of pita bread, which I DID NOT eat. (I don't do bread... it goes straight to the butt.) The tabouli was good though. Normally I would have eaten a bit more than that knowing that my next meal was going to be much later than I needed, but my stomach was a bit queezy due to nervousness.

I walked my way from GC over to the Rodale office (the publisher of the book), and got there at 11 am. I met with the people I needed to work with and, as expected, didn't have an opportunity to eat until about 2:30. At that time I didn't have the resources to eat what I really wanted, as I had to rush back to the train station for a 3 pm departure. On my way out of Rodale, I was able to grab a couple of good snacks, out of the plethora of carb-ladened snacks found in the Rodale lunch room. They happened to have these all-pork jerky sticks (kind of like Slim Jims) called Joy Sticks, that had no preservatives and few calories. I could have grabbed a sugary "natural" granola bar snack too, but I knew the carbs weren't what my body needed.

The fact that my 3 pm food had such low calories, left me in a brain-drain for most of my ride home on the train. Basically, my entire caloric intake for the day was maybe about 500 calories, and at that point (3 pm), I was only at now 800 or so. That just wasn't enough for a woman that burns at least 1200 calories doing nothing.

I could feel that my calories were too low on my ride home with my fiance. He didn't have time to grab me anything before he picked me up, so I still had nothing else to eat during our hour-plus ride back home in the car.

Even though I didn't eat much that day, I still had to go to the gym as planned once we got back to our area of the state. (like I said, that was over an hour once I got off the train in New Haven)

I almost didn't even want to go because I felt so blah, but I had planned on it, and I wasn't going to back out.

I walked in the gym and knew I just didn't have the energy to lift. So, I got on a cross-trainer and did that in intervals for about 40 minutes. While on there, my fiance lifted, and I chatted with a buddy. This buddy of mine knew I rarely did cardio and asked what was going on. I told him that I didn't eat enough that day and would have had a more pathetic workout if I tried to lift. Then I deduced that maybe that's why I always see women on the cardio machines versus in the weight-lifting area.

Most women I know just don't eat enough. They think that to get their ideal body, they need to deprive themselves. However, when you do this and then try to workout, your workout completely suffers. You feel tired and crabby because you need more food energy, and then you try to get a good workout in, but all you have energy to do is mindlessly do circles on the crosstrainer or bike. If you ran, that would be disastrous too.

Ladies, if you really want to make changes in the appearance of your body, you HAVE TO EAT. Do NOT starve yourself.

You need the energy of the right food, designed specifically to benefit your body, in order to workout with intensity and feel energetic while you do it.

No one likes dragging themselves in the gym when all they want to do is just go home and vegetate on the couch due to a day of insufficient calories.

Both of my two new books, The New Rules of Lifting for Women and The Women's Health Perfect Body Diet advocate that you eat enough food and never starve yourself into misery.

You need to eat to support exercise, which is a necessary component of any body-composition-altering plan, otherwise you leave yourself in a tired, depressed place where all you want to do is cheat from your diet plan and stay as far away from exercise as possible.

My learning experience for this day was to always bring food with me so that I would be left in a situation like I was. After I finished my cardio, I still felt terrible and when I got home I wanted to eat anything in sight. That just wasn't a good place to be in and I knew better. Next time, my plan will be in place and my workouts and food control will be much better - I didn't blow it, but knew that it would have been easy to do so.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Facebook Group for New Book

Facebook is my new favorite hangout.


If you haven't heard of Facebook, you're really missing out. It's a new site developed to help friends connect. I'm not sure how it originally started, but it's exploded into a networking and reconnecting opportunity for millions of people.

Since I've been on Facebook, I've connected with many friends that I have not seen or heard from in a LONG time. I now know where my former highschool buddies are in life and what my old workout partners from other cities are up to.

Also on Facebook is a application that allows groups of people to join and discuss similar topics. For instance, there is now a group that has started for one of my new books: The New Rules of Lifting for Women.

Ladies and Gentlemen who have joined this group will be discussing the workout program, the diet program and the book in general.

If you're interesting in joining this group, or just joining Facebook to find old friends, you can check it out here:

Facebook NROL4W

I look forward to seeing you there! :)

(Note, to get to the group, you have to sign into Facebook, then it will take you to the NROL page)