Thursday, April 30, 2009

Get Lean (with Abs!) in Time for Summer PART II

PART II: Get Lean (with Abs!) in Time for Summer

How to Get Lean: Exercise
One of the biggest aspects to getting lean is diet. The other is...dun dun dun...EXERCISE. As a certified personal trainer and professional athlete, I have seen this word evoke dread in many people, but note that you're technically exercising if you're running after your kids, playing with the dogs, walking across a massive parking lot, walking up stairs, etc.

All exercise takes is the following two things:
1. Motivation
2. Consistency

How to Get Motivated
You may already be 100% motivated to get lean. Great, then you can skip this part.

For the rest of you, here's how to get motivated:

1. GET A ROLE MODEL OR TWO. Check out fitness magazines or do a Google search for fit people and keep those pictures on your desktop, in your car, on the back of your phone, WHEREVER - just so that it stays in your face and helps you stay motivated to get to looking like that

2. YOU ARE GUARANTEED A LEAN, FIT BODY. Realize that you CAN and WILL get in awesome shape. It is not only possible, but guaranteed. Every body is meant to be fit and healthy - and you just need to give yours the time, training, diet, and consistency it needs to get there. It's a very simple formula with guaranteed results.

3. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME. Do not spend ANY time whatsoever thinking about the shape you're in now and how bad it is and blah blah blah. Why do you care? You've already made the conscious choice to get fit and get healthy. Now there's no turning back. There is no point at all to looking in the mirror and being upset with yourself or beating yourself up for getting out of shape - just get your ass up and exercise and keep on going. One day, before you know it, you'll look in the mirror and be stunned. Let it happen.

How long until you're fit? It depends on the shape you're in and where you want to get, but in general, if you follow my dietary and exercise recommendations, you will be completely fit within 12 weeks (3 months). You will be there before you know it. It's already been 4 months since January and do you know where all that time went? It absolutely flew, didn't it? Same thing. Time flies when you exercise. Hokey, I know. ;)

Just GO
As a final piece of advice before we get to the meat of the exercise program:

JUST GO. Just get up. And get in your car. Or get your bike. And go to the gym. Drag yourself there if you have to. Look at your role model's picture, remind yourself that you will be fit and lean in a few short weeks if you just GO exercise right now.

Exercise Basics
Here's the plan. You need to do the following on a consistent basis:

1. Cardiovascular exercise, also known as cardio
2. Weight training, also known as strength or resistance training

Cardio Protocol
For those of you who are new to exercising, have a weak or unconditioned heart, or get easily out of breath, start smaller. Do the following:

1. Cardio 3 x week
2. Do 20-30 minutes of cardio for each session
3. Walk at a brisk pace on the treadmill, with a slight incline
4. Use the elliptical machine (great for bad joints), with slight resistance
5. Try the stair climber, bike, or rowing machine

It is important to work your way up by consistency doing the cardio and going longer or more intense each time. Yes, it may be hard and your heart may start pounding, but that will ease up as you condition your body to be strong. Your heart is a muscle. You must build it up.

The ideal cardio program for getting in shape quickly in time for this summer, is this:

1. 25-35 minute cardio session 1 x week
2. 20-30 minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio session 2 x week

1. Do a full routine on one machine, increasing and decreasing your intensity every few minutes to keep your body guessing and burning fat
2. Keep it interesting by switching machines every 5-10 minutes (i.e. warming up on the treadmill, hopping over to the elliptical, then getting on the stairclimber, rowing on the row machine, and finishing on the bike - you get the picture)

NOTE: This is just an example of HIIT. There are many ways to do it. The basic formula is to warm up, increase intensity, then burst the intensity from moderate to hard and back to moderate in short intervals, then cool down. You can do this on any machine or even sprinting in front of your house.
Warm up 4-5 minutes
Increase intensity to MODERATE via incline/resistance and speed for 5 minutes
Increase intensity to HARD via incline/resistance and speed for 1 minute
Decrease intensity to MODERATE for 1 minute
Repeat MOD/HARD 1 minute cycles for 10 minutes
Burst MOD/HARD 30 seconds each for 2 minutes
Cool down 5 minutes

1. Recent research has shown that splitting up cardio into 10 minute sessions during the day can help burn more fat. Try doing a 10 minute session in the morning on an empty stomach, then take one or two 10 minute breaks during your day and do your cardio.
2. Do cardio on an empty stomach in the morning, if possible. Eating beforehand can slow the fat burn that occurs during cardio.
3. For a before-cardio energy boost, put 2 Tbsp. of raw honey in a 16 oz. glass of water and drink it up. It's a delicious carbohydrate and enzyme (protein) boost that will absorb quickly and will not interfere with fat burning during your cardio routine.

Weight Training Protocol
Losing fat and getting toned requires the use of weights - whether it's a machine, free weights, bodyweight, resistance bands, or pushing tires around.

Weight training is important to losing fat because muscle uses fat for energy. When you build muscle, you lose fat even while you're sleeping because your muscles need to fuel themselves.

NOTE TO WOMEN: You will NOT get bulky from weight training. Women do not have the natural physiques or testosterone levels to get bulky. The female bodybuilders you see are so low in bodyfat and so high in testosterone that their body starts transforming into a male-dominant physique - they even lose their periods and start developing male attributes like a deep voice. This will NOT happen to you on this exercise program.

1. Choose weights that are not too low and not too high for you. Test them out. You can always increase and decrease your weight as needed. Your goal is to be struggling by the end of the set.
2. Consistency is CRUCIAL. Train 3 x week.
3. Resting is CRUCIAL. You gain muscle by resting. Be sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night and rest for 1 day in between weight training sessions.
4. Do your abodminal exercises on 3 of your cardio days.
5. Rest between 45-60 seconds between sets.

There are a TON of weight training routines. You can mix and match and work muscle groups in an infinite number of ways. Here is an example I created specifically for weight loss and beginning/intermediate exercisers. (VIDEO COMING SOON!)

NOTE: Do everything in order.

Shoulders, chest, triceps, thighs/glutes
Shoulders - military press, 3 sets of 15 reps
upright rows, 3 sets of 15 reps
shoulder flys, 3 sets of 15 reps
Chest - incline bench flys, 3 sets of 15 reps
flat bench barbell (bench press), 3 sets of 15 reps
Triceps - standing cable pushdowns, 3 sets of 15 reps
Thighs/glutes - squats, 2 sets of 15 reps
lunges, 4 sets of 20 reps
seated leg extensions, 4 sets of 20 reps
donkey kicks, 4 sets of 20 reps

Back, biceps, hamstrings, calves
Back - straight arm pulldowns (wide grip), 3 sets of 15 reps
seated boat rows (wide grip), 3 sets of 15 reps
standing barbell upright rows, 3 sets of 15 reps
Biceps - hammercurls, 3 sets of 15 reps
isolation bicep curls (machine), 3 sets of 15 reps
Hamstrings - hamstring curls, 4 sets of 20 reps
straight leg deadlifts, 4 sets of 20 reps
Calves - seated calf machine, 4 sets of 25 reps

Major fat-burning muscle groups.

Squats - 3 sets of 25
Deadlifts - 3 sets of 15
Pull-ups - 3 sets of 10
Bench press - 3 sets of 15-20
Pull-overs - 4 sets of 20

Good luck and enjoy. Feel free to comment or email me with any questions.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Get Lean (with Abs!) in Time for Summer PART I

Hey everyone, this is RawMatt. I've been getting a lot of questions lately regarding exercise and diet for losing weight and leaning out. So here we go...

PART I: Get Lean (with Abs!) in Time for Summer

Why Be Lean?
Many people have a warped perception of what is a healthy weight. The Body Mass Index is an inaccurate representation of what your weight "should" be because it does not take into account your bone structure, activity level, metabolic type or speed, etc. If I was to be in the "normal" range for BMI, I would look puffy and ridiculous, as my natural body type is smaller and leaner in structure. In addition, being thin is not unhealthy. (However, being anorexic is - I just want to clarify there). Human beings are meant to be naturally thin - in a natural setting, we'd be running around everywhere, scavenging, hunting, farming, etc. We would be generally active and off our asses nearly all day long, and we would not be eating the large quantities of processed, starchy, fatty foods. Being lean means your body has less fat and less toxins to flush out continuously, and your body has more resources readily available to it for repair and maintenance (translation: easier weight management overall, better health, youthful appearance, etc.).

Weight is irrelevant, as muscle is denser and heavier than fat, and water weight is also a factor. It is best to go by body fat, not weight. Men, keep your body weight between 8% and 14% ideally. Women carry a little more weight naturally (no worries, this is healthy) and should preferably keep body fat in the 10% to 18% range. In general, if you can see your muscle tone while flexed and un-flexed, you're doing great!

How to Get Lean
Summer 2009 is approaching and we're all gearing up for awesome hot weather. The human body can make HUGE transformations within a very short 8-12 week time frame, so do not fear if you have some weight to lose or muscles to gain.

First, and most important, is diet. What you put in your mouth directly affects the health and weight of your body.

• Eat until satisfied, not until full or stuffed, as this depletes your enzyme reserve and increases the chance that the excess food will be stored as fat
• Break up your normal meals into 4-6 small ones throughout the day to keep from overeating and speed up your metabolism for optimal fat burning
• Drink 2-4 liters of water per day by itself or in a smoothie or tea to flush out toxins and encourage the body to release water weight
• Consume any complex carbs like grains and starchy vegetables earlier in the day so your body can use them as fuel and not store them as fat
• Prepare your foods in advance and store them in individual containers in the fridge to take with you, this will help you not only portion your intake, but also keep you motivated since your food is already made and available to you
• Avoid stress and take time to chill out, since stress creates cortisol which makes us gain weight; do some stretching or yoga, read a good book, watch some funny movies...whatever it is that relaxes you and makes you smile
• Go to sleep by midnight; many people (including myself) tend to be night owls, but strive to be in bed by 12 a.m. (10 a.m. is preferable for optimum repair) to encourage a restful, fat-loss-inducing sleep
• Think positively and envision your new body - do NOT dwell on being overweight or out of shape, just picture yourself how you want to look and it will happen

• FRUITS: High-fiber and high water content fruits such as berries, cherries, apples, figs, cantaloupe, cucumbers, red/yellow/orange bell peppers, grapes, kiwi, peaches
• VEGGIES & GREENS: Steam them on the stovetop, blend them in a smoothie with fruit, or juice them for the best assimilation; celery, soft leafy greens, sprouts, broccoli, kale, cabbage, romaine, carrots (add a maximum of 1 carrot to a juice so you don't get a vitamin A overload and turn orange)
• COMPLEX CARBS: Yams, sweet potatoes, brown or heirloom rice (I like Lotus Foods), quinoa, amaranth, and millet
• SWEETENERS: For no-fat, low-glycemic, delicious sweeteners, use unheated, unfiltered organic honey (heated, non-raw honey has a high glycemic index) and stevia leaf (go for the green kind, not the processed white powder)
• ANIMAL PRODUCTS: If you're vegetarian or vegan, eat wild-caught fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, and mahi mahi; organic free-range eggs; raw goat milk, kefir, or yogurt; raw honey; bee pollen; royal jelly
• PROTEIN: Spirulina is higher in protein than meat; bee pollen, rice protein, pea protein, hemp protein, egg white protein; use one protein source per day and rotate them (i.e. one day egg white protein in all daily smoothies, next day just spirulina, next day rice protein, etc.)
• WATER: Vital to weight loss and health in general; keeps bowels moving which helps flush toxins and encourages the body to release fat and water weight; drink quality filtered water (I got mine from, since they have the best systems) or natural spring water; drink it cold and drink it often for additional calorie burn
• THERMOGENICS: Kelp, citrus (lemon, grapefruit), and apple cider vinegar are all effective thermogenics (fat burners) to add to your diet
• LIPOTROPICS: B5/pantothenic acid present in bee pollen and royal jelly, choline, inositol, and L-metionine are all effective at preventing a build-up of fat and helping to break it down

• Processed carbohydrates like pasta, bread, muffins, chips, etc. as they will really inhibit your weight loss progress
• Regular potatoes and french fries will spike your insulin and slow down weight loss
• Cow dairy like milk, cheese, and butter; high in fat and cholesterol, and made for a thousand-pound animal, not a 110-210 pound human being; dairy will certainly impede weight loss
• Whey protein; a glue-like substance that will certainly provide protein but generate mucus formation and allergies over time; just avoid it as there are much better sources of protein (see above)
• Wheat and gluten (i.e. barley, spelt, kamut, rye); most people are gluten-sensitive or Celiac and may even be unaware of this; in many people, this will create a bloated or distended abdomen and prevent weight loss
• Nuts and seeds and their butters; too high in fat and need to be avoided during weight loss, may be added back in small quantity once you reach your target weight and remain active
• Soy products; estrogenic and hormonally unbalancing, often inhibiting weight loss, especially in women
• All cow, pig, and chicken products; high in fat, cholesterol, and hormones; no fiber; not beneficial to weight loss and there are much better sources of protein out there (see "What to Eat")
• Snack bars; often loaded with chemicals and preservatives, high in calories, fat, and carbs that hurt, not help, weight loss

NOTE: I do not give measurements because you will be able to adjust measurements for yourself based on your own preferences and hunger/satiety points.

REMEMBER: Eat slowly and chew well for better nutrient assimilation and digestion, and eat until satisfied but not stuffed

**FOR VEGETARIANS, VEGANS, & RAW FOODISTS: The diet below is easily adjusted for you. Do this by eating mainly fruits, vegetables, pea protein, rice protein, hemp protein, and egg white protein (vegetarian-appropriate). Avoid soy. Enjoy a lot of smoothies, blended soups, blended greens, and granola made from gluten-free oats, buckwheat, and dried fruits.

• Pre-Breakfast: this is not the time to stuff yourself, as your body is just waking up and this is time to "Break the Fast" (i.e. Breakfast); hydrate yourself with 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of green stevia leaf in a tall glass of water (aim for 8-16 oz. of water upon waking)
• Meal #1: when you get hungry, eat your first meal of either oatmeal with blueberries, raw honey or stevia, and a scoop of protein powder; or a smoothie consisting of water, protein powder, fruit, raw honey or stevia, and 1 or 2 other whole-food ingredients of your choice for added nutrition and flavor
• Meal #2: Wild-caught fish (steamed, poached, or grilled) with steamed veggies, rice or yam optional
• Meal #3: Your choice of fruit, or a protein/fruit smoothie
• Meal #4: Wild-caught fish with steamed veggies or steamed greens, side of lentil or pea soup
• Meal #5: Your choice of fruit, or a protein/fruit smoothie

Remember that you can rotate your diet out daily - if you feel like having tea in the morning instead of your ACV/lemon drink, do it. If you want salmon instead of halibut, or a salad for lunch with nothing else, do it. Listen to your body above else (unless it tells you to eat cookies or pasta).

Continued with PART II...

Welcome to Dominant Health!

Hello everyone, this is RawMatt. Welcome to the new blog...

I have a few new articles lined up regarding some of my favorite information on natural beauty, disease prevention, and efficient exercise. Look for them in the next few days!

In the meantime, feel free to gather some information via video at my YouTube channel, or join me on Facebook or Twitter for quick new updates and to stay in the loop about events and Dominant Health book tour dates.

Also feel free to e-mail or comment if you have a personal or general question. I'll get back to you as soon as possible with a good answer. ;)