Q and A July 5th, 2013

Challenge workouts

Question: I’m trying to eat well and lose a bit of weight. My focus is more on the health side of things with the hopes that healthy eating will provide the energy I need to train hard and both will lead to dropping a few pounds. Here’s my question: are there any  special products or super foods that I should be eating that will help to this end? Ana

Answer: Ana, I’m really glad your focus is on health first and healthy and sustainable weight loss second. Too often weight loss is the ‘be all end all’ and health and performance are forgotten. People get lighter but they don’t look different, only a skinnier/softer version of themselves. I think this is the big disappointment with many that want to lose weight. Their shape doesn’t change, they get discouraged, they feel crappy and weak and give up. I found a little info for you and a good resource as well.

What’s a Superfood anyway?

The word “superfood” is completely unregulated by the FDA or any other regulatory agency. So in reality, it can refer to anything food marketers feel like. Generally, superfoods combine two things – a fascinating origin and an impressive nutritional content. A good example is the very famous açai berry, which is grown in the beautiful jungles of Brazil and South American and is said to contain 30X more antioxidants than red wine.

I’ve went to my friend and nutrition nerd, Nick Pineault and he told me that he has an entire chapter of his recently released program called ‘The Truth About Fat Burning Foods‘ devoted to super foods: what they are, what ones are worth the expense, what super food scams are. He went on to say that he fully endorses a product called ‘super powders’, and he lists all their benefits, uses and recommendations. You can find out where to learn more about this here (by the way, neither of us are selling any super foods or super powders 😉

I have to tell you that Nick really knows his stuff. He demystifies food in plain and simple language. You can find out more about super foods in his program, (including the 4 myths of superfoods). You can also find out  the 3 simple steps that will help you discover which foods can “shut off” your cravings and “turn on” your body’s fat-burning switch with each and every bite making it IMPOSSIBLE for you NOT to burn MORE stubborn belly fat. All the while feeling great with the ability to train hard.

You’ll find all 3 steps, and you’ll also discover an easy and delicious way to “fix” your broken diet and KEEP your body in a consistent, fat burning environment 24 hours a day – all while eating MORE of your favorite foods. I think that’s pretty cool. Take a look here.

truth about fat burning foods


 Question: Should I train on an empty stomach for more fat loss? Martin

Answer: Training first thing in the morning on an empty stomach has been shown in some studies to increase fat burning. This is because blood sugar is typically at it’s lowest so the theory is that training in a fasted state will force the body to rely more on body fat for fuel. The problem is that protein (muscle) can be converted into glucose for fuel for energy so you have the potential to burn muscle when training while fasted.

The question becomes, is the extra fat burning worth the potential muscle burning that may result?

Something else to consider though is that the body releases more GH (growth hormone) in a training fasted situation. GH protects muscle and improves the utilization of fat for energy but ONLY when your activity level is HIGH. So, in theory, training with high intensity on an empty stomach first thing
in the morning can result in increased GH secretion, which means greater fat loss and reduced loss of muscle mass. This directly contradicts the theory of training burning up your muscle tissue if you don’t eat.

WAIT – Your cortisol levels are higher in the morning because you’ve been fasting while sleeping. In an effort to help your body survive (this hormone wasn’t created to help you get lean and beach ready) it eats muscle for energy and stores fat, especially belly fat.

So here’s the thing: If you have the energy to go HARD with high intensity training in a fasted condition, this is optimal for fat loss as well as increased GH production.


If your energy levels are low first thing in the morning and you don’t have the gas in the tank to put your best effort in, training on an empty stomach will result in three things: a bad workout, no increased fat burning and potentially more fat storage.

Don’t get hung up on the details. The miniscule difference the time of day of your workout isn’t enough to matter. The key is to train at the time of day when you have the energy and intensity to put out your best effort. You need INTENSITY to see results. If the best time for you to train is at midnight and any other time of day you feel lethargic, then midnight is YOUR best training time.


Question: Is it okay to eat popcorn? Are there ANY banned foods? William

Answer: Guess what? ALMOST anything is okay to eat – in moderation. You could do a whole lot worse than popcorn. But you can make some better choices by nick pineaultreading labels and avoiding extra salt and butter. The lethal combination of fat and carbs, especially late at night while you’re sedentary is a recipe for belly fat.

Making a solid diet of food that is NOT nutritionally dense will do nothing for your physique or performance. This goes without saying. But an occasional indulgence is not only ‘okay’, it’s a healthy way to maintain a fitness lifestyle. MODERATION in all things food related is your best advice.

I’ve been getting lots of nutrition related questions, and again, I defer to the ‘Nutrition Nerd Nick‘. He’s got study after study to back up his advice on simple things like what oil to buy, what honey to eat, what meat is best, what supplements are worth it, and so MUCH more.

You can check it out HERE, highly recommended 🙂


Question: How is Sev? (asked by no one) This is my attempt at pretending that you’re interested in my dog so that I can tell you 😉sev on chair

Answer: Sev is feeling pretty comfortable and is starting to act like a puppy. He was so quiet and reserved when we first got him. He didn’t want to go for a walk, probably because he didn’t know if he’d come back to our house. He HATED the car, but now will jump in. He despised his kennel, but now has the run of the house because he proved himself trustworthy (and I didn’t have the heart to try to push him in one only to have him Houdini his way out…)

As you can see, Sev needs to learn some manners. He jumped up on this chair when I sat on the couch with my laptop. He looked over at me like we were going to have a civilized conversation. He was quite confused when I tried to tell him to get off. I pulled his pillow up beside me instead and he settled at my feet but I’m sure would have rathered the chair.

Sev and I have to keep it on the down low how much fun we have with each other. I’ve taught him to ‘get his duck’ in which case he prowls the house looking for his toy and then he’ll shake the living daylights out of it. Hannah (my daughter) took off for the weekend and it’s just us. I act like I don’t like him and I try to tell her that he’s pining for her. She’s mentioned that she thinks Sev is confused as to whom he loves more. I tell her that where puppy love is concerned, there’s always lots to go around 🙂

Now, if only I actually DID like this beast…time for a walk.