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Saturday, April 19th, 2014 - Shane Doll

Ask most anyone off the street what’s the best diet strategy to lose body fat and you’ll likely hear something along the lines of going low-carb.

Fitness trainers have been providing the same run of the mill advice for years, and while there are certainly some benefits with carb reduction at times, the use of low-carb dieting for fat loss does have its limitations.

In fact, with some individuals low-carb dieting may be the underlying reason why they’re dead stuck in a fat loss plateau and no longer seeing the body composition changes they desire.

It’s the dark, dirty little secret with low-carb diets that nobody wants to talk about, but I will. The truth needs to be told as this is a subject full of misconceptions that’s leaving a lot of people frustrated. You may be thinking, “but hey wait a minute Shane I know lots of people who have lost weight on a low-carb diet.”

There’s no question about it and I’m not denying that a low-carb diet can be a viable option (with some individuals under certain conditions), but hear me out as I can point you to cases where not getting enough carbs becomes part of the problem and not the solution.

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Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 - Shane Doll

As a fitness coach this has to be one of the most frequently asked questions I get asked from people I meet out in public. It typically goes something like this as they grab on to their belly fat with both hands…”Ok Shane now tell me, what should I be doing to get rid of this?”

I can tell my answer is not what they were expecting when I get a funny look with my reply. You see I think a lot of people mistakenly assume I’m going to tell them to do lots of sit-up’s or crunches, when in reality these exercises are last on my list in the hierarchy of importance.

Now don’t get me wrong sit-up’s and crunches have their place in a fitness program (when done properly), but one thing is for certain…they don’t burn fat.

Therefore these exercises are going to take a back seat to more effective ways at eliminating unwanted body fat.

More after the jump…

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Friday, August 30th, 2013 - Shane Doll

Without question one of the most frequent mistakes I see being made by individuals who are stuck in a weight loss plateau is attempting to restrict too many calories from their diet and/or exercising excessively.

I understand the rationale as when fat loss comes to a halt it seems that the logical thing to do would be to cut more calories or try to burn off some more with additional cardio. The problem is this doesn’t work so hot and the combination of the two can actually make things worse.

The reason? As you may have already guessed it’s due to a down-regulation in metabolism. Once calorie deficits get below a certain point and stay that way for longer than a few days, the body adapts and kicks in self-preservation mechanisms to protect against starvation.

Among those changes are a series of hormonal shifts, most significant is a reduction in thyroid hormone production which lowers metabolism.

In short, the body starts working to preserve fat stores by slowing down metabolic rate, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

Now I’m sure you’ve probably heard this before, but the question becomes do you know how much of a caloric deficit is too much?

In other words, where’s the line you cross when a caloric deficit becomes too much and fat loss becomes inhibited?

More after the jump…

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Friday, August 9th, 2013 - Shane Doll

Ask this question to any number of nutritionists or fitness trainers and you’ll likely hear a distinct difference in opinions.

There are those who will say that a carbohydrate based pre-workout meal or snack is essential and others who will argue that exercising in a fasting state is the best way to go for fat loss.

So who’s right and who’s wrong?

Well, as is often the case with exercise and nutrition science, it kinda depends.

There is no one pre-workout nutrition strategy that will be best for everyone. As you can imagine individual differences with body fat percentage, lean muscle mass, insulin sensitivity, rate of metabolism, etc, along with training objectives will all factor into the equation.

For the purpose of this discussion I’m going to be addressing considerations with pre-workout nutrition for middle age adults who are looking to lose fat. After all that’s my specialty and area of expertise.

If you’re a triathlete, cyclist, runner, or other endurance athlete this discussion won’t pertain to you. I’m also not talking to the bodybuilding crowd or athletes who will be completing more prolonged workouts or practices lasting an hour or more.

This is for those of us over 35 who are getting up early in the morning to workout and want to know what’s best to eat, or not to eat, to optimize fat loss.

More after the jump….

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Saturday, August 3rd, 2013 - Shane Doll

That is the question. Better stated, is there a way to tell if you’re more likely to do well on a low carb diet?

The short answer is yes as there actually are some pretty good indicators. But as is usually the case with dieting strategies, there’s no surefire way to tell without experimentation.

There’s also the subjective matter of what “low carb” really means as this could be under 100 grams of carbs per day for some and less than 50 grams per day for others. Depends on the diet, length of time with carb restriction, etc.

After twenty plus years consulting with individuals on fat loss strategies, I’ve found some tend to do very well on low carb diets and/or diet phases and others not so much. The reasons for which I believe can be identified with something I ofter refer to as “bioinvididuality.”

This is just a fancy word that refers to the inherent differences in one person to the next. Factors such as genetics, rate of metabolism, insulin sensitivity, lean muscle mass, etc.

While there’s no denying the benefits of carbohydrate manipulation on fat loss, I’ve yet to find a single low carb diet or rotational strategy that works best for everyone.

In today’s post we’ll get into some of the factors I look at when determining whether or not to put my clients on low carb diet phases, and if so what the variables are.

More after the jump…

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Monday, July 29th, 2013 - Shane Doll

There’s a saying that frequently gets posted in our gym which reads, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.”

This serves as a reminder for all of our clients that while the workouts are an essential component in the equation for a body transformation, what they do outside of the gym will be even more important.

Exercise and working out, regardless of the type or duration, is not a magic bullet. Generally speaking no matter how hard you train or for how long (within reason), there will be minimal changes in body fat loss unless you make other lifestyle and diet changes.

I say “within reason” as it is hypothetically possible to see decreases in body fat without much of a change in your diet, but it would require excessive amounts of exercise (hour or more per day), which isn’t feasible or practical for most working adults.

And for that matter this wouldn’t be recommended as excessive exercise opens up the door to a whole host of other problems, especially when the individual has a somewhat stressful and hectic lifestyle.

It’s been my experience that most folks tend to far overestimate the number of calories expended during exercise, right along with the impact it will have on their ability to lose fat.

There are also those who far overestimate the impact on fat loss from doing lots and lots of aerobic exercise while significantly restricting calories.

In short, doing any amount of exercise without changing the diet AND doing lots of cardio while significantly restricting calories; both will produce poor results with fat loss in the long run.

More after the jump…

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Friday, July 12th, 2013 - Shane Doll

I’ve been getting quite a few questions lately regarding the hormone adiponectin and its connection to fat loss so I figured it was about time to do a discussion on the subject.

As you can imagine the majority of the questions had to do with whether or not a particular supplement would increase adiponectin levels and thereby help one lose weight.

This hormone has been getting a lot of coverage lately, being covered on the Dr. Oz show along with a handful of sales pitch videos from supplement companies. While adiponectin certainly plays a role in metabolic functions there’s a bit of misconception about the role it plays in fat loss.

In today’s post we’ll cover the basics and get down to brass tacks on what you need to know about this hormone. From there you can make your own informed decision on the fat loss strategies you choose to follow and supplements to experiment with.

More after the jump…

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Saturday, June 8th, 2013 - Shane Doll

Yes, you read that right, it’s not a typo. I know what you’re thinking…come on Shane how could someone gain fat by spending more time exercising? Believe it or not this can happen, in fact it’s quite common among women who combine excessive cardiovascular exericse with a low calorie diet.

I’ve witnessed this several times with training and consulting clients. Mind you many of these individuals were meticulous with their nutrition tracking and didn’t deviate more than 100-200 calories daily over a two week period, but yet experienced body fat increases!

I can remember the first time I witnessed this I had to literally pause for a second to gather my thoughts before responding to my client (who was surprised needless to say that she had increased body fat composition).

I’ll admit that initially in my mind I was saying to myself something along the lines of “what in the world?”

How could she have gained fat while her calories basically stayed the same? And the only thing that changed in her routine was that she had increased the duration of her cardio workouts.

Think about this…

Incoming calories staying basically the same, macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) basically staying the same, and caloric expenditure increasing due to the extra cardio.

But yet body fat increases. Huh?

At a point early on in my career I might have done like a lot of coaches do and write it off as the client “failing to disclose” their real food intake. You know….the not reporting that chocolate fudge sundae, bag of M&M’s or whatever.

It’s easy to assume that the body fat increases MUST be the result of excess calories consumed at some point. You fitness coaches who are reading this post don’t automatically jump to this conclusion. Dig deeper, investigate, go the extra mile.

There’s a very good explanation for why and how this happens. It can be summed up in two words…metabolic slowdown.

More after the jump…

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Friday, March 29th, 2013 - Shane Doll

If there’s one phenomenon associated with weight loss that tends to leave people thoroughly confused and scratching their heads, it’s how in the world they could have increased their body fat percentage while significantly reducing calories and doing lots of exercise?

This is no fluke occurrence, I’ve seen it countless times over the years with coaching my personal training clients. An individual who was following an exceptionally clean diet of whole foods, low in calories and carbs, they were doing more than enough physical activity, but yet body fat percentage and the scale mysteriously went up.

So what gives? In reality there’s a very good explanation for this which I’ll reveal to you today.

I’ll need to educate with some basic physiology, but stick with me as I’ll do my best to simply everything in the process.

More after the jump…

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Monday, February 4th, 2013 - Shane Doll

There’s long been an on-going debate on whether or not doing cardio in the morning while in a fasting state helps one to lose more body fat. To be fair there’s research supporting both sides of the argument, but I think it’s time to go a little deeper on the subject.

In short, the strategy may work well for some individuals, and not so well for others. As is the case with a lot of strategies related to fitness training and nutrition, it kinda depends on the individual.

In today’s post I’ll share with you some recent research that supports morning cardio in a fasted state, along with providing you my two cents on the big picture.

More after the jump…

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