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General Questions

  • I just completed a BodyBlitz challenge and failed! I ate healthy and exercised but lost no weight at all. I want to try another...but can't get motivated.

    When I contacted the guys over at Blitz Publications, they advised me that a very small percentage actually COMPLETE the challenge. You didn't fail at all and deserve a big congratulations for making significant changes in your lifestyle over the 12 week period. With the lack of support you received and the emotional struggle you endured, this is an achievement in itself - not many people would be able to do what you have done.

    In addition to this, if you have been eating well and exercising, there is no doubt that your health has improved. Do you not feel any better within yourself?

    Now if you're considering entering into another 12 week challenge, consider the previous challenge as a trial run. You now have some experience under your belt from which you can build upon. It is very important that educate yourself and learn how to achieve your desired goals.  An excellent resource to learn about health and fitness is this website.

    I would also highly recommend a personal trainer to provide knowledge, inspiration and motivation for you throughout your 12 week challenge.  A relatively small financial investment goes a LONG way when it comes to your health and wellbeing.

  • Should I purchase an exercise bike? Will it help me lose weight?

    I believe that an exercise bike can be an excellent investment into your health and wellbeing.  I actually purchased one for my family not too long ago because they would rather exercise at home than join a gym.

    They aren't too expensive and can be very effective for increasing your level of fitness, improving your health and assisting fat loss.  The beauty about a home exercise bike is that they are easy to use, convenient, comfortable (so long as you have a well-padded seat lol) and effective.

    When choosing a piece of cardiovascular exercise equipment, one of the most important factors is to consider what you will enjoy using most.  Some people hate treadmills, others dislike bikes - it's ultimately a personal thing.  At the end of the day, if you don't enjoy using it, there's not much point in making the purchase.

    With regards to the effectiveness of an exercise bike (or nearly any machine for that matter), it is only as effective as the level of effort you invest into your exercise.  This includes factors such as the amount of time and exertion/intensity.  If you enjoy using the machine, you will most likely yield far better results than any other machine.

    Speaking personally, the only cardio machine that I really use is the exercise bike - because it's fun (well at least I think so :P).

  • I am overweight and want to get a flat stomach. Will ab exercises make a difference to my appearance? Or should I not bother with them?

    No and no. No, it won't make a difference to your appearance until you lose weight. No, you should bother with abdominal (and other) exercises. I'll explain.

    Envisage your stomach as two layers. Layer one (the bottom layer) is muscle - your abdominals. Layer two (the top layer) is fat.

    Initially layer one is extremely thin, because we don't naturally have well defined abdominal muscles. By doing certain abdominal exercises, you can stimulate layer one to increase in size. Now essentially you could make layer one as large as you like, but if layer 2 is covering it up (ie. the fat) - you're not going to see a single thing. It is essentially a blanketing effect.

    Consider the two photo's below taken during my transformation:


    In both photo's I have a very similar amount of muscle mass (as I had been lifting weights prior to the first photo for a while). The big difference is the amount of fat I am carrying. On the left you can see that I have a layer of fat covering up my midsection. As a result, you can't see too much in the way of abs. Strip all that fat away and you get the photo on the right.

    The reason why I suggest that you do perform resistance training is twofold. Firstly, it will encourage muscle growth which will assist fat loss by speeding up your metabolism. Secondly, once you do eventually lose the fat, there will be some good looking muscles already there! It takes a long time to build muscle compared to losing fat. Start now so you can build some solid foundations for the long-term.

    It should also be noted that females will not experience nearly the same effect from weight lifting that males will. So, by performing abdominal exercises you cannot expect to obtain the definition in the abdominal muscles that I have. Females will tend to see more of a 'toned' effect.

  • I am on a low carbohydrate diet. Will I be able to build significant muscle?

    There are two key factors when it comes to building muscle mass - training and diet.  Both are essential parts of the equation.  If one is not up to scratch, then you're wasting your time.

    It is possible to cut down and build significant lean muscle mass simultaneously.  However, for an adult male to do this on an extremely restricted carbohydrate (and calorie) diet, this is not a realistic goal.  The reason being that carbohydrates will facilitate protein synthesis (ie. assist building muscle).  By depleting yourself of carbohydrates (and calories) you will lack energy and your ability to recover from sessions will be severely hampered.  If your body cannot recover effectively, then it will not be able to build lean muscle mass - period.

    The primary goal of ketosis is to lose fat, not to build muscle.  For an adult male, once you reach a certain carbohydrate daily consumption threshold, you cannot realistically expect to build significant amounts of lean mass.  I am speaking both from theory and experience when I say this.

    Also just for your information, all muscle is built outside the gym - lifting weights is simply a tool to stimulate this biological process.

  • How do you calculate the calories that you are eating and burning?

    I am very analytical by nature, but after spending a long time trying to derive how many calories I actually expend...I concluded that it's a complete waste of time lol

    What I do personally is look at my calories in by totalling my caloric intake throughout the day. (I get all the information off the food database on this site). This also gives me an indication of protein, carbs and fats. Then I will implement this diet over a number of weeks with a consistent training program and see what results from it - eg. fat gain/loss, muscle gain/loss, high/low energy levels etc. After this trial period, I can determine whether or not that diet, combined with a particular training regime, results in the desired outcome(s). From there, several tweaks can be made according to my goals.

    I prefer totalling my caloric intake so I have figures I can look at. These figures are treated in a relative fashion though. Due to this, there is no point in trying to determine an absolute figure for energy expenditure as it will have no meaning at all.  Plus, it is nearly impossible to determine an accurate caloric expenditure due to the seemingly infinite variables that must be taken into consideration.

    I know Josh Dickinson uses portion sizes rather than calorie counting. He will simply increase or decrease portions depending upon results. Same line of thinking behind my approach - both are relative methods of dealing with caloric intake. However I like to look at the numbers so I can establish a more accurate measure of any increase/decrease in what I consume.

    I have found that a more empirical approach through trial-and-error has yielded far better results than trying to determine precise calories in and calories out.

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