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Weight Loss Questions

  • Should I perform cardio on an empty stomach first thing in the morning? I have lost 30kg so far with the help of a dietitian, but am unsure if fasted cardio is the best way to lose weight.

    First and foremost, a big congratulations on losing 30kg of weight!!  That's amazing mate.  I'm sure that means a lot to you, because I know it takes a LOT to make that initial decision to turn your life around, as you have.

    Secondly, there's no such thing as a dumb question as far as I'm concerned.  If you don't know the answer, what better way to find out than ask?

    In actual fact, it's quite a good question and something that I believe has been quite misinterpreted within the fitness industry.  I have certainly heard many people suggest that exercising on an empty stomach is the most effective way to "tap into" the fat stores.  The theory behind this is that, because you have starved yourself for in excess of eight hours (whilst sleeping), your body has little carbohydrate to draw upon.  Therefore, the primary source of energy is going to be fat tissue right?  Unfortunately, the body doesn't work that simplistically.

    What this theory fails to consider is muscle mass.  Muscle mass is actually broken down far more readily than fat tissue.  So, if you are exercising on an empty stomach, you will experience a fair amount of muscle catabolism.  Considering that muscle tissue is a classified as metabolically active (in other words, burns plenty of calories throughout the day), losing muscle tissue is extremely counter-productive with respect to fat loss.

    That's not to say that exercising on an empty stomach will not result in fat loss.  I have no doubt that you will lose fat tissue by exercising first thing in the morning.  However, considering that you will sacrifice a fair amount of muscle tissue in the process, there are more effective ways to achieve a substantial amount of fat loss.

    Another point to consider is that, what you exercise on an empty stomach, the intensity of the cardio session will be greatly impacted.  Think about it - you're running off an empty tank.  How hard will your body allow you to push?  Not nearly as hard as if you were fully fueled.  Therefore, the number of calories during the HIIT session will be greatly reduced.  Additionally (and more importantly), the overload on your body will thus be reduced and therefore less fat tissue will be metabolised after your workout has completed.

    A good approach is to perform HIIT's about an hour after breakfast so you have plenty of carbohydrates to assist in energy production.  If you want to perform low-intensity exercise to burn additional calories, but without the overload on your body, I would suggest to do so after a later meal to prevent muscle breakdown, maybe in the afternoon.  Ensure that you continue with an effective resistance training regime, as this will assist in muscle synthesis and also greatly enhance fat loss.

    A great article on this topic we have available is entitled "Myths Under the Microscope - Fasted Cardio

  • Hi Jay, I have been losing weight for 4 years. I have lost 20kg and am stuck at 84kg. I work out 5 days a week and walk 3-5 nights each week up to 6km. My goal is 75kg...what am I doing wrong!?

    First of all, congratulations on losing such a substantial amount of weight!  20 kilograms is a lot to lose.  Secondly, congratulations on sustaining that weight loss for such an long period of time!

    The great news is that, over the last 4 years, you would now have some idea of how your body responds to different stimulus, in your situation, how quickly you will lose weight as a result of cardiovascular and resistance based exercise in conjunction with your dietary intake.

    Often, the final few kilograms are the most stubborn to move.  As you lower your level of body fat, your body will naturally place more of a priority to retain this fat mass as a survival mechanism.  As a result, you can expect the final 9 kilograms to be harder to lose.

    In essence, weight loss is a function of 3 major factors:

    1. Calories IN
    2. Calories OUT
    3. Your genetic makeup

    There's not too much you can do about your genetic makeup...so we need not ponder over this too much.  Simply put, based on your body type, some people will lose weight faster than others.

    Your calories in and calories out is exactly what you should be concerned about.  If you have been stuck at 84kg for a long period of time, then on average, your calories IN is probably very close (if not equal to) your calories OUT.  This means that the amount of calories that you are consuming is about equal to everything you are burning up through your exercise, incidental activity, basal metabolic rate (BMR) and so on.

    You need to create a caloric deficit (ie. more calories OUT than IN) in order to continue your weight loss.  This can be achieved through a number of solutions...and here are a handful of suggestions:

    • Increase the pace of your walk, thus burning more calories
    • Increase the intensity of your workouts (heavier weights, pedalling faster etc.)
    • Consider focussing on compound exercises that require more energy due to more muscle groups being worked
    • Increase the duration of your workouts
    • Reduce the amount of calories you consume in a day
    • Consume more meals throughout the day (but not more calories)

    Of course, you should always discuss your exercise program with your GP before commencing or modifying it.

    As you can see, there are a number of ways to modify your approach to weight loss in order to stimulate further changes.  If you would like specific support on this matter, please check out the personal training services that I have to offer to see if I can be of assistance to you.  All the best!

  • Can you lose weight by running or walking on a treadmill?

    A very common misconception is that you will automatically lose weight by undertaking a specific form of exercise. In this case, using the treadmill to walk or run. Based on your question, it is impossible to provide you with a simple yes or no answer. I'll explain why.

    Losing weight is a function of the number of calories you take in (through food) and the number of calories you expend (through incidental activity, exercise, metabolism etc.).

    The general rule of thumb is that, medical conditions aside, if your CALORIES IN is greater than your CALORIES OUT then you will gain weight. If they are equivalent, your weight will not change. If your CALORIES OUT is greater than your CALORIES IN, you will lose weight. It is important to note that we are not considering fluid weight here (which is highly variable depending on numerous factors) - only fat and muscle weight.

    So, by exercising on the treadmill, you will be increasing your CALORIES OUT. A 30 minute run will expend far more calories than a 30 minute walk. Ultimately it comes down to many factors such as your level of fitness, what you enjoy, how much weight you wish to lose, your lifestyle, your other goals, your nutrition and so on.

    Alternatively you can consider also reducing your CALORIES IN by adjusting your eating habits accordingly. Replacing calorie rich foods with lower calorie foods can aid in providing a caloric deficit. That said, exercise plays an extremely important role in your health and wellbeing and should always be considered. More information on the benefits of exercise is at:


  • Does green tea help to lose weight?

    There have been a handful of scientific studies to suggest that green tea can assist in boosting your metabolism and therefore lose weight. Due to the limited research, it is not possible to draw any firm conclusions as to how effective green tea can be regarding weight loss. However, the results that have been produced are negligible relative to what can be achieved through an appropriate diet and exercise regime.
    For this reason, before ever considering a supplement to lose weight, your diet and exercise routine needs to be considered first and foremost. The goal is to create a caloric deficit (ie. so you are expending more calories than what you consume). Once you have a solid foundation laid down, you can then build upon this by considering some supplements to enhance your results.

    We do have green tea extract available to purchase in our store if you would like to try this supplement to assist with weight loss.  Green tea is rich in antioxidants which also promote good health and general wellbeing.
    As a general rule of thumb, always be sceptical when it comes to supplements. The marketing laws that are out there are not very tight - a company can simply quote the results of an inaccurate study and claim that this is proof of outstanding results. The one tried and tested method is through a sound nutritional and exercise approach.  Supplements may enhance these fundamental basics.
    I highly recommend that you educate yourself on this topic further by going through the following course at:
     Hope this helps!

  • How do I lose weight? I want to lose the excess fat but I love my food!

    Weight loss and weight gain is often misunderstood. It essentially comes down to the following:

    Food is your primary source of CALORIES IN.
    Exercise, incidental activity, bodily functions are your primary sources on CALORIES OUT.

    If your CALORIES OUT is greater than your CALORIES IN, you will lose weight. Conversely, if your CALORIES IN is greater than your CALORIES OUT, you will gain weight.

    This is true for the general population. Of course, in exceptional circumstances (eg. those with a particular medical condition), this may not always be the case.

    So essentially if you are seeking to lose weight in the form of fat, you need to either decrease your CALORIES IN or increase your CALORIES OUT.

    A decrease in the CALORIES IN could come from a reduction in the portion sizes of your meals. Try eliminating calorie rich foods such as breads, sweets, oils, fruit drinks and so on. Try replacing these with low calorie foods such as salads, vegetables and fruits. In order to promote a healthy lifestyle, you also need to ensure that you are having adequate protein intake (meat, dairy, eggs, fish, soy etc.) and carbohydrate intake (grains, dairy, fruit). Also a little fat in your diet - some good sources are from nuts, avocado, LSA mix or flaxseed oil.

    Meanwhile you can increase your CALORIES OUT by increasing the amount of exercise you perform. It doesn't have to be running on a treadmill for an hour each day (particularly if you don't enjoy this!). Try jogging outside, going for walks, joining a gym, participating in a sport club, playing golf, undertaking more physical leisure activities on the weekend and so on. You need to find something that you really enjoy in order to stick to it in the long term.

    Finally, incidental activity is also a great way to increase your caloric expenditure. Park further away so you have to walk a little more. Rather than driving up the street, walk up the street - even take the scenic route. Do a little more walking when you go shopping. Take one shopping bag in at a time - not all of them at once. All these little tweaks can significantly increase your CALORIES OUT and thus increase the amount of weight lost.

    On my website I have a whole array of tools that you may find helpful. To begin with, we have a huge nutritional database of foods so you can see how dense in calories foods are compared to others:


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