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Are you burning the calories the machine thinks you are?

By Pandora Williams
Weight Loss & Wellness Coach / Weight Loss Boot Camp Instructor
As someone who used to weight 420 lb. and has won the battle against obesity I can tell you that a large part of that battle has been numerical for me.


At the beginning of my journey, I counted everything. Every calorie I ate, ever calorie I burned. I paid attention to my heart rate, the distance that I covered, the duration of time that I exercised and since the beginning, one of the biggest discrepancies I saw in numbers was in the amount of total calories burned that cardio machines reported.


Today I spent 65 minutes on an elliptical doing a cross country program that varied the resistance from anywhere from level 3 to level 18 during my workout. When I was done, the elliptical reported a total calorie burn of 907 calories. The machine is taking into consideration my age, weight, time, and pace when determining my calorie burn.

The Fitbit Surge on my wrist calculated that same workout at 66 Minutes, 5596 steps, and with an average heart rate of 130BMP during my workout calculated the same workout at 595 calories.
My target heart rate zone as a 38-year-old female is between 93 and 157 beats per minute. So I’m pretty okay with working out at that intensity for 60 minutes. My heart rate is typically in the high 140s during harder parts of my workout and drops as low as 125 during the recovery stages after my intervals.

So the same workout according to the cardio machine burned 312 calories more than my fitness tracker. That is an outstanding 41% difference. We’re not talking about 20 calories here, we’re talking about the same amount of calories as the 6 inch turkey and provolone on wheat with some of the bread scooped out that I’m eating for lunch today.

As a weight loss and wellness coach, I am constantly encouraging my clients to keep food and exercise journals. Studies have proven that those that keep food diaries are 50% more successful in weight loss than those that don’t.

I usually recommend my clients keep a separate exercise journal so that they are tracking numbers that are more relevant to their exercise routine. Mainly we want to insure that we are seeing the progression and that the routine is indeed getting your heart rate into your target heart rate zone.
This also helps insure that there is no confusion when using applications such as MyFitnessPal – where the application will add the calories burned in a day as I am often asked by clients if they should eat those extra calories.

Understanding how we create caloric deficits and what sort of deficits you need to produce at the end of the day is an important part of the weight loss journey. Currently in the fitness industry we recommend that the average person trying to achieve weight loss attempt to create caloric deficits of 500-1000 calories a day through proper nutrition, activity, and exercise.

Basic cardio recommendation for someone trying to lose weight is 60 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity 5 days a week for a grand total of 300 minutes a week.

I teach my clients that something as simple as adding one glass of wine (an average of 123 calories per 5oz serving) per evening without adding exercise and activity that counters it can add up to 3,690 calories a month, a total of 44,280 calories or – 12.6 pounds a year.

If I was tracking calories and activity and depending on a cardio machine to get my caloric burn information and it was off by 300 calories a day on average – that’s an error of 9,000 calories or – 2.5 pounds a month. This could make an awfully big difference in my calculations and expectations if I’m not careful.

This can have a big impact on weight maintenance as well. If I think I am burning 300 extra calories a day than I might eat more thus hindering my weight maintenance by causing unexpected gain.
Everyone is different; each person’s body has a unique base metabolic rate and their metabolism burns differently. Each of us has our own fitness level as well as our own level of cardiovascular endurance. The fitter you become the lower your resting heart rate goes and the harder you have to work to get your heart rate up.

As an example, last Monday in my weight loss boot camp class one of my clients and I wore a fitness tracker that tracked our heart rates and calorie burn during the workout. My calorie burn during the class was close to 250 while hers was nearly 600. Why is she getting so much more out of the workout than I am? Because the workout is a lot harder for her at her fitness level than it is for me at mine and thus, since her body is working harder, she is burning more calories than I am.
So should you trust the calorie burn indicated on your cardio machine as part of your calorie deficit for the day? In my professional opinion, survey says EHH.

Even though the makers of cardio equipment will tell you that they are constantly improving the technology behind the calculations you see on the machines you are likely seeing a 20-40% calculation discrepancy.

While the most accurate way to measure the amount of calories burned during a workout would be to measure oxygen consumption during exercise using a machine that measures ventilation and the carbon dioxide concentration of inhaled and exhaled air to calculate V02 max. These tests can be time-consuming, require appointments and can be costly. Fitness professionals are trained to be able to estimate V02 Max in a field setting using a 1.5 mile run, 12 minute run or 1 mile walk test.

If you don’t have access to these tests or a personal trainer and calculating your calories burned against your calories in is important to you I’d recommend investing in a reliable heart rate monitor or activity monitor that has a heart rate monitor built into it to get a more accurate number and insure that your time and calorie expenditure journaling effort is as helpful to your overall goals as it can be.


Why That Fitness Challenge Might Be A Bad Idea

By Pandora Williams
Weight Loss & Wellness Coach / Weight Loss Boot Camp Instructor

How many times have you seen a Facebook post asking you to participate in some sort of physical challenge? Perhaps it was a plank a day, or a squat a day, or the thirty days of lunges challenge. How many times did you think about it and then decide that you couldn’t do the unimaginably large number of repetitions required each day in order to complete the challenge?

You probably made a good decision and let me tell you why…

Challenges are great. When they are designed correctly. We  have a weight loss and fitness challenge at Wilmington Lady Fitness and I am very proud of the positive long term behavior changes we see as a result. Challenges are fun. They increase awareness and open the doors to education by teaching people important exercises and making them more health conscious.

But not all challenges are created equal and some challenges can be counterproductive to your health goals. I’m not a fan of exercise specific physical challenges. I believe they pose some risks that just aren’t worth the benefit for the average individual.

Challenges encourage numbers and not technique. As a professional fitness leader I can tell you that when we coach and cue an exercise we are looking for muscle fatigue and only pushing the muscle to the point of fatigue and perhaps just a smidgen beyond it.

Fatigue is an important thing to understand and recognize when you are doing weight and resistance based exercise. Once your musculoskeletal system fatigues out, your nervous system follows and when fatigue takes over your form suffers as a result. You can’t hold your original position any longer so you have to move and compromised some where in your body to allow you to keep going. You’re able to continue what you are doing, but you are doing it with improper form now.

Basically, whatever bio-mechanical change you just made to allow you to keep preforming that exercise is being encouraged and strengthened by continuing to preform this misaligned movement. We’ve hit a point of demolishing return. Preforming more of the exercise is no longer beneficial because it decreases form and technique hence, proper body bio-mechanics.

Let’s talk about why we exercise for a moment…

We exercise in order to increase our physical endurance, to allow us to preform daily tasks without experience fatigue and discomfort. We exercise so that when we have time off, we’re able to do the things that we want to do. We exercise so that if an emergency happens, we’re physically capable of dealing with it. We exercise to increase our general health.

So what you have to ask yourself is, does my lifestyle require this type of long duration long repetitions of this particular exercise?

If you have a situation where it does, then the challenge your are considering might be a great additive to your fitness routine. If not, then you would likely benefit more from an exercise routine that did accentuate your lifestyle and goals and not propose the risk of damaging your form, technique and proper body bio-mechanics.

Let’s use the recent 30 day squat challenge as an example for a moment.

30-day-squat-challengeSquats are a great exercise. They are very important to functionality and fitness. They strengthen your quads and glutes. Whether you decide to do a squat challenge or not, you should be doing squats on a regular basis when you exercise.

But there are very few situations in which I would throw someone who is just starting out with squats into the 30 day squat challenge that has recently surfaced on the internet.

Here’s something to consider. The most common errors you see during resistance training are, improper form in order to lift more weight, using momentum to complete and exercise, doing the exercise too quickly, and not maintaining a neutral spine. How many of these errors do you think you would make after let’s say 100 continuous squats.


Let’s try something. Stand up for a minute and let’s try and do a squat.

  • fitness-levelPlace your feet just a over shoulder width apart.
  • Make sure your toes are facing out just slightly.
  • Now stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, push your chest forward. This is easily achieved by putting your hands on the back of your head and pulling your elbows back.
  • Tilt your hips so that the top of your booty rolls upwards towards your back.
  • Keep your back in a neutral position and keep your knees over the center of your feet.
  • Take a deep breath and then exhale as you slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles lowering your body as much as you can and trying to achieve a 90 degree angle.
  • Keeping your weight balanced on your heels and pushing from the heel in an upward thrust, lift your body at the same pace that you lowered it and return to your start position.

Alright you just did one squat. Are you SURE you did it correctly? If you are, are you sure you could do it correctly twelve times? Twenty five times? Fifty? One Hundred? Are you positive that you do the squat so well there is absolutely no need at all for any modifications?

Your body mechanics in doing a squat largely determines how a coach modifies an exercise for you. With someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with squats I might start using a stability ball, bench or chair. This will help build some minimal leg strength.  For others I might using a squat assist machine to help them learn the proper form. For more advanced squatters I might put weights in their hands or add a compound movement with their squats like bicep curls or front raises.

I would never throw a client into the number of repetitions that a challenge like the 30 day squat challenges suggests. I usually start with one to two sets of eight to twelve repetitions and then, based on each clients performance and how quickly their body adapts to the exercise and how quickly their form and technique improves, begin to progress the exercise to their needs.

Go back and follow the directions for the correctly preformed squat again. Now consider all the modifications that I just described might be needed with different clients and different fitness levels and ask yourself is your squat is so perfect that it needs no modification and if your form and endurance is so good that you can confidently do fifty squats on your first day. Because if you can’t do fifty squats perfectly on day one why would you even considering progressing to more the next day?

I had a couple of clients a few months ago that performed two hundred and fifty stability ball assisted wall squats with correct form over the course of our workout. They were done in sets of twenty-four squats at a time and spaced out throughout our forty give minute workout. That’s not a feat I would throw at someone that hadn’t been training with me for quite sometime or someone that only had a couple of weeks experience at doing the exercise. One of them had been working with me for seven months and the other for about five.

Let me tell you one of the general and most fundamental rules of strength training exercise…

Never work the same muscle group two days in a row. When we build muscle we stress muscle. So when we exercise to the point of muscle fatigue we created little microfiber tears in our muscles. When they heal, they heal bigger and stronger. But they need rest to heal. You can’t just tear them day in and day out.

Avid exercisers and those that have experience with strength training will tell you that if you workout five to seven days a week you  do it on an exercise program that targets different muscle groups each day.  If you are working out three to four times a week you’re usually performing a total body workout each day or following a pattern of upper body, lower body, total body, core.

You’ll get much better physical and weight loss oriented success if you do four sets of twelve repetitions of the version of the squat that you can physically maintain proper form and technique on and then move on to increasing your skill in a different exercise that uses the same muscle group differently like a lunge. If you are working out at home and want to add a little cardio, throw some modified jumping jacks or some jump rope in between the sets to get your heart rate up and burn extra calories during your workout.

The big questions you should be asking yourself before you take on a new fitness routines are…

  • Does it help me achieve a personal goal I am working on?
  • Will it help improve some aspect of my lifestyle?
  • Does it follow the basic rules of strength and resistance ( or cardiovascular ) training?
  • Is it something that I can maintain? Is it realistic to my fitness level?
  • Is it safe and do the benefits outweigh the risks involved?
  • Is it going to be fun?

If any of your answers are no, you might want to reconsider the change you are about to make and consult with a fitness professional to get assistance developing an exercise routine that will better suit your needs.

When clients ask me if I think they should do a 30 day squat challenge or a plank a day challenge I tell them that unless their goal is to finish a physical challenge that proposes higher risk of injury than necessary to achieve results, encourages improper form and technique, and is over in thirty days leaving them to figure out what part of their body they are going to over-train next, a total body work out plan would probably be a much better option.

I did a 30 day burpee challenge once at the request of a family member that was asking for moral support and participation. The only thing it did was make me grown at  the mention of burpees for years to come.


January Fitness Tips

from Wilmington Lady Fitness Personal Training Department


Fitness Foods

Whey Smoothie

These foods help build and restore hard-working muscles as well as promote weight loss.

1.    Whey Protein – Whey protein  is one of the best for muscle  repair and is high in the amino acid L-Glutamine, which is great for your immune system. Studies have shown whey improved muscle protein synthesis and weight loss compared to other proteins, has cancer fighting properties and even reduces blood pressure when elevated.

2.    Sweet Potatoes – Even though sweet, the sweet potatoes sugars are slowly digested. The sweet potato is a good source for vitamin B6, vitamin C and are rich in carotenoids such as beta carotene. And don’t forget fiber!

3.    Egg/Egg Whites – Eggs are another great source of protein and are a good source of potassium, vitamin A and B vitamins biotin, choline and folic acid. You can use eggs for  vegetable omelets and quiches for great low carb meals.

4.    Strawberries – They have a high water content as well as vitamin C and other health promoting antioxidants. Blend frozen strawberries with your whey protein for a great smoothie meal.

5.    Chia Seeds – These seeds are among the highest plant-based sources for Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s have been shown to reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol. Chia seeds are also a great source of fiber, minerals and antioxidants.


Beat Back Pain Foam roll


Back pain will affect up to 90% of the population at some point in life. Beat the odds with these tips.

1.    Use a foam roller before exercise. Foam rolling helps stretch and expand fascia tissue that encapsulates our muscles. Use the rollers to work the glutes, middle back and IT band to improve your body’s range of motion. Tight glutes can restrict motion at the hip joint leading you to rely on the lower back.

2.    Ice after intense activities. Ice constricts the capillaries as well as has a numbing effect on the nerves for pain reduction. Activity and heat, pump fluids into tissues, it is important to reduce this swelling effect with ice, especially after heavy activities, long work days and hard workouts.

3.    Strengthen your Glutes & Thighs. Most people have weak legs, hips and knees that prolong and exacerbate back pain. Mechanically, if your range of motion is reduced in your hips and knees then the remaining workloads must be picked up by the back. Ouch!

4.    Condition your Hip Flexors. Tight and weak hip flexors pull the pelvic bone out of proper alignment leading to  additional spinal compression.

5.    Stretch and Cool Down after exercise. Taking 10-15 minutes after your workout to open up the hip joint through light cardio, stretching and foam rolling will improve circulation and expedite muscle regeneration. Not cooling down allows the byproducts and toxins associated with a hard workout are left to sit in the muscles leading to stiffness and soreness. And don’t forget the ice later!


Tummy Flattening 101 Ab Plank

Try these tips to help pull in your midsection.

1.     Hold good posture when exercising. You must think of your workouts as “good posture” rehearsal. Keep your chin up and shoulders back when performing all exercises in your routine, especially the ones while sitting. When your posture is good you will feel your tummy muscles pull in. This is true “CORE” training.

2.     Floor Abdominal Planks. This exercise is the fundamental exercise to teach you how to engage your pelvic floor muscles and the transverse abdominal. Align your body into the perfect posture and exhale through pursed lips while concentrating on pulling up and in. Once you have this down add more intense variations.

3.     Alternating Lying Leg Scissors. Position your body supine with both legs completely straight, one up and one down. On the side with your leg down contract your glute muscle while your foot is only 3-6 inches from ground. Remember to hold your best posture and breathe such as in a plank. Perform this exercise slowly concentrating on alignment and the muscle contractions. Hold each side for 5 seconds.

4.     Cardio Interval Training. Fat metabolism is elicited through anabolic hormones released from the muscles during intense exercise. Anabolic hormones promote the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue(fat) and the strengthen of skeletal muscles. Intense  sets of cardio will only allow you sustain muscle contractions for 20 -40 seconds before having to reduce intensity substantially.

5.     Change your diet. A flat tummy is made in the kitchen! Increase your consumption of quality protein and reduce refined starches, minimize alcohol and eat your veggies daily. Start with the list of fitness foods above.


If you have questions regarding any of the above information or other fitness programming questions, contact our Personal Training Department through the request form on the right sidebar. Or call 910-392-3339, email



Metabolic (Fat Burning) Workouts for ALL Fitness Levels

So many people approach weight loss the hard way.

The weight loss equation is fairly simplistic, consume the right amount of nutrients (calories) for the right amount of calories you burn (activity/exercise). Of course, the goal is not to balance this equation, but to tip it toward a daily caloric deficit by burning more than you consume.

Whatever you do, do not try to out burn a poor diet. It doesn’t work. If it does, it is short-lived by an excessive workout regimen that cannot be handled for long-term.

Barring your diet is OK, let’s discuss the optimal calorie and fat burning exercise.

Contrary to the mainstream belief, long duration workouts to burn the calories required for your daily deficit rarely works for very long because of the time commitment and more importantly the lack of metabolic improvements. The term metabolic refers to the effect of your exercise session has on the your body’s caloric consumption after the workout session is over.

Low to moderate walking, jogging, biking or any other traditional form of aerobic exercise has little to no effect on the metabolism. Again, the only way these exercses burn more calories is with longer workout sessions.

Resistance Training Circuits Can Increase Your Metabolic “After Burn”.

Studies show that your body accelerates the use of FAT as a primary energy substrate for up to 24 hours after a high intensity workout. That means you  turn your body’s metabolism on for hours long after you have left the gym.

Unfortunately, many people misunderstand the principles and concepts needed to benefit from the training involved.

Here are some key points to achieve a Metabolic After Burn:

  • Short sets of exercise to momentary muscular failure. Basically, not stopping the exercise until you can do no more. The sets should last from (20-45 seconds).
  • Exercises that use large muscle groups or a combination of muscle groups only work. Lower body, non sitting works best.
  • Minimal rest periods and mix up your movements.

Resistance Training Circuits

A circuit is a series of exercises performed in order with minimal rest periods. Brief rest periods are placed to recuperate between repeats of the circuit.

Resistance training using free weights, medicine balls and kettlebells works the best. The goal is to integrate functional movements that strengthen all the major muscle groups. Isolation exercise designed to tone small muscles are to be left out unless accompanied by a large muscle group exercise that demands lots of energy, for example an Arm Curl combined with a Lunge.

All fitness levels and ability can perform resistance training circuits with the use of modifications and intensification. In my video I discuss options that a senior and/or someone with a minimal fitness ability can incorporate as well as the advanced exerciser.

When I’m training clients with many different fitness ability levels I change just a few parameters such as the exercise complexity, the rest periods, the load/weight and the number of circuits performed. Again the basic principles discussed above apply to everyone no matter their fitness level with the only exception of extreme medical conditions and disease.

Please watch the video on Metabolic Resistance Training Circuits in our video page for an example.


If you need help with designing a circuit, I offer a Free Personal Training Consultation that you can register for here to right of the this page or by clicking HERE.


Brian Autry





Fix Your Posture and Get Better Results

Origin of Postural Problems

Rounded shoulders? Neck and middle back aches? Knee, shin, foot and hip injuries?

Most, if not all, of these conditions are related to poor posture and muscle-skeletal imbalances. Posture related injuries and body pain tend to start with one or a combination of conditions that result in tight muscles and inflammation.

1. Repetitive Motion – causes the shortening or strengthen of the muscles that are highly involved in a particular activity, leaving the bones of the joints to be pulled out of alignment.

2. Repetitive Non-Motion – causes the shortening or weakening of the muscles that are constantly not activated due to low usage.

3. Previous Injuries – injuries that cause a deformity in the muscle, ligaments or bones affects the physical structure of the joint area or leads to muscle and gait compensations.

All three of the above conditions lead to changes in how we move and conduct our daily activities. Due to the repetitive nature of our lifestyles we find muscles that are too weak, some that are too strong (also tight) and compensatory movement patterns that eventually limit the mobility of our bodies.

Our body has lost the ability to activate its own muscles.

Try this now.

Sit, round forward in a “slumping” position. Now, pull in your stomach.

Next, sit upright with your shoulders pulled back and chest out (good posture). Now pull your stomach in. It should be easier and flatter, making your waist smaller!

What you have just discovered is that your back muscles and your upper body posture affects your belly and core muscle of the waist. Abdominal crunching will never flatten your stomach  because this exercise pulls the body into forward flexion that further exacerbates the postural condition.

Your legs, butt and arms are all affected by poor posture. In many people, their posture has hindered the contraction of these muscle areas for so long that the muscles have weakened and atrophied. Until the posture is improved these muscles will not activate.

 If you are struggling with toning, strengthening and flattening specific areas of your body you first must assess your posture and correct  any muscle imbalances to properly activate these areas.

For a free assessment and consultation complete the free personal training consultation form on this web page or contact me directly at



Boost Your Metabolism for Fast Results

“H.I.I.T.” Your Body and Watch It Change!

High intensity interval training is the most effective way to incinerate fat and boost your metabolism. H.I.I.T. is so powerful it only needs to be done three days a week to be effective.

In fact, any more may over tax your body. The reason H.I.I.T. is so effective for weight loss is that not only will you burn more calories while doing it, your body will continue to burn calories long after you have finished your workout. We’re talking hours later. And the majority of these calories come from FAT! Regular slow motion cardio programs will do nothing for you once you’ve pushed the stop button. Another benefit of using H.I.I.T. is that you will get in unbelievable cardiovascular shape. Your endurance will sky rocket allowing you to perform better and better at your workouts. That means more and more calories and a faster metabolism awaits you in the future. It’s like a “snowball effect”; you will continue to get fitter and fitter as your program continues.

Here’s the low down on H.I.I.T.

Basically H.I.I.T. is where you push your intensity to your maximum level. H.I.I.T. uses a scale of 1 to 10 to identify your intensity level or how hard you are working. Where 1 =no effort, like laying on the couch and 10= MAX, the point at which you cannot sustain this effort for any significant amount of time. Notice that you are briefly at a level 10. Your objective is to reach complete failure where you can no longer continue and must recover from your efforts.

Many people use some form of an interval training program to work out, but H.I.I.T. is different in that you are trying to push your body to maximum capacity. Every new set of intervals you give 100% of yourself. Over time the amount of work you achieve during your workouts will be greater and greater. Greater workloads will pay out to be more fat burned and a faster metabolism.

Week after week you will notice your body and your fitness level change.

Traditional workouts base their caloric burning on duration. The longer you workout the more calories you burn. If you don’t mind waiting on your results take this path. If you want fast results choose H.I.I.T. On the H.I.I.T. program you are going to amplify your effort each workout while saving time and getting in the best shape of your life!

H.I.I.T. vs. Traditional “Steady State” Cardio

High Intensity Interval Training

  • Takes 15-30 minutes to complete
  • Speeds up your metabolism.
  • Greatly improves aerobic capacity.
  • Strengthens and tones your muscles.
  • Fun and challenging.
  • Releases a high level of endorphins. (The chemicals that make you feel good and give you energy after you workout.)

Traditional “Steady State” Cardio

  • Takes 60-90 minutes to be effective.
  • Metabolism is the same that you started with.
  • Moderate improvements in aerobic capacity.
  • Some toning.
  • Grab a book!
  • Small endorphin release if any.


Exercise: You’re Weapon That Burns Fat and Sculpts Your Body

How Exercise Works to Burn Fat

First of all, exercise is the only way to burn any significant amount of body fat. Very little body fat is burned as a result of dietary changes. Exercise is about requiring your body to use more energy.

Calories are energy. Calories used for energy mainly come from sugar (carbohydrates) and fat. Actually, fat is the preferred energy source of the body. Even at rest our bodies are primarily using fat as energy. Unfortunately, just not enough compared to our energy intake through food. This is why we need to ramp up our daily calorie burn with a workout. We can only drop our calorie level through our diet by a small calorie deficit which eventually will slow our metabolisms (your body’s natural calorie using processes). Think of a bear hibernating, their body shuts down when they don’t eat for long periods of time to conserve energy. Don’t get me wrong, most people’s diets are so messed up that they limit their results no matter how much exercise they do. I’m saying exercise alone is the only way for you to accelerate your body’s fat burning potential. Most diets drop weight from water, muscle glycogen and sodium deprivation.

Why Most People See Little Results from Their Exercise

Exercise can’t be done any old way if you want to experience life changing, big time results in a short period of time. Don’t believe anyone (including your doctor) that tells you needs to walk to lose weight. You will have to spend hours a day and be willing to wait a long time to see results from meandering around the block of your neighborhood every night.

There are three secrets to burning fat and losing weight that everyone must know.

For a successful body makeover you must…

  • Burn tons of calories
  • Speed up your metabolism
  • Reduce the negative effects of high the stress hormone cortisol

Low intensity, boring hours of treadmill walking will never produce these three vital components. Thus will never change your body significantly. You need exercises done in a way that stimulants your body to burn calories when you’re not exercising. Does it make sense to exercise for hours and hours to burn enough calories to lose a pound of fat? A pound of fat is equal 3500 calories! That’s roughly 10 hours of walking at 4 mph’s. And don’t turn yourself into Ms. Cardio Queen with hours of cardio everyday because this is the fastest way to slow your metabolism down. Too much cardiovascular exercise will severely deplete your muscles and increase the release of cortisol, a hormone that promotes fat storage and muscle wasting. When done, cardio should never be performed at more than 60 minutes. And most of the time much less can accomplish your goal.


The Top 7 Components of a Perfect Body Makeover Diet Plan

1. Power of Protein

Turkey & Chicken Breast, Fish, Lean Cuts of Beef, Egg/Egg Whites are all sources that are considered protein foods. These foods supply the body with amino acids to build and repair muscles. In addition, protein has a thermogenic effect on the body, meaning the body’s metabolism is elevated by the digestion of high protein foods. Best of all, excess protein in the body is processed by the kidneys and excreted by the body as waste – NOT STORED!

Your diet should include plenty of protein foods, every meal if possible. Just make sure they are low/non fat sources because fat is stored by the body in excess. AS FAT.

2. The Magic of Vegetables

Everyone knows vegetables are good for them. Right? Do you know why? Vegetables primarily consist of fiber and water. Plus they are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Fiber has no caloric costs, provides bulk and appetite control. Some of the best sources are broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, brussel sprouts, celery, carrots and leafy greens.

Your diet should consist of 3 meals containing vegetables a day. Just by consuming ample quantities of vegetables daily you will regulate your digestive system more efficiently which includes balancing your body’s water. In addition, you will naturally eat fewer calories and remove excess fat waiting to be absorbed by your body’s large intestine. A WIN, WIN for Losing Weight!

3. Limited Refined/Processed Starches

Starches include potatoes (red, russet, sweet, new etc.), rices, grains and lentils/beans. Starches also known as complex carbohydrates are needed to provide energy to the body, mostly the muscles. Starches need to be included in the diet in precise quantities. You will only need enough of these carbohydrates to fuel your workout program.

One, possibly two servings a day is recommended. Ideally you should bracket your workouts with carbs, pre and post workout meals. (SPECIAL NOTE: CARBOHYDRATES NOT BURNED ARE STORED BY THE BODY = FAT)

Refined starches should be almost completely avoided. Refined starches include cereals, pastas, breads, cookies, chips and crackers. The primary reasons to avoid many of these foods are because of their ability to be digested quickly and their impact on your blood sugar levels. Easily digested carbohydrates breakdown to sugar quickly by the body and cause an abundance of glucose (another name for the sugar in the blood stream) for which the body must immediately use or store. High blood sugar levels cause the release of insulin, a fat storage hormone. A diet that is chronic in processed carbohydrates eventually will wear down the organ that produces insulin leading to a disease called DIABETES.

4. Portion Controlled Meals

Most people simply eat too many calories (energy supplied by foods). A few extra calories everyday may lead to significant weight gained every year. One pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. The goal of our fat burning formula is to create a caloric deficit through increasing your body’s metabolism, activity and a reduced calorie diet. Only a small calorie reduction through the diet is necessary. Using the protein and vegetable guidelines that we previously discussed will typically produce the required caloric reduction.

Most meals include hidden calories that must be considered. Condiments and cooking preparations can add hundreds of empty calories that have little to no nutritional value. Salad dressings, buttery spreads and sandwich condiments are common culprits. Cooking oils, frying and unseen glazing are sources for additional calories that are in restaurant food.

5. Perfect Planning

“Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.” There are few food saints in this world. I know some people look like they are, but few actually are. Never go hungry and plan ahead in case you do become hungry. Your body has a hormonal response to prevent starvation. It goes back to your carbohydrate intake and blood sugar levels. The body has a unique understanding of how to identify foods that will elevate your sugar levels quickly once they drop below exceptable levels. Those refined/processed starches and sugars that we want to eliminate are foods your food will crave because they digest quickly. Chips, crackers, cookies, candy and sweetened drinks are typical afternoon pick me up choices for low blood sugar. Cereals, breads, potatoes (French fries) and pastas are more common in the dinner hours or late evening binges.

The best way to manage binging and poor choices is a well laid diet action plan. Your goal again is to never go hungry. This plan will control appetite, stabilize blood sugar and prevent the release of fat storage hormones.

Here is the plan.

Breakfast (7am) Protein, Starch
Mid Meal (10am) Protein/Fruit
Lunch (1pm) Protein, Vegetable, Starch
Mid Meal (4pm) Protein/Vegetables or Healthy Fats (Dry nuts and seeds)
Dinner (7pm) Protein, Vegetable

The key to this action plan is the consistent meal timing, high protein and moderate starch consumption. The actual meal times are arbitrary. You will need to adjust the times based on your work, family or school schedules.

Key action steps for your diet:

  • It is important to eat every 3-4 hours throughout the day. Sometimes it may be necessary to get up earlier or eat later to fit your meals into the day. Remember, your lifestyle has given you your current body. Change your lifestyle for the next 90 days and get your new body in the end!
  • Stick to your schedule every day. No “free” days.
  • Protein should be included in every meal. The only exception would be one mid meal that includes nuts, seeds or vegetables. It’s still best to include protein.
  • Include vegetables in at least 2 meals, optimally 3-4 meals. Iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots and a couple diced tomatoes for a salad is not really the best. You will need more fiber and bulk; broccoli, cauliflower etc. Vegetables as a sandwich topping doesn’t count either.
  • Eat whole foods. No microwave dinners or other boxed meals. Shop from the butcher and produce departments. Pasta, cereals and energy/protein bars are not whole foods. Some may include “whole grains” but they still aren’t whole foods like an apple.
  • No skipping meals.
  • Create caloric equivalent meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mid meals will be roughly half the volume. You will need to buy a food counts book or go online to find the caloric costs of food. You will only need to weigh and measure a few times to become familiar with your portion sizes.

6. Consistency in Everything

Stop go, stop go doesn’t work. Most people never give their body a chance to change. If you’re like many, in the past you probably dieted a few days and stepped on the scale expecting to see your results. If you saw the scale stay the same or not drop as quickly as you expected you would make a drastic change. Many times those seeking weight loss will severely reduce their calorie intake, ramp up their exercise time or just plain give up. You’ve got to give your body a chance to change. Yes, sometimes you need to make big changes, but more often than not many people are making some good progress and fail to realize their successes.

Of course consistency means being a 100% dedicated every meal and every workout. Weekends aren’t any different from Monday or Tuesday. Every day is an opportunity to move closer to your goal. Don’t let Friday and Saturday nights hold you from your goals.

7. Watch the Little Things That Sabotage Your Well Laid Plans

A bite here, a missed meal there. 100 % consistency for as long as possible. No straying for a day or even a meal. Life will get in the way, just don’t let happen a little here and there because those here and there’s add up over time. You really need to give your body a chance to make a change.

It all goes back to planning every meal. Having the food prepared and ready to eat. Many times our lifestyles limit our time. The best way to save time is to cook and prepare ahead of time. Having those perfect meals ready to grab and eat is important. Many successful dieters prepare a week’s worth of food at the beginning of the week or on Sundays so there meals are ready for them to grab before work and take with them. After a long day of work or taking care of the family it is nice to have something ready for you. (See our Custom Fit Meal section online.)

Know yourself and your daily routine. You should never find yourself staring in the fridge thinking there’s nothing to eat. That leads to skipped meals or poor choices. Don’t depend on restaurants to provide the proper nutrition. Unfortunately restaurant foods typically contain hidden fat and excessive sodium. If you want a cheeseburger you can make it at home with half the calories and fat.

Don’t Let SODIUM Destroy All Your Hard Work!

Sodium has been deemed in the medical field as the “silent killer”. Sodium not only is bad for your heart, it’s bad for your waist. When we think of sodium we envision the table salt we add to foods. Soft drinks (diet or regular), canned foods, frozen dinners (even the low fat variety), soups, cereals, condiments, sauces and many other processed foods contain high amounts of sodium. The recommended daily intake of sodium is less than 1200 mg. I recommend that you purchase a food counts book and calculate your daily intake.

Excess sodium not only bloats us with water retention but throws off the chemistry of our body at a cellular level. Cells need to be properly hydrated to function efficiently. Remember, fat burning happens during cellular respiration. Basically fat is utilized to produce energy in the cells of our body tissues, including muscle tissue. Excess sodium has a major impact on the function of this system.


Out With The Old: Food Pyramid Being Retired!


The USDA is now going to use a plate divided into basic food choices, protein, grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy. The change is unlikely to impact public health and still is an abstract idea to many people with little real world application.

Unfortunately many Americans are confused by and manipulated by food product companies marketing. Have you ever seen the movie Idiocracy? The future world is “dumbed down” primarily by the lack of proper nutrition caused by watering our agricultural crops with a sports drink instead of water! WHY? Because the companies said it was good for you AND good for our plants!


  • Don’t make eating healthy any harder.
  • Plan your meals.
  • Eat WHOLE foods.
  • Stay consistent.

Whole foods are:


Apples, Oranges, Bananas, Strawberries etc.
NOT – Orange juice, V8, fruit rollups, apple sauce


Steal Cut/whole Oatmeal, Barley Quinoa
NOT – Boxed cereal of any kind, bread, crackers


Beef, fish, chicken, turkey etc.
NOT – Jerky, Peanut Butter(more fat than protein)


Broccoli, Califlower, peppers etc.
NOT – eggs, cheese, bacon bits, ranch dressing with some iceberg lettuce

Healthy Tips:

  • Learn to cook with whole foods by purchasing a good healthy eating cookbook.
  • Eat whole food snacks between meals.
  • Plan your meals and prepare ahead of time.
  • When dining out, pick meals that are simple. Example: sirloin steak, side of broccoli, salad. (Control your portion )

If you have a busy lifestyle use Custom Fit Meals or go online and study your local restaurant menus to find out their healthiest option.

Look at calories, sodium, fat and eat simple.

In good health,
Brian Autry