Lifestyle Change, Not "Diet", Changed My Life

by Nick L
(Cincinnati, OH)

I want to start this by saying that I am currently a 180lb 6'3" Male, mid-20's, with a body-fat percentage of 6.8%, resting HR of 70BPM, resting BP of 128/74, and serum cholesterol of 113 (almost too low!)

The following is a combination of advice, tips, tricks, and ideas to help you get the most out of your current health and/or fitness regimen. I am not a trainer, and while my Significant Other is a Nutritionist, I am not (I'm a Biochemical Engineer and Psychopharmacologist).

I am not writing this to paint any kind of picture other than the truth, and that is basically that THIS IS HARD TO DO, AND YOU MUST BE COMMITTED TO CHANGING YOURSELF OR YOU WILL FAIL!

It's absolutely worth the end results, especially because there really aren't "end" results, there are "continuing" results.

------ Changes ARE Good

I can speak from experience when I say that gaining muscle while losing fat simultaneously is not impossible, and not even all that difficult, especially if you are already committed to working out and you are eating in a healthy way.

While the process itself is more complex than what I am going to write here, I will break it down as simply as I can.

Essentially, one needs to change their exercise routine so that the biggest muscle groups are the ones that receive the most focus, so any exercise that targets multiple muscles is ideal, while single-muscle exercises are far less helpful, although they can be incorporated into the end of a workout if you so choose.

Squats are great, should be in every single person's routine, and will be the basis of all examples I mention.

The reason for this is that exercises, squats in particular, that use multiple groups of large muscles cause an increase in endogenous production of Human Growth Hormone, as well as almost all androgens.

Women might be thinking "Why would I want that?", and the answer is simple: androgens work to build muscle anabolically, leading to fat being "burned". HGH has more benefits than I can list here.

------ It's Not a Diet, It's a Lifestyle

You should not be looking at your food as a means to an end, rather you should realize that every calorie that goes into your body must come out some way, and that calories vary greatly in quality.

My opinion is that if you are eating healthy, and doing so in the proper way and most importantly a sustainable way, you shouldn't "need a cheat day".

If your goal is to put on muscle mass while losing body fat, the simplest way is simply a ketosis diet, in which your intake of calories is so low (<15kcal/day) that your liver begins a process called gluconeogenesis which is essentially taking body fat and converting it into a form of glucose that your body and brain can use for energy, and does so without causing any muscular wasting.

While it is beneficial in the beginning (and the basis of many diets) it is a very difficult balance to maintain and if your carbohydrate intake is TOO low your blood pH can become dangerous, while if it's too high then it will stop working.

While it works and I can say that from experience it is doable, it's not the healthiest way, nor is it anything other than a temporary diet.

------ My Personal Lifestyle Change

The key, based on my experience, friends' experiences, and significant research, is to find a way to eat healthy that you can maintain indefinitely, and to enjoy what you're eating! If a food is not satisfying, aka low in satiety, you'll still be hungry.

That's not what you want.

My best results have come from a combination of a rather typical High-Protein diet and a Low Glycemic Index/Low Glycemic Load diet. If you're unfamiliar with low-GI/low-GL, look on Wikipedia or another unbiased reference site.

Here are the basics:

- Eat around 50% protein, 30% carbohydrates, 20% fats
- All carbohydrates should be low-GI/GL, such as 100% Whole-Grain Breads, most Vegetables, etc
- When picking between two similar items, ALWAYS pick the one that is 100% whole-grain and has the highest fiber/lowest sugar content
- Eat AT LEAST 30g of fiber daily, it's okay if some comes from supplementation but at least 2/3 should be from foods (35-40g/day even better)
- Protein should ideally come from (organic) fish, chicken, and low-fat sources
- Eggs, soy, and plant-based proteins should account for ~25% of your daily intake
- Quinoa and Greek Yogurt = power-foods!
- Breakfast of Greek Yogurt and Oatmeal made with organic Soy Milk and cinnamon will give you ~22-30g/protein, 6-10g/fiber, 30-40g/whole grains, and 95% complex carbs. The result: very low-GI/GL breakfast, full for hours, lowered blood sugar, improved insulin response for 8+hrs!


- Cut out ALL processed sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, white breads, white rice, soda, etc.
- No alcohol, as it undergoes preferential metabolism, making other foods wait to be digested, which increases the GI/GL significantly
- Regular potatoes and other high-starch foods should be avoided, starch is extremely high-GI
- Fats should be "good fats" (no hydrogenated, etc)
- Flavor foods with spices, not just salt; fresh basil, oregano, and fresh-ground black pepper, with 1/4tsp of salt (sea salt ideally), add much more flavor to a meal than just adding salt. Cutting sodium intake down to under 1g/day will have noticeable benefits on its own, including less bloating, less water weight, more energy, and clearer skin (not to mention lower blood pressure and decreased risk of heart disease!)
- ONLY DRINK WATER!!! Coffee and tea, especially green tea although others are good too, are okay and even can be beneficial, as caffeine can help with the mind and to decrease appetite, coffee has a number of antioxidants, and green tea's EGCG alone provides a number of benefits (notably antioxidative and weight-loss; some research studies have shown it to specifically target stomach-fat!), and there are plenty of other chemicals in Green Tea that are beneficial.

------ Wrap-Up

There are plenty more tips, tricks, and advice tidbits, but in the end it all comes down to you. Are you willing to change your life to become a healthier, stronger, slimmer, and sexier you? Or would you rather eat potato chips and sit on your butt all day?

It's an honest question and you MUST be honest with yourself, because there is NO EASY WAY to do any of this.

It's a big change, a big commitment, and it's not something you should do unless you are ready for it, as any failure due to not being ready will only further instill in your mind that you can't be a healthier you.

You don't have to start it all at once, and you shouldn't. Take your time, ease in. Know what works and what doesn't. Succeed!

------ Supplements

I do recommend a number of supplements, all of which I take myself and have found to be beneficial with my current regimen having taken me a number of years to perfect, although it is often tweaked based on my needs.

Some of the most important, IMO, are listed below:

- Whey Protein Powder (100% concentrate/isolate; get the highest amino acid and BCAA amount, per serving, that you can)

- L-Glutamine Powder (should be in the Whey, but research has shown 5g orally results in around 400% higher HGH levels just 1hr later!)

- Fish Oil Capsules ("concentrated" is good, if it's true; the more EPA/DHA PER CAPSULE, the better)

- B-Complex Vitamin (must have Folic Acid/Folate and Biotin; B-Vitamins are water-soluble, so once-daily is good; hard to get many from diet alone)

- Calcium/Magnesium/Vit D (taking all 3 together makes them work in unison, and work better)

- Acetyl-L-Carnitine (helps with cellular metabolism, as well as enhancing cognitive function and preventing decline)

- Alpha-Lipoic-Acid (works in conjunction with ALCAR to boost one-another's effects, can often be found together in one capsule, usually 2:1 ratio ALCAR:ALA; extremely potent anti-oxidant)

- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (helps with fat metabolism)

- Acidophilis/Probiotic (helps digestion, immune function, and much more; no reason you shouldn't, many reasons you should take this)

- 5-HTP (precursor to serotonin, should be taken before bed)

- Melatonin (powerful neurohormone, effective sleep aid, potent antioxidant ~3,000x more powerful than Vitamin C)

- L-Tyrosine (precursor to dopamine, regulates mood, natural energy)

- D,L,-Phenylalanine (precursor to endorphins, helps regulate brain cell metabolism, good for endurance exercise)

- DHEA (neurohormone and androgen precursor, helps with insulin resistance, may help recovery time and healing, immunomodulation effects)

- Vinpocetine (increases cerebral and peripheral blood flow as well as blood oxygenation, significant improvements in short and long term memory, improved endurance)

- Choline (important for both brain and liver health, helps with memory, almost all "nootropic" or "brain-/cognitive-enhancing supplements rely on adequate supplies of this chemical)

- DMAE (increases conversion of choline to acetylcholine, noticeable improvements in short- and long-term memory)

- Piracetam (significant improvements in memory and cognitive abilities, requires adequate supply of choline that is high enough that dietary supplementation of choline is a necessity)

------ The Ending

I hope that helped some, I know it's long and it's certainly longer than I intended so I do apologize for that... If anyone has any questions, comments, or would like to know more, feel free to contact me at: anti flag 1 0 8 0 (@) y a h o o . c o m (no spaces or apostrophes at all; just don't want any spam-bots)

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Lifestyle Change, Not "Diet", Changed My Life

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Sep 17, 2011
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Excellent article!
by: Cindy

Thanks Nick for your contribution. There is a lot of information in your submission that will help alot of people.

Would love to hear some more of the "details" as you call them, of what works for you.

Best regards,
Cindy

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