Top Level Tips

May 2008

A newsletter with your interests in mind and heart
Welcome.  I hope you find something that you can use in this newsletter, because I have written it for you.  I choose subjects that I feel are valuable to your success, as well as issues that you have specifically asked about.  You may discover answers to things that
you didn't realize you misunderstood, and wouldn't have thought to ask.  So whether this helps you to fine tune an exercise that you may have been doing incorrectly, get an important nutritional tidbit that kick starts your fat loss, a new motivational perspective, or even just a little entertainment, then I've achieved my goal of making this a worthwhile endeavor for all of us.  As always, I am open to your suggestions and questions.  I want to make each edition better than the last, so please contact me with any special requests.
Start here.
Click on the underlined number to go directly to the article:

1.)    Diet Is Not Enough; Why You Need
       Exercise In Order To Lose Fat

10 Quick Tips For Healthy Fat Loss

3.)    Staying Balanced in the "Zone" Diet

4.)    Exercise Of The Month: Single Arm
       Overhead Dumbbell Squat


Little Known Facts About The Core

6.)   How to Sculpt Your Abs on a Full Stomach

7.)   "Disturbing" Fat Loss Results

Contact Information
Read articles in entirety below

1.)   Diet Is Not Enough; Why You Need Exercise In Order To Lose Fat

Increases metabolism:  The belief that exercise is not worth the effort because of the relatively small number of calories used is untrue. For example, walking burns about five calories a minute. Since there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, it would seem that you would have to walk 11 1/2 hours to lose a pound. The truth is that even fairly intense exercise creates an 8-fold increase in your metabolic rate (calorie burning) for hours after the workout. This residual effect, not the exercise itself, presents the greatest benefit for burning calories over the course of the day.

Maintains Muscle: The movement involved with exercise requires you to use your muscles, which causes the necessary physiological changes for muscle to maintain (or even increase) its size and strength. Since every pound of muscle requires 50-100 calories per day to sustain itself, and since fat is burned almost exclusively in your muscles, maintaining your muscle is crucial to losing body fat. Without exercise, you’ll lose muscle and reduce your ability to burn fat. You could lose weight but end up being flabby, a.k.a. "skinny-fat".  When it comes to your muscle, you either "use it or lose it"; and when you have it, it is much easier to avoid gaining excess fat .

Increases Fat-Burning Enzymes: Muscles have very specific enzymes, which burn only fat. Research has shown that people who exercise regularly have far more fat-burning enzymes in their muscles than people who don’t exercise. In other words, exercise causes your body to "beef up" its ability to burn fat more efficiently. This means that the more you use your muscles with exercise, the more fat-burning enzymes your muscles develop to burn more fat.

Changes the Body’s Chemistry: Exercise positively affects a number of hormones in your body, which are related to fat storage such as insulin, adrenaline, and cortisol. Endorphins, small morphine-like chemicals, are secreted with exercise and can also help reduce fat storage, as well as create a feeling of well-being and alleviate stress. Exercise also speeds food transit time through the intestines to complete the digestive cycle, which reduces the chances for digestive disorders and bowel cancer.

In summary . . .
The benefits of exercise go way beyond losing body fat. A fit body responds differently to things than a fat body does. Things like cholesterol, sugar, salt, etc. simply don’t affect someone who’s fit the way they do someone who’s fat. From a health standpoint, exercise positively affects every organ in your body. Exercise also improves your sleeping patterns, energy level, and overall feeling of well being. The more you do, the more you will want to do as the benefits continue to increase and you get the results you’re after. In short, exercise is a must for losing body fat as well as creating a strong healthy body that enables you to enjoy life at its best.

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2.)  10 Quick Tips For Healthy Fat Loss

1.  STAY HYDRATED  The best drink is water. Tea (green) and coffee may be consumed in moderation (but watch what you add). Each day, drink one quart of water for every 50 pounds you weigh. Drink immediately upon rising in the morning before meals.  Sip water during meals. Wait 15 minutes after meals before you drink water again.

2.  GET YOUR REST  Sleep a minimum of seven hours each evening. The healthiest individuals sleep seven and nine hours each evening. Two hours of sleep before midnight is worth four hours of sleep after midnight. Go to bed.

3.  GET YOUR PHYTOCHEMICALS  Promote health at a cellular level with good nutrition.  Consume a minimum of four servings of fruit and four servings of vegetables each day. The following fruits and vegetables are considered more thermogenic (these foods force your body to use more calories/energy to burn them for energy). Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Blueberries, Cherries, Grapes, Peaches, Pears, Raspberries, Strawberries. Vegetables: Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Celery, Lettuce.
4.  REPAIR YOUR CELLS  Your best protein sources are: fatty fish, poultry, eggs, and finally red meats.
Pork and red meat should be limited to once or twice weekly.

5.  PLAN YOUR MEALS  Prepare your food in advance and eat every 3½ hours.  Stay ahead of any and all extreme cravings by having good food at hand.  Don’t under or over-eat, instead focus on supplying your body’s nutritional needs with nutrient-dense foods (not calorie-dense foods) at planned regular intervals.

6.  IF YOU SNACK  Approved snacks are nuts, yogurt, cottage cheese, protein shakes, vegetables, fruits. No vending machine products.
<----"Not this"

7.  HEALTHY SHOPPING  Plan to grocery shop the perimeter of the store. Foods in the isles are more processed and less nutritious. Processed foods also contain dangerous Trans fatty acids.

8.  RECORD AND REVIEW  Use a success journal.  Put pen to paper each day. Write down your experience, feelings and most importantly your successes. This is a good place to state your goals and objectives. Review your detailed goals each day.  Furthermore, tracking what you eat gives you a realistic perspective of the little things that add up.

9.  PHYSICAL ENERGY   Don’t miss a workout. Your body is a product of your lifestyle – smart, progressive exercise integrated into your week promotes a fit and tone body; conversely, a consistently soft lifestyle produces a soft body. Choose your outcome and live your choice.  Be sure to get your rest too because this is very important for regeneration.  Consistency is key.

10. YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM  Mutual energy is contagious.  Surround yourself with those who understand what you're trying to do, and support your plan.   Be wary of good-intentioned friends and family who may tempt you into indulging with them.  Worse yet, watch out for un-motivated people who may want you to fail along with them.

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3.)  Staying Balanced In The "Zone" Diet

People are often surprised and relieved to learn that the Zone (diet) is based on two very simple principles: balance and moderation. You balance your plate at every meal and never eat too many calories at any one time. And all you need to figure out the right serving sizes are your eyes and the palm of your hand.

Start with Protein.  Your body needs a constant supply of protein to replace what’s lost on a daily basis, so every Zone meal starts with an adequate serving of low-fat protein. Without adequate incoming protein, your muscles and your immune system weaken. Protein also stimulates the release of glucagon, a hormone that signals the body to release stored carbohydrates from the liver to maintain adequate blood sugar levels for the brain. Glucagon also acts as a brake on excess insulin. If glucagon levels increase, insulin levels decrease.

When it comes to protein, there are three basic Zone rules:

  • Never consume more protein bigger than the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. For most American females, that translates to three ounces of low-fat protein and for most American males, about four ounces.
  • The protein serving should occupy one-third of your plate. Unless you are extremely active, your body can’t utilize more protein than that at a single sitting.
  • Choose the leanest protein you can find, since you’re likely to add fat to the dish and saturated fat in any diet should be kept to a minimum. Remember that animal protein is not a requirement of the Zone.

You do have to consume adequate protein, but vegetarians can accomplish this by eating egg whites, low-fat dairy products, tofu, or soy meat substitutes.

Best Protein Choices • Skinless chicken breast • Turkey • Fish • Very lean cuts of meat • Egg whites • Low-fat dairy products • Tofu • Soy meat substitutes

Balance with Carbohydrates.   The protein portion of a Zone meal must be balanced with the carbohydrates, but not all carbohydrates are equal in their ability to control insulin levels. Most fruits and vegetables are “favorable” carbohydrates with a low capacity to stimulate insulin, while other vegetables (such as carrots and peas) and grain-based products (i.e., bread, pasta, rice, etc.) are “unfavorable” carbohydrates with a high capacity to stimulate insulin. Since your goal is insulin control, make sure that most of your carbohydrate choices come from the favorable category; unfavorable carbohydrates should be treated as condiments. Therefore, fill the remaining two-thirds of your plate with a lot of vegetables, some fruit, and just a small mix of grains and starches. Here’s a guide to favorable and unfavorable carbohydrates:

Favorable Carbohydrates

  • Most vegetables (except corn, beets, carrots)
  • Most fruits (except bananas and raisins)
  • Selected grains (oatmeal and barley)

Unfavorable Carbohydrates

  • Grains and starches (pasta, bread, bagels, cereals, potatoes, etc.)
  • Selected fruits (such as bananas and dried fruit)
  • Selected vegetables (such as corn, carrots and potatoes) If your current diet is heavy on unfavorable carbohydrates without enough protein, that’s a surefire prescription for elevated insulin, which means you’re getting fatter and less healthy with every meal you eat.

Add a Touch of Fat Once you’ve balanced your plate with lean protein and favorable carbohydrates, it wouldn’t be a complete Zone meal without fat. Remember, it takes fat to burn fat, but not all fats are equal. “Good fats” come in two forms: monounsaturated fats and long-chain omega-3 fats. Monounsaturated fats come from olive oil, certain nuts, and avocados.  Long-chain omega-3 fats come from fish oils.

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4.Exercise Of The Month: Single Arm Overhead Dumbbell Squat

Single Arm Overhead Dumbbell Squat

This might be one of the best "core stability" exercise you can do. It is truly a full-body challenge that develops pillar strength and midline stability. 

Use two dumbbells for this exercise – a heavy one and a lighter one (50-60% of the load of the first dumbbell). Taking a shoulder-width stance, hold the heavier dumbbell in your left hand by your side, and the lighter dumbbell pressed up over your head. Now, maintaining an erect torso, squat down, keeping your body weight in the center.  Remember to "brace" your midsection, and keep your spine stable.  Your knees and hips are the primary mobile joints.  If this is new to you, you may find out that it's a lot tougher than it looks.  Be patient, but keep trying.  If flexibility is an issue, a little pre-stretching will  help.

The offset load will create a large torque through your back and midsection. Fight your body's natural tendency to want to lean to one side! 

And this presents a good time to transition into the next topic . . .  "Little Known Facts About The Core".

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5.)  Little Known Facts About The Core

The “core” refers to the lower back and abdominal muscles which are the connection between your upper and lower body. If it is springy and weak, so will your transference of power from lower body to upper body, and vice versa.

The deep trunk muscles, (Transversus Abdominis (TA), multifidus (MF), Internal Oblique (IO), paraspinal, pelvic floor) are key to the active support of the lumbar spine. The co-contraction of these muscles produce forces via the “theracolumbar fascia” (TLF) and the “intra-abdominal pressure” (IAP) mechanism stabilizes the lumbar spine, while the paraspinal and MF muscles act directly to resist the forces acting on the lumbar spine.

It is not just the recruitment of these deep-trunk muscles, but how they are recruited that is important. It has been shown that the co-contraction of the TA and MF muscles occurred prior to any movement of the limbs. This suggests that these muscles anticipate dynamic forces which may act on the lumbar spine and stabilize the area prior to any movement, and that the timing of co-ordination of these muscles was very significant.  (Note to my clients:  You've heard me cue you many times to "draw in" and "brace before you lift").

So don't just think of "abs" as core -- they are only a small part.  Training the core area involves much more than "ab" work.  I like to refer to mid-section training as building "pillar strength".   Heavy overhead work is a terrific way to build pillar strength. It creates midline stability, which not only builds the "core", it develops body alignment, flexibility, and body awareness.  So next time you think about doing some crunches for the "abs", instead, try some overhead squats.  Feel the CORE difference and develop a more stable back in the process (as in topic #4).

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6.)  How To Sculpt Your Abs On A Full Stomach

Believe it or not, it's tough to loose fat on one or two meals per day.  In fact, more frequent eating will actually accelerate the process.  You really can eat more to loose fat.  Here are some tips:

Prepare bulk foods in advance.  Make a large supply of your foods in advance.  Tupperware is your friend.  Place some in the refrigerator, and freeze the rest.  I use this technique for many of my standard foods.  Two examples: a large pot of whole grain brown rice or 10 chicken breasts.

Time your carbs.  Eat most of your carbs immediately post workout, but not after 8PM.  During the day, make vegetables your primary carb source and NO simple carbs.

Eat more often.  Eat every two to three hours to burn more fat.  Your body doesn't need to store fat for energy if you're feeding it all the time.

Sample meal:

2 eggs with some good fat (like a spoonful of almond butter, or avocado slice), and 1 cup of oatmeal with applesauce
Protein bar
Albacore tuna wrap or chicken and salad
Protein shake (whey and water), or protein bar, or apple and almonds
Broiled chicken or fish, brown rice, vegetables or salad
Protein shake

And . .  drink lots and lots of water (daily amount: 1 quart for every 50 pounds you weigh).

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7.)  "Disturbing" Fat Loss Results

Training with "high-intensity-interval-training" (HIIT) burns more calories overall than long slow cardio. The bulk of these calories are burned post exercise.  The catch is that velocity without resistance is useless, so going really fast is not the answer.  Neither is continuous aerobic work (such as long jogs or so-called "cardio") because it raises cortisol, which in turn makes you fatter in the long run . . . so don’t bother doing it unless it is specific training for your sport.  The real solution is working really hard against resistance, with short rest breaks.

These "strength" intervals should consist of 40 sec – 2 min on, and 30 sec – 1 minute off. Sessions should last a max of 42 minutes total including warm-up (with some additional stretching for cool-down). The workouts must be very intense, as the trainee could sense some nausea in order to produce enough lactic acid (now THAT is serious effort!).

Luckily, two sessions per week is all that is needed to lose fat at a noticeable rate. Three to five sessions would be ultimate if they are designed properly with regard to the individuals' work and recovery ratios. 

Remember, everything works, but only for a short time; so especially for strength training, vary the program about every 25 days, and vary the exercises often so that you overload the muscles at different points, constantly providing new stimuli.   You need to surprise the muscles with something new in order to force them to adapt if you want continual results.  The bottom line is this: to accelerate fat loss most efficiently, you must work out intensely enough to create a "metabolic disturbance".  The payoff is that the metabolic (fat-burning) effect lasts long after your workout is over.  Now "dig in" and start getting some REAL results with your exercise regimen.

(photo)  NOT a jogger's body

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8.)  Contact Information

Bob Keyser
Tampa, Florida
Phone: (813) 229-5929
Web page:  http://www.toplevelfitness.com/

A proven, effective, "non-hype" approach to fitness and fat loss!

Based upon over 30 years of practical experience I design and implement fitness programs to help people achieve exceptional results. Specialties include: Fat Loss (the "best" way for long term results), Joint Health (get rid of pain, increase range-of-movement, and develop substantial connective tissue), Muscle Quality (strong, lean, sinewy, and balanced), Performance Enhancement (functional power improves your game and makes life's tasks easier), and Energy (for being yourself—at your best).

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Bob Keyser - Tampa, FL
Phone: 813-229-5929 | Email: bobk@strongobjectives.com     Web: http:// www.toplevelfitness.com





































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