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Fat loss – what should I eat for breakfast

It would be very easy to just give you set breakfasts that will help promote fat loss; but if you understand the protocols that must be in place to reach your goal, you are then able to gain a greater understanding of the science behind what you’re eating thud not limiting yourself to set meal plans. 

When it comes to breakfast there are two major hormones we want to really focus on: manipulating growth hormone and insulin.

Growth Hormone (GH) is a hormone responsible for cellular growth in the human body; throughout the day, GH is synthesised, stored and secreted by the anterior portion of the pituitary gland. 

Insulin is a hormone secreted from the Pancreas after a carbohydrate meal (secretion dependant on the types of carbohydrate consumed, for example: fast digesting or slow digesting) and it's major role is to control blood glucose level, be aware that whenever you have high levels of Insulin you will have low levels of Growth Hormone as both Insulin and GH fight for the same receptors.

Now just exactly how you manoeuvre these hormones for fat loss will depend on two factors: are you training that day? If you are training; what time are you training?

Lets start with your days off… 

So, throughout the night growth hormone will have been secreted in its largest pulse, ghrelin (the hunger control hormone) will be high as you finish digesting your dinner and you stomach will be telling you to wake up and eat something. Ghrelin stimulates production of cortisol to raise your blood pressure; this will make you more sensitive to epinephrine, free up energy throughout the body and turn on gluconeogenesis to get some sugar to your brain. You’re going to wake up!

Cortisol levels will gradually decrease as you break down glycogen in your liver and muscles and before you know it, you’ll go through the whole cycle again; ghrelin levels will peak and you’ll get a small burst of growth hormone. 

What we don’t want to do is cut off this off this growth hormone by raising insulin, through high carbohydrate or sugary foods; such as cereal, toast or juice. By skipping (really just delaying) breakfast allowing your blood sugar (as well as your hormone balance) to regulate itself. Although you’ve already maximised recovery and mobilised a bunch of fat by riding out the cortisol spike (cortisol is, after all, an anti-inflammatory), you’re now in control of your metabolism and you can go in one of two directions: towards fat loss and muscle gain, or growth of both fat and muscle tissue. This is the perfect time to have your first meal and make your decision (I think I know which one you’ll pick.)

By keeping the carbs low and thus insulin low, eating a healthy dose of fat and a modest amount of protein, you will synthesise protein, mobilise fat, promote ketogenesis and maximise growth hormone secretion throughout the morning and afternoon. You’ll actually be using your body fat as energy to maintain or grow muscle. Whatever glucose your brain needs to do whatever it’s got to do; it will have available thanks to endogenous production in the liver. You’ll actually be using your body fat as energy to maintain or grow muscle. Perfect!

Now if you are training on that morning you can go another two ways, you can alternatively swap out the low carb option for something like oats and seeds, after your training session. This is a great option if your already insulin sensitive and have body fat lower then 10% for men and 15% for women. 

To summarise, steer clear of carbs first thing in the morning, to allow blood sugar levels to regulate on their own by sticking to healthy fats and a good source of protein.



Fat burning perfection

OK, so as promised I’m going to tell you the exact process of how fat is burned and tell you the correct training principles to maximise fat loss and prevent re-esterfication. If you read the previous article I explain what exactly I mean by re-esterfication and why it’s crucial to avoid this happening. 

For the majority of us, fat burning is one of our top fitness priorities - why leave it down to guess work? Fat Burning happens in three stages:

  • Mobilisation 
  • Transportation 
  • Oxidation


First then is mobilization. In the most basic terms this simply means taking out the energy stored in fat cells, in the form of free fatty acids (FFA), to be utilised elsewhere. To release FFA from the fat cells requires the stimulation of a hormone called hormone sensitive lipase (HSL). While many different hormones have an effect HSL is the one that concerns us in terms of acute fat loss - adrenalin and insulin. It is really worth noting that, even the smallest presence of insulin will blunt HSL activity. Put simply if you have any carbohydrates in your bloodstream you will not use the energy from your fat cells. You will not burn fat. Fat burning requires your blood sugar levels to be low, so don’t eat right before you train. The Key point here has been that we require adrenaline for effective mobilization of free fatty acids which is essential for the most effective fat loss.


Through the process of mobilisation we have now released the energy from our fat cells in the form of FFA – free fatty acids. But these FFA’s now only sit outside the fat cells walls. We then require them to be transported evenly throughout the body via the blood stream. The amino acid Acytle L Carnitine transports free fatty acids to the muscle cells. Acytle L Carnitine stimulation is increased through high intensity training and the release of Adrenalin. So we can begin to see how again adrenalin and blood flow plays a key role in fat loss.


To contract our muscles we used a stored energy called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Through the process of oxidation FFA’s are converted to ATP within the muscle via the Mitochondria to be used as energy. The more muscles contracts we force our body to make the more we require ATP, and so the more FFA’s we burn up.


For maximum fat loss we really need to clearly lay out our time for each stage of the fat loss process, so here is an example how you can apply the science to your training and begin to get seriously shredded for the summer.

First Mobilization, if we look back to the first stage we can see that the best way to release FFA’s is the release of adrenalin. This requires us to work at maximum capacity. A short 5 minute HIT session or 10 minutes of HITT will definitely do they job. But you must remember if you don’t go all out you will not get an effective release of adrenaline. Whether its up a hill or on the treadmill, I like to do sprint intervals on a gradient. Run as hard as you can for 30 seconds followed by 60-90 seconds to recover and repeat this 7 times.

Next is the Transportation stage. All this requires is keeping your heart rate at a steady beat allowing those newly released FFA’s to be transported around the blood. This is a good chance to allow your self some time to recover ready for the next stage. I like to just do a little LSD for 10 minutes on the treadmill keeping my heart rate about 140bpm, if your not in the gym or don’t have a heart rate monitor, just run for 10 minutes but there is no need to allow yourself to go into a heavy breathing pattern.

To finish, Oxidation. Now this is the reason why people keep going on about weights for effective weight loss and believe me there is no better way to burn up ATP then lifting heavy weights. However, its not as simple as standing in front of the mirror with your 5Kg dumb bells doing a few bicep curls, this will get you nowhere! We are looking to create the most muscle contractions as possible. The best way to do this is to recruit our largest muscle groups through compound exercises. You want to work the full body giving priority to the bigger muscle groups. Try this - its basic, but fast and effective.

  • Back squats 2 sets 15 reps
  • Chest Press 2 sets 15 reps
  • Lat pull down 2 sets 15 reps
  • Close grip seated row 2 sets 15 reps
  • Deadlift 2 sets 15 reps 
  • Clean and press 2 sets to failure

Keep rest times to 1 minute or less between exercises and sets to keep the tempo up and the heart rate high. And if you’re comfortable making 15 reps increase the weight.



Why is fat so hard to lose around my bum and thighs‏?

Over the next few weeks our team at Salus will be going through all the scientific facts about fat cells and fat loss, and revealing all the vital secrets to shredding the kilos for summer.

We are going to start off with some of the basics and how they relate to your fitness, well-being and body composition. Unfortunately due to the nature of fat cells, and the amount of blood flow which passes through the cells (all of which we will be covering in detail in the following articles), make some fat are a lot harder to get rid of then others, so lets see the order in which our body burns fat.


1.Visceral Fat

So the first to go is your Visceral fat, Visceral fat is body fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity and is therefore stored around a number of important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines. Visceral fat is sometimes referred to as 'active fat' because research has shown that this type of fat plays a distinctive and potentially dangerous role affecting how our hormones function. Here at Salus we are big on hormone optimisation so its vital you work on bringing your visceral fat down. Storing higher amounts of visceral fat is associated with increased risks of a number of health problems including –

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Alzheimer's disease

NOTE: Visceral fat cannot be accessed through diet alone, I have to stress you must exercise to bring excess visceral fat down to a healthy level.

2.None stubborn subcutaneous fat of the deltoids (muscle surrounding the shoulders), upper back and arms.

Subcutaneous fat is the fatty or adipose tissue lying directly under the skin layers. Subcutaneous translates to "under the skin." It contains not only fatty tissues but also blood vessels, which supply the skin with oxygen, and nerves. Subcutaneous fat stores energy, which the body uses during periods of high activity. However too much fat can cause the skin to become tight or stretched, and result in dreaded cellulite or a dimpled look of the skin. While you can have a small impact on reducing subcutaneous fat through diet, regular exercise combined with a healthy eating plan will have a twice the impact over dieting alone.

3.Deep abdominal fat

This is similar to visceral fat; this will cause and increased rounding of the stomach. Studies on deep abdominal fat show that there is a strong correlation between that and glucose tolerance, that’s your bodies ability to deal with glucose, glucose been a simple sugar. 

4. Abdominal superficial subcutaneous fat

Heavily connected with the intake of unhealthy trans fats, the consumption of trans fats increases the risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of the lipoprotein LDL (so-called "bad cholesterol") and lowering levels of the lipoprotein HDL ("good cholesterol"). When it comes to fat loss you will first see signs of fat loss from the upper abdominals followed later by the lower portion. For guys this will occur before we loose the love handles.

5. Fat from the hips and thighs.

Yes that’s right! Unfortunately fat from the hips and thighs are the most stubborn areas to burn, and it only gets worse! Because of the increase amount of alpha 2 receptors on fat cells in theses areas it is far easier to store fat too. 

So I’m about to ruin your day completely, due to a process called re-esterfication, you can actually gain fat around the hips and thighs even on a low fat diet. 

Let me explain how this works- You have been for a run and free up free fatty acids (FFA) from your fat cells, this has been pulled out of the most receptive areas, which is fat from your upper body, you then continue your run transporting the FFA around the body to use as energy. You then finish your run; any FFA not used up in muscle tissue will then head in the direction of the fat cells for storage. What area do you think will welcome those free fatty acids with open arms! That’s right! Without the right training principles you can shift fat from your upper body and restore it on your lower body.

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Peace and Love