|You might think that cookies, cakes, pizza and hoagies were the worst foods for fat loss, but I beg to differ!
When you're trying to lose fat and build lean muscle, most diets and diet experts will tell you to get rid of the junk food, comfort food and old family recipes and fill your kitchen with "diet-friendly" foods like spring greens and cottage cheese. The problem is that the only diet that will work for you is the one you'll eat. If your fridge is loaded up with foods you don't like or don't know how to cook, you'll end up ditching the diet almost as soon as you start it.
The key to long term fat loss isn't dieting; it's learning how to choose the most nutritious foods and then learning how to really enjoy them. Long term fat loss comes from a healthy lifestyle, not a super restrictive, terrible tasting diet. I have two guidelines for you if you want to lose fat and lose it for good: don't try to eat what you don't like and learn how to make what you love.
Don't Try to Eat What You Don't Like
No matter how healthy quinoa, fish and kiwi are, they won't help you lose fat if you don't like eating them. There are hundreds and hundreds of healthy foods out there; foods that are great for long term fat loss. You just need to stick to the ones you actually enjoy eating.
If you hate quinoa, stick to brown rice. If you've tried to like kale and just can't, then eat spinach or mustard greens instead. The important thing is to identify the healthiest foods in each category (such as nuts, leafy greens, healthy fats, healthy dairy, etc.) and then choose the ones you do like. Trying to force yourself to eat certain foods you hate while giving up foods you love is a recipe for failure.
Try new foods when you can. Pick up one or two unfamiliar fruits or vegetables each week or try that Ezekiel cereal, bread or pasta I've fallen in love with. If you don't like these new foods, don't force yourself to eat them. Along the way you'll discover new foods that you do like and that'll help you get all your macros without being bored.
Learn to Make What You Love
Very few people have the discipline or the desire to give up all of their favorite foods forever. Fortunately, that really isn't necessary. There's a time and place for enjoying some of your favorite not-so-good-for-you foods. How often you indulge and how much you eat depends on your program, your goals and your metabolism. Saying you'll never get to eat pizza again is self-defeating and counterproductive.
Another thing you can do is learn to make healthier versions of your favorite foods. There are all kinds of great recipes for healthier pizza, macaroni and cheese, banana cream pie and any other food you can think of. Try a few out, choose the ones that taste best and enjoy your favorite stuff without blowing your whole program.
Remember, long term fat loss is all about your lifestyle. And part of life is enjoying a good meal.
To your results,
Cereal does not have to be the no-no so many people think it is. You just have to choose wisely. And today you'll see my number one cereal selection for lean muscle and fat loss.
One of the hardest foods to cut from your diet is cereal. It tastes good, it's a fast, easy way to get a some carbs and it's a cheap meal. The problem is that most cereals, even the "healthy" cereals, are loaded with stuff you don't need to put in your body.
The Problem with Most "Healthy Cereals"
Most cereals are super high in sugar, sodium, preservatives, and calories and have very little fiber. Even most of the "high-fiber" and "whole-grain" cereals have more salt and sugar than you need and the fiber content isn't all that high, anyway.
They also usually have little or no protein.
When you're working hard toward your fat loss and lean muscle building goals, you have to be careful about eating calories that have no return on your caloric investment. Most cereals aren't going to give you enough bang for your buck.
Choose Wisely and You Can Enjoy Cereal in Your Diet
The cereal you eat needs to feed your goals, not work against them. This is why I like Ezekiel 4:9 cereals so much and why I rank it as a top choice for cereals when it comes to fat loss and building lean muscle. Here's why:
Lentil and whole grains mean high protein.
Most cereals have little to no protein, except for the milk you pour over them. Ezekiel 4:9 has 8g of protein per ½ cup serving and it's high quality protein. Ezekiel 4:9 is made with six whole grains and legumes, so it packs a real protein punch. When you need a meal that combines quality proteins with slow-digesting carbs (like before a workout), this cereal is perfect.
40g of carbs but no sugar.
Ezekiel 4:9 comes in several different flavors and some of them, like cinnamon-raisin, have low amounts of sugars. I usually eat the original flavor, which has zero grams of sugar. That way, I'm free to add some fruit to it for extra fiber and micronutrients.
One of the biggest issues with most cereals is that they're made from wheat and corn that have been treated with all kinds of chemicals and then they add a bunch of preservatives to them. Ezekiel 4:9 is completely organic and has no added preservatives. It's just high-quality, nourishing food.
The taste is awesome.
A lot of healthier cereals, even the few truly healthy ones, taste like rocks and bark. Even though Ezekiel 4:9 doesn't have any added sugar, it's got just a touch of sweetness from the barley and lentils and it really tastes amazing. The truth is that no matter how healthy something is, you're not going to eat it if it tastes awful. This cereal is one that you'll actually enjoy eating.
Cereal can be a very low-cost way to get some healthy carbs, if you choose it wisely. I think Ezekiel 4:9 is hands down one of the best cereals for fat loss and building lean muscle so give it a try!
To your results,
In this video, I give out one of my fabulous recipes that is filled with lean protein and healthy complex carbs.
How To Make Kyle Leon's Shepherd's Pie
The ingredients are:
- 1 Ibs extra lean ground chicken
- 1 cup low fat cottage cheese (drained)
- 1 can corn kernels
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- dash of cinnamon (optional)
Brown chicken, then add cottage cheese and corn. Boil sweet potatoes (peeled) and then mash. Put the chicken, cottage cheese and corn mix at the bottom of an oven-usable dish. Place the mashed sweet potato on top of the mix. Bake for 30 mins at 400 degrees F. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional info per serving:
Calories = 354
Carbs = 31g
Protein = 36g
Fat = 10g
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
For years, we’ve all been led to believe that low-fat was the way to go, but research indicates otherwise. The long-term effects of not eating enough GOOD fat are devastating to both your body and your weight loss goals.
Remember that when you’re trying to lose weight, it’s a matter of making every calorie count so that you have the energy to get through the day. Eating healthy fats instead of empty carbs helps with that. That doesn’t mean that you should go pound down a Big Mac, but it does mean that if you’re living low-fat, you need to read this.
Fat Provides Concentrated Energy
Each gram of healthy fat that you eat provides 9 calories of energy; more than twice what you get from carbs or even protein. Most fats are long-chain triglycerides and take longer to break down (which we’ll discuss in a minute), but fats that are classified as medium-chain triglycerides, such as those found in milk fats, palm oil and coconut oil, are processed by your body in much the same way that carbs are while providing more energy per gram.
Fat Makes You Feel Fuller Longer
Because fats take longer to digest than carbs, your body doesn’t send out hunger signals as quickly. This can help keep you from overeating or picking between meals. Another bonus is that, since they take longer to digest, they provide a more sustained source of energy so that you don’t crash mid-workout.
Your Body Needs Essential Fatty Acids
In addition to keeping your nervous system healthy, omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as fish and olive oil help to improve your glucose sensitivity, reduce inflammation and insulin resistance and help to rev up fat oxidation by stimulating a receptor in the liver. This means that adding these healthy fats to your diet in moderation can help you lose weight.
Some Vitamins are Fat-Soluble
Your body can’t lose weight efficiently and healthfully if you don’t get the vitamins that you need. Some vitamins, specifically A, D, E and K, are fat-soluble. That means that they require fat in order to be absorbed into your body.
Both vitamin D and vitamin K have been linked to helping with weight loss in some way, and they help keep your bones strong, too. Vitamins A and E are just as essential to your health in other ways, so if you’re not getting enough fat for your body to properly use them, your health will most certainly suffer.
To your results,
In this video, I share some tips and tricks for bringing up lagging body parts.
How To Bring Up Lagging Body Parts
Tip #1: Start a brand new training program. Doing something different can stimulate new muscle growth in under-developed body parts.
Tip #2: Prioritize your workouts around your lagging body part. Work hard-to-develop muscle groups early in the week to maximize intensity. Double up on workouts for a lagging muscle group, doing one heavy and one lighter "pump" workout per week.
Tip #3: Nutrition is crucial in bringing up lagging body parts. Consume enough carbohydrates before training lagging body parts to ensure glycogen stores are topped up. Consume carbohydrates before, during and after a workout to promote insulin release.
Tip #4. Controlling the negative. This prevents other muscle groups from overpowering under-developed muscles during lifts. It also improves the mind and muscle connection.
There's no doubt that clean eating is the key to losing weight and staying healthy but there are definite benefits to cheat days, too. They help reset hormones that regulate metabolism and insulin use and also keep your body in fat-burning mode.
Sustained low-calorie diets can wreak havoc on your body by decreasing amounts of certain proteins and hormones in your body. One of these is leptin. Leptin is a protein stored in fat that regulates your hunger and how your body uses energy by affecting your hypothalamus. Leptin levels also affect mental sharpness and mood. Pretty important stuff!
When you fast, your leptin levels drop quickly. As a result, you feel hungry, your metabolism slows and your energy decreases. Cheat days help restore your leptin levels by providing extra carbs and protein that increase leptin production.
As a matter of fact, building the proper cheat day for fat loss can actually help you lose weight faster. Here are some tips to help you cheat smart.
Skip the Alcohol
You can completely blow your diet out of the water if you use your cheat day to over-drink. Not that there's anything wrong with having a beer but keep it moderate. If you can feel the buzz, you’ve had enough. Not only are you drinking a ton of calories, but alcohol actually decreases leptin levels. It may be best to wait until you're in your maintenance phase to incorporate alcohol back into your diet.
Save Cheating for Cheat Day
Very few people actually adhere to a strict diet 100% of the time. In reality, most people only stick to it about 80% of the time throughout the week so the other 20% of the time is cheating. That’s fine if you’re not using a cheat day but if you’re already cheating 20% of the time, you need to either quit cheating on “diet” days or skip the cheat day. Either way will help your leptin levels but doing both can quickly sabotage your weight loss efforts.
Today I’m going to share a killer workout for glutes that will also tone and tighten some of those other problem areas, too. Before you begin these exercises, be sure to warm up properly. You're going to be working hard but it will be worth it.
If you're going to effectively build muscle, these exercises need to be tough. You need to hit fatigue within 10 reps or less in order to see great results. If it isn't difficult for you, then add weight. Also, to really ramp up the volume, do these in a circuit-style manner with little to no rest in between exercises. Do 3 sets of each. This workout will take you no more than 20 minutes but the results will be killer.
Squats are amazing for your entire upper leg but adding at least a little jump at the top will really blast your glutes. Spread your feet shoulder-width apart and push your butt out behind you as if you were sitting down in a chair. Keep your back straight and don't push your knees out; they should never extend past the line of your toe.
When you return to the upright position, add a jump. Don't pause before going back into another squat. Do 10 reps or less to reach failure.
Dumbbell Box Step-Ups with a Hop
In the beginning, dumbbells may be too much - just your bodyweight may be enough. Don't forget that this should be hard, though. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, dumbbells at your side. Step up onto the box. Give a little hop on your lead foot while you're up there and step back down. Repeat with the other foot. Do 10 reps with each foot, or until failure.
Lunges are a core part of just about everybody's leg and glute day for a reason: they work. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place one foot out in front of you as if you're taking a step. Lower yourself toward the ground as if you're kneeling. Make sure that your knee doesn't extend past the line of your toes. Push your body back up and bring your lead foot back to the starting position. Repeat with your other foot forward.
Kneeling Leg Lifts
Adding pulses to this exercise will burn the fat right off of your butt. Get down on all fours and push one leg out behind you until your leg is straight. Push your heel toward to ceiling. When you feel as if you can't get your foot any higher, push upward with your heel in quick, controlled pulses 7 times. Return to all fours and repeat with the other leg. If this doesn't make you feel the burn, use ankle weights or resistance bands.
This is such an under-rated exercise! Jumping rope works your shoulders, abs, glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads and arms. Keep your glutes tight when you're jumping and you'll get an even better workout. The bonus is that you're getting a quick burst of cardio that will help speed up your metabolism without causing your body to release cortisol. Jump for 30 seconds to a minute and a half.
There are a million and one different ways to work your glutes but I like this particular workout because it mixes things up a bit while targeting your glutes and other muscles by using compounding exercises. That helps to burn calories, build muscle and increase balance and coordination. If you follow it, you'll have the glutes of your dreams in no time!
To your results,
Most guys know that testosterone is important for building muscle, but many don’t understand how essential this hormone really is. Testosterone is a key player in protein synthesis, fat metabolism and insulin regulation. If your testosterone level gets too low, it affects a lot more than your libido. You’ll store more body fat, become easily fatigued and your muscle recovery will suffer as well. It will become extremely easy to gain fat and extremely difficult to gain muscle.
Testosterone is also easily affected by your diet, in both positive and negative ways. You can lower your testosterone by eating the wrong foods and raise it by eating the right ones.
In this post, I want to share with you the three foods you really need to avoid because of their known ability to lower your testosterone level. You can do all of the right things, such as training properly and getting enough sleep, and still have low testosterone if these foods figure into your weekly diet.
Many people consider soy milk to be a great replacement for cow’s milk, and tofu and tempeh to be a healthy alternative to meat, but it’s just not true. Aside from all of the dangers of GMOs (and virtually all of the soybeans grown in the US are GMOs), soy will absolutely devastate your testosterone level.
The reason for this is that soybeans are extremely high in phytoestrogens; naturally occurring compounds found in plants that actually mimic estrogen. They attach to estrogen receptors on your cells, making it impossible for your body’s own estrogen to do so. This tells your endocrine system that your cells need more estrogen and more is produced. This not only wreaks havoc on your endocrine system, it also quickly leads to a serious increase in estrogen levels.
Even if you don’t drink soy lattes or eat tofu, you may be eating more soy than you think. Soy by-products (what’s left over after making soy milk) are used as fillers in almost every processed food on the shelves. This is especially true of packaged cereals and baked foods and snacks, but soy is also used in everything from salad dressings to mayonnaise. Check the labels on any packaged foods in your kitchen and get rid of them.
If you’re still drinking commercially produced milk, stop. Dairy cows are not only fed a nearly 100% GMO corn diet, they’re also pumped full of estrogen and progesterone to make their bodies produce more milk and produce it longer. Those hormones are passed straight to you in milk, yogurt, cheese and other products made with commercially raised milk. The hormones in commercial milk have been linked to early puberty in girls and delayed puberty (and even low fertility) in boys.
We can spend a whole post on cow’s milk, but for the purpose of staying on topic, let’s just say that if you’re going to drink cow’s milk, you need to make sure it’s 100% pasture-raised, certified organic milk.
High Carb/Sugar Foods and Drinks
Sweetened sports drinks, sodas, white rice and whole-wheat bread are not doing your testosterone levels any good, either. When you ingest high carb/high-sugar foods, your blood sugar level skyrockets, causing a corresponding increase in both insulin and cortisol. The two together cause a decrease in testosterone and signal your body to store those carbs as fat rather than use them for energy. You’ll not only NOT gain muscle, but you’ll almost guarantee additional body fat.
By avoiding these three foods, you’ll be well on your way to getting your T level where it needs to be. In an upcoming newsletter I’ll share with you 5 of the very best foods for increasing your testosterone level naturally.
To your results,
By Kyle Leon
Some people think that a training log is a waste of time. In reality, it only takes a few seconds to review your log before you start working out and a few minutes to make some notes after your workout. Those few minutes can mean the difference between lackluster results and measurable, desired improvement week after week.
1. You have a plan to work from.
Have you ever heard the expression, “Fail to plan; plan to fail?” It’s incredibly true. Multiple studies have shown that planning and having a definite plan to follow will dramatically affect success.
2. You have additional accountability.
Let’s face it. When you’re having an off-day it’s easy to cut yourself some slack especially if nobody else is looking.
Keeping a log will help hold you accountable. It’s a little harder to slack off when you’re keeping a log because you can see if you’ve wasted your time or not by your recorded results. The log doesn’t lie and it holds you accountable.
3. You can track your progress.
If you’re not tracking your progress, you’re essentially “flying blind”- And when you’re flying blind, reaching your desired destination isn’t very likely. Tracking your progress closely allows you to intelligently identify wrong turns, mistakes, along with what is and isn’t working.
Tracking your progress allows you to test individual variables in your training and nutrition regimen and ultimately measure exactly how each of them affect your results. This alone in my estimation is the single biggest advantage you possess when using a training log to ensure progress.
So in summary, my verdict is a training log can be a powerful, cheap tool requiring just a few minutes a day to ensure you’re on a consistent, clear and progressive path to the physique you deserve and desire.
To your results,