Friday, May 13, 2022

What are good sources of fat to eat?

This is a question I often get from new clients. You want to focus on the mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. These are health promoting and will help stabilize your blood sugar. 

You will find these fats in:

-Vegetable oils: olive oil and canola oil are the best choices here


-Nut butters



-Butter substitutes made with healthy oils like Olivio, Smart Balance or Earth Balance


Be sure to limit any trans fat. If a product has this, it will be listed on the food label under the “Fat” category.

Also limit saturated fats such as butter, full fat dairy like cheese, cream and ice cream, processed meats like bacon and sausage and fatty cuts of red meat like steak and hamburger.



Health Benefits Of Resistance Training

The Study

In a 16 study review, the health benefits of resistance training were investigated. 

Here are the major results:

- Resistance training was associated with a 17% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

- Resistance training was associated with a 17% reduced risk of diabetes.

- Resistance training was associated with a 12% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

- Resistance training was associated with a 15% reduced risk of all-cause mortality.

British Journal of Sports Medicine 2022;0:1-10.

Take Home Message

The health benefits of cardiovascular exercise are widely known. However, many people completely ignore resistance training. This is a shame because retaining muscle mass as we age is crucial to maintaining a high level of functioning. If you are trying to lose weight, it is also a critical part of any weight loss program. As this study shows, these benefits are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the health effects of weight lifting.

Hit the weights at least twice per week. You don’t have to spend a ton of time and you don’t have to use super heavy weights. A typical full body workout for my clients takes 20 minutes or so. The key is consistency and variety. You need to switch up your exercises every 7 weeks or so to keep your muscles guessing. If you are intimidated, consider hiring a personal trainer for a session or two to get you started.





Cardiovascular Exercise Timing

The Study

In this interesting study, 40 overweight subjects were randomly assigned to a supervised 12 week exercise program that met either in the morning or the evening. The timing of the exercise did not change the body fat response to training. Appetite 2021 doi:10.1026/j.appet.2021.105600

Take Home Message

It does not really matter if you exercise in the morning or evening as long as you do it consistently. I have had successful clients that workout in the morning and successful clients that workout at night. Do whatever works for you.

Book Review: Intelligent Fitness

Next up for review is Intelligent Fitness, by Simon Waterson. The author is a fitness trainer that works with actors to help them get in shape for their movie roles. This sounds like a fun job and he has worked with many A-list actors filming big budget action movies.


This book has 4 sections. The first is some general information on training. The second section presents different actor’s workouts for the specific movie they were shooting. The last two sections are on recovery and nutrition. The book is 346 pages. It is very well written and I enjoyed reading it.

5 Things I Really Liked About Intelligent Fitness

1) I like the focus on proper sleep. This is an aspect of health overlooked by many that really can impact your hunger, metabolism and body weight, not to mention your energy and mood.

2) I also like the focus on hydration. Drinking adequate water is critical for health and fitness. I recommend 8 glasses a day to my clients.

3) The exercises presented were very nicely put together with text and pictures describing how to do them.

4) I like the variety found in the workouts. It is really important to keep your muscles guessing a bit when lifting weights. I change my client’s programs every 7 weeks or so.

5) I agree with the authors idea to workout at home, if possible. Investing in a small home gym, which could be as simple as some free weights, a bench and an inexpensive piece of cardio equipment, like the Gazelle Sprintmaster, makes it so easy to workout. It is also much cheaper in the long run than paying for a gym each year.

5 Things I Didn’t Agree With In Intelligent Fitness

1) The author does not recommend weighing yourself at all. I have my clients weigh themselves each week. Weight loss is highly subjective. As time goes on, I focus my client’s program based on what is working. If they lose weight one week, we replicate that behavior. If they gain or don’t lose, we’ll make some changes. How do you know that the program is working if you don’t have a weekly weigh in?

2) The author recommends 6 meals a day. I think this is not necessary. Once the blood sugar stabilizes, 3 meals a day is all you’ll need. If you are hungry all the time, something is wrong with your diet.

3) The author mentions that when it comes to diet you should be able to eat what you want, when you want it. I don’t agree with this because it does not take into account food cravings. Refined carbs like bread, white rice and especially sugar are quite addicting. The more you have, the more you want. If you can eat them whenever you want, soon you’ll be eating them all the time and you won’t lose a pound. With refined carbs, there has to be some level of deprivation. The good news is that once the blood sugar stabilizes, the cravings largely disappear.

4) Similar to #3, the nutrition in this book was a little weak, in general. I found pretty early in my training career that any results you get in the gym are largely dependent on what you are eating. I felt that the author could have given some more specific advice on what to eat.

5) Anyone who works with me or reads my books know that I am all about research and evidence-based advice. The author makes a few claims that seem a bit off to me and presents no research to back these statements up.  For example:

-On page 265 he mentions that jumping in and out of hot and cold plunge pools is great for boosting your immune system.

-On page 296 he states; “Tumeric and ginger are great natural anti-inflammatories and help the body to be less toxic and inflamed”.

Is Intelligent Fitness Worth Reading?

Absolutely! I like a lot of what the author says regarding weight lifting and cardio in this book. His results speak for themselves. The actors he works with look amazing in the movies they shoot.

Having said that, the book’s handling of the nutrition end of things is a bit lacking. I’d focus on the exercise sections of the book and get your nutrition advice elsewhere.