FROM THE MAILBAG…
…THANK YOU for this. I’ve always been struggling with my getting a right “tummy” and can’t seem to drop 15 pounds~ so am taking her advise. (I do need more greens in my diet). I know the stomach area is the hardest area to work on plus, even die hard work out junkies, complain. I really believe (and have read) that it also has allot to do with your blood type/ethnic background. Do you find this to be true?
(Note: this above email was a response to my video blog post HERE)
Hi Mariela (and everyone else who is wondering the same thing),
You’re very welcome, and I’m glad my video is helpful. Blood type is an interesting hypothesis. I’ve spoken to researchers who’ve tried to test this and come up with no apparent effect at all. Further, the reasoning behind the blood type hypothesis, while plausible on the surface, doesn’t ultimately make sense to me when I think about the details of physiology, as I understand it. Plus, the people I’ve talked to who’ve seen results doing a “blood type diet” have all, it turns out, made some modifications to their diet that are in line with the fundamental dietary principles that seem true to everyone.
I suspect that were they to pay even more attention to such fundamental principles, they would experience even greater results.
Now, there is what appears to be genetic variation in the way that people store body fat and how easily it comes off. However, all of the principles of nutrition seem to remain the same for most all people, regardless of what area of their body is the focus. The same principles seem to drive results in anyone–it’s just that some people may have to apply the principles more thoroughly than others to see results.
The best that I can tell, there is a “combination lock” on your body fat, and the most effective combination I’ve seen involves high-intensity strength training once or twice per week coupled with a nutrient-rich, yet calorie-restricted diet (the video that prompted this question contained some good rules of thumb to help with this), plus adequate sleep.
When I’ve helped people to “dial in” the right combination, they tend to start burning fat at the maximum rate physiologically possible–which is 1-2 pounds of fat per week for most people. (yes, there are reasons that this is the maximum rate, but that will have to wait for another time)
Once this maximum rate is reached, more or less additional activity seems to make no difference.
Think about this. When I understood this point, it made a whole lot of sense why I kept observing for years that my clients who did lots of “cardio” every week outside my LA gym never seemed to get faster results than my clients who did NO EXERCISE other than personal training in Los Angeles with me for 20 minutes once per week, but who also were getting the rest of the combination right.
Now, back to wanting to burn belly fat (or fat in any other particular area)–if you keep losing fat, eventually the fat loss will get to all of the desired areas. But there is no way to actually “target” one specific area. The often-heard claim of targeted fat loss makes a nice marketing pitch, but it’s a marketing pitch built on wishful thinking rather than evidence. The body works as a system in a way that just doesn’t respond to such wishes.
Without the right “combination” people seem to run into three major problems:
Problem 1: They are never able to reach the maximal rate of fat loss for them, no matter how much activity they do.
Problem 2: The rate of fat loss they do reach is not sustainable for very long.
Problem 3: The fat loss they do achieve tends to be undermined in a way that results in ultimately more fat gain than what they started with.
I believe that getting the right combination is the best way to combat all three of these problems.
Every time I help someone to get the right combination, we see massive results–pretty much without exception. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to go through the simple steps. And they are simple–over the years, I have discovered more and more simple ways to accomplish this. Nor is doing the steps time-consuming. BUT, they must all be done to work. A combination lock does not open if you only get one of the numbers correct.
If you’re reading this, and you want help dialing in the full combination for you, so it is just right for you, then you’re the type of person we love working with. Click on the “Introductory Workout” link on this page, fill out the form, and I, or my assistant Matt, will be in touch with you soon to arrange a consultation and find out if we’re a good fit to work together.