The top 7 fitness trends for 2019 according to health and fitness professionals

2018 is over. It came and went in a flash.

Just as you were getting comfortable with your workout routine and your diet, the end of the year, and the beginning of a new one, might have you thinking about what you are going to do next.

Your body is continually evolving. Exercise science is continually evolving. It’s only natural that your exercise routine should evolve too.

Stay ahead of the pack and on top of your game by taking advantage of the biggest trends in the fitness world for 2019.

These are not fads.

Fads by their very nature are fleeting. In the fitness industry these are things like the Bowflex, doing Tae Bo, or the vibrating belt. They come, people get very excited about them, and then they are gone just as fast.

Trends are longer lasting; they represent a general development in a situation or a change in the way people are behaving.

For the past 13 years, American College of Sport’s Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal have conducted a survey of thousands of health and fitness professionals.

This year, they received responses from 2,038 people representing countries all over the world and working in many different industries. The top occupations participating in the survey were personal trainers (10%), clinical exercise physiologists (10%), health and fitness directors (10%) and professors (9%).

Here is a list of what they expect to see in 2019.

1. Wearable tech

Wearable tech includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices.

These little devices were super popular when they first came out in 2016 and interest in their use continued into 2017. 2018 saw them slip into the third spot.

For 2019, wearable tech has gone back up to the number 1 spot.

If you haven’t jumped on board with this trend yet, here are a few good guides to help you find a device that will work best for you:

“25 expert tips to get more from your fitness tech this New Year”

“Best fitness tracker guide 2019: Fitbit, Garmin, Xiaomi and more”

“The Best Fitness Trackers for 2019”

2. Group training

No one likes to do it alone. And it seems people like to do it in groups of 5 or more.

According to this and past surveys, group training has always been somewhat of a thing. It wasn’t until 2017, however, that it cracked the top 20.

People tend to like working out in groups because it’s motivating (a good, energetic instructor can make an hour fly by), there’s a well-structured plan, it makes you accountable and you tend to try harder, it’s fun, and you have the support of your fellow participants.

Here are some guides to classes you might want to try in 2019:

“6 Group Workout Classes That Beat Hitting the Gym Alone”

“The beginner’s guide to choosing the best group fitness workout”

3. High intensity interval training

High intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are popular, and it looks like they are here to stay. HIIT cracked the top 20 of this survey in 2014 and has been 1 of the top 5 ever since.

The popularity of HIIT undoubtedly continues as exercise science tells us more and more about the benefits of this type of training. These include: burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time, boosting your metabolic rate for hours beyond the actual workout, helping you lose fat, gaining muscle, etc.

Whatever the workout is packaged as on the surface, HIIT always involves working at 90% or more of your maximum heart rate for short periods of time, followed by intermittent rest periods.

Here are some links to some good HIIT workouts you can do on your own:

“10 HIIT Workouts to Get You Shredded for Summer”

“5 Best 20 Minute HIIT Cardio Workouts For Rapid Fat Loss”

4. Fitness programs for older adults

The baby boomers continue to get older. And they tend to have more money than us younger folk.

That means many health clubs are going to start gearing some of their classes towards this portion of the population.

5. Bodyweight training

Bodyweight training has gained popularity in the last few years. It first made its appearance on this survey in 2013 and it was within the top 5 in 2017 and 2018.

It has cracked the top 5 again this year.

People tend to enjoy bodyweight exercise because of its convenience (you can do the workouts anywhere you are with no equipment required) and because of its effectiveness (you can get all the benefits of a full gym with some creative exercises).

Here are some great bodyweight workouts to try this year:

“The 30 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Men”

“Bodyweight Workouts for Women”

6. Hiring certified fitness professionals

People want to know they can trust the person they’ve charged with looking after their health. In 2019, you can expect more thorough background checks into accreditation and qualifications. This is a good thing for you.

7. Yoga

Yoga really got popular around the 2010’s. And it appears to be on the rise again in 2019, just like it has been since 2017.

Yoga is great because of the relaxation techniques you learn in a class; the benefits it has on stress, depression, and anxiety; and the strength and flexibility increases you’ll experience with regular practice.

There are many types of yoga you can do. Here are some articles to help you figure out where you should start.

“Beginner’s Guide to Yoga”

“The Definitive Guide to Yoga”


Here’s to another year of nutrition, fitness, and well-being. Stay ahead of the curve by capitalizing on these fitness trends and have fun becoming the best version of yourself possible.

Have a great 2019!


“Worldwide survey of fitness trends for 2019” – American College of Sports Medicine

Lose weight without losing muscle with this evidence-based approach

Losing weight while maintaining muscle at the same time is like the holy grail in the fitness world.

While it can be difficult to do, it’s not impossible.

The goal of this article is to provide you with a clearly outlined approach to do just this. It’s an approach based on solid scientific research, so you can be confident it has worked for many other people before.

The primary sources for all the information found in this article are “Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation”, written by a group of researchers from New Zealand, California, and Illinois;  and “Preserving Healthy Muscle during Weight Loss” written by three researchers from the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine.

Be sure to check out these papers for a deeper dive into the information found in this article.


Weight loss can be tricky. First off, it can be difficult for many people to lose weight at all. And secondly, if you do figure out how to lose weight, you don’t want it to come at the expense of the stuff in your body that you want to keep (i.e. lean muscle).

Research suggests that most weight loss comes from a loss of both fat and muscle. If you lose 8-10% of your initial body weight, 2-10% of the weight lost is going to be muscle mass.

That means if you lose 10 pounds, 0.2 pounds of that is going to be muscle.

That may not seem like a lot, but you also have to think about the opportunity cost. Weight training can help you gain about 0.5 pounds of muscle per week under the best conditions.

So, if you lose 10 pounds across 8 weeks, you could be sacrificing as much as 4 pounds of muscle.

This doesn’t have to be the case. Incorporate the following strategies into your weight loss plan and you can maintain or increase your muscle mass at the same time.

1) Maintain a moderate rate of weight loss

To maximize your ability to maintain lean muscle mass while also losing fat, research suggests the ideal rate of weight loss is 0.5 to 1% of your body weight per week.

If you weigh 150 pounds when you start, that means your rate of weight loss will initially be 1.5 pounds.

This also means you’ll have to adjust your weight loss rate accordingly each week.

Assuming you’re successful in your first week losing the 1.5 pounds, your weight loss rate for the second week would then be 1.48 pounds.

Losing weight at a rate faster than this causes you to lose a greater percentage of that weight from lean muscle.

Slow and steady wins the race.

2) Increase your protein intake

Muscle loss that occurs during weight loss is mainly mediated by muscle breakdown rather than a lack of protein synthesis.

One of the primary regulators of muscle protein breakdown is the dietary intake of amino acids (i.e. how much protein you’re getting from your diet).

To counteract the increased muscle breakdown that can occur with weight loss, you need to increase the amount of protein that you’re taking in.

Eric Helms of Sport Performance Research in New Zealand and the author of “Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation” recommends 2.3 to 3.1 g/kg of lean body mass per day.

To get an estimate of your lean body mass composition, use a simple calculator like the one that can be found here: Lean Body Mass Calculator.

I’m about 160 pounds, 30 years old, and 5’10”.

If I use the calculator, I find that approximately 127.4 pounds of my body weight is from lean mass. 127.4 pounds is 53.3 kg.

That means my protein intake, if I’m losing weight while trying to maintain lean body mass, should be 53.3 kg x 3.1 g of protein = 165 g of protein per day.

3) Resistance training

The amount of protein in your diet is one major determinant of the rate of protein synthesis and protein breakdown. Another is muscle contractile activity.

What that really means is that a muscle that is constantly working is less likely to break down.

One reason for this is that muscle contraction stimulates protein synthesis. By stimulating your muscles to grow you’re counteracting their want to break down in the weight loss environment.

The second reason contractile activity prevents muscle break down has to do with the hormone insulin.

Insulin is a potent inhibitor of muscle protein breakdown. Exercise, like resistance training, increases insulin sensitivity, which makes muscles less likely to degrade.

4) Supplements

There are a few supplements that have solid scientific backing regarding their ability to promote muscle protein synthesis and prevent muscle protein degradation. One of them is dietary protein intake, which we’ve already covered.

The others are creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, and BCAAs.

Creatine monohydrate

Creatine is a molecule naturally produced by the body and found in foods like meat, eggs, and fish.

Creatine supplementation is highly associated with increasing and maintaining lean muscle mass.

Many different forms of creatine are available. Stick to creatine monohydrate though, it’s the cheapest and it’s the most effective.

To take, start with a loading phase for a week (0.3 g/kg body weight for a week). After that initial week, go down to 0.03 g/kg.

For a 160 pound (53.3 kg) individual, this would be 16g per day for the first week followed by 1.6 g every day thereafter.


Beta-alanine is the biological building block of carnosine (a molecule that buffers acid levels in muscle tissue).

In addition to buffering to its buffering capability, beta-alanine is also highly associated with increasing lean muscle mass.

To supplement with beta-alanine, take a daily dose of 2-5 g.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs are amino acids found in eggs, meat, and many supplements.

Supplementation is strongly associated with increases in muscle protein synthesis and increasing muscle growth over time.

BCAAs can be added as a supplement on their own. However, your best bet is incorporating a protein supplement into your diet that contains BCAAs since you need to increase your protein intake too.


Weight loss without losing muscle is possible with the right approach. I hope I’ve succeeded in giving you a good starting point if this is your goal.

Have you ever tried to lose weight without losing muscle? Let me know how it went for you in the comments below.

Sources and further reading

How cleansing helps you burn more fat


It’s a very popular word right now. And for good reason.

Cleansing is associated with a number of health benefits:

  • improved mental clarity and concentration
  • weight and body fat loss
  • lowered blood insulin and sugar levels
  • reversal of type 2 diabetes
  • increased energy
  • improved fat burning
  • increased growth hormone
  • lowered blood cholesterol
  • prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
  • longer life
  • autophagy
  • reduction of inflammation

There are many different types of cleanses out there. Each one is made up of slightly different components and promises to do slightly different things. But, at the heart of it all, the underlying principle of a good cleanse has to be intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting is a diet that focuses more on when calories are consumed rather than the type of food eaten. Some have likened intermittent fasting more to an eating pattern, rather than an actual diet.

This article is going to focus on one of the benefits of cleansing: improved fat burning.

I’d like to take you into the biology of this really beneficial aspect of cleansing.

If you’re already an avid cleanser, you might find it enjoyable to learn exactly what’s going on in your body when you cleanse.

If you’re new to cleansing, you might find it interesting to learn of the biological upsides of cleansing, which could help you stay motivated and on track.

If you’ve never tried cleansing before, maybe this will inspire you to give it a try and get healthier!

Cleansing and visceral fat

A study conducted by Monica Klempel and her colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago showed that women who intermittently fasted with calorie restriction lost more visceral fat than women who fasted without calorie restriction.

Visceral fat is the deep abdominal fat that surrounds organs like the liver, pancreas, and intestines.

It is sometimes referred to as “active fat” because it can play potentially dangerous roles in affecting how our hormones function.

By influencing how our hormones function, high amounts of visceral fat are associated with increased risks of insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, and inflammation.

Cleansing allows you to burn visceral fat because it gives your body the opportunity to use it as a source of energy.

When you cleanse, you limit the number of calories consumed. Because fewer calories are being consumed, your body will begin to turn to stores of energy otherwise untouched when abundant calories are consumed on the regular.

These alternate stores of energy are fat stores.

How cleansing gets the body to burn fat

To really understand how this works, let’s back up just a little bit to consider how our body functions when there is an abundance of carbohydrates around for energy.

Non-cleanse days (carbohydrates are in abundance)

Glucose, the type of carbohydrate that circulates in the blood when foods with carbohydrates are eaten, is in abundant supply. These glucose molecules circulate in the blood making themselves available to cells requiring energy.

In response to the presence of glucose in the blood, alpha cells in an organ called the pancreas secrete the hormone insulin.

Glucose is too big to get into cells on its own. Insulin acts like a chaperone of sorts, helping glucose get across cell membranes and into the interior of the cell where it can be used as energy.

It occurs this way on non-cleanse days because carbohydrates are the first line source of energy for cells.

Now let’s consider what happens when you cleanse.

Cleanse days (carbohydrates are in short supply)

Cleanse days involve restricting calories.

Restricting calories means you’re not eating as much and your regular intake of carbohydrates is going to be much lower.

The first thing your body will do is use as much of the glucose circulating in the blood as possible. As blood glucose levels fall, less insulin will be released from alpha cells in the pancreas and insulin levels in the blood will eventually fall too.

Your body needs to create energy somehow from somewhere, otherwise you’ll die (and no one wants that).

Luckily, your beta cells, which can be found right next to the alpha cells in the pancreas, work in the exact opposite conditions that insulin does: they respond to low blood glucose levels.

The beta cells, sensing the low levels of insulin and, indirectly, low levels of blood glucose, release a hormone called glucagon.

Glucagon stimulates the liver to get more glucose into the blood stream by converting its glucose stores (glycogen) back into glucose.

Temporarily this works to increase blood glucose levels and the cells craving energy have enough to get by.

But glycogen is created from excess glucose taken in from the diet. When you’re cleansing, you’re not taking in carbs (i.e. glucose) so those stores are not going to be replenished.

Blood glucose levels are again going to fall and your body is going to be in a situation where it’s looking for alternative sources of energy.

Glucagon is again released from beta cells in the pancreas. Glucagon has multiple functions: it can stimulate the liver to create more glucose and it can stimulate fat cells to release their fat stores for energy.

Fat is stored in fat cells as molecules called triglycerides. When glucagon is released, an enzyme called lipase breaks down triglycerides into their component parts: glycerol and fatty acids.

Glycerol and fatty acids are released into the blood stream. Glycerol ends up in the liver where it can be converted into useable forms of energy for cells and fatty acids can be taken up by cells and used as sources of energy.


This is the biological mechanism behind increased fat burning during cleansing. By limiting the intake of calories you force the body to use its energy reserves. Depletion of carbohydrate reserves transition the body into using fat as an energy source and the storage containers of fat (fat cells) dump their contents into the blood stream to be burned up as useable energy.







Functional Imagery Training (FIT) helps people lose 5X more weight: Here’s everything you need to know about FIT and how to use it

A new study published in the scientific journal: International Journal of Obesity showed that overweight people lost 5X more weight with Functional Imagery Training (FIT).

Basically, the researchers showed that some clever psychological techniques can help you lose weight. That psychological technique is FIT.

What’s really interesting is the study did not include any diet or physical activity advice. The only difference between the groups compared was their mental approach to weight loss. It’s a true testament to the power and importance of a good mindset in achieving your goals.

In this article you’ll find information on what FIT is and how you can start putting it to work for you.

What is Functional Imagery Training?

** The source material can be found here. Check it out to learn even more about FIT **

FIT is a technique that builds and maintains your motivation to achieve a goal using imagery. What separates FIT from other imagery techniques is what you focus on.

The technique was developed by Professor David Kavanagh at Queensland University of Technology in Australia and Professors Jackie Andrade and Jon May at Plymouth University in England. It’s based on a theory of motivation called Elaborated Intrusion Theory.

FIT is based on three core components: Imagery-based motivational interviewing, imagery-based relapse prevention, and functional imagery training.

  1. Imagery-based motivational interviewing

Imagery-based motivational interviewing has 6 goals:

  • Identify your behavioral weak spots

If your goal is weight loss, imagery-based motivational interviewing will help you identify some of your current behaviors that are inconsistent with achieving that goal.

Maybe you’re eating too much processed food, inadvertently binging on unhealthy snack foods while watching Game of Thrones, or having a “cheat day” more often than you even realize… whatever the case may be, imagery-based motivational interviewing will help you identify your behavioral discrepancies.

  • Build motivation 

By imagining how behavioral change will positively benefit you, you are able to visualize how change will bring you closer to your ideal self.

This serves two purposes: First, it builds excitement and motivation. Second, it gives you’re a vision of what achieving your goal would actually look like, which makes it easier to achieve.

  • Create a strategy

Having goals is great, but you’re never going to get anywhere without a plan.

Part of imagery-based motivational interviewing is figuring out exactly how your going to get from point A to point B: from where you are now to where you want to be. FIT helps you learn to visualize each step.

  • Break your goal down into bite-size pieces

Sub-goals are mile markers on your way to your imaginary destination: your goal. You learn sub-goals with FIT by imagining the benefits of change over the next few days or weeks.

  • Build confidence

Confidence is built with FIT by imagining successes you’ve experienced in the past, creating a plan for obstacles you’ll encounter on the road to your goal, and integrating strategies that have worked for you in the past into your plan.

  • Get you to commit

The goals of the first core component of FIT training help you identify problem areas and develop a plan for success. A side-product of these exercises is the commitment it helps you establish to your goal.

  1. Imagery-based relapse prevention

Imagery-based relapse prevention has 5 goals:

  • Brainstorm what’s going to get in your way

Obstacles are inevitable and out of your control. They’re easier to overcome if you’re prepared for them.

  • Imagine yourself overcoming obstacles

Identify ways obstacles can be overcome using strategies you already know how to use and imagine them working for you on your way to your goal.

  • Use the cravings buster exercise

The cravings buster exercise helps train you to switch your attention from craving imagery to goal imagery. Find out more about it and how to use it here.

  • Celebrate your successes

Inevitably there will be obstacles; similarly, there are guaranteed successes to be experienced (no matter how small they may be).

The second core component helps you bring attention to those successes and incorporate their memory into your plan.

  • Practice

Conquering obstacles on your way to achieving your goal is like fighting the mythical medusa: no matter how many heads you cut off (the heads being obstacles conquered in this analogy) there is always one more to grow back in its place.

Obstacles are going to keep getting in your way. The only way to get passed is to keep conquering them again and again.

FIT prepares you for this by continually anticipating risky situations and using imagery to develop and rehearse coping strategies.

  1. Functional Imagery Training

Components 1 and 2 are designed to help you develop emotionally-charged imagery of your goal and your path towards it using all your senses.

Core component 3 (Functional imagery training) is where the rubber meets the road. It has 1 main goal:

  • Make your imagery practice automatic

This is done by pairing imagery with an everyday behavioral cue (e.g. washing your hands, climbing the stairs, etc.).

At first you’re going to have to consciously think about the association. I’m washing my hands now… oh right, I’m supposed to visualize achieving my goal… and repeat.

Eventually this will become habit. Without and conscious effort you’ll soon be imagining your success every time you turn the tap on.

How to incorporate FIT into your life

There’s plenty of resources about FIT available if you want to learn more about it and start practicing it on Plymouth University’s website.

A quicker approach is probably lying in your hand right now.

The psychologists who developed FIT have also created a mobile app that helps you work towards your goals using multisensory imagery. It’s called Goal in Mind.

It’s a tool that allows you to practice imagery and boost your confidence without constant practitioner input.

I have an Android phone and the download worked perfectly. I’m assuming it will work well for Apple users too.

How the app works:

Its really easy and straightforward:

Download the app and Goal in Mind will take you to a screen asking you to set your goal.

It then allows you to pick and store images that represent your goal and related behaviors, gives you access to guided imagery and mindfulness sessions, and allows you to track your practice and goal progress.

Practice regularly and you could experience some of the benefits of FIT in achieving your goals.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you in the comments section!

Sources and further reading: – for more information about FIT and how to use it. – the published journal arcticle.


How to change your metabolic set point and lose weight for good

Losing weight is hard. Gaining it back, however, seems to be so much easier.

Talk to just about anyone that’s tried to lose weight and you’ll hear the same thing again and again: the classic yo-yo pattern. You lose weight just to gain it right back. You lose weight, you gain weight. Over and over again.

Why does this happen?

One theory explaining this phenomenon is the metabolic set point theory.

This theory suggests that your body has a natural inclination to want to be a certain weight.

And when you do something that could simulate a weight loss or increase (e.g. decrease your caloric intake by consuming fewer calories or increasing your physical activity level to increase caloric expenditure), mechanisms within your body will kick in to keep you where you are.

These mechanisms that kick in involve hormones, feelings of hunger, and changes in behavior.

It was once thought the metabolic set point was purely determined by your genetics. If your family is by and large on the huskier side, then you will be too.

On the flip side, if your family is on the lean and skinny side of the spectrum, you will likely be lean and skinny.

Research now suggests that there is more to it than just genetics. In fact, genetics seems to be a relatively small component that can be overcome by changes in diet and exercise.

Factors that contribute to your metabolic set point in addition to genetics are: your level of physical activity, your diet, and your hormones.

We’ll go through how each of the these influences the metabolic set point one at a time.

1. The role of your genetics

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Research suggests there are a few genes that influence weight gain substantially, and hundreds of others that play a more minor role.

Collectively, these genes play roles in processes like how hungry you generally are (appetite), how full you feel (satiety), your food cravings, body-fat distribution, and your tendency to stress-eat.

How much of an influence your genes have on your weight differs from person to person. For some genetics contributes as little as 25%. For others, it can be as high as 80%.

Whatever the percentage may be, the fact of the matter is that it is: it’s only part of the equation.

Your genetics can be overcome with the proper lifestyle modifications. It just may take a little longer if your genetics significantly influence your weight.

2. The role of hormones

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Hormonal responses seem to be the most immediate responders to fluctuations in caloric intake: they’re the first line of defense attempting to keep your body weight exactly where it is.

Two major players are the hormones leptin and ghrelin.

Leptin is often referred to as the hormone of energy expenditure.

It’s mainly produced by fat cells and helps regulate your energy balance by inhibiting feelings of hunger. When leptin levels are high you feel full, or satiated. When leptin levels are low you feel hungry.

Ghrelin performs the opposite function of leptin. It is a peptide hormone produced by cells in the gastrointestinal tract. When ghrelin levels are high you feel hungry. When ghrelin levels are low you don’t.

Both leptin and ghrelin act on the same cells in the hypothalamus to exert their hunger-inducing or hunger-reducing functions.

Changes in calorie intake or expenditure can modify the production of these hormones and your feelings of hunger or fullness.

Clinical studies suggest that weight loss decreases leptin. This fits into the metabolic set point theory as a first line indicator of your body no longer being at the weight it used to be at, and your leptin levels responding by making you hungry, so you can get back to where you used to be.

3. The role of physical activity and diet

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Physical activity and diet are the two most modifiable components of your lifestyle that determine your metabolic set point.

Basically, your body responds in a way that is ideal for your lifestyle. If you consistently take in more calories than you need to burn, your body will store it as fat – because that’s the most efficient way to store energy in the long term.

If you consistently expend more calories than you take in, your body will mobilize energy stores to supply the needed fuel for that extra energy expenditure.

Over time your metabolism will adjust to accomodate the deficit or the excess calories intake.

How to alter your metabolic set point

Altering your metabolic set point takes time and persistence.

It’s done by first altering your weight by changing either the amount of calories you ingest OR by increasing the amount of calories you expend. Then you lock it in by maintaining that weight for a long period of time – the longer the better.

To prevent huge hormonal responses in leptin and ghrelin, weight loss should be done gradually (ideally at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week).

Doing it slowly and consistently allows your body to get accustomed to its new weight before you take a little bit more off.

Going at this rate you may experience a little bit of hunger as your body produces less leptin to try get you to eat more. But, you won’t feel like your starving like you would if you tried to drop a whole bunch of weight really fast.

The long term nature of changing your metabolic set point means there isn’t one diet or workout routine that’s going to do it for you fast.

We’re talking complete lifestyle change here. So choose a diet and exercise routine that you can see yourself maintaining for the foreseeable future. Too much too fast and you’ll quit, pick up your old habits, and find yourself back right where you started.


Metabolic set point is one theory explaining why weight loss can be difficult. It is determined by some factors that are outside of your control (i.e. genetics), but there are also facets of it that you can alter – diet and exercise.

The one thing that is going to dictate whether or not you successfully alter your metabolic set point is longevity. The longer you can stick with a diet and exercise plan the better it is in terms of changing your set point.

Have any questions? Feel free to contact me. Also, like the post, follow the blog, and find Healthy Wheys on social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) for new content every week.

And please let me know if you have any feedback or topics you your like me to cover!

4 common fat loss myths debunked

The culture of fat loss is filled with contradictory, straight up misleading, and just plain wrong information.

It can make your endeavor into cutting extra fat extremely difficult when you don’t know what and who you can trust.

This week, I’ll take you through 4 common myths about losing fat. I’ll touch a little bit on the origin of the myth and why it’s a myth.

  1. You need to cut carbs to lose fat

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We’ve all heard it: “carbs are the enemy”.

Cutting carbs is an idea consistently perpetuated by weight loss gurus all over the world.

Why do we think we should get rid of carbs from our diet altogether?

Because of a narrow and misguided interpretation of the scientific literature. A single scientific study is not meant to stand alone. The results of one study should be interpreted in the context of everything else that is going on in the field as a whole.

Here are a few caveats to look out for when you look at research surrounding carbohydrates and fat loss.

First, the majority of studies conducted focus on sedentary, obese individuals – which may work for some people, but if you’re already moderately active and you’re just looking to shed 10 pounds or so, these results won’t be applicable to you.

Second, most studies are short term. We’re talking two weeks long for the most part. They’re not enough to determine what’s going to happen to you over the long haul.

Lastly, a lot of research relies on self-reporting. Where you use an app or a food diary of some sort and log everything you’ve eaten. These are notoriously unreliable. A lot of participants misreport making the results very difficult to interpret.

You, as a person who doesn’t have the time to become well versed on an entire field of research – because unless you’re one of the researchers in the field, no one has the time – should look for meta-analyses.

Meta-analyses are great because they combine the results of many different studies into one paper to give you a better idea of where the field is at in regards to a particular question.

A meta-analysis of the effect of low-carb and moderate carb intake diets on weight loss suggest no difference between the two diets.

  1. To lose fat, eat lots of small meals to rev up your metabolism

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Another idea you hear about a lot is the need to eat many small meals in a day to boost your metabolism and promote weight loss.

This myth likely has its origins in epidemiological studies. These are the types of studies where a scientist will look at a large group of people and try make inferences about that group and certain conditions. Like meal frequency and the rate of obesity, for example.

It was once observed that people who ate more frequently tended to weigh less.

Many people since these studies have improperly taken this relationship and thought that eating more meals would cause weight loss.

This can be extremely difficult if you’re on a low-calorie diet. Some women are recommended to go as low as 1200 calories in a day! Not saying the latter statement is correct, but let’s entertain the idea of someone trying to consume that many calories in a day with a high-frequency meal plan.

Split 1200 calories over 6 meals and you’re expected to eat 200 calories per meal. That’s only easy to stick to if you find fulfillment in a grape and a cracker for lunch.

  1. Cardio after an overnight fast is the key to losing more fat

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The origin of this myth is mainly theoretical. People thought that after a period of fasting your carbohydrate stores are lower than they would be if you weren’t fasting. So when you jump on the treadmill you’ll get to burning fat more quickly.

Even if this was true, let’s talk about the first misconception in this statement: the source of the fat.

The first fat stores used during exercise are within your muscle. Your muscles are the ones doing the work and they need energy fast, so they’re going to call upon sources that will get them needed energy as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, fat sources like your love handles aren’t getting used during exercise. Sorry.

The second misconception is the idea that fat is burned in isolated increments. Losing weight and fat is a long-term process that happens throughout the course of the day, not just when you’re working out.

It’s true that the more well-trained you are, the quicker you will start burning fat as a source of energy during exercise. It’s also true that the majority of energy used for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption comes from fat stores. A lot happens outside the confines of your exercise session.

  1. A 3500-calorie deficit = one pound of fat loss

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This myth originates from what’s known about caloric expenditure and how many calories a pound of fat can produce (9 Cals per gram of fat).

The math, however, isn’t so straight forward.

Our body was built to survive. To do so it resists change by slowing metabolism when we are underfeeding and speeding metabolism when we overfeed.

How do you circumvent this nasty little biological mechanism?

Stick with it for the long term and shoot for slow, incremental loss. 1-2 pounds for week if you’re close to your ideal weight already. Also, maintain your metabolism by maintaining your lean muscle mass as you lose weight (i.e. lift weights and ensure adequate protein intake).


There are a lot of misinformed opinions in the fitness world. But, there are two golden rules to live by for weight loss:

  1. You need a caloric deficit (that means you expend more calories than you consume)
  2. Stick with it for the long term

Adherence is going to make all the difference. What the science tells us is that it doesn’t necessarily matter what you do, just as long as it is something you can maintain. Pick something that works best for you.

If you’d like some help and a little more guidance, give me a shout! That’s what I’m here for. And be sure to follow the blog and Healthy Wheys on social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter).

Have a great week!



4 benefits of cleansing beyond weight loss

Good cleanses are based on the principles of intermittent fasting – i.e. regular short-term bouts of abstaining from food intake.

Intermittent fasting has garnered a lot of attention in the past ten years or so as an extremely effective tool for managing weight and improving body composition. Less appreciated, however, are its effects on other aspects of health.

Here are a few ways intermittent fasting helps promote good health beyond weight loss.

  1. It may help prevent some diseases through autophagy

Intermittent fasting may play a role in preventing several diseases.

It does this by increasing autophagy.

Autophagy is a normal process within the cells of the body that includes regulated protein degradation and turnover of worn out cellular components that are unnecessary or dysfunctional. The word literally means self-eating. Its derived from the Greek words “auto”, which means self, and “phagy”, which means eating.

Fasting increases cellular autophagy. It’s the body’s natural response to nutrient deprivation


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In Canada alone, over 200,000 new cases of cancer were estimated to occur in 2017. 50% of us will have cancer in our lifetime. These are staggering numbers.

Autophagy helps prevent the development of cancerous cells by safeguarding normal cells against metabolic stress.

The induction of autophagy, which is increased during intermittent fasting, does this by promoting the turnover of the energy producers of cells (mitochondria) and getting rid of dysfunctional proteins.

When mitochondria are worn out, they don’t function properly and create reactive oxygen species that can promote DNA damage and the formation of cancerous cells.


Neurodegenerative diseases include Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, among others. Autophagy is generally impaired in neurodegenerative disorders suggesting a lack of proper autophagy may play a role in the formation of the disease.

Huntington’s disease causes uncontrolled movements, emotional problems, and the loss of thinking ability. It’s caused by the accumulation of proteins that results in the death of brain cells. Autophagy may help rid the brain of these bad proteins; a study from the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research showed the dysfunctional proteins associated with this disease can be cleared by autophagy.

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. It also involves the accumulation of dysfunctional proteins. And research shows autophagy is abnormal in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Parkinson’s disease affects movement. The most well-known symptom is visible shaking of a hand, but it can also include stiffness or slow movement.

Parkinson’s has been linked with mitochondrial dysfunction. Autophagy promotes the turnover of mitochondria, which may help prevent some of the bad biological processes that develop Parkinson’s disease.

  1. It helps regulate hunger, which can help you make healthier choices

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Intermittent fasting is linked to changes in a peptide involved in regulating hunger: peptide YY.

Peptide YY is linked with feelings of fullness and satiety. Normally, it’s released from cells in the small and large intestine after a meal is consumed and from a small population of neurons in the brain stem.

Interestingly, a study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago showed increases in levels of peptide YY after 10 weeks of intermittent fasting.

  1. It improves insulin sensitivity

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Insulin is a hormone secreted from the pancreas that helps glucose get into the cells of the body where it can be used for energy right away or stored for later use.

Insulin sensitivity refers to how much insulin you need in your blood stream for it to do its job effectively.

High insulin requirements (insulin resistance) are associated with a lot of health risks. Insulin at high levels can cause damage to blood vessels and its linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure, obesity, osteoperosis (thinning bones), and certain types of cancer.

Fasting increases insulin sensitivity. That means you need less insulin in your blood for it to adequately get glucose out of the blood stream and into your cells.

Because you need less insulin, you mitigate a lot of the risks associated with high circulating insulin.

  1. It may help you live longer

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Intermittent fasting is linked to increasing lifespan in animals and improving overall health as we age in human populations.

A study performed at the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy showed dietary restriction decreases visceral fat and improves inflammatory profiles. Visceral fat is the fat found deep within a person’s abdominal cavity, close to many organs and it has a profound influence on how hormones function in the body. Inflammation, especially the chronic kind, is linked to many age-related diseases.

While the link between intermittent fasting and health has been known for a long time, it wasn’t until recently that the underlying biology was better understood. Studies in animals, worms to be exact, suggest it has something to do with mitochondria.

A group of scientists from Harvard showed that restricting a worm’s diet caused changes in the shape of mitochondria, maintaining them in a more “youthful” state. Exactly how this translates to increasing how long we live and our health is still unclear, but it may have something to do with how these healthier mitochondria communicate with other organelles in the cell called peroxisomes and their ability to alter fat metabolism.


Cleansing – by way of intermittent fasting – has proven abilities in weight loss and weight management. But you shouldn’t just be interested in it if you’re looking for those two things. I mentioned a few benefits of it for overall health and wellness in this article today, but we’re just scratching the surface here.

If you’re interested in the different types of fasting protocols, please contact me. I can make sure you’re doing it right and maximizing its benefits.

I hope you enjoyed the article and have a great week!

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