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Friday, July 27, 2012

Hormones For Fat Loss Revisited

Weight loss is fairly simple - make the scale go down regardless of where the weight loss comes from. While it simply makes the number go down, it doesn't mean that the results will be what you want. Fat loss on the other hand, is a complex thing and it's what you really should be concerned with not only to look better but to be healthy.

There are many hormones in your body that do all sorts of things. For fat loss, there are hormones that can make you lean or fat depending on what's going on in your body. Part of your goal with your nutrition plan is to manage your hormones to keep you in an anabolic, fat burning, muscle building state. Here we will discuss some of the heavy hitters. I have compiled excerpts from a variety of sources listed below to give you an overview of some big hormones in the fat loss arena. There are many more and you could go on forever about hormones, thyroid and such but this is just a shotgun blast.

Insulin: A peptide hormone composed of 51 amino acid residues, which is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas and released when any of the several stimuli is detected. These stimuli include ingested protein and glucose in the blood, produced from digested food. Insulin has expansive effects on metabolism and other bodily systems. It causes the uptake of blood sugar (glucose) by the vast majority of bodily cells. These cells include muscle, fatty tissue, and liver cells. Insulin is primarily responsible for storing glucose as glycogen in the liver and muscles. When insulin is at high concentrations in the body, it prevents the use of fat as an energy source.

Ghrelin: Your stomach makes ghrelin when it’s empty. Just like leptin, ghrelin goes into the blood, crosses the blood-brain barrier, and ends up at your hypothalamus, where it tells you you’re hungry. Levels are high before you eat and low after you eat. Ghrelin seems to be affected by growth hormone release, which differs in men and women.

Leptin: is made by adipose tissue (aka fat) and is secreted into the circulatory system, where it travels to the hypothalamus. Leptin tells the hypothalamus that we have enough fat, so we can eat less or stop eating. the more fat you have, the more leptin you make; the less food you’ll eat; and the higher your metabolic rate (possibly). The less fat you have, the less leptin you have, and the hungrier you’ll be. So for weight loss — the more leptin the better. Leptin resistance is similar to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when there’s lots of insulin being produced (for example, with a diet high in sugar and simple carbohydrate), but the body and brain have stopped “listening” to insulin’s effects. Both types of resistance seem to occur together in obese people, though obese men who tend to have more internal belly fat (visceral fat) have higher insulin levels, and women who tend to have more fat under their skin have higher leptin levels. Leptin seems to influence reproduction and fertility in women, which is related to women’s body fat levels. Women appear to be much more sensitive than men to leptin levels… unless men are given estrogen.

Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL): This hormone is responsible for releasing fat into your bloodstream to be utilized as fuel. When HSL is increased in muscle, fatty acids are liberated from intramuscular lipids where they are utilized by muscle fibers as an energy source. With regard to muscle contraction, HSL activity appears to be increased by the frequency and duration of exercise as a result of changes in muscle glycogen. Low glycogen stores induced by a low carbohydrate diet increases HSL activity in muscle.

Adiponectin: is a hormone exclusively secreted by body fat. This hormone has been recently gaining attention from researchers because of some of its functions. Two important ones are the regulation of glucose and fat metabolism. Elevated levels of adiponectin are associated with increased insulin sensitivity, and increased fat catabolism (i.e., fat burning). And these associations appear to be causal. That is, adiponectin levels do not seem to be only markers, but causes of increased insulin sensitivity and fat catabolism. In other words, an increase in circulating adiponectin seems to lead to increased insulin sensitivity and increased fat catabolism. Insulin sensitivity is the opposite of insulin resistance. The latter is a precursor to diabetes type 2, and is associated with elevated fasting and postprandial (i.e., after a meal) glucose levels. Adiponectin also seems to work closely with leptin, another hormone implicated in a number of diseases of civilization. It appears that adiponectin and leptin modulate each other’s secretion and effects in metabolic processes. Adiponectin is unique among hormones secreted by body fat in that it increases as body fat decreases. Other important body fat hormones, such as leptin, decrease with body fat loss.

As stress heightens, cortisol is released. While cortisol has beneficial effects on the body, the constantly high levels of it are problematic. Cortisol still tends to promote the storage of fat, specifically to the abdominal area where it can quickly be utilized for the fight or flight response. Scientists have found an increased level of activity of the enzyme 11b hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11b HSD-1) in abdominal fat that they believe is the cause of the correlation between cortisol and abdominal fat. A recent study by Roland Rosmond and Per Bjourntorp found that stress-related cortisol secretion in men is strongly associated with abnormalities in glucose, insulin and lipid metabolism as well as abdominal obesity. Over the long-term, elevated cortisol may be as detrimental to overall health as elevated cholesterol or elevated blood sugar.' High cortisol levels have been linked to a lowered testosterone: cortisol ratio, a prime marker of anabolic status and the ability to recover from exercise and build muscle. Further, as cortisol continues to increase, chances for muscle atrophy, impaired immunity, vitamin depletion and increased blood pressure occur.   During intensive strength training, the type of training used to transform bodies, the body enters a catabolic state where there is a net protein breakdown in the body. During this time, ACTH and cortisol are released to decrease muscle inflammation and to begin breaking down amino acids for the process of protein synthesis after exercise. While this is a natural and necessary response, excessive cortisol has been associated with overtraining syndrome. During exercise, the body will breakdown an increased amount of muscle proteins as fuel if there is an inadequate supply of carbohydrates. However, it has been found that consuming a carbohydrate beverage during exercise attenuates the rise in cortisol levels and limits the amount of exercise-related immunosuppression. Current research indicates that sleep deprivation can lead to an elevation in cortisol and is harmful to carbohydrate metabolism.

So what can you do:

Psychology and education: get your head in the game and learn about whats going on with your body.

Nutrition / water intake: Eating right and staying hydrated is essential

Exercise smarter - don't just endlessly workout and beat your head against the wall

Sleep -get some

Stress management: stressors cause damage. Try to limit and manage stress.

Lifestyle changes - the big picture for long term results.

Social support - friends and family or groups can help tremendously

Read more:

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness

My 8 Week Get Lean Program: Week 7 Update

Wow week 7 done already. This was supposed to be the 1st week back on my normal plan but I unintentionally have been doing IF the whole week. So it's my normal plan with IF time windows kinda like the combo pack. The more progress you make, the harder it is to keep making progress. Now things are hour by hour, day by day inching forward. I have learned alot during this self discovery journey.

I'm cycling carbs daily based upon activity level. Still not drinking enough water -that is tough. I'm drinking more but not enough. Carbs are mostly from vegetables with some fruit. Lots of protein and good fats. Cheat meals on the weekend only if that.

Starting to get some water off but man it's hard. Abs are starting to show better. Other body parts are responding better naturally as the abs will be the last strong hold of fat and water. But that's ok. I'm leaner now than I've probably ever been. Not skinnier but leaner. Weight is holding steady at 214.5 and body fat and water levels rise and fall slightly throughout each day. Caliper is still a zero but the hand held BEI device gives you a different number every 5 minutes as does the scale. Tape measure shows me down 1.75in off the belly. The real measure is how I feel and the mirror.

I can't get good pictures for shit. I need to get a photographer with good lighting. You can can talk shit about my pictures, when you post yours. I'm not trying to be better than anyone else or be something special. I'm trying to improve myself and be better than I was 8 weeks ago. And I'm showing you my trials and struggles using the programs that I teach my clients. I'm also trying to be normal and not crazy about things. I could be doing much more as far as training and nutrition but I'm trying to find a sustainable approach that I can do in my normal day. I'm not training for a competition or any specific event so there is no end date. 8 weeks will be a milestone but not the end.

Putting pics online is not an ego thing. It's a scary thing that holds your feet to the fire. I put my pics up for my benefit. Don't be afraid to put your pics where people can see them. It's a form of accountability that is very powerful. Always strive to be better today than you were yesterday.

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fat Loss Basics: Fat Loss 101

by Alwyn Cosgrove
Warp Speed Fat Loss

How do we actually lose fat? What do we mean by fat “burning”?

Here’s a very simple, (dumbed down) explanation of what actually goes on to create a fat loss effect.
The key concept that trainers and physiologists have shoved down our throat for years is that it’s all about calories in vs calories out. This is true – for weight loss - but it’s not the whole truth for fat loss– there are a number of protective mechanisms that the body has in place, called rate limiting steps to prevent fat being lost.

On a very basic level - Fat “burning” is essentially a two step process.

The first step is mobilization. How do we get actually fat out of the fat cells so that we can subsequently use it as a fuel source?

Fat mobilization is governed essentially by levels of a hormone known as hormone sensitive lipase or HSL (you can forget the name as there wont’ be a test). It’s an oversimplification but basically the higher the HSL levels, the higher the fat mobilization.

How do we get higher HSL? Increase catecholamine levels (specifically adrenaline).

How do we do that? Exercise. Particularly high intensity exercise.

But HSL is also limited by insulin. High insulin levels = low HSL levels = low fat mobilization.

So a great strategy for part one is low insulin levels (from diet and training), plus high catecholamines (through intense training).

Part two of the process is transport and oxidation.

If HSL levels are high - fat cells break down into free fatty acids (FFA) which circulate in the blood and eventually end up in a muscle (which needs energy) where they can be burned off in the mitochondria (this is the ‘powerhouse’ of the cell that your high school biology teacher kept going on about).

But there’s another rate limiting step here. Transporting the FFA into the mitochondria where it can be burned off. That transport is controlled by carnitine levels.

If carnitine levels are high - fat transport is high.

Think of carnitine like passport control officials.

If you get off a plane with 500 other passengers and there is one official at passport control - it’ll take a long time to get through. If there are 500 officials - then you go through quickly and can leave the airport. (Leaving the airport is the equivalent of fat being burned off). The more officials (carnitine) the easier the process.

So how do we ramp up carnitine levels? Well - again we have a rate limiting step. If muscle glycogen is high then carnitine levels are low.

So if we reduce muscle glycogen through metabolic work — we have the optimal fat oxidation state. Therefore high intensity glycogen depleting exercise is a the tool of choice here.

High levels of fat mobilization + High levels of fat oxidation = Accelerated fat loss.

So if you figure out how to integrate all those steps, and circumvent each rate limiting step - you’ll find that fat loss is simple …..

About the Author/More Info:

Warp Speed Fat Loss is a complete 28 day diet and training system crafted to help you lose 10,15, or 20lbs of body fat in just 28 day. To start losing weight fast visit Warp Speed Fat Loss. Alwyn Cosgrove, M.S., C.S.C.S. is a nationally renown fat loss expert whose work has appeared in magazines such as Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Men's Journal, Self, Oxygen, and Muscle & Fitness HERS. His Warp Speed Fat Loss system is a complete Done-for-You A-Z Fat Loss Blueprint that gives you exactly everything you need to eat and exactly what to do for exercise to lose weight in record time.

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness

End Of July Bootcamp Special

Meal Of The Week For Busy People: Tuna Low Carb

This meal of the week consists of tuna, walnuts, pecan meal and plain greek yogurt. Minimal carbs, lots of protein and good fats. Throw it in a bowl and stir it all up. Add minimal condiments if desired. Quick and easy.

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why Should You Include Fasting In Your Lifestyle?

By Brad Pilon, MS

There are many reasons why you should include fasting as a part of your everyday lifestyle, many of which have nothing to do with diet. Fasting as a concept has been around as long as the hills, though it has been taken to extremes at times and made to look like a less than viable part of a normal and sensible health and weight control plan.  

Fasts have been undertaken through the years for reasons as diverse as political causes (Bobby Sands comes to mind) and religious fasts. The Bible and many other religions promote fasting as a way to get closer to God, and to achieve enlightenment. There is also some physical evidence that deprivation can lead to a heightened state of awareness, no doubt some of which comes from the lack of additional food the system must process.  

Fasts can also be used as a prelude to medical procedures. For instance, most doctors recommend a 12-hour fast before taking a lipid profile. This is also standard procedure before surgery. Complications from the combination of food and anesthesia have been known to occur. There is also at least empirical evidence that fasting can have a beneficial effect on other aspects of your health. There are those who believe that water fasting can not only work to detoxify cells and rejuvenate organs, but also can help and possibly aid in curing such diseases and conditions as cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, lupus and many more autoimmune disorders.    

A newer trend in terms of using fasting as an aid in a sensible weight loss plan is the concept of intermittent fasts. These are short-term fasts lasting 24-36 hours in length, which help contribute to a total caloric deficit, thus bringing about faster weight loss. This type of fasting is simple to implement, and can be adapted to most individual needs.  

One danger to be aware of is the practice of extreme fasting among teens. This can lead to other types of food disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia. Few teens need to go on extreme fasts for purposes of weight loss, and if one is considered, it should be under the supervision of their physician. If the reasons for going on a fast have anything to do with pressure to be thin, or feelings of low self-esteem, then it would be wise to offer counsel. Extreme fasts tend to appear when a period of binge eating has occurred, with the intent being to purge the body of all the excess food. 

Fasting can be a viable and important piece of a well thought out weight loss plan. The use of short-term fasts used in conjunction with a sound diet can offer great weight loss results, as well as some of the ancillary benefits of fasting. This combined with all the spiritual and beneficial effects fasting can have on a person's psyche make fasting something you should definitely consider when determining your course.  

Brad Pilon is a nutrition professional with over eight years experience working in the nutritional supplement industry specializing in clinical research management and new product development. Brad has completed graduate studies in nutritional sciences specializing in the use of short term fasting for weight loss.

His trademarked book Eat Stop Eat has been featured on national television and helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat without sacrificing the foods they love. For more information on Eat Stop Eat, visit


Friday, July 20, 2012

My 8 Week Get Lean Program: Week 6 Update

So week 6 has finished two weeks of Intermittent Fasting (IF). I felt alot better doing IF after carb cycling. Progress is slow and steady. This week, I'm down 3lbs, which I'm not trying to lose weight, down a half inch off the waist and caliper is still zero. Had to punch a new belt notch in. I'm also down 2% body fat this week according to the hand held bioelectric impedance device. Definition is improving slowly. Water intake still too low and calories probably low as well. Water retention better but still too high. Could have done better. Energy levels are pretty good on IF. IF is good stuff, I just hate fasting and hate being hungry. 

Also I wanted to note that I'm not doing 3 hours of insanity or crossfit every day. I'm doing my normal routine. I see the 3 hour a day people making minimal to no progress and chuckle. What a waste of time. You don't need to spend hours working out. You just need to spend a little bit of time doing the right stuff. I'm healing up my joint injuries, getting lean and gathering data on nutrition plans. I'm not trying to get on stage or win a competition. I feel really good and I'm getting leaner than I've been possibly ever. I'm not killing myself to do it either. Oh yeah and I'm not taking a bunch of crazy supplements. I did try B12 under the tongue pills and CLA but haven't noticed anything spectacular about them. 

Cheat meal this weekend, then on to week 7. Back to two weeks of the standard plan of eating every couple hours with small evenly sized meals, cycling carbs daily by meal, instead of weekly.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

7 Ways Fasting Can Rev Up Your Fat Burning Furnace

Flexible intermittent fasting is becoming a very popular way to use your body’s natural ability to burn lots of fat in a short period of time.

Here is a list of the ways that flexible intermittent fasting will turbo charge your fat loss.

1.     Increases Fat Burning Hormones
Hormones are usually at the root of most of your metabolic functioning, and fat burning is no different. Growth Hormone is the most important fat burning hormone in your body. Fasting pushes growth hormone production into high gear and this makes your fat burning furnace start to work overtime. Fasting also decrease your insulin levels, which ensures that you burn body fat instead of storing it.

2.     Increased Fat Burning Enzymes
Fat burning hormones need the help of fat burning enzymes to get their job done. Fasting will sky rocket the activity of two of the most important fat burning enzymes in your body. Adipose tissue HSL (Hormone Sensitive Lipase) is the enzyme responsible for allowing your fat cells to release fat so it can be burned as energy in your muscles.  Muscle tissue LPL (Lipoprotein Lipase) is the enzyme responsible for allowing your muscle cells to take up fat so it can be burnt as a fuel. Fasting increases both of these enzymes to optimize fat burning - A perfect combination.

3.     Burn More Calories
Short term fasting (12-72hrs) actually increases your metabolism and adrenaline levels. This causes you to increase calorie burning during the fast period. The more calories you burn the faster you can lose weight. The extra energy you get from the fast might actually help you through a workout or get more work done at work or around the house. When I did my first fast I was shocked at how awake and energetic I was. My fasting days are now my most productive days of the week.

4.     Burn Fat Instead of Sugar
Fasting shifts your metabolism from burning blood sugar to burning mostly body fat. When you eat a meal your body likes to burn carbs first, then the fat from your food. Any extra fat that your body can’t burn in the few hours after you eat get stored as body fat. When you fast your body has no choice but to burn stored body fat. By the end of a 24 hour fast your body is burning way more fat than it would during a regular day of eating.

5.      You’ll Find Out Why You Eat
The most surprising benefit people report back when they start fasting is a new found awareness of what causes them to eat. When you make a conscious decision to fast for a day your less than flattering eating motivations become painfully obvious. This is the first and most effective step to getting rid of bat habits for good. Knowing what your motivations are for poor eating choices is essential before you can change them and build better habits.

6.     Builds Positive Attitudes Towards Yourself and Food
Each short fast is an accomplishment that can build self confidence and gratitude. At the end of a 24 hour fast you can feel good about your accomplishment and start feeling good about your relationship with food again. The positive empowerment from each fast builds on the last until you feel completely in control of your food choices.

7.     Eat All The Foods You Love Guilt Free
Short term fasting allows you to lose weight and burn fat without restricting any of the foods you love to eat. With this style of eating you can consume any and all of the foods you like whenever you choose without feeling guilty about it and still lose weight. You will never again have to be sitting in a restaurant picking at a salad while everyone else at the tables indulges in their favorite entrée and dessert.

Eating for fat loss doesn’t need to be complicated and food should never be a source of anxiety or guilt. Mixing in a few 24 hours fasts to your week can liberate you from the dieting prison and allow you to enjoy food again.

Brad Pilon is a nutrition professional with over eight years experience working in the nutritional supplement industry specializing in clinical research management and new product development. Brad has completed graduate studies in nutritional sciences specializing in the use of short term fasting for weight loss.

His trademarked book Eat Stop Eat has been featured on national television and helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat without sacrificing the foods they love. 

For more information on Eat Stop Eat, visit


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New T-shirts are in

New shirts are in! Red, blue, yellow, green, purple and orange. All in medium. Gray still in stock for XL.
Cost is $15. Support the team with a new t-shirt. 


Friday, July 13, 2012

My Get Lean Program: Week 5 Update

So week 5 was the first week of Intermittent Fasting (IF). It was a hard transition from carb cycling. Going from eating every couple of hours with high-med-low carb days to fasting for 16 hours was a kick in the shorts. It takes me a week to adjust but now it's easing up and I'll be good for next week. I'm definitely not tracking this week. Water intake was way too low causing me to retain water and sleep was not consistent or good which screwed up my hormone levels causing me to stay fat.  - Geez I sound like a few of my female clients. - Kidding!

Numbers for the week - gained a pound, remained zero the caliper (I have a bioelectrical impedance body fat monitor coming in the mail just to see the numbers continue to flux even though it will be 10% higher than caliper readings) and I lost 1/4 inch from the waist. So no big fluxes in numbers.

Having said that, reviewing my goals, I'm not trying to flux numbers but to change my body composition by losing fat and maintaining and  / or gaining lean body mass. Changes have been happening. Lean body mass is maintaining and body fat is decreasing although water retention is a constant nagging issue. I will be more aggressive on the water in the next couple of weeks.

Also one of the goals is to see how I react to the different nutrition plans and explore what works best for me at my current age / disposition. I'm almost 44, not 24. So everything is much harder at this age. I'm not claiming to be nor trying to be a fitness model or a fitness super star. I'm an old, injured, retired soldier trying to stay in the best functional shape that I can. And I train my clients with proven methods and techniques that really work.

So for the haters who talk crap, please share with me your secrets and photos - I may never get super ripped but I'll be better than when I started and that's all that matters. If you can do better, more power to you.

Here are some pics from this week for my tracking purposes.

 Next week is week 6 which will be the second week of IF. I'll keep you posted.

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Meal Of The Week For Busy People: Pork Loin

This meal of the week has pork loin cooked in a crockpot, pecan meal, baby spinach and water. Simple, quick and all good stuff. Select macronutrients from foods that you like and make different meal combos for variety.

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness 

Protein On The Go - Prograde Fusion Review

Prograde Fusion is whey protein that comes in small packets designed for water bottles. Comes in orange and fruit punch flavors. 24g of protein. Easy, quick and convenient with a good dose of quality protein. I like it and use it with my busy schedule.

Summary - it comes in packets that you can pour in a water bottle, it's a break from the usual chocolate and vanilla flavors - I like the fruit punch flavor and cause it has 24g of protein and is low in sugar. You don't feel bloated and full after you drink it. Fast and efficient - I dig it.
If you want more info, check out Prograde Fusion.

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness

Monday, July 9, 2012

My 8 Week Get Lean Program - Week 4 Update

Week 4 ended the two weeks of carb cycling during weeks 3 and 4. I actually gained 2lbs, caliper pinch remained a zero and my waist stayed the same. I did actually put on some muscle and retained some water.

The carb cycling was tough for me. Some people respond super well to carb cycling but for me, not so much. I do very well on low to medium carbs with occasional cheat meals. I tried a high, medium and low carb rotation and I didn't like it at all. I switched it up after week 3 to a medium to low carb rotation with some high carb fluxes and it was better but still not my thing. I would have to play with it longer to figure out a good mix for me but I'm moving on.

Week 5 and 6 will be Intermittent Fasting or (IF). So Monday 9 July starts Week 5 and day 1 of IF. I'll be using a 16 / 8  protocol with 16 hours of fasting from 10pm-2pm and 8 hours on eating cycle from 2pm-10pm where I will take in my normal calories over an 8 hour span divided into multiple small meals.

This is gonna suck, I'm already hungry. See you next week with the week 5 report.

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness

Friday, July 6, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Busy Person's Meal Of The Week: 2 July 12

Today we have crockpot chicken, cauliflower and pecan meal. Throw it in a bowl, mix it up, heat it if you want and eat. Quick and healthy.

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness