Since putting up the Consulting for Charity post a few days back, I’ve had a lot of folks email me for consultation. While, it’s always challenging and pleasurable working with new folks from different parts of the world, I understand their respective diets are different and so is their experience with traditional training and fat loss programming. I totally appreciate the load of questions my clients get back to me with and realize it’s because my approach towards training (and especially fat loss) is not in any way conventional. I wanted to use this as a chance to answer some of the frequently asked questions as I was sure it will help my readers also.
Your training program has no ab work? I read from a lot of places that I have to work my abs for 15-20 mins everyday.
You don’t need any direct ab work. Isolating your abs and working them to dead is just as stupid as spending all your time doing bicep curls. Most folks who are interested in having their abs visible many layers of fat covering their abs and isolated ab work like crunches or situps won’t burn those layers. Not unless you do close to 10,000 reps everyday (at which point you will have popped a spinal disc for sure). The first step to having visible abs or six pack abs is fat loss. Everyone has abs and if you lose enough fat your abs will be visible. I agree that working the abs will make them slightly bigger and hence help with more definition, but again, you don’t need isolated reps for that. All compound movements (squats, deadlifts, burpees, lunges, chinups etc etc.) work the core like crazy and any one who is able to do these movements efficiently will have a strong core. That being said some of the core strengthening moves include hanging leg raises, knees to elbows, planks and ab wheel rollouts.
In short – situps or crunches won’t give you a six pack. A good calorie deficit combined with strength training and short duration high intensity conditioning work will.
Soups are healthy right? I can eat a lot of soup?
Firstly, it depends on the soup. Some soups are more carbs rich than the others but I can confidently say most vegetarian soups are pretty much are carbs. Nothing wrong with that except that all the ingredients in a soup are ground up and/or cooked to death which make it extremely easily absorbable (precisely why you are given soup when you’re sick). Anything that is easily absorbable will potentially cause an (unwanted) insulin spike and also not satiate you for more than an hour. For these two reasons, soup during a diet is a bad idea.
Lentil’s are high in protein right? So I can eat a lot of them?
Wrong assumption. It’s as simple as doing a google search for calories in lentils. You’ll see that lentils contain a protein:carb ratio or approximately 1:3. So if you want to get, say, 30 grams of protein from lentils, you’re going to have to consume 90 grams of carbs along with it. And what happens when you mix lentils and rice? The protein:carb ratio goes up even higher to ~ 1:5 or 6 making it a more carb dominant meal. So lentils = protein is false.
What about coffee?
Black coffee without sugar or milk is the best (and is how coffee should be enjoyed so you taste the coffee and not just the sugar!), while black coffee with a table spoon of heavy cream works too. As long as you’re not chugging it by the gallon, you’re good.
I can live on salads. Which salad dressing should I go for?
I definitely don’t recommend living on salad mainly because it’s a very sad life reserved for celebrities aspiring to look
skinny anaemic. That said if you do have to eat a salad at a deli someday your best option is olive oil + salt + pepper + balsamic vinegar + seasonings. If everything around you is crap, then stay away from the ‘low carb’ nonsense and have your salad with little ranch or thousand island. ‘Little’ being the key word here.
You don’t have any cardio in your program? Every trainer I know asks me to do 60-75 mins of cardio every other day.
Fat loss is all about creating a calorie deficit and that can be very very efficiently via diet (calorie restriction, cutting carbs, intermittent fasting etc.). Long hours of cardio is a waste of time, may result in eating up lean tissue, is detrimental to the joints and is as obsolete as snail mail. It has been proven too many times (scientifically and anecdotally) that short duration high intensity conditioning clubbed with a calorie restricted diet results in elevated BMR and hence more efficient fat loss, better endurance gains, lower rates of over-training and increased work capacity. My programming is completely science based and effective. Yes, you wont spend more than 4 hrs a week training. Get used to the extra time… may be you can learn to cook?
On your fat loss diet I seem to be full all the time. I’m pretty sure I’m doing something wrong!
Well, you aren’t and this feeling is expected. Moving from a diet dominated by processed crap and grains and sugars to a diet built around real foods has this effect of satiation. If you eat the way I ask you to eat, you will be eat large quantities of food, feeling high in energy and losing fat while gaining strength & endurance simultaneously.
This is all I have time for right now, but will be sure to to answer more FAQs in the coming weeks.