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Q. One guy I was talking to at the gym insisted you have to take a week off (layoff) after every 4-5 weeks to let yourself recover. Tom how do you feel about days off to recover to get better results?


A. This is another proverbial saying. Your body responds when you train hard, progressively increase the resistance and intensity of each workout, decreasing the time and increasing the sets/volume of each workout. Your body will recover during your 2 rest days per week when you will see a increase lean shapely muscle, less body fat and most importantly recovery for you next training session. Taking a week off will only cause you to regress and delay/lose the progress you already made. You have to consistently challenge the muscle. If I sound direct with my answer, I am. I will not sugar coat this answer. I dislike when people at the gym tell my clients or other members how to train, eat, or workout, especially with regard to form and technique. I would never tell a person who works at a corporation and occupies a 6 foot by 6 foot cubicle daily how to perform their office job. I have helped hundreds of people over the last 11 years lose weight, feel better, eat healthier and look fabulous. I hope these answers help you as they are evidence based and accurate. Train hard, train often and you will see awesome results.

Q.What is Visceral Fat? How can I lose it?


A.Visceral fat, or abdominal fat, is a type of body fat that exists in the abdomen and surrounds the internal organs. Everyone has some, especially those who are sedentary, chronically stressed, or maintain unhealthy diets. A different type of fat — subcutaneous fat — which builds up under the skin, has less of a negative impact on health and is easier to lose than visceral fat. In fact, excessive deposits of visceral fat are associated with many serious health problems including cardiovascular disease, types 2 diabetes, and increased blood pressure. Though it is possible to lose, it requires a larger commitment than spot exercises, like sit ups or crunches; a combination of cardiovascular and weight training activity and a lean diet is typically required.


Causes of Development

People gain abdominal fat for a variety of reasons, including eating lots of high fat or high sugar foods, and maintaining an inactive lifestyle. Not exercising for long periods of time often leads to a cumulative effect in which people gain more abdominal fat quicker over time, but a little exercise can greatly inhibit its development. Lifestyle factors, like not getting enough sleep or being stressed also increase the chances of developing this type of fat. 

Some causes are outside of people's control — aging is a major factor in gaining this type of fat, as people tend to lose muscle mass as they age, leaving them with a higher percentage of body fat in general. This also changes the way the body burns calories, making it easier to gain abdominal fat. Hormonal changes also play a large role, particularly in menopausal women. Some people are also genetically pre-disposed to gaining it, even if they don't have a lot of subcutaneous fat. In fact, a person may be within a healthy weight range, but still have too much fat around the internal organs.


Effects on Health

Visceral fat is associated with a number of negative effects on health, including increased blood pressure; dementia; cardiovascular disease; hormonal imbalances; and insulinresistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. The deposits of fat actually act similarly to an organ, and excrete substances that affect the surrounding organs. It's thought that abdominal fat may be particularly risky because it's near the main vein that carries blood into the liver from around the intestines. Some of the substances excreted by the fat, particularly loose fat cells, can get taken into the liver and then influence the levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood. Abdominal fat is also closely associated with increased LDLand decreased HDL cholesterol levels, as well as breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and colorectal cancer.


Losing Visceral Fat

People can often reduce deposits of visceral fat by a combination of weight training and aerobic exercise and changes in diet. Stomach exercises, like sit-ups, build muscle in the area, but won't reduce this kind of fat. Additionally, resistance training, like using exercise machines, can help with subcutaneous fat, but not abdominal fat. Performing high intensity interval aerobic exercise can have a significant impact on visceral fat, which may last for up to a year after any weight loss occurs.

In terms of diet, a meal plan that's heavy on vegetables, high fiber foods like whole grains, and lean meats can help with losing visceral fat. It's also best to avoid sugary drinks and products that are heavy in saturated fat, like butter or fatty cheeses, and use natural cooking oils that are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Appropriate portion sizing is also important. 

Lifestyle changes can also help. As smoking and excessive drinking can lead to increased visceral fat, it's best to moderate or break these habits. Also, getting enough sleep is very important for losing fat. Some studies show that meditating or praying can help with this type of weight loss, as they can lower a person's stress levels.

Q. Can I have Peanut Butter as a snack if I am following the Nutrition Program ?


A. No. To get the best results, avoid peanut butter until you have reached your goal. Once you reached your target weight, you may start eating peanut butter (Crazy Richards is a good choice) on a moderate basis as part of a "maintenance program."

Q. I am following your weight loss program and someone recommended that I should eat pizza, mexican food or whatever I wanted to eat on this scheduled Cheat Day. These same people told me if you do not your metabolism adjusts to the nutrition program and it ceases to be effective. The other is training breaks. One guy I was talking to at the gym insisted you have to take a week off (layoff) after every 4-5 weeks to let yourself recover. Tom how do you feel about cheat days and days off to recover to get better results?


A. In over 12 years of training clients, I can honestly say I have never gave a client permission to have a cheat day. Fitness is like marriage, you cannot cheat on it and expect it to work. Why would anyone believe that a cheat day would make your body look better and feel better. The people who think they know something about nutrition and weight loss lack discipline to follow through with their commitment and are looking for an excuse to break their diet so they can indulge in junk food. You will make the best progress possible by staying 100% committed to your nutrition program that I gave you. Once you have reached your goal I will set you up on a maintenance program which allows you to balance out the good and bad meals in order to maintain your progress/fitness shape. Eating fattening food like pizza or ice cream will only cause you to gain fat and slow down your metabolism. It will also make you feel lethargic and less motivated to work out/train. The person who told you this is obviously not educated on fitness or nutrition. Let me guess this person probably socializes more at the gym than he works out, his form is terrible and never puts the weights away or wipes down the equipment after use. He should stick to his real job and let the fitness professionals handle the questions on fitness and nutrition at the gym. 


The key to success for anyone who wants to increase lean shapely muscle and lose body fat is eating clean 24/7, until you reach your goal. Remember....a commitment is a commitment. If you break your commitment, you are teaching yourself to fail. You will end up just like the guy who recommended a cheat day.


Hope this helps you. 


Q.Tom, what do you think of eating Veggie Burgers for breakfast as part of my weight loss/fitness goal? The brand I would like to try is Morningstar Farms. Could you please advise me on the product. Thank-you. Tara M.


A.Tara, as long as a product is fresh, contains little or no saturated fat, sodium or sugar, it is ok to consume and will not affect your weight loss goal. Look at the ingredients and nutrition facts on each product you buy. I researched the products you are questioning and here is my opinion of them. Way too much sodium and saturated fat and contains sugar. Avoid this product if you want to see good results. Hope this helps. Tom


Serving Size is one for each of the following:


Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuit

Saturated Fat: 4.5g

Sodium: 600mg

Sugar: 4g


Veggie Scramble with Cheese

Saturated Fat: 2g

Sodium: 530mg

Sugar: Less than 1g


Mediterranean Chickpea 1/4 Pounder

Saturated Fat: 1.5g

Sodium: 440mg

Sugar: 2g


Grillers Prime Veggie Burgers

Saturated Fat: 1g

Sodium: 360mg

Sugar: 0


Garden Veggie Burger

Saturated Fat: 0.5g

Sodium: 350mg

Sugar 1g

Q.Tom I feel tired sometimes in the afternoon, what can I do for energy?


A.Next time you are Feeling tired in the pm hours of the day, pack a cucumber in your lunch for the next day.  Put down the caffeinated soda  and save your money on energy drinks and  eat a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and carbohydrates that can provide that Quick pick-me-up that can last for Hours. 


Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need Every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, magnesium, Phosphorus, potassium and Zinc. 



Q. What is the difference between strength training and weight lifting? 


A.  Executing weight lifting exercises ballistically under load is not only unproductive but also predisposes lifters to orthopedic dangers. The perception is that most weight lifters train correctly. The reality is that most weight lifters train incorrectly and/or at sub maximal levels of intensity.

The cornerstone of strength and conditioning program is to coach/supervise reps-rather than merely count reps. The single most determining dynamic that facilitates maximal results is the supervision and guidance of the participant’s maximal exertions. You will always get more from what is INSPECTED than what is EXPECTED. It is the commitment to coaching every person/player, every rep of every set that ensures SOUND, SENSIBLE, SAFE AND SYSTEMATIC PROGRESS.
The goal of the strength and conditioning program will be to develop optimal muscular strength potentials in a manner that is prudent, productive, practical and purposeful.

Q. Tom, I feel like I have gained 10 pounds over the Christmas/New Years Holiday. I feel sluggish, tired and out of shape. What can I do? Do you have any suggestions? It is even affecting the clothing I wear. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank-you. Alex W.


A. Alex, the foundation to any weight loss plan starts with Nutrition. Start to journal everything you eat or drink as soon as you consume it. Make the journal enjoyable. You may want to purchase a leather or personalized spiral notebook that contains your workouts, workout schedule, recipes, meal consumption and your goals. Each day you journal your meals, refer to your daily goal page and see if you have reached it. Do not wait until the day is over to journal your food log, you may feel too tired or forget what you had to eat or drink. List the time you eat, how much food and drink at each meal along with any snacks. Feel free to e-mail me ( with your food log.  I would b e glad to give you excellent nutritional advice. Remember, food is the solution not the problem. It doesn't mater how hard you work out at the gym if you don't control what is on your plate. I hope this helps. Train hard and train often. Tom




Q. Can a woman get rid of cellulite ?


A. Yes

Cellulite is a skin condition that affects 9 out of 10 women over 30 years of age and many are unclear why it occurs. More importantly most women are unsure about the best ways to get rid of cellulite. The good news is that you can get rid of it and look and feel years younger! Cellulite occurs when the top layer of skin tissue that surrounds fat cells becomes rigid and stiff. The fat cells either begin to sag causing the lumps, dimpled appearance (Cottage Cheese Legs) that looks unsightly and unattractive. The condition of cellulite is further enhanced when the person does not follow a healthy nutrition plan (too much sodium) which cause the extra cellular water (water under the skin but not inside the muscle). High fat eating makes the problem escalate and the biggest contributor of cellulite comes from lack of strength training and inadequate protein consumption which causes muscular atrophy (loss of muscle tissue and saggy skin). A good strength training program along with smart, healthy and quality nutrition will incorporate the correct amount of quality proteins, complex carbohydrates and properly spaced and executed meals will diminish the appearance of cellulite and help restore your legs, butt, thighs and stomach to the tight, youthful looks of younger days. 

Q. Is creatine a beneficial supplement to take ?

 A.  Here is an explanation of creatine based on "evidence research"...


1. I am a living testament  (Have purchased and tried creatine) 

2. Research (Chad Kursick Ph. D assistant director of exercise physiology Univ. Of Oklahoma & Paul Greenhaff professor of muscle metabolism at University of Nottingham, England )


Creatine works. But before you put anything into your  body, you should know the benefits and the risks. 


Creatine increases the body's ability to produce energy rapidly. With more energy you can train harder, more often, producing faster results. 


Research shows that creatine is most effective with high intensity training and explosive activities. This includes weight training and sports requiring short bursts of effort such as sprinting, football and baseball. There is no mention of squash but, doesn't squash require short bursts of effort?


One thing is certain, you will gain weight. While the initial gain is water, 2-4 pounds the first week, subsequent gains are muscle due to the increase workload you are handling. IF YOUR WORKLOAD IS ALWAYS "A TEN+", YOU WILL SEE AND EXPERIENCE THE BENEFITS.


Creatine is an osmotically active substance, it pulls water into your muscle cells which causes protein synthesis.  


Studies in the journal Medicine & Science, Sports & Exercise show that muscle fibers grow when a person takes creatine. 


There is no published literature that states creatine is unsafe. Only use creatine if you are healthy and have no kidney problems. Your kidneys excrete creatinine, a breakdown of creatine. There have been anecdotal reports of kidney damage, heart problems, muscle cramps, dehydration and diarrhea. The key word is anecdotal.


Creatine has different effects on every individual. Some people don't respond to creatine-it's a genetic thing. You should know in about a week if your training volume increases, it's working for you. If not you're probably a non-responder--taking the powder isn't going to help you. 


A healthy diet is key to getting results from creatine. If your diet is junk, there is no point in taking it.


Creatine in powder form (100% pure creatine) is the way to go, not liquid. Mix it with fruit juice (70 grams of simple sugars for every 5 grams of creatine). The sugar in the juice raises the insulin levels, which help increase uptake into the muscle. To ensure your body maximizes the benefits of creatine, buy the best stuff you can afford. You'll know the powder is of poor quality if it's hard to dissolve and there is residue at the bottom of your glass after you drink it. You want the powder in your muscles, not the glass. If this happens try a different brand.

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