Category: Fat Loss

Cheat days for metabolism boost – Really?

Let me start with a massive Tim Ferriss is awesome! Reading his book the 4 hour work week was where it started and that has shaped much of the most recent 3 years of my life – cheers Tim!

His book the 4 hour body, like many books has it’s flaws though for me the key thing he did is he shook up the fitness industry, it seemed that was one of Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping points. No Ferriss wasn’t the first with this info, but he did do it at the right time and he did market it very well.

Though, his famous cheat days are becoming a little more infamous. I’m still into them when they’re done the right way.

What’s a cheat day?

A day off from your normally impeccable eating regime where you eat higher sugar foods. some take this to the excess and say you overfeed yourself with anything an everything (I’m not into that).

When to do it?

According to Ferriss in his book the Four Hour Body once per week though my body gets a cravings once every 10 to 14 days so I listen to my body. I’d say go with 1 per week as a maximum and listen to your body.

Why do it?

1) To give yourself a day off and a ‘reward’ from the strict eating regime you have ben following
2) To spike your metabolism. Ferris Says that our metabolism slows down when we eat clean food all of the time and by strategically eating high sugar foods on one day per week we trigger our metabolism into working harder for the days that follow because our metabolism takes a day or so to catch up. We trick it by having one day of indulgence, spiking our metabolism then drop our food back to our strict regime and thus burning food like an oven furnace!

One reason Ferriss recommends going wild with your cheating is because you’re likely to ‘overdose’ and not want to cheat for a long time after. This can be the case or it can trigger huge sugar cravings!

How to cheat properly

There are mixed views on this though in my opinion there is only one answer to cheating properly and that is cheating clean. Why, when you’ve been eating grass fed organic beef, farmers market veggies and fruit (of course that’s how you’re eating right?) would you then one day poison yourself with trans fats, Frankinstein sugars, wheat and a whole loads of horrendous ‘foods’?

This is how I advise you to cheat clean:

1) Organic chocolate (no soy lecithin). Some Green and Black and some montezumas chocolate in the UK doesn’t have soy lecithin (read this to find out why you avoid soy). In the states there is a whole foods own brand 85% without soy lecithin too. Always read the label. Cakes from almond or coconut Flour, yoghurts from coconut milk. I really love Whole foods for making these foods so readily available! Though do understand that not all food in the sacred Whole Foods is so innocent. Always read the label!

2) As Ferriss & Poliquin say, get a high protein, high veg/salad nourishing breakfast in. I recommend Salmon stakes with spinach or broccoli or chicken breasts and other veggies. Then start indulging.

3) Keep it steady – you don’t have to eat utter crap all day, choose 1 meal or 1 set period of time where you eat clean junk for that time period then stop.

4) Know that you are going to have cravings the next day. Sugar is one of the most addictive things on this planet so be mentally prepared for them and have the right foods at hand the next day. Start the next day with a VERY fulfilling breakfast!

Other sources of info on cheating:

In his post Jonny Bowden (2011) relates cheat days to alcoholics just getting drunk once per week. I like this point he makes because like I said above – sugar is very addictive! Though Jonny, who’s material I normally really like also quotes a study on 18 people (I find this a little weak) that showed it’s subjects cheating for 14 days (not what Ferriss or anyone else is referring to when they say cheat days) who gained loads of fat during the next 2.5 years. Bit of a Weak one there Jonny – you’re better than that! And, Charles Poliquin (2009) also has some great rules around ‘cheating’.

For more on Soy I’ve written this fairly extensive and comprehensive rant on ‘Why Soy is Killing your bird’

and messing with your sperm.


Jonny Bowden (2011) ‘Why I don’t believe in Cheat day’

Charles Poliquin (2009) ‘Cheat Meal Rules that Increase MEtabolism’

Intermittent Fasting – ‘To fast or not too fast…’

Intermittent Fasting, Growth Hormone and a whole load of fat loss! Let’s get stuck in!

What is intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating that alternates between periods of fasting (usually meaning consumption of water only) and non-fasting.

16:8 intermittent fasting is where you fast for 16 hours (say 8pm until 12 noon the next day) and feed for 8 hours. Another way of fasting called 5:2 Fasting – 5 days eating normally, 2 days eating a reduced amount of calories (500 for women, 600 for men).

What does it do?

(As well as making you hungry for short periods at predetermined times)
Intermittent Fasting is reported to reduce body weight (fat & muscle) and improve blood markers such as IGF-1, glucose and cholesterol (BBC, 2012)

Some claim fasting triggers your body to decompose and burn cells and tissues which are diseased, damaged, aged or dead. I certainly like the sound of this! Though before we get too excited let’s explore a little more.

Whether it is a good/reliable/easy way to lose fat and improve ones health is another question.

Problems with Intermittent Fasting

The major drawback, which is more of a technicality than a drawback, is the exact thing the BBC made a right pig’s ear out of on in their recent review. They said the faster can eat “anything” during the feeding time – stupid advice! Fast for 16 hours then smash chemically altered sugars and fats, frankin-bread, tortured cow, processed steroid head zombie chicken – very silly.  That kind of crap messes with your body AND mind!

Intermittent fasting also takes a great deal of willpower.  And willpower is important if you want change though there might be a an easier leverage point before diving into I.F.  At the beginning staying focused, working, working workout, doing anything is probably going to be tougher because of the changes to your energy intake when your body is normally expecting it.  The first week of fasting is quite a shock to the system. Something I REALLY love about this topic is that it brings about more questioning of the way we have been told to eat.  The breakfast, lunch, dinner + snacks model was made up by someone who probably owned a cereal company… and the guys who said – eating lots of small meals throughout the day the keep your metabolic fire burning was definitely misinformed – it doesn’t work that way. Take the Romans for example, they only ate one meal per day and saw breakfast as a form of gluttony (ironically gluttony does not mean excessive gluten intake, though a Westerners breakfast often does).

If your current diet consists of a lot of grains, whole-wheat foods, dairy, sugars and you embark on an IF experience you’re going to experience some serious cravings (serious changes for the better too but most certainly cravings). My advice is if you’re eating that list of foods above then there is probably some other refining and learning to be done to your diet before experimenting with IFing.  Paleo can be very decent place to begin resetting your system, a great base way of eating to see what food intolerances you may have – most of us have them.

I say paleo because it takes out many potential allergens and, if you’re tuning into the integrity of the food you eat (organic, local, wild, grass fed being key playa’s) you’re instantly connecting with and improving the environment around you without making hardcore changes to your eating. The more I learn about the meat, fish and poultry industry and the environment impacts, the less I eat – I’m eating around 1/3 the amount I ate 2 years ago and at least organic, local, wild or grass fed.


They’re my initial thoughts, let’s see what the everyone else is saying…

World renowned strength and conditioning coach Charles Poliquin (2011) says “Breakfast skippers are not only more likely to have more fat than those who eat it, but they are more likely to get even fatter due to susceptibility to overeating later in the day” He recommends a meat and nut breakfast for best fat loss and muscle gaining results. I’ve pulled this quote from Poliquin because it emphasises a point in my conclusion at the end of this article.

Think about driving a Ferrari or Aston Martin – awesome, high quality, high performance vehicles. Now take the traction control off. It’s difficult to control. Still very high performance vehicles though if driven by someone without the skill (willpower and knowledge of which foods to eat) there is going to be a crash! In my opinion the kind of foods you consume during the feeding time of intermittent fasting are VERY important – not just for you but the wider impact on the World around you – your environment – which you need to exist – right!? Does cleaning the inside of your fuel tank and car engine mean you can pump junk like coca-cola or sugary cereal into your car for fuel and expect it to function properly? Nope. Same goes for your body.

Tim Ferriss (4 Hour Body) is someone I have been following (such a bizzare way of describing that I have been ‘reading his stuff’), he says: “If I had to make an intelligent guess, I would say that Paleolithic man probably ate once per day or maybe even twice every three days. In data gathered from humans still living in non-Westernized cultures in the last century, it appears that they would gorge after a kill and sleep and lay around doing not much of anything for the next day or so. When these folks got hungry, they went out and hunted and started the cycle again.”

So I interpret that as he’s saying it is very natural for humans, as the conscious animals we are, to eat a LARGE meal and then be ‘forced’ into a fasting period through lack of availability of food and general lack of desire. This said, he does mention resting a lot afterwards until the next kill is necessary. In either way, people of the Paleolithic period were eating food local, wild and organic and they would go for long periods of time without consuming food – ie not causing an insulin spike. The whole thing about ‘paleo’s’ having short lives could be a factor though when the stats on this are investigated it becomes obvious that infant deaths (i.e dying at a VERY young age because of disease, death during birth and vulnerability in their younger years) skews the numbers. Add on to this the likelihood the mother (young-ish) would survive and we can’t really derive any meaningful outcome about average lifespan and diet. Boom shakalaka.

Let’s get a little geeky here:
Robb Wolf (2012), author of ‘The Paleo Solution’ says that the benefits of intermittent fasting are all down to the individual. Wolf references a study by Jack Kruse who brings up the point that if a person is leptin resistant they should not try intermittent fasting because of the way our bodies utilise fats and glucose as energy and letpin’s role in the process.

“If our leptin signaling is not functioning properly then our metabolic pathways cannot handle the stress of Intermittent Fasting and it can result in undesirable effects.” It’s also really important to note that Intermittent Fasting puts a lot of stress on our body. “If we are over-trained, sleep deprived, or generally stressed out, then Intermittent Fasting should not be attempted until all of those factors are taken care of.” (Wolf, 2012)

The BBC (2012):
Michael Mosley of the BBC tried the 5:2 fasting plan (see top for explanation). In 5 weeks he reported losing nearly a stone in weight (they don’t say if this is fat or muscle), and that his IGF-1, glucose and cholesterol improved. He went on to say that if he sustained it he would “greatly reduce his risk of contracting age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes”. Interesting and positive results which I like!

Let’s get into some more light science:
(This time about the hormones we are affecting through IF)

In their program the BBC touch on the topic of IGF-1 – Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 as one of the things humans should aim to reduce because of it’s aging properties. I found this particularly fascinating because people, including celebrities you know take growth hormones like IGF-1 thinking they are ‘drinking from the fountain of youth’. It (growth hormone including IGF-1) is often taken by people wanting to gain muscle quickly and to become very lean (Brainum, 2009). There’s no doubt, I’ve seen the results on people close to me, if taken correctly with the right training and nutrition a human can do just that – build muscle and become very lean (think – veins
on the abs) very quickly.

WAY back in 1999 (seems so long ago…) Harvard University reported on IGF-1: “Levels of IGF-1 drop when people eat less. Animal studies show that decreases in food intake lessen tumor growth and increase lifespan. “However, it’s too early to make specific recommendations about restricting calories on the basis of our results”.

In 1999 Cromie of William J. Harvard University also reported that “The growth factor, known as insulin-like growth factor-1, or IGF- 1, is necessary for proper growth in children, but studies of men and women more than 40 years old raise the possibility that it contributes to the growth of tumors.

(I told you we were going to get geeky…)

“Because IGF-1 spurs cellular growth, some scientists voice concern that at high concentrations could stimulate cancer… “Studies with worms and other invertebrates show that a lack of IGF-1 helps extend life. Mice and rats deficient in IGF-1 live longer than rodents not deficient in it.

“These results raise concern about attempts to slow aging in older people by giving them growth hormone to increase their IGF-1. Since levels of both substances decrease with age, some observers suggest that injections of the hormone may counter several effects of getting old.

“…in a six-year study of 32,826 nurses, those with the highest levels of IGF-1 had a two-and- a-half times greater risk of colorectal cancer. High levels of IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) produced the opposite effect.” This was backed by a similar finding in 14,916 male physicians: “In the case of those with the highest IGF-1 and lowest IGFBP-3, the relative risk of colorectal cancer rose fourfold, after accounting for differences in weight, height, alcohol intake, and other known risk factors.” (Cromie 1999)

Iron Man Magazine (2009) reports that injecting high doses of IGF-1 for enhanced performance stimulates internal organ growth, which is why you see bloated abdomens on some athletes. The same holds true for Growth Hormone: Small doses can be beneficial, but large doses place you in unknown biophysical territory.

And back out of geeky territory

The BBC’s disclaimer comment at the bottom of their report displaying love for Intermittent Fasting is quite amusing: “Current medical opinion is that the benefits of fasting are unproven and until there are more human studies it’s better to eat at least 2000 calories a day.”

I ask, do we want to wait until medicine proves or disproves the foods we should eat or rely more on listening to our own bodies? That’s up to you though it could take 20 years of eating grains and 99% fat free, high sugar ‘healthy foods’ for ‘medicine’ to complete their research and find the balls to say: “oh yeah, Intermittent Fasting works, sugar is actually making you fat, (good) fat is actually good for you and grains and wheat are most probably killing you… sorry about your diabetes, brittle bones and fat kids”.

I’m all for Intermittent Fasting and believe there are great benefits to be had if you have the willpower to eat the right foods on your feeding days. Get your general feeding right first then maybe try intermittent fasting.

(IF is not for everyone and you should listen to your body and, to cover my own arse I’m required to say always consult a medical specialist before taking any of my advice)

Rich Eats Conclusion

Consistently for the past 3 years I’ve naturally been training in the morning before breakfast (just green tea and occasionally some almonds) as a means of burning more fat. My experience – it got me lean though as reported by many of the sources above I definitely lost muscle mass.

In terms of Intermittent Fasting – if you’re an elite athlete and looking to experiment with some fine tuning then get stuck in. If you’re starting to get into nutrition and training make sure you’re getting good quality sleep, cutting back on (or eliminating) grains, wheat and refined sugar and training effectively for your goals first – then if you want to, try IF. And, I’d like to suggest you take peek at the integrity of your food… the animals life, how the fruit or vegetables were grown / treated…

Growth Hormone Conclusion: If you’re tempted to start injecting Growth Hormone (GH) as a means of getting bigger and leaner, and you’re perfectly healthy my advice is don’t. If you are 60+ and are seriously considering GH because you;ve been advised by your doctor then seek a second opinion from a specialist in the subject, don’t buy it from the guy at the gym and ‘give it a blast’.

I say this next part with the kindest heart and genuine love for your longevity; if you’ve already injected GH and are concerned about the possible effects for the future I highly advise you to speak with your GP, get blood tests done as a starting point then find a specialist (not your GP) to find the best ways to protect yourself for a long and prosperous life! I base that advice on my instinct and having interviewed some of the top longevity specialists in California.

Further Reading:

Definitely check out The Guys at Ultimate City Fitness, Gav has been doing IF for a few months now and has some great things to say in their post.

Dr John Beradri has a great site on Intermittent Fasting here:


BBC (Molsley, 2012) ‘‘The power of intermittent fasting’’

Iron Man Magazine (Brainum, 2009) ‘‘IGF-1: Killer or Savior?’’

Havard Gazette (Cromie, 1999) ‘Growth Factor Raises Cancer Risk’

Charles Poliquin (2011) ‘Top Ten Reasons to Eat Breakfast: It Will Make You a Better, Happier, More Attractive Person’

Robb Wolf (2012) “To Eat or not to eat, that is the question”

Firm-Bum Kettlebells with Jeff Martone – Rich Eats

Jeff Martone is an expert in Kettlebells. If I’d known more about this awesome guy before I interviewed him I’m sure I would have asked him more than ‘how can women tone their bottoms?’ And, ‘How do I fix my shoulder?’ That said, this is interview was a pleasure (Thanks Jeff!) & hopefully when you watch it you will learn a little something.
Enjoy and remember to comment and like if you do…

Jeff’s site is

Side note – yes yes, I get it, Jeff’s skills are phenomenal and most certainly can, and are being put to far better use than tightening up a ‘butt’ but sometimes that’s all a girl wants… so here there it is! Thanks for watching and commenting…

LOVE BURPEES? Watch this video…

IFBB PRO Jerome Ferguson – The BFG (Big Friendly Giant)

This is a taster of the full interview… I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I certainly was!

When I approached Jerome in the gym I had a bag full of preconceptions. He smashed almost all of them!

An awesome day with an awesome human…

Check out his site for more info and watch this space for the full interview:


Austin, Texas High School Gym (Inspirational!)

Help your children create good habits early on by inspiring them into some kind of training wether it is through a sport, gym, CrossFit, whatever. Just give them an awesome start in life to create habits that mean they will be fit and healthy!

This is the training facility at ‘Westlake High School’ in Austin, Texas – Brilliant!

This kind of awesome facility helps win the battle:

“Many factors contribute to rising obesity rates. Among them: The abundance of low-priced, high-calorie processed foods and sugary drinks. Incessant food marketing to drive people to eat more, even when they are full” Harvard Medical School (2012)

1 man, 1 exercise, 5 stores… The Rich Eats Burpee Competition

A wild day spreading the word!

Before you watch this, see if you can guess how many burpees I completed in total, in all 5 stores before being kicked out…

Click ‘Share’ on facebook if you think your friends will enjoy this!
(and click ‘Like’ & ‘Tweet’ if you too!)

Olympic Athletes, CrossFit en Medellin y Mas

This is a special video because it has loads of different exercises from the CrossFit national open (Medellin), EXCLUSIVE interviews with some of Colombia’s Olympic Weightlifting team who will be in London this summer, interviews with some participants and of course lots of me talking about the experience while sweating and gasping for breath…

Remember to click Like if you do…

Check back here for more interviews with Colombias Olympians!

Go here to stay in touch on FaceBook:
Rich Eats

Burn Fat

Burn Fat

The list of ways to burn fat is endless and bloggers like me are verbose and self indulge in unnecessary nonsense so I thought I’d blast out a few very simple pointers for you (before I get into the verbose and more detailed version that is). Ready?

1) Do high intensity interval training. (HIIT, Tabata & more) Large movements like burpees (awesome!) and squats will be more effective.

2) Reduce or eliminate refined sugar from your diet. Sugar converts into stored fat very easily.

3) Do weight training (girls, get over it, it’s highly unlikely that you will become a giant man-women with the kind of training you’re going to do.)

4) Do something you love with people you love doing it with. Then it will last. (hmmm that’s a pretty good message for life as well as fat burning…)

5) Eat more good fat (almonds, avocados, extra V olive oil – research more for yourself). Good fat is excellent, refined sugar (& artificial sweeteners) are the devil*.

6) Repeat ‘1’ above 3 to 7 times per week, apply 2 above 6 days per week, repeat 3 above 2 to 7 times per week.

* I don’t actually believe that sugar is the devil. Just that it is one of the leading causes of obesity in the western world. Side note: Just because you live in the east doesn’t mean that refined sugar wont make you obese – it will if you consumer enough of it.

Ask yourself, what does burning fat mean?

To me it means this: There are areas on your body that are particularly good at storing fat. You might want to have less fat in these areas and want a more toned and (though you may not know it yet) more muscular body.

(Girls relax, to actually burn fat and gain muscle to the point where you are ‘too’ muscular is highly unlikely. To keep track of this tack before, during and after photos. That is just an excuse your beautifully intricate mind is using to stop you from doing more training and eating correctly.)

More tips…

1) I repeat: do High Intensity Interval training like Tabata, Bootcamps, Crossfit. (make sure your form is right, ask your trainer to watch you carefully before going ‘all out’. see your doctor before doing this type of training)

2) Training in the morning before you eat anything (do drink some water before you train) will get your metabolism revved up for the day turning you into a fat burning machine.

3) Eating a high protein diet with lots of good fats (from the likes of avocado and almonds), and carbohydrates & fibre from Veg and fruit will help you burn fat and have more stable energy. (side note: our bodies react differently to different levels of protein, carbs and fat so listen to your body, find your tipping point where fat loss, meets stable energy and feeling awesome! You will know when you’ve found it.)

4) If you’re going to run, (unless you feel a strange urge to compete in a running race) only do it for up to 15 minutes at a time. In my experience hill sprints and sprinting on flat ground for around 20 seconds at a time then walking for 10 seconds or so is the most effective way at keeping lean muscle while burning fat and avoiding the ‘skinny’ look.

This all sounds lovely though if you hate training then you’re not going to stick at it. Yeah, maybe 6 weeks down the line you will be in awesome shape and eating the right foods though to make it last you have to enjoy the training you’re doing, so find the right trainers, the right exercise that works for you wether it’s home training videos, martial arts, bootcamps or Crossfit.

Side note: With the right trainers and education you can transform your life in as little as 6 weeks. I’ve trained with people that have done it and I’ve seen it many times.

Other info on fat burning and eating:
Im a naturalist in that I want you & me to be as healthy and fit as as possible using the most natural way of getting there.

1) Protein Shakes. My opinion on these beverages is that they are unnecessary. And the majority of them contain damaging artificial sweeteners like Aspartame and Asuflame k which have been linked to alzheimer’s disease and day to day problems like headaches and can make you crave more and more sweet things.

I do not drink protein shakes. I do not recommend people to drink protein shakes. If you feel you have to drink a protein shake (you can get whey, rice, pea, hemp proteins) my advice is to find a protein that is NOT sweet when you mix it with water then add your own banana, honey or stevia (natural sweetener) to make it taste better.

2) Pre-workout drinks. I’ve seen far too many people drinking ‘pre-workouts’. These are full of chemical artificial sweeteners and processed caffeine. Yes you will get a huge rush of energy, and yes you are putting damaging chemicals into your body. You want a rush of energy for a work out? Try this – eliminate all caffeine from your body for 30 days. Then drink 1 cup of green tea (Japanese organic Sencha is a clean mild green tea that I love, or if you’re feeling like really treating yourself go for gyokuro) pre-workout. You will be flying! You could also do the same thing though use an organic coffee.

3) A diet, your diet, is the food you’re eating. It’s a lifestyle, it’s your lifestyle, it’s the things you put in your body. A diet lasts more than 6 weeks, it’s a learning process it’s trial and error, its constantly evolving with your body as you age.

Do it, rinse, improve & repeat.

A special thanks to Metabolic Effect, Tim Ferriss, Ultimate City Bootcamps, Fuerza CrossFit, Tom Baxter and lots of other people I have forgotten.

Consult a doctor before trying any of the things I recommend because we are all different and we will all react differently depending on our current level of exercise, hormones, body fat percentage hormones and general wellbeing.

Rich Enion brings you Rich Eats

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