The primary goal of changing the way you eat is to provide a positive subjective change in your everyday life. It will make you healthier, cause a positive change in body appearance, and improve your overall wellbeing and how you feel day to day. Often when men feel sluggish, tired, unhealthy, and overall just not very good, it can be traced back to their eating habits. Diet is a scary word for many men, but diet is not something you “try” for a short period to reach a goal. In Latin diet means “way of life” or lifestyle. This is about changing the way you eat every day for the rest of your life so that you can be at the top of your game for the rest of your life.
The following information should get you headed towards that goal. Not only does this address a lifestyle change in the way you eat but also provides information for improving fat burning. Many men when they first change the way they eat see the added benefit of fat loss. Fat loss and leaning up can be an important goal at the beginning of your new eating habits.
Once your goal is reached you can maintain your new eating habits and thus your new body. Losing fat and becoming leaner will always primarily be based on diet, however, supplements, anaerobic, and aerobic exercise all play a role. The aim is always twofold. First to lose fat, but secondly to maintain any muscle you have already achieved. As stated above diet plays the leading role.
Here at Apex Health, we recommend a few different diets although they are all very similar. For your everyday or “lifestyle” eating we recommend paleo or bulletproof. If you are diagnosed with any diseases that are caused by inflammation or an unhealthy immune response, then The Wahls Protocol may be the most beneficial for you. If you are looking to drop weight faster, then keto is recommended, but only as a short-term diet. Keto can be very helpful up to about six months then one should transition to either paleo or bulletproof. The reason this is recommended is that recent research has revealed that long-term Ketogenic diets hinder athletic performance.
*Improve well being
*Maintain Muscle & Strength
Common Mistakes to Avoid:
*Not eating enough calories every day
*Not eating when your body desires calories
*Consuming certain nutrients at the wrong times of day
*Not drinking enough water
*Overworking the body & not allowing for recovery
*Not getting adequate sleep
Don’t think of calories in terms of a total 24-hour consumption. Think of your diet in terms of 24-hour energy expenditure. Consume calories and nutrients in regard to when you will be expending those calories. Example: eating a big breakfast is good as your day is just getting started and you will most likely use up those calories during the day. Eating a large meal approximately 1 hour prior to a workout is good for the same reason. But consuming large meals at night is generally not recommended because you will likely not expend those calories before going to bed.
Nutrient timing is critical. Consuming fats, proteins, and carbs (both simple and complex) is necessary but what's important is what time of day you are consuming them and the sources of these nutrients. Paleo can simply be described as eating meats, fish, eggs, tree nuts and possibly dairy (full fat) as your protein source and vegetables and some fruit as your carbohydrate source with little worry about saturated fat and other naturally occurring fats. Steer clear of processed food or foods with an extended shelf life. It certainly can get way more specific than that, and we will outline it a bit more below, but that is a good general overview. Also, when filling your plate try to fill 1/3 with a protein source and 2/3 with vegetables and fruit (carbohydrates).
Meats: Beef, lamb, bison, chicken, turkey, pork and others. (If at all possible aim to get free range grass-fed meats)
Fish and Seafood: Salmon, trout, haddock, shrimp, shellfish, etc. Choose wild-caught if you can.
Eggs: Choose free-range, pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs.
Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, peppers, onions, carrots, tomatoes, etc.
Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, avocados, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and more. (berries are best)
Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, etc.
Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more. (while paleo generally recommends against peanut butter I eat plenty of it, so this will have to be an individual’s decision)
Healthy Fats and Oils: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, XCT oil, Bulletproof brain octane oil, avocado oil and others.
Dairy: If including dairy, eat full-fat dairy. Grass-fed beef butter is highly recommended as one of your main fat sources and to be used when cooking most foods. Kerry Gold is a grass-fed beef butter that can be purchased at most Walmart stores.
Salt and Spices: Salt, Sea salt, Himalayan salt, garlic, turmeric, rosemary, etc. (Sea and Himalayan salts offer minerals and other content that regular table salt lacks, however, regular table salt is an important source of iodine which is critical for a proper functioning thyroid. If you avoid table salt, then supplement iodine. Speak to us for more guidance.)
*Protein. You want to aim at high protein and consume it throughout the day. The most important times to consume protein are first thing in the morning, just after a workout, again 1-1 1/2 hours after a workout, and before bed. You should aim to eat high-quality protein from the sources noted above.
*Fats. The above list contains multiple foods that are moderate to high in fat. If eating as recommended above, then fat content can be, in a sense, ignored. Certain patients would do well to eat more of a bulletproof diet which is in simple terms paleo with a purposeful eating of fats. Speak to us for more guidance.
*Carbs. Carbs are a very important part of your diet. They provide the body with energy and should not be neglected. If eating a short-term keto diet for more rapid weight loss, then carbs will be dramatically reduced. Speak to us for guidance and recommendations. It is vital you learn the difference between simple and complex carbs and consume the appropriate ones in connection with time of day and activity level. Simple carbs can be described as carbs that break down very rapidly like sugars. Fruit has fructose in it which is a type of sugar. When you consume simple carbs, the body breaks them down rapidly and your blood sugar increases more rapidly. Then insulin increases to normalize blood sugar. So, if you eat simple carbs immediately after a workout, you cause a larger insulin spike and this increase in insulin helps pull nutrients and protein into muscle cells and aids in your recovery. Complex carbs are carbohydrates that do not break down as quickly, and this causes a more gradual increase in insulin. Most vegetables are made up of complex carbs. If you need a more detailed explanation, feel free to ask us and we’ll be happy to help. Try to consume simple and complex carbs first thing in the morning with protein. Consume complex carbs approximately 1-hour pre-workout. Simple carbs post workout with protein. Eat your carbs early and level them off throughout the day. Take in your lowest amount of carbs in the evening. Nobody is perfect. If you have a sweet tooth like me, then there are times when you are just going to go ahead and eat that Snickers you are craving. If you are going to eat something sweet, then just after your workout is by far the best time to do it and in fact can be helpful as explained above.
*Supplements. Supplements are called that for a reason. They are adjuncts to your diet. They are not a “fix all” and they will not make up for bad eating however when the right ones are used in conjunction with a good diet and exercise they will add a multitude of benefits and help you reach your overall goals faster and with greater health.
*Sleep. Sleep is imperative to losing fat and leaning up. Good sleep at night and maybe one nap during the day will make a huge difference in reaching your goal. Aim to get up at the same time every morning and don’t be lazy lying around or sleeping all day. 7 – 9 hours of sleep is what research recommends. If you feel like that much sleep is not possible, make sure you are prioritizing right. Sleep will make a critical difference not just in fat loss, but in overall long-term health and well-being.
*Water. Water is a must for a multitude of reasons. Drink at least 2-4 Liters every day. Avoid high sugar empty calorie drinks such as soda and sweet tea. Coffee and tea are both acceptable and even helpful but aim to drink black coffee and unsweet tea. Bulletproof coffee (coffee with unsalted Kerry Gold butter and MCT oil) is a great option and a great way to start the day. Speak with us for more guidance on how to make it. If you must have sugar, use real sugar - no sugar substitutes. Stay away from diet soda. If you have to have the occasional soda, drink normal “full sugar” sodas. If you can find a version with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup that would be the least harmful.
Again, this is just an outline aimed at laying a foundation and is not an in-depth explanation as to exact meals you should consume. Each body is different and responds uniquely to diets. You need to take this foundation and real-life trial and error to discover what works best for you overall. Please talk with us about any questions you might have or guidance you might need.
The foundation to your diet is staying well hydrated at all times. As noted previously, drink at least 2-4 liters of water every day. Upon waking, before drinking anything else, drink at least 20oz of cold water. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep. Consider your attitude and worldview. Research has confirmed multiple times that attitude affects health. Gratitude and a positive outlook will aid in health, wellbeing, and fat loss.
Listen to your body and eat when you are hungry... Enjoy food but don’t overeat. Getting “seconds” is rarely necessary.
We highly recommend you take our “every man should take” recommended supplements. Below some of the recommendations are a repeat of those. The supplements recommended to every man are very important to overall health, but listed below are some supplements that are vital in changing body appearance and leaning out.
*Active (cofactor) B-complex. Jarrow’s B-right is a low priced good option. Directions recommend 1 capsule a day which will generally be enough, but on stressful days or when fatigued, up to 3 capsules throughout the day should not be a problem.
*Magnesium. Do not use magnesium oxide as little is actually absorbed by the body. Some research shows as little as 4% is absorbed. Instead, take Magnesium Malate, Magnesium Glycinate, Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium L-theroate, Magnesium taurate or a mixture of them. Try to get 800mg – 1,000mg a day.
*Zinc. Any form except zinc oxide. Try to get 15-30mg a day. Take at the same time as magnesium. (ZMA is a good option and will supply you with Magnesium, Zinc, and Vit B6. It generally contains 450mg of a chelated magnesium so adding 400-600mg of a form of magnesium noted above is important.) Magnesium and zinc are best consumed together before bed, as they will improve your sleep, but they can be taken any time of day.
Supplements for improving Fat Burning:
Take all fat burning supplements together on an empty stomach (wait 30-45 minutes before eating). Take one dose first thing in the morning and then another dose at some point throughout the day. On days you workout, take the second dose approximately 15 minutes before working out. On days when you are dragging, tired, or seem overly stressful, you can take a third dose.
• Acetyl L Carnitine (ALCAR). A multitude of overall health benefits and could easily be included in the essentials. Generally, take 500 – 1,000mg per serving.
• Green Tea Extract. Not only does this help with the body’s ability to burn fat but is also a great antioxidant. If you suffer from any chronic liver issues, speak with us before starting. Take a dose as directed on the bottle. Try to get 300-500mg per serving and a product that contains at least 50% EGCG per serving.
• Caffeine. Coffee can be used, but pills like Nodoz or Walmart’s Jet alert are more convenient. The pills generally provide 200mg of caffeine per serving which is equal to about a 16oz cup of coffee.
• L-Tyrosine. 1,000 to 1,500mg
• Cayenne. Take recommended serving on the bottle
• Green coffee bean extract. Take recommended serving on the bottle
• Garcinia Cambogia. Take recommended serving on the bottle
• CLA 1,000mg 3 x a day
• All in one non-stimulant fat burners that could be considered: Evolution Nutrition LeanMode or PES Shift. These contain some of the ingredients recommended above and some ingredients not listed above. If you choose one of these, you can add the ingredients listed above that are not in the product or take them all in one product to make things more convenient. LeanMode is sold at most Walmart stores.
The caffeine above is already stimulating but adding stimulants to the above stack will increase fat burning and aid appetite reduction. All the stimulants below can be taken together, but it would be wise to add only one in at a time to the above stack to assess tolerance. Speak with us before adding any stimulant as they may not be a good option for those with certain health problems such as high blood pressure or cardiovascular problems.
• Synephrine. 20mg
• Yohimbine. Dosage is based on weight. A dose table can easily be found online, or you can talk to us. A benefit of this supplement is it powerfully increases blood flow and improves erection strength in most males.
• Teacrine. 50-100mg
• If you find these too stimulating adding 1,000 – 2,000mg of Taurine and/or 200mg of theanine to each dose will reduce the overstimulation without losing the effects. Theanine increases alpha waves in the brain and promotes a relaxed but awake state.
• While there are good fat burners on the market that include the above stimulants, we will not recommend any because they often include unsafe stimulants or stimulants in unsafe doses. If there is a fat burner you wish to take, please speak with us. Fat burners are not out of the question, but it needs to be addressed on an individual basis.
• Beta Alanine. This is a great supplement that will help you maintain muscle and strength while cutting. It will also improve muscle endurance allowing you to accomplish better cardio routines and increase fat burning. Take as directed. Aim at getting 3-5 grams a day.
• Creatine. Creatine @ 3g a day no need for a loading phase. Make sure you are drinking 2-4L of water.
• HMB. This is a metabolite of leucine and is known for its ability to prevent catabolism (muscle wasting) during a time of reduced calorie intake. 1g (1,000mg) 4 times a day with food for a total of 4g (4,000mg).
• PES Ergonine is an all in one creatine supplement that would be very useful during cutting to aid in muscle growth and prevent muscle loss. If used, continue to use beta-alanine and HMB with it as recommended above.
*The Key, especially while cutting, is to make sure you are not overworking the body and are allowing it plenty of time to recover. Workout sessions should last no longer than an hour and a half including cardio, and even that is pushing it. Each body part should only be worked out once a week. Abs can be done 2-3 times a week. 1 workout session a day. If you desire to have 2 workout sessions break up your cardio and weight lifting but keep each session to approx 45 minutes. If you prefer, full body workouts, or full upper body then lower body, those can work very good as well. The important thing is to listen to your body. If you feel like you are overworked, overly sore, or too fatigued skip a workout or two to allow your body to rest. Overworking your body may cause you to lose weight faster, but it will lead to catabolism and some, if not much, of the weight lost will be muscle. Recovery is vital.
*Try to get at least 40 minutes of cardio 3-4 times a week. Mix it up. Run, use the elliptical, ride bikes, take an aerobics class, etc.
*Weightlifting. Keep each workout around 5 sets with low reps. Go heavy. This will maintain strength and muscle while cutting. Use big lifts (Bench, squat, Military press, deadlift, pull ups, dips) however if any of these are difficult stay away from them to avoid injury.
*If you are just beginning a workout and cardio routine begin slow and work up to full workouts. Pushing yourself too hard too fast just to lose weight can have detrimental effects on your health. More important than anything is to know yourself, know where you are at, and have long-term goals.
*Stretch, stretch, stretch.
* For those people out there who have improved their diets and put in time working out but are not seeing the results and the changes they desire, the problem could be in your attitude. The body is an amazing thing, and the mind-body connection is very real. You can change the material outside of the body such as diet and activity, but if you don't change the attitude within the body you'll never reach your goals.
"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." ~Prov 23:7
Think on that for a minute. That is an incredibly powerful statement. As you think of yourself, so will you become.
When people used to ask me for diet and training advice I would tell them to get to their goals it's 50% your diet 30% sleeping & recovery and 20% what you do in the gym to emphasize that diet and rest were far more important than activity although activity is extremely important as well. Now I tell people it's 40% your attitude and what you think of yourself, 30% your diet, 20% rest sleeping and recovery, and 10% what you do in the gym. More than anything else what you think of yourself will determine your future. And this does not just apply to your body this applies to every aspect of your life. What you think of yourself counts because what you think of yourself is what you'll become.
“It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”