Tag Archives: training tips

James Cant

Reaching Your Goal Physique Part 1 – Loosing Fat

by James Cant, IFBB Pro

There are many aspects to getting in shape and looking your best, but one of the most important things I have found to remember is that achieving your goal physique will take time. Whether you want to lose 15 pounds of fat or stack on 10 pounds of muscle, it is all going to take consistent effort and perseverance in order to get your body to where you want it to be. However, there are many different ways to achieve this goal physique and I am here to help you. So who am I to recommend ways to gain muscle and lose fat?

James Cant

Writer and bodybuilder James Cant after winning an IFBB award.

For starters, I have trained in the gym for 7 years. The first 4 of those years were while I was playing competitive football here in Australia and the latter 3 being while I bulked up and lost body fat for bodybuilding competitions. In the last three years, I have gained around 25 pounds of lean muscle, trimmed down to 3.5% body fat, competed in 3 international bodybuilding shows (including the prestigious Arnold Classic), placed in the top 3 for all of them and earned my IFBB Men’s Physique Pro Card. It is from my experience and up to date scientific research that I will be drawing the majority of my recommendations to help you guys get bigger, leaner, healthier and stronger!

Reaching Your Goal Physique Part 1: Losing Fat

Losing fat is always the number one priority on anyone’s goals. Nothing is better than being lean and the best part about it is that it’s easy to do! To lose body fat, you must be in a caloric deficit. This means that you must be consuming fewer calories than what you are expending.

In my years of experience in the health industry, I’ve seen an influx of weight loss fads which are as effective as telling a university student to not leave their work until the last minute. These fads simply do not work. That’s right, your lemon detox diet, your fruit only diet and your ‘air only’ diet (yes, some people believe that eating air is a healthy way to lose weight) DO NOT WORK! Not only do they not work, they are also dangerous for your health and will lead to your body being unable to function in a healthy manner.

Let me give you a bit of background information on why this is so.

Food contains calories. Calories are the energy units which your body uses for fuel and every day function. If you have too much energy (too many calories) your body stores it as fat so it can later use this store of energy when it does not have energy ready to be used when you need it. How you lose weight or burn fat is by expending more energy than what you ingest.

Further, food contains vitamins, micronutrients and macronutrients. They assist you as follows:

  • Vitamins A, B, C, D, E etc – all help the cells in your body to function
  • Micronutrients include iron which is used in making blood cells, and zinc which aids in healthy testosterone production – (this is also critical for your ‘performance’ if you know what I mean)
  • Macronutrients include carbohydrates (energy), proteins (muscle building) and fats (hormone production).

Each of these components are critical for cellular function and optimal efficiency within your body. If we do not eat these components, our bodies will deteriorate!

Fad diets, such as the lemon detox diet, deprive our bodies of what they need. By drinking only lemon each day, you will begin to lose muscle, be unable to concentrate and decrease your body’s metabolic rate – meaning that once you stop eating only lemon, all of the weight that you lose will be put back on! This is not an effective way of maintaining that slim body you’ve always wanted.

Loosing fat is the first step to achieving your desired physique.

Loosing fat is the first step to achieving your desired physique.

If you want to lose fat, try using the following 5 tips I have tried and tested for fat loss:

Eat carbs after dark (Carb Backloading)

If someone says “you shouldn’t eat carbs after dark”, slap them. Carb backloading involves eating your carbs at the end of the day before you go to bed and is one of the most effective methods of weight loss while maintaining the most muscle mass possible. During the day, insulin levels are lower which allows your body to utilize its fat stores for fuel and at night you eat a large amount of carbs which prevents muscle loss while you sleep.

Supplement Acetyl L-carnitine

L-carnitine is a potent transporter of fat and helps to utilise adipose tissue for energy. But not only does it help you lose weight by directly transporting fat, it also increases mental acuity and will help you to think better while restricting calories. This in turn will allow you to function better throughout the day, perform better in the gym and perform better at your job! Aim for between 5-10g of Acetyl L-Carnitine

Supplement CLA and Fish Oil

Both CLA and Fish oil have been proven to assist with fat loss. Furthermore they help to ensure that cells are more sensitive to insulin and as you all know, increased insulin sensitivity results in increased fat loss. Aim to consume 5-10g per day of these oils in conjunction with your Acetyl L-Carnitine

Know if you are intolerant to certain foods

A large proportion of the human population have gut sensitivities to gluten and lactose. Simply by minimising your intake of both of these you will begin to lose weight and retain more muscle if you are intolerant to them. Why?

Intolerances lead to inflammation throughout the body which leads to an increase in cellular stress which leads to fat storage. Simply by minimising your intake of these

Lift weights

Running for hours and hours every day will help you lose fat, but not as much as if you were to combine your cardio with weight lifting! Many poorly conducted studies claim that cardio is the best way to burn fat when in fact weights are a far more preferable method for fat loss. Weights boost your metabolic rate, have potential to increase energy expenditure post exercise and nothing is better than lifting heavy iron!!! Cardio on the other hand increases inflammation, (often) decreases insulin sensitivity, causes a loss of muscle mass and slows your metabolism. Have I convinced you to ditch the treadmill and get squatting?

I hope that this article assists you in your journey to your goal physique by helping you lose more fat in a faster and easier way. Stay tuned for my next article on how I build muscle and the methods I recommend.

james cant bio picJames Cant is a pro bodybuilder and medical student from Sydney, Australia. He is an IFBB Men’s Physique Pro with several 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards in qualifiers and championships in Australia, including an Arnold Classic. He is also a contributor for Steroidology and Health and Fitness Talk, sharing his experiences and knowledge of competitive training. You can reach James with questions or comments at james-cant@hotmail.com.

ideal body

Bulk, Cut and Refine – The Process of Gaining Your Ideal Body

by 3J, www.3jsdiet.com

Lets talk about something that, though obvious to the experienced, is missed a lot by amateur bodybuilders who are aspiring to get that model physique. I will write this article as if speaking of a person with statistically average stats and the process he has to go through to gain a wonderful body. Lets call Mr. Average “Bob.”

Bob is a 26 year old male. He has dabbled in the gym all his life but has never really gotten serious about his training or his nutrition. He is 5’10 165lbs and about 14% bodyfat. Bob is underweight and needs to go through a process of bulking, that would be our step one

The Bulkideal body

Running a 5 day basic compound movement training split, Bob would commit himself to training every week while giving himself rest on the weekends. He would change his diet, allowing for 5-6 meals a day and aiming for about 3000 calories at first. Bob would see how the 3k calories was working for him by weighing himself weekly. Initially bob would see weight gain, ideally about 1-2lbs a week. At some point his body and metabolism would outgrow the diet and he would need to increase calories. Ideally, you want to increase calories so that you continually gain 1-2lbs a week. Usually an increase of 200-300 calories at a time is the right way to go. Not only will you continue to grow, but you will lower the chances of unnecessary fat gain. So Bob does just as I have said, and now, after about 3 to 4 months he has added about 30lbs. Not bad at all for bob, he now weighs 195lbs. Do we jump straight into a cut? Absolutely not!

The Maintenance phase

So why not jump on a cut and bring all those wonderful muscles and abs out that we have worked so hard to get? Its because we have worked so hard to get them. Our bodies have a homeostasis that they like to keep. There is a target number, plus or minus 10lbs, which our bodies are used to. Our metabolism is used to that number, so it likes to keep at that level. If we were to cut after only 3 months of bulking our body is nowhere close to getting used to our new weight. Here is where the maintenance phase comes in. For the next 3 months at minimum, we have to keep our weight at 195. This gives the body enough time to adjust to the new weight and primes us for a much better cut.

The Cutting phase

OK, the 3 months are up. We are ready to cut. Taking into consideration Bobs new and improved weight, we can estimate that we should start cutting at about 3000 calories, which is what he started his bulk with. We will ride the cut out without cardio, looking for 1-2 lbs a week of weight loss until he stalls. Once bob stalls, we will add some cardio, very lightly at first. Losing weight is like an onion, it has to be done in layers. First you cut calories, stall, add cardio, stall, add more cardio, stall, and then cut calories again. Little by little you continue to do this so that you only lose 1-2lbs a week continuously. Having done it correctly you should have saved a lot of muscle you would have lost and made it to 8 percent bodyfat fairly easily.

It is no secret guys – this is how it should be done. Think again when you set up your goals and want to immediately jump into a cut. It will definitely do more harm than good.

weigh measure

Proper Protocol for Weight and Measurements

by 3J, www.3jsdiet.com

Over the years as a sports nutritionist, I have seen many people get confused over the proper protocol of weights and measurements.  What do I mean by weights and measurements? That would be the weight that you take to see if you are progressing in the journey to your goals.  Measurements are the specific measurements you take with a tailors tape measure.  I will discuss both and also cover the proper timing of weight and measurements to get the least biased results.

Biased results, what could you mean?weigh measure

Well, there are a lot of factors that come into play in terms of your weight and how biased it can be.  Water intake, sodium intake, bloat secondarily to hormone levels (high estrogen levels), carbohydrate intake, and time of weighing all play a factor in your weight.  Lets cover them all.

Time of weighing 

The time of day that you weigh yourself will play a heavy factor on the bias of your weight.  It should be obvious that when you weigh yourself at night you will naturally weigh more than you did in the morning due to food and fluid intake.  Your body will be carrying more weight that will be expelled.  typically a person can weight 5-10lbs more at night than they do in the morning!!

Water intake

This is simple if you went from drinking very little water to a lot of water quickly your weight will go up.  Your body does not have time to expel that water through the kidneys and it will hold on to what it can if you were dehydrated (hyper-volume state).   It is wise to keep your water intake consistent.  Usuaully a gallon a day is more than enough.

Sodium intake

Sodium, or salt, will play a factor on how much water your body holds.  The more sodium you have in your system the more water your body wants to hold on to.  If you ate a large salty meal expect to weigh more the next day due to bloat.

Bloat due to hormone levels

If you have high estrogen levels or an imbalance of hormones your body will hold water weight.  Many body builders experience this with the use of steroids.  Keep that in mind if you plan on cycling.

Carbohydrate intake

People seem to miss the obvious, its called carbo-HYDRATES for a reason.  The more carbs you take in the more you will weigh.  Carbs cause you to hold water weight!

weighingProper weighing protocol

Your weight and measurements should always be taken first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything and after the bathroom if needed.  This will cause the least biased weight so long as you have been following your diet strictly and not cheated. The weight should be taken once a week on the same day every time.  If you cheat the day before with a high carb and salty food then your weight will be biased due to the bloat that comes with carbs and salt.  Your weight should also always be taken the same day of the week especially if you are on a carb cycle type diet.  With a carb cycle diet the weight should be taken the morning after the lowest carb day.

For example if your carb cycle looks like this:

Monday high day

Tuesday medium day

Wednesday low carb day

Thursday high day

You should be weighing yourself Thursday morning since Wednesday was your lowest carb day of the week and therefore has the least bias.

Proper measuring protocolmeasuring

With a tailors tape measure, you should measure the following areas:

• Neck

• Chest

• Stomach at belly button

• Waist line (where your pants sit when worn properly)

• Biceps with arms extended out to side

• Thighs

• Calves

• Forearm 3 inches from elbow

With the above measurements you can get a more complete idea of how your body is changing.  If your weight were to not be moving but your losing inches on your stomach and waist line that would be good news wouldn’t it?  Remember not to solely depend on weight or measurements only, you have to look at the big picture!