Thursday

My personal daily fat-loss routine

When I first meet someone and they hear what I do for a living as a fitness author, and see that I'm in good shape... one of the first things that most people want to hear is what I do personally on my daily routines... what do my workouts look like, and what do I eat.

Theory and science is great, but sometimes most people just want to hear examples of what's working for someone else.

So I'm going to keep most of the science and theory out of this and just show you what works for me for a daily routine.

Now I know that I said "daily fat loss routine" in the subject of this email, but in reality, I only focus on a fat-loss routine for certain portions of the year. At other times of the year, I might be focusing on muscle building (usually in the winter).  And at other times of the year, I might be focusing on just maintaining leanness, but not necessarily trying to get leaner.

I'll focus this email on what has worked for me during both fat-loss goals and just maintaining leanness of around 8-10% bodyfat.

Ok, let's get started with mornings...

In the mornings, I've been toying around this year with semi-fasted exercise, which is usually wind sprints at the nearby soccer field 2-3 times/week, or a hike up the mountain behind my house 2-3 times/week.

What do I mean by "semi-fasted exercise"?
Well, you've probably heard a lot of debate in the fitness world about the efficacy of empty stomach morning cardio. Some people swear it's the holy grail of fat loss and others say it can cause too much lean muscle loss, hence lowering your resting metabolic rate.

In my TruthAboutAbs book, you may remember that I said that I experimented with empty stomach morning cardio in the past and it always backfired on me, causing me to lose muscle, which was NOT my goal.  The solution to this is to take about 4-5 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA's) first thing in the morning and this is supposed to prevent the muscle catabolism that would normally occur since your body is breaking down muscle tissue to obtain the aminos it needs for organ function, etc.

However, even taking the BCAA's in the morning, I still would never get a good workout, because I would feel weak without having any calories in me since the night before.  And a weak workout is going to get poor results compared to a workout where you feel strong and energetic.

The solution I came up with was just to drink a concoction I came up with that's only about 60-80 calories, first thing in the morning (but no carbs), and then do my exercise.  This concoction would cause very little, if any blood sugar response, so theoretically should keep me in fat-burning mode. However, it's just enough to give me the energy to get through my morning wind sprints or hike up the mountain with good intensity instead of feeling lethargic.

Here's my morning drink concoction:
* 2 cups of a mixed iced tea (unsweetened) - tea mixture explained below
* 1 heaping spoonful of this Superfoods Cocktail (which has a mix of 76 superfoods in it; I use this everyday and love it!)
* 1/2 scoop of grass-fed whey protein (about 10-12 grams of protein)

I've also been taking about 2-3 grams of BCAA's along with this drink for some extra assurance on preventing catabolism of muscle.

My iced tea mixture is usually made with green tea, oolong tea, and either red tea or white tea. I always have a gallon container of this in the fridge. The oolong tea is purported to possibly have even better fat-burning stimulation in the body compared to green tea. Although I think they both have benefits since they contain different types of antioxidants and other compounds. 

One of the unique compounds that's been identified in studies on oolong tea is the high levels of polymerized polyphenols, which is apparently part of the reason it can aid fat loss.  Here's an excerpt from a Japanese study comparing green tea and oolong tea:

"In the current study, the concentration of total polymerized polyphenols in oolong tea (68 mg/300 ml) was much higher than that in green tea (17 mg/300 ml). These results suggest that polymerized polyphenols might be the major factor in causing the increase of EE (Energy Expenditure) by oolong tea."

After my morning drink concoction, it's time for either the sprints or the hike...

When I do my morning wind sprints, it's about a 10-minute bike ride to the soccer field, then I do about 15 minutes of intense wind sprints alternated with walking, and then the 10-minute bike ride back home. So it only about a 35 minute workout total.

If I choose to do the hike up the mountain behind my house in the morning instead of the sprints, I usually do about 40-45 minutes, and it's a great mix of ups/downs to keep the intensity variable (and variability of intensity is super important for maximizing the benefit to your heart).

After my morning workout, I make my breakfast, which is usually some form of eggs, veggies, and meat.  I usually make a big omelet with some mixture of veggies such as onions, zucchini, mushrooms, green/red peppers, spinach, and/or jalapeno peppers.  I usually use a grass-fed bison sausage in my eggs too.  But sometimes I use a delicious wild boar sausage that I've found at a local market. I always make sure the sausage has zero nitrates/nitrites.  I also add garlic powder, black pepper, and turmeric to my eggs, both for taste and health benefits.

And of course, I always have some hot green tea, oolong tea, or yerba mate with my breakfast!

These breakfasts are mostly quality proteins, healthy fats, and lots of veggies. If fat loss is my goal I stay away from breads and cereals fully.  If muscle building is my goal, I'll include some sprouted grain bread for extra calories.

On cheat days, even during fat loss cycles, once a week for breakfast I'll make some delicious french toast using sprouted grain raisin bread and topped with fresh berries and grass-fed butter, and I'll have it with chicken and apple sausage, and a couple eggs over easy... mmm, delicious!  And I always have coffee instead of tea on my cheat days and use just a touch of real maple syrup or stevia in my coffee... none of that high fructose corn syrup crap...just real maple syrup.

Ok, back to non-cheat days...

Mid-afternoon, my meal usually consists of some mixture of unsweetened greek yogurt (the highest protein yogurt) with some berries, pecans or almonds, and chia seeds for some extra nutrition.  I just use a small bit of vanilla whey protein mixed in with the yogurt to lightly sweeten it without artificial sweeteners or added sugar.  A small touch of water or milk helps the protein mix with the yogurt.

Late afternoon, I'll usually have a piece of fruit along with some nuts (raw almonds are my favorite) and on gym days (which is 3x a week usually) this will be my pre-workout meal about 60-90 minutes before a workout.  If there's no local fruit in season, I might go with celery topped with almond butter for this meal, or hummus with carrot sticks, both super healthy snacks that I love.

I like to do my weight training workouts in the early evening as that's when I feel like I have the most strength.  Usually, my weight training workouts take about 45-50 minutes and are fairly intense and heavy! 

My weight training workouts are most times some form of supersetting barbell squats paired with upper body pulling (pullups or rows) or barbell deadlifts paired with upper body pressing (bench, dumbbell presses, overhead presses, etc) for the main portions of the workouts with accessory exercises after that. 

Sometimes I'll do circuit training, density training, or workout complexes for variety.  And of course, if you know me, you know that I love to mix in the occasionally high intensity kettlebell workout into the mix too.

My girlfriend Nayri has been using John Romaniello's Super Hero workouts lately and she has been loving them! Very cool format to those workouts and a challenge for both guys and gals if you're up for something intense.

When we come home from the gym at night, I make a big smoothie right away, usually with frozen bananas mixed with other frozen berries, raw grass-fed milk, organic cocoa powder, a touch of real maple syrup, a spoonful of spirulina powder, and a scoop of grass-fed whey protein.  This is a great post-workout shake that we love.

About 2 hours after that shake, we cook dinner, and usually have different variations of a healthy meat option, side veggies, and a salad with fresh greens, avocado, sliced beets, and my homemade healthy salad dressing

Notice that we don't have any starches generally with dinner... only meat, veggies, and salad.  This strategy in particular has been one of the biggest things that I've seen help people to jumpstart their fat loss results for those that struggle.

Probably about twice a week, we'll have some organic red wine with dinner.  Although some people in the health field don't agree with drinking any alcohol at all, I personally believe there's some health benefits to having red wine a couple times a week. You may also know that I have a very unsided balanced opinion about alcohol, and this article shows my techniques to still enjoy drinking moderately while staying lean and healthy.

For the meat with our dinners, my favorites are either a grass-fed steak, grass-fed burger, game meat such as moose or venison, or some wild salmon!  Occasionally we'll have some sort of chicken, but I try to avoid grocery store chicken (since it's almost all unhealthy birds raised in horrendous conditions).  Instead, we usually get some great free roaming chicken meat from a local farmers market... chickens that actually spent most of their time outside instead of cooped up inside a factory farm without ever seeing sunshine or fresh air.

If you don't know how important it is for animals in our food supply to see sunshine and why factory farms hurt the nutrition of our food supply, read this article

Late night, we usually enjoy some sort of night time tea... most times it's a mix of chamomile and mint tea.  Remember from my book that chamomile tea is one of those special plants with unique phytochemicals that can help you fight against the bombardment of xenoestrogens you're exposed to daily from plastics, pesticides, and other chemicals in your house and our environment.

We usually have the tea about an hour before bed as it helps me to relax and unwind at night.  Then I try my best to get about 8 hours of sleep each night.  I used to only get 6-7 hours of sleep per night years ago but now that I get 8 hours of sleep each night, I can't even begin to explain how much better I feel every single day.  Just the difference in energy is incredible! 

Well, that's about it... a fairly good example of an average day that keeps me and my girlfriend super lean year round.  Things change a bit depending on season, as I'll be skiing a lot in the winter, so skiing and snowshoeing in the winter replaces the hiking and mountain biking that I enjoy in the warm months.

Anyway, I hope you're able to benefit from some of the ideas here today.  I know we're all different and have different exercise and food preferences, but I get so many requests to simply hear what my daily routines are like, that I figured I'd just throw these ideas out there.

Have a great day,


Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer

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