This "healthy" food damages your heart?

While reading today's article, remember that heart disease is the #1 KILLER of people in today's modern world, with even higher death rates than cancer!  For some reason, most people don't seem to care about this topic until it's too late and they have a heart attack even as early as their 30's or 40's.  

It's time people started taking heart health seriously before it's too late.  Unfortunately, most people don't think about something they can't readily see or feel... after all, you can't "see" your artery health every day like you can see how much body fat you have.

This means that most people ignore their heart health until they actually have a heart attack or even die.  Even worse, I see so many people make jokes about clogged arteries while eating junk food, saying things like "I'd rather enjoy life than worry about clogged arteries".  Uh, sorry dude, but you can't enjoy life if you're DEAD! 

And do donuts and fried chicken REALLY equate to "enjoying life"?  Not for me!  Enjoying life for me is skiing deep powder in the winter, hiking beautiful mountains and enjoying nature in the summer, barreling down a mountain biking trail on my bike, playing games and having laughs with friends, and of course, enjoying some good aged cheese with a great red wine (both of which by the way, can help to protect your arteries - even the cheese as explained in this article)

One thing that sometimes wakes people up is to actually get an artery calcification test and see how clogged their arteries already are.  This is a wake up call to many people and will spur them into finally caring about their heart health before it's too late.

I mentioned donuts and fried chicken above, which as you know, are obvious heart cloggers due to the trans fats and refined inflammatory vegetable oils used in making these...

But what about so-called "healthy" foods such as whole grains in relation to your heart health?  Well...

Here's an excerpt from a great book I've been reading lately called The Great Cholesterol Myth by Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Dr Jonny Bowden...

"A 2010 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrated that women who ate the highest amount of carbohydrates had a significantly greater risk of coronary heart disease than those who ate the lowest amount, and that carbohydrates from high-glycemic carbs were particularly assiciated with significantly greater risk for heart disease"

As you can see, they're seeing direct relationships between carbohydrate consumption and heart disease.  And as you know already from past issues of this newsletter, natural saturated fat and dietary cholesterol basically has NOTHING to do with heart disease at all.  It's sugar, overall high GI carbs, stress levels, and trans fats that appear to be the MAIN culprits responsible for heart disease.

What about immediate effects on your heart from eating a high-carb meal?

In the book, Dr Sinatra also discusses another research study done (at Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine and the Heart Institute of Sheba Medical Center) on the function of the endothelial walls of the arteries before and after eating a dose of high GI carbs...

They used something called brachial reactive testing to measure artery functioning and gave groups high GI carbs such as corn flakes and sugar (very much like the typical American breakfast) ... Dr Sinatra explains, "Enormous peaks indicating arterial stress were found in the high GI groups: the cornflakes and sugar groups."

We're not talking about artery damage here folks from saturated fat and cholesterol like you've been led to believe... as you can see, this study is showing direct damage to arteries from grains and sugar.  Isn't it sad that those cornflakes are advertised by the food conglomerates as being a "wholesome and healthy" breakfast.

Dr Sinatra continues, "As researchers from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health noted, quickly digested and absorbed carbs (i.e., those with a high glycemic load) are associated with an increased risk of heart disease."

Dr Sinatra and Dr Bowden also point out studies that directly show that people who eat a higher glycemic load of carbohydrates in their diets experienced higher CRP levels (C-reactive protein), which is an indicator of overall inflammation in your body.  Higher CRP generally means higher risk for heart disease. 

Check out the CRP differences they noted -- "...those whose diets were lowest in glycemic load had an average CRP reading of 1.6, but those whose diets were highest in glycemic load had a CRP reading more than 3x that amount (average measurement: 5.0 mg/L).

To give some perspective on CRP if you eat a truly healthy diet focusing on healthy proteins, lots of veggies, spices, teas, red wine, and other antioxidants, and relatively low in overall carbohydrates... I've had my CRP tested twice, and my results came in at 0.1 and 0.4, indicating a VERY LOW amount of inflammation in my body as a whole.

Important Note:  my personal readings of total cholesterol are also always very high for typical medical standards (total cholesterol usually in the low-mid 200's).  Any normal doctor would immediately want try to be a drug pusher and put me on statins, despite my very high and protective levels of HDL (in the 60's), despite the fact that total cholesterol means NOTHING to your overall heart disease risk, despite the fact that my triglycerides are very low, and also despite the fact that my inflammation levels are extremely low based on my CRP tests.

I know this because one doctor tried to put me on statins 10 years ago based solely on total cholesterol, but ignoring all of the other more important tests such as HDL, triglycerides, and CRP levels.  Obviously, since I was more educated than he was on this topic, I chose to ignore him, and follow people such as Dr Sinatra and Dr Bowden who clearly are the top experts on heart health.

Speaking of triglycerides (and also the different LDL particle types to pay attention to), I explain all about both of those in this article:

How bread and cereal can CAUSE heart disease

What about the so-called "deadly" red meat in relation to heart disease?

I get so sick of seeing groups with an agenda against eating animal products trying to always lay the blame on red meat.  Let's see what true researchers such as Dr Sinatra and Dr Bowden have to say about the research...

Keep in mind that most previous studies had never separated processed meat (such as hot dogs, bologna, lunch meats with chemical additives, etc) vs unprocessed meats (such as a healthy grass-fed steak, pasture-raised pork tenderloin, grass-fed burger, etc) in investigating the relationship between meat eating and heart disease.

But Dr Sinatra and Dr Bowden reported on a Harvard study where researchers analyzed 20 studies including over 1.2 million people in 10 countries and they found... "each 1.8 oz daily serving of processed meat (about one hot dog or a couple slices of deli meat) was associated with a 42% higher risk of developing heart disease.  In contrast, no relationship was found between heart disease and nonprocessed red meat."

Also remember that healthy grass-fed beef contains the unique fat called CLA that has been shown to be a cancer-fighter as well as helping to aid fat loss.

On this topic, watch this short video about the #1 food for a flat belly

Lastly, remember that maintaining healthy blood pressure levels is also very important for overall heart health.  Sadly, there are many potential dangers of blood pressure medications... watch this video below to see some of the hazards of blood pressure drugs and alternative natural remedies:

Possible DANGERS of blood pressure drugs (plus natural remedies for lowering blood pressure)

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer


These foods and drinks help you to sleep better at night (tips to prevent insomnia)

by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist

I've noticed in my travels and with working with clients that a large majority of people in today's fast-paced stressful world are struggling at least part of the time with falling asleep at night.

Over the years, even I have struggled on occasion with insomnia because of the stress placed on me by running a large publishing business.  And I've researched and learned quite a few tips and tricks over the years to help fight insomnia and fall asleep faster.

Without diving into every single technique I've learned over the years, I'll just touch on a few really simple, but powerful tips, foods, drinks, etc that I think can help you to fall asleep easier and faster too!

Here goes:

1.  The most important sleep tip to start with:

This one isn't a specific food or drink, but rather probably THE most important tip I can give you... if you don't follow this one, your chances of being able to wind down at night and fall asleep fast are unlikely...

You NEED to eliminate use of devices, computers, emails, and any other work related to your job (or other stressful things) at least 3 hours before you plan to go to sleep.  Using devices or computers for casual reading at night is fine, but don't do any work that gets your mind overly activated, such as anything dealing with work or other stressful things in life.  Also, even for casual reading, it's best to turn off devices at least 1 hour before bed as keeping your eyes focused on the light from devices is one thing that some researchers are saying could interfere with falling asleep.

An overly active mind late at night is one of the BIGGEST things keeping many people from falling asleep.  As a success-driven entrepreneur myself, I used to work really late at night and then I'd find that my mind was always too active to actually be able to fall asleep, so I'd lay there for hours sometimes until I could get my mind to slow down so I could fall asleep.

This may sound weird, but one trick that's worked for me is to grab a book while I lay in bed on something that I find sort of boring and try to read the book in bed.  Because the topic is "boring" to me personally, it keeps my mind away from things that I find more interesting, and it allows me to fall right to sleep.  So for example, if you find health and fitness interesting (I hope you do!), but you find economics boring, try reading an economics book as you lay in bed.  I bet you'll get sleepy and fall asleep much faster than if you laid in bed letting all your thoughts about daily life race through your mind.

2.  No caffeine after mid-day:

You've probably heard this tip many times, so I'll keep this one short... It takes about 6 hours for caffeine to be fully processed and eliminated by your body, so make sure your last caffeinated drink of the day (coffee, black tea, mate, etc) is at LEAST 6 hours or more before your planned bedtime.  And if you've been showing any adrenal fatigue from lab tests, you should also consider reducing your daily caffeine intake if you currently use it.

3.  Tart cherries or tart cherry juice:

Tart cherries (Montmorency) actually contain a natural form of melatonin that can help you to naturally get sleepy and more easily fall asleep.  I've found frozen tart cherries a few times in specialty grocery stores and I use them for a late night smoothie occasionally.

I've also found a tart cherry concentrate in Whole Foods and other health food stores that you can add to a drink or caffeine-free tea at night to help get you that low dose natural melatonin.  I use 1 Tbsp of this tart cherry concentrate in a cup of chamomile or mint tea late at night.  This helps immensely for calming down and falling asleep at night.

A side benefit is that tart cherry also contains powerful antioxidants that fight joint pain, gout, and other inflammation related problems.

4.  DON'T overdose on melatonin supplements:

Did you know that MOST people overdose on melatonin supplements.  Most melatonin supplements come in either 3 mg or even 5 mg doses.  However, according to some researchers, anything more than 1 mg might be too high of a dose, which can disrupt your sleep cycle the following day, making it hard to wake up in the morning, and harder to fall asleep the following night, disrupting your overall sleep cycle.

The proper dose seems to be something less than 1 mg from most experts on this topic (this was even discussed on the Dr Oz show too), which is why I choose to NEVER use melatonin supplements, and only get the small natural quantities found in tart cherries or tart cherry juice.

5.  Night time teas:

Try "night time teas" that have relaxing qualities such as chamomile tea, mint tea, lemongrass tea, or all of them mixed.  A side benefit of chamomile tea, and another reason that I try to include it in my weekly night tea repertoire is that chamomile tea contains unique phytonutrients that can help fight estrogenic overload from all of the xenoestrogens that we are exposed to from chemicals, pesticides, etc in today's chemical laden world.

One last thing...

If you still have troubles falling asleep even after implementing all of these tips, make sure to pay attention to fixing any hormonal issues you might have, including any possible adrenal fatigue, since being overly stressed out during the day can cause imbalances in your natural cortisol cycle which can make you more awake at night and more tired in the morning (obviously the opposite of what you want). 

Eliminate any stressors from your life that you can, and also trying other relaxation techniques including meditation as a way to deal with stress if you still feel that you're too stressed out each day.

I hope today's topic gave you some immediately useful tips that you can use to start falling asleep easier and faster and feeling more rested and energetic when you wake up in the morning!

Make sure to pay attention to ALL of the tips above (especially #1) as they can all combine into a powerful regimen that relaxes you to sleep each night without any more insomnia, leaving you more energetic and ready to be productive when you wake up each day!

If you want to dive into more valuable nutrition advice, check out this article:

Beware of these foods that HARM your hormones (plus #1 worst ingredient)

PS -- if you liked today's article, please fwd this email on to any of your friends, family, or co-workers that could benefit from these sleep tips.

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer


Never eat THIS for breakfast (a "healthy" hoax)

Like most people (particularly on this newsletter) you care about your health and the shape of your body and you try to make healthier food choices.  But mainstream media keeps confusing you with conflicting "reports" about what's bad and good for you...

You've probably received no shortage of advice from magazines and TV shows like Dr Oz and others telling you what to eat and what not to eat.

But did you know that most of the popular "health" foods that are being pushed on you in the media and TV ads can actually make you GAIN weight, as well as cause terrible diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

That's right, the so called "gurus" are falling prey to the same myths as everyone else. And they're passing their faulty food choice advice on to you. 

In fact, on several mainstream popular TV shows (even on the Biggest Loser, which aside from their bad nutrition advice in my opinion, I actually like the show for many other reasons), you'll hear the advice time and time again that you "need" whole grains.  They seem to completely ignore the fact that humans had better health for the 1.9 Million years when we ate virtually no grains at all before agriculture was invented.

Plus they seem to completely ignore the fact that we can obtain ALL of the fiber and micronutrients we need from veggies and fruits without the negatives of grains (excess blood-sugar spiking starch, gluten, and other antinutrients)
But the advice shoved down everyone's throat to eat massive quantities of "whole grains" every single day of their lives surely equates to MASSIVE profits for the grain industry, as well as HUGE health problems such as diabetes and heart disease for large portions of the population which feeds the medical and big pharma industries too.

But we're not JUST going to talk about grains in this email...

The truth is, most of the popular "health foods" you see pushed in the media are complete garbage, and will actually increase your waistline instead of making it smaller!

To be honest, I could go on and on about the horrible food choices I see each and every day, even by well intentioned people. But I'll limit myself to 4 of the WORST offenders below (this relates not just to breakfast, but any meal)

Here are my top four BAD foods that get constant praise for contributing to a lean and healthy lifestyle. And I'll explain why you want to AVOID them:

1. Whole Grain Cereals or Breads

I cringe every time I hear someone say, "but it's whole grain, so that means it's healthy, right?"

I realize this is hard to accept for many people, but I want to go on record and say that in my opinion you should completely remove cereal from your diet.  There's just no valid reason to eat it if you care about your body (aside from maybe 1 cheat meal a week).

Forget the breakfast of champions... forget the picture of a lean, attractive woman in yoga pants enjoying a bowl of cereal, and ditch the cereal for good.

Cereal, even whole grain, is highly processed and often loaded with sugar, chemicals, and harsh additives. Whole grain cereal also contains higher levels of antinutrients than refined grains, which means that BOTH regular cereals and whole grain cereals have more detriments than benefits.

The "health experts" claim that whole grains are necessary for a healthy heart, but the only heart healthy component of cereal is fiber, which can be found in much healthier versions in fruits and vegetables.  To be clear, despite the propaganda you hear daily, humans DON'T need the fiber from grains to be healthy... the fiber from veggies and fruits is actually a healthier version.

Cereal is also very high on the glycemic index, which means that it makes your blood sugar rise very quickly -- yes, even whole grain cereals -- an almost certain recipe for thicker love handles and jiggly arms.  And if you missed the explanation in this article, whole wheat contains a unique type of carbohydrate not found in other foods that actually spikes your blood sugar HIGHER than pure table sugar... Ouch!

I can hear you asking,
"Yeah but... what the heck do I eat for breakfast?"

I recommend a good protein source, some fiber, and a good healthy fat source to keep your blood sugar stable and controlled, keep insulin levels low, give you a long lasting energy burn, maintain lean muscle, keep you full for longer, and sustain your calorie-burning efforts.

Having high-carbohydrate breakfasts that are based around cereal, bagels, juices, etc. is a cultural phenomenon, NOT a physiological one.

We eat that way because that's how everyone else in our culture does it [thanks to the big advertising budgets of the food industry], yet a high-protein, high healthy fat, lower-carb breakfast is what's best for our bodies.

Eating a high protein breakfast may take some getting used to initially, but you'll be rewarded with much greater energy, a leaner waistline, and no more mid-morning crashes or hunger pangs caused by carbohydrate abuse!

Here are a few breakfasts that would fit the bill nicely:

-Whole organic eggs (cooked any style), veggies, kimchi or kraut, and organic bacon
-Bison steak, veggies, kimchi or kraut, and cashews
-Chicken sausage, spinach cooked in coconut oil with garlic, and a couple Brazil nuts
-Protein shake with almond butter, berries, raw cacao powder, and stevia
-A vegetable smoothie with added fat such as nuts and avocado (fat increases absorption of nutrients in veggies)

2. Most Yogurts, with this exception...

C'mon. Everyone knows yogurt is a heathy diet snack. Hey, it's fat-free, so it couldn't possibly be unhealthy or derail your diet plan, right?


Most yogurt, even if it's fat-free, is chock full of sugar! I see some yogurts with only 5 grams of protein and more than 30 grams of carbs from sugar... yuck, I asked for yogurt, not syrup! 

To make matters even worse, many times the sugar added is high-fructose corn syrup, which actually signals your genes to store body fat.

This means that what you think is an innocent snack is actually sending messages to your very DNA to stockpile fat deposits all over your body!

This doesn't just apply to "desserts" like frozen yogurt either. Most of the "healthy" yogurt tubs you can find in the store, and that are advertised heavily on TV as great diet foods, are loaded with fat-storing sugars and additives.

Do you have to completely give up yogurt?

No, thankfully you don't. There is one kind of yogurt that will help you with your fat-burning efforts. And that is organic Greek yogurt, or plain unsweetened yogurt.

I prefer to eat my Greek yogurt with a handful of organic blueberries or raspberries and a tablespoon or so of chia seeds mixed in. You can also add a dash of natural stevia sweetener if you like.  The end result is a yogurt meal with more protein than carbs, and a good dose of healthy fiber too, with a nice delicious lightly sweet taste.

Be cautious, however, because not all Greek yogurt is created equal...

Sadly, once word got out that Greek yogurt can actually be quite good for you, yogurt manufacturers started loading their Greek yogurt with sugar to make it taste better than their competitors.

Before you purchase Greek yogurt, make sure you turn the container over and look at the ingredient list. If you see sugar, high fructose corn syrup, agave, honey, or evaporated cane juice on the label, then put it down and find yourself a PLAIN greek yogurt.

3. Energy bars

I must admit, I used to make this critical mistake years ago back when I first started trying to really eat healthy.

I loaded up my pantry with every variety of health bars, energy bars, and protein bars that I could find.

"Now, I'll be able to eat on-the-go and still get the body that I've always wanted" is what I thought as I plowed through box-after box of these little treats. I mean, it is what the advertisement promised, isn't it?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but most energy bars, health bars, meal replacement bars, and protein bars are simply glorified candy bars.

Most of them are chock full of sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, gluten, chemical additives, and soy protein... all things that are certain to add girth to your waistline!  Not fun.

I realize that you've got a busy life and need to have some convenience foods. While planning ahead and cooking in bulk will help you in this arena, there are some times when you might just get stuck and need some food on-the-run.

For these instances, I recommend organic nuts and seeds, a little bit of high-fiber fruit, and vegetables. If you're in need of a bit more protein, try some hard boiled eggs or organic preservative-free deli meat wrapped around avocado slices or veggie sticks for a high protein, high fiber snack that will keep you fueled, smash your cravings, and keep you lean.

The only truly healthy bars that I've found were just released about a month ago and I am in LOVE with these bars.  They have 20 grams of protein, a whopping 14 grams of fiber, loaded with healthy fats and antioxidants, and have ZERO gluten or soy.

4. Diet version of [...insert any food here...]

In an effort to lose fat, you may have found yourself reaching for the "diet" versions of your favorite high-calorie foods.

Diet sodas, diet ice cream, diet candy, fat-free this, sugar-free that..... It's all a nightmare for your body composition.

The diet, sugar-free, and fat-free trend began because people were led to believe that calories were the ONLY thing responsible for weight gain, and that by minimizing them, you could ensure fat loss.

Food manufacturers jumped on this concept and created a way for you to enjoy all your favorite junk foods all the time, and still think you would lose fat.

But here's why it doesn't work: Calories are not the ONLY reason why you have excess body fat.

Of course too many calories, even from healthy foods, can cause you to sport a thicker midsection, but another reason for stalled fat loss is because of toxins and hormonal problems.

Any time your body senses toxins in the blood stream, it tries to neutralize them by wrapping them up in fat cells to protect your body from the harmful molecules.

While this is a good thing (I mean, nobody wants toxins entering the brain, reproductive organs, etc) to some extent, it is also why you may not be dropping the pounds despite your best efforts.

So why are diet, fat-free, and sugar free products cause for concern? It's because when they remove the fat, the sugar, and the calories, they need something to make the products taste good, so they use nasty chemicals.

Many common chemicals that are used to sweeten or to flavor food and beverages are highly toxic, especially if you consume them every day.

Because of this, your diet foods and drinks are causing you to create fat cells to trap the toxins for protection.

Rather than relying on diet versions of food, it's best to just eat the real thing but reserve your favorite "junk food" ONLY for your cheat days or cheat meals, when you want to have high calories to revamp leptin and boost your metabolism.

Getting in shape and losing fat should be an enjoyable process. You don't have to deprive and starve yourself. Simply making better food choices, and avoiding some of the false "health" foods that are blocking your progress is the first step.

And on the next page you'll discover 5 more solutions that will actually stimulate the ONE cell in your body responsible for actually giving you that "fast metabolism" that lean people just seem to have naturally.

next page=> 5 solutions for a fast fat-burning metabolism

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer

3 substances that control your blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity (helping fat loss)

You probably already know that controlling your blood sugar response from the foods that you eat is a VERY important factor for controlling your ability to burn fat, balance your hormones, and also prevent diabetes.

Studies show that these 3 substances below help to control blood sugar response and/or insulin sensitivity when you take them with meals:

Blood-sugar controlling substance #1: Cocoa 

It might sound surprising, but pure cocoa powder contains flavanols which are powerful antioxidants that can help improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.

I recommend organic cocoa powder (pure, NOT with any added sugar), which you can add to smoothies or in other ways to help your body improve blood sugar control.  I like to add a heaping spoonful of organic cocoa powder to smoothies made with frozen berries and my favorite protein powder for a delicious blood-sugar controlling treat!

You can also make your own healthy hot cocoa drink at home by blending a couple spoonfuls of org cocoa powder with your milk of choice and some stevia to sweeten.  Then just heat on the stove by slowly stirring and in a few minutes you have a delicious healthy hot cocoa, low in sugar, high in fiber from the cocoa, and also high in antioxidants that can improve your insulin sensitivity.

Blood-sugar controlling substance #2: Green Tea

According to one study I've reviewed, animals given the green-tea based antioxidant, EGCG, had a 50% lower blood sugar after eating starch than the animals that didn't get the EGCG but ate the same amount of starch.

This aligns with other studies we've seen over the years that green tea and oolong tea can help to control the blood sugar response from a meal due to their unique antioxidants.

So if you're eating a meal that contains carbohydrates, you can protect yourself from the blood sugar spike with a cup or two of green tea along with the meal.

Make sure to read this article also where I show you a tea combination that boosts the antioxidant power in your tea dramatically!

Blood-sugar controlling substance #3: Apple Cider Vinegar

It's been found that taking apple cider vinegar with a meal can slow the digestion of carbohydrates in that meal and slow the rate of absorption of sugar into the blood.

However, mixing apple cider vinegar into water isn't an enjoyable drink in my opinion, so what I personally like to do is have apple cider vinegar mixed with olive oil on my daily salad each night with dinner.

Keep in mind that my good friend Tim Ferriss did tons of blood sugar experiments and found that white vinegar and balsamic vinegar didn't have any blood sugar controlling benefits in his tests.  This article below explains about the vinegar tests, but also shows you 2 other substances that Tim's tests shows DID control blood sugar response:

These 2 other substances DID control blood sugar response from meals (not talked about above)

5 Powerful herbal ingredients that also control blood sugar:

This is a supplement that I personally take which is a mixture of 5 powerful herbal ingredients that all have loads of scientific studies showing that they control blood sugar and/or increase insulin sensitivity, thereby helping to balance your hormones (keep a healthy blood sugar and insulin balance) when you eat carbohydrates:

IC5 - a mix of 5 powerful blood-sugar controlling herbal ingredients

I'll be back soon with more Lean-Body Secrets.

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer


Do fasted morning workouts actually burn more fat?

You've probably heard some people say that morning workouts on an empty stomach are one of the best ways to lose fat.  I've talked about this topic in the past and why that method might totally backfire for some people, even though it might work for others.  It can be a confusing topic...

-Should you workout in the morning in a fasted state?

-Should you workout in the morning after eating something to have more energy?

-Or should you workout later in the day for the best results?

-What about for different goals... fat loss vs muscle, for example?

I'm going to let one of my colleagues, Nick Nilsson, jump in and answer this confusing topic, because he's done a lot of research on the topic and real world experimentation on himself and his clients.  Nick lays out the solution below that's best for YOU, because everybody is different...

Are morning workouts on an empty stomach the best workout for fat loss? Not so fast.
by Nick Nilsson

I have to say, this is one of the most frequently-asked questions that I get on my site. And my approach is all about common sense and weighing the pros and cons.

While it IS true that it has been shown that training first thing in the morning on an empty stomach does increase fat burning (the commonly quoted stat is 300% greater), the problem is, you also increase the potential for burning up muscle at the same time.

The reason fat loss is increased at that time of day is due to blood sugar. Because your blood sugar is at it's very lowest (after fasting all night), the theory is training at this time will force your body to rely more on bodyfat than on blood sugar to fuel activity.

This is true, but the problem is protein (as is found in muscles) can be converted into glucose to fuel activity as well. So the question then becomes, is the extra fat burning you get worth the potential loss of muscle protein?

Think you've got it figured out? There's even more to consider...

Another thing we have to consider is Growth Hormone. When you train on low-blood sugar conditions, your body releases increased amounts of GH. It sees these conditions as an emergency and responds with GH.

This hormone has protective effects on muscle and improves the use of fat for energy. GH is not secreted in response to low-intensity activity - it's only significantly released by high intensity activity.

So, in theory, training with high intensity on an empty stomach first thing in the morning can result in increased GH secretion, which means greater fat loss and reduced loss of muscle mass. This directly contradicts the theory of training burning up your muscle tissue if you don't eat.

Confused yet? Here's another monkey wrench...

Your cortisol levels are generally higher in the morning, simply because you've been fasting during the whole time you've been sleeping. Cortisol burns up muscle tissue and promotes fat storage.

And one last one, it's tough to train with intensity first thing in the morning! For best fat loss results, I always encourage high intensity interval training. If you're not a morning person (and I'm NOT!), it'll be tough to do cardio with enough intensity to take full advantage of the GH release.


My common-sense solution reads like a peace treaty... basically, if your primary goal is fat loss and you aren't too worried about losing a little muscle, go with empty stomach, moderate-to-high-intensity cardio training first thing in the morning. You will probably see increased fat loss, though you may lose a little muscle from it. Train with weights, and it probably won't be much muscle loss at all.

If your goal is fat loss while preserving muscle as much as possible, take a small protein shake right after you wake up (a low-carb protein shake so you don't increase blood sugar too much). THEN go do your cardio training. The protein will help spare your muscle tissue while not raising your blood sugar significantly enough to cause a problem.

Last thing...if you can't do your cardio with intensity first thing in the morning, do it later in the day. That's my solution.

Because truly, the absolute best time to do cardio is when you're energetic enough and alert enough to give it your best effort. THAT is when you'll really see results. Doesn't really matter what time of day that is.

When you get right down to it, getting the most from your training, whether it be cardio or weights, is not about worry about the details that won't make a difference in the long run. It's about digging in with intensity
and consistency.

Now, if you're interested in a fat-loss program that has a primary goal of preserving muscle mass while dropping fat, I'd definitely recommend trying out my Metabolic Surge Rapid Fat Loss program.

It's a great program...I'm actually on my third round of it in a row myself. It incorporates strategic combinations of weight training, cardio and nutritional manipulation to force your body into fat-burning and muscle-building states on demand. It really puts you in control of your results.

Good luck!

Nick Nilsson
The "Mad Scientist of Exercise"

Thanks to Nick for that explanation, and I totally agree.  I personally never liked morning cardio, and didn't feel energetic trying to workout on an empty stomach.  I also usually find myself feeling stronger so I can train with more intensity in the late afternoon.  And I found that when I experimented with empty stomach morning cardio, I tended to noticeably lose muscle, so it just didn't work for me.

Nick is honestly one of the smartest and creative trainers in the business... that's why he's earned the nickname, "the mad scientist".  Check out Nick's advanced program on this page below if you want a proven method to lose fat VERY fast:

Unique 36-day protocol to STRIP off 10-15 lbs of pure body fat (while keeping lean muscle)

Here's some of the techniques that Nick will take you through:

* Fat-Loss Circuit Training
* Lactic-Acid Training
* Time/Volume Training™
* Antagonistic Superset Training
* Cluster Training
* Triple Drop Set and Triple Add Set Training

=> Nick's 36-day protocol to get super lean

Have fun with it!

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer