Archive for January, 2016

I’ve updated my original review of Hypertrophy Max with a video review: https://shawnthebuffer.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/my-non-biased-no-bs-review-of-hypertrophgy-max-by-vince-del-monte-and-ben-pakulski/

All feedback is appreciated, either here, on the video or on the original article.

Two little words when put together may be the things holding you back… I learned this because I saw it in myself first and then began observing it in others.

Those two words are: I Know

The problem with these words are that they take on an assumption of knowing things and therefore closing your mind to all other possibilities. Ironically some very bright people fall prey to this, and then limit what they are capable of learning.

Of course there is a difference between being open-minded and being gullible, but that’s a whole other matter.


Hey guys and gals,

So in my efforts to adapt with the times I’m revamping my blog and videos a little…

I’m going to be publishing a new video each week, but the theme will be alternating between:

  • one Superhero-physique-themed video per month (based on whatever the newest blockbuster is)
  • one fitness program review per month including books, online programs and even equipment
  • the other weeks will cover all kinds of topics in the physique transformation world like exercise, nutrition, hormones, tips and tricks, supplement and maybe even the odd rant *cough* Planet Fitness *cough*

A lot will be linked here in my blog but they might not all be (and some will be relating to my archived blogs), so to get it all please subscribe to my new YouTube channel, and as always your feedback is appreciated: Buff-N-Toned Channel


There are so many things that can lead to frustrated and failed attempts and complicating that is that fact that everyone is so different, this list has helped me navigate through my own fat loss challenges and hopefully will for you as well.

As someone who tends to be over-analytical but everything possible and yet notoriously “scatter-brained” I first made this list out of frustration when my bodyfat, specifically belly fat was not coming off.

It’s broken into two phases, and there is definitely some cross-over, but this is written in the order I think best to address. There’s no sense trying to boost testosterone if you’re eating too much.

Beside each point is ideas to accomplish/overcome these.

Before listing the reasons, a good first step if you are in the boat of feeling frustrated over lack of results is to ensure you are measuring accurately. I’ve had it happen where my weight went up while fat percent went down so the scale itself can be misleading.

PHASE 1:

1. caloric deficit – on the simplest level there has to be a caloric deficit to burn fat. If it is too drastic you will also burn muscle, so it should be a moderate daily deficit. Log everything you eat. The typical human typically misjudges their food intake by about 1,000 kcal when guessing.

2. training intensity – resistance training builds muscle – aka your biggest fat burning mechanism. It positively affects anabolic hormones, provides energy and burns fat.

Bonus 1: In addition, if you’re not doing this already add in 2-3 sessions of HIIT cardio, and increase the intensity of any other cardio you do.

3. protein intake – there are several reasons why this macronutrients is important, so with your daily food tracking ensure you get 1g of protein per – this is probably higher than needed but it’s better to have a little too much than too little.

4. water – being terrible at getting enough water myself I’ve begun logging my water intake as well. Water helps several body functions. One study suggested that drinking cold water burns more calories, while I’m not sure if it’s been validated it seems to make sense.

5. fiber – I think this may be one of the least appreciated foods, but it becomes highly important as it helps with digestion, insulin resistance and makes you feel full.

6. Healthy fat intake – this is also something I log. The ideal amount of fat is around 20-30% of your daily caloric intake.

Bonus 2: Consider Food allergies and intolerances.

7. sleep – quality sleep is where we recover and where our fat burning hormones really come into full flight.

Phase 2:

8. growth hormone – this intriguing little hormone is extremely potent when it comes to burning fat and preserving lean tissue. Good sleep will help with this as will exercise. To get the most out of it try to prime it prior to exercise by steering clear of carbohydrates for three hours prior to working out. Melatonin before sleep may help as well.

9. adrenal fatigue – one very common problem when struggling to lose fat is that our adrenal glands become fatigued. This often happens due to the use of stimulants. If burning fat is truly important to you try cycling off ALL stimulants. No coffee, nothing. It sucks. I’ve done it. The first day or two are tough but following that (if this is the issue) fat starts pouring off like never before. If feels great in the long-term. You can also help adrenal health by increasing vitamin C and magnesium.

10. Leptin – I’ve got leptin pretty high on the hormone list because it has an effect on virtually all of the hormones below including the thyroid. Low leptin levels cause the body to hold onto fat and catabolize muscle. It also causes hunger. Solving this one is multi-faceted… The main way is by incorporating refeed days. But sleep deprivation and poor diet can also negatively affect leptin. What makes this tricky is that the leaner you get the lower leptin levels are making your refeed days all the more important as you progress.

11. cortisol – this guy, the “stress” hormone is a tricky but important one to consider. While it does have benefits to our survival (like all hormones) when out of control can keep us from burning fat. To help with this ensure good sleep, make training sessions shorter but more intense, increase magnesium and vitamin C, and perhaps consider an adaptogen (such as rhodiola rosea) post workout to restore levels.

12. insulin resistance – insulin is a powerful hormone that helps build muscle and also “builds” fat. The ideal scenario is to have high insulin level while your body is in muscle-building mode but more normalized levels the rest of the time. The best way to do this is to eliminate sugary food from your diet, but if you’ve gotten this far in the list you’ve probably done that already. I’ve tried using such insulin mimicking supplements as R-Ala, taurine, cinnamon and garcinia combogia alone and in combination and I’m not convinced that the effect was measurable. What I have found to be useful is increasing omega 3 oils (I always use the capsules, preferably krill), and I also found that pushing off my first meal of the day seemed to help.

13. estrogen – the female sex hormone is another one that is correlated with fat gain. This bugger can get you a number of ways, so if you suspect it is an issue here’s what I’d do– first of all duck the urge to by a fancy (expensive) supplement. If you want to supplement for this look at DIM and calcium d-glucorate. Eat broccoli every day. Switch to using natural soap and shampoo, organic foods, and don’t use plastic dishware as well to reduce environmental estrogens.

14. testosterone – this one is also fascinating because it ties in closely with cortisol and estrogen. To help support the mighty test you want to ensure your body as a whole is operating optimally, so you must eat well and could do with a good multivitamin. In addition, omega-3 and vitamin D3 support it (due to vit D being fat soluble I take them together). Also to help with test make your weight training sessions hard, intense but not too long.

15. thyroid – the thyroid is always the last one I look to because it seems that beyond what’s listed above there’s not a lot of practical solutions. It also tends to be ineffective on low carb diets making carb re-feed days all the more important on a diet. Another thing that may help is adding nuts as a snack once a day – Brazil nuts specifically may be beneficial here.

Bonus 3…

16. A Need! – the more reasons you have to lose weight the more successful you will beat what I previously called the Enemies of Fat Burning. Personally I’ve had to dig really deep to find meaningful reasons. This is done by asking nested “why”s; ask yourself “Why do I need to burn fat?” and when you have an answer again ask “why?”, continue as much as five times.

There you have it folks, hope you enjoyed!