To Squat or Not to Squat

When Done Properly the Squat is a great exerciseScott do you require all of your clients to perform the squat exercise?  I know it is an important exercise for improving the speed of fat loss, muscle growth and general function.  I have had difficulty doing it right at times and wonder if it is still worthwhile.  James

James great question.  The squat is a very productive exercise but only if executed with proper form.  I help a wide variety of consultation clients of different experience/skill levels so we use the squat or modified versions where appropriate.  There are many factors that make executing the squat properly difficult including lack of flexibility, strategic weaknesses, injuries and more.

How Do You Reach YOUR Goals ASAP?

New clients seeking customized training and nutrition plans approach me every day to either lose body fat or gain muscle in a short period of time such as 12-24 weeks.  The squat is not essential to either of these goal orientations, but very helpful when executed correctly.  A client with no squatting experience who needs to lose 20 lbs of fat in 12 weeks does not need to invest significant time into learning to squat when a variety of other movements can be put in place to burn body fat fast while building functional strength.

I am horrified by the squatting form I see when going into public gyms periodically.  The problems range from an uneven bar placement to a lack of depth.  Stay way from the smith machine squat equipment as this is not a solution.  My goal is to help clients earn the fastest possible results and I never get hung up on “requirements”.  Certain exercises fit some situations well while there are other methods to achieve the same goal.  Where there is a will, there is always a way to succeed!

Are you Tight as a Drum?

Tight muscles can limit your ability to squat correctly.  It is very common for a trainee to initially squat well during a cycle and gradually see a decline execution quality as the weeks go by.  This is often related to muscles not recovering adequately between sessions which leads tissues to become very “tight”  The Squat is highly demanding on recovery from both a metabolic (muscles) and neurological perspective.  Use 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis around all of your training sessions to accelerate rates of recovery, increase the utilization of stored fat as fuel and boost training performance.

Is Your Stretching Program Creating More Problems?

Stretching is not as simple as some would think.  Improving the range of motion and or function of a muscle or group of muscles require a proper strategy to be put in place.  Having an evaluation to determine what muscles/structures are tight, therefore needing more attention will help to guide in the design of a proper stretching program.  Pre workout I favor dynamic stretching and traditional static stretching 4 to 6 hours after the training session.

Coaching From a Distance

I do not have the benefit of seeing my internet consulting clients in person so I have to make strategic decisions based on the detailed information I collect.  In many cases we will focus on lunge movements that require full knee flexion to built up the strength of the legs individually.  It is very common for a new client to have some imbalances such as one leg being 10-30% weaker than the other.  In this case the imbalance makes squatting correctly nearly impossible.  Over time the unilateral movements will help to correct these imbalances while improving many other important parameters that can lead to a successful squat.

Injury Considerations

Lower back injuries are very common making the Squat not necessarily a high risk movement in call cases, but one that shatters the confidence of the trainee.  I have many clients that can hold 80 lb dbs while performing a variety of lunge movements which gives them plenty of loading, adequate for improving body composition.  A trainee seeking only to improve body comp and general function does not need to squat, but other movements involving knee flexion are very important.  The Alpha Omega M3 is not only a great fat burning tool, but also very helpful for lubricating joints.  Consistently client feedback points to the Alpha Omega M3 is a great tool for sustaining great workouts!

Modified Squatting Exercises

Shoulder injuries are often times a limiting factor for proper bar position which in turn negatively impacts the torso angle, forcing it forward.  My clients with shoulder injuries gain great benefits from a front squat which allows them to sustain a comfortable bar position.  A special bar called a safety squat bar enables a trainee to perform a back squat while keeping the hands in front which reduces shoulder stress, however this is not a common bar to find in a commercial gym.

Find The Right Depth-Get a Box!

One of the major challenges a trainee faces when squatting is difficulty seeing what they are actually doing!  Without the aid of a video camera or qualified partner it is difficult to judge many form elements.  I often suggest using a special squat box or bench when squatting to establish an end point for the bottom range of motion of the squat.  This is an easy way to ensure that you are hitting your depth target on every rep and can also give you an indication if the glutes are touching at the same time as well.

Email 7 days per week to discuss your situation and goals today!

Do Not Be A Scale Maniac

You can read our Get Rid of Trouble Spot Fat article to learn more about the correlation of body fat levels in certain areas to specific hormones.

Scott I am in the habit of watching the scale very day for progress and sometimes it drives me nuts if I do not see changes daily.  What should I be looking for with the scale progress on a day to day basis when trying to lose body fat?  Kerry.

I would not rely on the scale as a daily measure of progress.  A daily weigh in is not productive and will only add to stress levels which interfere with body fat loss and drive cravings for bad food choices.  Body weight can shift for many reasons and this is perfectly normal.   Women will see big swings in scale weight as it relates to the menstrual cycle at certain time so of the month and this absolutely in no way related to body fat levels.

How to Accurately Determine Body Fat %

Your focus should be on body fat % which can be accurately determined by a caliper test done by a skilled pro, Bod Pod, Dexascan or hydrostatic weighing.  You can use a tape measure around the waist at the belly button level, hips etc for feedback as well.  Bio impedance scales that measure body fat levels through electric currents are not accurate so do not bother with them.   You can read our Get Rid of Trouble Spot Fat article to learn more about the correlation of body fat levels in certain areas to specific hormones.

 Focus on The Right Goals

There will be no lottery award for reaching a specific weight.  When setting goals with new clients we focus on appearance, performance, and energy based goals while using body fat % testing and not scale weight as a measure of progress.  On the Red Carpet the media is not mentioning the estimates of body weight for famous stars.  They are focusing on how great they look which is what the ultimate focus should be along with energy levels and status of well being.  Body fat % is the best tool for determining progress as it provides an accurate measure of body fat as well as lean tissue levels.  Following these testing trends over time is very important as a marker of progress to guide program refinements.

 Are you Wrecking Your Ability to Lose Fat?

The wrong approach to fat loss which we can define in general as eating too little while increasing activity too much will result in loss of body fat as well as hard earned muscle.  In many cases I have had new female clients especially tell me they do not care about losing muscle, but just want to see the scale move down.  This is a self destructive approach which will lead metabolism to down regulate significantly brining a stop to fat burning.  Furthermore the loss of muscle and resulting catabolic hormonal environment will increase body fat over subsequent months, digging a deeper hole!  A lack of muscle also leads to a worse appearance.

 Amino Load to Boost Fat Burning and Protect Muscle

My clients are able to take a very aggressive approach to fat loss without sacrificing muscle.   We use Amino Loading with 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis around training and between meals to increase rates of fat burning, protect lean muscle, accelerate recovery, improve energy and destroy cravings for bad food choices.  Taken between meals the 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis make the bran believe a massive amount of food has been consumed.  As a result metabolic rate increases, but there is nothing to burn except stored fat since the 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis have no caloric burden.  This leaves only body fat to be burned by a raging metabolism.  Placing a scoop of each between meals a couple times per day will have a huge impact on energy levels, this will help to eliminate your mid afternoon slump while accelerating fat burning and recovery.

 How Does Muscle Impact the Bottom Line?

 In many cases trainees will gain some muscle while losing body fat which will cancel each other out on the scale, but represent a great change in body composition.  Lean Muscle tissue burns calories 24×7 and supports a firm looking physique.  A large percentage of women have far less muscle than what nature intended due to poor diet and excessive cardiovascular exercise at some point in their life. A well structured exercise, nutrition and supplement program simply helps the body achieve an optimal ratio of lean tissue to body fat.

 Keeping Body Fat Levels Long Term- The Easy Way

 Individuals who achieve a proper body composition will be able to maintain this progress (avoiding the rebound) over the long term due to the important impact of lean tissue on the hormonal and metabolic environment.  During the last 15 years of practice in this field I have never once had a female client accidentally gain too much muscle which is a common fear and misconception amongst many women.  Men who steadily gain muscle over time not only look better than their “skinny fat” counter parts, but also have the ability to keep body fat levels low over the long term.

 Take Pictures!

It is important to make sure the factors of measurement are consistent regarding techniques, equipment, time of day etc. Evaluating how you look in the mirror as well as how clothes are fitting are also important indicators of progress, however changes will not come on a daily basis.  Taking pictures every 4 to 6 weeks is also a good idea to evaluate progress.  Use front, back and side poses with proper lighting to make the best use out of the pictures.

Email 7 days per week to discuss your situation and goals.

DigestA+Lean Protein

DigestA+Lean Protein, formerly (Get Lean Protein) has a new name, but the same powerful formula scientifically engineered by Dr. Eric Serrano MD.

Our mission? To create a highly effective protein supplement which has a dramatic impact on body composition, performance and recovery. While many protein supplements claim to improve many factors most simply set off food allergies and sensitivities linked to bloating, stomach distress, fatigue, excessive body fat and poor digestion. DigestA+Lean protein contains a revolutionary blend of hypo allergenic ingredients in specific ratios determined by Dr. Serrano’s extensive hands on research with real people- not lab rats! The end result a power packed protein product that not only avoids allergy pit falls, but also supports proper digestion and nutrient utilization to fuel the human machine.

Dr. Serrano a friend of mine got his hands on your new protein product samples and he says it actually made his stomach feel better and got rid of bloating-now his abs are ripped, who do I have to kill to get some for myself?

My cell phone mailbox has been full for weeks “DigestA+Lean Protein”; people who I have not heard from in years are calling me for samples based on what they have heard from members of the first trial group who experienced big improvements! I finalized a revolutionary protein blend that ensures optimal absorption without bloating, cramping, gas while optimizing fat burning, performance and muscle growth. The combination of 4 hypoallergenic proteins along with prebiotic and dietary fiber components can improve the amount of good stomach bacteria vital for nutrient uptake 24/7. The digestive problems encountered by a majority of people using shakes indicate poor nutrient absorption related to allergies and protein intolerances.

Let’s make this very simple, the more quality nutrients your body can utilize the better your physique will be. Eat all of the quality food you want, but if your gut is not working properly much of it will go to waste or build up in your intestines to give you that undesirable bloated look.

Amino Loading with 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis is always going to be the solid gold standard before and immediately after training. Amino Loading does a great job of optimizing the hormonal environment to support increased utilization of fat as fuel during exercise while simultaneously providing raw materials for both energy and new muscle growth. DigestA+Lean Protein uses a completely different pathway to augment the raw material pool- providing a second title wave of nutrients 30-40 minutes following training.

Ground Breaking Protein Supports Optimal Nutrient Absorption +Utilization

The 4 different proteins along with other special ingredients deliver rapid and slowly released nutrients to supply a sustained raw material flow throughout the critical couple hours following training.  Many of the ingredients are not used in any of the popular proteins on the market largely due to the lack of knowledge about their functions and the high cost of quality raw materials.

The ingredient ratios took me a few years to figure out via human trials, but better late than never. My goal was not create a meal replacement, but rather a nutrient enhancer that can be used along with food while actually creating an impact on the bottom line. This is not a taste driven convenience item, but rather a powerful body comp changing tool.

I suppose I would make a ton of money telling people they should consume exclusively shakes instead of food, but I have seen that strategy work over the years and I refuse to feed people lies. Using DigestA+Lean Protein along with a meal can actually improve the uptake of all of the food sources due to the positive impact on digestion. Eating a combination of proteins such as beef and fish in the same sitting offers many advantages due to the variety of nutrients that can be presented. There are times between meals when amino loading and DigestA+Lean are appropriate, but make sure to get at least 3-4 solid food meals per day.

The sleep phase is a unique opportunity to send fat burning and muscle growing signals to the brain which can create a favorable hormonal release. Feedback on the taste of DigestA+Lean Protein is excellent and it contains 0 sugar, if you are needing to bulk up the carb content try adding some honey to the DigestA+Lean for your post workout drink. A special amino acid in the formula is protein sparring allowing other ingredients to be used for rapid muscle repair during sleep. Added dietary fiber supports prolonged nutrient delivery and based on many studies actually reduces hunger at night and the next morning.

We now invite you to try DigestA+Lean protein for yourself to help you achieve your aggressive goals!

Burn Off Up to 20 Lbs of Fat IN 60 days- Forever

Advanced, Yet Simple Rapid Fat Loss Exercise Strategies   

See videos explaining the KISS Rapid Fat Loss Nutrition Plan


Summer is here and I am short of my goals to say the least.  What makes this really hard to swallow is that I have been very disciplined with diet and training this winter and spring.  After losing a lot of body fat during the first few months just by cleaning up the diet and exercising, things have slowed down.  I have found it very difficult to break through to the low level body fat I need to show off my abs.  I need to lose 20 pounds of fat without giving up any muscle and I will look great!    Sam  

Get In Great Shape Like Andrea!Sam,

I can imagine you are very frustrated since your hard work did not lead you all the way to your goals.  The key to success is working both hard and smart.  It sounds like you have good habits in place, so now you just need to change your tactics to make the body burn more fat as fuel.  The metabolism can fight against you at times if you have been eating too little and exercising too much.

 KISS Rapid Fat Loss Plan

I had the benefit of reviewing your nutrition and training plan which was not listed in this response due to a lack of space.  There are many problems that I can spot and much of this has led to metabolic staleness.  Just like training, the nutrition plan must change strategically every 6 to 12 weeks to ensure rapid fat loss progress.  The Kiss Rapid Fat Loss Plan (keep it simple stupid) is very easy to execute and exactly what is needed right now to drive accelerated fat burning through multiple pathways.   I have seen numerous clients drop 20 pounds of fat in 60 days and keep it off long term.   The KISS plan makes use of macronutrient cycling which breaks metabolic staleness, increases fat burning enzymes and optimizes fat burning hormones.  Kiss is an easy plan to execute consistently which is crucial for building metabolic and hormonal momentum.

Bust Through Your Road Blocks to Success

The key problems are too much steady state cardio, not enough food intake and a poorly designed weight training routine.    I am known to ruffle some feathers now and again by telling people the truth about the quality of their training routine and this largely due to my core belief that a correctly designed weight training routine is an extremely powerful tool.  Weight training cannot be done by “feel” or designed at random while earning the best possible success.  We are going to cut your 90-minute workouts down to 45 minutes or less while doing the same or more volume…

Strip Load Sets for Rapid Fat Loss

We are going to make use of strip sets which you can think of as a two phase set that includes different rep ranges for each phase of the set.  As a result, the higher rep phase which comes second will use a lower weight than the first phase.  To gain the most fat burning and muscle growing benefits you will want to use the heaviest possible load while executing the proper form for each phase of the set.  No ladies, you will not accidentally pack on muscle from this plan.  Men on the other hand will lose fat and gain muscle at the same time if they play their cards correctly with nutrition and recovery factors.

Training for Rapid and Permanent Fat Loss

The exercise plan must include two phases for the fastest rate of success based on my work with thousands of clients over the years.  Weight training and interval sprints combine to provide the fat burning stimuli the body needs without taking up too much time.  These stimuli must gradually progress in a strategic manner over time to avoid plateaus.  One reason people initially have success with a fat loss effort is that the body quickly responds to simple tactics, however the leaner you get the more important the strategies become to break through metabolic barriers.

A perfect way to burn off body fat for both men and women is strip set training.  Each set has two phases which helps the trainee double their training output in a short period time.  When executed correctly along with timed rest periods fat burning hormones go through the roof.

To accelerate Fat Burning, improved performance and accelerated recovery Amino Load with Dr. Serrano’s 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis Powder.

30 minutes before training

2 scoops 100% MR Mixed with 2 Scoops Muscle Synthesis Powder

Immediately Post Training

2 scoops 100% MR Mixed with 2 Scoops Muscle Synthesis Powder

Taken between meals the 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis make the bran believe a massive amount of food has been consumed.  As a result metabolic rate increases, but there is nothing to burn except stored fat since the 100% MR and MS have no caloric burden.  This leaves only body fat to be burned by a raging metabolism.  Placing a scoop of each between meals a couple times per day will have a huge impact on energy levels, this will help to eliminate your mid afternoon slump while accelerating fat burning and recovery.

Strip Fat Loss Training

Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 30 DB Bench Press 3 4-6 3-2-1-0 20
A2 30 Deg Incline DB Bench Press 3 6-8 3-1-1-0 90
B1 Chest Supported UH Row 3 4-6 3-1-1-2 20
B2 Chest Supported UH Row 3 6-8 3-1-1-1 90
C1 30 Deg Incline Special Fly 2 6-8 4-2-1-1 30
C2 30 Deg Prone Db Front Raise 2 6-8 3-1-1-2 30

See Exercise video clips HERE

The example above instructs you to do 4-6 reps of the 30 Deg Incline Db Bench press for A1, reduce the weight load 15% and do 6-8 more reps 20 seconds later to complete set A2.  Rest 90 seconds and repeat for a total of three times.  If you push yourself by using a challenging load while executing the rep speed (tempo) and prioritizing proper form your muscles will be on fire! Three strip set sessions per week done in 30-40 minutes will be all you need to ignite a fat burning fire storm!

Steady State Cardio is a Counterproductive Waste of Time!

The reason many gravitate to steady state cardio is that is it easy to execute.  Correct: very easy for the body to do it without burning stored fat as fuel.  The more you do the greater the increase of fat storage hormones so watch out!  You can accomplish more towards your fat loss goals by doing a 10-15 minute interval sprint routine than 45 to 60 minutes of a steady state session.  Why?  It is not just a matter of calories burned, but the impact on the hormonal and metabolic environment created by the exercise session.  Intervals can be done running outside, on a bike, elliptical, swimming, etc.  Most of my clients do these sessions at home a couple times per week to save on commute time to the gym.  Adjusting machine incline, tension, interval timing and more methods exist for to provide an endless number of progressions for the interval fat burning power!

Email for a copy of the KISS Rapid Fat Loss Nutrition Plan.

See videos explaining the KISS Rapid Fat Loss Nutrition Plan