Miss Part I? You can find it HERE.
T Nation: Mike, Dr. Mohr gave us his list of basic rules as we ended the last segment. You have a list like that too, right?
Mike Roussell: Yes, what I call the 6 Pillars of Naked Nutrition:
1. Eat five to six times a day.
2. Limit your consumption of sugars and processed foods.
3. Eat fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
4. Drink more water and cut out calorie-containing beverages (beer, soda, etc.).
5. Focus on consuming lean proteins throughout the day.
6. Save starch containing foods until after a workout or for breakfast.
If the average obese woman would do that and exercise, she'd drop 100 pounds and get off her meds, easy. I've seen it happen (I've made it happen). By the way, you'll notice that my list is similar to Dr. Mohr's and Dr. John Berardi's. These "rules" that we've each created are very similar because that is what works!
T Nation: Chris, what's your advice for curing the average obese person's problem?
Shugart: I think men should just withhold cock. Women should withhold the vag, too.
Stop having sex with fat people and they'll snap out of it and lose some damn weight. They don't because, for some strange reason, people still have sex with them. We need IQ tests before having children and we need body fat tests before being allowed to practice making children.
T Nation: There's been a ton of talk about intervals lately, with some people going as far as saying that twelve minutes per week of intervals is enough for fat loss. Buy into it?
Roussell: Twelve minutes per week? No. Jason Ferruggia started a "war" against intervals a month or so ago and people got their posing trunks in a bunch.
If I read what he was writing correctly, Jason wasn't anti-intervals. He was pro-hard work. Losing fat is easy but it requires hard work. That was his point. A pro-bodybuilder may not do intervals but they train twice a day and do 60-90 minutes of cardio a day. When you do that much work you don't need intervals.
Everyone is worried about overtraining. You aren't going to overtrain with three 60 minute sessions a week. I think that Coach Dos Remedios has a refreshing look at work capacity in this era of "overtraining." The human body is remarkable so let's push it to see just how remarkable and resilient it can be. In the process, we'll sculpt a great body.
Dr. Mohr: Excellent points. I love intervals myself, but in my opinion, intervals can't be the sole form of exercise. Yes, they're intense. Yes, they burn more calories than steady state exercise – during and post exercise. But that surge in calories burned surely won't offset a 30 year soda addiction or a 500 calorie Latte from Starbucks everyday. Be practical and be realistic.
They're a nice tool to add to your toolbox, but one of my favorite sayings is, "If your only tool in the toolbox is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." It's not the be-all and end-all for permanent fat loss success.
Change is good. Adopt new principles and strategies. I'm not going to tell my 400 pound clients to do intervals each week when I'm simply hoping they can walk for five minutes without having to catch their breath. It's all relative.
T Nation: What do you think of the interval debate, Chris?
Shugart: Here's the key: control your damn diet and you don't need to worry about steady state vs. intervals, because you just won't need much of either. Weight training takes care of heart health anyway, so "cardio" of any type can be minimized if you stop sucking lard through a straw at dinner time.
T Nation: Okay, what's the absolute top of the priority list when looking to help someone lose weight? Is it carbs? Fat? Exercise? Something else?
Roussell: Cut out sugars/starches and eat more vegetables. Next would be exercise. You can't out-train eating calorie/sugar dense foods. The numbers just don't work. You need to control your calorie intake and insulin somehow. Boosting your vegetable consumption and cutting out sugars/starches is a really easy way to do that.
Shugart: Look at the big picture. A sculptor doesn't work on the fine details until he first knocks off great chunks of marble with a big hammer. So, look to knock off the big chunks first, i.e. the major stuff that wrecks your body:
95% of bread products
Four hours of TV a day (which is the average)
There you go: tons of worthless calories and carbs removed and plenty of time to go to the gym! Unfortunately, it's easier to change a person's religion than it is to pry the Cokes and bread out of their chubby fingers.
T Nation: Let's say someone comes to you and swears they're making all the necessary changes to lose weight, but the weight is absolutely stagnant. What do you recommend? A lot of folks suggest boosting calories to "boost" metabolic rate. Good plan?
Dr. Mohr: No, I want to look at what they're actually doing. I'm a trusting person, but a lot of times people don't think about the sips of juice, bites of their kid's sandwich, etc., that all adds up. My friend calls this the "BLT Diet" – bites, licks, and tastes. Let's really pinpoint where the calories are coming from and then we can tweak if need be.
Roussell: Well, first I'd pretend my name was Gregory House and assume that they were lying to me because that's often the case.
Next, I'd make sure they were getting enough carbs around their workout to maximize energy and training intensity. Then I'd get them to add metabolism-boosting stuff during the day – an extra day of weights (going from a three to a four day split), adding an interval session, having them do a Tabata at night.
Depending on what their calorie level was and how long they've been reducing their calories, I'd then either decrease their calories or temporarily (one to two weeks) increase their calories. Increasing calories to increase metabolic rate can work, but not from just one feeding or one day. I think that's great for one's psyche but not their thyroid. You need to increase your calories for longer than that – it isn't that easy to fool the human body.
Shugart: I have to agree with Dr. Mohr here. I'd want a detailed list of what they were eating before I ever worried about a compromised metabolic rate.
I told one fat guy to have a low-carb protein shake at night to reduce nighttime overeating. What did he do? He mixed it with whole milk, then added sugary yogurt, and bananas. Then he told me he was "doing just what ya told me to, Mr. Shugart!"
This isn't politically correct, but working with people who have weight problems is a lot like working with the mentally handicapped.
T Nation: There are a million diet books out there; obviously they're not the answer. Why not? What's missing from these diet books that keeps people from learning how to lose weight permanently?
Dr. Mohr: Behavior change, plain and simple!
Roussell: You know what's not missing? Gimmicks. Diet books are written on gimmicks. That's part of the problem. I wouldn't say all mainstream diet books are crap. The Zone is good, Atkins Revolution, TNT Diet, and I heard the nutrition chapter in the Men's Health Book of Power Training is unbelievable!
More of the problem is the mindset of people who buy the books. Their mentality is all quick-fix, not "I'm going to eat this way for life."
Shugart: What's missing is the psychological side: the emotional issues, the addiction issues, and as Dr. Mohr said, the behavioral roadblocks. Again, we know Twinkies are bad; the problem is we eat them anyway. That stuff starts in the head, not on the plate.
T Nation: Are there any foods that you've found to enhance weight loss? There's always talk about cayenne pepper enhancing thermogenesis, thermic effect of protein, etc. Do these play a major role in the big picture?
Roussell: I don't think you can single out just one thing. The idea that using more cayenne pepper will make you lose weight is just crazy to me.
The smart approach takes into account a lot of different ideas. Look at our basic rule lists again. They combine the powers of all different types of foods to elicit maximal weight loss. It isn't about just one food; it's the synergistic effect of a smart diet.
Dr. Mohr: I agree 100%. While each of our sets of "rules" differ a tad, it shouldn't be surprising to hear that they're all very, very similar. You can't just focus on one thing or another; everything together will get you the results you desire.
Shugart: I think these things can play a role in the big picture. Some play small roles; some can play major roles.
TEF, or the Thermic Effect of Food, is pretty cool, as is the Satiety Index stuff. Eat more protein and fiber and you'll get full faster and stay full longer. That's very helpful in the big picture, way more important than if a certain pepper might boost thermogenesis a little.
In that regard, getting full on lower calorie foods plays a huge role. It's called "Volumetrics" though I really don't like the diet plan by the same name, which is essentially another low-fat diet. But the overall idea is a good one: get full without taking in tons of calories. So, lots of meat, lots of veggies.
Works like a charm, and that's good because potion control is even less successful than the pull-out method of teenage birth control. Who wants to stop eating when they're still hungry? But get someone full on very few fibrous, protein-filled calories and they'll lose fat.
T Nation: Good info. Now, what time of day do I need to stop eating? I usually hear anything from 6-9 PM. Is this really important?
Dr. Mohr: If I'm hungry at 10 PM, I'm going to eat at 10 PM, and I usually do. It's more about total calories than the specific time of day.
Now, with that said, I wouldn't recommend a 64 ounce Slurpee from 7-Eleven right before catching some shuteye, but, then again, I wouldn't recommend that any other time either. As a general rule of thumb, if a drink takes two hands to hold, it's more than you need in one sitting.
And, really, if there was just one magical time, why does every recommendation change (4 PM, 6 PM, 8 PM, etc.)?
Roussell: Like Dr. Mohr said, I don't think it's as important as total calories. I usually have my last meal rather close to when I go to sleep. Two tablespoons of peanut butter with some Metabolic Drive to wash it down.
Energy balance is relative but it's also additive (throughout the day and week). I've found that people who restrict their intake starting at 6 PM are more likely to go off their diet at night, or don't last as long as other people because they burn up all their willpower.
Shugart: I'll mildly disagree here. I've found that stopping eating an hour or three before bed leads to rapid fat loss or maintenance of already low body fat. I also make that final meal low-carb.
Binge eating is the number one eating disorder in North America now. And most people do it at night. Make the last meal low carb and don't eat right before bed. That would solve most of our obesity epidemic.
Now, I don't go for this "stop eating at 4PM" junk, but a couple of hours before bed? Yes, it works in my experience. And I don't want to hear any of this "but I'll go catabolic and lose muscle" crap. Dude, if you're storing enough "energy" in your love handles to shelter a small family of illegal immigrants from the rain, then you ain't gonna shrink overnight!
T Nation: Next topic: Exercise in the morning on an empty stomach. Useful to ramp up fat loss?
Dr. Mohr: A bunch of bologna.
Roussell: For the average person, no. It can help as you get really lean because then every little bit helps, but for someone trying to get down to 10% body fat they're better off having some calories before their workout because they'll have more energy to train.
Shugart: Cardio on an empty stomach? Yeah, it might have some small benefit for fat loss compared to other times of the day (but I'd still take a bunch of tablet-form BCAA first.) Weight training before breakfast? That's crazy talk.
T Nation: Alright, we have all this information for our clients, but when it comes down to it, they don't know the basics. Do you cook for them? Take them grocery shopping? Clean out their pantries? Do people really need this much handholding?
Roussell: It depends on how much they pay me! [laughing] Some people are hopeless. You could do all those things for them and they would still probably fail. It's a mindset thing.
Shopping and cooking good food isn't that hard. You just need to be committed to it (and not committed to eating cheeseburgers). For someone to be successful with their fat loss they need to take ownership of the current state of their body, how they got there, and whose responsibility it is to get them where they want to be.
Most of the time handholding doesn't help. Look at the guy who was in the Physique Clinic who dropped out. Free unlimited access to Coach Thibaudeau and Shugart. All the free supplements he needed; he didn't even need to cook. He could have just drank Metabolic Drive Complete and Surge! He also had the accountability of however many tens of thousands of people reading his threads, and he still dropped out.
Dr. Mohr: For some it takes all of those things, but handholding does help, as long as it gets folks headed in the right direction. That's why we filmed our Grocery ShoppingDVD and why we have three more in the works.
Shugart: Yeah, once the person is dedicated and truly ready to change, then you can do some handholding to help them out and speed up the learning process. But that unwavering decision has to be made by them first. Otherwise you waste your time.
I've bought people gym memberships, written them programs, trained them for free, and given them supportive supplements... and they quit and chose to stay fat anyway. That's why you have to start psychologically. Without that cognitive foundation – the first step in body transformation – all this exercise and diet info is pointless.
T Nation: Rapid fire question time! First thoughts that come to mind: Cinnamon for insulin sensitivity (so carryover to fat loss).
Dr. Mohr: Very cool data with blood sugar and boosting insulin sensitivity, but very few studies to support this (or refute it). Again, it doesn't hurt, so add it to shakes, oatmeal, etc.
Roussell: Probably, but I'd like some more research.
Shugart: Fat people will just use this data to justify eating cinnamon rolls.
T Nation: Coffee: Is it thermogenic?
Roussell: More delicious than thermogenic
Dr. Mohr: Not in and of itself. When caffeine is coupled with other ingredients, there's hope. And think black coffee, not "Starbucks A Latte of Calories."
Shugart: Caffeine is mildly helpful, but a drop in the bucket in the big picture.
T Nation: CLA?
Dr. Mohr: Promising, but not even close to magic.
Roussell: Not going to do fat loss miracles, but a good addition to a fat burner stack.
Shugart: Possible anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties. Get the right isomer and it's good stuff. I take it daily because it's contained in Flameout.
T Nation: Moderation: Easy way out or necessary for folks making change?
Roussell: Depends. Some people need to be eased into things and some people need to just be thrown into the fire. You need to know what type of person you are and make the necessary moves.
Dr. Mohr: For most of the population, perfect. I usually say 90% clean eating, 10% ease up a bit.
Shugart: Moderation works about as well as the "I'll only put it in a little" method of virginity preservation.
Most people can't psychologically handle moderation, not at first at least. They must go all-or-nothing to break the bad habits. I don't buy this "only eat a little poison as a treat" method of improving health.
T Nation: Apple cider vinegar for fat loss?
Roussell: Vinegar does lower glycemic response, so useful? Yes. Will it make or break your plan? No.
Dr. Mohr: If it makes you gag and throw up, sure. But it's thrown around like a miracle liquid and that couldn't be further from the truth.
Shugart: Apple cider vinegar diets are on the cover of the tabloids all the time, right next to the three-headed Bigfoot babies. So it must be true.
T Nation: Cheat day.
Dr. Mohr: Silly concept. Enjoy your foods. Stop looking at them like you're "cheating" if you're eating clean most of the time. I teach long term solutions, not quick fixes. And if a "cheat day" is eat clean all week, then gorge yourself until you're sick on Saturday and Sunday, then it's stupid.
This dude can have a cheat day.
Roussell: Cheat day? Sure. But if you're fat don't go overboard. There's no point to dieting your ass off all week just to consume 10,000 calories of KFC, pizza, and Coronas.
Shugart: I recommended cheat days for years. And I didn't see my abs for years. Coincidence? Cheat days are self-defeating and they glorify bad foods and make them even more "special" and "rewarding" in your mind. Bad idea.
Okay, maybe one cheat day a month once you have abs, not before. That's it. I have one about every four to six weeks myself.
T Nation: Lots of info! Thanks for your time, guys!