PAUL RIMMER ON…What is the best diet for fat loss?

Ok, so I’ll admit this post isn’t actually about ‘the best diet’, but I hope this may help you think about the diet strategies you employ either for yourself or as a trainer your clients. To discuss the ‘best’ we often refer to the ‘optimal diet’, that would require discussions about nutrient timing, macronutrient amounts and ratios, the potential inclusion of numerous different supplements that do numerous different things, the goals of the person, timeframes and of course a big fat dose of talk about individualisation.


I could talk in a more broad way of the pros and cons of high fat low carb, high carb low fat, IIFYM, flexible dieting, paleo, carb cycling, carb back loading, intermittent fasting and about a million other wild and whacky diets that are touted around the worlds of health and fitness at the present time.


So what is the best diet?

When I think about this in the broader sense I always remember a quote I heard somewhere, I’m sincerely sorry for not remembering who said this…. But the quote goes a little something like this…


‘Every diet ever written has worked for someone, for some time’


I think this raises a few points that are worth discussing. Firstly the notion of ‘someone’. I get sick of listening to people argue about the best diets. They always seem to think the ‘best’ diet is either what works for them or what some fitness model/guru they follow touts. The first part of the quote I have less of an issue with than the second. It is a fact that we are all going to have our own individual responses to different foods, this can be obvious things such as allergens or less obvious things such as the psychological associations with some foods, their cultural significance and of course our own physiology and genetics.

For the individual

For many of you who are trainers or coaches I will leave you with this thought related to the second part of the quote: ‘for some time’. The nature of the diet you structure for your clients should always be individualized, now that doesn’t mean just from a calorie or macro perspective. It means ensuring that the diet fits with their lifestyle, culture, past experience with foods and their starting point and previous eating habits and of course their goals (if they want to step on stage of course things are going to have to look a lot different than someone who is trying to lose a few lbs for a holiday!).


What I am getting at here is that for a large number of fat loss clients trainers fail them because the diet cannot be adhered to. What I mean by adhered to is that the diet is too much of a shift from previous habits that in the long run, for most people it becomes unsustainable. Yes, this type of ‘compromised’ diet might not be optimal for fat loss, yes it may take longer to get results, but maybe fat loss needs to come second to education and a gradual shift towards a healthier lifestyle in some cases. On the other hand, you might have someone who can go cold turkey on the bad diet and immediately change their exercise and eating habits without any trouble, but that’s the skill of a trainer to identify where somebody is at, not just physically but mentally.


The Blame Game

You may disagree with me and play the blame game; I too used to think that if someone had made bad eating choices in the past it was their fault and that they needed a restricted diet to keep them on the straight and narrow. Yes, of course, this will work for a few weeks, but at the first sign of trouble it becomes easy to revert back to their old friend, which is often food. Of course sacrifices need to be made, but in my opinion these can be graded over time.


The best trainers and coaches I know can do two things very well. Firstly they build a relationship with their clients so they can trust the process implicitly and understand it is not (always) going to be a quick fix. Secondly, they give people the tools both nutritionally and psychologically to cope with a diet and stay on track when things get hard… and that in my opinion is the only way we can illicit long term health changes and sustained fat loss and changing ‘for some time’ into the rest of their lives.


Paul Rimmer
MASS Head of Fitness Education
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Green Tea – A Natural Fat Burning Supplement

With the number of people in the gym ever increasing, treadmills smoking and the sight of people crunching widespread, the question burning everybody’s’ lips, does that magic supplement exist? A powder or capsule that can torch fat naturally?


Name: Brandon Tiller
University: Southampton
Course: Biochemistry
Year of Study: 2nd Year

There are whispers in the corners of gyms, telling you this and that, those sceptics laughing the idea off, and those who sink down every supplement thrust upon them with the hope it is the one. I’m sure you’ve heard of green tea extract amongst those whispers, but is the cousin of Britain’s famous brew really a heavyweight in the fat burning industry?




The Fundamentals of Fat Loss

Lets begin right at the foundation. Every time we chow down on that man-sized, muscle fuelling, umpteenth meal of the day, desperate to squeeze as much muscle-building potential out of our bodies as possible, excess calories eaten in the form of fats and carbohydrates are no use to the body and are packed together and then stored for a later date as triglycerides, or fatty acids within fat cells, and to some degree liver and muscle cells, a process known simply as lipogenesis.

Being the automated machine it is, our body thinks this is ideal, however, in the eyes of a fitness enthusiast, this is disastrous. These fatty acids have a very high energy yield (9kcal/g) compared to that of carbohydrates (4kcal/g) and are therefore retained and stored with more abundance than glycogen.

The Process of Fat Burning

Fat-burning itself is achievable in one of two ways, increasing the bodies metabolic rate, the breakdown and use of fatty acids as an energy source or raising the activity of enzymes that act on fat cells to maximise the availability of these fatty acids.

In the case of fatty acid breakdown, a process known as β-oxidation occurs, in which the triglycerides are catabolised (broken down) back into fats and carbohydrates to be burnt as energy. Much like shovelling coal into the furnace of a steam train to keep everything moving. Not to worry though, that dreaded C word, synonymous with muscle building, is positive in this case, and completely unrelated to muscle catabolism.

Now this all sounds a little bit tricky, when ideally, all we are concerned with is walking down that beach with a six pack so chiselled you could grate a block of cheddar on it.




The Key to a Sculptured Physique

That is where green tea may potentially be the Holy Grail, the key to a sculptured physique. How is it that a plant can be related to such a complex mechanism though? And does it have a significant effect? Well, once the kettle has boiled and the bag is brewing, catechins (natural chemicals present within the leaves) are extracted into the water and it is these small compounds that can make such a big difference!

The noted catechin in green tea is called Epigallocatechin gallate; we’ll call it EGCG for short to save a mouthful. And studies with this have been conducted to define fat-burning fact with fiction. Different doses of EGCG and a placebo were given to active men to identify whether or not it has the ability to increase β-oxidation of fatty acids and assist in fat-burning.

Across all studies, it was conclusive that supplementing with EGCG did in fact aid fat burning across the board.


Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)

Reasons for this are not yet set in stone, but are proposed to be down to one, or a combination of these three ideas. EGCGs ability to increase fatty acid breakdown, decrease fat cell production or reduce fat absorption in the small intestine, not too bad for something you can sip on and enjoy whilst you relax and read this article.

Surprisingly, lower doses of EGCG (300mg/day) were more beneficial than higher doses (600mg/day), increasing β-oxidation by up to 33%, compared to 20% respectively within two hours of meal consumption.

However, the exact level of EGCG in a single cup of green tea is not definitive, which is why many sports supplement manufacturers have developed their very own ‘Green tea extract powder’, an accurately dosed powder that provides the ideal amount of EGCG as well as high levels of additional antioxidants that have a host of other health benefits!


It must beegcg noted though that the greatest effects were seen whilst the EGCG was supplemented with 200mg of caffeine, a stimulant of the nervous system that controls the release of adrenaline into the blood stream, hormones that act to mobilize fatty acids and, of course, give you crazy levels of drive and intensity whilst busting your guts in the iron clad dungeon.

Increases of up to 50% were reported, so why not combine Green tea extract powder with Caffeine for the best possible benefits.


As it stands, there may be truth behind those whispers after all. Green tea extract alone will not build the lean body of Adonis; intense and smart training coupled with a calorific deficit will be the main factor.


But, like Rome, a ripped body is not built in a day, who’s to say the Romans didn’t use all the help they could get?


Brandon Tiller
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