Some of you have proably already see this video, but if you haven't I advise to take the hour out of your day to watch it and really listen when you are done you will walk away a richer person. Keep the faith brothas (I dont worry about the sistas to much they seem to have i
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If some one asked me what is the number one "I want..." that I hear from both clients and regular gym goers is "I want to be leaner" or "I want to lose some of my body fat" this goal is usually stimulate also by a want for a flatter stomach. This is such a widely sought after achievement, but it is seldom achieved do to lack of understanding of how to actually get there. The most common self-prescribed training program that most people apply (simplified for purpose of course as I know every trainee out there is a master at program design - catch the sarcasm) consists of a ridiculously long session of cardiovascular training followed by a never ending set of crunches and leg raises ( usually done with poor form). I actually don't fault people for trying to achieve their goal I love people who are self-motivated and problem solvers, they just don't have the correct information or a full of understanding of the physiology of their body. But applying common sense to the fat-loss complex I can see why people design a program as read above. One would think that by increasing the amount of calories burned and stimulating the abdominal muscles they would achieve their fat-loss and flat-stomach goals, but in retrospective this is more a formula for weight loss rather than fat-loss which is more a form of body composition improvement then pure weight loss, but I won't go into the difference between the two in this post. So I will outline the necessary steps and components needed for fat-loss as well as the reasons for these factors.

Let us first attack this subject by explaining a some information regarding the bodies use of fuel and its metabolism. As most of you have probably heard about a "Fat-Burning Zone" I will start with this. This zone is actually based on sound science but in a poor form of application. The "Fat-Burning Zone refers to the range of about 55% to 65% of one's maximum heart rate this was determined because studies show that their is a ratio of fat to carbohydrates used for fuel depending on the level of intensity. On the lower end of the intensity spectrum the ratio is very much lopsided towards Fat as the main source of fuel compared to the amount of Carbohydrates used, but as the intensity of exercise increases this ratio begins to change decreasing in percentage of fat used for fuel and increasing in percentage of Carbohydrates the body uses for fuel. So the "Fat-Burning Zone" was created as an application that if you exercise or do cardio at a lower intensity one will burn more fat than carbohydrates for fuel helping increase fat-loss. While this is some what true it is not the best approach to fat-loss.

As I explained in the above paragraph relating to the "Fat-Burning Zone" your body has a preference of fuel to use depending on the level of intensity of that exercise. So if you are trying to achieve a goal of fat-loss and you know that your body prefers to use fat as energy during a low intensity of exercise one would want to find the lowest level of intensity. Funny thing is the lowest level of intensity one performs is while we are at rest that is to say that from what calories we burn while at rest the vast majority of these calories are derived from your bodies consumption of fats. Now don't get to fluster by this because it sounds as I am saying that to lose fat all you need to do is rest and never workout this is incorrect. Exercise is very key to achieving a fat-loss goal, but the main focus of a program designed to accomplish fat-loss should be to raise an individual's Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) or the amount of energy expended to maintain all vital bodily functions and tissues. While at rest are bodies are constantly going through process that are both catabolic or anabolic the differences in these two different processes give us our metabolism. A lot of a person's resting metabolic rate depends on genetics and heredity, but one can employ strategies to lower it or raise it as we are wanting to do. Because your resting metabolic rate is a total amount of energy expended most commonly expressed in calories it must derive those calories or energy by means of breaking down nutrients and turning them in to usable energy. Because you are at rest which is the lowest level of intensity one can perform your body will break down fat molecules to obtain the calories it needs for maintaining it's vital bodily functions and tissues. Thus if we raise one's resting metabolic rate we raise the amount of calories your body needs obtain to maintain itself, thus it will make your body breakdown more nutrients, which the highest percentage of these will be fats, to meet its increased calorie demand.

Now knowing the key to increasing fat-loss is increasing resting metabolic rate you need to understand how to do this and why these strategies work. The number one strategy that we at intellectual fitness stress for increasing one's RMR is also the number one often neglected factor. Strength Training. Now I know this may go against everything you have heard, but this is truly the key to maximizing a fat-loss program. This is because the primary vehicle we have for changing the resting metabolic rate of an individual is by adding muscle mass to the individual's frame. This serves one primary function during a fat-loss program it raises the bodies caloric demand to maintain itself because muscle requires more calories to sustain its existence than fat. So by adding muscle you automatically increase the RMR of your body which will lead to a greater amount of fat loss.

The next strategy to employ to raise your resting metabolic rate is very effective but does not permanently change your RMR it more of ramps it up for an extended period of time. This strategy is called High-Intensity interval training and if you haven't heard of it or know how to do check out my article on HIIT on our training cardiovascular page. But the benefit of adding high-intensity interval training is that studies have been found that when performed individual's experience a longer increased caloric burn following the workout that can take up to twenty-four hours to fall back to normal levels. This is more effective than traditional steady state cardio due to the fact that as soon as you are done doing steady state cardio your caloric burn stops and with HIIT just the opposite is true. Also studies have shown that short-term interval training can lead to increased skeletal muscle oxidative capacity which leads to an increased metabolic rate.

The third strategy one wants to use in order to optomize fat burning is to make sure you are eating every 2-3hours during your day. This helps to keep your metabolism working and from slowing down as well as controlling blood sugar and insulin levels. 

The last thing one needs to do to insure that the fat-loss happens is to maintain a small calorie deficit meaning you are burning off about 400-200 more calories then you are taking in this will insure that you will lose weight and coupled with the fat-loss strategy explained above most of this weight will be fat and limit lean muscle mass lost.

If these three steps are used when addressing your fat loss goals who will be successful. So get out their and start torching the fat!

Sorry Its been busy for the intellectual fitness staff we added a couple new clients been working on integrating them into their programs and our approach. Have some really great topics I want to discuss as well as several new articles for flexibility, strength, and nutrition as well as a new recipe. Check out all the new updates in the next two days to come.
As I was reading some of the blogs of other health and fitness professionals who I admire most for their experience and knowledge of the field I came across this essay it really spoke to me and I can honestly say it has some of the best advice ever given. In addition to this blog and site being dedicated to providing sound and scientifically based training I will also offer some philosophy once in a while because good health does not just include what your eating and how your training it incorporates the all around approach you take to your life. Here it is enjoy!

The Station
by Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision.  We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent.  We are traveling by train.  Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination.  On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station.  Bands will be playing and flags waving.  Once we get there, so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle.  How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering – waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

“When we reach the station, that will be it!” we cry.  “When I’m 18.”  “When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes Benz!”  “When I put the last kid through college.”  “When I have paid off the mortgage!”  “When I get a promotion.”  “When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!”

Sooner or later we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all.  The true joy of life is the trip.  The station is only a dream.  It constantly outdistances us.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Palm 118:24: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad.  It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow.  Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles.  Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less.  Life must be lived as we go along.  The station will come soon enough.

Its the beginning of a new week! Have all your meals prepared! Supplements ready to go! And your training days planned! Start tomorrow off with a great breakfast and the rest of the week will follow. Don't sit back and wait for something to happen attack the day and make what you want to happen happen!
After finding myself in a state of stagnation in my results from training I began searching through my small library of knowledge and the knowledge of my most respected idols looking to put a program together that could break my endless plateau I seem to be stuck on. I am writing this because I figure I am not the only one out their in this situation and also to let everyone know that even personal trainers and experts on exercise physiology struggle with there own training programs. Back to my point while I was picking the minds of some of the people I most respect on the subject of strength training. One of my very closest mentors and first real influential figures on my philosophy of training said to me this 

"in this age of information finding an effective program is relatively easy it is the application and foundation of the program that is usually the decaying factor that hinders one's own progress. This is easy to ignore after one trains for a long time the individual begins to ignore the foundations of any program and concerning themselves to much with complicated rep schemes and correct training splits. The foundation is the repetitions rededicate yourself to this and your progress will pick up again."

After hearing this I began to really re-assess the way in which I train as I looked at this i realized my programming is solid if applied correctly and with proper intensity and technique it will produce the results I desire. So I examined these factors I apply my training correctly, consistently, and with a high-level of intensity. Therefore that leaves the technique of the program more importantly the technique of each repetition of an exercise. As I evaluated this factor I realized that even though I do perform proper repetitions most of the time I am not perfect in applying proper technique 100% of the time. I realized I needed to rededicate myself to the foundation or repetition. So in an effort to this i examined the components and purpose of a proper repetition. You can learn what these components and purpose is in intellectual fitness's latest training article The Foundation: Repetitions
Most of us that visit a gym regularly know that there are alot people who train in a lot of different ways not saying that they are training wrong or right. But their is a proper way to train and a lot of these people think they know what that is. Now I understand that there are a lot of intelligent people in this world and some of them might be somewhat right, but this does not entitle them to force their training method on to you. If an individual such as what I have described approaches you and offers his great vast knowledge about strength training or exercising listen thats the polite thing to do take what they say with a grain of salt when they are done giving their of so academic lecture on the importance of depth in a squat or range of motion in the bench press very respectfully ask them what there credentials are. More than likely they will retort with a statement such as I have been lifting for 16years. Well thats great and all but in those 16years how much improvement have they made, did they keep up on latest research. More often then not no they are just another hardgainer who thinks they are the beginning and end of all authority on exercise. They think they know but they don't llisten to individuals who's have qualified credentials such as a certification or degree in a health related field. The best authority is your own do your own research experiment with what you find and figure out what works. Health and Fitness is an always evolving field stay up on the newest developments.
    People who regularly visit a gym do some kind of cardiovascular activity while they are their which is awesome because the American College of Sports Medicine does recommend that to maintain a healthy body composition an individual should perform 20-60mins a day 3-5 time per week at 65%-90% of their maximum heart rate. Now as you noticed in this recommendation their is an additional instruction stating that it should be done at 65% to 90% of one's maximum heart rate. To further explain every individual has a maximum heart rate meaning everybodies heart can only beat so many times in a minute. This maximum heart rate is affected by many different variables including medical history, occupation, family history, etc. but the primary variable that has the greatest affect and has most influence on determining your maximum heart beat is your age. As we get older are bodies break down, exercising is a method we can use to slow this process this is why one would want to part take in cardiovascular activitiy is to maintain one's current heart strength. A very simple way to calculate your individual maximum heart rate is through the use of a very simple equation originally the equation was defined as MHR = 220 - age, but this has been argued over because it does not reflect true difference in age so a more update formular was posted in a study published in the journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise defining the new equation as MHR = 220 - (0.67 x age). So for example a 23year old's maximum heart would be 220 - (0.67 x 23) = 205beat per minute. Now the reason I explained this is because to perform cardio that is going to benefit you in the intended manner cardiovascular training was ment for one most stress their cardiovacular system and heart enough to stimulate improvement in their function. But one can not accurately determined what this required stress is without a tool of measurement and from published studies it has been determined that heart rate is very closely linked to intensity of a workout. Thus by determining your maximum heart rate and working at a given percentage of that maximum heart rate it insures that you will place the adequate stress required on your body for improvement. The ACSM recommends cardiovascular training be done between 65% and 90% of the maximum heart rate. Now your proably wondering well ok that sounds great and I would love to do this but all I know is my maximum heart rate I don't know how many beats per minute I need to be maintain to land within this percentage range. But it is actually very simple to determine your own heart range now that you already have your maximum heart rate. This is done most commonly by using the Karvonen Formula which is listed below

Target Heart Rate = ((max HR − resting HR) × %Intensity) + resting HR

Now to calulate your heart you just plug in your numbers. Your resting heart rate can be assessed by simply counting counting your pulse for one minute upon waking up. So for an example of a 23year old with a average resting heart rate of 60bpm. The work to determine the this individuals correct target heart rate range would look like this:

MHR = 220 - (0.67 x 23) = 205bpm
Target Heart Rate Zone
Low end of Zone = [(205 - 60) x 65%] + 60 = 154bpm
High end of Zone = [(205 - 60) x 90%] + 60 = 191bpm
Target Heart Rate Zone: 154bpm - 191bpm

So if you want to get the most out of your cardiovascular training and improve your hearts strength you must be able to measure your intensity or stress you are placing on the body by maintain your heart rate in the 65% - 90% zone. So investing in a heart rate monitor would be a very wise and useful move. You can pick-up heart rate monitors from your local sporting goods store there are usually two kinds a watch with a montior that straps around your chest just below your nipples or just a watch that you were againist your wrist that has a built in monitor that takes your pulse straight from your wrist.
    I don't know about everyone but I like to have music playing while I am training either on an Ipod or playing through a radio. I think it helps sets the atmosphere for an intense bout of training. Every week I try to pick out a what I call my "Power Song" this will be my go to song when I have that third set of romanian deadlifts coming up and I really need to push through it. Its usually a song that spurs a deep emotional reaction causing my body to release endorphins that gives me the extra strength I need to make the progress I want.
    So before you head into the gym next time be sure to have your Ipod or Mp3 charged and your gym playlist ready to go. Or take your playlist on a cd to play on a radio I am sure everybody else in the gym would appreciate the atmosphere it sets. And also if you don't have an Ipod or Mp3 to use they are relatively inexpensive you can proably be able to buy one in the matter of 2months if you save between 20 or 30dollars out of your next few paychecks.
    But remember the number one most important thing to remember when your in the gym is to remember your purpose for being there its a gym you went there to achieve results and to go to work. Keep the intensity high and the talking to a minimum get in and get out because there are more things to life than spending co