Whether you’re interested in improving your health, enjoying more
consistent energy levels, or losing weight, you need to get more
healthy fats into your body.
This means fish oil, olive oil, canola oil, macadamia nut oil —
even coconut oil, as long as it’s organic. This also means using
real butter instead of the fake stuff or margarine.
Even animal fats are healthy in moderation.
The key is to try to eat organic and/or grass-fed meat and chicken,
and wild salmon and fish (farm raised fish have a higher buildup of
mercury in their tissues and fat).
I first learned about the importance of fat in your diet back in
college. Unfortunately, I later forgot what I learned.
Yes, I gave in to the low-fat, sugar-free everything mantra that
was (and in some circle, still is) conventional wisdom. And I
recommended a low-fat, sugar-free dietary approach to personal
training clients and friends.
Over time, though, I found that something was missing. Low fat
diets always left me wanting more. I never felt full. So dieting
was harder and became difficult to maintain. I’ve seen the same
phenomenon with clients I’ve worked with.
Then, one day, I was reading an old bodybuilding book that I had
originally stumbled upon back when I was in college…and decided
to never diet again.
The book’s author, Vince Gironda, was a famous bodybuilder and
bodybuilding guru. In his book, he mentioned that he recommended
increasing fats and decreasing carbohydrates when his students
were going through phases of heavy training.
In his experience, fats provided a more constant and longer
lasting source of fuel.
Also, he discussed the high protein and high fat, very low
carbohydrate diet the bodybuilders followed for several weeks prior
to a competition, to burn off fat and get very defined.
Wow! Vince was doing Atkins before Dr. Atkins was doing Atkins!
Well, I changed my ways. I added more fat (mostly of the healthy
variety) into my diet. I kept my protein consumption fairly high
(30 to 35% of total calories).
I ate the “real” version of most foods. I kept a solid level of
fruits and vegetables (so this wasn’t an Atkins diet). I ate
whole grains and rice instead of white flour products. I limited
my intake of sugary foods.
I found that I ate better, felt more satisfied, and actually
lost weight, without really trying.
By the way, this is part of the nutrition recommendations I give
you in the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program.
When you combine the fat-burning, metabolism-boosting exercises
in the program with a few simple, easy-to-follow modifications
to your diet — you will be well on your way to attaining your
I asked three of my training clients to try the same diet. (They
were the three who, in my estimation, had the most open minds.)
They were a little sceptical at first. Then they starting seeing
As one guy told me, “I’m enjoying what I eat now, and I’m not
obsessing so much over food.”
He looked great too – his weight stayed the same, but his lean
mass and definition improved.
At any rate, I learned my lesson.
Since then, when I have had occasion to put on extra weight, I’ve
eventually given up the diet approach. Instead, I’ve focused
on eating more healthy fats and protein.
Within a few days, I feel like I have more energy and I’m getting
back on track.
You Can Do It!
P.S. Vince Gironda always said that proper diet and nutrition is
80% of bodybuilding success. In my experience, it’s important to
achieving optimum body composition and weight. That’s why I include
an entire section on nutrition in the “Fire Up Your Metabolism”
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011