Category Archives for "Fat Loss"

Fat Loss

3 Barriers That Stop You From Attaining the Dream Body You’ve Always Wanted

Your goal is to get in top shape. You are serious about your workouts. You eat clean, too. However, no matter what you do or try there are 10 or 20 pounds of fat that are just standing on the way between the body you have now and the body you’ve always wanted.

In this article, (and in the video below) I will share with you the top 3 barriers that stand on your way to getting the body they’ve always wanted.

The irony is that most people would think that their diets or their training plans aren’t working. The biggest barriers that keep people from succeeding actually have nothing to do with diet and working out. And, as long as they are not addressed, no matter what you do with your nutrition and training you will most likely not succeed.

Barrier No. 1: You are not seeing yourself the way you want to be

Here is a good test for you: When you look 6 months or a year out into the future how do you see yourself there? Do you see yourself having the body you’ve always wanted, or do you imagine yourself having the same body you have today?

People fail because they don’t see themselves having the body they’ve always wanted. What that means is that on a subconscious level they don’t believe that it is possible for them.

Until you change this image in your mind, until you begin to consistently see yourself in future situations with your new body your chances for attaining that body will remain slim at best.

Barrier No. 2: Disempowering beliefs

Beliefs shape our reality. If they are empowering our reality will reflect that. If they are disempowering our reality will reflect that as well.

All kinds of negative self-talk are examples of disempowering beliefs. Here are some examples of disempowering beliefs:

I am not capable of attaining the body I’m imagining

I don’t have what it takes to achieve that

I can’t resist food

I don’t have the willpower it takes

I don’t believe I can do it

I don’t look good either way

I’m not worthy of looking good

I’m not worthy of being liked

For as long as you maintain these (or similar) disempowering beliefs you will keep sabotaging your efforts. You have to put in a very serious effort into replacing these disempowering beliefs with new and empowering beliefs.

How do you replace disempowering beliefs with empowering beliefs?

Here is the formula:

Actions create results which create our beliefs!

To put it simply you have to set small attainable goals and then you have to begin taking decisive action on these goals. This way you will begin creating results in the right direction. And, these new empowering results will begin to replace your disempowering beliefs with empowering beliefs. It sounds simple but the more disempowering beliefs you’ve nourished and let flourish over the years the more effort it will take to get rid of them.

So, start to work on knocking down this barrier immediately!

Barrier No. 3: You don’t have a big enough “WHY”

Your WHY’s keep you motivated. The bigger the WHY’s the bigger your motivation. And, trust me, there will be times when no matter how mentally strong you are you will have to have a lot of motivation and willpower to continue pressing on.

Most people who fail to get the body of their dreams don’t have big enough WHY’s – they haven’t taken the time to create a strong list of reasons why whey want these results for themselves.

If you aren’t currently clear on your WHY’s take the time to ask yourself, “Why do I want to have a fit and awesome body?” Give as many answers as you possibly can think of. Is it for your loved one, for your family, to gain more confidence, to get a modeling gig, to have more energy and feel better about yourself? All of these could be legitimate reasons for you.

Until you take the time to figure out your powerful WHY’s you will almost always find it extremely difficult to continue when those unsurmountable walls rise in front of you, and they always will – at one time or another.


If you continue to blame your lack of success with getting the body of your dreams to your nutrition or training, while ignoring to address the three barriers I told you about, you will most likely continue to suffer disappointments.

If you, however, take the time to work on your mental image of yourself, on your beliefs and on your WHY’s there is no doubt in my mind that you will soon find out that all the other factors are also working for you and that your body is slowly evolving into the body you’ve always wanted for yourself.

Here are your action items for the day (don’t put this off!): After you finish reading this text take the time to list all your WHY’s on a sheet of paper.

Next, create a plan, consisting of small measurable goals, which when reached will give you the results that will help you replace your old disempowering beliefs with new and empowering beliefs.

And, finally, believe that it’s possible for you. Start picturing yourself with your new attractive and fit body.

Video: Why fat people are fat – THE TRUE REASON

There is a particular reason why fat people are fat! It isn’t slow metabolism. It isn’t the lack of exercise. And, it isn’t eating too many carbs or too much fat. Although, these are all good reasons they none of them is the chief reason.

I’m so excited to talk about this issue that honestly I don’t want to give out the true reason here – you will have to watch the video above.

In the video, besides naming and explaining the true reason why fat people are fat, I also talk about my experience with this problem.

At the end give two steps that any person with chronic weight gain / fat gain problems can take to turn things around. Hint: it starts with you and your mind! And, it has a lot to do with taking responsibility and quitting being (or playing) a victim of your circumstances.

7 Unorthodox No-diet Rules for Achieving Ideal Body Weight video course

Diets don’t work! Learn how to achieve your ideal body weight – and how to make it permanent – with no dieting at all!

7 Unorthodox No-diet Rules for Achieving Ideal Body Weight

Take the “7 Unorthodox No-diet Rules for Achieving Ideal Body Weight” now!

This course is for you if you fall into any of the categories:

  • This course is for you if you describe yourself as “overweight” or “obese”, and you’ve continuously suffered failures with weight loss diets!
  • This course is for you if you are of normal weight and want to know how to maintain it for life or simply want to know how to enjoy a healthy living by making the right nutrition-related choices then!

What this course IS NOT…

  • This course is not about dieting. The rules mentioned in this course ARE NOT A DIET!
  • This course does not give an “Eat all you want and lose weight” type of advice!
  • This course is not about a nutrition trend that is hot now but will be rejected or even forgotten in the future!

What this course IS…

  • An ORIGINAL AND UNCONVENTIONAL content that is entirely based on my own study of nutrition and movement for a period nearly quarter of a century as a competitive natural body builder, personal trainer and nutrition consultant, as well as an avid health and functional fitness enthusiast.
  • An unorthodox but simple and intuitive set of rules that will serve you for a lifetime.
  • This course lays down the simple truths about why we are so screwed up health-wise and how to undo the damage by simply doing what the human body is well adapted to reacting favorably to and avoid what it is ill adapted to reacting favorably to.

Take the “7 Unorthodox No-diet Rules for Achieving Ideal Body Weight” now!

Intermittent fasting – long term? Or not.

I don’t know yet.

I will explain. But before I do here are two snapshots (selfies I guess) that I took about an hour ago. These are taken at noon before my first meal for the day and after I’ve just come back from a 3-mile run, preceded by a few sets of pull-ups and hand-stand push-ups. In short – 15-hour fast + physical activity to top it off before I finally have something to eat.

Ivan Nikolov shap shot

Taken after a 15-hour fast – May 30, 2014

Ivan Nikolov shap shot

Same as above

I started fasting in the fall of 2012. I wanted to try Intermittent fasting for two weeks only and it’s been close to two years since then – I haven’t had the need to return to having another solid meal at breakfast (now that I think about it, ‘breakfast’ literally means breaking the fast and in my case that’s lunch since it’s then when I actually break the fast). When I tried Intermittent fasting I came to it from having six meals a day to about two.

I have to say that sticking with something for that long requires that whatever that ‘something’ is you don’t make it an ‘absolute must’. If you do, you are asking for trouble – you tend to want to ‘get back to normal’ – it’s just in human nature. I said back then, “I’ll try this for two weeks just to see what the heck could possibly happen to me. Will I waste away? Will my muscles just get eaten up by my unchanged high requirement for calories? What could possible my reaction to such a complete U-turn to all I’ve believed and taught others to believe in (you know, the eating every 3 hours deal, avoiding starvation mode, etc)?”.

And, here I am now more than a year and a half later and still not feeling compelled to return to my old ‘correct ways’ of doing human nutrition.

A part of it is that I have the option to do what I want – and I simply choose another option. In other words I don’t feel obligated.

But, a bigger part is that I can’t find a single benefit to going back to my old ways. So, why should I? I’m not saying that I’ll never ever in my life have another calorie before noon. In fact on a few occasions I’ve had something to eat in the morning. But, in all but one of these occasions I did that mostly because I wanted to be silly and prove myself that I’ll be fine either way I choose. On one occasion only I felt that I had to do it and that was before I ran a 10K. I think this was a very smart move.

And, what about the benefits of fasting for 15-16 hours? What is it that makes me still not want to eat breakfast (or rather an early meal  that breaks a semi-fast)?

Here are a few benefits – many of them I’ve learned based on my own experience:

  • I feel lighter during the day
  • I feel that I have more energy
  • I train better
  • My strength has not decreased – quite the opposite
  • My efficiency during non-conventional movements seems to have improved
  • It’s cheaper – I eat less food
  • I assimilate proteins better (this is evident to me from the fact that I have no problem maintaining muscle mass on 60-80 grams of protein a day – coming down from 200+ grams a day)
  • I don’t have to think about what to eat in the morning. I can go straight to doing something productive (most of the time)

Are there any negatives of Intermittent fasting? I’m still trying to make sure I should attribute this to the fasting, but I’m not 100 percent convinced yet. Still, I started noticing early last year that when I have to be in an air conditioned room that is maintained at what seem to be normal levels for most people – about 72 F – I feel pretty uncomfortably cold. I’ve noticed that other people (especially during the summer) feel just fine wearing short-sleeve one-layer clothing and slippers… Me? I’m shivering if not wearing long-sleeve and closed shoes.

I suspect the reason for this is my internal ‘furnace’ isn’t producing much heat because of not much food digestion going on. I’ve noticed also that I don’t feel as cold in such environments in the afternoon (after I’ve broken the fast). That leads me to believe that this is a nuisance side effect of Intermittent fasting. I’m not sure yet, but even if it is it’s something I can live with.

Will I ever go back to eating 3+ meals a day? I don’t know. For the moment I do what I what works for me – and Intermittent fasting works for me just great.

Low-carb “Functional” Ice Cream Recipe – Key Lime + Protein

This is what I like doing most. I never get tired of it – take something that’s considered bad for you and turn it into something that you feel great about having – your tongue loves it, and your body thanks you for it. This is a rare combo – I tell you… By the way, that’s why I call it “functional” – it boosts your body’s functional abilities.

I initially saw this is a recipe  in a forum (a version of it) but… you know me – I had to re-work it and make it functional (performance). So, I shifted some of the ingredients around, added lots of protein and made it not only “good for you”, but each serving could now be considered a whole meal!

For a regular size, average activity level person or for a female – all the needed protein and fats are there – less the sugar (no insulin rush). If you are double that size or very active – like a serious athlete – or you work heavy labor – then have two. Nothing wrong with that.

So, here we have a…

Homemade Low-carb “Functional” Ice Cream Recipe – Key lime + Protein

(Nutrition Facts table at the bottom)

What you will need:

180g (3/4 cup) half & half
100g (1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp) key lime juice

130g (1 cup) powdered erythritol
1.3g Reb-A (or 8 drops of stevia extract 90% steviosides)
1g (1/4) tsp salt
100g (4 scoops) whey protein isolate (unsweetened, unflavored)
1g (1/3 tsp) Xanthan gum
1g (1/3 tsp) Guar gum

350g (1 1/2) cups heavy cream
5g (1 tsp) vanilla

60g (1/2) cup chopped nuts (optional, not included in nutr. facts)

How to prepare:

Combine erythritol, salt, whey, reb-A, xanthan and guar and set aside.


Combine half & half and key lime juice. Heat mixture in a saucepan until bubbles start to form.

Remove from heat and stir the erythritol mixture in with a spatula until dissolved. Then stir in the 1 1/2 cups heavy cream + vanilla.


Refrigerate for at least 4 hour.

When chilled, pour into freezer bowl of ice cream maker and let mix until mixture thickens, about 20-30 minutes.


Half way through churning in the ice cream maker drop in the optional chopped nuts.

Pour into 8 small cups. Freeze. When ready to have one, take it out of the freezer and leave at room temperature for 10 min or in the fridge for about 1 h. The ice cream hardens in the freezer, so you will have to do that as it will be too hard to eat.


That’s it.

What you should expect – a final result that is much like what you’d buy in store, but without the sugar and with protein, which turns the thing in the cup from something you should have very occasionally into something that you should actually have whenever you want. Why? Because the bad stuff is out (let me not hear anything about saturated fats, please) and the good stuff is in. In other words, from “an exception” we converted this into “the rule”. No cooling effect from the erythritol, either. Bam!

Here are the nutrition facts for you. I’d say this ice cream recipe is very paleo… if you leave aside the dairy in it. Enjoy. Let me know how it turned out… Oh, and if you have any questions..

Nutrition Facts (without optional nuts)

Serving Size: 1 small cup (110g)
Servings 8
Calories per serving 245
Total Fat 19g
Total Carbohydrates 19g
NET Carbs 6g
Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Sugar Alcohols 16g
Protein 13g

Calorie Restriction And Muscle Loss

It is common knowledge among body building circles that calorie restriction causes muscle loss. In other words, if you eat below your maintenance calories you lose muscle mass.

Calorie Restriction And Muscle Loss – True or not?

I personally am guilty of subscribing to the “calorie restriction makes you waste muscle” notion. I used to eat 6 times a day. I used to eat a high-protein meal pre-workout and a high-protein/carg meal post-workout. I was especially careful not to train on an empty stomach or not to miss “feeding my muscles” right after my workout, so as to avoid immediate muscle loss.

Well, it turns out that training in a fasted state (like in Intermittent Fasting) or in a state of calorie restriction does not cause muscle loss. The main condition in order to preserve your muscles is to exercise them. Stated differently, if you use them you won’t lose them (1, 2)!

Still, can you lose muscles while restricting calories (dieting or Intermittent Fasting)?

Yes, you can.


If you diet and don’t exercise at all (not even walking) eventually you will lose muscle, along with fat. Again, it goes back to not using the muscles.. Which is generally true for everything – if you don’t use it Nature takes it away.

I am a living proof of the fact that resistance training preserves (and can even help you gain) muscle while being calorie deficient. I have been doing Intermittent Fasting for about 4 months now and I’ve lost fat and gained a bit more muscle. I train, using my own body as weight, only 3 times a week.

Here are two photos of me, taken today after 16 hours of fasting (it’s almost 1 pm and I haven’t eaten anything since last night 9 pm).

Calorie Restriction And Muscle Loss

Dec. 27, 2012 – Snapshot 1

Calorie Restriction And Muscle Loss - 2

Dec. 27, 2012 – Snapshot 2

Bottom line is this: Decreasing calories and/or skipping meals (like pre- and/or post-workout) WILL NOT cause you to waste muscle mass AS LONG AS you exercise those muscles.

I do it, drug-free bodybuilders have been doing it for many, many years: doing their resistance training, while being calorie-restricted for many weeks and coming out very lean and big on contest day.

“Weight Loss Diet” Google Search Over The Years

I needed to check the trends of something on Google Trends, but for some strange reason before I typed my term I typed “weight loss diet” instead.. and the result was.. well, very interesting the least.

Here is a screen shot of what I saw for the “Weight loss diet” Google search from 2004 to now (below I will embed the actual charts since seeing all the details from this picture is kind of difficult):

"Weight loss diet" search on Google Trends

“Weight loss diet” search on Google Trends

Now, let’s look at the top chart. First of all you see a trend, right? A cycle. Now, notice the “lows” in each cycle. Guess what.. These are the “December” months each year since 2004. In November and December people (especially in the developed world) celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, etc. and no body cares about weight loss or even weight gain at that time of the year. And, this is not something I’m saying. It’s evident on the image!

And, now look at the “highs”. Guess what? These are the “January” each year! Does “New Years resolution” ring a bell? Wow! It repeats every year. We spend the last six weeks (and this is proven now) each year getting fatter and the January’s each year trying to figure out how to fix the damage!

Now, look at the bottom left. These are the countries with the most searches (Google Trends calls it “Regional interest”):

I find this very interesting… and telling. We don’t learn from history. We repeat the same thing every year. It happens with many, many things in life… but, evidently it happens with weight gain/loss.

People go careless with their diet and health at year-end and then spend the beginning months of each year trying to figure out how to recover from the mess they’ve created for themselves… in a cyclical manner… year after year after year after year…

How To Eat Daily to Lose Weight

It is an interesting fact, I think, that so many people want to know how to eat daily to lose weight. Why? Because of the paradox: “how/what to eat” to “lose weight”.

See what I mean? Folks still want to know how with eating they can lose weight.. And, the simple truth is you don’t lose weight by eating, but by NOT EATING!

I am not saying not eating at all. I am saying that in order to lose weight you must be calorie deficient, which state you achieve if you eat less. Starving is not good, but neither is eating 5-6 times a day.

See, many “nutrition gurus” will tell you that if you eat multiple small meals daily you will increase your metabolism and will burn more fat. Their advice is based on the premise that it takes calories to digest the meal, so if you eat more often you will burn more calories.

This is simply not true! Her is why..

Say, your diet consists of 2000 Calories a day (it’s easy to work with a nicely even number). And, these calories consist of a certain ratio of fats, carbohydrates, proteins. Well, it takes the body the same amount of energy to digest these calories regardless if you eat them in two large gorging-style meals or six small nibble-type meals. It is a very simple concept – same calories and macro nutrient ratios take the same energy for digestion regardless of the number of meals.

So, my question is why then eat six times a day?

You’ve heard before that if you eat less meals a day your metabolism will slow down and you will burn less fat and consequently lose less weight.

Again, not true.

Today we know that even if you don’t eat for up to 72 hours your metabolism will not suffer and slowing down. In fact, if you eat less frequently your metabolism actually will speed up (Read the studies: 1, 2, 3, 4).

How To Eat Daily to Lose Weight – The Two Simple Rules

How to eat daily to lose weight

Rule No. 1:

Eat two and maximum three meals a day. I’d suggest you stick to two. How do you do that? Simple: by skipping breakfast. If you want to know more why this works – it’s called Intermittent Fasting, meaning in the 24-hour period you dedicate less of your waking hours to eating and more hours to expending energy (burning fat), while maintaining high metabolism.

Rule No. 2:

Very simple: Don’t eat man-made foods – nothing that comes in a box with an endless Ingredients list. Another way to tell if a food is man-made or not is if you can name the food. For example: broccoli is broccoli – you can recognize it and can name it. MNM’s… I don’t know what they are! Do you?

And, by the way, if you conform to Rule No. 2 in only 80 percent of the time you will still be widely successful. I call this the 10K 80-20 rule.

This is it. Very liberating, indeed, to know that you can eat whatever you want and as much as you want, unless it is highly processed man-made and unless it is breakfast. Go try it. Trust me. It’s all you need. That’s how I live and that’s how I maintain great health and superb physical fitness.

Oh, let me know your progress in the comments section below. I want to know how it’s going for you.