Why You May Look a Bit Fatter When First Losing Body Fat

March 10, 2008

There is a total mind game that happens when you first begin to lose body fat.

At some point when dropping body fat, it is very possible that you look slightly flabbier than when you first began your diet and exercise program.

I have never read about this fat loss principle, but I have observed it so many times that I know it is very common. Lets talk about why this happens, so you know what to expect when you start a strict fat loss plan.
woman measuring her waist and hips
[Meaghan isn’t good with the measuring tape. She always gets a much higher number than her actual measurements for some reason.]

“If I’m Losing Weight, Why Do I Still Look Flabby?”

The best way (and only way) to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit. This means you are burning more calories per day than what you consume. When you are in a strong deficit, your muscles are typically depleted of glycogen (the carb energy stored in your muscles). When your muscles are full of glycogen, they are full looking.

RelatedΒ  Article: How to Lose Weight on Any Diet

When your muscles are depleted of glycogen, they look a bit flat. When your muscles flatten out a bit due to dieting, it can actually appear that you have less muscle in proportion to your body fat…you will actually look like you have gained a bit of fat.

Your Muscles Will Lose Glycogen Faster Than You Lose Fat

Have you ever heard of someone who lost 10 pounds in their first week or two of dieting? Many people claim that this is just a loss of “water weight”. What happens is that glycogen binds to water molecules and the more glycogen in your muscle means more water gets stored in your muscle cells as well.

When people go low carb or create a strong calorie deficit, they lose a lot of the glycogen in their muscles as well as the water that was binded to that glycogen. Their muscles lose a lot of volume. In contrast, they may only lose 2-4 pounds of fat in that same time period, so it “appears” that they had a fat gain even though the scale shows that they are 10-15 pounds lighter.

The Weight You Lose From Glycogen Loss is Limited

Your muscles can only store up a limited amount of glycogen, so once your muscles flatten out you will cease losing water weight. This will happen quickly, depending upon how strong your deficit is…it happens even quicker on a low carb diet.

Don’t worry about the “apparent loss” in muscle mass as glycogen loss is just a temporary cosmetic thing. You will gain back all of this muscle volume once you go into maintenance mode.

Here is the Point When You Will Look Visibly Leaner…

When your loss in body fat equals your loss in water weight, you will begin to look leaner from that point forward. I like to tell people to not worry too much about what they see in the mirror their first month of dieting.

Although they are making progress in losing body fat, the mirror will not show that progress yet. Once they reach a certain fat loss level, that is when things get exciting and dieting becomes very rewarding. It is fun to get visible feedback when you are working hard to get lean!

This Illusion of Being Flabby is Even More Drastic In the Gym

When you lift weights in a dieted state, your muscles will look flatter than normal. If you are used to getting a big pump, then this will be a big change for you. The problem with getting a pump, it that it actually hides a lot of body fat. The body fat stays at the same level while the muscles temporarily increase in volume.

A “pumped up” person is tricked into believing they are in better condition than they really are.

A person in a dieted down state achieves very little pump, so won’t appear to be in as good of condition as someone who is carbed up. This typically happens the first month of a strict fat loss program, and from that point forward your body will increase in definition each and every workout…you will have a tough time not staring at your remarkable transformation in the mirror.

So What Happens After You Reach Your Fat Loss Goal?

My suggestion is to keep dieting hard until your body looks really sharp in a glycogen depleted state. Remember…you still don’t have the benefit of having full looking muscles.

Once you go back to eating at a maintenance level, your muscles will go back to their normal state and you will look even sharper and more lean than you did when you were dieting hard! You muscles will still look hard and defined, just slightly bigger, hiding any bit of body fat left on your body.

Note: This is a strategy I use before going on vacation. I am going to write a short e-book or report on how to prep for a vacation and look outstanding the entire time. I keep putting it off, but I promise I’ll get around to it soon.

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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy March 11, 2008 at 12:05 am

Interesting post, Rusty. I know I have lost several inches on my body since I have increased the intensity of my workouts, yet, I notice in the gym mirror that I look somewhat flabby lately. Im not by any means overweight. Its strange! I dont even like looking at myself in the gym mirror!

Aaron March 11, 2008 at 12:11 am

Man your site is the best all around fitness site I’ve ever stumbled upon. Been devouring all your articles and comments, inspiring stuff. Thank you. πŸ™‚

With that out of the way. Another thing that happens when you start exercising is that as the muscles get more tone they kind of push the fat out and make you look worse. For example, after doing the side planks my handles stick out more. If that makes sense.

Could that be another reason why you look fatter as you start exercising?

thesarasotadeed.com March 11, 2008 at 12:35 am

I agree with this.. its important to not completely eliminate carbs.. Lots of people want to lean out and they eliminate carbs completely making them look totally flat, lose that glycogen, and their excessive cardio leads to muscle loss.. Keep carbs up.. Just know what kind of carbs you’re taking in.. Fruit, veggies, & starches at the right time will keep your mind alert and fire your metabolism to kick fat burn into overdrive.. Everybody persons body is different.. You have to play a bit with your ratios and decide how carb sensitive your body is.. For me, I have to keep carbs in my system of my energy levels fall and actually stop losing fat.. The key is to eliminate all sugar and saturated fats.. Kick up the cardio, keep the right carbs in your body, stay hydrated, and always get some protein.. Again, we’re looking for a “tight” body not bloated and puffy.. Good article Rusty.. You write good stuff

Ricky March 11, 2008 at 5:37 am

Actually, thesarasotadeed, you do not need to limit saturated fats in the diet.The body needs an abundant supply of the fat-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble activators found only in saturated fats in butter, coconut oil. Many of the vitamins and minerals found in vegetables cannot be absorbed without fat, and protein cannot be assimilated without fat. In fact, the body will rob its own precious stores of fat-soluble vitamins in order to digest protein if adequate fat is not eaten with it, which can lead to rapid depletion of these nutrients so necessary for so many biological functions. Keep in mind that some of the leanest and healthiest primitive people have a diet comprised of up to 80% saturated fat. Moreover one of the oldest guy s in the US eat nothing but lard andvegetables. The type of fat that you MUST stay away from is hydrogenated oils such as sunflower, canola, and margarine. In other words everything you know about fat is wrong: http://www.westonaprice.org/splash_2.htm

Baz March 11, 2008 at 6:08 am

i’m only 63kg(140 pounds i think) In order to get the body of Will Smith in “I am legend” how much mass do i need to pack on before i start to cut down my body fat? I’m about 178 cm tall as well

Baz March 11, 2008 at 6:19 am

To have the sexy model look do i need to train and eat like a bodybuilder for a couple of months until i pack on some muscle and then cut down or do i need to train differently to put on some muscle. PS- i have a hard time gaining weight.

Tina March 11, 2008 at 8:06 am

Thanks Rusty for the great post once again! By the way, when you say go into maintenance, do you mean we shouldn’t let what we see in the mirror be the determining factor of our goal weight. I thought my goal weight was 120, but I’m now 124 and I feel like maybe my goal needs to be more like 115 or even 110 to get the look I want. Also, you said 900-1200 calories in the reply to my last post- how long do I need to stay so low calorie, before I royally mess up my metabolism, where I’m stuck eating like this the rest of my life? Also, when i’m in maintenance, do i slowly add back more calories weekly, until my weight has stabilized?
Thanks again! My sister and I are hooked on your website and great advice. We push each other to get higher and higher on the treadmill. I cannot wait for your e-book!

Raven March 11, 2008 at 8:18 am

Another great article Rusty. Always great info and no BS like other “fitness” sites.

Could you give us some examples of what you eat for low-carb days if you want to burn fat versus what you would eat on a maintenance day with more carbs?


katie March 11, 2008 at 8:19 am

i am so glad you did this post rusty!! i’ve always noticed that after a week or so of low-calories i sort of “deflate” — which makes even the smallest amount of fat more noticeable! it can be discouraging so its definitely good to know why it happens. its true, i’ve never read about it anywhere else. thanks for the article!

ps: another interesting thing along the same lines is that i would have LESS BF% at the beginning than at the end of the week — because proportion-wise its “less” when you lose mostly water.

john March 11, 2008 at 10:24 am

Nice….two things…meaghens number and get that ebook out soon man!!!

admin March 11, 2008 at 2:25 pm


In a bit of time you will love looking in the mirror. At some point you will notice a positive change each and every workout. It is fun when you get to this point.


That is a good point for sure. This happens to women’s thighs all the time. When they first begin working out their jeans fit tighter. The same thing happens with a man’s waist and abdomen some times. Good point.

Justin “Sarasotadeed”,

Good points. I don’t mind going low carb leading up to the workout, but then ingest carbs after working out. The main thing I like about your comment is that people need to learn what works for their body. Everybody reacts differently to this stuff.


Yeah…fat is a very complex nutrient. There is definitely strategy involved in eating healthy fats. I will do an article on healthy fats, since I have not done one yet.


I wouldn’t necessarily “bulk up” like a body builder. I would gain strength in the 5 rep range and do a higher volume of lifting than I normally recommend. You will gain dense muscle mass when you lift around 5 reps. Bodybuilder aim for “the pump” by doing many sets of 6-12 reps. This creates puffy looking muscles and is not a good look in my opinion.


No you will not need to eat that few of calories the rest of your life. Once you get to the ideal body fat percentage you will slowly increase the calories until you are eating a normal amount of healthy food every day (maintenance). Almost everyone underestimates how much weight they need to lose to attain a certain look. It is very common. I’m glad you and you sis dig my site…I have a fun time with this!


A low carb day for me would be a piece of fruit in the morning…green tea all day, workout in afternoon…followed by a large chicken salad at night (1/2 a chicken, vinegrette dressing, avocado’s, a bit of cheese, veggies, etc)

A maintenance day would be fruit in the morning, fruit mid day, and a large meal and night with potatoes, rice, etc. I would eat a dessert a couple hours later…typically yogurt and granola. Note: Keep in mind that I’m following “The Warrior Diet” right now.


This is just something that I thought happened to me, but I began observing it in many gyms as well. It is a very common and people should almost begin to expect this. I hope it helps people not lose faith in their diet and exercise program.


I do keep putting off the e-books. I want to write 4 this year…2 free and 2 paid. As far as Meaghan’s number…join the waiting list…she is definitely hot!


Mike March 11, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Your site is amazing… so much to learn from it. I got a question on the warrior diet and all. I’ve read alot of info that says to eat 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day in order to prevent muscle breakdown. I’m not that big to begin with and don’t want to lose my existing musle but I want to drop my body fat percentage. So, do you loose a bunch of muscle mass while on the warrior diet and how do you prevent muscle breakdown while on the warrior diet? or do you have to get lean first and then worry about putting the muslce back on?

AFDerrick March 11, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Hey Rusty I just want to thank you for another great post and the great advice and feedback you give to all the comments on your site. My question is this, right now I am going to the gym in the morning before work and breakfast. My workout consists of about 15 – 20 minutes of weight lifting(2 exercises, 5 reps, 3 sets per muscle group) and 30 minutes of HIIT. I will return to the gym most days to do more steady state cardio for 30 – 60 minutes (this is also when I do my ab exercises). This morning was the first day I did weight lifting prior to HIIT, my new job allows me to come into work 45 minutes later.
Should I incoporate more sets or exercises to extend the weight lifting portion out to a full 30 minutes?
Also how much time is too much time to spend in the gym?
Thanks again Rusty!

AFDerrick March 11, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Oh one more, sorry. Do you actually know the girls pictured on this site? You are one lucky man!

Mike March 11, 2008 at 4:12 pm

also what would be the minium caloric intake to follow while doing this program?

jake March 11, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Rusty i been reading your muscle toning stratigies. Sounds good I have some questions. You lift low reps on every body part except chest(only incline). I wonder when you lift the low reps do u always try to increase the weight the next time or do you stay at a low weight that doesnt give you a pump and not worry about increasing weight

Brad March 11, 2008 at 11:07 pm

Hey Rusty, good post, and a timely one for me. I’ve noticed while I’m in the midst of losing bodyfat and weight, I’m looking a little flat, I’m in the 3rd serious week of losing weight. I started at 194 and am down to 189. I’m trying lose nice and slow so I don’t lose muscle. I’ve noticed this in the past, when I cut weight I look flat for a while.
Do you think that once I get to my target weight and bodyfat, that my muscles will look more sharp and dense after I’ve maintained my new weight for while? I’m looking for some reassurance that I’m not doing all this work and then ultimately still be unsatisfied with my look.
I respect you’re opinions and would love to hear what you think, thanks again Rusty!

Baz March 12, 2008 at 2:03 am

Is it possible to grow your wrists? I’m about to start a program to build muscle, but the thing is i have always been a fairly slim person. I have thin wrists which i can sooooo easily wrap my hand around, and thin ankles which i can also wrap my hand around. I’m worried that if i build muscle that these area will look weird. I also have fat or lose skin or whatever it is around my elbows at the end of my forearms, is there anything i can do to make this bigger other than losing the fat becasue i’m worried my arms and forearms will look smaller if i only lose the fat. Is there a mucle there i can train?

Thanks heaps rusty

admin March 12, 2008 at 2:36 am


You won’t lose a bunch of muscle on the Warrior Diet. Ori…the author actually gained 10 pounds of muscle within a year while getting down to 5% body fat and the guy in in his 50’s. He followed a modified approach…A low calorie protein shake in the morning and mid-day and the majority of his calories at night after his evening workout. Go to his site and read all the free info there. There are some great tips!


Yeah…if you did 30 minutes of lifting and 30 minutes of HIIT. That would be phenomenal. Right now that is what I’m doing. About three days per week I throw in that 10 minute plank routine for the abs. About 1/2 of the time I will also do steady state for 10 more minutes right after HIIT. I think 60-90 minutes is the ideal amount of time to spend in the gym. Somebody finally asked me if I know these hot girls…my answer…Not yet πŸ™‚


The lowest I like to go is about 10 calories per pound. You can go lower for short periods of time, but don’t push it. As you lose weight you will need to lower the calories.


I increase the weight extremely slowly over time until it feels “heavy enough”. I also don’t increase it at an even rate. I do a heavy day alternated with a light or medium day. Honestly, the weight you use is just a tool to create a strong muscle contractions. On some lifts I can get a strong contraction with a light weight…I go pretty light on low cable rows, but very heavy on dumbbell curls. I have no problem sticking with the same weight until I feel I have “mastered the weight”. Get stronger over a period of years and keep pushing yourself harder and harder on cardio…you will love the results.


The hardest part of your fat loss plan is the period you are going through right now. What is funny is that you will lose weight and look smaller and less impressive at first and then at some point you will look bigger and way more ripped. Once you reach this point of looking defined, you will look better each and every week. If you hold that low body fat percentage for 6-12 months, you will be sharper looking than 99% of the people in your gym. Have faith. Remember…Brad Pitt is 5’11” and was 155 in Fight Club. He probably looked much less impressive at 170 pounds. It is weird how this works.


I have skinny wrists too. Over time, they will get slightly bigger…but this is after years of lifting. Your forearms will look way more impressive at a much quicker rate. I want you to work wrist curls, reverse wrist curls, and hammer curls at the end of every workout for a while. Do 10-15 reps on all of these exercises. If you have access to a chinup bar then grab the bar and dead hang from it for as long as possible after doing a 10 minute forearm workout. My forearms used to be one of my worst body parts and now they are one of my best. I know exactly what you are dealing with.

Watch this video and make one of these (wood dowel, a weight, and rope…use a thicker wood dowel than he shows in this video). You can do this at home whenever you have time. You need to give priority to your forearms and it will build wrist density as well. Once you get low enough body fat, you will actually look more muscular and the illusion of being bigger without being big and bulky.

Hope that helps!


katie March 12, 2008 at 8:51 am

Rusty, when you say not to go under 10 calories per pound, is that for men and women? Or should women go lower? And, should this be based on ideal weight (i.e., I’m 5’5″ and am aiming to get to 120lbs in the next couple months, should I just start out at 1200 calories?) I do 40-60min./day of cardio and some weight training 6 days a week. Thanks, lovee the site!!

Baz March 12, 2008 at 9:38 am

Rusty you are a genius. I can’t believe i hadn’t found this website earlier. Your answers are soooooo quick and helpful, however, i have jhust one more question. As i mentioned before i am about to start the process of muscle gain, therefore, i need to eat more, but at the same time as doing this how can i stop my body from putting on fat. i’m not interested in losing fat during this period but prevent my body from gaining fat and prevent muscle loss . Should i skip rope or something?

Thanks again your are a lifesaver. I can only imagine what i will look like following your tips, oh and the girls. We all owe .

admin March 12, 2008 at 10:24 am


Women shouldn’t go lower, but you can definitely multiply your target weight by 10 and eat that many calories per day. I have seen that work very well. Reading your training program makes me feel a bit lazy. I have only been able to hit the gym 4 times a week for the past 6 weeks. I am in maintenance mode, but I need to go 5-6 times a week for about a month to look a bit sharper for summer. You are inspiring me to get in there more for sure. Also…you will do very well with your plan…no question it will work.


“I’m not a genius…I just play one on TV” (cheesy reference to an old TV commercial..sorry). So to not put on fat…just go into your workout in a fasted state…don’t eat anything 3-4 hours before working out. Then eat the majority of your daily calories after working out in two separate feedings. You will get the benefits of fat burning, HGH release because of working out on an empty stomach, and taking advantage of better “nutrient partitioning” by eating after your workout. This leads to muscle gain (as long as the volume of lifting is high enough) without putting on fat. Feel free to jump rope 2-3 times per week if you feel like you are putting on fat. You just want to limit this while you are trying to add a bit of mass.

Hope that helps!


Helder March 12, 2008 at 10:49 am

That´s right when i started low carb diets at the begining i just felt that my muscles were looking smaller and soft, but after a while they look much much better again, once the fat goes away the body looks hard and toned.

Brad March 12, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Hey Rusty, really appreciate you answering my question so quickly. Where in the world was this site 10 years ago! I waisted so much freakin time trying to bulk and cut and bulk and cut, waisted thousands of dollars on supplements and to much food and thousands of hours in the gym and outside the gym trying to figure out how to get big big big! What a waiste!
Anyways, sorry about the rant there. Your answer makes sense and I’m guessing so long as I follow your advice and keep my low bodyfat for 6-12 months then I will look great.
Several times in the past few years I’ve gotten really lean but only for 2-3 months in the summer, I never maintained that low bodyfat and I think I really cheated myself out of what would have been a sharp and cut looking body if I had just stayed with it.
I was so close and didn’t even know it.
Thanks again for the answer and for helping all of us out, take care!

shailja March 12, 2008 at 3:52 pm

I’m 5’3″ /female.Not sure if small or medium framed.I’m not sure how much I should weigh.
I’m trying to implement your program right away.I have been doing HIIT on and off for last 2 months but I only lost 5 pounds.
So,I’m going to try and push harder on both diet and exercise.
My other problem is also that I’m vegetarian so I rely on combos like brown rice and beans or brown rice and lentils or whole wheat bread and lentils.Is that too many carbs on low carb days?

Thank you for an informative post.

john March 12, 2008 at 7:29 pm

I am always facinated by Ori’s concepts. I like the idea of the warrior concept and it is a powerfull marketing tool. Who doesn’t want to be a gladiator?? In the 300 movie the character of captain dropped 40 lbs in 8 weeks. The crew over at gym jones said they were fed “just enough to fuel effort and recovery.” For everyone that could be relative. I don’t know what that means and they are very secretive about thier methods. But the content of the site is really motivational. Kind of like Ori’s stuff. They focus on being “exceptional” etc…

That being said…Meghan is pretty hot for a headless girl. Im still waiting on that number Rusty.

Bharan March 13, 2008 at 1:32 am

Dear Rusty, i just discovered your website a cuple of days ago. Believe me when i tell u that this is the best fitness site i have ever read. You have the answers to so many questions that i have been thinking about for a while now and this current article has really motivated me to stick with my calorie deficit. Thank you so much and keep up the good work. I really appreciate it


Bumblebee March 13, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Hi Rusty

Is there a way to avoid fat loss from breast tissue while doing cardio. I always notice that when I lose weight, my breasts appear smaller.


Matt March 13, 2008 at 1:53 pm

I’ve been reading your posts for a while now, great website. My question is actually for my wife since I’ve found a workout that suits me. She’s 5’3 and 133 lbs. She’s been trying to break that 130 barrier for quite some time and get down to the 120-125 range. Wondering if you have any ideas. I can tell you exactly what she eats since I make her breakfast/lunch. Breakfast: oatmeal. Lunch: salad w/olives, tomatos and a little grated cheese, little to no dressing, raw baby carrots, a 14 oz container of pinapple, strawberries, and blueberries, and 1 bananna. Dinner is mostly vegatables and something with either beans, soy, and pasta once in a while (vegetarian). Her workout is about 45-60 minutes of cardio and about 15-25 minutes of lifting, usually a circuit type routine. Any advice?

benjie March 13, 2008 at 2:37 pm

hey rusty i have a quick question. what are your thoughts on taking a protein shake 30 mins-1 hour before working out? Sometimes I feel like I need one to help me get through my lifting workout. It is only a 90 calorie shake with .5 grams of fat and 2 carbs and 22 grams of protein. i lift the way u suggest-5×5, 10 sets per body part, etc. i do my high intensity interval training or steady state cardio in the morning on an empty stomach. will this protein shake have any adverse reaction on my goal of losing bodyweight? I am still hoping to get stronger and am lifting lighter weights and am starting to master the strong contractions with lighter weights to make it feel like heavier weights. by the way i am 150 lbs and have a bodyfat of around 9-10%. i just want to get it to around 6% and maintain that all while getting stronger and not bigger in the following years. thanks as always rusty!

shailja March 13, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Hi Rusty,
I’m sorry,it’s me again.Just wanted to put down my questions so they were easy to read

1) 5’3″ female- what should be the ideal weight?
I’m currently around 137 πŸ™
2) being vegetarian I’m going to include protein drinks,eggs and/or cottage cheese on low carb days.Is that okay?

3) I’ve incorporated HIIT.I intend to do cardio 6 days a week and strength 2 times a week is that enough for fat loss?

Thanks so much for giving a platform to clear doubts.

P.S. I am already addicted to your website.
I’m going to India to visit my family at the end of June and want to be in the best shape of my life.I’m tired of hearing how fat I’ve become.

Scott March 13, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Wow, this finally answers my question. I found that when I really hit the cardio I would look flat after a week or so. Yet I do not want to look like soem muscle bound feek-a-zoid. I want to look well defined but have a normal body (a flat stomach is my goal) I would read where cardio was such a waste of time….but now I know if I just clean up my diet and really be good with the rowing for more than a month, some results will come my way…THANKS!!!

benjie March 13, 2008 at 5:10 pm

i might add that i lift weights at night and do my HIIT in the morning so i sometimes like to drink a protein shake at night an hour before i go to the gym

John March 13, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Matt, see rusty’s article on taking diet breaks. This works like magic. I have read in several places the closer you are to your target bf the less time u should spend dieting.

under 10%- 4-6 weeks,
over 10%- 6-12 weeks
over 15% 12-16 weeks

I am a model 6 ft 175-180 lbs and I keep around 7-8 % bf and I really like to lean out before shoots, I only diet really hard in the 3 or 4 week run up to a job. Then I ease back into healthy eating. Rusty is helping me in my latest endeavor to get below 5%…which is an all time low for me. I have been able to get subsequentley leaner with each attempt to reduce bodyfat because I never stay in a deficit for very long.

Valerie March 14, 2008 at 12:01 am

I stumbled across your site and am so excited to find so much great information. I’ve been on it all night. LOVE IT! Thanks! I have been a loyal Body For Life follower for years, it worked for me after having my son but I’ve been off and on at the gym for some time and have packed on some extra weight. So, Im approaching 30 and ready to finally get into the best shape of my life by August. I’m 5’10” and weigh 150 so I need to lose 20+ lbs. My lowest ever was 127 so I’d like to get back to that. Here is my plan:
* Warrior Diet
* Workout in the am w/ 20 min weights and 30-40 cardio.
* After workout have protein shake w/ banana and pb, lunch of just apple and string cheese, orange for snack and big dinner of chicken veggies etc. Maybe a dessert of Myoplex pudding and cherries.
I wanted to get your opinion of this routine since your the authority. Also, if possible I want my butt bigger, rounder if you will. I tend to have a scrawny butt and I want to make it meatier. Do you have any suggestions on that. When I was thin before doing BFL I lost my butt, I was mostly doing weight training, no cardio though. Could that be why? I’ll anxiously await your reply and start moving on this new plan tomorrow.

admin March 14, 2008 at 2:38 am


People who workout and try to gain a bit of muscle eat too much food in my opinion. Way too much. The typical approach is build muscle along with gaining a lot of fat…then lose the fat along with a bit of muscle. This really is a bodybuilding version of “yo yo” dieting. The big problem is that this is unhealthy and actually creates stubborn body fat. Why not just look good the whole time and not eat an amount of food that makes you sluggish, gives you gas, etc. I was guilty of the “bodybuilding yo-yo diet” too, I am just trying to help a lot of people avoid this nonsense.


As a vegetarian you are going to eat more carbohydrates. You just have to watch your caloric intake. With you it will be more about burning more calories than what you eat…you can’t really alter your macro-nutrients, since vegetarians naturally eat more carbs. Your questions

1) 5’3″…your ideal weight: 110-125 depending upon your frame
2) Protein shakes, eggs, and cottage cheese are great for low carb days
3) Your workouts are more than enough to burn off your unwanted fat
Go to India looking hotter than ever. Stay away from the Tikka Masala and Nan until you reach your fat loss goals. I love Indian food!


it is 8675309…or is that Jenny’s number?


I am just someone who stays ripped year-round and knows all the pitfalls to avoid. Many things look good on paper but simply don’t work in real life. There are too many trainers who talk a good game, but they are in half-ass shape. I appreciate your compliments. I love helping you guys. It is very rewarding for me. Keep reading!


Breasts will get smaller as you lose body fat. There is no way around it. The good news is that most guys could care less. A slim fit woman looks great no matter what the breast size is.


When is her workout…because that would make a big difference in the eating strategy that I would recommend. My recommendation would be to drop the oatmeal and eat a few pieces of fresh fruit in the morning. That may do the trick. If she worked out after work, drop that fruit from the lunch and eat it right after working out instead…then eat that dinner meal one hour after that. So basically she is eating about the same calories per day, but just timing the food better for maximum results.


As long as you do your HIIT or Steady State Cardio on an empty stromach, you will burn body fat for sure. It sounds like you do your lifting later in the day or afternoon. Feel free to drink that 90 calorie protein shake 30-60 minutes before lifting then. Sounds like you have come up with a very solid strategy here. I love it when you guys tweak these principles to fit your exact goals. This is how you are going to achieve peak condition. What you have outlined should work very, very well.


I clicked your Myspace link. You have a beautiful family and you are absolutely stunning. Anyway…your routine looks well thought out. I really like it that you are consuming the majority of your carbs after your workout and tapering off as it gets later in the day. This is exactly what needs to be done if someone works out in the morning. Very solid plan. Myoplex is my favorite meal replacement as well. Good stuff! The butt question…you can get a slightly rounder butt by including squats in your routine (normally I advise against these, but they are very effective at adding a bit of mass to the butt). Make sure if you do squats, press with the heals as much as possible. The leg press machine with your feet high on the platform and pressing from your heals does a good job as well. Also walking on a treadmill on a high incline will work this area.

Hope that helps!


shane#1 March 14, 2008 at 2:57 am

hi im a vegetarian as well.and the best shape ive ever been in was eating a pure vegan diet.i always made sure to eat about 70% percent raw fruit and vegies.you can build a great body on a vegetarian diet.i went back to eating meat and became fat and sick.now im on my vegetarian diet again and have lost 22 pounds in just over a month.i do hiit cardio AND I USE MY OWN BODYWEIGHT FOR MUSCLE BUILDING.i try and atleat burn 1,000 calories a day doing cardiowell from one veg head to another good luck and god bless:)

Michael March 14, 2008 at 7:00 am

Rusty, just found this site yesterday. It’s awesome. I injured my back a few years ago and am slowly easing my way into things – as far as getting my body back and better than ever. A lot of the reason why I hadn’t started earlier was fear of messing my back up again. I’m trying to get my core strong before I get into the weights (I’m only doing push-ups/pull-ups to add strength right now). I’ve been reading your comments re: planks — how many days should I do planks per week? Do you have to wait til your muscles aren’t sore to do them again? I guess the same question applies to push-ups and such – I never know if I should wait until the soreness completely fades before I do more sets. Lastly, have you ever posted anything regarding strengthening ones back/core or back-friendly exercises? If so, a link would be great. Sorry for being so long-winded…thanks for your time.

Michael March 14, 2008 at 9:12 am

Rusty, disregard the last part about a link…I found where you discussed back issues. My bad.

shailja March 14, 2008 at 11:32 am

Thanks a bunch Rusty! I’ll aim for 121 ,that is 16 pounds of fat loss in 3 months.I hope I can do it.

I love indian food too and you’re right no Naan and tikka masala

Thank you for the wishes Shane #1.I have been trying to eat a lot more raw,I’ll up it a little more.I think it is helping as I have dropped a 1.5 pound last week.

Now with so much useful information on this site my goals are just a more clearer and I think I can do it.

AFDerrick March 14, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Hey Rusty, one of the comments sparked this question for you. I do weight lifting and HIIT cardio in the morning. I do more steady state cardio in the afternoon. (Been swimming a lot to release stress on the joints) I try to stay low carb as long as I can, I thought it would help with fat burning. I eat a few egg whites with a snack of raw veggies (brocolli, celery mostly) and my first real carbs of the day is a turkey sandwich for lunch, should I modify this to include carbs earlier in the day? For dinner I normally make a chicken and veggies.

Michael March 14, 2008 at 6:59 pm

And one more thing. I did HITT today when doing cardio. Well, I didn’t go fast at all — mainly because I had a little knee pain for a week or so. I didn’t want to jump the gun. So, I only went like 3.2 to start and 4.7 during the “faster” portion. When I’m confident my knee is 100% better, I’ll up the speed. Anyway, my knee and wind was totally fine – but I noticed that my left foot and bottom leg seemed to tire out while my right did not. My left may be weaker since that’s the one I had/have sciatic pain. I read about your back trouble, did you ever notice that sort of imbalance? Does it just sort itself out over time, or does one make it worse – kind of like running the tread of one tire while the other barely gets any run…

katie March 14, 2008 at 7:41 pm

hey rusty, i have a question about the carb cycling you recommend in your diet plan … i REALLY want to add this in to my regime but i have a really brutal personal training session once a week and i don’t want to be “carb depleted” coming into that … it’s an early morning workout; how should i eat the upcoming 2-3 days in order to have enough carbs stored? is it ok to do 6 days of high protein/ low carb and then just have a high-carb day/ dinner the night before or is that too little? i know everyone is different with this, but i was wondering if you had an opinion on what the optimal time frame was.. thanks! love the site and your recent posts, as always πŸ™‚

admin March 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm


When you first do planks it may just be a couple of times a week. After a while you won’t get sore from them. They are an isometric exercise so there isn’t muscle breakdown…because of this you can treat them differently than many other exercises and do them more often.

Here is that link to strengthening the core. https://fitnessblackbook.com/?s=back+injury


You can lose 16 pounds in 3 months for sure. You definitely gave yourself enough time, which is half the battle.


If you switch your first two meals on workout days, you will get better results. Eat that Turkey sandwich after working out and the egg whites and veggies for lunch. That will make a difference.


It got better over time. Really make sure you understand that 3 part article I wrote. You don’t ever want to purposely flex your spine forward if you have suffered a back injury. I got this information from quite possibly the most expensive technical back injury book on the market. I’m not the expert, but Stuart McGill is…I have followed his advice and a few months later was pain free and haven’t felt pain since. This will be life changing for you. Back pain can effect your entire outlook on life!


If you only have this session once per week, then why don’t you eat higher carbs the entire day before? See how that works and if you have enough energy, then continue eating this way.

An alternative is to eat a bowl of fruit 60 minutes before your workout. Try to keep it 100-200 calories. If you workout is really intense you will burn 800+ calories or more. This is against the typical advice I give, but it sounds like working out depleted is tough for you. Everybody is different, so this should work for you.


Sandy March 14, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Hey Rusty! My workout is kicking butt!!! Thanks for all of your tips. I actually look forward to the HIIT. I know, sounds crazy! What is the ideal weight for me. I’m 5’8 and have a medium build.

shailja March 14, 2008 at 11:53 pm

Thanks Rusty,I’m ready to take off.
Like I said,I’m addicted to your website so I’m posting again.
I’m putting my diet to a maximum upper limit of 1200 calories a day.Today was a little difficult diet wise,I was so hungry all day.

Breakfast:I did a protein drink with 130 calories and an orange for breakfast
Lunch : brown rice,veggies and lentils about 350 calories
Tea in between and also an apple.

Dinner: sprouted grain tortillas and veggies also about 300 calories.
Total approx 1100 calories
This is going to be the overall plan except I’m going to do 2-3 days of veggies+fruit and protein only next week.

Cardio is 5 days a week,Strength 2 days.

I did jump roping today (without the rope though) 200 jump intervals with a break because it was just so hard! I did a 1000 jumps and then 25 minutes of steady state on the exercise bike.

I’m wondering if it is alright to use agave nectar as sweetener,I did some research and it does not cause insulin spikes.I wanted to know your view.

The downside for you in having so much knowledge and being so diligent about answering questions is that I’m going to bother you all the time πŸ™‚ It’s just that you know so much.

Michael March 15, 2008 at 6:11 am

Thanks Rusty. Also, you’ve been working out so long, I can understand sticking w/ toning..but for people that haven’t, should they add some muscle first?

I guess it’s kind of difficult ascertaining when to just tone w/ those of us that don’t have that block of muscle to start out with. And w/ newbies, soreness seems like an inevitability — even w/ a limited number of sets. I feel somewhat caught in the middle of your advice to tone and thinking I might have to develop some gains first – and if so, when is enough enough.

Lastly, what do you think is an ideal weight for a medium build and hair under 6’1?

I hope not to bother you for a while after this. I think this is a terrific site. Unlike most things on the web, you’re not trying to get in the pocketbooks of your readers — and you’re actually nice and positive! What a concept, huh?

admin March 15, 2008 at 1:37 pm


It is tough to say for sure without seeing you, but around 135 seems to be a decent goal for a woman 5’8″. You could go a bit lower if you get to that weight and still feel a bit flabby.


Agave nectar would be fine, sine it doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes. It looks like you are doing great by the way. Jumping rope will make you sore the first 5-10 times, but then your body will adapt. Keep up the great work!


I completely understand where you are coming from. I believe that everyone has a natural amount of muscle that their body will carry by focusing on strength training. When somebody is new and wants to add a bit of muscle I recommend 5 sets of 5 reps and to lift a high volume of lifts for a while. This will allow you to gain functional muscle over a period of time.

If you do want to add 10-20 pounds of muscle quickly, I wrote a post on that a well. This should help a lot.

How to Quickly Gain the Ideal Amount of Muscle Mass for Your Body Type

Note: Feel free to ask me questions along the way. That is why I created this blog.


Sandy March 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Thanks Rusty! Im about 14 pounds from my goal. I actually liked my body when I was 135. Sorry to drive you crazy with questions but …….is there a way to reduce the size of shoulders? I have naturally somewhat broad shoulders. I am very self conscious about it but other people say that look great.

Sandy March 15, 2008 at 2:29 pm

I was down another 2 pounds this week and have lost a total of 6 inches the past month. (:
Thanks sooo much for all of your advice! (:

Viyan March 16, 2008 at 7:16 am

Hi Rusty.

I’ve been checking your site to a complete nerdy level for several months now – needless to say, I am incredibly impressed by your extensive knowledge, but even more so of your desire to pass along your knowledge: Thank you.

I’m 22 years old and 5″3 and weigh 116 pounds. Last year I dropped about 8-9 pounds without really noticing over a couple of months: Mainly I just didn’t eat excessive amounts and exercised about 3 times a week. But after about 8 months I noticed that I was gaining weight once again and a steady state. So now I would really like to get down to 110 pounds again, but I am not a fan of calorie counting as such as it triggers a bit of a compulsive streak in me. The last couple of weeks I’ve been doing HIIT for about 30 min. and steady state for 10 min about 2-3 times a week. I usually exercise in the morning and eat 1-2 pieces of fruit and some coffee after a workout and then I don’t eat until dinner, where I’ll eat some chicken and vegetables and maybe 1-2 dates and a mango for dessert.

The days that I don’t work out I usually eat either fruit or one piece of bread with 2 slices of cheese for breakfast. And then maybe 1 piece of fruit for lunch and then a good portion of dinner with the family. About 1 day of week I spoil of myself and a delicious croissant for breakfast, but then eat as normal for lunch and dinner.

Now I should say that I’ve only just eaten this way for maybe 2-3 weeks, so the results may just be awaiting, but still… It’s been really demotivating this year that I just didn’t seem to be able to lose the weight again and I became stressed about it. So a little word of advice from you would be greatly appreciated. I’m not looking to lose 10 pounds in a week, but want it to be slowly but consistently.

Thank you so much for time, Rusty.

Kind regards,

admin March 16, 2008 at 11:08 pm


Nothing wrong with wide shoulders, it sounds genetic so don’t stress out. Great job so far…2 pounds in a week is great progress.


Give it two more weeks before adjusting. I just think you may need to get carb depleted a bit further and then you will begin to see some progress. Hang in there!


Sandy March 17, 2008 at 12:21 am

I guess i see them as wide! Other people say they are normal sized!!! Im my own worst critic! Im working on my self-image though.

jason March 17, 2008 at 1:36 am

If i wanted to keep my chest the same size but wanted to increase my strength on my bench press without getting any bigger i know to do reps in the 1-5 range but how many sets should i be doing?


admin March 17, 2008 at 10:26 am


I like to keep it under 20-25 reps total per exercise done in sets of 3-5 reps. You could do 6-7 sets of 3 reps. If a couple of the sets had 5 reps, then do just 5 sets, etc. Just pick two exercises for your chest and stick to this rep range and you will get stronger without increasing in size.

The typical bodybuilding workout for chest is:
12 reps + 10 reps + 8 reps + 6 reps + 15 reps = 51 reps

This is done for 3-4 exercises, which means that 150-200 reps are done per body part. You will want to stick to 40-50 reps per body part if you don’t want to worry about a size increase. You probably could do a bit more, since you aren’t lifting to failure and the reps are low. Feel free to experiment with this a bit.


jason March 18, 2008 at 1:11 am

That is sooo much help rusty thanks heaps this is a fantastic site, just one other thing should i be training my traps? I see bodybuilders with masssive traps but i definetly dont want to look like that, then i see people like will smith in ‘i am legend’ and other actors with great bodies even the silver surfer, do these people train their traps, becaue to me it looks like it’s the only bodypart they dont train. And when they have nice rounded broad shoulders it looks heaps better with smaller traps. What do you think i should do?

admin March 18, 2008 at 2:39 am


I should start a Banned Exercise List. Shrugs would be on there for sure, so would decline bench presses (develops lower pecs and makes chest look droopy), also Military Presses Behind the Neck (a shoulder injury is certain with these), and many others.

Your traps get stimulated indirectly from all shoulder presses, lateral raises, and just about every back exercise. They develop quickly, so they don’t need any direct work. Big shoulders with average sized traps create a square shoulder look. Big traps make the shoulders look narrow, gives you the no-neck look, and makes shirts sit in your shoulders in an awkward way.

Hope that helps,


jason March 18, 2008 at 3:57 am

Oh i’m soo glad you said that rusty. I have realised with people who have big traps and no neck, when wearing shirts their neck to their shoulders look like a straight line and both sides form an upside down V, whereas people who have average size traps have a more defined shoulder area where the shirt comes down over the traps and then back out to the sides over the shoulders. This looks heaps better in t shirts. if you know what i mean.

Soo helpful, thanks alot

admin March 18, 2008 at 2:09 pm


I’m really not someone who wears tank tops a lot, but guys with big traps look retarded in tank tops. They look bad in dress shirts as well…the collar gets forced up in the back. Avoid the big trap thing…women can’t stand this look.


John March 19, 2008 at 11:49 am

Rusty, you seem to say that in order to burn fat that one must be carb depleted…but i notice that when someone is depleted of carbs the ability to perform interval xcercise at a high level diminises…people just bonk, hit the wall, etc…
without carbs how is it possible to excercise intensivley enough to induce fat loss? and if inducing fat loss is fastest through diet, why do any cardio at all when u could just cut cals and do weights?
also, do you think the muscle loss and slowing metabolism thing people talk about when following low cal diets is an overhyped thing?

admin March 19, 2008 at 6:53 pm


It makes sense that people would hit the wall when carb depleted, but I have found that I lot of people do better in this state. I never knew why this was the case, until I read something really interesting that Ori Hofmekler wrote.

“During the day the sympathetic nervous system is supposed to dominate. It is the part of your nervous system that regulates your flight fight mechanism. That is the part that you want to activate during the day and anytime that you eat a meal you de-activate this system. You activate another system called the parasympathetic nervous system. This system regulates digestion and elimination.”

This is another reason to avoid eating before working out. I always perform my best going into my workouts in a fasted state. If I’m exrtemely carb depleted, It is slightly tougher…but not that much different.

I think if you get the calories way too low over a long period of time, then you can lose muscle mass…but I do think it is way exaggerated. I like cardio mainly because I like to eat tasty foods, drink beer, etc. I am not the strictest dieter in the world. I also like cardio because it helps me sweat out subcutaneous water under the skin. After three days of not doing cardio I don’t look as sharp.

The slowing metabolism thing does happen, but it never slows down so much to stop fat loss. What Lyle McDonald has said is that if somebody dropped their calories by 30%…it is possible their metabolism would slow down 20%. These aren’t exact numbers or anything, but what he is saying is that the metabolism never slows down to meet the calorie deficit. In other words, weight loss may slow, but never come to a stop.

Great Questions as Always,


john March 20, 2008 at 9:55 am

Thanks for all the info man…good stuff

Baz March 21, 2008 at 5:33 am

Rusty, my question is a follow on to the previous question but, you say to perform cardio in a carb depleted state increases your fat burning furnace, however, i do alot of research on fitness(a lot of the time from this site) and i also receive advice from 2 fitness experts you may know them Vince Delmonte and Jeff Anderson. i understand that While performing cardio in a fasted state may indeed increase the amount of calories that are burned from fat stores, it will also increase amino acid oxidation. Cardiovascular
exercise while in a fasted state is a great way to increase cortisol release. Cortisol
will liberate amino acids to produce glucose (glucose cannot be synthesized from fats) and can lead to muscle loss. I believe that muscle burns more fat at rest you you would in the gym, so while i may not be burning as much fat in the gym i will be burningt more fat when i leave the gym and am resting. I have a reasonably fast metabolism therefore, i cannot afford to lose any muscle while training in a carb depleted state. can you shed any light on this for me please?

PS- Keep up the amazing posts, this is the only site where i can get inbfo on toics i have always wondered and nobody else answers becasue they’re too busy trying to get massive rather than sexy.

admin March 21, 2008 at 11:57 pm


Great point about doing cardio in a carb depleted state and fasted state. The subsequent HGH release and increased absorption of nutrients after the tough cardio workout more than makeup for any negative effects. If you are a hardgainer and want to insure that there is zero muscle loss, simply ingest a quick digesting protein shake right after working out…then eat a full meal one hour later.

I’ve done a post on building muscle to burn fat, but I’m going to do a better written…more in-depth post soon. I am not as enthusiastic about this principle as many other trainers.

Thanks for the compliments. I’m glad you enjoy the site!


corey March 22, 2008 at 10:18 pm

i have been stuck with this same problem for years, whether it be on a varsity sports team or teaching spinning and strength training 3x a week or doing bikram yoga….i cannot seem to lose fat around my core!!!! all my measurements (hips, bust) indicate i should be a size 6..but I am an 8 and it is all body fat in the middle..i have tried a million different ways of eating and fitness variation and i am lost and confused..please help!!!!!

Brad March 22, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Okay, I had to write you about what I witnessed in the gym tonight. It was exactly what you’ve talked about many times! I was in the midst of a very challenging circuit training workout which I eventually followed up with some intense HIIT on the treadmill. I was completely drenched before I even stepped on the treadmill!
Anyways like I was saying, I’m in the middle of my circuit workout, really pushing myself, and there is these 3 guys who are just standing around talking for about 20 minutes or so, not getting anything accomplished. Two of the guys looked like they were new to the gym, they were “skinny fat”. No muscle tone or build to them, just normal looking guys who are way out of shape and probably haven’t worked out for years. Anyways, nothing wrong with that, I think its great that they are starting up a workout routine which they hopefully stick to, if nothing else to at least improve there health. I think it’s great they were there!
The problem is, the guy they were chatting with forever was this huge looking guy with oversized, cheesy bodybuilding like muscle and a whole bunch of fat covering his body. He had a cut off shirt on and you could tell he looks terrible with his shirt off. He also was one of those guys that smelled when you walked by, I hate that! Anyways, I caught wind of there conversation I was doing one of my exercises and I heard this huge guy telling them how to eat and workout to get “huge”. It was so stupid, and these guys were eating up every word of it. I even heard one of the guys say to his girlfriend who came over to talk with him…..he told his girl that he was trying to figure out how to look like THAT GUY as he pointed to the huge guy who was then in the middle of V-bar pulldowns with absolutely the worst form you can imagine!
Dude it was hilarious, and really kind of sad at the same time. I felt bad for the guys taking this terrible advice from this “bodybuilding clown”.
Also, I’m by no means stuck on myself, even though I’m getting in great shape I make it a priority to be humble, I”m definitely no better then the next guy when it comes to anything so please don’t think I’m being arrogant……..but is the truth, this guys girlfriend was looking at me almost every chance she could and definitely not the oversized big dude.
My point is, it’s definitely more attractive to women to be fit and toned with a decent amount of muscle size. So you are definitely right on track with your approach to working out, being healthy, and being more attractive to the opposite sex. Thanks a million for this site. I know this was one long story but I figured you’d think it was funny, and a bit sad at the same time! Take care man!

admin March 23, 2008 at 4:19 pm


This is why it is important to train intensely. It will release HGH, which targets stubborn body fat on the body. Strict dieting and moderate cardio will burn body fat, but you will never get rid of that stubborn fat until you do intense training like circuit training or high intensity interval training.


Yep…the young guys were impressed with the big bulky guy and the girl was impressed by the attractive guy (you). It is tough to “know the score”!

Have a great one!


Jeannie April 10, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Hey Rusty!

First off, your site is great; I can easily spend hours reading one article after another. Keep it up please and thank you!:)

My question is this (mainly for clarification): You are basically saying that when you first start working out and losing fat as a result, you would look a bit flabbier. I get that. The part I’m foggy on is do you just keep at it in terms of both eating right and exercising and the fat will soon melt off?

I’ve always been pretty slender, however I’ve had some extra baggage on the midsection, as we all have, and I lost a lot of it over the summer of 2007. This is the result of dieting and exercising (cheerleading and swimming). In February I started to eat really healthy and run and saw amazing results (I slacked off a bit after cheerleading ended and I got the flu, etc.), especially in my stomach (the front part mainly; love handles are so stubborn and never went completely away! I’m working towards that though.) My arms and legs have never been a real problem as much as my midsection has to me. I just started jumping rope (literally on Sunday) instead of running and am already seeing results in my arms and legs as they are getting more muscular! However I observed that my stomach isn’t as toned as it was when i started. So this is the result you were talking about in your article? So what now? Do I just keep at it with what I’m doing now and not change anything or should I change something and if so, what should I be changing?

Here’s what I do (planning to do this at least five days per week):

– Jump rope for approx. 20-25 minutes (in intervals, no real set times just quick breaks for walking or a little jog around the room)
– Strength training with my body as resistance (crunches, bicycles, planks, modified pushups, squats, thigh raises) elapsed time being about 15-20 minutes
– Wrapping it up with a nice thorough stretch

Afterwards I would eat something light like an apple with vanilla yogurt or something like that, or go and a have a nice filling dinner to hit the spot.

Sorry for the long post; thank you so much for your time!!! It means a lot because I love the results I’m getting. Again keep up the good work!:)


admin April 11, 2008 at 2:13 am


Yep…just keep doing what you are doing and your abs will look great. Your muscles are flattening out a bit because you are doing a kick butt workout…that is why your abs appear worse off.

One question…are your calves sore? I couldn’t walk for 3-4 days after my first jump rope session. You probably did better since you are a cheerleader and are used to jumping around. I was toast!


Jeannie April 11, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Okay thank you! If results like these are taking place this soon then it’s exciting to think about the future.

I jump roped (there was a debate on how to say that:P) for 40, well, 38 minutes today and I’m really sore in my thighs and butt already. But my calves have never given me that much of a problem; however since I worked out for so much longer and harder today they’re on the achy side. The only places that were sore the first time were my lower LOWER abs, my ankle (I was jumping on one leg and my knee [both are in horrendous condition] almost gave out; my ankle took the toll) and the arches in my feet. But other than that I’m fine!

I apologize but I have another question. Since I worked out for the amount of time I did today (this will go for any other workout day from now on, too) does that mean I can eat whatever I want afterwards since I burned so many calories? Today I went to Applebee’s and had half of their mac ‘n cheese bowl (there wasn’t as much as their usual bowls), french onion soup and a chocolate mousse shooter. At the moment I’m a bit fuller-looking but I think that’s just because my muscles aren’t as flattened out as they were when I finished working out today.

Thank you so much, Rusty, your articles are a huge help and I really appreciate your time. I’m sorry I tend to ramble on about things (as you could probably tell already haha) but it means a lot to me that you’re answering my questions and everyone else’s questions for that matter. You’re so generous to do something like this, I can’t thank you enough! Hope to hear back from you soon!


Jeannie April 11, 2008 at 7:52 pm

(Sorry) And by the way I’m planning to spend longer amounts of time jumping because I do it in the HIIT you talk about. Not for set times though. I would just take a little break, usually when I miss a jump or if I’m on a roll I take a break after a nice burn has been taking place for a while. So I’m planning to do more 40-minute sessions, instead of 20-30, and working upward when I get better, adding in running and cycling when the summer comes around in addition to the strength training.

Okay, I’m finished now, I promise. I won’t talk again until I hear from you haha. Thanks again! Your time means so much to me and everyone else you’re communicating with.

πŸ™‚ Jeannie

admin April 13, 2008 at 2:22 am


You can get away with eating more after working out, but most of the time you want to eat healthy…you will get quicker results that way. When you are trying to lose that last little bit of fat, you will want to string many days of clean eating in a row…this is what is going to really help you lose that last little bit.

As far as jumping rope goes…it seems to reveal weak points. It is a great exercise. I’m actually very inspired by you…I need to kick it up a notch before summer hits and reading your effort really gets me pumped up to hit the gym.


Jeannie April 13, 2008 at 9:23 am

Okay, I’ll keep that in mind.

Aww thank you Rusty! That means a lot, I’m glad I could be of some help to you as you were such a help and inspiration to me.

Best of luck and wishes. Thanks again as always.


3ller June 15, 2008 at 10:59 am

hey Rusty, is the fat in the love handles harder to burn off than in the midsection cause i have most of fat in there. i do HIIT traing and stady state cardio 5 days a week. i have 30 pounds to lose. i’m still a teen so i’ll have that faster metabolism going for me. oh, and i am on warrior diet
how long do you think will it take for me to loose those pounds?

ps: i’m sai…. decided to use this name since i accidentally thought it up

admin June 16, 2008 at 2:32 am


The fat around the love handle area isn’t harder to burn it is just the last to go in your particular case.

At your age and with your drive you could easily lose 30 pounds in 10 weeks (maybe quicker). Most people only lose 2 pounds per week, but I could see you safely losing 3.

The HIIT and steady state cardio combo will do the trick for sure and 5 days a week is perfect. You know what you are doing!

Keep me updated!


3ller June 16, 2008 at 3:57 am

Man you’re quick in answering our questions.

Thanks for the confidence. this’ll really motivate me even more.

BTW, really cool theme for the website

I’ll keep you posted 4 sure

Mokwls July 28, 2008 at 9:08 am


What is your specific advise for someone very overweight. Should we just do steady state cardio w/o HIIT for a while? Also, should we do the weight routine you suggest? Thanks much for you info. πŸ™‚


dlove August 28, 2008 at 6:33 am

Rusty I need Help,
I’m getting discouraged …I know you said u may start looking flabbier and fatter before you see any results ……. I’ve been doing tons of cardio, moderate weight lifting 5 to 6 days a week and eating extremely healthy. At 1st I felt a difference but know I’m looking bulky in some areas, also by being heavy chested, I had extra fat on my back and obliques so I’ve been doing weight lifting techniques and my back looks extrmemly fatter/bulkier and un proportioned. How can I reverse this look …… do I need to stop the weight lifting and just do cardio? I’m only 5’1 and 135 to 140, I wasn’t fat but flabby in areas from a prior weight loss….just wanted to tone up get difined muscles but I feel like I’m going in the wrong direction….. any suggestions?

Mitch September 12, 2008 at 4:48 am


First of all, I would like to say that i think your website is awesome. I have been for hours now and I am very impressed. But, the main reason why I am writing is that I need help. I have always been on the fit side but I also struggle with weight (fat) gain. I was in the army, but I had injured and spent some time in a wheelchair. Nevertheless, I gained a lot of body fat. And right now I am trying to get back into the Army, but I have to make the body fat requirements, which means I have to make midsection smaller by about 6 inches in 20 days (from 44.5in to 38.5) in order to meet a deadline. I have lost about 3 inches around my waist in a week while I was in Iraq, so I think it can be done. But lately I have been dieting like crazy, exercising, and taking hydroxycut hardcore and noticed that I am losing weight and looking flatter, but fatter, which your article explained. However I have not lost any inches around my midsection. I don’t care about losing lbs, but inches in that one area. I am fully committed to your ideals and approach to fitness, but right now I need to make that deadline in 20 days. I am tempted to just starve for 20 days. Is there any advice that you can give me? Am I being unrealistic? I am grateful for any help. Thanks.

– mitch

p.s. Your website rocks

Ariel January 24, 2009 at 2:05 am


I began weight lifting to try and tone up and found that I was gaining muscle and tone but the flab I had around my stomach and love handle area never really went away….so I started running hard and dieting and I lost A LOT of the muscle I gained…what’s scary is that the flab on my stomach and my love handles look HUGE now compared to the rest of me, which looks like its shrinking…from reading this article above I guess I should continue until the fat begins to come off? I hope I’m not messing up my body by doing what I’m doing…I eat regularly, I’m not starving, but I’m concerned by my flabby state…my skin feels really watery and jiggly…its kinda gross…and before when I was lifting I was harder and less jiggly… any advice would be greatly appreciated!! I am 5ft 8 in and weight about 130lbs…seems low but I do have flab…

myra February 9, 2009 at 10:10 am

i just want to say thanks for all your advice on these bloggs it really helps …. especially when 95% of the staff at my gym are well over weight! i dont bother asking them anything as i feel they aren’t promoting the service or themselves isn’t that sad
.. i have lost from 88.9kg to 70.4kg following your different plans, and im looking alot trimmer now and more toned although i still want to lose to 63kg im just doing the “never fails” plan of eating a balanced healthy diet and fewer cals.
i have advice for all the girls out there… you may like your cake or chocs etc but do you like it enough to wear it on your hips????????? i ask this to myself when im tempted. i also have a rule of treating once a wk this really works as you dont feel like your missing out! but be careful not to overload that day you wont like how you feel next day..! my husband doesn’t help much as he isn’t in to the whole fitness thing he eats like crap too, but it will not stop me getting to my goal i feel so much more energised. thanks again rusty you look amazing and know your stuff xx

Steph February 12, 2009 at 9:42 am

Hey Rusty, I’m 5’4” and female. I’m aiming to lose maybe 20 pounds in the next 3 months. I eat 2 pieces of fruit or vegetable during the day, and my biggest meal is dinner which I try to keep below 500 calories. I do the HIIT program for 15-20 minutes a day, at least 3 times a week, and try to manage weight training 2-3 times a week. Weekends I tend to eat normally though. Do you think I can manage the 20 pounds by then?

Kristy Wallace March 22, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Hi Rusty, I have an anti-eating disorder group on myspace with about 655 members. I have suffered from bulimia for many years, and like many celebrities I have controlled my weight for many years by doing it. I know that there are those that are truly doing it right with personal trainers, but some are doing it with eating disorders as well. I am 5’7 and weigh 112 lbs. I have a nice body but inside I am miserable because of this horrible addiction. Im not afraid to speak out about it, but I can’t stop. I have tried everything but I get weak and cant stick to it, I only wish I could have a live in personal trainer to show me what to eat and what to work out, and to keep me accountable! Any advice for me?

David July 8, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I am going to be vacating for much of the remainder of this summer and I am unsure of what to do:

Keep dieting,

or eat more food and stop dieting so I will retain muscle mass.

While I am on vacation, I will be unable to workout, but I have been dieting for about a month now, so I have yet to see results..

What is your opinion on this, Rusty?

Robin H May 25, 2010 at 9:31 am

hi rusty,
in a response to Shailja’s post, you stated:

5’3″…your ideal weight: 110-125 depending upon your frame

can you share how you came up with that range? do you have a table that would show what a woman’s ideal weight range should be, as opposed to the “healthy” range, according to medical standards which just means you’re not obese or dangerously thin. also, do you think there is an ideal body fat percentage for women? would love to hear your thoughts about this!

Spencer February 10, 2011 at 8:23 pm

I always assumed this effect was due to the fat being broken up since it’s being used by the body. I assumed that the skin takes longer to catch up (shrink) after the fat is gone. Whenever I’m about to loose weight I feel fat and flabby, whenever I am about to gain weight, I feel normal really.

Kristin May 26, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Excellent post! I always wondered what this effect was, because I always noticed it before I look leaned out. It takes discipline to stick with it for a month but it’s amazing once you cross over that point!

sonja August 9, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I am 52 years, 5’4″ weight 156lbs and I am trying to lose 3″ of bf by October 22. I do 40 mins cardio on Tuesdays, and Thursday, Friday and Saturday intensive weight training. My diet on mornings, I eat 2whole eggs and 1 egg white with 1/2 cup of oats. by 10.00 a protein shake with 1/2 cup of fruit, lunch time when training, I have veg, salmon 1/2 sweet potato. I train by 3.30 pm. After training I will have light protein shake. Dinner I will have baked skinless chicken and veg. Before bed I may have 1/2 cup of cottage cheese. I have just started my regime. Will I lose the 3″. Please help, you seem to know what you are abourt.

Nancy November 4, 2011 at 11:37 am

I have lost 12pnds in 3weeks & im very happy for that πŸ™‚ But yet theres no difference in my body yet people & I still dont notice any change in my body & that worries me but this article kinda explains it but hope I keep loosing the weight & soon would start to notice it in my body.

safiya November 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I’ve been doing interval training and cardio for the last few months, 4 times a week. I notice that if I am not active for more than two days in a row, I start feeling extremely flabby, like the muscle weight I’ve gained has all become fat again. Is there a reason for this?

Asha Barns November 27, 2011 at 3:27 am

I know I’m a little behind the 8 ball here, like 3 years behind, but just wanted to thank you for your article, I’ve been slowly building up my cardio over 2 weeks from 30 mins – 100mins and gained a kilo.. no loss at all, and my stomach is so bloated, and my legs looks so much worse than when I started (at 67kg trying to get down to 57kg, Im female, 5’7, 20 years old) You have restored my faith in exercise and I will keep at it now! Thank you so much!!!!

Glory Tom December 6, 2011 at 7:18 am

my weight is 105 kg and i am five feet tall, i have been doing fitness exercise for the past three month and my weight is still the same. please advice me on what to do because i really need to loose 15kg weight.

can i feed on vegetables and fruit only while i am pregnant?

Glory Tom

Tiffany January 17, 2012 at 12:12 am

29 yrs old 130weight use to be an athlete. now not so much anymore after i had a spinal surgery. i only surf but thats the work out i get to these days. working monday-saturday doesn’t give me a lot of time for it. im trying the tabata protocol exercise but all i have been feeling is bloated and weight has plateaued. I don’t feel healthly at all and most of my friends are telling me i have been looking flabby. this is not good. my diet has been fruits and vegetables during the week with cheat days in between. what’s wrong?

Bria June 20, 2012 at 3:26 am

hey im on a calorie diet and i lost 18 p
ounds but it seems like in the beginning of my weight loss i looked a whole lot smaller but noe when i look
In the mirrior my stomach looks bigger for some reason

Rizz June 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Hi Rusty,

I like your article, it explains a lot of what I can expect while I am on Day 3 of carb-depletion. I am 27, female, 110lbs. I am pretty toned in my legs and arms but my tummy can use some weight loss. I’d like to have a flat stomach not really ripped.

Is it safe to go on a carb depletion diet for a week (20g or less) and then gradually work my way up to a maintenance diet. Along with cardio 30 min a day (4 – 5 times a week). But I don’t know if this is beneficial, will work, or if I need to do some other type of exercises for a flatter belly.


Namii June 28, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Hi Rusty! I have a quick question:
How… Intense should you jog or run to REALLY start to lose that jiggle. I am almost 17 so im young and i look “skinny fat” as someone here said. I noticed that when i jump up and down or when i walk aster, my fat on my tummy, thighs, arms, even FACE jiggle so much!! I have been exercising and eating very well for about a month and its scary!! When will this skinny fat phase be over with? And may i mention, i dance and seeing my whole body jiggle is very VERY unnattractive xD

Heather July 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I am thrilled to read your comments, Rusty. You are down to earth, and understand the exaggerations and myths related to exercise and weight loss. As a weight loss dietician, it is a breath of fresh air! Keep up the good advice!

Leti July 18, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Im a overweight person who started working out 3 weeks ago and it looks like I enactually gained weight but when I step on the scale it says I’ve lost 15. Is this normal

Erick July 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Hello, I been working out for two months. For breakfast I eat something really small (ceral or piece of sweet bread or fruits). Lunch (I eat veggies with food like a burger or sandwich etc). Dinner (something really small) but sometimes I eat good when I go out with some friends. I lift weights, bench press, curl ups three times a week. I try to do cardio everyday. But for some reason I see myself fat especially my face and neck but I see a differerance on my stomach. I also realized I gained strength and muscle but I don’t see any difference on my face. I want know if you could please tell me if I’m doing something wrong. Thank you for your time.


ray July 19, 2012 at 9:52 am

how do i get rid of the fat that is under my arm pit area between my lats and chest

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