Votes Are In – Best Fat Loss Moves

The votes are in! Here are the best fat loss moves voted by me! Okay maybe it’s not very democratic, but seriously these are the best of the best. Check it out!

Best Butt Exercise – Single Leg, Single Arm Deadlift
They are a great way to target the hamstrings and the butt, with the added bonus of your obliques, lower back and calves. Plus it also works your balance!

At the gym these have the nickname “salsa deadlifts” because of the way we abbreviate it on our workout board (SL SA Deadlifts). Next time your at the gym, grab a dumbbell and try it out.

Tip: Don’t forget to use the hand that is opposite of the foot that is on the ground.

Best Fat Loss Diet – Carb Cycling
If there is one diet that has produced some amazing results for my clients it’s carb cycling. Your probably wondering what the heck is carb cycling? If you have ever done any kind of low carb diet you probably have already done carb cycling.

I’ve written a few posts on carb cycling. For more info check out these posts:
Carb Cycling for Awesome Weight Loss Results
Carb Cycling Sample Menu

Best Fat Loss Workout – High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This workout technique hides under a bunch of different names from metabolic conditioning to circuit training. Our joefitness bootcamps are entirely designed around HIIT. The best part about HIIT is the amount of time it takes to complete a workout. It’s very short. As little of 20 minutes of a HIIT workout can be effective.

The reason why HIIT is so good is because of the effect it has on the body after the workout. Your body goes into a high state of EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) which is a fancy way of saying your body has to crank up your metabolism to recover from the workout. This results into some awesome fat loss results!

Best Fat Loss Blog Post – 25 Fat Loss Tips
This is by far one of my most popular posts on my blog. For good reason too, it is full of just simple and solid fitness tips that you need to follow!

Check it out: 25 Fat Loss Tips

Best Workout Resource – 4 Hour Body
I’ll admit it appears to be a hefty read, but the information in it is fantastic. Tim Ferris put together a gem of a healthy living book. From the self-experiments to his slow carb diet, there is plenty of information that anyone can take from this book.

Tim has another book coming out on November 20th called the 4 Hour Chef. Don’t let the title fool you, while the book is focused on becoming a fantastic Chef, he is also covering his way of learning to become awesome at anything in a short amount of time. I have it pre-ordered and I plan on doing a full review post when I get it!

Best Fat Loss Lunch – Salads
If you read my blog, this one might be no surprise to you. Salads are a great way to get some solid nutrition without the impact of calories. A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how you can spice up your salads with ingredients you probably didn’t think of.

Check it out: The Art of The Salad

There you have it, the best of the fat loss moves. Maybe I didn’t cover anything, but I really thing these are some of the best things in the weight loss world. I hope you have a great Election Day!

Fat Burning Zones, Skipping Breakfast, and Workout Shoes – Ask Joe

Here is another edition of Ask Joe!

I have a hard time working out in my heart rate monitors “fat burning zone”, is it really that important?

It is true your body uses fat as an energy source at a range of exercise intensities. For my fellow exercise nerds out there this maximal “fat burn zone” is usually between 60 – 80% of your max heart rate.

However, it’s been a bit twisted and skewed by the makers of exercise heart rate monitors and cardio machines to make you believe that this “fat burning zone” is more beneficial than it really is. The truth is you burn way more calories at a higher intensity. At the end of the day, the goal is to burn more calories which creates a calorie deficit. This calorie deficit will require your body to burn fat. Also, more and more evidence shows that high intensity intervals have a lasting fat loss effect on the body because of the recovery period after you workout. You don’t get that with lower intensity exercise.

The devils advocate: If you throw out the idea of fat loss, exercising in these heart rate zones is greatly beneficial for your body. So for the sake of your body, working out at these heart rate levels is great!

As scientific as all this sounds, it doesn’t escape the fact that you will get fat loss results with consistently working out and eating right. Nothing one period of exercising in a “fat loss zone” will produce. So instead of worrying about staying in a heart rate zone, just focus on getting a good quality workout.

Is skipping breakfast that bad for you?

No. It’s not the end of the world. Your metabolism will not magically shut down and make you fatter. However, it’s more of an energy and habitual thing. Most people have a peak energy demand in late-morning to mid-afternoon. It’s this time of day is what your breakfast fuels and thus making breakfast important. I have also found that those who skip breakfast tend to binge during the day.

If you find yourself not hungry in the morning, you might be eating to much before you go to bed. So try to lighten up the late night eating. Also, if you are way to busy to get in breakfast in the morning, either wake up earlier or prepare an easy to go breakfast the night before. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a yogurt or a smoothie to go.

What kind of shoes do I need for the gym?

Everyone’s foot is a little different, so I encourage you to go to a shoe store and get fitted for a shoe for you. The last thing you want is to wear a shoe that doesn’t fit properly and can cause an injury.

If you are just generally working out, a cross-training shoe will be good. If you more of a runner, then you might want to lean towards running shoes. Minimalistic shoes are in right now. I own a pair and I love them. The only problem I have with them is that they offer zero cushioning and zero stability.

I heard great things about these local shoe stores:
-Beyond Running
-Fargo Running Company
-Tradehome Shoes (West Acres)

A good shoe is important to keep yourself injury free, so do be afraid to spend a little to get yourself a quality shoe. Not all shoes are created equal, so those great looking shoes you saw in the window just might not be the right shoe for you. So take some time picking your shoe, your feet will thank you!

What it takes to lose 170 pounds – Behind the scenes

If you think losing 10 pounds is hard, try losing over 170 pounds! I’m not going to say my client Steph did it with ease. She did the work and she got rewarded with an amazing new body. Her story is inspiring.

Her amazing story is in today’s paper. Check out her story in The Forum:

Steph is a trainer’s dream. She’s dedicated to her change. She works hard as hell. She does more than what I ask of her. And the best part, she NEVER says she can’t.

So what does it take to lose all that weight? One word. Momentum. Steph will tell you it wasn’t easy to lose all the weight, being consistent with her workouts and diet is what got her where she is now. She had ups and downs. There were times she didn’t hit every goal, but she was consistent and relentless. She kept moving forward.

Steph’s workouts didn’t start out super intense. She just started. She just got moving. Sure she was self-conscience, but she was committed to learning how to exercise, working hard in her workouts, and making every day count.

Steph’s diet was and is still mostly low carb. She will admit she allows herself to cheat her and there, but the low carb lifestyle she adopted allows her to enjoy the “not so good for you” meals. Like I said before, it was her commitment and momentum that made her drop into single digit dress sizes.

Check out Steph in action here:

If you want results like Steph. You need to take action. Just get moving. Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask for help!

I am super proud of Steph and all the hard work she has done to get where she is at today. She truly is inspiring. Great job Steph!

Holiday Fat Loss Plan – The Fat Loss Action Grid

Here we are! Day one of November! Can you believe it? The past two days we’ve been talking about how we are going to rock these next two month and keep you looking and feeling awesome! If you haven’t had a chance to go back and read those, you should!

Busy schedules make it really easy to get lost in the holiday madness. You can easily lose track of those hard earned results you’ve been working for. To make things easy, I put together this handy Action Grid for you. It’s really simple to use, when you complete a task (i.e. drink water) cross it out on the corresponding day. At the end of the week add up all the items you crossed out and give yourself a score. For each task you should shoot for at least an 85%.

Easy peasy, right?! Look, eating healthy is hard enough with a busy schedule. With this easy little chart, all you have to do is cross off your goal for the day and move on. No journaling. No entering calories into an app. Just one simple little mark on a piece of paper. The best part, I know you are well on your way to master a new healthy habit when you can score at least a 85% on a goal for three weeks in a row.

A couple things to remember is that it’s our goal to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Exercising can be anything that get’s you moving and active. So if you don’t have time to get to the gym, but you have time to go for a 30 minute walk, go for it! The one thing I do want to see is at least three times a week you do strength training. This can be a workout at the gym, a group exercise class, a workout DVD at home, or 3o minutes of bodyweight exercises in the office.

Here’s the download link so you can print off your own and start tracking your goals! Download here:

If you keep up these simple goals over the next two months, you are going to look amazing in those holiday pictures! So get tracking, take action, and get results!

Holiday Fat Loss Action Plan – Your Diet Strategy

Yesterday we talked about how we are going to keep you in awesome shape over the busy holidays. Now today we need to talk about a handful of diet strategies to keep that body rocking during the holidays.

To start your day off, your breakfasts are going to be simple and a bit heavy on the carbs. You heard me carbs. Look, your days are going to be busy and it’s important to keep your energy ramped up at least into the afternoons.

I’ll give you a few options for breakfast. You can’t lose with starting your busy day off with yogurt. I prefer greek yogurt, but if you don’t like the texture you can go with the regular stuff. If we really want to be diet rockstars let’s buy the good ole plain yogurt and add fruit to it. Better yet, let’s buy the big containers and divvy them up in to single servings this way you have a ready-to-go breakfast. Okay I get it, if yogurt isn’t your style and you would rather have eggs and toast. I say go for it. If you have a time crunch in the morning, you can cook a big batch of scrambled eggs and reheat them in the morning.

To be honest, I’m not all that worried about your breakfast if you can keep the rest of the day under control. So if you are more of a bagel on the go person, I have no problem with that. If you find yourself in a pickle for a mid-morning snack. Go for a handful of fruit or nuts. Be careful here, this is where you might be tempted to go for a sugar fix.

By now you should know I prefer your lunches should be salads. It might get boring, but the name of the game over the next few months is to keep your waist line where it’s at. Make sure your salads contain plenty of protein because that is the last thing we want to miss out on when we are running around. Make your salads in batches and have them ready to go so that you aren’t scrambling in the morning. Your preparation is going to be a critical part of this process.

Supper. I have a rule. No eating after 6:30. We need to keep the fat loss kicking in high gear and one way we can control that is to cut off your calories early in the evening. Your suppers should be low in carbs. So no fruit or bread. Veggies are ok, but let’s stick the the green leafys and avoid the starches like potatoes, carrots, and corn.

Now I know you might not like the no eating after 6:30 idea, but you need to suck it up. Breakfast is just a sleep away so try to keep that hunger monster in the closet until we can defuse it with breakfast in the morning.

We haven’t talked about what you should be drinking yet. Black coffee isn’t bad, just don’t go crazy with it. One diet soda will not throw you off your diet game, so if you are feeling a need of a bit of fizz fix in the afternoon you’ll be okay. Ultimately tea will do you good. It’s got the caffeine to keep you buzzing and it’s better than diet soda. Most importantly, drink plenty of water.

Alright, let’s rock these two months! Tomorrow is day one of the 60 day holiday blitz. I’ll be here keeping you motivated so you just need to stay focused and I know you can do it!

Holiday Fat Loss Action Plan – The Pep Talk

Here we are again. November and December. Over the next two months you have family events, holiday parties, Christmas shopping, turkey cooking, present wrapping, light hanging, and carol singing. You will be busy. Without a doubt, you will get easily distracted from your goals.

We need to talk about what we need to do to make sure that you are that you keep your body in the shape that you have worked so hard all year for.

You are FOCUSED.

Everyday you will move for at least 30 minutes. By move I mean exercise. It doesn’t have to be at the gym but it needs to be focused exercise. It can be a walk outside. It can be a quick walk around the mall during your lunch hour. Just move. At least three times a week you need spend on strength training. Working those muscles will relieve all that stress that builds up. You will exercise. No matter how busy you are, you will take time to exercise.

Your days are going to be long and stressful and when you go home at night despite all the craze you will not get sucked into the temptation of eating a quick unhealthy meal. Every day you will eat your greens from the salads you have prepared ahead of time. You will feel amazing from the energy you get from eating healthy and clean.

Once a week you will take time to focus on you. This is the moment where you can regain your composure, adjust your calendar, prepare your healthy meals for the week. It sounds silly, but for ten minutes you will sit in silence and meditate. It might be in your car, at home in the morning before the kids wake up, or at the office with the door closed. Meditate and regain your focus. Trust me on this one. It helps.

Your confidence will be glowing because you know you can handle anything that the hectic holidays will throw at you. Not to mention, you will look amazing at all the holiday parties because you have been focused on yourself over the past few months. When January comes around and everyone else is starting on their fitness goals, you will be way ahead of them because you never quit. You didn’t let anything get in your way.

You are relentless. You are driven. You are focused. The next 60 days are yours to handle with ease.

The Art Of The Salad

If there is one staple of a rocking fat loss diet it’s the salad. Salads are an awesome way to inject some solid nutrition into your diet without all those unwanted calories.

However, I know the daily salad routine can get pretty blah if you are eating the same salad over and over. So I decided to put this post together to help you spark a few ideas on how to spice up your daily greens.

I usually put my salads together in three parts, green leafy, proteins, and the extras. I love my spinach so I usually use spinach for my green leafy but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use just good old iceberg lettuce or romaine. For my protein, I tend to lean towards tuna because it’s cheap and easy. You can also use chicken breast, hard boiled eggs, and if I’m feeling extra special I will throw in salmon. The extras are my favorite part. I love broccoli. Yes you heard me, I love broccoli, and I will jam my salad full of those wonderful mini green trees. Now if you aren’t a broccoli lover, you can still put plenty of other extras like cucumbers or tomatoes. Don’t be afraid to go crazy with the extras I usually pack my salad full of extras!

Here’s an idea of what you can put in your salads:

Green Leafys
Romaine Lettuce
Iceburg Lettuce
Chicken Breast

Non-Meat Sources
Beans and Legumes
Nuts and Seeds
Black Beans
Cottage Cheese
Shredded Cheese
Olive Oil

Joe’s Ultimate Salad

Side note: Black beans are one of those things I was sure I didn’t like until I actually tried them. They are great in salads. So just because you think you don’t like something, don’t be afraid to throw it in your salad. You might be surprised what you like.

Now, this is just an idea of what you can put in your salads but certainly isn’t everything. One tip to keep your salads under control is to make them in a Tupperware container that you can easily throw into your lunch cooler. The size of the container will make your salads the perfect size for lunch and keep you from going overboard on the greens.

I’ve said before with salad dressings is to avoid the cream based dressings and go for the oil based ones. They may be a bit higher in calories, but the healthy oils contain good fat that helps your body absorb the nutrients in your bowl of green goodness.

On a final note, preparing these salads can take a little time, but you can easily make a few days worth of servings at once. At our house, we make up several days worth of salads in Tupperware containers. This makes eating healthy on busy days much easier because we can just grab our lunch and go.

Do you have a salad that you love? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Magic Diet Pills, Eating All Day, and The Best Workout Headphones – Ask Joe

Here is the next round of rapid fire Ask Joe questions!

How do you feel about diet pills?
Not a fan. Let’s pretend these pills actually do what they say they do. Losing weight is a both a physical change as well as a psychological change. You need to learn to be lean. So what happens when you go off these pills? Have you learned new habits that keep you lean and healthy? Most likely not. My advice: do the hard work, it’s worth the journey.

Do I really need to eat five times a day to lose weight?
Short answer. No. The idea of eating five times a day goes back to the theory if you eat five small meals a day you will keep your metabolism flying along thus helping you shed pounds faster. Well sounds great in theory, but for my fellow food addicts out there, eating a tiny portion of a normal meal can lead to a disastrous over eating binge. I’m not convinced that constantly demanding your body to process food every two hours is good for weight loss. Than again neither is eating three huge meals a day. At the end of the day a fat loss comes down to discipline at the plate.

Do you have any suggestions for good workout headphones?
Finally a workout gear question! Both Sony and JVC make headphones that wrap around the back of the ear. I love those. They are about $10, they sound okay, and last for at least a few months. Using headphones at the gym is hard on those little buds (get it?), so I say stick the the cheaper easier to replace ones.

Headphone gym etiquette 101: Don’t have your headphones blasting so loud so everyone in the gym can hear. Don’t sing out loud, you don’t sound like Madonna, trust me. Finally, for all the guys out there wearing the DJ over-the-ear style headphones, from all of us in the gym, please stop.

Hey! Do you have an fitness question you would like me to answer? Post it on my Facebook page at!

How Not To Hibernate From Your Goals

The days are shorter, the temperature is cooler, it’s Fall. This time of year can make it very difficult with sticking to your workout routine. October, November, and December I like to call the fitness “off-season”. Now this is no excuse to relax on your goals, just time shift your focus. Instead of slipping out of your hard earned workout habits, here are a few ideas to keep it fresh and keep moving forward.

Change Focus
This is an excellent time of year shift your focus to work more on your weaknesses. Maybe you haven’t been able to get that last rep on that chest press, or maybe you have nagging injury that needs to be fixed. Maybe you need to work on mastering your Turkish get-ups, an excellent exercise by the way. Use these few drowsy months to shift your focus and work on your weaknesses.

Let’s add some muscle
This is a great time of year to work on your strength and add some fat burning muscle. Now ladies, I’m not saying you need to pack on the pounds so you look like a bulked up NFL lineman. Just adding a pound or two of muscle will make a huge difference when you get back into the weight loss routine. So pick some heavier dumbbells, move the pin down the stack, and pump out that extra rep, because it’s time to turn up your metabolic furnace with some hard earned muscle.

Don’t stress out over your diet
Over the next two months we go through a few holidays, events, and get-togethers that tend to be gathered around food. That’s okay. Enjoy these moments. If the numbers on the scale go up a few pounds, you will be okay. Remember that you are in control and you can bounce back to the salads on Monday with no problem.

Keep workouts short
If you are finding it hard to get your workouts in maybe you should think about shortening your workouts so that they don’t such an impact on your day. Keep your workouts under 30 minutes and most of all have a plan before you go to the gym. You can waste a lot of time trying to ad lib a workout, so make sure that you have a solid plan before you even start to sweat. Most of all, try not to fall into the chit chat trap at the gym.

Try something new
You might be a little less critical about yourself this time of year, so maybe this is a great time to experiment with a new diet or workout. One diet method that I’ve been working with in the past few months is intermittent fasting. Essentially you fast (no food) for a set period of time a few times a week. It’s a controlled way to get your body into a state of fat burning while maintaining a solid a diet. So what if trying something new doesn’t work, or maybe you discover that you love a new diet, what ever you do, you will learn something.

Maybe this time of year makes you want to hibernate, but that is no reason to let you slip out of some hard earned habits. January is just around the corner and your fitness attitude will change. So with a few habit tweaks over these few grey months you can keep your momentum moving forward like a loaded freight train.

Ask Joe: TV Dinners, Workout Time, and Scales That Lie

Happy Friday everyone! Here is another round of rapid fire ask joefitness questions!

“I have been eating a lot of Healthy Choices, but they have a lot of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends them. The prices are great! What is the solution to this?”

The sodium comes from the preservatives and flavor additives that you find in Healthy Choices and other “heat and eat” meals. This can easily be fixed by making your own ready-to-go meals. Now I know it might not be as convenient, however it is by far the healthiest way. As far as taste goes, it’s by far the best tasting way too!

My go to heat and eat meal is steamed broccoli, tuna, and shredded cheese. Put frozen broccoli in a tupperware container, along with a bit of water, heat in a microwave for 2 minutes, drain, and add the tuna and cheese! Viola! I have a quick healthy meal without the additives.

“I sometimes don’t have enough time to workout so my workouts get really short, how long does my workout need to be effective?”

First off, any workout is a better than no workout. You should be getting at least 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity exercise. On top of that you should be strength training at least 2 days per week. Workouts don’t need to be marathon sessions at the gym, as long as the workouts are intense enough 30 minutes is fine. Remember, no workout routine will be as effective if it isn’t accompanied by a healthy diet!

“Hey joe! I weigh myself everyday and it seems like the scale is never consistent. Is this normal? “

The scale doesn’t always give you a good picture of what your body is actually doing. The whole process of eating to exiting(you know what I mean) takes anywhere between 12 to 24 hours. This can lead to frustration on the scale. Instead, take the focus off of the scale and measure your weight loss progress by how your clothes fit, your energy levels, or before and after pictures.

If you have an fitness question you would like me to answer, leave a comment below or send me an email at joe [at]!