The Top 2 Tips for a Totally Toned Tummy

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Real-Life Insights and Takaways

  • Being toned and fit is indicative of health, whereas being skinny is not
  • Society and the media influence our perspective of what healthy is.
  • If your goal is to look toned and fit, then you should shift your mindset and instead of focusing on skinny, focus on:
    • eating more nutrient-dense foods and protein.
    • using resistance training and strength training to help your body become toned, fit, and firm.
  • In order for protein to cause a meaningful change in your body, you will need to eat 30 grams of protein with your meal.
  • Your protein sources should be concentrated sources of protein so you are not supplying your body with unnecessary fillers.
  • Eccentric training is beneficial because it is extremely safe and controlled, so you can push yourself with little chance of injury.
  • Some basic ideas for SANE meals:
    • Breakfast:  A combination of one or two whole eggs, and then egg whites, until you have about 30 grams of protein along with a green smoothie made mostly of spinach, kale, or romaine lettuce.
    • Lunch & Dinner: Meat or fish, combined with non-starchy vegetables, and nuts or seeds of some sort.
  • Eat four to six times per day in order to fuel your body and trigger muscle protein synthesis.
  • Try to refuel your muscles with high-quality protein within 30 minutes, before or after completing your eccentric exercises.
  • Many protein bars have a significant amount of sugar and not a sufficient amount of protein.
  • Consider the intensity of your workout. When exercising eccentrically you should push yourself to an “8” or “9,” with a 9 being so intense that you may feel nauseous.

—NEXT ACTION—
Figure out a way to slowly and safely feel what it feels like to work up the intensity of your workout to a level of 8 or 9.

Reflection Questions

  • How can you tone your body so you can feel healthier?
  • Do you aim to be fit and toned or skinny?
  • What are your exercise goals?
  • What should you eat to properly refuel your body before or after a workout?
  • What kind of protein should you be eating?

SANE Soundbites

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  • 1:13 – 1:51,I think most people really want to be able to live a purpose, and live a mission, and live well. At the same time, because of our society, because of the media, because of this pressure that we have forced on ourselves to look a certain way, there are millions and millions – I don’t think it’s just girls, I know men who are wanting to be more muscular, or lose inches, or whatever – but a lot of women who waste – I’ll say waste, because I do it, too – thousands of hours throughout their lives feeling stressed that their bodies don’t look a certain way.”
  • 3:21 – 3:45, “…if I could give a gift to a daughter I hopefully have someday, if she were to be concerned about her physical appearance, and her concern was, “I want to look toned and fit,” versus “I want to look skinny,” I would give her big hug and say, “Sweetheart, that is a great goal to have, because being toned and fit is indicative of health, whereas being skinny is not.”
  • 4:56 – 5:11, “…a focus on eating more, but of the nutrient-dense foods, so the protein intake – you will never have a toned, healthy-looking body unless you take in the raw material necessary to build and develop that body.”
  • 5:44 – 5:53, “The two things women in our culture have been told consistently are, number one, don’t strength train, it will make you look like a man, and two, you don’t really need to eat protein.”
  • 7:41 – 8:26, “When you eat protein in a certain dose, there are certain receptors in your brain that say, “Hey, look, I’ve got enough protein that I can use it in non mission-critical ways.  For example, having nice-looking arms that aren’t flabby.  Your body doesn’t need nice-looking arms to not die.  That’s lower on its priority list.  So, you have to eat a certain threshold of protein for it to be used for these nonessential purposes and you’re never going to get – you cannot be healthy and eat sufficient doses of protein unless you are getting your protein from concentrated sources of protein.”
  • 9:38 – 9:46, “When we say eccentrically exercising, it’s eat more, exercise less, but smarter.  And the smarter part of exercise less has to do with really focusing on the quality of our movement.”
  • 10:32 – 10:45, “If you want to have toned, muscular legs, you need to squat, you need to dead-lift, you need to do these basic movements which human beings have been doing since the beginning of time, and you need to add resistance progressively.  That’s the bottom line.”
  • 14:18 – 14:27, “At the gym, safely, you want to be at an 8, where you are like, “Get me the heck out of this place when I’m done.”
  • 17:31 – 17:55, “There are different goals.  Body-builders, professional body-builders, all eat four to six meals per day, and there is a reason for that.  It is because they need to be repairing and building that muscle tissue.  So if that is your goal, to be toned, then that is your breakfast, lunch and dinner, but what we would probably do is shrink the size a little bit, making sure you don’t fall below that 30-gram protein threshold.  And then we would have four to six of those meals per day.”

Read the Transcript

Jonathan: Hey, what’s up everybody? Jonathan Bailor and April Perry back with another SANE show and we’re going to talk about some sweet exercise stuff today, one of my favorite topics, and potential areas for myth-busting. But before we do that, we ought to see – April, how are you doing today?

April: I’m doing really well. I’m really excited to talk about this today. I always feel like I’m going into this therapy session, but I know that other people have the same questions, so I feel like I’m a mouthpiece for all of the people out there who want to learn from you.

Jonathan: You’re the mouthpiece for a generation of people.

April: Exactly.

Jonathan: So, what is the topic for the therapy session today?

April: First of all, I just want to let you know that I’m not a superficial person, and I really don’t think most people are superficial people. I think most people really want to live a life of purpose. I think that they want to help others. I think, if you ask someone, “Would you rather wear a size 2 or build a school for 300 children in a developing country?” I think most people would choose, if they had to pick one, they would want to help other people. I think most people really want to be able to live a purpose, and live a mission, and live well.

At that same time, because of our society, because of the media, because of this pressure that we have forced on ourselves to look a certain way, there are millions and millions – I don’t think it’s just girls, I know men who are wanting to be more muscular, or lose inches, or whatever – but a lot of women who waste – I’ll say waste, because I do it, too – thousands of hours throughout their lives feeling stressed that their bodies don’t look a certain way. This isn’t new information, this is something that is out there all the time.

So, what I love about SANE is that we are talking about doing the main things right. Honestly, I’m eating 15 servings of vegetables a day, I’m eating three servings of kale in the morning with my egg whites and little egg yolk, I’m having spinach smoothies two or three times a day. I am eating really, really SANEly and taking care of the big things. And I’m sleeping, and I’m standing, and I’m walking, and I’m doing weight.

I feel like I’m a good student. I’ve said this before, I’m a really good student of yours. But there are questions as far as, let’s say I want my body to be more toned. The people around me who I see doing that or who I see have really toned bodies spend a couple of hours at the gym every day, the ones that I personally know. So, my question for you is, if we want to live a SANE lifestyle – and I don’t necessarily want to be a fitness model, I’m never going to be in a bikini contest – ever. I’ll say this for the book because I’m never going to do it. What would I do? Or what would you suggest for someone who wants to just tone their body so they feel stronger, they feel better, they feel happier? Just help us here.

Jonathan: The first thing I would say is, in some ways that’s actually a fantastic goal because I would so much rather – if I could give a gift to a daughter I hopefully have someday, if she were to be concerned about her physical appearance, and her concern was, “I want to look toned and fit,” versus “I want to look skinny,” I would give her big hug and say, “Sweetheart, that is a great goal to have, because being toned and fit is indicative of health, whereas being skinny is not.” So, I think that is a really big distinction, to begin with.

When it comes to being toned and fit, in some ways it can be a bit of an uphill battle because what we have, especially for the females out there, what you have been taught for thousands of years, because it is very misogynistic, is to be smaller and to fade into the background, so to eat less, to be secondary, right?

April: Like corsets (laughs)? I’m sorry, we don’t have corsets, but we have now, what are they called – stakes? They’re all over the place, and I can’t breathe in something like that.

Jonathan: That’s the software that has been downloaded into our brains – be smaller, eat less. If you’re going to exercise, your exercise should be focused on shrinking yourself, like excessive cardiovascular types of exercise, so starving yourself just differently, with more calories out rather than few calories in. Now, toning your body, looking toned and fit and healthy actually requires really two big changes in that mindset that are very healthy. One is a focus on eating more, but of the nutrient-dense foods, so the protein intake – you will never have a toned, healthy-looking body unless you take in the raw material necessary to build and develop that body.

And when I say build and develop, I mean that very intentionally, because resistance training and strength training are the stimulus. You need to have the stimulus to tell your body, become toned, become fit, become firm – not skinny – become strong and toned and powerful. The stimulus to trigger your body to do that is heavy, safe, resistance training, and the fuel it requires to do that is, in large part, protein. But the two things women in our culture have been told consistently are, number one, don’t strength train, it will make you look like a man, and two, you don’t really need to eat protein. Eat protein from beans (laughs), not actually protein protein.

April: Right.

Jonathan: Those are two big things we need to address right from the beginning.

April: Okay, so let’s just specify this a little bit more. Let’s just talk about serving numbers of protein. I know in the SANE app, I think, was it three to six servings of protein per day?

Jonathan: Correct. But it’s really important, not only that, but to understand what a serving of protein is.

April: Right, so let’s talk about that.

Jonathan: That’s really important, because we get questions consistently, and again, we live in a culture that makes this really hard. So, let’s give ourselves all a pat on the back here, that we in some ways we’re fighting an uphill battle with a parachute on our backs, and in the snow, because look at a protein bar that is sold at your local grocery store. I can almost guarantee you it has less than 10 grams of protein in it, and it’s just filled with sugar and nonsense.

April: Like 25 grams of sugar. Yeah.

Jonathan: Fiber One, Protein Plus, now with 6 grams of sugar in it. You’re like, “What? Cereal is a great source of protein? It has 7 grams of protein in it.” So, for something to cause a meaningful change in your body, this is why we generally talk about a 30-gram protein threshold. So, just to geek out for a second, there is a clinically proven difference, for example, between an individual who ate 15 grams of protein at 10:00 a.m., and then 15 grams of protein at 3:00 p.m., versus someone who ate 30 grams of protein at once.

That does something fundamentally different to your body, and the reason for that is, when you eat protein in a certain dose, there are certain receptors in your brain that say, “Hey, look, I’ve got enough protein that I can use it in non mission-critical ways. For example, having nice-looking arms that aren’t flabby. Your body doesn’t need nice-looking arms to not die. That’s lower on its priority list. So, you have to eat a certain threshold of protein for it to be used for these nonessential purposes and you’re never going to get – you cannot be healthy and eat sufficient doses of protein unless you are getting your protein from concentrated sources of protein.

And things like nuts, things like seeds, things like beans, things like any grain, are not concentrated sources of protein. If you were to try to eat 30 grams of protein from quinoa, you would have to eat way more quinoa than is healthy.

April: If you were at my house and you were helping me plan out my meals for the day, what would you suggest for someone like me? As far as activity level, I’m at the gym twice a week doing my eccentric exercises, trying to push myself as hard as I can – I know I’m a wimp, but I’m getting better. I go roller-blading three days a week, walking, moving around my kids. That’s about how active I am right now. What would you suggest that I eat? How many servings of protein and what protein? I’m actually really excited to ask you this question.

Jonathan: We’ll do breakfast, lunch and dinner in a second, but just so we don’t forget it, I want to also mention one quick thing about that time that is spent in the gym doing the eccentric exercise. I’m not skirting the question, we can absolutely…

April: You are going to answer this question.

Jonathan: (laughs) I’m going to answer this question. But when we say eccentrically exercising, it’s eat more, exercise less, but smarter. And the smarter part of exercise less has to do with really focusing on the quality of our movement. And again, especially with females, when resistance training has been taught to females it has been taught to them from the perspective, often, of “Pick up those little pink weights in the corner, and while you talk to your girlfriends move them around your head a little bit.”

April: (laughs) Yeah.

Jonathan: So, the greatest thing in the world about Crossfit – I’m going give Crossfit a high-five, for the reason that it has celebrated the strong woman that works out the exact same way that a man should work out. Like these female shaving razors versus men’s shaving razors – it’s a blade on your skin. Look, if you want to have toned, muscular legs, you need to squat, you need to dead-lift, you need to do these basic movements which human beings have been doing since the beginning of time, and you need to add resistance progressively. That’s the bottom line. So, I just want to make sure that there are no blah-blah-blah – females have these different muscles and need to – no.

April: (laughs) I’m laughing so hard.

Jonathan: And we’ve got to do that hard, right? I want to see – just like you see men in the gym that are sweating and grunting, and it doesn’t look like they’re having fun. It’s not necessarily fun. I mean, it is fun over time, once you get the hang of it, but the results are really, really, really fun. So, I just want to make sure that, given what we need to give in the gym, we could maybe talk about that more in another episode, but do you want to get back to breakfast, lunch and dinner?

April: Real quick, do you think I should do Crossfit?

Jonathan: Crossfit. Here’s why Crossfit – there are good things and bad things about anything, right? Like books can be used for good or evil, it depends on how we use them. So, Crossift is just football conditioning that has been made available to the masses. It’s biometric training. Another way to think of Crossfit is competitive weight-lifting. It’s like team competitive weight-lifting. And this could be its own show, so I’ll try to go through this quickly. The fundamental difference – there is body-building, which means I’m lifting weights to change the shape and appearance of my body, there is Crossfit, which is I am trying to execute a certain number of exercises in a certain period of time because I’m competing with another person, and then there is Power Lifting, which is I’m trying to lift a certain amount of weight, I don’t care how I do it, I just need to lift it. Those are very different things. So, the goal of Crossfit is not the same as the goal of body-building, which is not the same as the goal of Power-Lifting. They are very different things. Just like the goal of marathon training would be different than those things.

April: So what would you send me to do?

Jonathan: The thing that I think you could get from the Crossfit experience is what it feels like to actually work out intensely, because Crossift will make you feel what it feels like – the only comparison that females have, because guys don’t have this, is – my mom is a good example. She was raised in the generation where she was not even allowed to go into the gym at her university – wasn’t even allowed, right? And women were taught in the 1950s and 1960s that weight-training was actually bad, it would make them sterile. This was what the experts were saying back then.

Most people think, “It’s hard for me to breathe, and I’m sweating a little bit. It’s hard work.” Hard work is what you do when you give birth. I’m going to be crude here, but when you’re on the…

April: I had an epidural, Jonathan.

Jonathan: (laughs) I’ve never done it, but I hear it’s pretty hard work.

April: I think there is a definition of hard that I think I need to better understand. My husband tells me this all the time.

Jonathan: On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is sleeping and 10 is giving birth, or doing something that would prompt you to – excuse me, this is going to be crude, but it’s accurate – doing something that would cause you to vomit or defecate – that’s a 10, where you lose control of your body. It just flips out, right? And that happens.

April: Right.

Jonathan: So at the gym, safely, you want to be at an 8, where you are like, “Get me the heck out of this place when I’m done.” You don’t want to poop on the gym floor…

April: (laughs)

Jonathan: (laughs) Well, do you agree? You’re laughing, but I don’t think that’s a good thing, if you go to a Crossfit gym, you might see someone throw up. So, they’re probably at a 9.

April: Okay, so that’s helpful.

Jonathan: So, what Crossfit will do is, Crossift will show you what it really means to hit an 8 or a 9 on the intensity scale. Now, the thing you want to be careful with on Crossift is, it’s very easy to hurt yourself if you’re at an 8 or a 9, doing the wrong things, right? And Crossift, if not properly taught – you don’t want to be at a 9 while standing on the edge of a cliff because you could fall off and hurt yourself, because you aren’t thinking about anything else. So, we want to be intense, but we want to be intense and safe at the same time, and that’s what I love so much about eccentric training is because it is extremely safe and controlled, so you can go to the level 8, you can go to that level 9, with little, if any, chance of injury.

April: I love that. I’m going to report back. Okay, now the food. Let’s do breakfast, lunch and dinner. We’ll do this kind of quick, then we want to get to the end of the show, but I’m loving this.

Jonathan: Breakfast is simple, and I’m just going to tell you what is SANE, because everyone may say, “Oh what if I do this?” I’m just going to give you…

April: Just tell me, if you were in charge of preparing my meals, if I would say, “Hey, Jonathan, I’m hiring you to be my personal chef.”

Jonathan: Breakfast would be egg-based. It would be a combination of one or two whole eggs, and then egg whites, until we got you up to about 30 grams of protein. You would then have a green smoothie, which was primarily spinach and/or kale and/or romaine lettuce, with some lemon in it, or maybe some xylitol or erythritol to sweeten it up. And we might put some other things in it like ginger, and blah-blah-blah, but basically, an egg and vegetable-heavy breakfast. For the eggs, it’s a combination of egg and egg whites, because again, 30 grams of protein from straight-up eggs, you would have to eat…

April: Too much fat.

Jonathan: Six eggs. So you have to have egg whites in there.

Lunch – lunch is a form of humanely acquired animal food, in some way. So, whether meat or fish, combined with nonstarchy vegetables, or combined with nuts or seeds of some sort.

And then dinner is the same thing.

And if you’re really trying to be toned, and this is where the whole meal frequency thing comes into play, you’re probably going to do more than three meals, because part of the reason that you want to become lean and toned is you trigger this thing called muscle protein synthesis, you need your body to be repairing itself. That happens every time you hit that 30-gram protein threshold. This is why body-builders pretty universally eat four to eight meals per day.

People can say intermittent fast, whatever. There are different goals. Body-builders, professional body-builders, all eat four to six meals per day, and there is a reason for that. It is because they need to be repairing and building that muscle tissue. So if that is your goal, to be toned, then that is your breakfast, lunch and dinner, but what we would probably do is shrink the size a little bit, making sure you don’t fall below that 30-gram protein threshold. And then we would have four to six of those meals per day.

April: So when you say shrink the size, just to make sure, you shrink the size of the protein, or shrink the size of the overall meal, or the fats? What would you shrink?

Jonathan: You just want to make sure that you can eat four to six times per day, and there is a difference between four and six, certainly.

April: So, you’re not stuffing yourself and feeling sick.

Jonathan: Exactly. People who do intermittently fast, for example, generally eat one really big meal, or two really big meals, whereas you would be eating four to six smaller meals, not because it stokes your metabolism, blah-blah-blah, all this stuff. It’s just purely fueling your body and triggering muscle protein synthesis. Also, there are things with digestion. If you eat eight servings of vegetables at once, you might have some digestive issues that you wouldn’t have if you ate two servings of vegetables at a time.

April: If right now I am eating three times a day, and I want to become more toned and build more muscle, and I’m going to be working out harder, you have to have the exercise going, though, harder exercise, adding the extra food, as well, right? You can’t just eat more and not exercise at all.

Jonathan: That’s exactly right, yes. They are complementary things. Also, with the harder exercise, you will need to eat more because it’s the Michael Phelps scenario, where when you train that much, you have to eat more to fuel that process.

April: I’m actually feeling like this is doable. This has made it more clear for me.

Jonathan: And I would say there is also, too – we talked about the slight edge a couple of times ago – this isn’t a slight edge, it will seem like it’s a minor thing. That’s why I have a hard time with slight edge. It seems like a small thing, but it’s actually a huge thing – on the days when you do an 8 or 9 in terms of intensity at the gym, with strength training, not some boot camp class that goes on for 60 minutes, because you can’t be at an 8 or 9 for 60 minutes, by definition.

April: (inaudible) 20:08, right?

Jonathan: Correct. So, definitely, within a 30-minute window after you finish that, that’s got to be one of your 30-gram servings of protein right there, because your body is like a sponge. I won’t get into the technical, but it’s like you muscles have been depleted of fuel and if you can immediately refuel them within 30 minutes via high-quality protein, great thing to do, potentially taking in that 30 grams of protein before the workout can also be advantageous, as well.

April: Last question. Clarify the before the workout thing, because I go to the gym in the morning, take my kids to school, I go first thing because I want to shower later, right? So, what would you eat for breakfast, because there is all kinds of stuff online?

Jonathan: That depends on what you are doing before you exercise. For some people, if they eat before they exercise at a level 9 or 10, that food won’t stay down for long, so they don’t. This is why workout shakes generally are a little bit different than what you would normally eat for lunch. For example, whey protein absorbs very quickly into your body. Protein powder doesn’t have fiber in it, it is extremely easy to digest, so that is why, for example, whey protein is used for workouts, because it gets into your body very rapidly, it’s easily assimilated, it has a low likelihood of causing digestive issues while you are exercising, whereas if you were to drink a giant fiber-rich green smoothie right before you did heavy squats, something bad might happen, so we would want to avoid that, right?

April: There was a trainer who told my friend to have white rice and sweet potatoes before exercising, and I thought, “Oh, I don’t know.”

Jonathan: This is a whole other podcast.

April: We don’t have to get into all this.

Jonathan: No, it’s okay, because the short answer is, it depends on what your goals are for exercising. If her goal is to lift the most weight she has ever done, then yes, that is absolutely what she should do. If her goal is to burn fat, then she would probably do something else.

April: So what would she do? If I want to burn fat, I’m going to be exercising as hard as I can at an 8, say I’m setting my goal for an 8 if I’m going to the gym – I know I’m asking really specific questions, but other people have these questions – so if I’m going to the gym at 7:30 in the morning, what would I do if I wake up at 6:00?

Jonathan: You don’t have to eat before you exercise. You don’t have to, if you don’t want to.

April: Strawberries? Or a piece of fruit, or anything before I go? Or just have an empty stomach?

Jonathan: If you’re going to do anything, I would try to get protein into your body. So, egg whites. Just scramble egg whites and eat those, or drink a protein shake. And then afterward, have a protein shake. That’s why protein shakes are handy.

April: Thank you for all these specific questions. I’ve been thinking about them and asking about them in my head for a long time.

So next action, what do you think?

Jonathan: Next action is, if when we’ve talked about exercising at a level 8 or 9, and you think, “That’s crazy,” that’s a reasonable thing to say, and this is an area where I think a personal trainer could actually be very, very, very helpful for you. If you can work with a trainer, you can work with a buddy, and if you’ve never experienced what it means to do weight training until you can’t move the weight even if your life depended on it, just getting a feeling for that. So, maybe this is a next action and a stretch goal, is try to figure out a way to slowly and safely feel what it feels like to work up that intensity spectrum. Do not try to do a 9 tomorrow. But if what you’re used to is being able to…

April: Like a 5 or a 4?

Jonathan: Yes, if what you are used to is being able to talk while you exercise, I want you to gradually work up to, “Now I can’t talk while I exercise, I’m going to try to do a little bit more weight.” And just try to work your way up that intensity spectrum so you can feel what it feels like to really exercise at that level 8 or 9 safely, that we need to be exercising at.

Learn the exact foods you must eat if you want to finally lose weight permanently. Click here to download your free Weight Loss Food List, the “Eat More, Lose More” Weight Loss Plan, and the “Slim in 6” Cheat Sheet…CLICK HERE FOR FREE “HOW TO” WEIGHT LOSS GUIDES
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