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Q&A: Fat Burners, Diet Pills & Thermogenics

diet pills So many people don’t understand what Fat Burners really do. Are they diet pills? Do they work? How do they make you feel? Will it help you lose weight? How fast should you see results? When is it best to take them? These are many of the questions we get about Thermogenics (AKA Fat Burners).

First, watch this quick video, where Steve explains what thermogenics actually are – and what they do.

Now, to answer some of those questions.

Are they diet pills? 

diet pillsDiet pills do different things. Many prescription pills curb your appetitive. There is another prescription that blocks fat from being absorbed and stored. Old school prescription pills often contained amphetamines which now is typically prescribed as dextroamphetamine, or the inactive prodruglisdexamfetamine. Then you have the old school fat burners, which contained Ephedra, in combination with aspirin and caffeine. Since Ephedra is no longer legal in the United States, supplement companies have been working hard to come up with a safer way to burn fat. So, in my opinion, I would not classify a thermogenic as a diet pill. While the fat burner we take, ThermoHeat for example, does have an appetite suppressant in it, it’s main job its to increase your body temperature to burn more calories throughout the day.

Do they work?

Diet-weight-loss-Yes, but not if you are depending on a fat burner alone. Fat burners can give you the edge you need to be more apt to move, exercise and stay active. It will increase calorie burn, but you have to understand how easy it is to erase those calories with poor food choices. Let’s say, for example sake, you burn 200 extra calories a day when on a fat burner. You could erase those calories easily with a big gulp coke or an extra snack. For this reason, fat burners work best when you combine it with exercise and diet.

How do they make you feel?

crazyhairSome fat burners make you feel like you’ve had 10 cups of coffee. The old school fat burners that had ephedra in it really freaked people out. However, I think most fat burners today are more mild feeling in comparison to the Ephedra, caffeine and aspirin variations. People may complain about feeling anxious and jittery on some fat burners. Since I have heart palpitations, I have to watch out for fat burners that get my heart racing. ThermoHeat doesn’t make me feel that way at all. It makes me feel focused and more apt to stay moving, but I don’t feel like I’m on speed or anything. Basically, the answer to this question is “it depends”. Every fat burner is different.

weight lossWill it help you lose weight?

Yes. If you are burning more calories than you are consuming, you will lose weight. The key to success is to make the most of the fat-burning opportunity. Exercise when you are feeling energized and avoid replacing calories with poor food choices. However, if you aren’t going to track calories or even try to be in a caloric deficit, you probably will not get the results you want.

How fast should you see results?

How fast you get results depends on how dedicated you are to your weight loss goals. First, you need to know that you should feel results right away. You should feel more energized and more focused pretty quickly. This should help you WANT to workout and stay more active, which can often be an issue for many people. People lack the motivation or the energy to workout. BUT, if you don’t workout and you refuse to be more active, you aren’t going to get all the goody out of your fat burner. If you are taking ThermoHeat, you should also not feel as hungry, which can help with controlling your appetite. So, in many ways, you should be getting results almost immediately. However, if you are talking about seeing results on the scale, that’s a different story. The results you get are dependent on consistency and accuracy. Staying consistent with eating low-calorie foods and exercising will get you faster results. Accurately tracking calories burned and calories consumed will help you get the best results. But if you plan on just guessing your way through the day, I can only guess your results (and I would guess they won’t be what you want).

When is it best to take them?

White Competition Bikini Personally, I like taking Fat Burners to help give me an edge when I’m taking my training or dieting up a notch. I only take them for a season, and then I go off for a while. For example, I took ThermoHeat to help me prepare for my competition. It REALLY helped me get my 3 workouts in a day (2 cardios and 1 weight training workout) when I was extra low on calories. I honestly don’t think I would have had the oomph to do it without it. It’s also great for people who are starting a workout and diet plan. It can give people the mental and physical boost they need to get in a routine. It also will help increase energy when people would typically experience a loss of energy from just starting a diet and exercise program.

ThermoHeatBefore I close, let me be super clear. If you want to lose weight, the first thing you need to focus on is diet. You need to learn to track calories and stick to a caloric budget (I like using the LoseIt app for this). Second, you need to get in a good exercise routine. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout everyday, but a consistent workout routine you can stick to. Third, once you are willing to commit to eating right and exercising, THEN you can add supplements to the equation, like protein, creatine, fat burners, etc. Sadly, people often do the exact opposite, because making a protein shake or popping a pill is a lot easier than committing to a lifestyle change. You should never rely on supplements – they are only to SUPPLEMENT what you are missing and enhance what you are already doing. They are the icing on the low-cal cake! As long as you understand that, you are golden. Are they effective? Heck yeah, when they are used correctly! As long as you realize there is no protein shake or fat burner alone that will get you ripped like you see in the ads. Will they help? Absolutely! But, if you want results, you will be required to work for it. But I do promise you it will be SO worth it!!!

CLICK HERE to learn more about the fat burner we take, ThermoHeat.

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Small Fitness Tweaks that Can Make a 10-Pound Difference

This is a picture of me and my bike for an article in Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine back in February, 2009. I was 37 years old. I wasn’t obese by any means, but I look at this picture and think “who is that?”. She doesn’t even look familiar to me. I’ll tell you who it is. It’s the old me. The older model. Bonnie 3.7

motorcycle cruiser custom yamaha

Bonnie 4.3

The old Bonnie still worked, but didn’t work as well. Bonnie 3.7 did many of the things the new version does. The old Bonnie worked out. The old Bonnie knew how to eat healthy. The old Bonnie just wasn’t as consistent – didn’t run as well. She ate healthy, but ate too much. She worked out, but she didn’t work as hard. She got a little too comfortable. She kept crashing. She’s wan’t bad. A matter of fact, she was much better than the 3.0 version. But Now There’s a NEWer Bonnie.  She is just better, healthier, stronger, fitter. She is Bonnie 4.3. (yes, that stands for 43yrs old!! lol)

iphone Have you ever looked at a new iPhone and wondered “what makes it better?” Of course you’d never say that looking at the old brick cell phones, comparing them to the new smart phone. It’s pretty obvious! But, as technology improves so much, the tweaks almost always are about being lighter, stronger, faster and more reliable. Isn’t that the same with fitness?

As we continue to tweak our fitness, and our physique, we can still make a lot of improvements to help us perform well. It’s not like we are in that bad of shape maybe to begin with, but can we run faster, better, stronger? Like the iPhone, what if we can have all the same “muscle” but we weigh a little lighter – run a little smoother. I loved my first iPhone, but I love my new iPhone even more. I also felt pretty good in 2009, but I feel so much better now – and to think, it was small tweaks that made a 10 pound difference.

10 pounds doesn’t seem that much, and that’s why we use the InBody body composition machine. The InBody tracks what’s actually happening INSIDE of your body, instead of solely relying on the scale as the only measurement of progress. Look at the difference between my body composition then compared to now.

3.7 vs 4.3: The Comparison

Bonnie PfiesterTHEN: 145lb. NOW: 135lb.
Fat Then: 31lbs. Fat NOW: 15.2lbs.
Lean Mass Then: 114lbs. Lean Mass NOW: 119lbs.
% Fat Then: 21%. Now: 11%

I don’t have any full body shots of me right now(aside from a few shameless selfies! lol)  =- but I will next week!!). However, to put things in to perspective, these two photos (left and below) were me 7lbs heavier than I am now (all fat), taken last April.

These two photos also show the difference between what it looks like to just be relaxed (with soft lighting), and be “pumped” (with harsh lighting). The one with the kettlebell is of me after I “pumped up” a little, posing with weights. The one in the suit is at the beginning of the same shoot, before lifting weights. However, there would be no “pumping up” in the world that would have made me look better in that picture of me with the bike. I had a layer of fat covering any muscle I did have.

Get the Upgrade!

Bonnie PfiesterDo you want to know what I did to get leaner? I did the same exercise, same running, pretty much the same types of foods. The only difference is I track every calorie in my LoseIt app and consistently stayed on a caloric budget for 3 months. I have a little over a week to go before show time, and seeing this old picture of me online just fuels me to continue pressing toward my goal to beat the old me, and even beat the April 2013 me! As long as I’m breathing, I can always continue to strive to improve, learn, and step out of my comfort zone to be the best version of myself – and YOU CAN TOO!!

My 5 Fitness Tweaks:

1. Less Rest – I rest less between sets and do more conditioning exercise. Instead of old school weight lifting, where I do a few reps and then rest. I do more timed workouts, more reps, more sets, less rest.

2. Count Every Calorie – I don’t just guestimate calories. I weight and measure everything, so I know EXACTLY how many calories I eat each day. This holds me accountable and helps me keep my portions where they need to be. In addition to counting calories, I also watch my carbs. I try really hard to not get more carbs than protein.

3. I Am More Consistent – I have a few rules to keep me on track. I never take more than 3 days off, I always hit the gym every Monday, and I have a weekly goal of a minimum of exercising 3 times a week.

4. I Bounce Back Faster – If I fall off the wagon, I have a plan of attack already in place. I have a cap on the heaviest I’ll allow myself to be. If I hit that cap, there’s no cheating PERIOD. I basically treat it like a maxed out credit card. I hit the limit, and it’s time to pay it off. Once I get my weight back down, then I can have a treat – but until then, I go back to logging food and training until I’ve gotten closer to my ideal weight for maintenance.

5. I Prioritize – I like to lift weights, but I don’t like cardio as much. However, if I’m crunched for time, I have learned to do what my body NEEDS, not just what I WANT. If I need to burn calories more than I need to pump iron, that’s what I do. Before, I would have lifted weights because it was easier. Today, I focus first on calories burned to stay healthy and control body fat, and second on sculpting muscle.

I Will Beat Her 

I will beat her

My 1,200 Calorie Meal Plan

meal prepAfter posting this pic of my fridge after doing meal prep for the week, a few people asked me to share what my normal day’s food looks like.

First, it’s important to know we all have different goals. Right now, I’m trying to reduce my body fat. I started at 18% body fat and I’m now down to 14%, but I still have to get even leaner for the LiveExercise shoot on August 21st. I’ve consistently lost about 2lbs a week, while maintaining muscle mass (according to the InBody body composition machine we use to track progress). I actually even gained a pound of muscle during the process.

My diet is based on 1200 calories a day. Right now I’m doing 7 cardios a week and strength training 4-5 days a week. With that said, here’s what I’ve been eating & doing…

AM: 5AM-9AM

yogurt parfaitAM WORKOUT
Mondays-Thursday I do a fasting cardio (no breakfast until after cardio).
(All I have prior to that is coffee)

BREAKFAST: (Budget: 200 calories)
5oz plain Chobani greek yogurt, berries & 3 T granola (198 calories)
OR protein shake with orange juice & protein powder (181 calories)
OR egg beaters with spinach & tomatoes (or 2 63 Calorie Quiche)

AFTERNOON: 11AM-5PM

PinwheelsLUNCH: (Budget: 200-300 calories)
Pinwheels: 4 ounces of fresh lunch meat (rolled up) with 1/4 avocado or cream cheese
OR 4 ounces of grilled or smoked chicken with avocado, lime juice, garlic, tomatoes and salt
OR the above meat, avocado over greens with vinegar

SNACK (3-4PM): (Budget: 100 -150 calories)
100-150 calorie snack like 140-calorie progresso light soup, grapes & cheese stick, more pinwheels, 1/2 banana & 1 tsp peanut butter, or a few almonds.

PM WORKOUT – LIFT WEIGHTS (4-6PM)

Post workout protein shake (1 scoop) or one Cocotein protein drink by IsoPure (100-140 calories).

EVENING: 6PM-9PM

chicken and green beansDINNER: (Budget: 200 calories if I plan on snacking afterwards, 400 calories if I will not snack, or if I am good on my calories for the day)

Grilled Chicken with one green side (asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, green beans, kale or salad greens). Read 25 Low-Cal Greens for more ideas. (200-250 calories)

Note: I season my greens a few different ways: #1 –  lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper (tasty on cabbage), #2 soy sauce & olive oil (perfect on green beans), #3 Badia Complete Seasoning & olive oil (good on everything), #3 Steam with salt, garlic & butter spray, #4 Balsamic vinegar, olive oil & seasoning (great on asparagus), curry, stevia, olive oil & salt (yum on brussel sprouts) or #5 lemon juice, parmesan cheese & salt (yummy on broccoli). I grill and steam my veggies a lot. I personally like my veggies crisp and a little charred from the grill. 🙂

SNACK:

100-150 calorie snack (100 calorie popcorn, Veggie Straws, Weight Watcher’s Smoked Mozzarella string cheese, big dill pickle, cucumber chips in vinegar, hot tea, pretzel sticks or caramel rice cakes (minis). NOTE: I don’t need ANY of these snacks, but I budget in a salty snack because I enjoy it! 😉

DETAILS:

Think about what you have to gainMy meal plan is based on a daily budget of 900 – 1200 calories – 1200 calories on days I exercise and 900-1000 calories on days I don’t workout. My goal for my substrates (protein, carbs & fats) for what I’m training for is 40-50% protein, 30-40% fat & 20-25% carbs. A simple 33/33/33 would be perfectly fine for most people (and you’d still get insane results). The more extreme split is VERY HARD for me. Every day I strive for this, and most days I miss it, but I learn every day and I do better than I would if I wasn’t trying! 🙂

Please realize this is not a prescribed diet. This isn’t a diet at all. This is what I am eating. I treat my body like a science project and adjust my food according to how I perform, how I feel and the results I’m getting. If I am low on energy, I boost my healthy fats or increase my healthy carbs. If I’m losing muscle, I check my LoseIt app and look to see if I need to increase my protein. However, I RARELY increase carbs – that’s one area I seem to have NO problem getting enough of! lol So far, at 1200 calories a day, I’m loosing weight and feeling great, so I’m pretty much sticking to the same things since I know they work for me.

MAINTENANCE

When I reach maintenance, I like to continue this format during the week (with a little more room for extra fun calories) and have a cheat meal once a week. It’s all about checks and balances. The more you learn to maintain balance, the happier and healthier you will be. Some people cheat a little everyday but never cheat big (this is more me). Other people like to be strict during the week and cheat big on the weekends (this is more Steve). The key to success is finding what you can live with long-term because fitness isn’t supposed to be something you do for a season, it’s a lifestyle. Sure, you can lose weight for a competition or photo shoot, and have extreme moments, but you should be programmed to go right back to a healthy balance of a healthy diet and lifestyle you can maintain long-term. 🙂

 

Cellulite: Why We Have It – and How to Get Rid of It

One of my facebook friends, Patti, asked me a great question this week. She asked “Is there any REAL help for cellulite dimples? Bought some smaller shorts today :), but now, there’s that cellulite!!!”

I’ve got good news – I DO have an answer! Here it goes!

celluliteMy answer isn’t a cream, nor is it a complicated surgical procedure. My solution is something that has been around for years – diet and exercise. Surprised?

You see, I don’t believe the issue is always the lumpy fat we call cellulite. I think the problem due to the amount of body fat we gain, as well as the muscle we lose. The unfortunate combination can leave skin loose and lumpy. Cellulite can also be a problem after losing weight because the weight loss leaves our skin loose, and many times people lose muscle if they aren’t working out or getting enough protein.

“What causes cellulite?”

celluliteLet’s look at the facts. Women, who do not exercise, lose an average of 5 pounds of muscle per decade before menopause and up to a pound a year thereafter. Since cellulite is more common for women, this causes a couple of problems.

Each pound of lean muscle lost decreases your metabolism, making it easier to gain weight. If you already have a problem with cellulite, the slowing metabolism will only make matters worse. Weight gain causes the cellulite to be more pronounced as the fat cells grow.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the firm muscle that once supported the skin and fat is now shrinking. Lumpy fat cells are growing, and smooth firm muscle is withering away. Have I scared you into working out yet? I’ll try harder! 🙂

Although diet and exercise may not get rid of all the cellulite in the world, it can make a HUGE difference. A low-calorie diet can reduce and manage overall body fat, affecting the size and visibility of cellulite. Exercise can preserve and increase lean muscle mass, which can prevent, and even reverse, a lot of the problems.

“I gain muscle too easily so I don’t like to lift heavy weights because it just makes me bigger than I already am”.

strong legsBuilding lean muscle not only increases your metabolism to help fight weight gain, but it builds firm shapely muscle to support our aging skin. The problem is, many women who already feel like they are already too thick, are scared to lift heavy in fear of appearing bigger. This fear often keeps them away from the very thing they need most – weights.

Resistance exercise is not what makes people look thick, DIET is what makes people look thick. If you want to trim down your thighs or waistline, you have to reduce calories. If you don’t, you will just be a more fit version of the thick you. Unfortunately, many women start lifting weights, which builds much needed muscle, but they keep the same amount of body fat (because they aren’t paying close enough attention to their diet), so they do feel bigger. The key to success is to reduce body fat and build muscle. Then, you will be one happy camper with less noticeable cellulite – and you’l be stronger, fitter and healthier.

Butt implantsHere is a perfect example of how adding muscle mass can drastically improve cellulite. I googled butt augmentation to find a before and after photo of someone who just added “muscle” (pictured left). As you can see, just by increasing the simulation of muscle mass greatly improved the appearance of her body fat. Of course she didn’t have to go under the knife to get that result, but it’s a great illustration of the point I’m trying to get across to you today. (…and if that doesn’t make you want to do squats, I don’t know what will!)

tone legsSome may argue my theory, but I have seen too many transformations as a result of diet and exercise that are undeniable proof that it works. Although diet and exercise may not always get rid of the problem completely, I bet it works ten times better than any cellulite cream on the market!

GET TO WORK!

Here is a great lower body conditioning workout that not only will help burn fat, but will tone muscle. Powerful plyometric exercises are another great way to build muscle mass – plus it burns a LOAD of calories to help with reducing body fat. Give this workout a try and you’ll realize why we call it Dead Legs!

DEAD LEGS:
Mission: 
3 rounds for time

20 Jailhouse Squats (prisoner squats)
20 Mary Catherines (plyo switch lunge)
20 X Squats (Squat wide, jump feet together and then back out wide, making an X)
20 Crisscross Squats (180 Jumps)
20 Bridges (butt lifts – with hands and feet on floor, lifting butt to up toward the ceiling)
1-Minute Wall sits 

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