The Role Of Leptin In Weight Loss

Leptin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the fat cells in the body, also known as adipocytes. Leptin plays a major role in suppressing the appetite and regulating metabolism. When released into the bloodstream it acts on receptors in the brain, signalling that the body has had enough to eat. A feeling of fullness is experienced, which helps regulate our eating behaviour and helps control our energy balance. It is widely known that leptin helps the body utilise fat stores. Your leptin levels need to be high in order to burn fat, and when leptin levels decrease, your fat stores increase.

When people lose weight through food restriction alone, there is a subsequent reduction in metabolic rate because there is a loss of both fat and lean body tissue. Leptin levels decline and the metabolism slows down in response to receiving less food energy. However, leptin may play a role in sparing lean muscle mass when dieting, by causing weight to only be lost from fat deposits. Additionally, leptin does not decrease the metabolism, even when caloric intake is reduced.

Leptin and Obesity
Many obese people make attempts at weight loss but eventually gain the weight back. This is likely to be due to the fact that leptin production is reduced when weight is lost through dieting alone. Low leptin levels trigger fat storage rather than fat burning, as low food intake triggers the starvation mode. Leptin supplementation, when taken alongside a caloric-restricted diet, does not produce a decline in metabolism and is a more successful method in maintaining weight loss in the long-term.
Leptin Insensitivity
A leptin insensitivity is commonly considered the underlying cause of obesity in humans, predisposing affected individuals to easily gain weight. To naturally boost leptin levels, eat small meals that are evenly spread out throughout the day and consume adequate amounts of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and other nutritionally valuable foods. Maintaining proper metabolic function is the key to keeping hormones in balance and producing ideal levels of leptin for appetite regulation and weight management.

Fat Loss
When Leptin was first discovered it was considered the anti-obesity hormone. Through decreased food intake and increased energy expenditure, which results in rapid weight loss, lean muscle mass can be preserved.

Most people have noticed that a diet usually starts out quite easy, particularly if one is obese. However, as the duration of the diet is extended, cravings start to set in and they become more and more intense. We recommend that “cheat” days be employed to prevent this, as they reset hormonal levels and glycogen levels, but also for your mental wellbeing.

Decreases in leptin are strongly associated with increased sensations of hunger. The lower your leptin levels go, the more severe the sensations of hunger are.

Energy Expenditure
Like hunger control, fat loss is remarkably easier at the beginning of a diet. However, it invariably slows, and if appropriate steps are not taken, it stops. Low leptin levels are correlated with decreases in resting energy expenditure.

In dieters, it is a common practice that when they reach a plateau (leptin levels are low) they cut their calorie intake even further, while increasing their physical activity. Unfortunately, this is just going to decrease leptin levels even more, making things that much worse.

What you should be doing is the exact opposite. We do this by employing a cheat meal into our clients’ plans. The cheat meal is a planned ‘non calorie restricted’ refeed. These refeeds should be done before signs of low leptin levels become apparent. We recommend this be every 7 days, and it is usually followed by an intermittent fasting period.

The Refeed
The primary purpose of the refeed is to boost depleted glycogen levels and therefore your metabolism. There are arguments that any refeed should only be 50% higher in calorie intake than the diet you are on. We believe that restrictions on refeeds are not necessary, unless your leptin levels are drastically low, in which case you would refeed more regularly. With a high calorie refeed, usually in the form of quality carbohydrates, proteins and good fats, you can keep your metabolism firing and leptin levels at a more sustainable level.

Assuming we have not created drastically low leptin levels, our refeed will be 20-50% ABOVE maintenance, for 12-48 hours. The higher the calories, the shorter the refeed, and there are arguments in support of this. If they are drastically low, 5-7 days of 20% above maintenance, is recommended. In general, the lower you are below your natural body fat set point, and the longer or more drastic your diet, the more frequent the refeed.

Our primary macronutrient will be carbohydrate, which enters the blood as glucose. Insulin also potentiates glucose stimulated leptin production, therefore high GI carbs are most ideal. Protein should be 1g/lb, and a bit of fat and fructose from foods that you enjoy is acceptable, but the rest is non-fructose carbohydrates.

The Fed State
Leptin is responsible for the anabolic hormonal setting that is associated with the so-called “fed state”, and the lack thereof during underfeeding. Therefore, in addition to its high importance in our fat loss efforts, it is extremely important in increasing and maintaining muscle mass.

The reason we lose muscle mass when dieting, despite resistance training and adequate protein intake, is hormonal. Hormones are also the reason we cannot gain our maximum amount of muscle without over eating, which in turn leads to some fat gains. With the exception of insulin, leptin controls these anabolic hormones and both insulin and leptin are mediated by glucose, therefore they go hand in hand.

Increased leptin levels lead to preferential refilling of liver glycogen stores, which is a prime indicator of the fed state, as well as an increase in testosterone and human growth hormone. It also blunts ACTH, which signals cortisol secretion in the adrenals and inhibits cortisol synthesis directly.

Beyond Leptin
Though leptin is the master hormone, there are numerous other signals involved in adipostatic control — and this is where it REALLY gets complicated. Some of these signals are directly modulated by leptin (anorexic peptides are increased and orexigenic are decreased), while some are not. Some are redundant (meaning if they are taken out of the equation, something else takes over), while others are not. At last count, there were about 15 of them — cortisol, ghrelin, neuropeptide-Y, orexigen a & b, melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH), cotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), and agouti-related peptide (AgRP) are a few that come to mind — and there are almost certainly many more that we are not yet aware of.



Stop Making Excuses And You Will Get Results

I am frustrated today after having no one turn up to my group session, due to it raining. A little bit of rain is not going to hurt anyone, yet my group was more willing to part with their money rather than turn up and work on hitting their goals.

Every day I hear people make excuses about:

  • Why they cannot eat well
  • Why they ate at Maccas
  • Why they fell off the wagon
  • How peer pressure forced them to drink
  • Why they can’t train due to bad weather
  • Why they cannot lift as much weight as someone else
  • Why they don’t want to work certain muscle groups
  • How their finances are preventing them from training (yet they can afford to eat out every day, which indicates they do not have their priorities right)

Does this sound like you? Are you the person that knows all about fitness and yet you are 20kg overweight? We are all experts, yet many of us do nothing about it.

To be honest, it all gets a bit boring. Excuses, excuses and more excuses. Let me tell you something: I am the expert. I know how to train you to lose weight, since I have done it myself and helped many before you, and will continue to help people achieve their goals. I live and breathe this industry, and like many of my peers, I strive to make a difference.

Look, lets get serious now. If you want to change, you need to make changes. Thinking healthy and being healthy is all it takes. Do not make excuses for your actions. You ate chocolate because you did not have the willpower to say “No”; you ate at Maccas because you were too lazy to prepare a meal in advance, or simply go home and cook (it probably would have taken 20 minutes anyway).

People ask me, each and everyday, endless amounts of questions regarding fitness, and I will continue to answer them until I am blue in the face.

I get questions such as:

  • When do I train?
  • What times do I eat?
  • What do I eat?
  • How many carbs should I be eating?
  • What is the best way to count calories?
  • Why am I not losing weight when I trained 3 times this week?
  • How do I keep fit and maintain my ideal weight?
  • What’s your secret?

The list goes on…

I love the last one, “What’s your secret?” It’s simple really:

  • I make good decisions
  • I make good food and drink choices
  • I exercise everyday, even if only 20 minutes
  • I make good decisions that affect my lifestyle
  • I plan my week
  • I am consistent
  • I do not starve myself
  • I do not calorie count
  • I know what works for me

Lets put it simply… Life is about decisions.

Everyday you wake up and you start making decisions, we make hundreds everyday. Yet when it comes to our lifestyles, we seem to make excuses, and lots of them.

Now I am not some sort of fitness freak that never eats anything bad. I am happy to admit there are times I step outside my normal plan, but I make a positive decision, stand by it and move forward. As I teach my clients: you can have a cheat meal every week, just not everyday.

Now, you may have a personal trainer who says, “Count your protein, carbs and fats, and do everything to moderation.”

Whilst I agree with this, to a degree, it is not sustainable. You cannot count calories, proteins, carbs and fats (PCF) all the time. You need to live your life. You cannot look at every meal and wonder if it exceeds your PCF’s. Instead, look at it very simply: does the meal contain the right portions of protein, carbs and good fats?

Why not focus on being healthy instead. Eat clean food and don’t be fooled by a packet  with“Healthy”written on it. If it’s in a packet, it’s not healthy, in my opinion.

I hear people say all the time, “I went out for lunch/dinner with friends/family/colleagues, and I just ate what everyone else was eating, and I drank alcohol too.”

You know what, it’s a BS excuse. You know it, and I know it.

Why do you need to eat a rubbish meal when you go out for dinner?

  • You could replace chips with veggies
  • Get sauces/dressings on the side
  • Cook a meal for your friends instead
  • Replace wine with soda water & lime

Stop making excuses, it’s as simple as that. Yes, tomorrow is another day, but why not make today a good day.

People ask me, “How do you do it?” It’s simple: I plan. I plan my food; I plan when I will have a cheat meal; I plan what I will buy at the shops.  It’s all in the planning.

If you have a good PT, he or she should be able to help you with this, if not, you can do it on your own:

  • Grab a piece of paper and draw a table for 7 days, with 6 meals a day
  • Write down when you will exercise
  • Write down all your events, dinners etc.
  • Add your meals and snacks, making sure you are eating good food
  • Don’t forget to drink 3 liters of water per day

You have now, very simply, planned your week out. Best of all, it probably took less than 30 minutes to do.

Now you can create a shopping list. You can make food in advance and freeze it if you want.

Heed my best advice: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Well that’s it guys, I am pretty passionate about this stuff and I know you can do it. If you do need help look me up, since helping people is what I do for a living.


Hormones & Fatloss

Put simply fasting = results because it burns your fat stores rather than the food you give your body.

Times have changed from days when you had to eat a carb breakfast, and so has science. Look at the word BREAKFAST = BREAK FAST, when we eat we break our fasting. Why would we do this if we were trying to increase the bodies efficiency to burn fat.

Let’s look at timing, most people wake up around 6-7am and at this time Cortisol is at an all time high, this is a good thing. Cortisol is known to tear down muscle tissue, which is bad but it also destroys fat, helping release fat from fat cells. We want Cortisol to attack fast cells and ideally happen when inssulin levels are naturally at their lowest; i.e. in the morning. In the morning when Insulin levels are low, Cortisol levels are high allowing the fat burning to take place.

The role of cortisol in the body

  • Help the body to manage stress
  • Convert protein into glucose to boost flagging blood sugar levels
  • Work in tandem with the hormone insulin to maintain constant blood sugar levels
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Contribute to the maintenance of constant blood pressure
  • Contribute to the workings of the immune system.

Now if all is well we would want Cortisol to be at its highest possible levels for the longest period of time, it trigges triglycerides into free fatty acids for your metabolism and this is what we call FREE FAT LOSS. However this can only happen if we do not eat carboyhydrates when we wake.

I hear you ask the question well if we cannot eat carbs how about proteins and fats. When we sleep there is a hormone that is released throughout the night, its called Ghrelin. This hormone is often referred to as the hunger hormone and is often at its highest levels when we wake in the morning which is why (as my son loves to put it) starving or put another way ravenous.

Whilst Gherlin is released during the night while you sleep so is growth hormone, as your growth hormone levels rise so too does the bodies ability to release fat. This released fat is used as a fuel source and therefore decreases the bodies ability to break down lean muscle tissue. If we have high Gheril, mixed with growth hormone we reach an ideal state with your Cortisol levels being high in the morning, what happens is your lean muscle tissue is preserved and as a result you only break down fat cells. By fasting for 3-6 hours upon waking we use these hormones at their peak and burn more fat. Upon eating the peak of your hormones will stop burning fat cells and start burining the carbs, protein or fats you give your body.

Want a fat burning machine, the answer is simple push back your first meal of the day by 3-6 hours and intermittently fast, don’t forget to exercise and you will see massive results.

Lets not forget there are many variations of fasting, Lemon Detox, Water Diet, African Mango and many many more. Fasting needs to be controlled and done in the right fashion to gain the benefits. If I eat crap I do this exact program for between 2-4 days and cleanse my body, I feel healthier, lighter, my skin is clearer and I have an amazing ability to think clearly and absorb information.

Ditch the gym and get outdoors

After years of training in gyms even when I was not a personal trainer, I branch out of the stifled environments of gym and took my training and my business outdoors.

I found the benefits to be hugely rewarding and even noticed that I lost more weight, felt and looked healthier and even went on to achieve a dream of a lifetime and become an ironman.

Now I am not suggesting that you need to spend numerous hours pounding the pavement, riding a bike or swimming to become and ironman but I will give you 10 great reasons to rip up your gym or indoor PT membership and step outdoors and reap the rewards.

Long term contracts
An indoor studio or gym will lock you into a membership for 6 months or more (usually 12 months) they do this to have a positive cash flow. It is detrimental to you because most people stop going to the gym after only a few weeks and most after a few months yet the monthly debit from your account still comes out whether you like it or not. Save yourself hundreds of dollars and the joining fee and head outside.

Additional money savings
So you happen to be one of the rare people that continue to use the gym, you get into it and find yourself spending more money. You pay $6 for a protein shake, enjoy a protein bar for $4.50, sign up for additional classes that conveniently are not covered in your membership and much more.

Need protein then look no further than your local fish monger or meat supplier. Plenty of protein to be had in these healthy choices and your body is not consuming processed crap that you cannot pronounce.

Repetitive music
I worked in a local PT studio for a while and the thing that annoyed me and many of the clients was the repetitive music. Over and over again the same CD would be played. We thought things would improve with the installation of Foxtel but alas our worst fears came true. It to had 15 channels of the same music on an infinite loop. By training outdoors you can mix your own music to fire you up and get you moving.

Much of our populate are reportedly vitamin D deficient. If you are deficient you need to do something about it because being deficient means unhealthy bones and muscles.

Don’t be supplement and feed a pharmacy industry that is worth billions, get outside in the sun and get your vitamin D for free. It should not be forgotten that if you are training outdoors it is very important to wear a hat, apply sunscreen and wear a shirt.

Television, iPhones and other electrical devices.
Walk into any gym today and you will find several people sitting on bikes tecting, updating their Facebook status or the person on the treadmill who is alerting everyone via twitter what they are doing, to the person comatose by the TV and is barely moving on the equipment and lets not forget the gym junking who takes a selfie photo after a set alerting the world to how huge they look. Get outdoors and run, take up a boxing or bootcamp class or engage an outdoor personal trainer. You will be moving in no time, feel healthier and your friends will notice.

Gyms can be scary
Are you afraid to enter the Zumba or BodyPump class because you afraid you cannot keep up, or worse yet the class is so full that you attempt the exercises at the back of the room and get frustrated because the instructor is too busy talking to their favourites at the front to teach you properly. Are you sick of seeing the tanned posers who spend more time look in the mirror than actually train and look you up and down because you are not like them.

Then get outdoors, you will always be greeted by a friendly smile or wave of another person who is working out and acknowledges your efforts to do the same on a cold wintery morning. Outdoor training is invigorating and welcoming and poor attitudes are left at home for we all have a common goal to be healthy. I would even bet that you are more likely to achieve your goal by surrounding yourself with fun welcoming people at a local park doing a bootcamp than you would at a local gym.

The first step is always the hardest but it could be as simple as a morning fat burner walk or a 45 minute boxing session with a skilled instructor who ensures you are looked after and the program is tailored to you. Get out on your bike, go for a jog, head down to the beach and run on the sand even find some stairs and run up and down them several times and perform some body weight exercises.

You do not need fancy equipment or the latest gadgets, you can do a workout with a skipping rope, a kettlebell, sandbag, medball and much more. At most local parks now they have equipment so you can do chin ups, pull ups and work your abs till your heart is content.

Becoming a outdoor personal trainer was the best decision I ever made, sure I have clients I train indoors in my garage or at the local gym but the majority of my clients train outdoors with me and on their own. I say give it a try because I am betting once you have you wont go back to paying huge fees, being stifled in a room with others all fighting for the machine or weights and you will probably meet some quality people with similar goals to yourself.

Don’t be the one to let your goals slip by, get involved and get active and see your life change for the better.

Transforming lives has arrived

Welcome to Body Transformations for Life.

We have launched with a bang with a highly successful offer at Breakfast Point Country Club and our weekly boxing and bootcamp groups are making plenty of noise.

We offer a range of services including:

  • One on One Personal Training
  • Group boxing and bootcamps
  • Run coaching and clinics
  • Exercise and nutrition consultation
  • Food and exercise plans
  • Many customised options available

If you would like more information please contact Brad on 0404 049 320 or brad[at]

Benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT)

High intensity interval training is any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest.

A great example is 20 seconds rowing with 10 seconds of rest for as many rounds as you can handle, another more beginner example is run for 1 minute and rest for 2 minutes.

HIIT workouts are so easy to do that you can smash out a workout in as little as 15 minutes during your lunch break. Research shows you can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of interval training (done three times a week) than running on the treadmill for 1 hour. You burn far more fat during HIIT workouts, but the effect of all that intense exertion kicks your body’s metabolism into hyperdrive. That means you burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout than you do after an hours worth of running.

HIIT workouts are also great for your heart because most people are not pushing into the anaerobic zone (that lovely place where you can’t breathe and you feel like your heart is trying to jump out of your chest). But with HIIT extreme training produces extreme results. Try this Test yourself on the bike by doing a HIIT workout. Complete the workout twice a week for 8 weeks, After 8 weeks you will be able to cycle twice as far maintaining the same pace.

One of the best things I love about HIIT workouts is that I do not need any equipment to have a great workout on top of this you can do them anywhere. If you do not have access to bikes, rowers or treadmills never fear, you can do simple exercises like squat jumps, high knees, fast feet, jumping lunges pretty much any exercise that gets your heart rate up fast. One I like is run 200 metres and then perform 10 pushups and 10 squats and repeat 10 times. This kind of workout allows me to maintain my muscle mass and lose weight, in fact HIIT workouts are known to increase weight lose whilst maintaining but more likely increase muscle tone. It does this by attacking fat stores rather than your muscles which is a winner in my book.

In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, HIIT stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH)by up to 450% over the 24 hours after you finish your workout. This is great news since HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out!

Lastly, I find HIIT workouts o of my most challenging workouts, I often do them with a friend and for time to challenge myself and each other. I also love it because they are so short, don’t dominate my day and I see results quickly. So grab a friend and get challenging, whether this be in the local park or at out group sessions or personal training sessions. Push yourself, push each other and remember you may be in pain, you may be sucking wind, but you definitely won’t be bored and if balanced with a healthy diet you definitely will see results.

So many diets, so many choices!

Over the years we have all been bombarded with “Low Fat”, “Low Carb”, “High Protein”, “High Fat” diet solutions. No wonder we are confused about what we should be eating! The truth is that we all need protein, carbohydrates AND fats in order to have a good balanced diet which will allow our bodies to function at their maximum and also to lose fat efficiently. Again, it is simply about knowing how to make good choices in each of these categories at each meal.

I believe that all meals should contain a healthy range of proteins, carbs and fats (PCF) however what I eat training 15+ hours per week is far different to someone doing 1 PT session a week. The solution is education as eluded to in my first article. Start making changes by keeping a food diary. look at your food diary and look at where you can cut out the unnecessary and replace with better ‘healthy’ choices. Then look at your portions and ask yourself are your portions right for you. A basic principal I follow is a palm size of proteins, two fists of carbs and a table spoon of good fats.

After 2 to 3 weeks not only will you be far more knowledgable but you will be eating a more balanced diet and feeling healthier for it. It takes 21 days to form a new habit so stick with it and lean on your trainer to help you through it.

Tell us how you make changes and we will help you with practical changes where necessary to help you kick your goals.

Basic PCF Principals

Many “diets” focus on calorie restriction as a method of weight loss. Whilst obviously if we are eating excess calories we will gain weight, we believe that focussing on calorie restriction is the wrong approach. In fact not eating enough can contribute to making fat loss difficult. When your body thinks it is starving it goes into “survival mode”, dropping your metabolism (and therefore your ability to burn calories and fat), and actually starts trying to hold onto your fat. Exactly the opposite of what we are trying to achieve!

The truth of the matter is that we all have to eat! This is the reason that our focus is on making good choices, and including foods that are beneficial to the functioning of our body instead of avoiding food. The most important tool in fat loss and improving health is knowledge. The only way you can make good choices which will give you the body you want is if you know and understand what is going into your body. Once you have this knowledge there is no reason that you can not only get the body you want, but sustain it for the years to come!

Take the time and understand your Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats and other things such as simple sugars and complex carbohydrates to name a few. A great way to do this is complete a food diary and discuss with your trainer. If you get stuck while shopping then come along to one of our shopping tours and we will show you how to make great choices that are good for you and leave you not wanting to grab junk food. As trainers we understand the difficult and even fall off the wagon, the key to our success is how we learn from it and how we get back onto the wagon.