How to Lose Fat Effectively, Maximise Muscle Gain, and Increase Productivity

Kieser Training in London
From left to right – Dr James Steele, Lawrence Neal, Dr James Fisher, Luke Carlson, and Brandon Yonker

This is the first monologue with yours truly. A few weeks ago, I sent out a survey invite via social media to get your feedback on what you like and dislike about the podcast and your current challenges in fitness, business and lifestyle. In this episode, I share my thoughts on your most popular questions.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Your questions, answered!
  • The most effective and sustainable diet for losing weight (and why)
  • Training and exercising to stay lean, maintain muscle mass, and maximize gains
  • What you need to know to become superhuman
  • How to work smarter and become more productive
  • Additional little tips and tricks you can use to get better results, and more!

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This episode is brought to you by Hituni.com, providers of the best online courses in high intensity training that come highly recommended by Dr. Doug McGuff and Discover Strength CEO, Luke Carlson. Course contributors include world class exercise experts like Drew Baye, Ellington Darden and Skyler Tanner. There are courses for both trainers and trainees. So even if you’re not a trainer but someone who practices HIT, this course can help you figure out how to improve your progress and get best results. Check out Hituni.com, add the course you want to your shopping cart and enter the coupon code ‘CW10’ to get 10% off your purchase!

For my FREE eBook with 6 podcast transcripts with guests like Dr Doug McGuff, Drew Baye and Skyler Tanner – Click here 😀

Show Notes

  • How can you lose fat more effectively? [2:22]
  • A few other tips and tricks for losing fat [5:00]
  • How to exercise to stay lean and maintain muscle mass [6:39]
  • How little changes to how you move every day can help you stay supple and lose a bit more fat [9:03]
  • How to maximise muscle mass [10:44]
  • How to eat if you want to maximise gains [12:55]
  • The importance of sleeping well [14:04]
  • Managing stress with meditation [14:49]
  • The one thing you need to know if you want to become superhuman [15:24]
  • How to improve your productivity [16:06]
  • How software automation and outsourcing can help you work better and smarter [20:24]

Selected Links from the Episode

People Mentioned

What do you think about my tips? Agree or disagree, let me know below!

  • Ed Craske

    Great podcast Lawrence, but surely to increase hypertrophy you got to lift heavy.Genetics are a factor but an excuse for many. Look at before pictures of Mr Universe Tom Platz legs, then see what they were like after squatting heavy for a few years.Best Regards!

    • Cheers Ed :D. Well, I remember seeing some research published or shared by Dr James Steele that showed that so long as the subject exercise to muscular failure, load wasn’t an important factor. It just makes the set more efficient. In the case of Tom Platz it’s N=1 so we can’t use it as proof that heavy loads are required for maximum muscle size. All this being said, if using heavy loads (which I enjoy doing when I’m not using body weight at home) seems to help you increase hypertrophy/and make the workout more interesting then great. So long as you’re exercising safely! Would be interesting to see Dr James Fisher and colleagues comment on this thread 😀

      • Ed Craske

        Thanks for the reply.With all respect to the research, I think there is more to hypertrophy than one set to failure. I think many people believe they train to failure, but in reality they don’t do it to the masochistic extent Arthur Jones recommended, (in the way that he trained Cases Viator).It is an abstract concept and easy to fool your self that you train hard.However,I am a great believer in basic heavy duty training as Mentzer performed for his Mr Universe competition.
        Best Regards

      • James Fisher

        An interesting area of discussion. Firstly, in regard to Tom Platz – he did incredibly high volume training at times as well and notably his legs were really out of proportion from his U/B. Bertil Fox might be a great example of a bodybuilder who used really heavy weights to the extent that his form was famously pretty poor. Look at the early ’80s Mr. O contests and you’ll see he was in tremendous condition. I think all of this comes down to genetics and the amount of steroids these guys used.

        The idea of HL or LL might better be considered by what the mechanisms are; by performing resistance exercise you’re trying to recruit all available motor units and muscle fibres to stimulate adaptation, and possibly increase metabolic stress by increasing inorganic phosphate (Pi) along with hydrogen (H+) and intramuscular acidity (pH). Once we realise that these are the ACTUAL goals, and that any RT is simply the catalyst to get there we can look back at the research and say that whilst possibly mediated by different mechanisms, and dependent upon TRUE effort and possibly discomfort (especially if lifting a very light load) if we reach momentary failure or apply maximal effort then we probably optimise adaptations. Ed – you raise a really good point about not many people being able to train to this degree, and thus there might be something to say for things like drop sets which serves to both use heavy loads and lighter loads. In the same discussion we might consider whether things like bone mineral density improve to the same degree with light loads…the evidence I’ve read suggests heavier loads are more favourable … but the research is growing.

        If pushed for an answer I would say that the research suggests that most loading schemes that catalyse true momentary failure will stimulate similar adaptations in hypertrophy and that heavy loads are not necessary. if looking anecdotally; most Bodybuilders don’t actually use heavy loads in relation to their maximal strength; only heavy loads in relation to yours and my maximal strength!!

        • Love it James and appreciate you taking the time to post your thoughts. Regarding drop sets, any thoughts on Mentzer’s view that a second set is counter-productive due, I believe, to the unnecessary in-roading and impact on recovery. Is this out-of-date/flawed? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8CXe7PvEXo&t=3s (Mentzer seminar)

          • Ed Craske

            Hi Lawrence, I think that the whole idea of one set is flawed. Most people need at least two warm up sets before a maximum lift.Try squatting with a weight you can do six reps for,say 300lb,with no warm up you may find yourself with torn muscles or a hernia if you are lucky.
            Good discussion by the way!

          • James Fisher

            Well, I think many approaches of using advanced techniques actually serve to add volume; certainly drop sets – unless you start very heavy and do only a few reps and reduce the load to still only be working in the 8-12 rep range. I quite like drop sets but I don’t think they’re necessary. But I also don’t think they likely have a huge impact on recovery; certainly not any more than a SSTF (single set to failure) approach.

            In answering Ed’s comment below; I’m actually a big believer in the SSTF approach because it ticks the boxes of recruitment, etc. as discussed above… but it has to be to failure!! Most people can’t/won’t reach failure – and certainly not alone. So might there be a benefit to higher volume for people training alone… possibly, but marginal if at all. The idea of warm up sets makes sense – I wouldn’t do a very heavy (<4RM) lift without performing that exercise for a few lighter reps first mostly to mobilise and mentally and physically prepare. If I'm training at a normal 6-12RM load then I don't think warm-ups are necessary.

          • Ed Craske

            Thanks again for a very intelligent and well thought out reply.I totally agree with your explanation of warm up as a way to prepare and synchronise the body, much in the same way a snooker player has a few practice shots to get ready for a match.
            The fitness world today is in need of hit in my opinion. So many people in the gym spend all their workout time on mobile phones and do not train hard.Basically waste time and money,don’t need to train every day to get good results if train hard in hit style.
            Keep up the great work and good luck with future research!
            Best Regards

        • Ed Craske

          Great answer James, good to actually read an answer that has good evidence behind its premise and a good knowledge of bodybuilding history.

  • Will Fugate

    Good work on the great recent content. Especially enjoyed this podcast sharing your own thoughts!

    You have consistently recommended Tim Ferris’ slow carb diet. You say you don’t track calories or macros nor does Tim recommend it. How do you pick/recommend how much to eat? I believe Tim says eat as much as you want of the allowed foods. This may work for people that generally undereat but not sure how that would work for a guy like me who typically overeats.

    Do you try to hit a certain protein goal? The book said at least 30 grams for breakfast and 20 grams for the other meals which would be 3 more from what I gathered, so minimum would be 90 grams. This seems low for a larger guy like me (6′ 209)

    How do you know when to adjust what you are eating?

    I know you have also experimented with intermittent fasting and I have been skipping breakfast for over a year now. Do you think the slow carb diet works better with the 30 in 30 rule?

    • admin

      Thank you Will.

      I have recommended Slow Carb for some time. Especially for people who struggle to stick to a diet and lose body fat. When on the Slow Carb, I don’t track calories or macros. I have found that my appetite auto-regulates on the Slow Carb and so long as my environment (home) isn’t a haven of sugar, then I’m not prone to “cheat”. Otherwise, 3 meals per day is enough for me. In the context of Slow Carb, for someone who is more prone to overeat, I would suggest making a concerted effort to include legumes in every meal and healthy fats (grass-fed butter, fatty meat/fish, etc). Should make the diet more satiating. I do try to eat 30g within 1hr of waking but I do not track protein in other meals. Personally, I have found intermittent fasting to be just as effective as 30-within-30. I would use a Bod Pod to measure body comp (fat and lean mass) every 4-8 weeks and only adjust protocol if you’re gaining fat. The scales aren’t very accurate (water retention and muscle gain) will affect overall weight. Alternatively, you could measure you’re waist line weekly. Just make sure you are consistent with your measuring mode. For more: http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com/health-fitness/how-to-lose-14-pounds-in-less-than-30-days-the-complete-slow-carb-diet-guide/

    • Thank you Will.

      I responded via my Word Press app but I don’t think Disqus liked that very much.

      I consistently recommend Slow Carb because it’s the most effective diet I’ve seen in terms of fat loss and compliance. There are more effective diets for fat loss but, in my experience, most people struggle to comply long term. Personally, as I hinted at on the podcast, I experiment with different diets. The diet that worked best for me was a HFLC diet with Bulletproof intermittent fasting every morning. Granted I was doing HIT once per week and playing basketball 2-3 times per week, see this from Facebook:

      Over the last few years, I’ve had a series of Bod Pods, which uses whole body densitometry to determine body composition.

      Here are my results over 3 years (note: the last 2 were within 8 weeks of each other):

      2014 – 64.5kg lean mass and 16.4% body fat
      Feb/2016 – 64.4kg lean mass and 12.3% body fat
      May/2016 – 65.2kg lean mass and 10.5% body fat.

      So how is it I’ve dropped 1.8% body fat whilst simultaneously increasing lean mass by 0.8kg over 8 weeks?

      This is what my lifestyle looks like (30,000 ft view) in a nutshell over the last 8 weeks:
      After reading Primal Blueprint and interviewing Mark Sisson, I decided to test the primal diet, which is a moderate to high fat/low-carb (yes, HIGH FAT) diet (think Grass-fed meat, butter and tons of vegetables) with no real cheat day except the odd cheat meal. I’m also using elements of the Bulletproof diet (Bulletproof Coffee every morning for breakfast).

      I’ve been doing high intensity strength training (single set to failure) once per week (3 exercises/2-way-split). I currently train my neck on a 4-way neck machine and throw in 2 big movements, such as a pull down and a chest press or an overhead press and a leg press (workouts sub-20min).

      Playing basketball 3 times per week (in prep for an upcoming match). Typically, 2 sessions will be intense, and 1 less intense session where I’m working on specific skills.
      I’ve been walking for at least an hour per day, and jumping off the London tube sooner to walk to my office. I’ve also made more of a concerted effort to take calls on the go, squat throughout the day and hang from a bar at home after breakfast :-).

      Typically been getting 7/8 hours sleep per night.

      ***************************************************************************

      When on Slow Carb, I don’t count calories or track macros. You’re right in that for me I was able to feel satiated with 3 meals with legumes, meat, and veg (soaked in butter). However, if I had sugary food in my home, I would probably have a mighty battle with my will power and maybe cheat occasionally, which normally results in me devouring an entire pack of ‘fill in the bank’. Therefore, I don’t keep any junk food at home! I think if you eat enough protein (call it 20-30g per meal) and add legumes, you should be pretty satisfied. Being a larger person, you may find it more beneficial to have 4 meals whereas I had 3 (weigh 170lbs).

      In terms of knowing when to adjust, I would either use a Bod Pod every 4-8 weeks to track body composition or measure your waist line, but understand that your weight will fluctuate, so best to take a long term view and not get freaked out by the daily volatility.

      I think the 30-within-30 rule works well to satiate you in the morning. But in my experience, intermittent fasting works just as well. It depends on what works best for you. Here’s a blog post I wrote on the Slow Carb recently: http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com/health-fitness/how-to-lose-14-pounds-in-less-than-30-days-the-complete-slow-carb-diet-guide/