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Baked Potato Chips ARE NOT Healthy

Hey, do you want know something? Baked potato chips ARE NOT healthy!

And guess what else? They don't even taste good! 
But hey, I'm sure you looked past that oh-so-lacking salty cardboard taste and texture many times in the name of health, which is why you NEED to be informed...

Are you ready to be SHOCKED? Make sure you are sitting down before reading this next line...

Baked potato chips are more heavily processed and contain MORE health-damaging ingredients than regular ol' fried potato chips.

What?! 
Yes, it's true, even demon-possessed trans fats can't compare with the health consequences contained in a bag of baked taters.

1. Dried Potatoes: These are processed potatoes...not even fresh, and most likely "dried" using high heat which makes them even worse. You see, when starch is subjected to high heat, it forms acrylamide, a potent cancer causing agent. No thankee!

2. Genetically Modified Corn: In not 1, not 2, but THREE ingredients (corn starch, corn oil, and corn sugar). GMO corn has been shown to lead to liver and kidney damage in rodents and the jury is still out on humans. I'll pass on being part of the lab experiement!

3. Genetically Modified Soy: Same as above...bad news. How do you know if things like soy and corn are non-GMO? 99% of soy and corn are genetically modified, so unless the ingredients are organic, the overwhelming odds are that soy and corn ingredients are genetically modified.

4. Corn Sugar (AKA high fructose corn syrup): Rated as the #1 worst carb ever, high fructose corn syrup has been heavily linked to obesity, weight gain, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

So did the guy who rung you up at your local sandwich shop LIE to you when he offered you that "healthy" bag of potato chips to go along with your "healthy" low fat foot long sub?

No, he just clearly doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

And stop eating subs for lunch already. Processed meat on high glycemic bread isn't a healthy choice, no matter how many grams of fat it has.

So skip out on the potato chips...baked or fried. But there IS good news, you can still eat a bunch of your favorite foods, when you learn exactly which foods burn the most fat.

Enjoy!
Kyle

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3 pastas that can help you burn MORE fat

One of the biggest myths in the fat-loss industry is that carbs like pasta make you fat. Don't get me wrong, unhealthy pastas (we'll get to the 3 healthy ones in sec) and certain carbs can definitely cause more fat storage. They can also lead to insulin resistance and cause certain food sensitivities that will KEEP you in a fat storing environment.
 
For example, most folks don't even realize that today's modern wheat is TOTALLY different from the wheat our ancestors ate, or even the wheat your mom and grandma used to eat. In fact, research is now showing that just two slices of whole wheat bread can increase blood sugar MORE than than 2 tablespoons of pure cane sugar, and this is only the beginning.
 
  • Store bought fruits and vegetables are now loaded with pesticides, herbicides, and even genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These residual chemicals and modified foods can block the absorption of vitamins and minerals -- and have been linked to several diseases including cancer.
  • Corn fed beef and pork has been shown to contain 9x the bad estrogen than natural pasture raised pork and grass fed beef. It also tends to be too high in omega 6 fats compared to its grass fed buddies. 
  • Most over the counter dairy are loaded with fillers, hidden chemicals, and poor quality protein. Cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are the only two exceptions to this rule, but watch for hidden sugars and preservatives. 
  • Store bought egg yolks can tend to be loaded with hormones passed along from the cage raised chickens. 
  • Roasted nuts are an "ok" source of friendly fat, but the roasting process basically destroys all the "good" fats. 
 
Even the most popular trendy grocery store chains have been shown to carry so-called "healthy" foods that contain GMOs, which is basically "fake" food that causes aggressive cancer tumor growth in mice. I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the point. Today's food systems are designed to be fast and convenient. 
 
As a result, the nutrient quality is not only poor...and it can be downright dangerous for your health. I'm not trying to be a fear monger. I'm just trying to raise your level of awareness.
 
Knowledge is half the battle. 
 
 
However, my good friend and Carb Cycling Expert Shaun Hadsall's 4 Cycle Fat-Loss allows you to eat things like pasta and burn MORE fat. 
 
Sound crazy?
 
Well even though I usually save pasta for my cheat days, Shaun suggests 3 healthy pastas that are exceptions to the rule. 
 
3 healthy pastas that can help you burn more fat
 
#1: Gluten Free-Organic Brown Rice Pasta (higher carb)
 
This is still considered a starch, but if you're a pasta freak give this a try a few hours before or after a workout with a piece of wild caught fish or a turkey burger. 
 
*Use this on exercise days or on Carb UP days when you carb cycle 
 
 #2 Gluten Free Organic Black Bean Spaghetti (medium carb)
 
I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was. I threw some homemade red sauce on it and cooked up a grass fed burger with some Swiss chard, garlic, and mushrooms on the side. Man, was it ever delicious. 
 
This has 16 grams of healthy low glycemic carbs and 20 grams of protein. It also only contains one ingredient. Well two really; black beans and water. 
 
*Eat this on Carb DOWN days when you carb cycle or use this if you're vegetarian for extra protein 
 
 #3: Shirataki Spaghetti (low carb)
 
I had this particular pasta last night because I'm going low carb this week.
 
It only has 4 grams of carbs per serving, it's gluten free and vegan...and it tastes like real spaghetti.
 
I cooked it up and then added some free range chicken breasts, shitake mushrooms, garlic, broccoli, bamboo shoots, ginger, red pepper flakes...and then added some gluten free low sodium soy sauce. YUM! 
 
*Eat this on Deplete Days when you carb cycle
 
So there you have it!
 
Three healthy pastas that can help you burn more fat.
 
Just make sure to...
 
1. Always combine these pastas with a complete protein source (you can get away with eating the black bean spaghetti by itself, but I still recommend adding a little more complete animal protein).
 
2. Time your intake of these pastas properly. 
 
3. Don't use them every day.
 
And that's pretty much what Shaun Hadsall's newly upgraded 4 Cycle Fat-Loss system is all about, understanding how to "cycle" healthy carbs using the 4 proven cycles of Macro-Patterning. 
 
Here's to staying lean through the holidays this year!
 
To your success, 
Kyle
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I HATE cardio - 5 reasons why

Going through some client emails over the last few days I've noticed that many people are still stuck doing long duration, low-intensity cardiovascular exercises.  Yikes!

Here's the deal: if you're looking to achieve maximal benefit from the time you put into your workouts, long duration "slow-go" cardio is NOT the way to go, and for many reasons.

Here are my top 5:


1. Minimal calories burned:  45 minutes on the treadmill may burn a whopping 300 calories if you're lucky, the equivalent of ONE TENTH of a pound of fat. Exercise ten hours a week and you might just lose a pound!

Which brings me to my next point: 

2. Way too much time involved:  I don't know about you, but I don't have hours and hours of my time to pour into working out each week. In fact, very rarely do I ever a couple hours of exercise weekly, and you know what? That's ALL you need. In fact, research has shown that anything more than 90 mins a week may be detrimental!

Beyond that, slow-go cardio is:

3. BORING as hell:  Sitting on an exercise bike staring at the wall in front of me for 45-60 minutes? No thanks.

But perhaps even worse is the fact that slow-go cardio provides:

4. No prolonged metabolic benefits:
  Did you know that with higher intensity exercise it is possible to continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours post workout?

It's true. But you know what else is true? Long duration, low intensity cardio provides virtually NO prolonged elevation in metabolism. In fact, with slow-go cardio, metabolism returns to baseline almost IMMEDIATELY following the exercise session.

And finally, the reason that trumps all the others:

5. Minimal fat loss:  Minimal calories burned during the session and virtually no additional calories burned afterward = minimal, if any fat loss results. And let's be honest, the only reason anyone is doing cardio is for the "result".

So low-go cardio isn't a great solution.


To your health,
Kyle

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Should You Be Taking Probiotics?

Every few years, there's a hot nutritional supplement or ingredient. Multi-grain and omega-3 fats were hot label ingredients in the past. Now it's probiotics, so let's examine this topic below.
 
If you look at medical news and trending topics on health, you'll find that a lot of what's being discussed today has to do with our immune systems. People in Western countries such as Canada and the US are walking around with compromised immune systems, which is why we're seeing so many cases of things like food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, Lupus and other problems related to immunity and inflammation.
 
Why is Immunity Such an Issue for Westerners?
 
Amongst the most popular reasons, researchers say this is because most Westerners eat unhealthy diets that damage the delicate balance in our gut flora. The gut flora are basically the body's security guards; they keep bacteria from sneaking out of our digestive tracts and into our bloodstreams where they can do real damage. 
 
80% of our immunity takes place in our intestines, in specialized lymph tissue. The gut flora is the main protection for that immune tissue, so if our gut flora are compromised, 80% of our immunity is, too. 
 
The problem is that Westerners eat so much of processed food containing genetically modified ingredients and ingredients that have been injected with tons of antibiotics. We also take far too many antibiotics by prescription, for everything from a cold to an ear infection. Antibiotics aren't bad, but they don't just kill bad bacteria; they kill all the bacteria in our digestive systems. This means they kill the good bacteria that keeps our immune system safe.
 
What are Probiotics?
 
Probiotics are whole colonies of living, good bacteria. They make their way to your digestive tract, where they multiply and fight the bad bacteria.
 
You can get probiotics in some foods, like live culture yogurt and kefir. Unfortunately, the beneficial bacteria has to go through your stomach before it can get to your digestive tract and your stomach acid will kill off huge numbers of those bacteria before they ever get where they're supposed to go. Also, there are many kinds of good bacteria and not every food contains every one of them. This is important to know because different types help different parts of your body. 
 
What Can Probiotics do for You?
 
There's quite a bit of research that proves probiotics can delay or prevent some types of cancer. Probiotics also have a lot of other important benefits, some of them especially important to those who workout. Intense workouts create a great deal of oxidative stress and oxidative stress uses up a lot of the antioxidants present in our systems. Some of the recent research shows that probiotics can increase our antioxidant levels and minimize the effects of oxidative stresses from intense workouts.
 
Probiotics can also be a huge help in losing belly fat. In 2010, researchers gave overweight men either a supplement containing the probiotic lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 or a placebo. The men who took the probiotic lost an average of 5% abdominal fat over the course of twelve weeks.
 
How to Get Your Probiotics
 
Because probiotics in foods usually come in small numbers and in limited types, supplementation is really the way to go. But not all supplements are created equal. 
The best supplements should include several different kinds of good bacteria and list each one on the label so you know what you're getting. There are seven types of important bacteria that you can take:
 
Lactobacillus Acidophilus: for digestive health and cholesterol levels
Lactobacillus Rhamnosis: for stress and weight loss 
Lactobacillus Bulgaricus: for lactose intolerance
Lactobacillus Plantarum: for digestion and cardiovascular health
Lactobacillus casei: for leaky gut and heart health
Bifidobacterium Longum: for weight loss and cancer-fighting
Bifidobacterium Breve: for supporting all the other good bacteria
 
Make sure that the label tells you the number of live colony forming units (CFUs) and if the number on the label is the number it contained at the time the probiotic was bottled, or if that's the number it will contain up until the expiration date. Different companies use different stabilizers to keep the good bacteria alive after they're packaged and some of those stabilizers are better than others. 
 
You also want a probiotic that is microencapsulated. This is like buying coated aspirin; the capsules actually protect the bacteria from your stomach acid so that more of them survive to make it to your digestive tract.
 
How much you need to supplement and what types of bacteria you need most, will depend on your own health circumstances. You'll need to look at any current health issues, such as stress and digestive disorders and research the right types and quantities for your situation. Some researchers suggest taking a minimum of 10-billion CFUs of a regular probiotic or 4-billion CFUs if you're taking a microencapsulated product.
 
Taken correctly, probiotics can be a huge help in building your immune system and reducing inflammation and those benefits can have a huge impact on your results. You can check out what I personally take below:
 
To your results,
Kyle
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3 Diet Mistakes Men Make

If you're like most guys, chances are good that you could be making one of the following diet mistakes. Don't worry though; they're common and easy to fix. The trick is recognizing what you're doing wrong and making the change!

Overlooking Liquid Calories

This is a mistake that many men make. You may count every calorie that you eat, but forget to add in that pre-workout drink, the post-workout shake or the beer or 3 that you have after work. Those calories add up quickly and if you're not counting them, they could be the reason that you're holding on to those love handles.

Eating On The Fly

Rushing is a way of life for most people today and we're programmed to believe that lunch is at noon. However, the proclivity to grab something to eat and scarf it down on your way to your next engagement may be sabotaging your diet efforts in more ways than one.

First, convenience foods tend to be processed and heavy on the bad fat and calories. Second, when you eat in a hurry, you'll most likely eat too much before your body has a chance to tell you that it's full. Finally, you should eat when you're hungry, not when society dictates that it's time. Eating when you're not hungry can mess with your biological rhythm that signals when you're full and when you're hungry. That can lead to overeating.

"I'll Work It Off Later"

Women tend to count how many calories they burned during their last workout in order to decide how much to eat, but men are more likely to eat first with and plan to work it off later. The problem is that you may not always make it to the gym, or if you do, you may not burn enough calories to make up for the cheeseburger and fries that you had with your buddies.

As you know, in order to lose weight you have to consume fewer calories than you burn, yet calorie timing is also a huge part of maximizing fat loss.

My good friend and calorie cycling specialist Shaun Hadsall has a brand new article that consists of 3 food timing tricks to stop fat storage and kill belly fat.

To your results,

Kyle

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Is Coffee a Good Pre Workout?

It seems that research is backing up the use of coffee as a pre-workout drink for a number of different reasons. If you look at just about any pre-workout drink, you're going to find some sort of stimulant. Since ephedra was banned, it's fairly likely that the exact stimulant that you'll find is going to be caffeine.

That's exactly what's in coffee. What you won't find in coffee is artificial flavors, sweeteners or a ton of calories: just good old fashioned caffeine along with serious antioxidant power and a nice, rich, wake-me-up flavor.

Coffee Boosts Fat Burning

A neat little trick that was discovered during research is that coffee triggers your body to burn fat instead of glycogen for energy during a workout. This means that you're quite literally burning fat while you're working without having to burn through your glycogen stores first.

Coffee Increases Mental Clarity


One of the benefits of caffeine is that it helps you to focus on the task at hand. When you're working out, that means that you can concentrate more easily on performing each exercise precisely and completely without your mind wandering off in a million directions.

Coffee Decreases Pain

Caffeine affects a system in your brain and spine that deals with pain, which is why it may help reduce muscle pain and burn during workouts. A study conducted at the University of Illinois in 2009 supports this. College-age men were first given a placebo before hitting the cycles, then a week later were given a caffeine pill before cycling. Significant reduction in calf pain during exercise was reported during the caffeine phase of the study.

This could help you work out longer and harder without experiencing muscle pain and burn that can reduce the number of reps or the amount of weight that you can lift. That's a pretty big bonus to any workout plan!

Caffeine Improves Performance

When you look at the combination of increased energy and focus and decreased workout pain, caffeine is bound to improve your performance. This leap in logic is supported by numerous studies, which show that caffeine consumption (with as little as one cup) can increase performance by about 12%.

Possible Downsides of Drinking Coffee as a Pre-Workout

If you're extremely sensitive to caffeine, drinking coffee may not be for you. Also, coffee is a diuretic. While that's great if you're retaining water, it's not-so-great when you're trying to hydrate your body during and after a workout.

I give a nice strong, black cup of coffee a 2 thumbs up for an inexpensive alternative to a traditional pre-workout. As for as pre-workouts themselves go, I'm extremely picky and, in my opinion, the one you'll find at the link below is now the best there is.



To your results,

Kyle
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Chocolate Milk Exposed

The great chocolate milk debate rages on but many of the arguments against it are simply based on people's beliefs about drinking milk rather than the actual science behind what your body needs to recover from exercise. Those needs include carbohydrates, quality protein and electrolytes. That's what most recovery drinks are chemically comprised of... but guess what? Low-fat chocolate milk provides all of those naturally.

Chocolate Milk is an Excellent Source of Whey Protein

If you take a look at what your recovery drink contains, chances are good that it's going to be whey or casein protein. Milk provides both! This is great because whey protein is an easily bio-available source of protein that's proven to help your body repair and build lean muscle tissue almost immediately. Casein protein digests more slowly, which gives your body a steady stream of amino acids over a longer time period. Sixteen ounces of chocolate milk provides 16 - 22 grams of protein!

Chocolate Milk Replaces Electrolytes

When you sweat, you lose valuable electrolytes that are crucial to survival. Even a small imbalance can wreak major havoc on your body. These include calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium and sodium, all of which are found in chocolate milk. Several of these particular electrolytes are also minerals that help keep your bones strong, so there's another bonus! Finally, there are more than 400 grams of water in a 16oz serving, so you're getting hydrated too.

Just a note on calcium: it's one of the critical components of muscle movement. Your muscles work in a cross-hatch cyclical pattern when contracting and releasing. Calcium is what binds the plasma to the muscles and signals contraction to take place, so if you don't have enough calcium, your muscles won't function optimally.

Chocolate Milk is Cheap!

This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits from a realistic standpoint. With protein drinks costing upwards of $6 at a gym, chocolate milk can be easily made at home for less than $1 per glass. Times are tough so cheap (and nutritious) is good!

Now if you like the taste of chocolate milk but want to step up the quality of your post workout shake I definitely recommend you check out Blue Star's chocolate Iso-Smooth.  I think you'll love it!


To your results,

Kyle

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The Worst Foods for Long Term Fat Loss

You might think that cookies, cakes, pizza and hoagies were the worst foods for fat loss, but I beg to differ!
 
When you're trying to lose fat and build lean muscle, most diets and diet experts will tell you to get rid of the junk food, comfort food and old family recipes and fill your kitchen with "diet-friendly" foods like spring greens and cottage cheese. The problem is that the only diet that will work for you is the one you'll eat. If your fridge is loaded up with foods you don't like or don't know how to cook, you'll end up ditching the diet almost as soon as you start it.
 
The key to long term fat loss isn't dieting; it's learning how to choose the most nutritious foods and then learning how to really enjoy them. Long term fat loss comes from a healthy lifestyle, not a super restrictive, terrible tasting diet. I have two guidelines for you if you want to lose fat and lose it for good: don't try to eat what you don't like and learn how to make what you love.
 
Don't Try to Eat What You Don't Like
 
No matter how healthy quinoa, fish and kiwi are, they won't help you lose fat if you don't like eating them. There are hundreds and hundreds of healthy foods out there; foods that are great for long term fat loss. You just need to stick to the ones you actually enjoy eating.
 
If you hate quinoa, stick to brown rice. If you've tried to like kale and just can't, then eat spinach or mustard greens instead. The important thing is to identify the healthiest foods in each category (such as nuts, leafy greens, healthy fats, healthy dairy, etc.) and then choose the ones you do like. Trying to force yourself to eat certain foods you hate while giving up foods you love is a recipe for failure.
 
Try new foods when you can. Pick up one or two unfamiliar fruits or vegetables each week or try that Ezekiel cereal, bread or pasta I've fallen in love with. If you don't like these new foods, don't force yourself to eat them. Along the way you'll discover new foods that you do like and that'll help you get all your macros without being bored.
 
Learn to Make What You Love
 
Very few people have the discipline or the desire to give up all of their favorite foods forever. Fortunately, that really isn't necessary. There's a time and place for enjoying some of your favorite not-so-good-for-you foods. How often you indulge and how much you eat depends on your program, your goals and your metabolism. Saying you'll never get to eat pizza again is self-defeating and counterproductive.
 
Another thing you can do is learn to make healthier versions of your favorite foods. There are all kinds of great recipes for healthier pizza, macaroni and cheese, banana cream pie and any other food you can think of. Try a few out, choose the ones that taste best and enjoy your favorite stuff without blowing your whole program.
 
Remember, long term fat loss is all about your lifestyle. And part of life is enjoying a good meal.
 
To your results,
Kyle
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The #1 Cereal for Fat Loss and Lean Muscle

Cereal does not have to be the no-no so many people think it is. You just have to choose wisely. And today you'll see my number one cereal selection for lean muscle and fat loss.

One of the hardest foods to cut from your diet is cereal. It tastes good, it's a fast, easy way to get a some carbs and it's a cheap meal. The problem is that most cereals, even the "healthy" cereals, are loaded with stuff you don't need to put in your body.

The Problem with Most "Healthy Cereals"

Most cereals are super high in sugar, sodium, preservatives, and calories and have very little fiber. Even most of the "high-fiber" and "whole-grain" cereals have more salt and sugar than you need and the fiber content isn't all that high, anyway. 

They also usually have little or no protein.

When you're working hard toward your fat loss and lean muscle building goals, you have to be careful about eating calories that have no return on your caloric investment. Most cereals aren't going to give you enough bang for your buck.

Choose Wisely and You Can Enjoy Cereal in Your Diet

The cereal you eat needs to feed your goals, not work against them. This is why I like Ezekiel 4:9 cereals so much and why I rank it as a top choice for cereals when it comes to fat loss and building lean muscle. Here's why:

  • Lentil and whole grains mean high protein.

Most cereals have little to no protein, except for the milk you pour over them. Ezekiel 4:9 has 8g of protein per ½ cup serving and it's high quality protein. Ezekiel 4:9 is made with six whole grains and legumes, so it packs a real protein punch. When you need a meal that combines quality proteins with slow-digesting carbs (like before a workout), this cereal is perfect.

  • 40g of carbs but no sugar.

Ezekiel 4:9 comes in several different flavors and some of them, like cinnamon-raisin, have low amounts of sugars. I usually eat the original flavor, which has zero grams of sugar. That way, I'm free to add some fruit to it for extra fiber and micronutrients.

  • Everything organic.

One of the biggest issues with most cereals is that they're made from wheat and corn that have been treated with all kinds of chemicals and then they add a bunch of preservatives to them. Ezekiel 4:9 is completely organic and has no added preservatives. It's just high-quality, nourishing food.

  • The taste is awesome.

A lot of healthier cereals, even the few truly healthy ones, taste like rocks and bark. Even though Ezekiel 4:9 doesn't have any added sugar, it's got just a touch of sweetness from the barley and lentils and it really tastes amazing. The truth is that no matter how healthy something is, you're not going to eat it if it tastes awful. This cereal is one that you'll actually enjoy eating.

Cereal can be a very low-cost way to get some healthy carbs, if you choose it wisely. I think Ezekiel 4:9 is hands down one of the best cereals for fat loss and building lean muscle so give it a try!

To your results,

Kyle

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Easy Muscle Building Recipe: Shepherd's Pie

In this video, I give out one of my fabulous recipes that is filled with lean protein and healthy complex carbs.

 

How To Make Kyle Leon's Shepherd's Pie

The ingredients are: 
- 1 Ibs extra lean ground chicken 
- 1 cup low fat cottage cheese (drained) 
- 1 can corn kernels 
- 3 medium sweet potatoes 
- dash of cinnamon (optional)

Directions: 
Brown chicken, then add cottage cheese and corn. Boil sweet potatoes (peeled) and then mash. Put the chicken, cottage cheese and corn mix at the bottom of an oven-usable dish. Place the mashed sweet potato on top of the mix. Bake for 30 mins at 400 degrees F. Makes 4 servings. 

Nutritional info per serving: 
Calories = 354
Carbs = 31g
Protein = 36g
Fat = 10g

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!