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Nutrition & Fitness FAQs

Dr. Rick Kattouf II

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Q: I'm trying to get rid of the fat around my abdomen. What is the best abdominal exercise for this? 

Great question; not only am I going to give you the best abdominal exercise, I'm going to give you the three best abdominal exercises that will help assist in reducing abdominal fat. Here they are:

1.     Nutrition

2.     Nutrition

3.     Nutrition 

And there we go, the three best "abdominal exercises" to help assist in reducing abdominal fat. Point being, you can do all of the abdominal exercises you want. You can perform hundreds of repetitions of abdominal exercises each and every day, but you will never achieve a lean midsection unless your nutrition is spot-on. The key to reducing body fat, from a nutritional perspective, is to focus on eating right, not eating healthy.


Eating healthy is not the key to success, rather, eating right is the key to success. When we focus on eating right, we are focusing on the process, we are focusing on fueling our body right at every meal and snack, every day. We want to fuel the body right away upon awakening and then every 2.5-3.5 hours thereafter all throughout the day. We want to focus on the proper macronutrient balance at every meal and snack (40-65% calories from carbohydrate, 15-30% protein, 15-30% fat). This is how we set the body up for great success. By fueling the body properly, we are taking one giant step forward on this health fitness journey so that we can achieve meaningful and sustainable results for a lifetime.


Q: I was working out one hour per day and eating 1200 cal each day, but I was not losing any weight. I then increased my workouts up to 1.5-2 hours per day, and I'm still not losing any weight. Should I decrease my calories down to 800-1000 each day?

I completely understand this thinking. On the surface, it seems to make sense; workout more, eat less and lose weight, right? Well, in the famous words of Lee Corso, "not so fast." As I talk about in my 3-DVD set, Rx Nutrition, "if it were as easy as calories in versus calories out, it would be that easy." And in terms of reducing calories, absolutely not. Actually, just the opposite. We need to jack up these calories, big-time. What would happen if we continue to drive our car more and harder and put in less fuel, oil, coolant, etc.? Well, we don't need to be a car mechanic to know that the outcome is not going to be very good. The same holds true for the human body.


When individuals see questions like this, often times the knee-jerk reaction is that this person is working out too much. That would be a very negative response in reaction to such a question. Working out a lot is not the issue…If and only if what? If and only if the body is being properly fueled for the given output (workout frequency and duration). Make sense?  Continuing to work out 1-2 hours per day is perfectly fine, though not always necessary, as long as the body is being properly fueled for this amount of working out.


The next question this individual may ask is the following, "then how many calories should I be eating?" What we have to understand about total calories is that, sure, they are important, but total calories are only one small piece to this very complex, multi-piece puzzle. It's not just, "eat this many calories and you will have success." Not even close. Because remember, there are hundreds of different ways to reach a total number of calories for the day. But there's only one right way, that is of course, if someone is looking to achieve meaningful and sustainable results for a lifetime.


Let's say that this individual's body requires 2100-2500 cal per day. We cannot just provide this individual with this number and say, "good luck." This would be very shortsighted and this is not going to set this individual up for any type of success whatsoever. It's not the total number of calories that is the key to success. Rather, it's how we arrive at the total number of calories that is the key to success. Read that one more time, that's a very important statement. It's very common for individuals to "play games with and manipulate" their total calories. Often times, individuals look at the total calories they need as some magic number or a bank of points or a bank of calories and as long as they hit that number, no matter how they get there, it's all good. But this could not be further from the truth.


Individuals will save up calories so that they can eat/drink more later in the day. Individuals will skip meals early in the day or consume some super-low-calorie diet snack of 80 cal, thereby "allowing themselves" to consume more at the restaurant later that night. In their minds, they feel it is still a success because they hit that magic number of calories.


As the weeks and months progressed, they are still not getting any results. And, not only are they not getting results in terms of weight loss, but more often than not, they are gaining weight. And this is proof once again that it's not simply about hitting a number in terms of total calories for the day. Rather, it's how we arrive at those total calories for the day. And this is where the fueling frequency, fueling timing and macronutrient balance become so important. When we fuel the body right away upon awakening and then every 2.5-3.5 hours thereafter all throughout the day and have each meal and snack properly balanced, the success-train is in motion.


One of the big keys to success is to take the mind off of total calories for the aforementioned reasons. Focusing on the calories is focusing on the results. And when we are results-focused, we lose sight of the process and we don't achieve results. We want to become process-focused and this is where we will start to see success. When we focus on the process, we focus on fueling the body properly right away upon awakening and every three hours thereafter all throughout the day. When we focus on the process, we focus on the proper macronutrient balance at every meal and snack. And, when we focus on the process, nail the process, perfect the process, the calories will then fall right into place. And when we focus on the process, results will start to show. Results are simply the positive byproduct of a great process. Focus on the process, nail the process, perfect the process and you will be staring success right in the face.


Q: I really want to lose weight and I'm working out really hard. I've increased my intensity even more because I was not losing any weight. But now, not only am I not getting results, I feel exhausted, I'm always sore, I'm getting frustrated and some days I do not even feel like working out, which is not like me. What am I doing wrong?

What a great question and what a common scenario this is. And once again, on the surface, it seems to make sense. If someone is not losing weight, well, just workout more/harder, and that should do the trick. But, this is so far from the truth. Working out more/harder is not the key to success when it comes to body transformation. Rather, working out smarter is the key to success. Always keep in mind, it's easy to work out hard; but, it takes time, effort, energy, patience, discipline and laser-like focus to work out smart (What is a key trait successful individuals share? The ability to Delay Gratification).  When we talk about working out smart, we are talking about focusing on heart rate training during each and every workout.


When individuals are ready to embrace working out smart, and not just working out harder, there can be a learning curve. Let's take an individual that's been working out at 9Round and now they are ready to start using the 9Round heart rate training system. They may find themselves working out at a much slower and easier effort in order to maintain the prescribed heart rate zones. This is part of the learning curve. Because remember, working out more/harder was not working for this individual and now it's time to switch gears and work out smarter. This requires us to check our "athletic ego" at the door and simply let the prescribed heart rate dictate the pace of the workout, no matter how slow it may be.


By working out in the proper heart rate zones, we're going to maximize the body's ability to burn body fat and this is where the body transformation process will start (when combined with eating right of course). In time, as individuals continue to work out smart, the results are nothing shy of mind-bending. They will find themselves building an amazing amount of fitness and efficiency and they will start to notice how they can work out longer, harder, faster, at the same or lower heart rate. The payoff of working out smart is absolutely amazing.


On the surface, it may seem like working out smart is requiring this individual to work out slower/easier, but that is so far from the truth. Then why is it such a slower effort when we start working out smart and in the right heart rate zones? Well, simply because the individual is just not as fit as they thought they were, it's that simple. If in the beginning, working out in the right heart rate zones is slow, it's not because we are prescribing slower workouts. We are simply prescribing smarter workouts. And the only reason it's "slow" is because the individual does not have the cardiovascular fitness and efficiency that they thought they did. And again, when this individual stays on course and continues to work out smart, they will be at a higher level of fitness and efficiency than they ever thought possible.




Dr. Rick Kattouf II

2x Best-Selling Author

9Round Nutrition Coach

Named One of America’s PremierExperts® in Nutrition & Fitness

Named One Of The World Fitness Elite® Trainers Of The Year


2x Best-Selling Author and Fitness & Nutrition expert Dr. Rick Kattouf has been named one of America’s PremierExperts® and one of the World Fitness Elite™ Trainers of the Year. He has been seen on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates around the country as well as in the USA Today, Chicago Tribune and The Independent in the UK. Rick is the CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf, Inc., CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf Nutrition LLC, Creator of TeamKattouf Nutrition Supplements, Host of Rx Nutrition, author of Forever Fit, Creator of 5-Round Fury Fitness™ workout app, 9Round Nutrition Coach Sports Nutrition Specialist, ITCA Triathlon Coach, MMA Conditioning Coach, Food Psychology Coach, Wellness and Nutrition Consultant, Sports Nutrition Consultant, Heart Rate Performance Specialist, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker.