Harley's clients, like everyone else, worry if they step on the scale and notice they've gained a pound, even if they're doing everything right. To avoid this problem, Pasternak doesn't weigh his clients until the end of the program. "Your weight fluctuates due to your hormone cycle, hydration, electrolytes and sodium intake," he said. "Don't feel defeated if your weight doesn't go down immediately. Be more concerned with the process. Did I do the exercise? Did I eat the things I was supposed to? If so, you're successful."
"Not all fats are created equal", Pasternak said. "Healthy fats are essential to our health." Not only that, but healthy fat-based snacks such as 1.5 ounces of peanuts can help keep you full between meals and reduce your chances of heart disease.
Many of Pasternak’s clients initially believe that if cardio is good for getting in shape, more cardio is even better. “I tell them it’s not the case,” he said. “There’s an optimum amount of intensity. Be active throughout the day as opposed to over-exercising.” Pasternak recommends using an odometer to keep track of your movement and using your time at the gym to supplement an already-active lifestyle.
Pasternak's weight-conscious clients often worry that lifting weight will give them big, unsightly muscles. But bulk is a byproduct of several factors, Pasternak said. The first is hormones, the second is eating a lot of food and the third is high exercise volume. Building large muscles requires many reps and a variety of exercises targeted on one body part, he said. Instead, he recommends more general weight training to help you ramp up your metabolism and burn more fat.
Carbohydrates are an essential part of your diet, according to Pasternak. “They’re the only things that pass the blood-brain barrier, and we would be zombies without them," he said. Pasternak recommends maximizing healthy carbs—those that have a lot of fiber, such as apples, blackberries or whole grains. Other sources, such as melon, papaya and mango, sometimes have surprisingly little fiber.
Rest is essential to making sure your body isn't overtrained, Pasternak said. You rest, recover and come back stronger.
When clients first hear about Pasternak’s approach to eating—having small meals throughout the day—they often think they’ll be eating more food. In fact, the calories stay consistent, but frequent eating ramps up your metabolism. “Grazing over gorging has been shown to be much better for stabilizing blood sugar and appetite,” Pasternak said.
“Studies have shown that people who lose more weight in the first week of a program tend to be more motivated to stick with it,” Pasternak said. Based on this information, Pasternak created a plan to help you “power your metabolism, blast fat, and shed pounds” in 15 days. If you can make it to this critical point, you give yourself the best chance at long-term success.
Many of Pasternak’s clients think muscle soreness is a sign of a good workout. “Muscle soreness does not dictate the efficacy of a workout program,” Pasternak said. “Muscle soreness is a byproduct of inflammation, so it is definitely not an indication you did a good job.” Furthermore, certain muscle groups—such as the deltoids—do not get as sore as others, he said, regardless of the workout.
Pasternak cites numerous studies that say blending ingredients is the most efficient way to deliver nutrients to your body. Slicing the cell walls of fruits and vegetables releases the good stuff, allowing the body to access and utilize nutrients better.
While researching his book, Pasternak interviewed fitness and boot camp fanatics. He asked whether they found a relationship between the number of classes they did and weight loss (no), and whether they currently or recently had had pain in their joints (most often yes). What they're doing was not the answer, he said. He prefers fewer sessions of higher intensity.