Game On! Diet Challenge Lose Weight While Kicking Your Friends Butt

We are gearing up for our next Game On! Diet Challenge starting
next Monday April 19th.

When we held our first Game On! Diet Challenge it was an eye opening
experience for everyone involved, both participants and bystanders.

The team aspect held campers accountable and got everyone’s competitive
juices flowing!

Az Ferguson, co-auther of the book and “Body-for-Life Million
Dollar Champion”came out to Maplewood and led our Maplewood Boot Camp.

Both he and co-author Krista Vernoff held coaching calls with our
campers as well.

In addition, we were featured on CBS News, the New York Times Local,
Maplewood Patch and more.

Some of our campers were also asked to go to the Good Morning America
studios for an interview.

Well, we’re at it again. Our next Maplewood Boot Camp starts this
Saturday April. 17th.

We will officially start the Game On! Diet Challenge on Monday
April 19th and it will end on May 16th. All campers interested will
be placed onto teams.

The first 20 people to sign up for camp will get  a complimentary
copy of the Game On! Diet book and 20% off any boot camp purchase
of $267 or more. Use the coupon code GAMEON at checkout.

REAL Slimming Secrets from the Supermarket Part 2


REAL Slimming Secrets from the Supermarket:
Part 2

In part 1 of this series we revealed four slimming secrets available from your supermarket -coffee, hot red pepper, cinnamon and green tea- and their calorie-burning effects. Along the way, we learned that increasing your calorie-burning rate is the first step towards achieving negative fat balance, a metabolic state of affairs in which your body is burning more fat than it’s storing, and without which, fat loss is impossible. In this report we discuss how practical it actually is to use the “Top Four” to help you get you into negative fat balance and see the fat pounds come off.

Studies have made it fairly clear that taking caffeine can increase your calorie-burning rate. But can drinking coffee have the same effect? For help in answering this question, we reached out to Dr. Abdul Dulloo (Ph.D.), a lecturer and research fellow in the Department of Medicine and Physiology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He states1 “There have been a couple of studies that have compared coffee with its equivalent in caffeine on metabolic rate. No differences have been found, suggesting that the thermogenic effect of coffee (as assessed at rest) is explained essentially by its caffeine content.”

Dulloo’s own studies suggest, however, that one cup may not be enough to produce fat loss, even if repeated long term. Recall from part 1 that when he and his colleagues2 gave subjects a single 100-mg dose of caffeine (equivalent to ~1.2 cups of coffee), their calorie-burning rate rose up to 4% for 2.5 hours. Anything less than 100 mg, the scientists felt, was unlikely to produce a demonstrable thermogenic effect. *
Let’s put these numbers into perspective. For the sake of example, assume that at rest you normally burn 1500 Calories a day. This is your resting metabolic rate. Thus, a 4% increase sustained over 2.5 hours equates to burning an additional 6.25 Calories, roughly the caloric content of a tablespoon of nonfat milk. Not impressed? You’re shouldn’t be.
In the same study, Dulloo and his colleagues tried stepping things up by giving subjects 100 mg of caffeine every 2 hours for 12 hours (600 mg total). The result? Their calorie-burning rate increased 8-11% over the same time frame. Continuing with our example, this would equate to burning an extra 60-83 Calories a day, or about half a glass of Merlot. While this is considerably more impressive, remember that 600 mg of caffeine corresponds to about 7 cups of coffee.
Even if you have a coffee habit like Hugo Chavez, some scientists suggest that you might not experience the same effects as you would by taking the equivalent amount of caffeine. Nishijima et al.3 relate:

“It needs to be pointed out that the common belief that caffeine and coffee consumption might have very similar physiological effects is not the case. Graham et al. (1998) have shown that the same dose of caffeine, either ingested in a capsule as in the present study, or in coffee resulted in different plasma adrenaline concentrations, i.e. being significantly higher after taking the caffeine capsules. These findings suggest that one cannot extrapolate the effects of caffeine to coffee; there must be something in coffee that moderates the effects of caffeine.”

Whether coffee can produce the same calorie-burning effect as has been repeatedly demonstrated for caffeine or not, it’s safe to say that many of us would prefer not to consume large quantities of either. The more practical, if not effective, approach may be to consume enough pure caffeine to provide a modest calorie-burning boost in combination with other ingredients that can safely elevate it further –a “team” approach, if you will. After all, if you were to burn an extra 83 Calories a day and do nothing else, it would take nearly a month and a half to lose one pound of body fat. Double this figure, however, and it would take only 20 days.
*[NOTE: Individual responses to caffeine can vary markedly. Also, more recent studies have found that doses less than 100 mg can produce modest thermogenic effects. For instance, in a double-blind study, Belza et al.4 gave young normal-weight men 50 mg of caffeine. Over the next 4 hours they burned roughly 17 more Calories (a 6% increase) than subjects taking a placebo.]

Hot Red Pepper
One of the ingredients to consider combining with caffeine is capsaicin, the compound responsible for the painful punch of hot red peppers. While it may not be at the top of your grocery list, it’s possible to consume enough of capsaicin from your diet to raise your calorie-burning rate, says Dr. Toshio Moritani (Ph.D.)5, a professor and director of the Laboratory of Applied Physiology at Kyoto University in Japan. He suggests adding chili pepper to curried rice.
Moritani and his colleagues have reported on the calorie-burning effects of capsaicin in several studies, one of which we discussed in part 1. In it, female subjects who received a curried rice meal containing 3 mg of capsaicin experienced a 10% increase in their calorie-burning rate. While this would equate to burning an additional 129 Calories a day if the effect were sustained for 24 hours, it was only measured for 30 minutes. Moritani relates “the expected increase in energy metabolism [calorie burning] is rather minimal such that only 10 to 20 Calories might be generated. It will take a year to lose 1 kg [2.2 lb] of body fat!”

Dr. Anita Belza, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen, concurs6:

“The capsaicin concentration varies widely in the different chili fruits (0-13 mg/kg). Studies have been able to serve a palatable test meal with approximately 30 g of red pepper (3 mg capsaicin/g red pepper –Yoshiioka et al., Br J Nutr, 2001) to Western subjects 3 times a day. However, we have only worked with capsaicin in tablet form and in lower dosage but probably a more pure form. I think it will probably be quite difficult for a Western population to eat a dosage of capsaicin from food items to obtain a fat-reducing effect.”

As with caffeine, what Drs. Moritani and Belza are suggesting, in other words, is that you may need to consume larger amounts of capsaicin throughout the day before you see fat loss, amounts that may be intolerably difficult to obtain by adding hot red pepper to your meals. Like many things in life, these larger amounts bring with them a greater risk of undesirable side effects. Dr. Jose Galgani (Ph.D.), an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of Chile, says7 that subjects have been known to drop out of capsaicin studies because of its pungency. In large quantities it can cause stomach discomfort.
Once again the more sensible approach may be to consume enough capsaicin to achieve a modest calorie-burning effect in combination with other natural ingredients capable of doing the same.
The good news is that although capsaicin appears to work by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, it doesn’t produce the undesirable side effects associated with sympathetic stimulants such as ephedrine. Dr. Moritani explains5:

“With the amount of capsaicin commonly taken as part of diet, no adverse effects on sympathetic overreaction nor ECG [cardiac] abnormality have been reported.  Actually menopausal women with depressed autonomic nervous system could enhance sympatho-vagal functions and might be able to prevent obesity. [Low sympathetic nervous system activity has been suggested to be a risk factor for future weight gain and obesity.] Incidentally, caffeine could increase both sympathetic and parasympathetic activities without any adverse effects on cardiac functions.”

In part 1 we referred to research showing that cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity and blood glucose regulation even in lean, healthy subjects. Greater insulin sensitivity, in turn, may have metabolic effects leading to lower risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, for instance. While this is important, what we’re focusing on here is fat loss. That’s why it was encouraging to hear USDA scientist and well-published cinnamon researcher Dr. Richard Anderson (Ph.D.) tell us8 about the study conducted by he and his colleagues that demonstrated reductions in body fat in subjects given a cinnamon extract for 12 weeks. The subjects received 2 capsules twice each day (at breakfast and dinner) providing a total of 500 mg of extract equivalent to approximately 10 g (1.5 tablespoons) of whole cinnamon powder.

Ten grams of cinnamon is not a quantity ordinarily used in food. While Anderson tells8 us it may be possible to get enough cinnamon from the diet to lose body fat and even increase lean body mass (something he observed in his study), he warns that “when consuming high amounts of polyphenols in the diet the salivary glands produce a protein that binds and minimizes their effects.” This is important, since the polyphenols in cinnamon are thought to be responsible for its beneficial effects. In other words, ingesting it in the protected form of a capsule may be the better way to go.
Dr. Andrew Blannin (Ph.D.), a lecturer in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham, has also conducted studies on cinnamon. He also feels that it would be extremely hard to eat enough cinnamon to produce improvements in insulin sensitivity without using a supplement.9
Green Tea
In their recent review of research supporting the use of green tea in the treatment of obesity10, Drs. Kimberly Grove (Ph.D.) and Joshua Lambert (Ph.D.) in the Department of Food Science at Pennsylvania State University remark that a typical cup of brewed green tea contains 240-320 mg of catechins, yielding 30-50% (72-160 mg) of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is the catechin thought to contribute to green tea’s valuable calorie-burning effects.

In Dulloo et al.’s frequently-cited study11 performed in 1999, subjects received 2 capsules of green tea extract with each of three meals, providing a total of 270 mg of EGCG, equivalent to about 3-4 cups of brewed green tea1. Six out of ten subjects receiving the extract experienced an increase in their 24-hour calorie-burning rate ranging from 63.5-200 Calories, with the average being about 78.3 Calories. This is an impressive figure, comparable to the number of Calories someone might burn by running on a treadmill at a high speed (>9 mph) for around 4 minutes.

We don’t need a scientist to tell us that it’s possible to consume 3-4 cups of brewed green tea every day, or that doing so may eventually become tiresome. That being said, burning an extra 78.3 Calories a day is nothing to scoff at. And while canned or bottled tea drinks may sound like a more appealing alternative, these have been found to contain considerably smaller levels of EGCG than expected due to loss during manufacturing (e.g. high-temperature sterilization) and/or storage12.
Also keep in mind that black tea contains very little in the way of catechins, whereas oolong tea contains moderate amounts. Green tea has the highest level of catechins and EGCG in particular.
The “Team Approach”
The studies discussed in parts 1 and 2 of this series of reports provide powerful evidence that certain key ingredients in coffee, hot red pepper, cinnamon and green tea have valuable calorie-burning effects. In order to experience fat loss, however, you may need to consume fairly large quantities of any single ingredient. How many of us are willing to drink 3-4 cups of green tea, add hot red peppers to every meal and cough down 10 g of cinnamon powder in a single day, all followed by a chaser of 2-4 cups of coffee? In the final report in this series we’ll discuss a much more palatable and convenient solution that you won’t want to miss.
1. Dulloo (2010). Personal communication.
2. Dulloo et al. (1989). Am J Clin Nutr 49:44.
3. Nishijima et al. (2002). Eur J Appl Physiol, 87: 475.
4. Belza et al. (2009). Eur J Clin Nutr, 63: 57.
5. Moritani (2010). Personal communication.
6. Belza (2010). Personal communication.
7. Galgani (2010). Personal communication.
8. Anderson (2010). Personal communication.
9. Blannin (2010). Personal communication.
10. Grove and Lambert (2010). J Nutr 140(3): 446.
11. Dulloo et al. (1999). Am J Clin Nutr 70: 1040.
12. Chen et al. (2001).  J Agric Food Chem, 49: 477.

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Easy To Make Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Shake

Easy-To-Make Peanut Butter Banana
Breakfast Shake

½ a ripe banana (use a very ripe banana for the best banana flavor),
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter,
¾ c. skim milk,
½ scoop Prograde Lean Chocolate Meal Replacement.



Calories:  304
Fat (grams): 9 grams
Protein (grams): 19 grams
Carbs (grams): 37 grams
Fiber (grams): 5 grams

If you want more protein and chocolate flavor then use a full scoop of Prograde Lean Meal Replacement.  The 9 grams of fat comes from the all-natural peanut butter and consists primarily of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

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4 Very Unusual Metabolism Boosters

REAL Slimming Secrets from the Supermarket:
“The Top 4”

This “negative” can be very positive.
Most of us don’t just want to lose “weight”. We want to lose body fat. This is what really concerns us, cosmetically speaking, at least.

Body fat, referred to by scientists as adipose tissue, is the stuff that can hide shapely, defined muscles from view, make your bikini fit awkwardly (or not at all), put rolls on your belly, and so on. To lose body fat and prevent it from finding you again, you must burn more of it than you store. When you achieve this scientists say you are in negative fat balance, and it can be a very positive thing. Indeed, if you stay in negative fat balance long enough, then you will unquestionably lose body fat.

The supermarket is a great place to go for things that can increase body fat. But it’s also home to some of nature’s most powerful tools for helping you lose it. In this exclusive report we reveal 4 natural “slimming secrets” that can immediately increase your calorie-burning rate, the first and most critical step toward achieving a negative fat balance and fitting into your swimsuit properly again.

1.   Coffee (caffeine)
While the proportions may shift from moment to moment, your body always burns a mixture of three fuels: carbohydrate, fat and protein. Thus, if you increase your overall calorie-burning rate (a.k.a. metabolic rate), it’s pretty much guaranteed that your fat-burning rate will go up, bringing you that much closer to the negative fat balance territory where real slimming occurs.

About 75% of the caffeine consumed in the United States comes from coffee, a product that no supermarket can be considered complete without. Caffeine is recognized worldwide for its ability to enhance alertness and performance. However, it also displays fast-acting calorie-burning properties. For instance, a study involving lean and overweight (obese) subjects reported that a single 100-mg dose of caffeine (equivalent to a little over 1 cup of coffee) was enough to raise their calorie-burning rate by up to 4% for 2.5 hours.

While a 4% increase may not seem like a big deal, it can turn into one. The scientists who conducted the study explain, “…if it is assumed that there is no compensatory increase in food intake, the increase [in calorie-burning rate] after caffeine would represent an energy deficit of 75-110 kcal/day. These changes may be small but over several months could accumulate and lead to substantial changes in body weight.”

But wait. Regular coffee drinkers know all too well that you can become tolerant to its energizing effects over time. Won’t the same thing happen here? Fortunately, evidence suggests that caffeine’s calorie-burning effects persist with repeated exposure. Case in point: The subjects in the above study were all mild to moderate consumers of caffeine, consuming anywhere from 250-500 mg per day, equivalent to ~3-6 cups of coffee. Yet they all enjoyed a calorie-burning boost from the relatively small dose given to them.

2.   Hot Pepper (capsaicin)
The waiter places a delicious meal in front of you that includes a spicy curry sauce. You devour it. For the next 30 minutes your calorie-burning rate is cruises at 10% above baseline, equivalent to burning an additional 129 Calories per day, or 27% of the caloric value of the entire meal. Sounds too good to be true? This fictitious scenario became a reality at Kyoto University in Japan when scientists gave young women a 481-Calorie meal consisting of a yellow curry sauce containing 3 mg of capsaicin.

Capsaicin is the compound responsible for the sharp, and for some of us, intolerably painful, sensation produced by eating hot red peppers. It’s also to blame for the beads of sweat that appear on your forehead as you do so. Thus, it may come as no surprise to learn that deep inside the body capsaicin can increase your calorie-burning rate by stimulating a process known as thermogenesis. Thermogenesis essentially involves the release of calories in the form of heat. Once released, they can no longer be stored as body fat. In addition to increasing thermogenesis, capsaicin has been found to improve meal satiety (i.e. how full you feel after eating), thereby reducing your risk of overeating. In animal studies it has been reported to increase calorie-burning rate and reduce body fat.

Of course, the single most powerful way to increase your calorie-burning rate and get into negative fat balance is to exercise. Here, too, capsaicin may boost your slimming efforts. When scientists gave healthy subjects capsaicin an hour before performing low-intensity exercise (stationary cycling), they burned more fat. The increase was impressive enough that the scientists suggested capsaicin be used as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of elevated blood lipid levels and/or obesity.

3.   Cinnamon
Cinnamon often serves as a flavorful addition to carbohydrate-rich meals. How great is it, then, to learn that it may help “push” more of those carbohydrates into lean muscle and away from fat cells (adipose tissue)?
Most of the carbohydrate calories you eat are eventually converted into glucose (a.k.a. blood sugar). The hormone insulin helps direct glucose into your body’s cells, including muscle cells. The more sensitive your muscle cells are to insulin, the more efficiently they can scoop up glucose and store it for later use, such as providing your muscles with energy during exercise. All other things held constant, this leaves less glucose available for your fat cells, which might otherwise use it to make body fat.

Of the many plants studied to date, cinnamon has been reported to be among the most powerful in terms of its ability to enhance insulin sensitivity and keep blood glucose levels in check. When added to a carbohydrate-rich meal, it reduces the rise in blood glucose normally experienced afterwards. While the effects on insulin sensitivity may take a couple of weeks to manifest, the improvements in blood glucose control appear virtually immediately.

So cinnamon increases insulin sensitivity and improves blood glucose regulation. Great. However, does this mean it can help you lose body fat more quickly? In fact, this ancient spice might help you do more than that. Dr Richard Anderson (Ph.D.) at the US Department of Agriculture has conducted numerous studies on cinnamon.  He says that if cinnamon is consumed long-term, it can enhance lean body mass (this includes muscle) and reduce body fat, something he and his scientific colleagues demonstrated in a study performed in 2006.

4.   Green Tea
White, green and black varieties of tea all contain caffeine (anywhere from ~14-61 mg per 6-8 oz serving). But it’s green tea that seems to get the most attention from scientists when it comes to burning fat. And its fat-burning effects are due to more than its caffeine content.

In one frequently cited study, healthy young men were given a green tea extract three times per day. Their 24-hour calorie-burning rate was 3.5% higher than that of subjects taking a placebo. This was equivalent to burning an additional 200 Calories per day -more than enough to eventually produce substantial weight loss and reductions in body fat.

Not only did green tea cause the subjects to burn more calories, but a larger proportion of the calories burned were determined by the scientists to have come from fat. That is, green tea was pushing them closer towards negative fat balance territory, if not pushing them right into it. Based on the scientists’ comments (they used the term “remarkable” to describe green tea’s effects), they seemed to be quite impressed. Indeed, green tea’s thermogenic effects in this study were as powerful as much larger doses of caffeine.

Summary: The “Top 4” REAL Slimming Secrets

Nothing worthwhile comes without  hard work, and that includes building a swimsuit-ready body. That’s why it’s important to make use of whatever tools nature has available to help you safely and effectively lose body fat and avoid regaining it. There may be more “slimming secrets” out there waiting to be discovered, but the top 4 revealed here –coffee (caffeine), hot red pepper (capsaicin), cinnamon and green tea are among the most powerful studied to date. Individually, their calorie-burning effects are virtually immediate. Combined, they may greatly simplify even the most formidable of fat loss challenges.

Dulloo et al. (1989). Am J Clin Nutr 49:44.

Matsumoto et al. (2000). J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 46(6): 309.

Shin and Moritani (2007). J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 53(2): 124.

Hlebowicz et al. (2007). Am J Clin Nutr 85: 1552.

Solomon and Blannin (2009). Eur J Appl Physiol 105(6): 969.

Ziegenfuss et al. (2006). J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 3:45. Dr. Anderson’s comments were provided during personal communications conducted in March 2010.

Chim et al. (2008). J Anal Toxicol, 32(8): 702.

Dulloo et al. (1999). Am J Clin Nutr 70: 1040.

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Are you Sleep Deprived or Lazy!

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...
Image via Wikipedia
Check if the following describe you:

* You are habitually inactive.
* You’d rather be a passive observer than an active participant.
* You’re a master excuse-maker.
* You find shortcuts in order to avoid the long haul.

If that’s you, don’t get down on yourself. There are many legitimate
causes of laziness. Here are just a few…

1. Sleep Deprivation: When you’re short on sleep it’s easy to
become unmotivated, which quickly turns into laziness. Get a
minimum of eight hours of sleep each night in order to maintain
enough energy to get you through the day. Some experts even
say that ten hours of sleep each night is what you need to
function at your best.
2. Caffeine Abuse: Starting your day with a jolt of java may help
with your initial alertness, but the dip in energy that takes
place a few hours later could be the reason that you become
lazy later in the day. Avoid the rush and crash of caffeine
and instead rely on your steady supply of natural energy.
3. Bad Habit: At some point being lazy simply becomes a habit.
If every night after work you head straight to the couch,
it soon becomes automatic and not a conscious decision.
Breaking the habit of laziness is actually quite easy. Simply
take yourself off of autopilot and make the conscious decision
to do something productive instead – like heading to the gym
rather than the couch.

4. Inactivity: If your job keeps you in a chair for hours at a
time, and you don’t exercise when off the clock, then your
body is just accustomed to inactivity. It’s time to wake up
your under-used muscles and to reacquaint yourself with the
joy of motion. A simple way to get back into the swing of
things is to go on a 30 to 60 minute walk either before work
or after you return home. Once you’ve broken yourself in with
consistent walks, contact me to get started on a fitness program
that will quickly get your body back into great shape.

Laziness begins when you ignore that little nagging voice in your

You know, the one that reminds you when you should take action on
something rather than sit by and let the opportunity slip away.

Is today the day that you will kick laziness to the curb?

Is today the day that you will take action toward achieving your

Is today the day that you will listen to that little voice of reason?

My newest Maplewood Boot Camp will run from Saturday
April. 17th- Friday May. 14th.

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