September 22nd, 2013

50 More Amazing Fat Loss And Fitness Tips From a Pro Trainer

Vancouver personal trainer Mike Howard is back with 50 more amazing fat loss and fitness tips. His first 50 tips were a sensation here on the Burn the Fat Blog and he may have outdone himself this time.  There are some amazing gems of wisdom here to help you burn fat, build muscle, get healthier, get fitter and do it in a practical, common-sense way. Which tips resonate with you the most?

1. Know discomfort from pain:  Every life-altering intervention runs on a risk/reward continuum.  You need to kick yourself in the comfort zone, not beat yourself into the ground

2. Vary your fats. Eat fish, nuts, avocados, seeds, etc.  Don’t get too caught up in good vs. bad fats – saturated fats aren’t damaging, omega-6’s may be – all are damaging if you eat too much of them.

3. Be an athlete again. Did you play a sport as a child?  Find an adult league in your old sport!

4. Act like a kid.  They run, play, climb and have fun with activity.  They also only eat until they are full.

5. Ask what you want more. When faced with the dilemma of whether or not to indulge in snack/meal detrimental to your progress tell yourself “I want my health/ideal body more than I want that ______.”

6. Cut yourself some slack… BUT, learn from your slip-ups.  You reached an undesirable state due to perpetual slip-ups. Apply what you’ve learned and create new habits.

7. Don’t confine yourself to dietary “rules”… instead, eat intuitively, moderately and joyously.

8. Your new lifestyle WILL require changes – some of them may be drastic.  The journey, however should be customized to your circumstances, preferences and lifestyle.  Instead of fitting a square peg in a round hole, mold both to achieve a smoother transition.

9. Seek to improve your health not through some “diet miracle” but rather through ceasing to search for said miracle. There is power in freeing yourself of nutrition and training constraints that are said to be the best or only way towards optimal health.

10. There is an inverse relationship between… diet book bestsellers and the actual science contained within.

11. The diet phenomena paradox:  We oversimplify the complicated science of fat loss whilst over-complicating the practice of it.

12. Release yourself of the fear of judgement when following a healthy path:  It’s ok to order a salad, skip desert and ask for substitutions when out on the town.

13. There’s a place for almost everything. Despite the fact that some trends are “passé” or categorically shunned, there is a place for static stretching, traditional cardio and carbohydrates.

14. 3 steps to tackle sugar cravings:  1. Distract 2. Distract more intensely 3. Give in (without fully giving in).  Drink a chocolate protein smoothie, have berries with greek yogurt and a bit of maple syrup, a couple of pieces of dark chocolate drizzled on strawberries. DONE.

15. Be calorie aware but not obsessed.  Counting calories is not neurotic when the end goal is creating awareness.

16. Change is challenging:  Associate as much pain as possible with NOT changing and as much pleasure as possible with your desired picture of health.

17. Goal-setting: Be realistic, multi-layered (include health, body composition but also mindset and lifestyle related goals).  Also be specific, flexible and forgiving.

18. Your self-talk can make or break your fat loss efforts.  Be kind to yourself.

19. Genetics loads the gun but we pull the trigger with our lifestyle choices.

20. Try these 3 single leg variations:  Pistols, Bulgarian Split Squat, Single leg Romanian Deadlift.  Thank me (or more likely curse me) tomorrow.

21. “Revolutionary” is one of the most common words in diet and fitness book titles.  Very VERY few are revolutionary.  At best they are “evolutionary”.  Most likely they are re-hashed ideas of other fads.

22. The answer to almost every fitness and nutrition question is… “It depends”.

23. Just because it’s “logical” doesn’t mean it’s “physiological”.

24. For every pushing exercise, perform at least 2 pulling exercises.

25. Basic breakfast rotation:  Eggs, oatmeal, protein shake.

26. Buy a pair of jeans or dress you love – 2 sizes smaller than your current size (if that is your goal).  Hang them up where you can see them often.

27. Work at a desk?  Commit this to memory: 1. Tuck your chin back 2. Sit upright 3. Relax your shoulders.

28. Dairy controversy summary:  Neither satan nor savior, if you react poorly to it, don’t consume it.  If you drink milk, drink whole, skim – anything in between, dead, alive – what have you. Just don’t overdo it.  It has no special weight loss properties and no special disease-promoting properties either.

29. If your diet system is “the answer” – you are asking the wrong questions. (Chris Highcock)

30. Soreness is a poor indicator of how effective your workout was.

31. When faced with unhealthy food, repeat this mantra: “It looks/smells great but it’s not in my plan”.

32. Top foods to eat to give you six-pack abs:  *All of them (*provided you are eating them moderately – keeping in an adequate protein, caloric deficit and strength training).

33. The top foods to avoid if you want to lose fat: *None of them (*provided you eat them moderately and have an otherwise healthy diet).

34. Don’t underestimate the power of a day off.  Your rest days are as important as your training days.

35. Look long-term for inspiration/motivation.  Make it a goal to keep up with your GRANDchildren.

36. Just start! It doesn’t matter how or what kind of shape you’re in.  Don’t be a “I’ll do it when” person… I get new shoes… when the weather improves… when things are less busy with work… when the kids go back to school. Etc.  Those “when” days never seem to come.

37. Use technology in a positive way.  Find some good apps for diet and exercise.

38. You can’t put something as complicated as food into something as complex as the human body and make easy predictions about the outcome.

39. When adding more exercise be sure not to overcompensate with more food.  With more overall exercise you WILL often need more food but if you tend to get hungry post workout, be extra vigilant not to overeat.

40. Diet fad “wisdom”: It’s not your fault… unless it’s my diet you failed on – then you’re doing it wrong.

41. We would be much healthier as a society if we ceased to think of exercise as punishment and food as reward.  Do your best to enjoy the experience of both.

42. “Convenient health foods” – oxymoron? Not always.  Pre-washed/cut lettuce, veggies, nuts, hardboiled eggs, ready-to-eat cans of flavoured tuna/cottage cheese.  If you hate to “shop and chop” there are options.

43. Juice fasts/cleanses are socially accepted eating disorders.

44. Have school-age children?  When possible play with them at the park for 30 minutes after school as many days as you can.  Sneak in a set of pullups, step-ups or push-ups.

45. Glove compartment check: 1. Non-perishable healthy snack, 2. Napkins 3. Plastic cutlery.  Many of us spend a great deal of time commuting – these items will help “drive-thru-proof” you.

46. Quick Tabata workout (20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest): Jump squats, speed rows (exercise tubing), spidermans (hands on ground – quick switching knees towards elbows), jump lunges, plank crawls) x 2-5.

47. There is typically an inverse relationship between the loudest opinions on diets and training and the credibility of said voices.

48. Right questions to ask of a food/meal: Is it reasonably nutritious/wholesome? Is it tasty? (and in the case of fat loss goals) Does it fit my macros? Misguided questions to ask: is it part of the rules of diet XYZ?

49. When looking at goals, try not to think too much in terms of outcome… rather, focus on the critical path; make it your goal to build daily habits. When your mental energy is focused there, your physical goals will manifest themselves.

50. Even if your goal is fat LOSS – always remember you are in this to GAIN health.

About Mike Howard

MIke HowardMike has been actively involved in the fitness industry since 1996 – amassing more than 10,000 hours of in-the-trenches experience helping people achieve phenomenal health.

He has worked with a diverse number of individuals of varying ages, goals and abilities. Mike specializes in fat loss, corrective exercise and youth fitness. His approach is comprehensive, individualized and results-oriented. A dedicated and lifelong student, Mike is on the cutting edge of exercise and nutritional science and designs strategies to help people get fast, efficient and long-lasting results.

In addition to personal training and coaching youth, Mike is an accomplished writer, with over 350 articles to his credit. He has been published in Diet Blog, The Vancouver Sun, Impact magazine and has been a guest on the Good Life Show, with Jesse Dylan — an internationally syndicated radio show.

Mike has just opened up limited spots for online coaching and training. Contact him at mike @ for details.

For more information about Mike, visit and check out his blog . And please do feel free to connect on Facebook and/or follow him on Twitter


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12 Responses to “50 More Amazing Fat Loss And Fitness Tips From a Pro Trainer”

  • Tom Venuto

    Thank you Mike. Another killer post!


    PS. Of course, Mike, while I agree with #10 as a generalization, you know I intend to prove there are exceptions 🙂

  • Patrick Hickey

    Six years ago, I discovered the Paleo right here on this side. At the time I had just gone through a brush with appeared to be a heart condition. That turned out to be caused by a magnesium deficiency, though cardiologists were clueless. I rubbed magnesium oil on my minorly sort muscles and joints, and within 10 days the pain was gone and my heart function returned to not only normal, but ideal. It is up to us to “live and learn”. Certainly I am much better off without the bypasses the cardiologist had recommended.

    Getting back to the Paleo diet, I lost about 90 lbs in about a year, and have kept it off ever since. I prefer avoiding the so-called S.A.D. (standard American diet) items, sticking to organic vegetables and free-range hamburger, chicken, and eggs. Also I steer clear of diary products most of the time.

    As I recall, at first on the Paleo diet, I had carbohydrate cravings. I realized I had been a “carboholic”, which had a lot to do with putting on the extra weight in the first place. Within a few weeks of avoiding S.A.D. carbohydrates, I was free from the addiction, and I’m been living “happily ever after” since then.

    Of course, I indulge in dietary transgressions from time to time, though I do my best to avoid Frankenstein foods, as they make me sick!

    One thing I really appreciate is the ability to make commitments and change my style and approach. I’ve tried to encourage others, but they seem so hide-bound. I guess they are addicted to chemicalized, carbohydrate foods, even if it results in shortening their lifespans. I guess I have a bit of a struggle “tending to my own knittin.”

    However, at age 71, though not exactly a body-building devotee, I really enjoy wearing my 32″ waist shorts without any flab overhang. People still ask me how I do it, but I don’t get into details, because I don’t believe most of them are serious. I have too much to do minding my own business to spend a lot of time offering free education to students with no real commitment. Oh well, c~est la vie!

  • Wow! Great article – loved it actually! Now to get to work at some of the points raised here.


  • Sam Jackson

    These are all fantastic. However regarding #10, Tom Venuto’s new hardcover edition of BFFM will be an obvious exception to this rule. I’m lucky enough to be halfway through a proof copy and I can’t put it down. I did stop to read these 50 tips and it was time well spent.

  • cynthia

    Great advice……adding Bulgarian split squats and pistols into my next leg day…:)

  • Anthony DeSerpa

    Thank you for the practical, nononsense advice!

  • Shelly

    Lots of great advice… I just posted #46 at my office work station. Whenever I have to deal with a slow download or re-boot I’ll be doing these!

  • Hello there!

    Thank you very much for sharing these tips. I have learned something new today. I like all these tips.


  • I’m going with 1. (because I constantly have to be on the lookout for pain after all of these years), 6, because I tend to beat myself up over mistakes, and 36, because the older I get the more I learn that this is the secret to almost all of life’s greatest accomplishments!


  • Great set of tips mate. Thank you so much for sharing these. Your tips are really helpful for everyone. I would like to add in it that you should eat fat and you will not get fat from eating fat. Not all fats are created equal and you want to make sure that the majority of your fat consumption is in the form of healthy fats. I really like your concept “Act like a kid”.

  • Weight Loss – Gain Health – very apt! thank you for this informative article. Numbers 3, 4

    and 44 works well with me, playing with kids, acting like a kid and get into the sport I

    used to play when I was a kid. Yes, I am a kid at heart so I will definitely mind these tips. i

    do cardio so I will apply this to my regime.

  • Diet is main priority for fat loss. Maintain the all activities for fitness. I am reading your blog and i get the right info about fitness tips. You share the tips are very useful.

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