Weight Loss

Fat Loss

• Eliminate stress related hormonal responses leading to weight gain
– Improve your sleep
– Time your meals through intermittent fasting
– Improve general time management
– Continue educating yourself to lower stress and keep neurons healthy
– Keep a journal to decompress thoughts and track your progression
• Stored fat metabolism will only occur in a caloric deficit (eating less calories than you are burning)
• Aim for an average of 2 lbs per week
• Exercise will speed up the process
• Consistency will eventually create a positive hormonal feedback loop making fat loss easier

Fat is a fuel source for your body, triglycerides can provide a high amount of ATP(energy) to your cells. When glucose is low, fatty acids are broken down in the liver to produce ketones and glucose which can then go to other parts of the body to be metabolized.[15,16] If glucose levels are low and ketone levels are high for a long enough time, either by being in a fasted state or through a ketogenic-type diet, your body will be in a state of ketosis (ketones become the preferred fuel source). Does this mean just by eating a low carbohydrate diet you will lose body fat? No. As stated in the previous section on fat accumulation, if you do not keep track of your calories and you continue to remain in a surplus, you have the potential of storing even more fat. So, if we need glucose to be low in order to burn fat, and we can provide our body the fat it needs through our diet, how can we burn our stored fat? By being in a calorie deficit and triggering a hormonal response to create a feedback loop to tap into our fat stores. There is one problem, we can’t be in a calorie deficit forever, at some point we are going to run out of fuel. So how are we going to keep our desired body composition once we have it? By managing your hormones. In the previous section, we alluded to the fact that hormones play a critical role in the weight gain process. Hormones have an equally critical role in losing weight. In this section, we will take a deeper dive into these hormones, how they work with each other and how we can use that knowledge to reverse course, maximize our weight loss and keep it off.


Hormones are chemical signals we produce that allow one part of our body to communicate with another part of our body. Hormones are the glue that binds our brain and body together. If all three components aren’t firing at the same rhythm we run the risk of causing irreparable damage. We have dozens of hormones moving through us at all times, and they all serve specific functions. Some are synergistic (work together), some are antagonistic (counterbalance each other). When it comes to metabolism there are Eight that are most influential: Cholesterol*, Cortisol, Epinephrine, Insulin, Glucagon, Ghrelin, Leptin, Growth Hormone, Testosterone.

Cholesterol itself is not a hormone. Cholesterol is needed for the production of steroid hormones, the production of bile, and the synthesis of vitamin-D. Our bodies produce Cholesterol, it is a self-regulated process and recycled throughout the body. Dietary cholesterol is poorly digested and the effects on your overall levels are negligible.[17] Cholesterol production is determined by the ratio of Insulin vs Glucagon in your body. Insulin can promote the synthesis of new Cholesterol by stimulating HMG-CoA reductase. Glucagon, in contrast, will inhibit this process. Some of this Cholesterol will then turn into lipoproteins VLDL, LDL, HDL. These lipid proteins will move fatty acids around the body, some of that HDL Cholesterol is then stored in your adipose tissue.[18]

A product of Cholesterol is Cortisol. Cortisol is a signaling hormone that can be made in the Adrenal glands. Cortisol is produced when glucose levels are low as well as during stress (including exercise). If glucose levels are low and Cortisol levels are high, it can promote protein catabolism (breakdown of muscle and bone), it can also promote Fat mobilization (pulling triglycerides and glycerol from fat cells) to produce more glucose (gluconeogenesis). Cortisol blocks the sensitivity of the insulin receptor in your cells, this keeps glucose out of your cells and remains in your bloodstream. If glucose levels are high in the presence of cortisol, it can potentially lead to hyperglycemia.[19] Cortisol also aids in the production of fatty acids by turning glucose into glycogen (glycogenesis). Cortisol can also make your smooth muscle cells more sensitive to norepinephrine causing vasoconstriction raising your blood pressure. This process is fine in acute spikes, it is needed to help us stay in a circadian rhythm. [20] Problems start to occur while having elevated cortisol levels chronically, this can cause considerable muscle loss, lowering your metabolism, while simultaneously increasing fat-storing accumulation. [21]

Much like Cortisol, Epinephrine is released from adrenal glands as well as the sympathetic nervous system during acute stress (exercise), or while in a fasted state, and is needed for stored fat mobilization. Epinephrine is also a neurotransmitter and has been linked to enhancing long-term memory.[22,23,24,25,26] As discussed in the muscle growth section, Anaerobic exercise and the production of lactate, can improve the connection between neurons making it easier for Epinephrine to interact with fat cells and improve fat mobilization as well as improve memory.

Insulin is produced in the pancreas. When glucose levels are high, insulin is released into the bloodstream to lower glucose levels back to normal. It does this by signaling to your liver to start packaging the glucose, one way by signaling to turn some glucose into glycogen (glycogenesis) another way is to signal to turn some glucose into pyruvate, that pyruvate can be broken down further to acetyl CoA which can then be used to make more Cholesterol. Insulin will also signal to your muscle tissue to let glucose and amino acids into the cells to stimulate protein synthesis. Insulin will also signal to your fat tissue to activate fatty acid synthesis (lipogenesis) and inhibit fat metabolism, promoting fat storage. Eating a diet that keeps Cortisol levels chronically high can lead to Insulin resistance.[27] As said before, Cortisol blocks the sensitivity of the insulin receptor in your cells, this keeps glucose out of your cells and remains in your bloodstream. If glucose levels remain high our pancreas is going to keep producing more insulin. This constant overproduction of insulin begins to weaken our pancreas, eventually to the point where we can potentially stop producing enough insulin, this is Type II Diabetes. [28]

Glucagon is also produced in the pancreas. When glucose levels are low, Glucagon is released into the bloodstream and signals to your liver to turn glycogen or amino acids into glucose (glycogenolysis). Glucagon signals to adipose tissue to activate fat mobilization (lipolysis). [29] Glucagon works in synergy with epinephrine, both of them work together signaling fat mobilization. Glucagon is an antagonist to Insulin, we associate Insulin with fat storage, Glucagon with fat burning.

Ghrelin is produced in the stomach. When glucose levels are low, Ghrelin sends a signal to your brain that you are hungry. Ghrelin works in synergy with Cortisol, as Cortisol increases Ghrelin increases. This is why chronic stress can be so damaging, we begin to develop this feedback loop where even though the body might have plenty of glucose available, stress is telling your brain to eat, this can result in a “bottomless pit” phenomenon in which you may have days where you never seem to feel full, this can very quickly get out of hand.[30] It’s not all bad though, under normal circumstances Ghrelin also signals the pancreas to secrete Glucagon which activates fat mobilization. Ghrelin also increases Growth Hormone production.[31,32] By knowing that this feeling of hunger is actually just a result of a chemical reaction happening in our bodies, we can then make an executive decision on whether or not to give the body carbohydrates, fats, proteins, or start burning stored fat.

Growth Hormone
Growth Hormone production occurs in the pituitary gland. Growth Hormone secretion occurs in the highest volume in the presence of Ghrelin, which is present when the body is low in glucose. Some of the Growth Hormone produced will bind to the liver to produce Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) which aids in protein synthesis. Growth Hormone also stimulates the production of gluconeogenesis in the liver and stimulates the breakdown of triglycerides (fat mobilization) in adipose tissue.

Leptin is produced in fat cells. The amount of leptin that is released is based on the physical size of the cell, the more triglycerides in a cell, the larger the cell will become, the more leptin is produced. Leptin is kind of like a thermostat hormone, it signals to the brain that you have fat stored and activates the sympathetic pathway to release epinephrine to signal back to the fat cell to start beta-oxidation.[33] This will affect the rate at which you burn through your fat. [34] Leptin can also inhibit the synthesis and release of Insulin which could become problematic if you are dealing with diabetes. High amounts of blood glucose over time can also damage Leptin receptors (Leptin Resistance) making it even more difficult to start metabolizing stored fat.

Testosterone is a very powerful androgen hormone. It is produced in both the adrenal glands and reproductive organs of both sexes. Testosterone can increase the release of dopamine, which is a precursor to epinephrine.[35,36] Dopamine makes us feel good when we accomplish something, it can also lower stress and anxiety. Free testosterone is also involved in tissue repair, it will bind to receptors on a cell wall and initiate the anabolic signaling cascade needed for protein synthesis. It also signals to the kidneys to produce more red blood cells. When blood glucose levels are high, it inhibits the production of enzymes needed for the adrenal glands to produce DHEA and subsequent down chain hormones Testosterone and Estrogen.[37,38,39] This will consequently affect epinephrine production reducing fat metabolism of stored fat. We want an optimized level of Testosterone and Estrogen, that does not mean more is better. Excessive amounts of Testosterone can be further metabolized when coming in contact with Aromatase. Aromatase is an enzyme responsible for the conversion of androgens to Estrogen, while 5a-reductase converts Testosterone to DHT. DHT can cause acne, excess body hair, male pattern baldness, and may even be linked to prostate cancer.[40,41,42,43] High Testosterone can also lead to higher LDL cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of heart disease.[44] Too much Estrogen can lead to problems as well, particularly breast cancer.[45]


Cortisol – Neutral. Fat burning in the presence of glucagon. Fat storing in the presence of Insulin.

Epinephrine – Fat burning through fat mobilization.

Insulin – Fat Storing. Indirectly fat burning, needed for protein synthesis (more muscle, higher metabolism)

Glucagon – Fat burning through fat mobilization.

Ghrelin – Neutral. Alerts your brain you are hungry and to release Glucagon and Growth Hormone.

Growth Hormone – Fat Burning through fat mobilization. Builds muscle by stimulating protein synthesis

Leptin – Fat Burning. Signals to release Epinephrine to mobilize fat.

Testosterone – Fat Burning by reducing stress, increasing dopamine, increasing Epinephrine. Builds muscle by stimulating protein synthesis.

Hormone Management

Now that we have a basic understanding of all the chemicals involved, we can now use that knowledge to our advantage to aid in the process of weight loss and long-term sustainability. We are going to focus on a few actions: Sleep, Diet, Brain Activity, Physical Activity.


• Sleep is a primary driver of hormone regulation
• Have a morning and bedtime routine
• Avoid light, especially blue light, at night
• Avoid chronic food and caffeine or stress-inducing activity intake late in the day
• Get 10-30 minutes of daylight upon waking up
• Lower your core body temperature at night to fall asleep faster
• Consider taking a sleep study if you are having problems staying asleep

When it comes to weight loss as well as overall health, optimizing sleep is one of the most important actions you can take. Sleep is the time when Growth Hormone and Testosterone production peaks, not enough sleep can wreak havoc on your overall health [46,47,48,49,50,51] Routine sleep is dependent on your circadian rhythm, a process in which cortisol plays a huge factor. Cortisol peaks around the time you wake up, fluctuates throughout the day, and tapers off around bedtime. If we are under stress this can drastically reduce the amount of sleep we get in a night.[52,53] Caffeine can also keep cortisol levels elevated for up to 5 hours and may interfere with your sleep cycle therefore you may need to cut back or adjust on when you are drinking it.

Another major factor in your sleep progression depends on the amount of blue light you are exposed to. Blue light is radiation with wavelengths between 400 and 500 nm and is within the visible light spectrum. Much like how light enters the chlorophyll of a plant to drive photosynthesis, light enters the eye and triggers activation of melanopsin cells which then triggers activation of the Hypothalamus region of our brains.[54,55,56,57] That activation secrete a peptide that floats through the bloodstream and signals to other parts of the body to begin doing certain actions. Blue light is highest at sunrise and sunset. Blue light has relatively high energy and has pronounced effects on melatonin production.[58] Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain that helps us feel tired, blue light can suppress melatonin production for up to 3 hours depending on the intensity. Blue light is not only produced by the sun, it is also produced by our electronic screens. In order to start falling asleep regularly, it is crucial to have a bedtime routine with at least 30 minutes of zero screen time. There may also be benefits from blackout curtains and or an eye mask to block out any light pollution. Conversely, a morning routine in which part of, you expose yourself to 10 to 30 minutes of daylight will aid in the process of waking up at the same time regularly.[59,60]

Finally, Temperature plays a role in optimizing our sleep. As your body temperature increases, your blood vessels expand allowing peptides, nutrients, and hormones to move faster through the body and signal to wake up or digest food or exercise. Our body temperature fluctuates naturally during the day and is at its lowest during the initial stages of sleep.[61,62] If we eat or workout too close to our sleep window it will keep our body temperature high making it difficult to fall asleep. If we do this over time we can actually begin to shift our circadian clock and start falling asleep later and later, which is fine if we are trying to adjust to a new time zone, but if are waking time is still the same, we will quickly see our hormones begin to lose balance which can lead to a hormonal feedback loop of fat accumulation.


• Intermittent Fasting (minimum 18/6)
• 2 meals a day (4 to 6 hours apart)
• Macronutrient calorie ratio 60/30/10 (Fat/Protein/Carbohydrate)
• Need to be in a calorie deficit for the metabolism of stored fat (1/3 less or .66 calorie differential)
• Consistency is the key to success

Your liver can produce glucose from 3 main sources: Carbohydrates, Fatty Acids, and Amino Acids (building blocks of proteins). Ideally, you just want to consume enough glucose for your cells to function properly. Carbohydrates are the easiest for your body to metabolize. Taking in carbohydrates is a slippery slope because we can very easily over-consume, leading to fat storage.

We know we can produce glucose from other sources like protein and fat so exogenous carbohydrates are not essential for survival. We aren’t just trying to survive, we want to thrive, so we should still consume some for the production of new muscle tissue and metabolic flexibility.[63] Metabolic flexibility allows us to metabolize both fat and carbohydrates. If we eat a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat it is difficult for our body to utilize fats and vice versa, too much fat and not enough carbohydrates make it difficult for our bodies to utilize carbohydrates. Why would you want flexibility? We don’t live in a vacuum. There are going to be times when there might not be any other option. Plus, let’s face it, carbohydrates taste good. It is better, in the long run, to have them in moderation than to not have them at all and end up binge eating and sabotaging your progress. If there is a silver lining to this, Fat has 9 calories per gram while carbohydrates only have 4 calories per gram which means you can eat more calorie-dense foods and focus more on portion control. Ideally, we want 60% of our calories from fat and 10% of our calories from carbohydrates. This should give us enough flexibility where our cells are getting enough carbohydrates throughout the day and into our workouts and enough fat for use to easily switch into fat-burning once that glucose is used up.

In order to burn stored fat, we need to get into a fasted state either through the duration of time between meals or by exercise. If we are out of glucose, we will start breaking down stored fat from adipose tissue but we will also start breaking down our muscle tissue as well, therefore we need to provide the body with protein but we also don’t want so much protein that it is broken down into glucose and stored as fat. As stated in the weight gain from muscle section we want about 1 to 2 grams per kg of body mass, which is roughly about 30% of your total daily calorie intake.

In the previous section, we talked about circadian rhythm and body temperature fluctuation naturally during the day. Our body temperature has a 24-hour rhythm. We are coldest during sleep, our temperature begins to rise around waking, and continues to rise and fluctuate for about 10 to 12 hours after waking.[64,65,66] We know our blood flow increases with body temperature so we can use that to our advantage when it comes to nutrient uptake.

This program is named brunch body for a reason, we are going to focus on breakfast and lunch. In general, it takes about 3 to 6 hours on average for food to pass through the stomach and small intestine after a meal; longer if there was a lot of fat.[67,68] Nutrients get absorbed as the food is broken down, with the majority of nutrients being absorbed in the small intestine, where they’re then transported into the bloodstream. If for example, we eat our first meal of the day at 10 am those nutrients won’t start entering our bloodstream until maybe 4 pm which means if we work out the late afternoon we will be primed for maximum recovery during the anabolic window post-workout.

Taking advantage of our natural cortisol fluctuations, we are going to consume our first meal within the first hour of waking. 60/40/75 percent of our daily total Fat/Protein/Carbohydrate. This will give us enough energy to break our fast and get through the morning. Our second meal should be around 3 to 4 hours after that. 40/60/25 percent of our daily total Fat/Protein/Carbohydrate should give us the maximum amount of bioavailable amino acids during the anabolic window post-workout. We are then going to exercise 4 to 5 hours after that to take advantage of all those bioavailable nutrients and to accelerate us back into a fasted state. Here are some examples of a meal split for someone eating 1200 calories a day:

Target TotalsMeal #1Meal #2
Fat (grams)80Fat (grams)48Fat (grams)32
Protein (grams)90Protein (grams)36Protein (grams)54
Carbs (grams)30Carbs (grams)23Carbs (grams)8

Option 1

Meal 1Meal 2
4 Eggs8 oz Hamburger
2 Slices of Bacon1 Tortilla Shell
1 English Muffin
1 Tablespoon Butter

Option 2

Meal 1Meal 2
4 Eggs2 Chicken Breast
1 Serving of Cereal1 Cup of Broccoli
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream

Option 3

Meal 1
Meal 2
4 Eggs8 oz Rib Eye
1 Avocado8 oz Button Mushrooms
Corn Tortilla

Option 4

Meal 1Meal 2
1 1/2 cup Soy beans1 Protein Shake
3 Tablespoons MCT Oil

Finally, let’s discuss calorie intake. It is advantageous for us to have fasted states in our diets. Whether we are trying to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain, fasting has more benefits to our hormones and general well-being. We can still build muscle while burning fat, but if your goal is to build muscle and gain weight, have a Calorie Differential of 1.1 to 1.15 (10-15% calorie surplus). To lose weight, we need to be in a calorie deficit of around 0.66. How do we know if we are in a calorie deficit or surplus?

We have to do some math…

First, we need to find out our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). BMR is the amount of energy expended while at rest. The equation for this is shown below. [69]

For men: BMR = 10(Weight(lbs.)/2.205) + 6.25(Height(in)*2.54) – 5(Age) + 5

For women: BMR = 10(Weight(lbs.)/2.205) + 6.25(Height(in)*2.54) – 5(Age) – 161

We then need to add your BMR calories to any other calories you may have burned doing exercise.

As an example: a 220 lbs., 6’1”, 35-year-old man would have a BMR of 1987 Calories. He ran 6 miles and burned an estimated 1029 calories. His Total Calories Out would be 3016 Calories. To have a Calorie Differential of 1 He would need to consume 3016 Calories.

We want to lose on average 2 lbs. of body fat a week. A pound of body fat is roughly 3500 calories that would mean to lose 2 lbs. a week, we need to be in a deficit of 7000 calories or 1000 calories a day.

Let’s look at the example again: If the same man ran 6 miles a day for 7 days he would need to eat 2016 Calories a day, having a Calorie Differential of .66 (-33% calorie deficit).

This does not mean we need to adjust our calories day to day; calorie output is only an estimate. We recommend that you set a daily calorie goal and stick to it for 6-12 weeks then adjust. Weight loss is not linear, a gallon of water weighs 8.34 lbs., our weight can fluctuate drastically over a week just on water retention. It is consistency over time that will deliver you to your goal. Here is a real-life example of weight loss tracked over a year.

Why not just starve? There is no denying rapid weight loss works, at the end of the day, it is calories in vs calories out. However, we are still regulated by our hormones. If you are overweight for a prolonged period of time, leptin levels stay elevated and our brain thinks that is the new normal.[70,71] If we lose weight too fast our body risks rebounding because our brain wants to return back to normal. If we slowly lose weight it will give the brain a chance to adjust, we will also fortify our new habits over time.

• Intermittent Fast to aid hormone regulation, weight loss can be a byproduct.
• Eat high fat/ low carb to help stay fat adapted during fasted states to reduce muscle degradation
• Eat protein from whole foods to continue to build more muscle fiber
• Eat just enough carbohydrate early in the day, to turn off the ghrelin response, maintain metabolic flexibility, and to get amino acids into our muscle cells to build more tissue.
• Consistency is the key to success

Brain Activity

• The brain and body have a symbiotic relationship, you need to exercise both
• Routines and scheduling help remove mental clutter
• Practice Stress Management techniques for hormone management
• Keep a simple journal to stay on track

Keeping your mind clear and your brain sharp is critical in improving your overall health. As said before, your brain and your body are symbiotic and your hormones are what bind them together. Improving your neural pathways through learning and stress management will help improve your hormone regulation and help maintain and improve your body composition. In this section, we will discuss strategies to help reduce stress and increase our brain function.

Routines are great, they can help you get basic daily tasks done efficiently, help reduce mental clutter, and help you regain your footing when you are falling behind.[72] There are two types of routines Primary and Secondary routines. [73] Primary routines are your morning and bedtime routines. These are tasks you are guaranteed to do every day, this may include hygiene-related activities as well as journaling, sleep, stretching. Secondary routines are more nuanced and can be adjusted day-to-day. This may include work, studying, exercise, etc.

Primary routines can be written out in a simple list, while secondary routines benefit from time blocking. Time Blocking is a form of scheduling in which a day is divided up into blocks of time and each block is allocated to a task. We recommend starting with Day Themes. These can be themes like “Work”, “Study”, “Housekeeping”, Those 24 hour day themes can then be broken into 15-minute blocks to which tasks are assigned. Day themes and time blocking should be used as a general itinerary tool to help us stay focused, mitigate daily tasks, and ultimately reduce anxiety. Here is an example of a 24 hour day using time blocking

Continuing Education
There are 100 billion neurons in the human brain.[74] Neurons are used to transmit information between different areas of our brain. In the context of body composition neurons are responsible for muscle contraction. Neurons are also responsible for the sympathetic nervous system’s function. As we age these signals begin to dull, this not only affects our minds but can have a ripple effect across our entire bodies. Studies have shown that learning new tasks that involved memorization enhanced adult neurogenesis.[75,76,77] There is also growing evidence that learning a new task reduces stress and increases energy.[78,79] Lifelong learning is strongly suggested and that can take on many forms: formal education, massive open online courses (MOOC), creative writing workshops, art, a new hobby, etc. This should be looked at as a practice in personal development and just like body composition, consistency is what leads to longevity.

Self-evaluation is the quickest way to begin the process of stress relief.[80,81] In most cases, excessive weight gain and chronic stress-related problems could have been prevented through the use of data logging.[82] Journaling does not have to be an autobiography. Over time, keeping account for our mood, as well as weight, with an occasional minor annotation, is enough information to provide an aggregate of data to become a powerful tool to quickly assess and pivot away from any unwanted habits, limiting your gains. Otherwise, it is very difficult to acknowledge a problem without sufficient evidence.

Physical Activity

• Deep stretch or Yoga in the morning
• Workout in the late afternoon, 3-4 hours before bedtime
• High volume resistance training for hypertrophy (muscle building)
• 90 minutes of steady-state cardio

We need physical activity. It is good for the brain and good for the body. What exercises should you do? Whichever activity you can stick to. We highly suggest our fundamentals program, it is a combination of high volume calisthenics aimed to hit the most amount of body parts in the least amount of movements possible. On top of that, we offer steady-state cardio programs you can do walking, jogging, or on a bike. Both programs are free. Ideally, we feel the best time of day to exercise is in the late afternoon.[83] Obviously, that is not possible for everyone, get it done during the time of day that you can do it consistently. We also recommend resistance training before cardio to burn off your glycogen stores and maximize fat loss during your cardio session. Stretch every day. Stretching in the morning, static stretching (stretching a muscle and holding that position) improves range of motion and can reduce injury, but can reduce strength if it is right before a workout.[84] It is advantageous to perform dynamic stretching(movement-based stretching) before a workout to increase blood flow and stay loose.