1/2/08 Log: 1-Year of Turbulence Training – An Unbiased Review

I’m going to officially start my Turbulence Training 12-week transformation challenge again on Monday. This week will be my program reboot week where I get back in the habit of bulk meal prep and ramp up my workouts again. I’ve been pretty lazy for the past two weeks, and I need a few days to get my mindset back in the right place and my sleep schedule normalized. And call it vanity, but I really don’t feel like taking “before” photos whilst retaining 5 extra pounds of water from TTOM and too many salty carbs over winter break, even if it would make my 12-week transformation look ever so much more dramatic.

So let’s talk about Turbulence Training a bit today. In the interest of full public disclosure, I must tell you that Turbulence Training creator Craig Ballantyne is running a contest with prizes for his affiliates that ends today. That is why you have seen so many email newsletters, blog posts, and “articles” pushing the program over the past three days or so. If you click through my TT links in this post or on the site, you will indeed be crediting me with an affiliate sale, so be warned!

Turbulence Training is actually a pretty decent plan, especially if you are time-crunched. The weight lifting portions of the workouts are very fast but intense since they incorporate full-body, non-competing supersets with around 3 sets of 8 reps on average to squeeze in 6 different compound exercises in each workout. The first non-competing superset tends to work the largest muscle groups (squats supersetted with pull ups for instance). Lifting usually takes me 35-40 minutes, and is followed by 3-8 sets of intervals on your choice of cardio equipment or outdoors at 3/10 and 8/10 intensity.

The lifting/intervals are performed three times per week with a day of recovery between TT workouts, and thirty optional additional minutes of activity (this is where you can squeeze in some recreational sports, walking, yoga, etc.) are recommended on an additional 3 days per week on the recovery days.

A typical 4-week TT workout program has 2 different workout routines (let’s call them Workout A and Workout B) that are alternated throughout the week. After 4 weeks, you are told to take a week off, then switch to another TT program.

A sample TT workout week would look like this:

Monday: Workout A (Weights and intervals) (~45-60 minutes)
Tuesday: Rest or 30 minutes of light activity
Wednesday: Workout B (Weights and intervals) (~45-60 minutes)
Thursday: Rest or 30 minutes of light activity
Friday: Workout A (Weights and intervals) (~45-60 minutes)
Saturday: Rest or 30 minutes of light activity
Sunday: Rest

Now let’s address the really important questions: Does Turbulence Training deliver on all the hype? Can you gain muscle and lose fat working out just 3 hours a week? Is it really better than a program like Body-for-Life?

Well, the answer is, “It depends on your individual starting point.” This fat loss program was primarily designed for adults working out at home who are either deconditioned and/or short on time. Someone who has been sedentary for a while, is out of shape, has never trained with weights, or has more fat to lose will get very good fat loss results on just the baseline plan alone, but this is true of any resistance training + interval plan, including Body-for-Life, which also espouses three days of weights and at least three sessions of intense interval cardio.

But what about the client who is NOT out of shape and only wants to lean out a little bit more? Is TT equally effective for fat loss in a more advanced trainee?

I have been using the TT workouts since October 2006, and in my experience as an already fit female with a 75% mesomorph/25% endomorph body type going into the program, the baseline workouts as described above without the optional recovery day activity time are not enough to burn those last 5-10 pounds of fat off of me while eating 1600-2000 calories per day. My body has already adapted too well to that volume and intensity of activity after almost 4 years of bodybuilding style nutrition and consistent training with weights and cardio intervals. I would have to reduce calories lower than that or raise activity minutes to lose at the TT-diet plan recommended 1700-1750 cals/day. I did find that I increased actual strength while following the TT for Women plan and diet as written, particularly in tougher compound lifts like squats and pull-ups.

While I have found the 3-day/week TT baseline program and diet to be a good maintenance program for someone with my body type and fitness level with just 5-10 pounds to shave off, from personal observation I think that the additional 30 minutes of physical activity on the off days (preferably at medium to medium-high intensity) and some additional dietary tweaking are definitely required to get below 20% body fat on this program. Basically, if you are starting out already fit, within a few pounds and percentage points of a pretty lean goal (this means getting into the teens in body fat percentage for the ladies), and you don’t happen to be an ectomorph like Skwigg who needs to eat 2400+ calories/day just to keep weight ON, you will need to do a little extra exercise and really watch your nutrition to get ripped using TT.

That said, TT is a lot less boring than BFL style workouts if you’ve been stuck in a BFL rut for a while, and there are a LOT of TT program manuals available. The base TT for Fat Loss package includes over 6 months’ worth of workouts in just the main manual. There are also a lot more included as “bonuses” to the main ebook which should take you through an entire year of training. TT’s emphasis on compound lifts and full-body workouts instead of the more segmented, isolation exercises and lower body/upper body splits in BFL is also a welcome change.

I do like the TT program and find the workouts challenging, and yes, I’d recommend them to anyone whose main goal is fat loss with the caveat that more advanced trainees who don’t have the metabolisms of race hounds keep in mind that some extra calorie burn on your off days and stricter nutrition might be required for optimum results.

For further evidence, I will be logging my exact calorie burn according to my Polar F6 heart rate monitor and tracking all food intake during my 12-week Turbulence Training challenge starting Monday in order to provide a precise record of how effective the TT for Fat Loss program really is when I am truly tight on my nutrition and more diligent about tracking calories.

So there you have it, my unpaid, unbiased review of Turbulence Training based on over a year of actual program use instead of yet another copy-and-paste affiliate press release or article from the author.

For a sample of a TT workout using only bodyweight exercises, check out my previous post:
Fitness on a Budget Part 2: DIY, Nearly Free, No Gym Required Workout Plans

There are also some additional links to free workout programs near the bottom of the same post. Another good option is to pick up Lou Schuler’s and Alwyn Cosgrove’s New Rules of Lifting at the bookstore or library. It’s only $17 or so on Amazon.com, and includes LOTS of different training plans that I believe are similar to Cosgrove’s pricey $50+ Afterburn program.

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This Week’s Workout Plan
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Mon) Rest
Tue) Rest
Wed) YF Cardio (30 min) + TT Weights (35 min); Yoga (30 min)
Thu) Rollerblading (30 min) + Interval Run (30 min); Yoga (30 min)
Fri) TT Weights + Interval Bike (60 min); Yoga (30 min)
Sat) Forza (60 min); Yoga (30 min)
Sun) TT Weights + Interval Skate (60 min)

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Meal Plan
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M1) 30g raisins, 30g oatmeal, 3 egg whites, 1/2 c. spinach
M2) 15g cashews, 20g tropical trail mix
M3) 3/4 c. curry rice noodles with veggies, 3 oz. lean beef or chicken
M4) 1/2 c. 1% cottage cheese, 3/4 c. berries, 15g cashews
M5) 3/4 c. curry rice noodles with veggies, 3 oz. lean beef or chicken
M6) 2 chocolate protein pops or spinach omelette with 1 whole egg/3 whites

Financial and Physical Peace

I’ve been listening to and reading the writings of financial talk show host and author Dave Ramsey recently, and it has really struck me how many of the things he says about financial responsibility and freedom correlate to fat loss and fitness as well. I’m in decent shape both financially and physically thanks in equal parts to a no-frills, frugal upbringing, a series of smart, informed choices in money and lifestyle, and a decent amount of self-motivation, but I wouldn’t say that I have reached my ultimate goals in either arena yet.

At various times, in my own sometimes hard core, sometimes laid-back way, I have come close to being completely debt-free or reaching that elusive 15% body fat/130 lbs. I’ve even hung out at both of those milestones for a few months at a time…. But then something always comes up–a $1000 car repair that had to go back on a credit card because I didn’t have an emergency fund yet, a big crunch at work that derailed my workouts, an unexpected out-of-state wedding that set me back both financially and fitness-wise–and I am back to trying to reach that $0 debt baseline and 16% body fat again instead of being able to move forward by SAVING up for emergencies and actually training to IMPROVE performance.

On the occasions I’ve actually reached both goals, they didn’t stick for more than a few months because I hadn’t completely changed all of my old ways. I’ve never fully fallen back into stupidity, but I keep giving myself too much leeway with impulse gadget/book/software/game purchases, “cleanish” or downright bad food choices, and inconsistent workouts before I’d maintained my financial and physical statuses for a stable three month minimum. I’ve had too much of a “Yay! I’ve reached my goal! Now I can let up!” attitude, when I really should have been saying, “Yay! I’ve reached my goal! Let me get used to maintaining this for another 6 months to make sure I have enough savings to withstand the next unexpected car repair and that I have a grasp of how much I should eat and work out to keep my physique the way I like it before I start easing up on everything all at once.”

Ramsey says that you must live like no one else (meaning working your butt off and doing without the frills for a while) now so you can LIVE like no one else (meaning financially secure and enjoying all of those things you sacrificed before…but without debt this time) later.

I think this rationale can and should be applied to fat loss. What it boils down to is that neither financial freedom nor a lean, fit physique is achieved without hard work, sacrifice, and a willingness to go against the American norm. (This last item shouldn’t trouble you overly much since the “norm” these days is fat and broke!)

Continue reading »

Crisco Motivation

Here’s a bit of visual motivation for you all:

Go to the kitchen. Scoop out 1/4 cup of Crisco shortening, the solid, greasy white stuff. That’s what you are burning off your thighs every day you follow your own program. It may take a while for all of those scoops to make a visible difference, but eventually they WILL.

One week on plan = One pound of shortening/fat lost = 1.75 cups of volume

Measure THAT out and consider if you still want that fat hanging around next week.

In a little over 9 weeks, you will have burned off enough fat to fill a 1 gallon jug, or one of those really big canisters of Crisco.

Nice, eh?

Why Losing Fat Seems More Difficult When You Are Already Fit

The Pink Dumbbells MEGA Challenge is wrapping up week 2 this weekend, and already I am seeing some formerly gung-ho ladies drop off the radar completely or admit to flagging motivation due to their lack of instant results after just one week. Some have lost only a little bit of scale weight. Some have just maintained. Some, myself included, have even gone up a pound or two. And a few others have decided (perhaps wisely) to avoid the scale completely until week 4. We haven’t even reached week 4 yet (the famous milestone marker for the “OMG! I’ve been SO perfect! Why haven’t I lost any weight?!?!” freak out), but women who should know better are starting to lose steam based on just a few digits on the scale.

Now understand that the majority of the challenge participants are not new to healthy eating or exercise. If you read through the sign up posts, you’ll see that the common theme among this diverse group is that almost all of us have been lifting weights, performing cardio, and eating relatively clean for a year or more. We aren’t newbies starting their first Body-for-Life challenges after ten years of being one with our couches and regulars at Mickey D’s.

And therein lies the reason for our lackluster weigh-ins at this early stage.

Our bodies are EFFICIENT.

Efficient is defined as “performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort; economical to use.”

Think about that for a moment in the context of our bodies. When you train hard regularly to constantly improve your strength and speed while keeping your clean food intake about the same, you are essentially wiring your body to handle an increasing amount of hard physical work in a more economical fashion when it comes to energy expenditure. A 5k run might have burned off over 450 calories when you were just starting out, but once you are fit that number could drop down to 320 calories just because you are more efficient at it due to lower overall body weight, improved cardiovascular endurance, and better running mechanics.

I believe that those of us who have been working out for a few years just have greater buffer zones when it comes to physique changes compared to men and women who are complete beginners. What I mean by this is that our tolerance for exercise and clean nutrition is higher because we’ve conditioned our bodies to handle much more activity than the average person and to furthermore do so on “premium” fuel/mostly clean eats. We are stronger and have more endurance than we did before we started working out one, two, three, or more years ago. That’s good, of course, but it also means that we are able to lug around any extra poundage we have put on when we slack off for a while with less effort than we would have before.

Here’s what I imagine happens when we sign up for these challenges, boost our workouts (which we were probably doing with 50-80% compliance already) to 80-100% compliance and tidy up our (again 50-80% clean) diets:

Our bodies just shrug and say, “Ah, more of the same old thing. Hmm…can I perform these new workouts on this slightly reduced amount of very high quality food without burning up any of my (needed for 9 months of baby production) stored fat? Yup! Cool beans! No need to shed any of this extra weight until we know this is long-term change. La la la…. Ack! Geez, do I really have to lift THAT much weight again? I think I need to get some work crews and supplies over to the muscle department for an upgrade.”

Don’t underestimate the importance of that “very high quality food” component. If a relatively fit gal has been eating 2000 calories of 50% healthy and 50% junk food, cleaning up her diet to 90% healthy may actually give the body MORE usable quality nutrients and calories for muscle growth even if she reduces her total caloric intake to 1500 per day. At 50% dietary compliance a maintenance intake level of 2000 calories per day yields only 1000 calories of quality fuel. At 90% dietary compliance and 1500 calories per day, that is 1350 calories of quality fuel (very likely quite high in protein) that her body would just LOVE to use to rebuild muscles that have grown a bit soft from a few weeks or months of scaled-back workouts. If you add in the effect of muscle memory which theoretically makes it easier for someone who once achieved a certain level of muscle size and strength to return to that same level with less effort, what you may actually have for the first few weeks of clean eats and consistent workouts is such a favorable environment for muscle hypertrophy that fat loss gets pushed to second place on the body’s list of priorities.

After all, we are now subjecting our muscles to heavy loads on a regular basis again. The natural response of our bodies is to restore our muscles to their previous glory ASAP in order to handle the new physical demands, and what do you know? There’s suddenly lots of good, clean building blocks coming in, ready to make this happen!

We can still make our bodies drop the fat, but it takes either a MAJOR shock to the system exercise/food-wise (think crazy Velocity Diet or a completely different workout plan that we are NOT efficient at performing) or simply MORE time performing a program consistently and with stricter compliance to get the results that we once achieved by simply cutting out regular Cokes and adding chicken breast, weight training, and a few 20 minute HIIT sessions to our week.

Perhaps challengers like us shouldn’t even be allowed to have the classic 4-Week Freak Out; our realistic time-frame would be more in line with a 6- or 8-Week Freak Out.

My advice is to stick to your workouts and nutrition plan and let your body do its thing to get your muscles back up to spec if you’ve been sloppy with exercise and food for a while and know you’ve lost some strength and muscle size. Once it’s finished rebuilding that underlying uber-buff chica structure under the hood in a few weeks, your body will be more than happy to turn its attention to burning off the extra fluff sitting on top.

Oh, and picking out some new exercises that you have never done before or are particularly tough for you to do might be a good idea, too.

Now take that self pity-motivated Hershey bar out of your mouth, hit those planned workouts and meals religiously, and don’t let me hear any more whining until Week 6 at the earliest!

Fitness on a Budget Part 2: DIY, Nearly Free, No Gym Required Workout Plans

Now that we have the tools to develop our own healthy nutrition plan based on Berardi’s Precision Nutrition principles for free, let’s see about constructing some effective fitness plans for fat loss or general improvement in functional fitness that require minimal or no equipment at all and use only freely, LEGALLY available web resources.

Minimum Requirements:

  • A clean bill of health from your primary care physician: Though I doubt that most of you will bother with this, I have to observe the formalities and say that you really, really shouldn’t start a new exercise regimen without being checked out first, especially if you have been sedentary for more than a month or two or have a medical condition that may affect your ability to perform strenuous exercise safely. Proceed at your own risk!
  • Good workout shoes: I am assuming that you already own a pair of decent running or crosstraining shoes that fit properly and aren’t completely flat from 5 years of daily wear. If you do not own such shoes, check the clearance area of websites like Footlocker.com for older models and sign up for their sales notifications so you will know when a 30% off coupon is available. For women, don’t forget to check the Men’s clearance; many men’s shoes are left over in small sizes (6-7.5) that would fit an average female foot just fine (7.5-9).
  • Chin Up / Pull Up Bar (Optional): Prices range from $12 for a basic model to around $60 for one with multiple grips. If you have a playground nearby with bars, you can save yourself some money by doing your workouts in the park instead.
  • Resistance Tubing with Handles (Optional): Prices are usually between $9-$15. This is a good alternative for those of you who aren’t quite able to perform bodyweight chin ups yet.

The (Free!) Programs:

Building Your Plan:

Because preserving lean muscle mass is critical to long-term success with fat loss–the more lean mass you have, the more calories you burn just sitting on your butt all day, and the more food you can get away with eating without getting fluffy again–the Turbulence Training Bodyweight Workout (TTBW) is mandatory in all of the plans.

Sorry ladies, this means you, too. Bodyweight exercises won’t bulk you up into She-Hulks, I swear. You will get leaner, firmer, and stronger without getting huge using this manual, and honestly, isn’t it sort of embarrassing to NOT be able to do real push-ups with just your own bodyweight? Physical weakness is neither attractive nor useful.

And for the guys–if you’ve been out of shape for a while, you will see some muscle gains using the TTBW plan, but they will be more in line with a lean mountain climber or volleyball player build vs. the bulky look of a bodybuilder.

As a side note, any of the plans below can also be adapted for maintenance by adjusting your nutrition so your intake is no longer at a caloric deficit.

So let’s take come up with a few training options using just the free resources above:

Absolute Beginner’s Fat Loss Program: You’ve never worked out regularly or have been out of the workout groove for more than 6 months, and your primary goals are fat loss and improving your fitness

  • Monday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Tuesday: TT Intervals (Beginner level) – walk / jog* (20 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Thursday: TT Intervals (Beginner level) – walk / jog* (20 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Saturday: TT Intervals (Beginner level) – walk / jog* (20 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

* Walking / Jogging can be substituted with swimming, bicycling, rollerblading or elliptical machine if you have the equipment for these activities at your disposal.

Beginners Who Want To Prepare for a 5k Race: You are a Beginner as defined above, but you would like to combine your fat loss workouts with a training plan for a 5k race

  • Monday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes) *
  • Tuesday: Couch to 5k training (20-30 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Thursday: Couch to 5k training (20-30 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Saturday: Couch to 5k training (20-30 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

* If you are feeling pretty hardcore after the first week and want to boost your fat loss, you can add the TT intervals (20 minutes) to the end of your Monday, Wednesday, and Friday TTBW workouts.

Intermediate/Advanced Fat Loss Without Running: You have been working out regularly for a while or have completed the Beginner level workouts without too much difficulty. (If the beginner workouts are still challenging for you–e.g. you cannot complete all reps or intervals–you might want to do another 4 week block at the Beginner level.) You want to perform intervals without running or extra equipment.

  • Monday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
    1. Squat Thrusts (30 sec)
    2. Jumping Jacks (30 sec)
    3. Mountain Climbers (30 sec)
    4. Jump Squats (20 sec)
    5. REST (60 sec)
  • Tuesday: Optional general exercise* (30 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Thursday: Optional general exercise* (30 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Saturday: Optional general exercise* (30 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

* Take a walk, do some yoga, garden, swim, bike, do a few rounds of bodyweight circuits again, or pop in a workout DVD–the goal is to do something active that you enjoy.

Intermediate/Advanced Fat Loss With 5k Training: You have been working out regularly for a while or have completed the Beginner level workouts without too much difficulty. (If the beginner workouts are still challenging for you–e.g. you cannot complete all reps or intervals–you might want to do another 4 week block at the Beginner level.) You would like to mix bodyweight interval circuits with a 5k training plan.

  • Monday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Tuesday: Couch to 5k training (30 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Thursday: Couch to 5k training (30 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Saturday: Couch to 5k training (30 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

Intermediate/Advanced Fat Loss With Extra Cardio: You have been working out regularly for a while or have completed the Beginner level workouts without too much difficulty, but you feel that additional cardio might be needed to get rid of those last 5 lbs of fat. You would like to mix bodyweight interval circuits with a 5k training plan.

  • Monday: TTBW (Intermediate or Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. ) or your choice of running / bike / swimming / etc. intervals
  • Tuesday: Cardio Coach V.6 workout (run / bike / elliptical / etc.) (45-60 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Intermediate or Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. ) or your choice of running / bike / swimming / etc. intervals
  • Thursday: Cardio Coach V.6 workout (run / bike / elliptical / etc.) (45-60 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Intermediate or Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. ) or your choice of running / bike / swimming / etc. intervals
  • Saturday: Cardio Coach V.6 workout (run / bike / elliptical / etc.) (45-60 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

Fitness on a Budget Series:

Further Reading
Need more variety? Mix things up by swapping out the TTBW workouts and the Couch to 5k training plan with some of the options below!

Free Sewing Patterns & Resources

Since I’ve gotten back into sewing, I’ve found some great free sources for sewing patterns on the web that you might want to check out. If you’ve been sewing for a while, you know that a gal can never have too many patterns. If you are a sewing newbie but have been thinking about giving mom or grandma’s machine in the corner a whirl, getting started with a free and easy pattern is a nice way to get your feet wet with very little financial risk.

Review: Alli by the Numbers – Why it’s a load of crap

I’ve been seeing a lot of ads featuring the new FDA-approved weight loss aid alli (http://myalli.com) in the Sunday paper lately. I’ve also seen quite a few questions about it on various fitness, weight loss, and nutrition forums. It’s being sold over the counter without a prescription at Target, Wal-Mart, and every drugstore in the nation, it seems, and people are willing to risk the pretty significant (in my view at least) side effect of pooping their pants in order to gain an advantage in their weight loss efforts.

I decided to visit the pill’s information website this morning to see what nuggets of empirical fact I could find to help me calculate just how effective the pill was from a mathematical standpoint.

My conclusion?

The actual number of calories you are spared from absorbing by taking alli is so negligible that if you are exercising regularly (resistance training AND cardio for just 30-45 minutes/3-6x week) and eating a balanced, lower fat diet already, there is absolutely no need to waste your money on this drug. Let’s take a logical, objective view of their literature.

From the Myalli.com website:

How alli capsules work

First, let’s talk about the capsule. alli prevents your body from absorbing about a quarter of the fat you eat. Fat is more calorie-dense than carbs or protein. Just one gram of fat has more than double the calories of the same amount of protein or carbs. So if you eat a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet and use alli capsules, you can make a real difference in your weight as you limit the total number of calories that enter your system.

Here they are saying that you should be eating a reduced-calorie, low fat diet while using the capsules. This means that you are going to be at a caloric deficit anyway, which for most women will be a diet between 1200-1500 calories per day. Low fat (let’s say this is less than 20% of your total calories coming from fat) on that number of calories is only 240-300 calories per day anyhow.

Furthermore, the above states that alli only prevents the absorption of one-quarter or 25% of the fat you consume, which would mean a daily calorie savings of only 60-75 calories!

Even if you are eating at maintenance level (~1800 calories/day for a sedentary woman), your normal fat intake would be just 360 calories per day on a low fat diet, and taking alli would only spare you 90 calories a day.

Does this seem like a good deal to you for how much the pill costs? You can BURN off 90 calories for free by walking for 15-20 minutes or cut out over 100 calories by simply having water or a diet soda or drink instead of a regular Coke, and all without the risk of alli’s “treatment effects.” (This seems to be the marketing department’s flowery euphemism for “crapping one’s pants”.)

Speaking of treatment effects…

Treatment effects are especially likely if you eat a meal with more than 15 grams of fat. On other weight loss programs, you may “save up” your fat allowances for the day and then splurge on a high-fat meal or dessert. alli is different.

If you don’t stay within your fat-gram target when you take alli capsules, you may experience treatment effects. So make sure to distribute your fat grams evenly across your meals for the day. That means you’ll limit yourself to an average of 15 grams of fat for each meal, depending on your own fat intake goal.

If you do have treatment effects, you may see them up to 48 hours after taking an alli capsule and eating a meal with too much high-fat food. You can help prevent future treatment effects by finding the cause and avoiding that food. Write it down in your journal, located in the alli starter pack.

The first few weeks with alli

In the first week or two of the alli program, be prepared for possible treatment effects.

Although many users will experience these effects, in most cases, the effects are mild and typically subside within a week or two, as you adjust to your new diet. Most users who experience some initial treatment effects find them manageable and stay with the program.

Reducing the likelihood of treatment effects

For best results, take alli capsules exactly as directed, and stick with a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet. You may have treatment effects again if you slip and allow your meal to include more than 15 grams of fat.

If you don’t experience any effects, don’t be concerned and think that the alli program is not working for you. It’s likely you’re doing a great job following the plan.

And remember, if you cannot commit to following a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet, you may experience treatment effects. So be sure you are ready for alli.

Okay then…so now you are also limited to meals with less than 15 grams of fat per serving, or you risk “treatment effects” for up to TWO DAYS afterwards. (Two days of carrying extra pants and baby wipes or wearing Depends–fun!)

Most people who would use this pill only eat 3 meals a day, so that would be a max of 45 g of fat per day or 405 calories worth of fat. Multiply that by 25% and you get a paltry calorie savings of 101.25 calories per day.

So in order to have a substantial effect on the number of calories a user takes in per day, the user would have to eat a lot more fat than is recommended by the pill’s instructions (which suggest no more than 42 g of fat per day, distributed so that no more than 15 g are taken in per feeding). And in doing so, the user pretty much guarantees that he/she will experience “treatment effects.”

I’m going to hazard a guess that the diet plan that the alli website generates for customers will look very similar to what you would see from Weight Watchers, Body for Life, the lower fat eDiets programs, or any low-fat diet out there: lean proteins, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, low sugar.

There is NOTHING that this pill actually offers to someone who is already eating right and exercising besides inconvenience, a lot of extra laundry, and an empty wallet.

Save your money and just add in 10 minutes of cardio a day to get the same caloric deficit minus those wonderful “treatment effects,” because if you are banking on just taking this pill to help you lose 10 pounds without exercise or changing your current level of intake, it is still going to take you 346 days to get there:

  • 1 lb of fat = 3500 calories
  • 10 lbs of fat = 3500 x 10 = 35,000 calories
  • Maximum calorie savings from alli based on 45 g/fat per day = 101 calories
  • 35,000 / 101 = 346 days

Compare that to the usual 5-10 weeks (35-70 days) it would take an individual who was willing to put in 30 minutes a day, six days a week of combined resistance and cardio exercise while eating a reduced calorie. low fat diet similar to what is required by alli anyway, and make your own decision.

Bon appetit!

Some quotes to live by in your fitness journey

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now. ” – Zig Ziglar

“It’s not supposed to be easy. Disciplined people succeed; undisciplined people don’t…Nothing changes by doing what’s fun and EASY.” – Tom Venuto

“Regenerate your system through diet and exercise. Save the cookies!” – Panda Express fortune cookie