The PhD fat-loss checklist

Getting into the shape of your life requires many aspects of your personality to spark at once.
A properly designed nutritional program will not perform its potential magic without a synergistic range of nutritional supplements to provide the additional edge your body needs to perform at 100% of its undoubted potential. Similarly, without the mental focus and personal discipline required to adhere to the regimentation of an effective re-build program, you will falter.
Many situations in life are won and lost in the mind. Getting into the shape of your life is merely one of these occasions.
With all these above aspects in mind, it’s important to undertake the following body re-design plan with mental clarity, a positive approach and a desire to make self-improvement your ultimate goal without this short timescale. Equally as important to remember is that whilst the associated training plan may be designed to fit comfortably into a short period, the ethos presented within the plan is one that can be followed for the remainder of your days. Life itself is about having various plans to transport you through individual stages of your life. This stage is merely one of those small periods of time that may fly by in an instant, yet provide you with the drive and the knowledge to ensure the rest of your training life is filled with productivity, goals and success.

Now you are ready and focussed to undertake the Phd fat-loss plan, let’s look at the main factors within the plan and break them down into vital steps along the journey.

Step 1- The need for protein- Maintaining adequate protein is something that should never be a problem for any athlete in the modern-age. Everywhere we look we are reliably reminded about the need for protein, the wonders of protein and how if we don’t eat enough, we’ll never build any muscle.
This is all true of course. In general I would say that whilst protein is of vital importance to all body builders and athletes, it has been perhaps slightly over-emphasised in the recent past. Articles prescribing daily protein intakes of 400-500 grams plus are wildly over the top and misleading, not to even mention the expense. I could go on and tell you how it’s vital to get 400 grams of protein daily and half of that with PhD’s new Pharma-whey™, but I wouldn’t do that, it would quite frankly be irresponsible, misleading and a waste of money for you. Protein is essential and when training hard we do need more than the average-joe, but aim for the regular 1 gram per pound of body weight and you should be on safe ground. For me that’s about 200 grams daily. Additionally, a study featured in J Nutr. 2005 Aug;135(8):1903-10. showed that diets higher in protein, actually aid in the fat-loss process, whilst helping to increase muscle mass. (1) Which is essential when cutting calories.

Step 2- Use a good thermogenic product: A good thermogenic fat burning compound is essential to the overall aim of losing body fat. Of course it is possible to lose body fat without a fat burning supplement, but in all honesty, it is much, much harder.
A good fat burning supplement, complete with ingredients that act to stimulate thermogenesis (Allowing the body to use stored body fat as fuel for exercise) will immediately give your metabolism a head-start in the fat-loss race. Ingredients such as Green tea extract can significantly increase thermogensis through different pathways. Green tea obviously contains natural amounts of caffeine, however in addition to this it has been theorised to increase the amount of noradrenaline produced by the body, or at least inhibit noradrenaline degradation through the production of catechol-O-Methyl-transferase (the enzyme that degrades noradrenaline)(1). Once noradrenaline binds to the adrenoreceptors in the fat cells, a chain of chemical reactions occur that result in the liberation of fatty acids (fat loss). The caffeine/Green tea combination has also been shown to help create a thermogenic effect over the long-term, without immediate down-regulation. Resulting in constant and consistent fat-reduction. (2)
Here’s how to use Lean Degree™-Advanced Thermo-System from PhD Nutrition.

Stage 1- Use 2 capsules immediately upon waking with water or pure fruit juice (I Like using Tropicana grapefruit juice)

Stage 2- Use 2 capsules at mid day. Take in between meals. For example, if you eat at 11am and 2pm, use your stage 2 Lean Degree™ serving at 12.30pm.

Stage 3- For advanced athletes or competitive body builder seeking extreme conditioning and ultra-low body fat levels, use 2 more capsules no later than 5pm at night, I have found 4pm to be the most effective time for stage 3 usage.

Step 3- manage the stress hormones.
In general, embarking upon a weight management programme or attempting to lose significant amounts of body fat for any reasoning, can be stressful. Low carbohydrates equals low blood glucose, which in turn leads to minor things becoming far more irritating than they really are, or would be if your stomach and brain were being fed large amounts of glucose. Both PhD Nutrition’s Lean Degree™ and Wired™ products contain ingredients like L-Tyrosine and DMAE, which may act as precursors to the stress hormones, such as nor-adrenaline, acetyl-choline and dopamine. By helping the brain to produce more of these chemicals called neurotransmitters, we are taking a large step towards ensuring that our mood and attitude remains by and large, positive and productive. These hormones send signals from our brain to nerve endings to basically, help us feel good!

Step 4- You need to use EFA’s- “Good fats” have jumped into the imagination of the general public at last when it only seems two minutes ago that I was writing about the power of flaxseed oil in my 1999 book “True Natural-The definitive guide to drug-free body building”. Essential fatty acids such as Flaxseed oil (found within PhD Pharma-Gain™- The Mass-Gaining Innovation from PhD) carry out many vital functions within the human body, some of these will substantially aid with your fat-loss aims.

Step 5- Maximise your workout/Emphasize volume and frequency: far too many dieters work hard during the day to eat clean, nutritious food, yet fail to take full attention to the extreme-metabolic enhancing effects of a solid weight-training session. Many appear to believe that cardiovascular alone is responsible for body fat loss. Throughout my 11 years involved in competitive natural body building, I have found the opposite to be true. I derive more fat-burning effects from weight-training than cardiovascular work. To the point that during 2004, when I became BNBF Northern under 80kg champion, I did absolutely no cardiovascular work at all, I simply relied upon high volume weight training with decreased rest periods between antagonistic exercises (i.e chest and back, quads and hamstrings).
Examples of my Optimum “Fat-loss” weight-training cycle can be seen in the article Radical fat-loss elsewhere on this site.

Step 6- Don’t neglect the PWM: Continuing on from the point stressed above, do not neglect the potency of the post workout meal.
During periods when you are attempting to lose body fat, carbohydrate-intake will generally be low. However upon completion of an intense workout, blood sugar levels will be at an all-time low. This is the time to take advantage of the anabolic hormone insulin. Liquid carbohydrates at this time will help replenish glycogen stores and coax the body to produce insulin which will shuttle the circulating blood sugar into muscle cells. Far too many athletes panic about carbohydrate intake during the 30 minute period after training, fearing huge amounts of simple sugars will make then fat. This is not the case. Many successful natural body builders adhere to the liquid post workout meal, emphasising a large intake of liquid carbohydrates whilst still achieving fantastic physical condition.
Of course when insulin levels are primed during this period, it’s additionally advisable to include some liquid protein to ensure vital amino acids make their way into starved muscle cells. How many carbohydrates and protein do we need after training? Well through trial and error and through the experience of many body builders I have advised, 50-100 grams of carbohydrates and 30-50 grams of whey protein seems to be the optimum amount. Obviously larger athletes will be able to soak up larger amounts and vice versa with smaller athletes. Try 2 scoops of PhD Battery +/-3™ with 2 scoops of PhD Pharma-Whey™ or 1 large serving of PhD Pharma-Gain™ which provides liquid carbohydrates and 40 grams of an anabolic protein blend.

Step 7- Carbohydrate timing is essential-Manage your blood sugar levels: Carbohydrates are often seen as the most evil of all the nutrients and at times, dear old carbs have been the victim of somewhat of a witch-hunt. The trend of high-fat, high-protein, zero-carb diets is exactly that….a trend! Nutritional balance will always survive and those who follow such an approach will always be able to maintain good, athletic condition. Fad diets are destined for failure because the likelihood of eating in such a manner for the remainder of your life is nigh-on impossible. Who wants to live without complex-carbs for 30 years?
Having said all that, if you are seeking optimum condition, it’s essential to follow a few carb-rules:

  1. Make the first meal of your day and your post workout meal (PWM) the biggest carb-meal of the day. I like oats and raisins in the morning and then a liquid carb source such as Battery +/-3™ after training.
  2. Attempt to eat the rest of your daily carbohydrate calories from low to moderate GI carbs. Sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, basmati rice, long grain rice, oatmeal, porridge, fruit are all excellent sources of low to moderate carbs.
  3. Keep your pre-workout meal low in carbohydrates. If you want to lose body fat, try eating a low-carb meal about 90 minutes before training. Plenty of evidence, both research-led and from my own personal experience suggests that training after a high-carb meal may enhance strength ever so slightly, but when blood sugar is high and insulin is present in the bloodstream, fat cannot be burnt. Save your carbs for the anabolic period immediately after training.
  4. Taper your carbohydrate intake down as the day progresses. When dieting for the BNBF Britain finals in 2004 I consumed the last of my complex carbohydrate calories around 4pm. My final two meals consisted of salmon and a large salad, or large plate of vegetables, followed by a mid-evening snack of 1 x piece of fruit with simply protein and EFA’s before bedtime. Now you can of course take this as an extreme example, as I needed to gain extreme condition. However, tailor-make your own late night carb intake and undergo your own experiences as to how many carbohydrates you can take in during the evening. I can guarantee that showing a little restraint in this area during this time of the day goes a long way towards creating a more stream-lined, fat-burning machine.
  5. Use supplements like Alpha Lipoic Acid, which may help regulate blood sugar levels and ensure that food cravings and particularly carbohydrate cravings, are a thing of the past. (Alpha Lipoic Acid is found in PhD Nutrition’s Lean Degree™ and within our powerful “male only product” Formula-X™)

Step 8- Use the big lifts- Sure it’s tempting to steer clear of the difficult, multi-joint exercises when a little low on calories, but this approach wont be as successful as using the exercises that a) illicit the greatest calorie expenditure and b) provide the greatest anabolic response. The big lifts like squats, dead lifts, bent over rows, Romanian dead lifts etc. take all your undoubted will power to perform when feeling a little phased-out, but the response they provide will help you on your way to getting into the shape of your life. If you don’t fancy squatting anytime, just take 1 serving of PhD Wired™ and all will be well again, it certainly works for me.

Step 9- Intense Interval cardio- Those of you who know my writing and have read my books and articles in Musclemag, or on my discussion forum will know that I don’t have that much time for cardio. However just recently, through discussions with fellow PhD athlete and champion natural body builder, Dean Garratt, I have began using high intensity interval cardio. I use the exercise bike and pedal at a reasonable pace for 30 seconds before switching to an all-out sprint for 30 seconds, before resorting back to a steady pace for another 30 seconds in readiness for another sprint. I continue this for a total of 6 sprints. It’s far more effective at raising and sustaining metabolic rate and far more exciting than walking on a treadmill for an hour of total boredom.


  1. Layman DK, Evans E, Baum JI, Seyler J, Erickson DJ, Boileau RA.J Nutr. 2005 Aug;135(8):1903-10. Dietary Protein and Exercise Have Additive Effects on Body Composition during Weight Loss in Adult Women.
  2. Dulloo AG, Duert C, Rohrer D, Girardier L, Mensi N, Fathi M, Chantre P, Vandermander J. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. Am Clinical Nutr. 1999 Dec;70(6):1040-5.
  3. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM.

Body weight loss and weight maintenance in relation to habitual caffeine intake and green tea supplementation.
Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, PO Box, 616NL-6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.

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