Interviewed by Dani Watson

Recently, I was lucky enough to interview leading fat loss expert, personal trainer and motivational coach, Anthony Phass, to find out the best ways to lose body fat for good and eat the right foods to lose that weight, stay motivated, set goals and how to find the right trainer for you. Anthony is one of the most knowledgeable,  honest, to-the-point, no bull-shit trainers out there that I know! His knowledge with food is absolutely out of this world and many clients flock to him for his permanent fat-loss diets and advice. He is a successful trainer, personal training clients here in Melbourne and around the world in the most prestigious health clubs including the Chelsea Harbor Club in London, even training a few celebrities along the way as well.

Anthony is also a level 1 Biosignature practitioner. Read the interview and find out what the Biosignature method is and how is works.

Read on to discover out how you can apply Anthony’s methods to your current training program and see results faster than you ever could imagine!

Q- HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU BEEN PERSOAL TRAINING?

A- I have been a personal trainer since 2001.

 Q- WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO GET IN TO PERSONAL TRAINING?

A- I’ve always had a fascination for exercise science and human physiology. In my earlier years playing competitive sport, I had a great personal trainer who left a big legacy in my life.

What he gave me, I wanted to give back to others. To help, motivate, inspire and give people back to themselves.

I discovered abundance doing that as a personal trainer.

Q- PERKS OF THE JOB?

A- You get to work with different people of various backgrounds and personalities.  It’s a positive ambience filled with like-minded individuals. You decide when and how much to work, when to train, eat, and sleep.

It can’t get much better than that.

 Q- WHICH AREA OF PERSONAL TRAINING DO YOU FIND THE MOST REWARDING?

A- I’ve been involved in fat loss and weight management from the very beginning. I find it most rewarding to see a progressive transformation in an individual’s body composition.

The way they begin to look in the face and body, the new wardrobe they look forward to purchasing, the general compliments they receive from their peers.

Nothing beats the experience of accomplishing worthwhile goals and contributing positive change to another person’s life.

 Q- FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NEW TO THE GYM SCENE, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM IN TERMS OF STARTING OUT? BECAUSE IT CAN BE QUITE INTIMIDATING!

A- It can be quite daunting at first but the biggest advice would be to stick it out and never quit.

Many rely on motivation to keep them going and this is a mistake.

Motivation is only temporary. Much like a hot bath, it eventually gets cool. Therefore, use motivation only to get you started and rely on habit to keep you coming back.

In fact, the difference between a motivation and a habit is one requires an emotional shift to take action, whereas the action of the other is autonomous.

Do you have to get motivated to brush your teeth? (Some people do after a late night out). No, it’s a habit. You don’t think about it, you just do it.

Keep coming back to the gym to eventually make it a disgustingly, beautiful habit.

Q- THERE ARE A LOT OF TRAINERS OUT THERE WHO CLAIM THEY KNOW EVERYTHING BUT SOMETIMES DO NOT, WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE LOOK FOR IN A TRAINER? WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD THEY ASK TO FIND OUT IF THIS TRAINER KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE ON ABOUT BEFORE THEY SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE?

 A- “I know one thing, that I know nothing” Socrates

A great personal trainer is always a humble one. There is never enough to learn, we must keep evolving and continued education is mandatory for personal development.

You don’t have to be a “Swiss-army knife” personal trainer. It’s best to find a specialty and stick with it. I chose fat loss.

If a personal trainer is not certain about a particular question a client asks, they should reply with: “That’s a great question, I’m not sure to be honest. Let me find out and get back to you.” That alone will win respect over your client.

As for what to look for visually in a personal trainer, the first would be the obvious one; do they look apart as personal trainer? If you’re looking at getting in shape, how can you be certain they will take you to the land of your true potential if they can’t get themselves there first?

A personal trainer’s body is their ultimate business card. They should not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk. Nowadays, it’s reached a point that it’s hard to aesthetically distinguish between the trainer and the client.

A famous coach once said that a PT should be in such great shape year round, that they’d be comfortable to train clients in their underwear.

Secondly, it would be their genuine sense of compassion and sincere interest in your success. It won’t take long to figure out if they are after your money or for the greater good.

Are they really interested in helping you? Take a close look at your PT’s body language during your session; it will speak a thousand words. I’ve seen PTs text away as their clients are performing lat pull downs.

Although choosing a PT based on their credentials has its benefits, a knowledgeable PT is not always a passionate one. You can get a sense of one’s passion and enthusiasm based on the way they speak and present themselves.

Besides, a client doesn’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care.

 Q- YOU ARE REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT FOOD AND NUTRITION, WHY IS FOOD SO IMPORTANT TO ACHIEVING FAT LOSS?

A- To achieve optimal fat loss, one must obtain an optimal hormonal profile. Personally, I believe that fat loss is predominantly about the management and manipulation of hormones. Food is crucial because it becomes information that drives these hormones.

What foods you eat influence what hormones the body will release. What hormones are released will ultimately determine whether you store fat or burn fat.

This is how it is.

Q- WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5 TIPS TO ACHIEVING FAT LOSS?

A-

  1. Decide what you want, define it specifically and write it down.
  2. Have a “do whatever it takes” attitude.
  3. Develop a new mindset to eat for purpose, not for pleasure.
  4. Have a battle plan and a deadline in place.
  5. Get an accountability partner to hold you liable to success

Q- WHEN TRYING TO LOSE BODY FAT, IS IT IMPORTANT TO STILL EAT FATS?

 A- Most people altogether avoid eating fats in fear that it will make them fat. They mistakenly equate dietary fat with body fat, assuming that what they eat will be stored as fat.  This is not necessarily true.

In fact, when good fats are consumed, a signal is sent to the body that more energy is arriving. This encourages the body to continue burning the already-stored fat. When fat is eliminated from the diet, the body hoards its stored fat and prevents it from being used as energy.

It’s too bad that the fat in our body and the good fat found in all natural food is spelt in the same way: F-A-T.

Maybe if the fat in our body was called “taf”, people would not be as scared to eat fat to get lean.

As this notion continues to confuse the general public, food-manufacturing companies who promote the low fat approach to weight loss are exploiting this naiveness in a monumental way.

Henry Louis Mencken was right on the money when he said:

For every complex problem, there is a simple solution and it is always wrong”

Q- DO YOU THINK CARBOHYDRATES ARE ESSENTIAL IN A FAT LOSS DIET OR ARE THEY THE ENEMY?

A- There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. A nutrient is only considered essential if it is compulsory for survival, or the nutrient cannot be resynthesized by the body in abundant quantities.

Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is the currency of fuel for the human body. They are non-essential because the body can obtain all the glucose it needs, through the break down of fat and protein taken in from the diet.

Are they the enemy? It really comes down to the individual’s genetics and their current physical conditioning. If you are carrying body fat and often struggle keeping it off, carbohydrates are probably not your best friend. The leaner you are, the greater the likelihood you are at tolerating carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates can create a “fat-sparing effect” for individuals who cannot tolerate them and a “muscle-sparing effect” for those who can. The key is to recognize the effect they have on you personally, by paying respect to your genetic body type.

Whilst they can be a blessing for certain individuals, they can be a curse to others. Therefore, it becomes a concept of metabolic individuality.

It’s different strokes for different folks.

Q- ARE CHEAT MEALS ALLOWED IN A FAT LOSS DIET?

 A- Yes, although frequency comes down to your goals, weekly progress and specific body type. Some can get away with more cheat meals than others. If you are preparing for competition, you may not be able to afford too many cheat meals under your belt.

Becoming a “neo-Nazi” with food not only sets you up for uncontrollable binges later on, but it can stall fat loss by inhibiting the “anti-starvation” hormone leptin. Higher leptin levels keep your body from holding onto its fat reserves.

Restricting yourself to a super strict diet sends out a signal that your body is starving. Delivering extra calories via a cheat meal convinces the body that starvation is not imminent, so it continues to fire the metabolic rate and burn calories.

Get off your diet short-term, in order to stay on your diet long-term.

 Q- WHAT TIME OF DAY IS BEST TO DO CARDIO? DOES IT MATTER?

A- Some say that the best time to perform cardio is upon rising in a fasted state. Others object that this is the best way to lose valuable muscle, not fat.

Working with a diverse variety of clients over the years, my experience has been that cardio timing for fat loss is generally relevant to the individual’s body type.

Those who are endomorphic (look at pasta and gain weight)  in nature seem to benefit highly from doing cardio in a fasted state. To anabolic body types, cardio timing is of no consequence, since losing any tissue (be it muscle or fat) is typically problematic.

To the ectomorph (eat McDonald’s and stay lean) , cardio timing should be cautiously regulated.  Being catabolic in nature, they tend to waste away easily so it’s important to monitor carefully based on their weekly results. If cardio was to be incorporated, it would either occur at least 8-12 hours away from their weight-training window, or on non-lifting days.

As for the pure mesomorph, genetically gifted individuals that put on muscle and burn fat merely looking at dumbbells, don’t really need mentioning here.

In essence, the timing of your cardio is not the most important factor in fat loss. It won’t make or break you. The most important aspect in fat loss is obtaining a calorie deficit.

This can be achieved through a decreased intake in the quality of calories you consume, an increase in your activity expenditure, or ideally a combination of both.

 Q- WHAT TYPE OF TRAINING IS BEST TO ACHIEVE FAT LOSS? CARDIO OR WEIGHT TRAINING OR A COMBINATION OF BOTH?

A- Most people believe that cardio training is the key to losing fat, which is in fact a myth. If you were to choose which exercise to perform in order to burn fat effectively, in the hierarchy of importance, it would be that of weight training.

Cardio should become the “necessary evil” to integrate, if one is not losing fat at a desired rate, through weight training and diet alone.

 Q- HOW CAN PEOPLE PUSH PAST PLATEAUS?

A- “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

If you don’t have a detailed plan of attack, you won’t know what worked to what didn’t. It’s hard to push past a fat loss plateau if you did not initially have a battle plan to begin with.

How many calories do you consume now? How much more cardio do you add? You need a battle plan to push past plateaus.

There is no such thing as failure, only feedback. It’s important to acknowledge that and make adjustments where necessary.

Q- LOTS OF PEOPLE START THE NEW YEAR WITH GOOD INTENTIONS TO LOSE WEIGHT, TONE UP AND GET FIT, BUT END UP QUITTING 4 WEEKS LATER. WHY DO YOU THINK THEY LOSE MOTIVATION SO QUICKLY AND HOW CAN YOU KEEP THE MOTIVATION ALIVE AND BURNING?

 A- Hi there, my name is Anthony Phass and I’m the “Why Guy”. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.

What you’re doing for fat loss is not the same as why you’re doing it. People often ask me how to lose fat, to which I reply: “Don’t ask me how, let me ask you why.”

Most quit four weeks into their training simply because they don’t have a strong enough “why” to keep them going.

As Frederick Nietzsche once said: “When there’s a strong enough why, it will bare almost any how.”

“So Mr. Phass, when will I succeed in my fat loss endeavors?”

When the pain of why you want something exceeds the pain of what it takes to get it.

You need to find your “why” and it must shift you emotionally to not only create change in your life, but to keep change forever. Otherwise, you will continue to stab at it with a stick every New Year.

Begin with the end in mind. Focus on the prize, not the price.

Q- SOME PEOPLE SAY THEY LOSE MOTIVATION REALLY QUICKLY BECAUSE THEY FEEL THEY ARENT SEEING THE RESULTS THEY WANTED. HOW LONG DOES IT NORMALLY TAKE FOR YOUR BODY TO ADAPT TO CHANGES IN DIET AND TRAINING?

A- It really depends on the person’s initial condition to start with. If they have sabotaged their entire endocrine system with poor dietary habits, it could take a while for their body to begin its healing process. Insulin resistance for example, takes time to reverse.

Greater compliance and consistency to diet and training, leads to quicker changes in body composition.

As for staying motivated, learn to fall in love with the process of creation, not the results. Fat loss is all about doing enough of the right things every day.

Learn it, live it, love it.

Q- WHAT ARE SOME GOOD WAYS TO STAY MOTIVATED?

A- Here are some quirky ways to get that inner fire of yours burning with motivation:

  • Put on your favorite motivating music
  • Log onto www.simplyshredded.com and read some inspirational quotes
  • Watch Rocky IV eighteen times
  • Hang around positive, like-minded people
  • Hit this link on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myyWXKeBsNk

In my opinion, the best way to get motivated is to stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself these two questions:

“Is This Who I Am?”

“Is This Who I Wish To Be?”

Life is not a process of discovery, but that of creation. You’re not here to discover who you are; you’re here to create yourself anew.

If you don’t like whom you’ve created, start reconstructing yourself today to that who you wish to be.

Get out a piece of paper and write down the highest possible definition of who you think you really are.
How would you wish to look like? How would you wish to feel like?

Living a life that’s heading towards an unfulfilled destiny should be the biggest driving factor that ignites that burning desire within you to make change for the better.

Q- MANY PEOPLE LOVE TO MAKE EXCUSES AS TO WHY THEY CAN’T TRAIN E.G IT’S TOO COLD OR I AM TIRED ETC. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THOSE PEOPLE?

HOW IMPORTANT IS MEAL PREPARTION WHEN LOOKING TO LOSE WEIGHT?

 A- A personal trainer once told me: “Anthony, excuses are just like ***holes, everyone’s got one.” He was right!

If it’s cold for you, it’s cold for another. If you are tired, so is the late shift worker who makes it to the gym at 6am before going to bed on weekdays. Successful people succeed not at the expense of their daily circumstances, but in spite their daily circumstances.

The only thing stopping you from having what you really want, are the stories (excuses for a better word) you keep coming up with of why you can’t have it.

As for meal preparation, it’s crucial! A hungry human being is not always a rational one. It’s difficult to make wise food choices when you’re completely famished. So if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Make sure to prepare your meals prior and you won’t have to prowl around like a wild cat when it’s feed o’clock.

Q- WITH FEMALE CLIENTS, HOW DO YOU ASSURE THEM THAT THEY WON’T END UP BIG AND BULKY IF THEY DO WEIGHT TRAINING BECAUSE THIS IS A FEAR A LOT OF WOMEN HAVE BUT OBVIOUSLY WEIGHT TRAINING IS CRUCIAL TO HAVE IN ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLAN.

A- Weight training is not something worth considering, it’s absolutely mandatory.

Outside strength and conditioning, women should train with weights, as it will help them battle the risks of osteoporosis in later years. Supplementing with calcium will not be their greatest savior, heavy iron will be.

Women should understand that they don’t possess sufficient quantities in androgenic hormones like testosterone, for them to become “bulky”.

Training with weights is the solution, not the problem.

So ladies, start lifting heavy iron as that represents a large piece of the fat loss jigsaw puzzle.

Strong is really the new skinny.

Q- YOU ARE A LEVEL 1 BIOSIGNATURE PRACTITIONER, WHAT IS BIOSIGNATURE?

A- BioSignature Modulation is a scientific approach to spot reduction, developed by renowned strength and conditioning coach Charles Poliquin.

By performing blood, urine and saliva tests on professional athletes, new advancements in exercise endocrinology allowed Charles to identify that stubborn body fat is largely due to an imbalance in the body’s biochemistry, particularly that of hormones.

Q- HOW DOES THE BIOSIGNATURE METHOD HELP SOMEONE LOOKING TO LOSE WEIGHT OR PUT ON LEAN MUSCLE?

A- Specific hormones effect the accumulation of unwanted body fat in certain sites of the body. Although many don’t buy the concept of “spot reduction”, the science behind BioSignature claims that spot reduction is very much a valid theory.

The aromatization of testosterone to estrogen for example, causes an abnormal build up of breast tissue in a man’s lower pectoral site. This condition is known as gynocomastia, a common side effect found with the abuse of anabolic steroids.

Hormones have the power to not only build muscle but also hoard unwanted body fat in various sites of the body.

BioSignature identifies twelve major body fat sites, measured with pair of high quality skinfold calipers. Once the sites are examined, the practitioner prescribes a specific training, dietary and supplementation protocol to resolve the problem.

Q- DOES THE BIOSIGNATURE METHOD WORK FOR EVERYBODY? AND IS IT ACCURATE OR JUST A GUIDE LINE

 A- An interesting way to test BioSignature would be to see if the Paleolithic diet alone (the diet used in BioSignature) is powerful enough to influence a change in body composition, with the absence of supplements.

As a practitioner, this has often been an area in question.

Come to think of it, I’ve worked with people who’ve had tremendous success in fat loss, many moonlights prior to becoming a qualified BioSignature practitioner.

To the skeptics, BioSignature is just another very clever way of selling supplements to people.

 Q- WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MEASURE YOUR BODY COMPOSITION AND WEIGHT? AND HOW OFTEN SHOULD A PERSON DO THIS?

 A- Measurements need to be done on a week-to-week basis. This is important for two reasons primarily:

  • It offers feedback as to whether the current prescription is working or if adjustments must be implemented.
  • Clients don’t always do what’s expected, but they most certainly do what’s inspected. This improves compliance.
    Taking weekly measurements is a great way to keep a client on the wagon, particularly if they are taken at 9am every Monday morning.(There’s a tendency to fall off the wagon on weekends.)

 

Q- WHAT ARE SOME COMMON MISTAKES YOU SEE IN THE GYM WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE WEIGHT TRAINING?

A- My top 5 common mistakes I see in the gym:

  • Failure to document all work
  • Failure to periodise training
  • Improper lifting technique
  • Incorrect exercise prescription
  • Too much chatter

Q- WHAT SUPPLEMENTS ARE CRITICAL TO ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM?

 A- Without going into detail with their synergistic benefits, my top six supplements for effective fat loss are:

  • Fish oil
  • HCI
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D3
  • Magnesium
  • Multivitamin

Q- ONCE A PERSON HAS ACHIEVED THEIR GOAL, HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE THEY DON’T FALL BACK IN TO OLD HABITS?

A- When initiating any body transformation program, it’s important to also address any old habits that may have stopped you from achieving your goals in the past.

If you do not address the old habits from the past, they will continue to be the same, contributing factors that will prevent you from achieving your goals in the future.

Q- HOW CAN SOMEONE STOP REGAINING LOST WEIGHT?

A- When you are trying to lose weight for a wedding, a birthday, a holiday or any other short-term purpose, you are setting yourself up for failure from the very beginning. You will constantly search for events on the calendar to get in and out of shape for. It’s very prominent in the celebrity world and it’s known as “yo-yo dieting.”

It’s harder to get in and out of shape, than it is to get there and stay there. Staying there requires a complete change in lifestyle, not a temporary crash diet or shift in your emotional state.

If you initiate a diet that’s so restricting like holding your breath, you may lose weight initially but you will regain it all back when you are sick and tired of eating celery, carrots and cardboard.

Your thoughts influence your actions. A series of repetitive actions become your habits and a series of repetitive habits become your lifestyle.

Losing weight and keeping it off requires a complete change in your thoughts, which translates to a complete change in your lifestyle.

Therefore, the key to preventing a weight regain is to enter it with the perspective of making it a lifestyle.

Q- YOU HAVE A BOOK COMING OUT, WHAT IS THE BOOK ABOUT AND WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO WRITE A BOOK?

A- It’s an easy to read book about the ABC’s of fat loss.

What is fat? How do we store it? Why do we keep it? What do we need to do to burn it?

The reason for writing this book was to reach out, educate and inspire the uninspired. It’s been a challenging and amazing journey writing this book. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.

 Q- IF YOU COULD GIVE US ALL ONE BIG TIP TO ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

A-

When you’re speaking about it, it’s cheap. When you’re visualising it, it’s exciting. When you’re planning it, it’s possible. When you’re doing it, it’s real.

Nike pretty much hit the nail on the head – “Just Do It”

This would be the biggest tip.

GET TO KNOW ANTHONY:-

 

Q- WHICH GYM DO YOU WORK FROM?

A- I work out of Nitro Gym in Hallam, Melbourne.

Q- HOW CAN PEOPLE CONTACT YOU FOR PERSONAL TRAINING?

A- They can add me on Facebook or follow my Instagram and we can go from there.

Q- FAVOURITE BODY PART TO TRAIN?

A- Legs

 Q- LEAST FAVOURITE BODY PART TO TRAIN?

A- Quite the contrary to what most would say but it’s chest and biceps.

 Q- FAVOURITE CHEAT MEAL?

A- Pizza or ice cream

 Q- BIGGEST INSPIRATION?

A- My mother