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home | Sample Articles | Mike Zappitelli Explains How Staying . . .

Mike Zappitelli Explains How Staying Consistent Will Gain Results to Getting Lean & More!
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
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Time for another interview with a good friend of mine, Mike Zappitelli.

These days, every single trainer is being heralded as the #1 fat loss expert in the world, or one of the brightest minds in strength and conditioning.


The truth is, most trainers haven't accomplished anything yet, especially when compared to experts like Mike Zappitelli.


Mike has walked the walk when it comes to being a personal trainer. He's a CSCS, a massage therapist, certified in Acupuncture, and on and on and on.

And as long as I've known him (going on 12 years now!), Mike has been in or near contest-shape. He's a champion natural bodybuilder (the best way to be), and he's recently helped a team of men and women from the Niagara Falls area dominate the scene. Let's find out how…

CB: Zaps, great success man! What's the secret to getting lean?

No secret here Craig. It's really as simple as staying consistent!

In every thing that you do, you have to stick with it to obtain results. Eating, training, sleeping, working, etc. You have to have a sound regime every day and if not, develop a plan. This is not only to achieve the results that you are looking for, but also to help you get back on track after those days when you fall off.

Everyone has those days when we tend to slack off a little (we can't be 100% all the time). So, when this happens, your body will be better able to respond to anything negative.

Nutrition has such a large impact on your body composition and yet many people still neglect this area. Changing your nutritional intake to that of a more unrefined approach is the first 3-4 steps of 5 to getting lean.

As for training, the same thing goes. You definitely have to have a higher lean mass percentage. And, if you don't, developing a sound strength training and interval program is key. These two elements are key to both developing a higher metabolic rate (both working and at rest) and burning fat most efficiently.

CB: Mike, getting back to the basics for a second, and the approach of the "masses" to fat loss, we hear a lot about "detox diets". What's your opinion?

I agree with you that 'detox's' are not necessary.

Now living a life that helps to limit the toxins going into you body is similar to a lifelong 'detox'. It is impossible to avoid certain toxins, air being a great example on your part.

A 'long-term' detox is better! Some people eat bad foods regularly. To limit, if not eliminate, them from your diet completely would be detoxing in itself.

What people have to remember about detox plans is that they are not supposed to be used for 'weight-loss'.

The intention is to decrease/eliminate the many metabolic wastes/toxins within the systems of your body. By doing this, you are trying to achieve a more efficient working system, which, in turn, will produce a better functioning unit/body as a whole...affecting metabolism and energy levels positively.

CB: Mike, what are some basics about fat loss that people still have a hard time with?

People still have a hard time deciding what carbs are good and which ones are bad. They do exist!!!

Carbs coming from whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains are great carbs. Those carbs that have to be processed are the bad ones. These are often referred to as the 'refined' carbs. These are bad. You cannot find these types of carbs growing on any tree/plant anywhere on this planet.

Any time a food is changed or processed in any way, it will lose part of it's nutrient content bringing this food to a nutrient deficient level. Foods that fall into this category usually involve cookies, crackers, breads, pastas, chips, candies, etc. These are all packaged goods in nice, flashy containers to market themselves for the consumer to buy.

You never see fresh fruits, veggies and meat/fish packaged and advertised like that. The only thing that might be flashy on these is the light reflecting on the plastic wrapping sealing the product (no fancy boxes with cartoons or whatever).

It is best to speak with a knowledgeable nutritionist to help you understand what's good and bad out there in this world of confusion (because there are some packaged foods that are definitely better choices). Better education helps to make better decisions, which are ultimately in the end, your choice.

CB: All-right, let's hit the advanced fat loss scene. You've just worked with a great team that destroyed the competition at FAME (a physique contest in Toronto). Having helped both men and women, what are the major differences for success in each?

Well Craig, gender was the major difference.

Men were able to develop more muscle mass and get leaner come showtime in comparison to the women. No real breakthrough info there, sorry. However, we did have a great turnout from the women this year. From 3 weeks up to the show, a lot of changes started to develop.

Aside from the gender, the major differences that I have noticed, not particularly in this group, but just over the years are discipline and attitude. Some just want to achieve more than others and realize the work that has to go into it. The commitment from this year's group was amazing and their attitude towards the whole approach was excellent.

Negative attitudes were none existent this year. The whole team was surrounded by positive people who all supported one another. It's really amazing how attitude can affect you positively or negatively, when striving for your goals.

CB: How much cardio were these people doing? How different is that vs. the off-season? Do you use intervals?

It is difficult to observe what the team is doing on a daily basis.

Programs were developed with a theoretical approach for the team as a whole and then tweaked for each individual based on there lifestyle and schedules.

Interval training was emphasized more than just straight cardio. We used cardio for recovery days.

Some responded very well to the training regime while others had to put a little more time into it.

For example, we had some members that didn't have to do any cardio, while others were there twice a day!

CB: Have you found that there is a best time of day to train for fat loss?

I am more of an advocate training in the a.m. (7am-10am). For the average individual, this is a great 'pick-me-up' time and also seems to set a precedent for the rest of the day for most in terms of eating well and having good habits.

If you happen to 'fall off the track' that day, then you can still do a second workout later (if you wanted).

You have to keep in mind that bodybuilding, figure, fitness individuals are of a different mindset that your average person who goes to the gym to just get a workout in. This is their life and they are so fine-tuned that they will do whatever it takes stick with a program and achieve the results they desire.

So, as for the best time?...I guess in the end, Craig, whenever you can get in to complete your session for that particular day.

CB: Awesome info...and finally, what tips do you have for contestants on show day, or just for the general population wanting to look good for one specific day...such as a wedding or even a date?

This question is so hard to answer for liability reasons. Show preparation is not at every day habit to follow as we manipulate food and water intake.

For the general population, you achieve amazing results with just changing what you put in your body. Having a nutritional habit consisting of unrefined foods can have an impact on you in as little as 1-2 weeks.

People who tend to eat processed/refined foods tend to have more water retention causing the bloated feeling in your lower abdomen. This can be cleared up by cleaning up your nutritional intake.

Hope this helps!

CB: Great stuff Mike. Thanks so much. If readers have any questions they want to ask Mike, feel free to write in and I'll have Mike answer them in a future interview.

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·  Issue #9 -- An Interview with A Trainer to the Hollywood Stars, and a full body exercise "Bird Dog."
·  Issue #8 -- An Interview with Former Mr. Universe Lee Labrada, and The "T" Squat.
·  Issue #7 -- An ab exercise that will test your mental toughness, and get results!