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Herbal Diuretics

Question: I read the label of Dean Tornabene's Fat Fighting System. It included bladderwrack and uva ursi, and didn't appear to have any stimulants. I'm not exactly asking for an endorsement, but how do you feel about a product with these ingredients as far as a weight loss supplement?

Justin Leonard: Both of the natural herbs you mentioned are relatively safe diuretics. You'll find them in almost every water pill. They can act as a mild, yet effective diuretic. As for the Fat Fighting System itself, you would have to ask yourself: is this supplement just going to cause me to lose water (which will replenish itself) everyday or is it actually going to speed up my metabolism and help me lose weight?

Major Muscle Groups

Question: What are the "major muscle groups?" I've heard and read that it is most important to concentrate on them.

Justin Leonard: Yes, it's definitely important to concentrate on the following major muscle groups during training:

Common Name

Scientific Name

Shoulders Deltoids



Upper Arm Back


Upper Arm Front






Front Leg


Back Leg




Full Of Yolk

Question: I'm a 17 year old male who has been working out for about a year and a half now. I've made huge gains in strength, but I want to burn some excess fat that I still have. One of the coaches at my school told me that hard-boiled eggs are a good fat burner if you workout before and after you eat them. Is this true or is he full of yolk?

Justin Leonard: Coaches are notorious for providing "bad" information. I nearly failed my high school weight training class because I wouldn't use the coach's incorrect training techniques. The funny thing is that coaches actually posses a certification or degree. In my opinion, the best natural fat burner is a low calorie/moderate diet combined with total body exercises. Your coach is pretty much full of yolk . . .

Negative Calorie Dieting?

Question: Is there really such a thing as "negative calorie dieting?" The idea behind it is that some foods have so few calories and require energy to digest. The end result of eating them is a net loss. For example, celery has so few calories and requires more calories to digest than it contains; eating celery therefore results in a net loss of calories. Is this true? Does it really work?

Justin Leonard: I did some research on "negative calorie dieting." As expected, it looks as if the authors are trying to find another way to make money off of something that already exists. The name sounds attractive, but the term "negative calorie dieting" basically describes the fat burning process as a result of a low calorie diet. It means absolutely nothing! Admittedly, a "negative calorie diet" plan can work because you'd be eating like a rabbit.

Food Breakdown

Question: I'm very confused. If someone is to have high blood pressure, what kind of food is appropriate? I would think you have to cut down on carbohydrates as oppose to protein because carbs just break down into blood sugar. However, what does fat break down as? Proteins become amino acids, and in-turn to glucose?

Justin Leonard: I'll do the best I can without sounding like a doctor. What doctors prescribe people with high blood pressure are foods such as bananas, oatmeal, vegetables . . . anything with starch and fiber. In addition, they would also recommend foods low in salt, avoiding alcohol, increasing physical activity, and maintaining ideal bodyweight.

Fat breaks down as fat (triglycerides). The only change fat makes once it breaks down or digested is its physical state. It breaks itself down when fuel is needed.

Proteins and amino acids are the same thing. Protein is categorized into separate amino acids [when in broken down form]. Each amino acid has a different function in the body. Some are for growth, some are for fat metabolism, some help things like vision, etc.

L-glutamine Cycling

Question: Is it best to load and cycle glutamine the same way as creatine?

Justin Leonard: Not necessarily. What I can say is that both creatine and L-glutamine do not need to be cycled in order to be effective. You'll feel the same difference with or without the loading or cycling of creatine and L-glutamine. The recommendations on the backs of containers are for "best results." That doesn't necessarily mean it won't work if you try taking it in different quantities.

Why Walk?

Question: Why is it always specified to "walk" on a treadmill? Is it detrimental to "run" on a treadmill? If I should run on a treadmill, what is the best way? With or without an incline?

Justin Leonard: Running on a treadmill is perfectly fine if your body is equipped for it. There are two reasons I traditionally don't recommend running:

1. Not everyone's heart is ready to handle the oxygen capacity or VO2 max required for running.

2. Riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill speeds up the metabolism and burns as much fat as running does.

These two exercises are also easier on the joints. There is no significant added benefit to running instead of walking.

As far as incline or no incline, it really depends on your personal preference . . . just remember to use a gradual increase in speed or resistance. It's the safest and best way to strengthen your heart.

Human Growth Hormone

Question: I'm 19 years old and I was looking to start taking human growth hormone (hGH). Do you think it is worth taking? I'm trying to get some real advise on supplements to take.

Justin Leonard: VERY DANGEROUS if you're talking about pharmaceutical grade (injectable) hGH! If you're talking about a natural "imitation" supplement, that's different. Natural hGH supplements are perfectly safe.

What makes pharmaceutical grade hGH so dangerous is its ability to make "everything" in your body grow at the same time. For example, not only muscle will grow, but lets' say you were to somehow develop cancer, the hGH would actually speed up the process and make it spread quicker than it normally would. A healthy and safe alternative to hGH is whey protein and L-glutamine.

Decline Bench Press

Question: What are the advantages of the decline bench press as opposed to traditional flat bench press?

Justin Leonard: The decline bench press works the entire chest, but puts emphasis on the lower pectoral (chest) region. The flat bench press also works the entire pectoral region, but puts most of the emphasis on the middle portion of the pecs. If you're on an incline bench, you're putting emphasis on the upper chest.


Question: I have done the gym and health club routine and have determined that they aren't for me. What are the positives and negatives on the Bowflex ?

Justin Leonard: The main positive with the Bowflex and other machines of its type is obviously convenience. The Bowflex offers a bigger variety of exercises that you can do as opposed to that of a traditional plastic weight set. Another plus would be the small amount of space it utilizes. Other than that, resistance is resistance. The form it comes in doesn't matter. Muscles respond to any type of resistance.

I'm not sure what the negatives are with the Bowflex, but what you have to consider is the durability/sturdiness of the machine, the amount of time it takes to switch from exercise to exercise, the price for what it does, and other factors. For example, is a screw driver going to be required to switch out different pieces of equipment or is it snap and lock?

In addition, you can get real opinions of this product from real people at the following URL:


Squats Or Leg Presses?

Question: Will substituting leg presses for squats achieve the same results?

Justin Leonard: For some it will and for others it won't. In my case, squats actually add more mass and I can tell a big difference in the size of my legs after performing squats. Others may not notice this size difference.

I normally don't recommend squatting because of the dangers involved. Your mechanics must be correct throughout the entire range of motion. If your form is incorrect, you can hurt your lower back or overstress the knees. I personally use squats as a finishing movement/exercise when my legs are already warmed up from previous exercises.

High-intensity Interval Training

Question: I'm considering high-intensity interval aerobic training (HIIT) as a solution to burning bodyfat. What's you opinion on HIIT training?

Justin Leonard: HIIT training involves performing a combination of slow- and high-paced aerobics within a 15-minute [or less] timeframe. Yes, it can be effective, but I don't recommend anything that involves taking your heart rate on a roller coaster ride, especially if (1) you normally don't workout and you've just decided to begin a training regiment or (2) you haven't worked out in a while.

For some people it's okay, but for others it can be unsafe because their heart may not be able to handle the cardiovascular workload. The chances are minimal, but this could result in having a heart attack for someone who attempts this style of training with an already weak heart. It's safest to gradually work your way up to a comfortable level of speed or resistance instead of jumping around from high-paced aerobics, then back to moderate or slow aerobics. Your body still burns as much fat by using a gradual speed or resistance increase.

Groin Pull

Question: I think I pulled a groin muscle after jogging on a track which had several hills. It caused pain around my right side below the hip, and I can't put much pressure on my right leg. Is there anything I can use to ease the pain? Maybe heat, ice, or an ointment that will help? It has been 6 days and the pain has only lessened slightly.

Justin Leonard: Six days? Yikes! You should have noticed some type of improvement by now. If you were to go to a doctor, they would prescribe a pain medication and have you ice the area at least 3 times per day. If the groin area has turned into a bruised darkish-blue color, you would probably need to go get it checked out by a doctor. It could have been a muscle tear or a major strain which requires additional treatment.

If you don't notice a change in the level of pain within the next week, go see a doc. But in the meantime, alternate with hot (tub) and cold (ice) treatment along with pain medication. Some creams may help, but doctors typically won't prescribe them, although they would prescribe a pain medication. Good luck!

Fat Loss Calories

Question: You say that weight training is not needed for fat loss, but what about the argument that muscle burns calories? You say to do cardio with little in the stomach, but how does the body know not to burn muscle instead of fat?

Justin Leonard: Yes, you're correct! Muscle does burn fat, but weight training isn't needed. The amount of fat you burn with weight training isn't necessarily more than you would performing cardiovascular activity.

Bottom line: You're using muscle to burn fat even when performing cardiovascular activity.

To answer your second question, the body will burn what's more abundant (i.e. carbs, then fat). The average person has too much fat on their body for it to burn muscle instead. Even before fat, the body will look to burn carbohydrates as a source of fuel. Most will have plenty of ready-to-use energy (carbs) before any fat is burned. The chances of you burning muscle is minimal unless you have extremely low bodyfat levels. For example, competitive bodybuilders must watch out for muscle catabolism as a result of extremely low bodyfat levels.

Ripped Without Fat Burners

Question: Can you offer me any help on how to get shredded for a show without using fat burners? I have a liver problem and would like to know what to do to get contest ready by November.

Justin Leonard: Fat burners aren't really needed, even for contest preparation! They can significantly help, but the majority of the fat you lose will be as a result of dieting.

Your other option is to increase cardiovascular activity. Riding a stationary bike and walking on treadmill are ideal. Not sure how much you're doing now or have done in the past, but it really depends on your metabolism.

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