Al’s Fat Loss Journey: Math Doesn’t Lie

Al Sandoval placed FIRST in the Adonis Index Contest in the transformation category. Al found a way to lose fat that he put on in the last 20 years. At the end of 12 weeks he managed to beat everybody else and win the whole transformation contest.

Take a look at what it took to win the fifth Adonis Index Contest:


Al Sandoval - Adonis Index Contest Transformation Photos

Al's back looks really good, his back muscles are starting to show up. And he finally god rid of the love handles or how he calls them the hate handles.

Al Sandoval - Adonis Index Contest Transformation Pictures

Al's front pictures. He is obviously very satisfied with his transformation. Well, who wouldn't be, he got in a great shape.


Al is somebody who was used to follow the conventional fitness advice. However, after his wife Naomi got in shape with the Venus Index all the proof he needed was right in front of him and he could no longer say that what she says doesn’t work. She proved him that what he was doing was not working and that she knew what to do to get in shape.

His Lean Wife Showed Him How Fat Loss Really Works

She showed him that what he hears in the gym and on TV is not really true. And he could not really argue with her since she got in shape and he still looked the same.

His wife made him to be honest with himself. Al would always carb up before the workout and that was what he believed would help him lose fat and build muscle. After his wife told him that is not true, he asked what he should do instead. The answer was something that he didn’t want to hear. From the fat loss stand point it all got down to diet.

He was scared of dieting. He didn’t know what being in deficit means, he also didn’t know what this would mean in the gym. Would it mean that he won’t probably be able to hit the same weights in the gym that he normally does? That would not be so much fun anymore, would it?

Well, it came down to what he truly wanted and losing fat won.

Losing fat may be simple, but is definitely not easy to do. And once you gain some fat, you have to diet otherwise you will carry it for the rest of your life. There is no accidental fat loss. If you were slowly gaining fat for the past 20 years it will obviously take some effort. This is was exactly were al was before the contest.

Once his wife started coaching him and he was doing what she told him, his body was slowly transforming and he was getting in shape.

His wife Naomi who already had this handled introduced him to intermittent fasting by simply telling him to skip breakfast, lunch and eat only dinner. Because she was always cooking for him, she made sure he had a low calories dinner after each fast. This way he had only several hundred calories each day he would fast.

Then he would throw in few maintenance days just to keep sane during the whole 12 weeks.

So there were basically three types of days he was cycling during the week:

  1. Maintenance days
  2. Fasting days
  3. Low calorie days

Then for the past 10 days he was drinking a gallon of water each day and eating only tuna and sweet potatoes.

12 weeks of dieting is tough and most people won’t do that. However, it is worth noting that most people are not in good shape and will probably never look like Al.

He started following the Adonis Index Workout and found out that it is all based on math and science and since those two don’t lie it must be true. And after 12 weeks of following this approach that also seemed most logical he arrived as a winner in the Adonis Index Contest. The only problem he encountered was that the dieting was so hard that Al had to stop working out three days before taking the photo shoot, because he just didn’t have enough energy for it.

Now he doesn’t care what other people in the gym are telling him about bulking up and carbing up, because it all comes down to how you look and since he looks ten times better than his buddies he choose to stay away from their influence and do what he knows works even though it goes against what everybody else is saying.

Once Al took those pictures he was surprised how good he looks and that he finally got rid of his love handles or how he calls them the hate handles. Because even though we don’t see our backs much often, other people do. And know like Al said he can enter the room looking good and leave the room looking good as well.


Here is the take away for all guys who are frustrated and are hitting the wall and really want to lose fat:

  • The step number one is being honest with yourself and facing your current situation, 99% of the journey is the mental shift, the rest is easy
  • Frustration comes from not getting results by following the wrong approach (ex.: Bulking up myth for muscle building)
  • In order to lose fat you need to create a caloric deficit through diet, while cardio and workouts will help you lose fat, you can’t out train a bad diet
  • Accept that it is okay to be light and that being heavy just means fat, muscles won’t show up if they are covered by fat
  • Focus on simple math – how many calories you burn and how big of a deficit you need to create in order to strip fat
  • Math doesn’t lie, if you want to lose pound of fat a week, you need to create a deficit of about 4000 calories a week
  • Don’t calculate someone else’s calories, calculate yours – your BMR
  • Complex approach like spreading out your meals into 6 and carbing up before your workouts is not going to help you lose fat


Listen to the interview here:

How Protein Bars Kept Him from Losing Fat: Interview with Mike Schaefer

Mike Schaefer placed third in the Adonis Index Transformation Contest. He has done an amazing job. Obviously he lost a lot of fat and managed to achieve great muscle definition. In today’s interview Mike talks about his journey of struggle. He explains how he was trying all sorts of different approaches and what finally helped him get into the Adonis Index Contest shape.

Here take a look at his before picture’s and compare them to his afters.

Mike's Adonis Index Transformation Front Pictures

Once Mike lost all the fat he was able to finally see how much muscles he has built over the years. Listen to the interview to find out how he did it.

Mike's Adonis Index Transformation Back Pictures

Mike's back shots.

If you are currently not very comfortable going to a pool party or to a beach with your friends you are exactly where Mike was a few weeks ago when he started the contest. Mike was working out pretty much his whole life, but he never had six pack abs or even a lean body. It all started several months ago with him wanting to change and making a commitment to get in the best shape of his life. The trouble was he didn’t really know what getting in shape meant and how to do it. After reading a few fitness magazines he decided to get the look of the guys on the cover and started following the advice he read in those magazines.

He thought that in order to lose weight he needed to add some new muscle. You probably heard this in the past. Add an “extra” 20 pounds of muscle by bulking up to 200 lbs to speed up your metabolism and you will burn all the fat and your muscles will just somehow magically pop out. Mike calls this “muscling your way up to leanness”.  Because he wanted to start losing fat and believed this approach to be true he started working out like a maniac and eating like a maniac as well.

This is what he read in the magazines and believed to be true: “You need eat to be big. You need to eat tons of protein. Protein is a building block to all muscles, without it muscles just “fade away”. Without pre-workout and post-workout supplements you will not be able to build muscle, which means you won’t burn those extra 50 calories per pound of muscle and start losing fat.”..yadda yadda. Mike fell for all of it.

When you look at his before picture you will see that it didn’t really help him lose any fat at all. Quite the opposite. He didn’t believe in adding cardio or other activity, adding calories was on the radar not cutting them.

He thought that if professional bodybuilders eat 7000 calories and spread that in 10-12 meals a day he should do something similar, so he started eating up to 4000 calories EVERY day. He ate as much as he could. He always made sure he ate lots of protein bars to get enough protein every day. He was taking lots of supplements that didn’t really do anything for him, but like he said, he was convinced that he should be taking them, so he did, despite the results.

Does this sound familiar? Have you ever tried something like that in the past yourself? If you did my guess is that you haven’t lost any weight at all. This is because fat loss doesn’t work that way and there is a much better approach.

After Mike got to 210 lbs the fat was still there, he wasn’t able to see his muscles and that raised some self-doubt about what he was doing. Then he hit the 220 lbs and he got really worried, these results just weren’t part of the plan. It felt really uncomfortable, he started to be having some weird retention issues and even things like his ankles would get swollen. Not a nice thing to go through.

Because his previous weight loss attempts resulted in weight gain and mostly fat gain he decide to look for a different approach. His new goal was to get rid of all that fat for a beach vacation and get six pack abs for the first time in his life. Here is what Mike did for this contest (the difference between the pictures above).

Fat loss is pure math. There is no secret in specific food combinations or macro nutrient ratios. It’s all about calories in and calories out.

We could break this into several steps:

  1. Calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).
  2. Figure out how much fat you wanna lose
  3. Decide on how big deficit you are going to create per day/week/month

Mike decided to shoot for1000 calories deficit a day, which makes it 7000 calories per week (almost 2 pounds of fat loss per week). At first he tried to do it just through diet alone. He though that this will help him finally start losing fat. Well that didn’t really work as he explains he couldn’t sustain this. He decided to eat around his maintenance and not go below BMR, but instead create a deficit by working out and doing additional cardio. This pattern worked, he managed to keep his energy during the day, he wasn’t moody and he still could work out to max intensity in the gym.

If you are a big guy like Mike, eating below your BMR might be way too strict and not possible to maintain for a longer time than a few days. However, cardio and additional physical activity might be the path for you if you manage to keep the calories around your BMR. This might be the key for you to finally start losing fat.

Listen to the interview to get the complete picture of what Mike did to prepare for the contest photo shoot and find out what you need to do yourself.

Here are the programs mentioned in the interview:

Listen to the interview here:

Building Muscle and Losing Fat

Most of us who workout are trying to build muscle, and along with that we’d all like to get rid of some fat too. One of the first and most common questions that comes up next is this:

“Is it possible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time”

The answer depends on what your definition of ‘building muscle’ is.

The look and size of your muscles is a transient state based on how many calories you’re eating, the type of food you eat, the supplements you do or don’t take, the drugs you do or don’t take, and the volume, frequency and intensity of your workouts.

If you change any one of these factors you’re likely going to have some change in the look and size of your muscles.

When it comes to fat loss you must eat less calories than you burn, this might also cause your muscles to be less hydrated (less full looking) than when you’re eating as much as you like. This doesn’t mean you’re losing muscle, it just means that they’ll be more full looking when you go back to eating maintenance.

Keep in mind that a muscle is over 80% water and the hydration status of your muscles plays a big part in how they look on a day to day basis. You can get refresher on what muscle growth is here: WHAT IS MUSCLE GROWTH

The question shouldn’t be: ‘can I build muscle and lose fat at the same time’ but rather ‘what will my muscles look like once I’ve lost the fat’

In todays audio lesson we’ll talk about the factors that go into muscle building and fat loss and why this muscle building vs fat loss question isn’t easy to answer.

We’ll also talk about government regulations on fat loss claims and why you might see and hear different claims online vs on television or in print magazines.

For a refresher on the calories required for weight loss go here: HOW MANY CALORIES TO LOSE WEIGHT