Thank you so much to Monica, presenter of On The Brighter Side Of Life podcast

If you know me, you know I have NOOOOOO problem speaking about my work. This will become apparent when hear how fast I speak on this podcast. How to get everything into 30 minutes!!!

You can find the book mentioned at www.theshrinkshopbook.com All versions of the book are available worldwide

Ep 37 – Body Composition and Weight Loss with Joanne Lee Cornish

By Monica Tanner | 02/18/2019 | 

Joanne Lee Graphic

Today’s episode is so much fun. I’m chatting with Joanne Lee Cornish, the author of When Calories and Cardio don’t Cut it. We are talking about body composition and what happens to our food when we eat it. Once lypolosis was explained to me, I feel like I can easily shed this extra 10 pounds that…Listen to this episodePlay / pause1x

  • Ep 37 – Body Composition and Weight Loss with Joanne Lee Cornish


Here is the direct link to listen to the podcast in full, look for episohttp://onthebrightersideoflife.com/episodes/de 37

When Calories & Cardio Don’t Cut It

Here’s another taster from my book “When Calories & Cardio Don’t Cut It”

For those of you, over (say) 40 and are having a hard time losing weight ….

To lose weight we have to liberate fat from its storage site. Fat that clings on our body has to be broken down into individual units so that it can enter the blood and be used as fuel. That breakdown of the fat cell is called “Lipolysis” and every “diet” has to do it.

Fat cant evaporate from where it is stored, it has to be broken down and it has to be transported. Lipolysis is that breakdown of the fat cell.

Lipolysis is a chain of reaction (a series of hormones and enzymes) but picture it as a row of dominos. When one domino falls it knocks the one next to it and it falls …and so on. Remove one domino and the cascade will stop. Lipolysis is the same way.

The chain of reactions involved in fat cell breakdown is much like the dominos. One reaction occurs which triggers the next reaction and so on, at the end of the chain the fat has been liberated and can now go its merry way in the blood.

One of the reactions in Lipolysis involves an enzyme called HSL (Hormone Sensitive Lipase). As the name suggests it is an enzyme that is sensitive to hormones. If HSL activity is fast, the fat breakdown is fast. If HSL activity is slow, the fat breakdown is slow.

As we age our sex hormones drop. With women the dominant hormone is estrogen and with men it is testosterone.

When these hormones decline HSL activity slows.

Fat breakdown slows which makes weight loss a lot more challenging.

A common complaint is that it becomes harder to lose weight as we age – this is one of the reasons.

Remember too that chronic stress depletes our hormones. You’re never too young nor too old to benefit from stress management.

When Calories & Cardio Don’t Cut it … know what influences your body weight and shape so that you can live lean for a lifetime

Presale now on (and those sales are SO important)

The hardback is in full color

Paperback B&W

Ebook also available


www.joanneleecornishuk.com (UK)

Go into any bookstore and ask them to stock it

.. and if you cant wait I have a few copies left that can be bought direct www.theshrinkshopbook.com


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Lose Fat & Build Muscle with Carbohydrate Timing

A year or so ago I did an awful video from my car on carbohydrates and how to eat them to stay lean, build muscle and for workout energy. The video was terrible but I got a lot of questions on it, so here is video #2 on how to lose fat and build muscle with carbohydrate timing.

Also in this post, an excerpt from my (almost finished, just doing the cover) book  “When Calories & Cardio Don’t Cut it”  on the same subject



The carbohydrates not immediately used for fuel can be stored as ‘glycogen’.  The liver can store a little bit of glycogen but, although the liver is quite a large organ and a big hitter in the organ world, it really doesn’t like to store much glycogen, maybe a few hundred calories.  However, what we really rely on for glycogen storage is our muscles.

The more muscle we have, the more carbohydrates we can store as glycogen.  That might mean a thousand or several thousand calories worth of carbohydrates, depending on how much muscle you have.  How much we store in muscles also depends on how active the muscle is; conditioned athletes having the ability to store a lot more glycogen than most people.

Beware: once carbohydrates enter a muscle they remain there until that muscle uses that ‘glycogen’ as energy.  This is critical if you want to lose weight.  If you find yourself sedentary for any reason you will not deplete your muscles’ glycogen stores.  If you eat an excess of carbohydrates, the muscles stores will max out and those carbohydrates will show up as body fat.

Dealing with this fact depends on circumstance. If, for example, you are sick in the hospital you may need carbohydrates to heal, so you cannot just cut them out.  By contrast, if you’re on vacation, resting your butt on a beach lounger for a week, you may want to reconsider that dessert they’re offering you. If your muscles are not active then that dessert is going straight to that thing you’re sitting on.

  • There is a limit to how many carbohydrates can be stored in muscle.
  • Stored carbohydrates are called glycogen
  • Glycogen will only fuel the muscle it is in. Only liver glycogen can travel and fuel the rest of the body.

With this in mind, consider the concept of “carbing up”; an age-old practice of eating huge amounts of carbohydrates before an event.  The story goes this will give you energy and fuel.

If you can only store X amount of carbohydrates, what is the point of eating 10 x that amount? Where is the excess meant to go?  I’ll give you one guess.

Over the years I have met with many clients who came to see me because they gained weight getting ready for an endurance event. The amount of carbohydrates they were told to eat is always the reason why.



Carbohydrates are transported into muscle by the hormone insulin.  When we eat a high carbohydrate meal our blood sugar increases and triggers insulin.  The body dislikes high levels of sugar in the blood and it’s insulin’s job to get rid of it.  When blood sugar is high insulin will not only transport the carbohydrates out of our blood but it will also lock fat in our fat cells.  It makes good sense that insulin traps one source of fuel while it deals with an abundance of another.

When we are working out insulin is inhibited, which also makes good sense, as we want to keep carbohydrates in the blood to travel to the muscles being used.  Glut4 is the transporter that takes sugar from the blood to the working muscles while we are exercising.  When the muscle is dormant glut4 is not active and we rely again on insulin to remove sugar from the blood.  The kicker here is that it takes a “boat load” of insulin to get carbohydrates into an active muscle. If insulin can’t get the carbohydrates into the muscle where does it end up?  In fat cells.

I’m sure you’ve heard the Old Wives Tale, “Don’t eat before bedtime!”

They should be saying, “Don’t eat carbohydrates at night.”

The most relaxed part of the day for most people is the evening.  Sitting on the couch watching TV or trolling social media.  Not the ideal time to order pizza or to eat cookies or pasta.  Your muscles are rested and it would take a lot of insulin to get any of those carbs into your inactive muscles.  If the carbs cannot travel to muscles they will end up in fat.

If you eat enough carbohydrates to elicit a huge insulin response, then insulin will do its job and trap fat in fat cells.


If you’re trying to lose weight skip the carbs at night and stick to protein, fat and vegetables. If you’re working out at night then you can disregard the Old Wives Tale altogether because your muscles are active and receptive and ready to store more carbohydrates.


The carbohydrates your muscles store are actually the fuel you need for your next workout, which brings me on to another gem.

“Eat before your workout to fuel your workout.”

You wake up and have a hearty carb-rich breakfast in preparation for your workout.

The fear is if you don’t have that breakfast you won’t have the energy or strength to get through your training session.

Knowing what you know now does it make sense to have that breakfast?  You just woke up so the muscles are not active, they are not primed to take on those pancakes but not to worry, your fat cells will oblige.


In the summer of 2010 a gentleman came to see me at my nutrition office in Santa Monica and he was pretty upset as he had just dedicated six months of his life to transforming himself from (his words) “a lifelong coach potato” into a man who ran the LA Marathon.  He ran with a running group and had a goal to raise money for a charity close to his heart and also to lose the weight he had been gaining since he turned 40.

He completed the marathon, raised the money and gained ten pounds.

He sat in my office furious, accusatory, even though this was my first time meeting him.  He left the office understanding why he had gained weight and with a plan to correct it. His coaches had encouraged that hearty breakfast and a heavy carb diet.  He was still furious but at least it was no longer directed at me.  I think he was heading straight to the running club that had told him to eat bagels and bananas for breakfast.

Please know that even the most well-intentioned coach or exercise instructor may be giving outdated advice

As a personal trainer, I signed up for a weekend course to be a running coach.  Most of the attendees worked with novice runners, organizing running clubs and charitable events. I learned a lot, but was excited for day two when they were to cover nutrition. I’ll never forget that the module, which should have been an hour and was completed in 15 minutes, was summed up by the instructor (an ectomorph) telling the coaches, “Get your clients to eat well and running will take care of the rest.”

I would suggest that the majority of people join a running club hoping it helps them get in shape. I would also guess that most recreational runners are not ectomorphs. When the well-meaning, passionate coaches are not given the guidance that they need, then we end up with angry men knocking on the door of people like me.




To reduce body fat or to keep it low it is wise to plan your intake around your exercise, but what if you want to grow?

Insulin is both a storage facilitator and a growth factor.  The main growth factors being Protein (especially the amino acid leucine) growth hormone, testosterone, and big heavy weights.  If you’re trying to add some mass then limiting that insulin response 24/7 may not be the fastest approach. This is why bodybuilder “bulk up,” by eating huge amounts of food they create a massive insulin response. Add this to their hormonal state, their protein and their hours in the gym and muscle is born.

It’s a very fun approach to mass building until you have to lose all the extra fat you gained along the way.  Competition diets are knarly, months of restriction can actually lead to losing muscle and can become a case of 2 steps forward and 1 step back when it comes to using a bulking cycle to make gains.


Where the tortoise can beat the hare is in using nutritional timing to build muscle while not gaining the fat that you are going to have to drop at a later date.  We can choose to eat our carbohydrates after our workouts for that muscle glycogen load and then at another time of the day to produce the insulin/growth factor spike. The rest of the day we can keep the carbs low to keep from storing fat.

This approach isnt the fastest for weight loss and its not the fastest for muscle gain, but it can do both. This approach will take more patience as results will seem painfully slow, but it is a way of preserving the  valuable muscle you gain and it means you can avoid that soul-destroying contest prep diet – that might strip some of your gains away anyway.

Often that growth meal is eaten last thing at night which goes directly against our old wives tale but there is an advantage to eating that carb heavy meal before bed time

High blood sugar leads to low blood sugar (in a healthy person) so that high carb growth meal will trigger insulin, insulin will take the carbs out of your blood leaving you exhausted. If you’re going to do this deliberately then best to do it before bed so that your food coma and sleep become one

Gaining muscle and losing fat are thought of mutually exclusive goals, but with correct nutrient timing both become possible.


Ms Olympia years

Golds Gym Venice


Joanne works with nutrition clients worldwide via Whatsapp, Skype, FB

Personal Training is available at her private gym in Eagle, Idaho


310 704 6569









B12 Who Needs It Most?

B12 is a water-soluble vitamin and a popular choice of supplement when our energy is low. But what is B12 and who needs it most?

B12 is found ONLY in animal protein. It’s in our fish, meat, poultry, milk, and eggs. Organ meats are especially good sources of B12.

The RDA is 2.4-2.6 mcg and even a small amount of animal protein can supply us with all the B12 we need on a daily basis


  1. The elderly. B12 is bound to its food source and needs to be broken down to become available. Older people may have poor digestion and/or reduced stomach acid activity. This will greatly alter the amount of B12 they get from their food. B12 deficiency can show up with the same symptoms as Alzeihmers and may even be misdiagnosed as this life crippling disease.
  2. Vegans, vegetarians and anyone that does not consume much animal protein. Thankfully many kinds of cereal are fortified with B12 and the supplement form is synthetic and can be used without conflict to any personal belief or choice.
  3. Pregnant ladies. B12 travels across the placenta to the unborn baby so if a lady is not eating animal protein and not taking a B12 supplement this can cause the baby to be born with a deficiency and may cause neural damage. Ladies if you are concerned please run this subject by your doctor.
  4. People with compromised gut health, leaky gut, digestive issues. If you aren’t properly digesting your food then it’s going to be difficult for B12 to remove itself from its host food.
  5. Any type of intestinal/stomach or lap band surgery. If the surface area of digestion is reduced or damaged it would be wise to take a B12 supplement daily.
  6. If you are taking any medication that reduces stomach acid. It might be a medication for heartburn or acid reflux. Metformin, the popular diabetes drug may also affect B12 absorption


  1. Low energy
  2. Muscle weakness
  3. Overall fatigue
  4. Routine blood test

Long-term deficiency can lead to brain shrinkage so it really is better to be safe than sorry.  Thankfully B12 is water soluble so you don’t have to worry about taking too much of it as its potential to be toxic is very low. The good news is that the liver can store 5 years worth of B12 so if you gut issues are recent or if you just stopped eating animal protein, your liver has your back – for a while.


Not so fast. If you eat a lot of protein but your digestion is not good then there lies a problem. This is very common with those who eat poor quality or processed meat.

Animal protein contains an amino acid Methionine which is converted to homocysteine. Homocysteine can build up and be very toxic. B12 and B6 neutralize the toxicity of homocysteine but if you’re deficient then all that protein your eating can end up being toxic.


An essential vitamin that is found in animal protein but sometimes hard to access.  A daily supplement will provide you with the active form of B12  and so avoids the pitfalls of any digestive issue you may have.

You don’t need a shot if you take enough  B12 daily, although the elderly or those who have been diagnosed as being deficient may benefit from a shot in the behind.

Long-term lack of B12 will absolutely affect memory and brain function, put your parents on auto-ship and then put yourself on a daily dose.




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AGING GRACEFULLY PART 3 When it all comes home to roost.


We have all heard or know of that 95-year-old who is sharp as a tack and credits their longevity to their daily cigar and fast food. We also know that guy that ran 10 miles every day, ate organic and dropped down dead before he hit 50.  Video time lapse of aging gracefully

It’s easy to sit back and place your health in the hands of fate. But when did irresponsibility ever serve any of us well? I don’t feel that this handing off of personal responsibility is a true reflection of a person’s character. We were not taught anything about nutrition, health or disease at school, and at a young age it was probably the last thing on our mind. When our mortality catches up with us, it can be overwhelming, like trying to learn a new language which would have been much easier if we had been introduced to it when we were young. Surrounded by conflicting ideas, marketing madness and constantly emerging new information, it is understandable that people throw their hands in the air and give up. Being the prideful creatures we are, it feels better to act like we don’t care than to care but not know what to do.

But we do care. That high blood pressure result did alarm us, the number on the scale did ruin our day… We try, we try really hard and yet the scale keeps heading north and the doctor is still frowning at our test results.


What does “old” mean to you?  At the turn of the Century, it meant your 40’s.  Today you might think mid-eighties. For the more informed it might mean cellular health and telomere length. I am not putting a number on ‘old’. I know plenty of old people in their thirties and I know plenty of young people in their seventies.

Being old most often refers to the time when our health takes on a definite change. So let us use that reference point and discuss what can happen over time.

Insulin, again!
In the earlier chapters, we talked about how the over-release of the hormone insulin will make us fat. When we are younger, that’s all we cared about, not getting fat. As we get older, the toll of insulin takes on another form. Before we get to that, let’s set the scene by going back. Way back …

Before birth, we feed off our mother’s blood. If that pregnant lady is eating a lot of sugar and/or a very high carbohydrate diet, that shows up in her blood as blood glucose/blood sugar. High blood sugar triggers that over-release of insulin from the pancreas. The baby, through its mother’s blood, is also being exposed to a high level of blood sugar, so they develop more insulin-secreting cells.
A baby exposed to high levels of sugar may develop the ability to produce more insulin before it takes its first breath!

Insulin is known to be the main fat storage hormone but insulin also acts as a growth factor. Bodybuilders have known how to manipulate this hormone to their advantage for a long time. When they want to gain muscle they “bulk up” (an old-school term which basically means creating a huge insulin response).
Insulin, protein, testosterone and growth hormone are our growth factors. The conundrum is how to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. Insulin will halt fat llossbut it will help build lean tissue. You won’t gain much muscle on a diet and knowing this bodybuilder will cycle between eating to gain muscle and eating to lose fa.t

That unborn baby does the pretty much the same thing. Momma has a lot of sugar is her blood and the baby makes more insulin to deal with it. Insulin works as a growth factor and the baby gets bigger. Diabetic mothers tend to have large babies.

The baby is born, hopefully, healthy and happy and also with an increased ability to produce insulin.

Before you go and chastise your mother for the state of your waistline we should recognize that, just because we have the ability or the predisposition for something, it does not mean it is our destiny.
We all have the diabetic gene but what matters is if we trigger that gene. Epigenetics is a more recent conversation (although Darwin started the discussion in the 19th century) about gene expression. To fall prey to a genetic trait you have to pull the trigger.
If you asked my grandfather he might have told you that high blood pressure “runs” in our family. Two generations later and I will tell you bad English food runs in our family, and it is not our genetic fate.

Keeping it simple. Yes, a baby exposed to a high level of blood sugar before birth may adapt in a way that works against them later in life, but only if the life they choose pulls that trigger.

Control your sugar and carbohydrate intake, keep moving every day, and you don’t have to get trigger happy later in life.

Insulin travels in the blood and attaches to the insulin receptors on cells. When those receptors are responsive, insulin can do its job and transport nutrients into cells (muscle, fat and liver).

Constantly eating sugar/carbohydrates means a constant release of insulin and the cells can become “resistant” to the persistent message of the blood clearing hormone.

A couple buys a house by a railway track. They hadn’t really thought it through and when they first move in they can’t get a night’s sleep because of the roar of the train every other hour. It drives them crazy. Over time they get used to the disturbance, visitor comments on the noise, perplexed, the couple looks at each other, “What train?”

Insulin is like that train. The muscle and fat cells hear it screaming all the time because their host is making some pretty crazy food choices. Insulin keeps on screaming until eventually, the muscle cells say, “What insulin?”

Insulin resistance is when the cells stop responding to insulin. Between muscle and fat, it is always the muscle cell that becomes resistant first. The muscle cell shuts down and the fat cells have to bear the burden. and people pile on the pounds.

If we keep going past this point, the fat cells can also become resistant, and now blood sugar has nowhere to go. Neither fat nor muscle will house it, and sugar and insulin build to dangerous levels in the blood. If nutrients can no longer enter cells, the cells start to starve, and this triggers fatigue, cravings, hunger – an almighty mess.

This dreadful scenario can happen at any age if you eat badly enough, but, as we get older muscle does become resistant. Insulin is portrayed as the devil, but insulin is also responsible for keeping muscle intact. The presence of insulin stops muscle or fat from being broken down. As we age the muscle cells become resistant, nutrients don’t get to the cell, insulin cant protect it and muscle starts to break down. Fat cells are not resistant so as we start to lose muscle we can gain fat. When cells don’t get nourished we become tired, less driven and we begin to feel OLD

Imagine the process. We’re getting older – insulin resistance kicks in, with the muscle cells being affected first. Time moves on and now the liver receptors start to become resistant. Now comes hyperinsulinism; high levels of insulin in the body, resulting in inflammation. And this feeds in to a whole barrage of complaints. Next, your blood pressure goes up, triglycerides (fat in the blood) increase, HDL (high-density lipoproteins – the good lipid transporters) decline and it becomes more of a challenge to regulate blood sugar.

In our later years, the pancreas starts to get tired. Your eating habits might have forced it to work pretty dang hard all those years. It’s worn out and can’t release insulin the way it used to. Blood glucose remains high, and we enter the era of Type  2 Diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes used to be called “Adult Onset Diabetes” because that’s when it was expected to happen – as older adults.

Signs of Insulin Resistance
1.    Physical Fatigue
2.    Mood swings
3.    Mental fatigue
4.    Not able to hold a thought, brain fog
5.    Afternoon naps
6.    Weight gain
7.    Sugar cravings and overeating
8.    Digestive issues, IBS, and leaky gut
9.    Gas, bloating

Sounds pretty familiar to a lot of us…

Interestingly, insulin resistance is also linked to leptin resistance. Leptin is that hormone that tells us how much we need to eat. If we become leptin resistant we’re hungry all the time. This is hard to ignore and the afflicted have a ferocious appetite.

Those afternoon naps, that forgotten thought, those bathroom issues are cast aside as the unavoidable pitfalls of getting older. But as insulin resistance takes hold, other more severe symptoms emerge.

1.    Elevated Triglycerides
2.    High LDL cholesterol
3.    High blood pressure
4.    Autoimmune disorders
5.    Liver disease
6.    Obesity

Don’t be sucked into the belief that thin is healthy. Although weight gain is very common, insulin resistance affects the slight of body too. Indeed, those of slender frame may get harder hit just because their growing insulin resistance is less apparent.


Metabolic Syndrome is the bringing together of a few powerhouses. Obesity, diabetes, and hypertension (high blood pressure, where the blood creates too much pressure against the walls of our arteries). All three of these conditions are linked to insulin resistance. Cancer and Alzheimers, conditions that terrify us, are also linked to insulin resistance.

Chronic diseases are classed as those that
1.    Do not get better with time.
2.    Have environmental triggers.
3.    Have multiple symptoms.

Metabolic syndrome is another step towards heart disease and one-quarter of the adults in the United States have heart disease.
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the main form of heart disease. Blood vessels of the heart become damaged, and this can result in a heart attack.

There is no cure because the vessels remain damaged. Even after a bypass, which gets more blood and oxygen to the heart, you still have those buggered vessels. And how did they get buggered?
Processed Food
Pills, booze and rock, and roll.

Lifestyle choices that cause inflammation.

Diabetes caused by too much blood sugar and too little exercise; excess sugar ends up in the liver and the liver converts it into fat (triglycerides). Triglycerides travel in the blood on small dense lipoproteins (Mostly VLDL). As a result, your cholesterol markers are on the up.

Kidneys start to release sodium and sodium holds water in, the blood, This sends us right back to high blood pressure and damage to arterial walls.

For a great many years we blamed cholesterol for all our woes. However high triglycerides are more common than high cholesterol in people with heart disease.  Over half of the people with heart disease do not have high cholesterol (and we have known this since the 1960s!).

High triglycerides come from too much sugar, too many carbohydrates – not from cholesterol

In 1967 there was a study of 286 patients. Out of this sample, 246 were thought to have a genetic link to heart disease. They were put on a diet with no sugar and only 500-600 calories per day coming from carbohydrates; 90% of them saw a reduction in both their triglycerides and their cholesterol.

I am not a doctor or a medical professional of any kind, my intention is to point out that as we have continued to learn more about disease and aging, it has become apparent that we may have got a few things backward. Blame has zero value and  I doubt anyone meant to lead us astray but it is also a mistake to hold on to pieces of dubious information as if they were carved in stone by Moses himself.

It is sufficient to say that, at this moment in time, it would be accurate to state that excess carbohydrate, and sugar-dense products, coupled with inactivity and stress appear to be a central dot from which many other ugly dots are joined.

Eating natural foods and doing manual labor used not to be a choice. We scrubbed floors, walked to school, my gran washed clothes by hand and my dad did his own garden. We are less, cooked more and spent more time with loved ones.

Today we have the option to eat with convenience and move only by choice. This is where we are at, and discipline is rewarded later whereas laziness is rewarded now.

What we put in our face, who we surround ourselves with and what we do with our feet has an enormous impact on how gracefully we age.