Category Archives: Diet

The 4th Commandment

Just a reminder.  My book, THINK! And Lose Weight: the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Weight Loss, is on sale at 50% off for the next 48 hours.  More than just a weight loss book, it covers mindset and goal planning, the essential components to success in any endeavor.  Get your copy here.

Here’s Dan John’s 4th Commandment of Lifting, “Did you eat breakfast?  If not, don’t ask me anything about nutrition.”

Oh, this one really hits home and reveals my own inner flip-flopper.  At it’s core it reveals the more of the debate between ability and appearance (are you eating for function or form?) and exposes my own inner conflict.

See, I’m just as fallible as anyone else.  Being the big guy in the gym challenges my own insecurities all the time.  From the beginning in this business I’ve always pushed the edge of “looking the part.”  Occasionally, I worry, “Maybe I would be more successful if I was thinner.”

And there is no shortage of evidence to support that conclusion, co-workers, blessed by the right genes, who easily maintain single digit body fat percentages.  Their appearance clearly attracts clients who seem not at all bothered that their trainer never seems to workout and yet are convinced that this man knows the secrets that will transform their bodies into rock hard mountains of sex appeal.

Due entirely to this insecurity, I have tried a wide variety of eating strategies, Paleo, high carb-low fat, fasting, the Warrior Diet — you name it and I probably have at least a passing acquaintance with that particular diet or eating methodology.

My conclusions?  They all work, to a limited degree for about six weeks.  In the end, while I might see a slight shift in body fat I’ve never seen the earth shattering, ripped physique my insecurities tell me I want or need.

So here’s what I’m doing now.  I’m saying, “To hell with my insecurity.  It’s never served me anyway.”

My shape is my shape and in all honesty, as long as it pleases my wife, I don’t need to be worried about it.

What I do need to worry about is maintaining my own integrity with my message.  I serve no one promoting function over form if secretly I’m obsessing over my own waistline.  It’s dishonest and hypocritical and that’s a reflection I’m not proud of.

Over the past year I’ve met remarkable athletes who adhere to a wide variety of diets.  The only conclusion I can find that binds them all together into a “unified theory of diet” is that we each must learn to listen to our own bodies.  Once we rediscover that internal dialog and stop shutting down those signals we can feed our bodies what they need and begin to reap the power of our abilities.

THINK! And Lose Weight does not prescribe any particular diet.  What it does is give you the tools to make change.  You get to decide what those changes are.

Stay strong.

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What’s for Dinner?

Last week Kimberly Hartke published a piece on pellagra, wondering aloud if it might be the root cause of the upswing in public shootings and violence.

Pellagra is a vitamin B deficiency, symptoms include: fears, fatigue, depression, confusion, paranoia, hostility, rage and anxiety.  In the early part of the 20th Century the rural South was rampant with pellagra.  It is this, in part, which is to blame for the Southern stereotype of being slow, dumb and quick to anger.

Yesterday, my fellow Mental Meat Head, Jason C. Brown, re-posted an article from the Exhuberant Animal.  In it Frank Forencich touches on the high drama that surrounds the diet debate and our tendency to polarize our selves into factions that war over who has the monopoly on Truth.

Vegans and Vegetarians claim their lifestyle is not only healthy but humane and castigate all non-believers with the mantra, “Meat is murder.”  Carnivores and the relatively new Paleo movement counter “Wheat is murder” citing theirs is the original diet to which we are optimally evolved, anything less is an invitation to disease, sub par mental capacity and a general waste of available space.

Full disclosure:  I have spent a little time in each of these camps.

In college, much to my mother’s dismay, I embraced a vegetarian lifestyle and lived this way the two years I lived in Athens, Georgia.

Recently, I entered the Paleo camp, mainly as part of my ongoing effort to solve the dilemma of my waistline.  I enjoy my chops, steak and bacon and I do better on less grains than more, but I can tell when my body is craving carbs and I’ve learned it’s foolish to deprive myself of something my body says it needs.

Which brings me to my point.

I have met and worked with people who live very successful and healthy lives on a vegetarian diet, I’ve met near total carnivores who do the same and I know vegetarians and meat eaters who seem to always be sick or with a cold.

So what conclusions can we draw from all of this, seemingly contradictory, information?

Here’s what I get.  Nutrition is of fundamental importance.  If you’re not getting the nutrition your body needs it doesn’t work right and can go completely haywire, prompting us to behave in ways we otherwise wouldn’t, possibly with disastrous results.

The specifics of that nutrition is a highly individual experience, each one of us is slightly different, our needs vary based on a host of variables.

This may be a radical thought, but our taste buds evolved to direct us toward what we need.

Profit based food systems take advantage of how taste buds work and try to direct us based on their motives, not our nutritional ones.

My only dietary advice then is to base your diet on real food.  It it takes much more than a sharp knife and a good stove or oven to prepare, you might be better off giving it a pass.

Stay strong.

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Coaching Call

Today is the last day to get in on the sale of my new book over at Critical Bench.  It will still be available after today, but at twice it’s current price.

Apparently, my radio interview with Brian Cannone, on FTNS Fitness Radio, was successful.  Mike Westerdal, my publisher, said his inbox has been swamped with email asking questions about the book, most of which he said could be answered by buying the book (he should say that, he’s my publisher), but all these questions put an idea in his head.

To sweeten the pot, Mike has decided to offer a coaching call with Mike, my co-author, Shawn Lebrun, and myself.  My own awesomeness aside, this is a tremendous opportunity.

Shawn Lebrun deserves the lion’s share of credit for this book.  Without him, it just wouldn’t exist.  His story is the driving force of the book and it was his genius that applied the concept of success to weight loss.

Shawn’s is an inspiring story.  Strong but out of shape, and carrying an extra fifty pounds on his frame, he found himself one day unable to keep up with his friends on a ski trip.  Swaddled in the extra layers of a ski suit he was exhausted just getting to the lift, and after one run discovered he was done for the day.

For the rest of the day he sat, watching his friends make run after run, stewing in his own frustration and self loathing.  This experience is what served as the catalyst for change.  Using the emotion and the power of that moment, Shawn made the bold decision to change his life.

He decided that not only would he lose his extra weight, he would take it a step further.  Shawn entered a bodybuilding show.

Now I understand, bodybuilding is not for everyone, but you must admit the focus and dedication needed to prepare yourself for such a competition is substantial, to say the least.  He set a goal, established a plan and applied the principles of success used by countless people throughout the world–and he was successful.

Not only did he get himself in acceptable shape to enter the bodybuilding contest.  He won.

Shawn is well acquainted with what you need to do in order to change your life and has practical experience with how to do it.  I am very excited to be in on this call with him.

Mike Westerdal is a great friend and mentor.  I was introduced to him through Elliott Hulse a few years ago.  I was privileged to work on their Lean Hybrid Muscle–Reloaded product and since then have helped him with various articles and interviews for both Critical Bench and Powerlifting USA.

The first time I was in St. Petersburg he had me over for dinner and spent several hours sharing with me the inside scoop on his trade and how he runs his business.  He is a successful online publisher with a long list of credits to his name and has a substantial standing amongst the elite online marketers.

Mike lives the code of success, whether he’s applying it to his business or as an athlete in powerlifting.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Mike also played football in college and has played internationally.  Not only does he have much to offer, he’s very open and giving with his knowledge.  Honestly, I’d buy five copies of the book, just to listen to him talk for an hour.

To be included in this coaching call with both of these men is a tremendous honor for me.

If you want to get in on this call, I suggest you buy the book, now.  Today is the last opportunity to get in the sale price, but more importantly, now, to get in on this call.

This is a huge bargain don’t let it pass you by.

Consider, I usually charge $50 for a private session of nutrition counselling.  For less than $20 you can not only get our new book, you can get in on a live coaching session with three experts in life transformation.  What value would you put on that?

If there’s anything in your life that your not happy with, if you stand on the cusp of change and are not sure how to make the next step, this book WILL have value for you.

The principals of change are consistent whether they apply to weight loss, becoming the strongest version of yourself, pursuing that passion based career or opening yourself up to love and commitment.  Life change is life change and the principals we discuss can help you on your journey.

If you’re ready for change, go HERE.  The book is on sale until midnight tonight.

If you need a little more encouragement or just want to hear more about the book, you can check out the radio interview I did on FTNS Fitness Radio on Wednesday.  The podcast is available, HERE.

Stay Strong.

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“Pimp” Yourself

Last night was definitely an exciting first for me.

Back last March when I finished my work on the manuscript for Think! And Lose Weight I felt a remarkable sense of accomplishment.  I took a rough manuscript and turned it into a polished product that was readable and better suited to deliver it’s message.  I made a sizeable contribution to the book and was proud of my work.

And then I kinda forgot about it.

My publisher, Mike, and I would touch base occasionally about the production phase, which for an e-book is essentially rendering it into a pdf format, adding pictures, setting the typeface and making the whole thing look good.  This is a vital part of adding value to a publication like this.  As I’m sure you’re aware by now, readability on a computer screen is vitally important to conveying your message.

Font size, spacing and the general distribution of text have a huge impact on whether your work actually gets read or not.  Long paragraphs are more difficult to read on most computer screens and breaking up the text into smaller chunks greatly increases the chances that your reader will stay with you through the entire text.

Amazon takes advantage of this in their cloud reader, the PC version of a kindle reader, and uses larger fonts with less text per page to increase readability.  But I digress.

Last night, I was interviewed on FTNS Fitness Radio on a show called The Body Shop, hosted by Brian Cannone, to promote the new book.

How cool is that?

I was introduced as an editor and an author, which as I write these words is both amazing and true.  I AM an editor and an author.  My work has been published on the internet and in print.  That’s pretty damn, cool and maybe I haven’t acknowledged it enough.

“Aw, shucks” is just how I am.  It’s a product of my Southern upbringing and my natural demeanor, so outright bragging is antithetical to my style, but not acknowledging my accomplishments or promoting them serves no one.  After all how will you know I’ve done cool things unless I tell you?

So that’s what I want to share with you today.  Yes, I’m promoting my book and, yes, I encourage you to go listen to my interview, both to learn more about my book and to tell me that Brian’s Connecticut accent does not make my Southern drawl more apparent, but also to show you how my story is your story.

If I don’t promote who I am and what I do, you can’t know about me.  Conversely, if you don’t do the same we can’t know about you.  Everyone has a message to share, and believe it or not, everyone has a potential audience.  There are people out there waiting to hear, needing to hear, your message.  It’s your obligation as a human being to speak that message.

Again, I’m reminded of Paul Reddick at the Underground Strength Conference when he asked, “Who are you to hold your gifts silent?”  If you knew your talents would help someone, maybe even save their life, wouldn’t you help?

Your life impacts others on levels we can’t fully be aware of, hiding your light, holding back your gifts, out of fear or insecurity, is ultimately a form of selfishness.  You don’t want to be selfish, do you?

I certainly don’t.

So I just want to remind you.  My book is on sale this week.  The sale ends Friday.  You can check out a podcast of my interview with Brian Cannone, HERE.  To get more information about the book and to download your copy, go HERE.

Stay strong,

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New Book!

I’m pretty excited today.  Yesterday saw the launch of an e-book I started working on back in November of last year.  It’s available through Critical Bench and, if you’re interested, you can download your copy HERE.

Some of you may know that I started my foray into fitness writing a few years ago by doing editing for Elliott Hulse and Mike Westerdal, the authors of the highly successful internet products Lean Hybrid Muscle and Lean Hybrid Muscle-Reloaded.  Initially, I worked on projects for Elliott and his business, before long he introduced me to Mike, for whom I worked on material published on both CriticalBench.com and in Powerlifting USA.

Last October, when I was in St. Petersburg for the first time and actually met Mike and Elliott face to face, Mike approached me about working on a book.

“Have you ever edited a book before?”

“No,”  I said, “but I don’t see why I can’t.”

Once I got back home he forwarded me the manuscript that Shawn Lebrun, a former bodybuilding champion, had written and asked me to look it over.

Instantly I was hooked.  True the book was rough, it needed flow and and rearranging, but it’s content and Shawn’s conviction spoke to me.

I had just finished reading Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich! and I could see it’s influence on Shawn’s writing.  Shawn had written more than just a diet and weight loss book.  He had cracked the code.

Shawn was offering a direct, practical guide to life transformation.  In his book he reveals the secrets of success that all the great and successful people of history have followed.  The irony of course is that these secrets lay in plain sight, available for all of us.

There are no secrets.  The secret to weight loss?  Eat less, do more.  Every adult with a grade school education knows how to lose weight.

The problem, of course, is that it’s easy to say and hard to do.

This is where Think! And Lose Weight comes in.  Through it’s seven habits of weight loss (plus one bonus habit) and several appendices our book lays out a practical road map to weight loss.

The basics of eating less and doing more are covered, but what’s more important are the hard truths of how to eat less and do more–by taking personal responsibility, establishing priorities, and choosing to go after what you want.  Beyond just telling you what to do, we give you suggestions and practical advice on how to do it.

The beauty of this book and one of the things that attracted me most, is that it’s principal driven.  The principals it pulls from are the principals of success and they apply to any area of your life.  My goal is for people to take this book, use it to lose weight and then use the lessons of their weight loss journey and apply them in countless other areas of their lives.

I am honored to be a part of it.

If you’re struggling with your own weight loss journey, if someone you know and love is struggling, take a look at Think! And Lose Weight: the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Weight Loss.  Critical Bench has it on sale, this week, for $19.95.  Download your copy HERE.

To promote the book, I’ll be on Brian Connone’s radio show, on FTNS Fitness Radio, tomorrow evening, from 8 to 9 pm CST, you can listen in by going to http://ftns.co/.

Also, don’t forget, we’re getting closer to the Bodytribe Fitness workshop.  After Saturday, the special sale pricing ends, sign up now while you can still get in to the 2-day workshop for $199. The workshop is Saturday and Sunday, July 28th and 29th, space is limited, so reserve your spot now.  Click HERE.

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Elliott Hulse

All I can feel is sound, the roar of a thousand lions, caged, furious, mad with rage.  Bulls bellowing with all of their strength straining to break their bonds, every fiber taut, fuelled by an anger so deep it’s origin is nameless.

In a moment of clear consciousness I realize–it’s coming from me.  I’m on my knees beating the floor with both fists, bawling for all I’m worth.  My neck strains, my mouth stretches and all I can do is let it out.

Around me fifty some odd guys and a few women are in the throes of their own catharsis.  Most are yelling, adding their own voices to my own, giving release to years of pent up anger and frustration.  A few, the really brave ones, weep, curled up in their own personal sorrow, giving release to grief they’ve carried for who knows how long, over tragedies untold and unnumbered.

What the hell is happening?

It’s Elliott and we’re in the middle of his “presentation” as he shows us what he really means by becoming the strongest version of ourselves.

If you’ve followed my writing for any length of time, you know I think the world of Elliott Hulse.  He’s my friend and a mentor.  Over the past year I’ve spent a fair amount of time travelling back and forth from St. Petersburg, learning from Elliott and building a relationship.  So as the conference rocked along and the buzz would surface about Elliott, I’d just smile, “Dude, you have no idea.  Just get ready for something big.”

There was no way to get ready for this.  I’d had a taste but never seen the true potential, the capacity for change, and on such a scale.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love Elliott.  He’s an awesome guy.  He does tremendous work and has the capacity to be a hugely positive influence in many people’s lives.

He is not Jesus.

He’s a human being and he’s got his problems just like all of us.  Very little of what he gives is “original.”  What he does is take his thirst for knowledge and understanding, focus it with a laser-like precision and then processes what he learns.  He takes it in, chews on it, digests it, and makes it a part of him.  He then shows you himself.  He opens himself up to you and shares his understanding, “This is what I learned from these other guys and this is what it means to me.”  That makes him unique.  That makes him outstanding.  That makes him remarkable.

It shouldn’t.  We’re all capable of doing the same thing.  Elliott’s just done more of his “work” than the rest of us.  He’s gotten “himself” out of the way and therefore made it easier to share himself, what he knows, what excites him.

What excites him is becoming the strongest version of himself and showing you how to do the same.

So there we were in the middle of a twenty minute “meditation,” based on the knowledge and teachings on old masters like Osho, Alexander Lowen, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Wilhelm Reich, purging some of our own personal demons and letting fly emotional baggage most of us didn’t even know we carried.  Like ancient samurai we faced the wave of our life, through chaos, catharsis, death and rebirth.  Elliott was just there to show us a way.

In the aftermath was a peace I have rarely known.  Even when I sought my own personal solace in drugs I never knew this peace.  That was always superficial, a false layer of “feel good” I smoothed over the crap to distract me, for a time.  This was pervasive, it reached all the way down to my center and then radiated out into the world from there, on my return everyone commented on how different I was–open, strong, smiling, vital, alive–that much closer to the strongest version of myself.

As I watch Elliott grow and develop his mission I see its potential.  I see how important it is, for me and for you.  We live in a world that is threatened by you.  Society wants you to think you can’t, that you must depend on others, that you’re not strong enough, smart enough, good enough.

I’m here to tell you, I am–and so are you.

Become the you you were meant to be.  Become the strongest version of yourself.

Why?  It’s your birthright.  These are your God given abilities, don’t let anyone take them away from you.

You know I see the gym as a crucible for learning these lessons.  Agoge Fitness Systems is not about how much you can lift.  It’s about finding your own strength, your own ability.  It’s about using your body to learn your own personal power.  Strength is not so much what you can do today.  It’s what you can do today that you couldn’t do yesterday and the effort and struggle you put forth in order to make it that way.

On the last Saturday and Sunday in July, Chip Conrad will be here at our gym.  He’s bringing two days of learning, sharing with us his own journey of development and the skills he’s picked up along the way.  You are all invited.  When it’s over I guarantee you’ll see every tool we have here in the gym, including your own body, in a whole new light.  Join us.  CLICK HERE.

If you like this and any of the other writings here on my blog, join my newsletter.  CLICK HERE and enjoy my daily message delivered directly to your inbox.

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Underground Strength Conference: Part 2

 

I am so incredibly blessed.

It’s 11:30 on a Saturday night and I just got back from a late night training session at Zach’s gym.  It could not have been a more perfect ending to an indescribable day (but I am going to try).

The conference began with a talk by the Ultimate Warrior.  Most of you might not know who he is, but Warrior (that’s his legal name) was a pro wrestler from the days of the WWF.  He fought guys like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant.  Today Warrior is a man of passion who uses his gifts to reignite the unique genius that lives in every one of us.  He was powerful and intense and at one point I may have even wet my pants a little, but everyone came out inspired.

Matt Wichlinski followed in what was arguably the toughest spot of the day.  He’s soft spoken and at first glance seems small with big ears.  What he is is nothing short of amazing.  He is by far the most able athlete I’ve ever met.  His sense about progression and how and when to increase an exercise or decrease it are spot on and nothing short of spectacular.  I almost hate to say it but within minutes of Matt’s presentation I had forgotten all about the Ultimate Warrior.  That’s not to take away from Warrior but to say just how amazing Matt’s work is.  One way or another I will be working with Matt Wichlinski, his work is too good not to pursue, and by extension so will you.

Joe Meglio followed Matt and gave us even more movement with new progressions in the Underground warm up that will find their way into our gym.

And then came Elliott.  As usual Elliot blew minds.  You can’t tell from this email but my voice is hoarse.  Elliott’s lecture was a full expression of his own unique genius and his innate capacity to push you–just enough to make sure you come away stronger.  At the end he took us all through a twenty minute “meditation” that was physical as well as emotional and spiritual.  I could try and describe it for you but it would only lessen the experience.  It’s enough to say that much emotion was released and we were all touched very deeply by what he gave us–at one point staff people were peeking in the door to see just what the hell we were up to, I can only say it was quite loud.

Finally, there was a question and answer session.  Dax Moy, a man who truly is second level (look him up) and who had flown in from England just for this event, was part of that panel.  I was deeply touched by what he said.  He said he saw himself as a guru, not in the negative, cheesy “fitness guru” way but in the original Sanskrit where ‘gu’ is darkness and ‘ru’ is light.  A guru is one who takes you from the darkness into the light.  He’s not a leader just one who shines his own light.  If that light resonates with you you’re attracted to it, if not, you move on until you find the light that does.

I want to be like Dax Moy when I grow up.  I want to be like Dax and Matt and Joe and Elliott and Warrior and Duece and Brendan and Mike Stehle and Zach and all the guys who came and talked or just made their way to the conference.  They’ve all added to me and influenced me so much over the past two days.

Which brings to mind something Paul Reddick said yesterday.  If you can see a trait you recognize or appreciate in another person it’s because that trait already exists inside you.  You cannot see something in another person if you do not first have it yourself.

I see much in all of you.  I think together we can grow and evolve and pursue the liberation of our own unique geniuses (geniuii?) and make our worlds better places.  By doing that, we make the world a better place.

Travis Stoetzl ran us through an awesome workout tonight.  We all killed it.  I am tired and elated and proud.  I worked with some fantastic people that I am honored to have the gift of knowing and I’m honored to bring home the gifts they’ve shared with me to you.

Now, I really have to shut up and go to bed.  Travis is my ride to the airport and I’ve gotta be in the lobby by 4:30, but I had to take a minute and send this on to you.

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