Category Archives for Get Lean

3 Stretches Every Outdoor Athlete Should Do Daily

This three-minute routine will make you faster and stronger and help keep you injury-free.

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“Stretching” Is a Myth

It’s all muscle contraction.  Just different types of muscle contractions that activate different fibers in alternate directions and dimensions against varied types of loads, whether static or dynamic.  But it’s all muscle contraction.  Why is that important?

False Duality

I spent most of my life believing in the false exercise-stretching duality.  This false belief, among many others, was a major obstacle on my journey to fitness.

Only Metabolism Matters

The reason it’s important to leave behind the false duality of exercise vs. stretching and recognize that it’s all a matter of muscle fiber activation is that muscle fiber activation involves the mitochondria which is the calorie-burning machine in each muscle fiber.  The more mitochondria you activate the more calories you burn in the short term and the more you activate for long-term non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), which is the scientific term for all the calories you burn in the activity of living when you’re not working our.

Deep Core Eccentric and Twisting Motion

It’s no surprise then that these essential “stretches” all involve eccentric contraction (lengthening) and twisting motions of the deep core muscles.  The muscle mass in your deep core contains the greatest concentration of muscle fiber and mitochondria for fat-burning and it’s also the most neglected area in most conventional gym workouts which tend to focus on repetitive linear peripheral core-stabilize mid-range isolation moves.


More Bang

This is why you can get much more of a metabolic “bang” for your effort if you focus on eccentric and twisting moves that contrast sharply to the typical intense tightening cycles of concentric contraction which is typical of most workouts.  Simply activating those fibers that never get activated you are increasing core strength and stability, agility, metabolic burn during exercise, and after-burn.


When You’re Ready For a Real Challenge

The moves illustrated here are pretty basic – when they become easy for you you can try these more advanced deep core eccentric and twister moves that will really kick your metabolism into high gear.

Tree Backbend

As you walk your hands down the tree you powerfully activate the deep core and watch as your surface abdominal muscles pop
















Side Crow
















Flip Doggy-Dog

Flip Dog step 3 - the timing of the hip twist as the foot lands redistributes the lower body weight onto both hips in hyperextension


23 Things That Inevitably Happen When You Start Getting In Shape

Your body is ready.

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This is awesome but there are 2 HUUUUUUUUGE ones that they’re missing:


You Completely Reset The Bar on Health

Before I got into shape, I thought health was the same for everyone and that it was defined by the absence of illness.  Like most people, I figured slow, stiff, creaky, achy, weak, unstable joints were normal.


Every Joint Poppin’

Now I can see the truth clearly, and there’s no going back.  I don’t feel truly healthy anymore unless every joint is literally poppin’ with pain-free, rock-solid, strong, quick, agile mobility.  I recognize even the slightest twinge of pain in a tendon or joint and guess what I do? – No, I don’t rest it – I rehab it with exercise by re-orienting the muscle fiber activation within that joint to strengthen the fibers in all directions surrounding the stiff, creaky, or painful area.

Dragging Around a Lump of Flesh & Bone?

I spent decades feeling like I was dragging around a huge lump of flesh and bone before I realized that waking up with creaky knees, and a stiff neck and shoulders is not normal.  Wobbling when you step into your pants is not normal.  Breathlessness on bending to tie your shoes is not normal.  Holding on for support and grunting and groaning every time you stand up is not normal.

Own The Space Around You

Being in shape versus out of shape is literally flying versus walking – you’ll forever change your comprehension of the word “health” and you’ll start realizing the awesome power of the human body as a feel-good machine.  You’ll start owning the space around you rather than dragging yourself through it.

Other People Are Suddenly Wayyyyyy More Attracted To You


I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it happened, but one day I suddenly realized that I was seeing a lot more lot more flirtatious hair-flips, blushing, eye contact, and smiles from women who would have never even noticed me before.  I have no idea whether it had to do with the new sense of confidence I was exuding, or the completely altered shape of my body from rotund, slouchy & flabby to lean, angular, upright & linear.  There are certainly psychological studies to back up this observation but I didn’t need them – I knew what I was experiencing – like riding a wave of euphoria that just kept rolling.

Also, people love to be near someone who is succeeding at something, anything, whatever it is.  Probably has to do with the belief that some of that positive mojo will rub off on them.  If you’ve gone from fat to fit you know exactly what i’m talking about, and if you’re not there yet, keep at it – you’ll never want to go back.

Remember there are only 2 sure ways to fail – give up or not start.  So go for it!


How to Sculpt Lower Abs

Leave the bulk at the gym

If you're working out at a gym or with a trainer, you are most likely doing a low variety repetition of routine linear, mid-range movements that were designed to bulk-up a specific bundle of muscle fibers while stabilizing the rest of your body. You strap yourself in a chair like you're on an airplane and work one muscle while the rest of your body literally shuts down. The result is bulked-up lumpy muscles adjacent to weak underdeveloped ones, making you weaker and reducing overall strength, agility and mobility every time you work out.

Deconstructing movement

That conventional model of fitness training deconstructs human movement into tiny one-dimensional slices, reducing the breathtaking complexity and broad range of movement our bodies are capable of to a narrow type of 'exercise' that can be mechanized and marketed. So stop exercising like a machine and start moving like a human.

Take a look around... and in the mirror

Look around.  Is the average gym member lean, sculpted, agile, strong, defined, and toned?  Would you be happy with the results of the average person pumping away endless reps on the machines at the gym?  Are you happy with the results you see in the mirror?

THE game-changer that's missing in your workouts

The switch kick combines an intense fast-twitch lower ab contraction in the air with a powerful glute-hamstring jump and kick

The switch kick combines an intense fast-twitch lower ab contraction in the air with a powerful glute-hamstring jump and kick

This Awesome Move in 5 Easy Steps

Download the FREE PDF Cheatsheet Now

Why has nobody taught you the switch kick?

Most people shy away from multi-dimensional, curvilinear movement challenges in the thin zone at the edge of their capabilities.  Don't be one of those people!

THE game-changer is dynamic holistic movement patterns that constantly present new physical, technical, and cerebral challenges with ever-changing alignments, loads, variations, and micro-adaptations.

Backing away in fear from your limits

No one has taught you this move because they assume it's beyond your capabilities.  Conventional fitness training teaches you to back away in fear from your limits and never push into that thin zone at the edge of your capabilities.  So the reason you're not seeing the results you love in the mirror and in selfies is that you've accepted the limitations others have placed on you.

If you want results, stop doing that

That ends today.  Stop wasting your first 13 reps on boring, repetitive, closed-chain, linear isolation moves that are too easy, and not even feeling the burn until rep 14 or 15.  Why not start making every second of every workout count where it matters - well-defined abdominal muscle lines you can see in the mirror and in selfies?

Start with a knee crunch

The knee crunch has to be powerful enough to lift you off the ground.  It's an explosive upward move that generates momentum of your entire body weight in synchrony with the propulsion off the ground of the opposite glutes and hamstrings.

The lower abs and hip flexors work in opposition to gravity and the eccentric gluteal contraction on the same side.​

The knee crunch is a powerful lower abdominal and hip flexor concentric contraction against the opposition of gravity and the eccentric gluteal contraction

The knee crunch is a powerful lower abdominal and hip flexor concentric contraction against the opposition of gravity and the eccentric gluteal contraction

Stabilization is killing your results - let's fix it

Here's the problem: you strap yourself into a chair with handles, armrests, pedals and leg rests, stabilizing and shutting down as much of your body as possible.  Stabilization is killing your results.  Do you see those sharp, cut, defined abdominal lines in the mirror and in selfies?  I'm guessing the answer is NO - let's fix that.

Suspending your body weight

See the blue lines in the images below?  The reason you see those muscle definition lines is that in the switch maneuver the entire bodyweight is suspended in the air by an intense activation of all the core muscles, deep and superficial.  There is absolutely no external stabilization to rely upon.

No chair, straps, armrests, handles, leg rests or pedals.  No anchoring body parts like your feet, tailbone, back or shoulders.  How long you can suspend your body weight in the air depends entirely on your core muscles, so they have to stay activated and engaged as you perform the switch maneuver.

Ab muscle lines pop because of intense core contraction required to suspend the bodyweight in the air while switching legs with a synchronized concentric-eccentric lower ab contraction

Ab muscle lines pop because of intense isometric core contraction required to suspend the bodyweight in the air while switching legs with a synchronized concentric-eccentric lower ab contraction

The switch is where the magic happens - you have to keep your entire bodyweight suspended in the air while you combine a concentric contraction of the lower abs on one side with a controlled eccentric contraction on the other

The switch is where the money is - you have to keep your entire bodyweight suspended in the air while you synchronize a concentric contraction of the lower abs on one side with a controlled eccentric contraction on the other

The dynamic switch maneuver

This is a mid-air move consisting of synchronized eccentric (lengthening) contraction of the lower abs on one side with concentric (crunch) action on the other side.  Since this move must be executed with the entire core activated isometrically to suspend the body in mid-air, it is one of the most powerful moves you can execute to define your lower abdomnals.

The snap-kick

The leg coming off the ground first swaps positions with the higher knee in the air, then the rising leg executes a high snap-kick while the body is still airborne.  Since this motion works against both gravity and the eccentric gluteal contraction, it gives you definition of the lower abdominals and the glutes.

Ab muscle lines pop because of intense core contraction required to suspend the bodyweight in the air while switching legs with a synchronized concentric-eccentric lower ab contraction

The snap-kick intensifies the lower abdominal contraction which is now working against gravity and the eccentric gluteal contraction

Learning to push your own limits

The most astonishing gains are made within the thin zone at the edge of our capabilities, when we are challenged not only physically, but also technically and mentally.

I incorporate at least one challenge move that is beyond the threshold of my abilities into my interval training every day. That forces me to acknowledge and confront my limits and make an effort to push beyond them every day. It is also a powerful way to focus the mind.

How high can you propel your knee?  What about your kicking foot?  Since the knee crunch leads the foot kick, the upward momentum of the knee will give you more vertical, and allow you to kick higher.  So practice crunching your knee tight to your chest first, then work on the switch, then the powerful snap kick.  Each one of these moves can propel you higher.

Pick a spot in the sky - I use the top of a plam tree in the distance or a cloud.  Then try to aim the toes of your kicking foot above it.

The biomechanics of intensity - lower abdominal activation

The blue lines are the ones you want to see in the mirror and selfies.  The way to get there is to push the vertical of your kicks higher and higher

The blue lines are the ones you want to see in the mirror and selfies. The way to get there is to push the vertical of your kicks higher and higher

This Awesome Move in 5 Easy Steps

Download the FREE PDF Cheatsheet Now

Bruce Lee could kick a tiny lightbulb out of a chandelier without even rattling the chandelier.  He's my inspiration when I'm working on my switch kicks.  If you've never tried a move like this you will be astonished at how quickly you will gain strength, agility, and stamina.  You will also start seeing results in your abdominal muscle definition that will convince you to never waste time with standard crunches and machine exercises again.

Start seeing the only results that really matter - the ones you love to see in the mirror

The movements involved activate the entire range of muscle fibers in multiple dimensions, linear and curvilinear, over their entire length, so the results in muscle definition will be quick and dramatic compared to the standard crunches and squats you're wasting your time and energy with now.​

Bruce Lee could kick a tiny lightbulb out of a chandelier - think about that when you're working on your switch kicks

Bruce Lee could kick a tiny lightbulb out of a chandelier - think about that when you're working on your switch kicks

Looking Great Naked isn't Magic ... It's Science

These moves are designed to maintain an intense isometric contraction of the entire core while you are in the air, so you will always feel the burn, and all of your time and effort will be laser-focused on results - those sharp, cut, abdominal lines you want to see in the mirror.  Once you feel that intense burn with every millimeter you progress and you start seeing the results in the mirror, standard crunches will start seeming like the boring, useless waste of time that they are.

Face it - if you can't dance naked in front of a mirror and love what you see from every angle then your workouts are a waste of time.  Stop wasting time and energy and start seeing results - learn how to make every move and every second of every workout count.

The Science—and Art—of Taking Risks

How to put in the work now to ensure that you will go for it later

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When people ask me how long it takes to learn to do a perfect handstand, I say “Today, one day less than if you start tomorrow”.  And when they tell me they’re afraid of falling, I tell them “every fall brings you one step closer to the perfect handstand”.



That is what the art and science of risk taking is all about.  Falling is a physical phenomenon – subject to the laws of physics.  We can use those same laws to engineer a safe landing every time.  Fear of failure is emotional – what I’m really afraid of is confronting the meaning of failure – what it might say about me as a person.  Am I a loser? a non-athlete? bad genes? wrong body type? too fat?


We process both physical and emotional danger in the brain – the limbic system, so they’re neurochemically identical, they feel the same.  But they’re not the same – it’s the emotional fear that floods my bloodstream with stress hormones and makes my chest pound, my breath quicken, and my hands sweat.


I can teach anyone a simple physical maneuver – tuck and roll – used by every stuntman to ensure a safe fall.  But there is no physical neurochemical equivalent I can teach that will quiet the limbic system, or the stress hormones and flood of catecholamines.


The physical training is simple.  But, According to Michael Gervais, host of the Finding Mastery podcast, the emotional side of the training involves “learning to be OK with failure … and viewing short-term failures as a part of long-term personal success and fulfillment”.


To learn to take risks, my biggest obstacle is my hyper-critical self-talk that’s ready to pounce on any slip-up and label me a failure.  I have to learn to silence that inner critic and tell myself a different story – I’m a badass just for showing up and willingly risking failure every day.

10 Cool, New Weight Loss Gadgets from CES 2017

From a bed that will practically rock you back to sleep to a device that could get your kids more active, here are 10 of the best health and weight-loss gadgets that debuted at CES.

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Save your money on fitness trackers that don’t work, and invest in a sleep gadget.

Sleep the Weight Off

Hit the gym? or stay in bed? – Guess what? An hour of good quality sleep will do more to help you lose weight than an hour at the gym.  The reason is simple.  If you’re like most Americans you’re probably sleep-deprived.  Even if you spend 7+ hours in bed every night (which you probably don’t) you’re not getting all the restorative deep sleep your body needs.

Lack of sleep may be the primary reason you overeat because sleep regulates the hunger hormone ghrelin and the “I’m full” hormone leptin.  It also increases the stress hormone cortisol which stores more body fat and stimulates endocannabinoid production, which gives you the munchies.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that sleep deprivation increases your risk of obesity.

Alcohol and Blue Light

The most common offenders when it comes to sleep deprivation are alcohol and blue light.  While alcohol seems to make you sleepy, it actually suppresses the deepest, most restful phase of sleep which is critical in hormonal regulation and appetite control.  The blue light emitted by LED devices like smartphones and televisions suppresses the natural rising wave of melatonin in your body as the sun goes down.  Melatonin, along with adenosine, which builds up throughout the day with physical activity, are important sleep-inducing signals.  So the worst thing you can do before bed is have a nightcap and stare at your iPhone.  The best thing you can do is dim the lights, have a cup of chamomile tea, and listen to an audiobook.

Gadgets That Work

There are lots of gadgets out there to help you sleep better, like a “smart bed” which debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.  It detects movement and actually adjusts to your sleep position to make you more comfortable.  It also lifts your head if you’re snoring.  By morning it has compiled all your movements and vital signs into an overall sleep score, so you can track your progress.

The Sleep Number 360


Light Therapy

Turning off the tech an hour before bedtime is the low-tech way to go, but if you’re a gadget freak like me, wake-up glasses and a smart sleep mask is the way to use chronotherapy to gain control of your body’s circadian rhythms (sleep and wake cycle).  Both Ayo and Neuroon use light to adjust your sleep cycle, so if you work long hours or travel a lot, this may be the solution for you.

Ayo and Neuroon use light to adjust your sleep cycle


The Coolest Looking New Sleep Gadget

Sense is definitely the coolest looking new sleep gadget, and my favorite because you can totally geek out on the features and analytics.  It’s voice activated, emits ambient sounds to help you get to sleep and remain in deep sleep, and monitors your sleep and environment.  Waking up from the deepest phases of sleep can leave you feeling groggy, stuck in so-called “sleep inertia“.  Sense beats sleep inertia by waking you up during the lightest phase, so you feel energized and refreshed.  The analytics include detailed breakdowns of your sleep cycle and all kinds of dorky metrics you can follow such as as wake variance, with suggestions on how to improve them.

Geek out on the coolest looking sleep gadget


There’s even a pillow, called Dreampad, which converts sounds into vibrations, with some scientific evidence backing up its effectiveness.  Finally, the Nightingale, which intelligently cancels bedroom noise, is based on research showing that, especially in cities, noise is a significant factor in sleep deprivation.

Wearable Fitness Devices Don’t Seem to Make You Fitter

Fitbits and Apple Watches and the like may have their uses, but they don’t appear to be effective in weight loss.

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This may sound bizarre, but a very well-designed scientific study, published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, found that those who used a fitness tracker lost less weight than those who did not.  The reasons for this paradoxical finding were not clear, but it ought to give us all pause.  Would you willingly spend money on a device that is likely to confound your efforts to lose weight?


I for one am not surprised.  I can think of several possible reasons why fitness trackers don’t help, and may even hinder weight loss:

  • They are based on the old “calories in minus calories out” model of weight loss
  • They encourage slow cardio which makes you eat more, and they ignore your resting metabolism
  • They give you an excuse not to exercise with intensity, which is the key to boosting metabolism

The Debunked “Calories In Minus Calories Out” Weight Loss Model

If it were nothing more than a simple elementary school math problem, then anyone would be able to lose weight and keep it off.  Of course we all know this isn’t the world we live in. Modern research has shown that the role of metabolic adaptation, the effects of macronutrient types and ratios on fat storage, and the psychology of hunger all play confounding roles in this deceptively simple equation.

If you’re still counting calories and chasing them with exercise, then you’re focusing your time and energy on the wrong things.  Shifting your focus to hunger management and metabolic modulation with macronutrient ratios will get you the results you’re after much quicker without ever having to set foot in a gym or on a scale.

Slow Cardio Makes You Hungry

Fitness trackers just accumulate and sum the total of all calories you burn, and all activity calories are not equal.  You are likely to replace all the calories you burn doing slow cardio, because it makes you hungry and provides an easy rationalization for eating more.

One study showed that people increase their food intake after exercise.  This effect may be psychological – you think you’ve burned more calories than you have – or hunger-related, or a combination of both.  A review of studies found people generally overestimated how much energy exercise burned and ate more when they worked out.  Fitness trackers only make this problem worse because they can easily convince you that your step count for the day has earned you that extra slice of pizza or mochaccino, which will be just enough to put you into positive calorie balance, and thus weight gain territory, for the day.

The real beneficial effect of exercise is that it increases your resting metabolic rate, known by the scientific acronym “NEAT” (non exercise activity thermogenesis).  The majority of the calories you burn throughout the day, up to 80%, come from NEAT.  Even a brief burst of intense exercise, as short as one minute, can have an effect on your resting metabolism, which will increase your calorie burn all day – while sitting at your desk, driving, and even sleeping!  Fitness trackers discourage the type of exercise that has the greatest effect on NEAT, while encouraging slow cardio, which results in overeating.

Fitness Trackers as An Excuse

It’s the end of the day, you’re exhausted.  Your tracker has your step count over 10,000, so you figure you’re good, and head to the bar for happy hour.  Sound familiar?  If you’re using your activity tracker as an excuse to be lazy and avoid working out then it’s no wonder the study showed that people had a harder time losing weight with a tracker than without one.  The most intense form of exercise gives your metabolism the most powerful boost.  Also, maintaining that level of intensity as you get older is the primary way to halt or even reverse the effects of aging.

According to Ned Overend, the 59-year-old National Fat Bike Champion,

“Training with an emphasis on high-intensity intervals has been my preferred method of preparing for races throughout my career. I’ve learned that by reducing volume, I’m more rested for high-intensity sessions, and by being rested I can push myself harder during the intervals.”

So if you’re using a fitness tracker as an excuse to avoid intense exercise, to eat more, or to skip workouts altogether, you’re probably  better off selling it on eBay and start losing weight the low-tech way with the rest of us.



Weight loss that works: A true story – Harvard Health Blog

This story combines science and a physician’s personal experience to shed light on the basics of how to really lose weight.

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Pretty amazing that Harvard is still publishing articles suggesting that weight loss is all about counting calories and chasing them with exercise.  The astonishing growth in the numbers of obese and overweight Americans over the last 30 years is all the evidence necessary to prove beyond any doubt that this approach, which has been sold over and over to Americans in the form of the latest diet bestseller, doesn’t work.  If it did, those millions of books sold would translate into millions of pounds lost.


The new science of weight loss that actually works for the long term is about 3 ideas that have nothing to do with counting calories or “burning” them off.  These 3 concepts are so simple that you can discover them yourself, in your daily life, without having to buy any apps, books, videos, devices, or prepared food.  They are:

  1. Hunger Management
  2. Metabolism Change
  3. Mindless Eating

Hunger Management

Your Own Research Laboratory

You definitely don’t need to read a bunch of books or scientific studies to figure out a simple fact that we all know to be true from our own experience – some foods make you hungry and some fill you up.  This is easy enough to research in the laboratory of your own body.  Eat a bowl of steel-cut oats with coconut milk, coconut flakes, cinnamon and fresh or frozen berries for breakfast one day.  The next day eat cereal from a box or go to a drive-thru and order pancakes with maple syrup, or grab a sack of your favorite donuts or pastries.  Each day look at your watch when you first start feeling hungry, and then again when you’re so famished that you can think of nothing but food.  I notice that I salivate more when I first start feeling hungry and I get a hollowed-out achy feeling behind my eyes when I’m starving.  You’ll be amazed at how much longer the whole grains and healthy fats will keep you satisfied versus the flour and sugar of the processed breakfast foods.  The hunger spike will be less sudden and less intense, and your craving for sweets will be noticeably reduced.

Why Some Diets Seem to Work

Diets that seem to “work” don’t consist of magic ingredients or special timing, they simply replace some of your empty, hunger-stimulating calories (alcohol, sugar, refined carbs) with more wholesome, hunger-suppressing calories (whole grains, protein, healthy fats).  The result is less intense, less frequent hunger spikes with reduced sweet cravings.  You will naturally eat less throughout the day and you will be much less prone to overeat.  Try whole grains without added sugar for breakfast and 2 palm-sized portions of protein with lunch and dinner.  Anyone can do this right now and start losing weight immediately without counting a single calorie, setting foot in a gym or stepping onto a scale.


Metabolism Change

It’s a Scary Word

Metabolism is a scary word because most people believe (falsely) that they are destined to be fat forever because they can’t change their metabolism.  At the same time, most people don’t even know the meaning of the word.

What Does it Mean?

Metabolism is the way your body acquires, stores, and burns the energy you need to live, and there are some very simple steps you can take to modify and control it.  The simplest and most effective way is through the macronutrient ratio of your diet.  “Macronutrient” is another scary word that most people don’t understand – it simply means whether a food is a protein, carb, or fat (or combination).  New research shows that the macronutrient ratio of your diet is an important determinant of how your body stores fat.

How to Store Less Body Fat

if you are overweight or obese, it’s very likely that your diet consists of a lot sugar (anything that tastes sweet) or refined carbohydrates (anything that comes in a box, package, or bag).  These foods are mainly metabolized (broken down and stored as energy) in the liver, and they cause the buildup of the most harmful type of fat, known as “visceral” or deep belly fat.  Over time, your body stores more and more of the calories you eat as this deep fat, regardless of how many calories you count or try to reduce.  This is why simply cutting calories and eating only cake and ice cream won’t work – your body will just keep storing more fat.  On the other hand, if you replace some of your sugar and refined carbs with protein and healthy fats (see above) you will begin storing less body fat without counting or cutting a single calorie.


A Palm of Protein, A Fist of Veggies

The way to do this is by planning and preparing healthy meals in advance.  Every meal should have at least a palm-sized portion of protein and a fist-sized portion of veggies.  This is simple to eyeball when you’re preparing meals in bulk.  Reducing the ratio of sugar and refined carbs in your diet and replacing those calories with protein and healthy fats will control your hunger better and make you less prone to mindless snacking and overeating.


Stop Chasing Calories With Exercise

Do you think you should exercise to burn calories?  Think again. Research shows that the calories burned by exercise are quickly replaced by more calories, but that doesn’t mean that exercise is useless for weight loss.  On the contrary, exercise can increase your resting metabolism, known by the scientific acronym “NEAT” (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which means you will burn more calories while sitting at your desk, driving your car, even while sleeping!  If you have a busy life you’re in luck – new research has revealed that tiny micro-workouts of as little as 1 minute of intense exercise a few times a week can give you the same benefit as suffering through hours of soul-crushing boredom at the gym.


Mindless Eating

Eating Over The Sink

Do you eat standing in front of an open fridge? Or over the kitchen sink?  Do you stuff the last few fries from the bottom of the bag into your mouth regardless of how soggy, greasy, and unappetizing they look?  Do you eat cookies, cereal, or ice cream out of the bags, boxes, or buckets they were packaged in?


These are all mindless eating practices and according to researcher Brian Wansink, we can all very easily reduce our calorie intake by 20-40% with a few simple practices that make us more mindful of what and how much we are eating.


Bag It Up

The first simple step is to buy some small sandwich-sized clear slider-zipper baggies.  The ones with the actual slider (not the ziplock type) work best because they are quick to open and close and you can always tell when they’re fully closed so your food stays fresher.  When you get home from shopping take all snack foods, including fruits and nuts out of their original packaging and divide them into the small baggies.  It doesn’t really matter how full you make them because research demonstrates that we eat less when we dispense food from smaller containers.  Also when you’re eating from a small baggie, the extra work and motivation required to get up and grab another one serves to inhibit bingeing on the whole box, which – let’s face it – we’ve all done.

What You See Is What You Eat

The Next step is to carefully position these baggies of snacks – healthy snacks like nuts and fruits in front of the shelf and at eye level, and put cookies and chocolates in the back and high up or low down.  When you store leftovers in the fridge, cover the healthy ones like tuna, veggies, and salads with clear plastic wrap and place them at eye level.  Cakes and pies get wrapped in foil and placed in the back.

Small Plate – Lose Weight

Instead of standing up and noshing in front of the fridge or over the sink, put your snack on a small plate and sit down to eat it, preferably with utensils.   Research also shows that you will eat less from a small plate, especially one whose color contrasts sharply to the food on it.

Hunger Game

We’ve all had the experience of eating until we are full, only to feel uncomfortably stuffed 20 minutes later.  This is because there is a 20-minute delay in communication between the stomach and the brain.  The way to overcome this obstacle is by teaching yourself the Japanese art of “Hara Hachi Bu” which means eating until you are 80% full.  This might sound difficult at first but here is a simple step-by-step:


  • Sit down to a meal when you’re hungry
  • Eat as slowly as possible (remember the 20-minute stomach-to-brain delay)
  • Notice when you are still enjoying the meal but the hunger is gone
  • Notice when you are just starting to feel stomach pressure (imagine another bite, will it make you feel better or worse?) this is the 80% full threshold
  • Notice when you are stuffed (another bite and you will explode)

Woo-Hoo!  You are now a Hara Hachi Bu Master!  You have established 3 thresholds: hunger-gone, stomach pressure, and stuffed.  It may take you 20 meals or so to get used to these sensations but try finding a sweet spot somewhere between hunger-gone and first stomach pressure.  This can translate into a weight loss of a pound a week or more, again without counting a single calorie or setting foot in a gym or on a scale.


What are you waiting for?  Get Started!



The New Rules of Core Fitness

Crunches and planks won’t cut it. If you want to develop real, useful core strength, you need to work harder.

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If you work out in a gym, you’re getting weaker every day.  Seriously.

No Machine Can Do This

There is no machine that can mimic the complexity of the multi-contraction (concentric, eccentric, isometric), multi-dimensional (linear, curvilinear, twisting, rotatory), temporally-varied (fast-twitch, slow-twitch) movements that the human body has evolved to seamlessly execute.  So why are you limiting yourself to the repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range, peripheral, isolation moves of gym machines and exercises?  These are but the tiniest snapshots of movement that are easily mechanized and marketed.  You are capable of so much more.

According to fitness icon Laird Hamilton,

When you sit down on an exercise machine, with your back against a chair, you tend to shut down the rest of your body

Why You’re Getting Weaker

Think about it – you go to the gym and strap yourself into a chair complete with armrests, straps, leg and footrests, handles, and back supports.  What’s up with that? Are you going to the moon? Stabilizing your body in this way and then building disproportionate strength in one set of muscle fibers while all the others become progressively weaker in a relative sense is limiting your ability to move and making you weaker overall.

Mindless and Useless

Repetitive, linear, closed chains – the kind of exercise taught in a gym – is not movement.  Movement is so much more than the sum of its parts.  A challenging workout requires a continuous mix of technical, physical, and cerebral difficulty.  Powering through endless reps of linear isolation moves is mindless and useless.  It may bulk up specific bundles of muscle fiber but it will never give you the definition, agility and strength you could get from less time and effort spent in a smarter way – with holistic movement patterns that constantly challenge your body and mind with ever-changing alignments, loads, variations, and adaptations.  This type of challenge is, after all, how our bodies evolved into the incredibly finely-tuned wonders of movement that they are.

Burn More Fat In Less Time – Even While You Sleep

Your core workouts focus only on the surface fibers – but that’s a small percentage of the muscle fiber in your core.  There’s a much greater volume of muscle in the deep core.  This is important because muscle is the machine that burns fat.  The more muscle fiber you activate and stimulate with different alignments, loads, and movement patterns, the more fat you burn both during your workout and even during the time you’re not working out – this is known as NEAT – non exercise activity thermogenesis.

If you want results you’ve got to go where the money is – focus all your effort and every second of your workout time on optimizing the fat-burn.  In this case all the fat-burning action is in the deep core.

So you get a double bonus for stimulating the maximum number of muscle fibers during your workout – you actually burn more calories after your workout and for the rest of the day, every day – even while you sleep!

Use Your Brain To Train Your Body

Here are links to step-by-step tutorials that are engineered to stimulate the maximum number of deep core muscle fibers in the most varied dimensions and contraction types with the least amount of time and effort.  No gym or equipment is required and prepare to amaze yourself with dramatically better results from much smaller time investment than your current soul-crushingly boring repetitive gym routine:




Age Is Irrelevant When It Comes to Fitness

Want to continue to crush it well into your 80s? Here’s how.

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How Old Are You?

I do a new jump-yoga interval training workout every morning at Lake Worth beach.  I am frequently approached with questions – the most common being “how old are you?”.  Even little kids ask me and when I tell them they say “WOW – you’re older than Grandpa”.

The subtext is clear – they simply can’t believe some of the moves I can do at age 54.  I can hardly believe it myself – I’m talking about moves like eagle handstand and lotus scorpion.

What’s Up With That?

The more challenging moves that I can now execute effortlessly are things that I couldn’t imagine my body doing 10, 20, or even 30 years ago.  What’s up with that?

Here’s an astonishing fact: you CAN defeat aging.  The effects of aging on your body are not inexorable – ALL of them can be halted or even reversed if you understand and properly apply a few well-researched concepts of exercise physiology.

The 4 Horsemen Of The Fitness Apocalypse

The simple formula for remaining a badass as you get older: focus on reversing each of these 4 effects of aging, what Joe Friel calls in his book Fast After 50“The 4 horsemen of the fitness apocalypse”.

  • Decreasing Aerobic Capacity
  • Shrinking Muscles
  • Increasing body fat
  • Reduced Mobility

The Fountain Of Youth

According to Friel, up to 70% of these processes are under your control,  Leaving only 30% to father time or the grim reaper.  What that means is that if you can increase your aerobic capacity and muscle mass, while improving mobility and burning fat, you will actually turn back the clock.  The fountain of youth isn’t a myth – it’s real.  It’s called exercise and you don’t have to spend hours at the gym or hire expensive trainers to reap its benefits.

The graphs in this post show that a regular exerciser at age 80 can have the strength, flexibility, and motor control of a non-exerciser at age 20.  Pause to think about that astonishing fact for a minute.  You can be in better shape, by all measures, at age 80 than you were at age 20 – WOW!

It’s clear that a lifelong habit of daily exercise is literally the fountain of youth.  If you are becoming stronger, more flexible, and more fit every day, in what sense are you actually aging?


What about reduced mobility?

The easiest way to start improving your mobility right away is to get out of the gym – stop “exercising” like a machine and start moving like a human.

If you are working out at a gym or with a trainer, you are most likely doing a low variety repetition of routine linear, mid-range isolation movements that were designed to bulk-up a specific bundle of muscle fibers while stabilizing the rest of your body.  You sit in a chair and work one muscle while the rest of your body literally shuts down.  The result is specifically strengthened tissues next to weak underdeveloped ones, leading to deformity and unhealthy loads, reducing overall strength, agility and mobility.  That’s right, those gym machines are weakening you and reducing your mobility.

That conventional model of fitness training deconstructs human movement into tiny one-dimensional slices. It reduces the broad range of human movement to a narrow type of ‘exercise’ that can be mechanized and marketed.  So stop exercising like a machine and start moving like a human.

But I don’t have time

Time is at the top of most lists of excuses for not starting an exercise habit.  You can cross it off your list right now because new studies show that you can get all the benefits of 45 minutes of exercise daily with as little as 1 minute of interval training.

According to Friel, Intensity is more important than exercise volume in battling the effects of aging.  This view is supported by  myriad scientific studies showing that you can get all the benefits of an hour of exercise in as little as one minute of intense intervals when combined with active rest phases.

The easiest way to start is to mix brief, intense bursts of fast-twitch plyo moves with active isometric rest intervals.

This combination of multi-contraction (concentric, eccentric, isometric), multi-dimensional (linear, curvilinear, twisting, rotatory), temporally varied (fast-twitch, slow-twitch) movements into each workout will markedly accentuate muscle fiber definition while minimizing exhaustion as you quickly shift from one movement to the next before you feel the burn of the explosive move – so your recovery is built into an active rest phase.  It will also keep your mind active and constantly challenged to adapt to and work with strange new alignments and demands,

There are no ‘leg days’, ‘back days’, ‘arm days’, or recovery days, there are only whole-body days. You’ve got a whole body, right? so why not use it? Instead of mechanistically bulking up the same tiny bundle of mid-range isolated muscle fibers every day, why not stimulate the maximum number of fibers over the entire range of temporal-spatial dimensions available to you?  Why not let everything get more defined, stronger and more agile in balance with everything else?

Why you don’t need to count calories or deprive yourself of delicious food to reduce body fat

Ignore the lies you’ve been told that body fat inexorably increases as you age.  Three simple changes that have nothing to do with calorie-counting, deprivation diets, or exercise, can start reducing your body fat immediately.

  • Prepare meals in advance
  • Portion snacks and store them in small zipper bags
  • Keep healthy snacks at eye-level in transparent containers covered by clear plastic wrap, store cookies and chips in opaque containers or wrapped in foil

Those simple acts of pre-planning have been shown to significantly reduce calorie intake, with no need to count calories or deprive yourself.

The bottom line is this: there is a magic pill, a wonder drug , a fountain of youth – it’s called exercise.  And it’s simpler than ever to get started, all you need is 1 minute.  You can reverse all of the effects of aging on fitness by forming a few simple habits.  Do you want to halt the aging process right now?  And even turn back the clock?  You can do it by putting these simple strategies to work for you today.



7 ‘Get Fit’ Tips to Avoid This Year

I know that you want to get healthy this year, because it’s the most popular New Year’s resolution. Plenty of people want to help you, too, with everything from diet tips to exercise suggestions. They’ll tell you to make some lifestyle changes, to download a new app, or even to buy a wearable fitness tracker (those probably don’t work, by the way). But with lots of advice floating around, there are bound to be bad suggestions—those rooted in confirmation bias, trendiness, and pretty much anything except scientific evidence.

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The #1 New Year’s resolution, to get healthy nearly doubled the runner-up of getting organized, and tripled the third place resolution of living life to the fullest.

Freezing off your fat, wearing a corset, taking pills, or  is not going to get you there, but you already know that.

There are 3 simple changes you can make right now that will have a dramatic impact on your overall health for the rest of your life.


Americans are chronically sleep deprived, and this affects the function of every body system from the brain on down.  You probably aren’t aware that drinking alcohol and staring at LED screens deprives you of the good quality deep sleep that your body needs to recharge.  So lay off the booze, read a book made of paper before bedtime, and set that bedtime an hour earlier.  The impact on your physical and mental health will be surprising and dramatic.

Eat Till You’re No Longer Hungry

When do you stop eating?  When you’re full?  Eating till you’re full is killing you.  It takes 20 minutes for your brain to fully register the fullness signals coming from your belly and bloodstream.  So you can circumvent that delay by stopping when you’ve eaten enough to take the edge off the hunger.  I used to have such a fear of hunger that I would stuff myself at every meal – thinking who knows when I’ll see food again.  But once I started the habit of just topping off, that anxiety melted away, and I started losing fat without even thinking about it.

Establish Trust In Your Future Self

If exercise were a pill it would be a wonder drug.  It makes you young, lean, smart, healthy and extends your life.  The reason it’s so hard to start and stick with an exercise program is that you’ve seen yourself fail too many times, so you’ve lost trust in your future self.  The way to re-establish this trust is to commit to a tiny micro-habit and observe yourself sticking to it.  It can be a 10-minute walk, or even a single pushup.  It’s not the behavior that matters but the trust you establish in yourself by doing it consistently.  Starting small today will form the foundation of trust which will allow you to take on bigger challenges, one step at a time.



How Exercise May Turn White Fat Into Brown

Exercise may aid in weight control and help to fend off diabetes by improving the ability of fat cells to burn calories.

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There’s new evidence that exercise can help you burn more calories while you sleep.

Eat Fat & Exercise

There’s new scientific evidence every year that weight loss is much more than the simple matter of calories consumed, and that exercise is much more than calories burned.

Fat is Good

When it comes to hunger and metabolism, there is good evidence that eating healthy fats will help you manage your hunger better, and it will also change your metabolism so you actually store fat differently – you will store less deep belly fat.

The Fat That Burns Calories

This is almost too good to be true – there is actually a type of fat – brown fat – that is metabolically active.  That is to say, it burns calories.  Babies have a lot of this type of fat – its purpose is to generate heat to help regulate body temperature.

How to Get More Brown Fat

Scientists used to think that adults had very little brown fat, but there is new evidence that there may be a way to increase your stores of brown fat and guess what? it’s that wonder drug called exercise.

That’s right, there’s a hormone called irisin produced during exercise that can convert the typical lazy form of white fat into brown fat.  Regular exercise can stimulate your muscles to produce irisin.  If you increase your stores of brown fat, you will actually burn more calories at rest – even while you sleep.

The Wonder Drug

So exercise not only makes you happier, younger, smarter, and healthier – it also helps you burn more calories while you sleep.




10 Commandments of Fitness

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Sleep More, Eat Fat, Push Limits

Of these 10 awesome commandments, the most important ones you can implement right now are focusing on sleep, eating fat, and ignoring your limits.

Sleep and Fat

That’s right – 2 of the simplest things you can do right away are getting more sleep and eating more fat.  Sleep plays a regulatory role in modulating your hunger, so when your hunger hormones are in good control you’re going to naturally consume fewer calories without any effort at all.

Adequate slow wave or deep sleep also controls the level of stress hormone in your body, which results in more fat burning during activity and less storage of deep belly fat.

Hunger, Not Calories, is the Key

Nutrition science is clear on the issue: fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does.  The simple reason is that sugar stimulates hunger, bingeing, and overeating, while fat suppresses hunger.  Healthy fats – the kind in almonds and avocados – not the kind in chips, cookies, and other packaged snacks, will satisfy your appetite quicker and keep you feeling full longer.  The net result is that you will consume fewer calories throughout the day.  Your hunger will not come on as strongly and when you do eat your “I’m full” signal will kick in quicker.  So between fat and sleep you can make a dramatic change in your calorie intake without counting a single calorie or weighing a morsel of food.

Pushing Limits

Pushing your limits doesn’t have to mean extra reps with more weight, or higher intensity cardio.  A better way to push the envelope is with new types of movements.

Low Variety, High Repetition

If you are working out at a gym or with a trainer, you are most likely doing a low variety repetition of routine linear, mid-range movements that were designed to bulk-up a specific bundle of muscle fibers while stabilizing the rest of your body.  You sit in a chair and work one muscle while the rest of your body literally shuts down.  The result is specifically strengthened tissues next to weak underdeveloped ones, leading to deformity and unhealthy loads, reducing overall strength, agility and mobility.

Activate Your Muscles, Don’t Shut Them Down

That conventional model of fitness training deconstructs human movement into tiny one-dimensional slices. It reduces the broad range of human movement to a narrow type of ‘exercise’ that can be mechanized and marketed.  So stop exercising like a machine and start moving like a human.

Use Your Whole Body

You don’t have to accept the limitations other people place on your movement.  You were given a whole body so why not use it every day?  THE game-changer is new, holistic movement patterns that constantly challenge your body and mind with ever-changing alignments, loads, variations, and adaptations.  This type of challenge is, after all, how our bodies evolved into the incredibly finely-tuned wonders of movement that they are.

Don’t Be One Of Those People

Most people shy away from curvilinear, multi-dimensional, movement challenges in the liminal zone at the edge of their capabilities. Don’t be one of those people!  The reason is usually fear, of failure or injury.

Micro-Variation and Adaptation

If you learn how to properly and safely push into that zone every day, the constant adaptation and micro-variation required will keep your mind and body in a continuous state of being challenged. This will not only motivate you but it will also keep you young. Imagine the confidence of being able to do a little bit more every tomorrow than you could do yesterday. When you reach that point, chronological age becomes inconsequential.





Bruce Lee on Willpower, Emotion, Imagination, and Confidence

“You will never get any more out of life than you expect.”

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Bruce Lee’s Notebooks For Inspiration

When I look for fitness inspiration, I read one of these excerpts from Bruce Lee’s notebooks.  He kept these tiny 2×3 inch spiral notebooks in which he recorded his philosophy right alongside his training notes, demonstrating that his physical training discipline was inseparable from his psychological discipline.

If you find your willpower flagging one day, try watching his video of the water metaphor.


Water is formless.  It becomes whatever contains it.

I’ve heard the story that Lee could kick a single lightbulb out of a chandelier without rattling it, and I’ve seen a video of him holding this impossible-looking position for 2 minutes (which is hard to hold for even 2 seconds).  If you want a step-by-step tutorial on how to learn the Bruce Lee pickup click here.

Live Like The Water

Live like the water.  Water doesn’t strive.  Water flows around obstacles.  How would it feel to live life like that – simply, smoothly, effortlessly flowing around obstacles?

Does Working Out In the Cold Burn More Calories?

Here’s your cheat sheet for stoking the furnace during winter workouts

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There’s even more scientific evidence accumulating that working out in the cold can help you burn more calories:

Brown Fat

Brown fat is a type of fat that helps us regulate body temperature, so it would make sense that its formation might be stimulated by cold temperatures.

Transforming Fat Cells

Just this year, a study published in Nature showed that regular exercise can produce a hormone that converts fat cells from the lazy kind to the kind that burns calories.

The formation of this metabolically active, so-called “brown fat”, is also stimulated by cold temperatures.


In fact, The Joslin Diabetes Center has a special workout called the “Joslin Coolout” that uses cool temperatures to specifically activate brown fat.

This is the same reasoning that leads Tim Ferriss and other elite athletes to swear by ice baths.


The effect of shivering on calorie burn is well known.  Shivering generates a lot of heat so its a major calorie-burner.  Most of these calories come from the depletion of muscle glycogen.  but since shivering is a sign of hypothermia, its not a good way to burn calories.

There is, however, another effect called “non-shivering thermogenesis” which may help you burn more calories in the cold.

No Sweat

I have noticed a psychological effect as well, when it takes some extra effort at the beginning just to get my muscles and joints warmed up.  Once I do get warmed up, I find myself motivated to work harder just to break a sweat, because doing so in the cold requires more effort and somehow feels a lot more rewarding.



The Wrong Eating Habits Can Hurt Your Brain, Not Just Your Waistline

A diet high in saturated fats and sugars can affect the parts of the brain that are important to memory. Diet-linked brain changes can also make people more likely to crave unhealthful food.

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You Can’t Tell When You’re Full

Stop counting calories – here’s further scientific evidence that the effects of a bad diet extend far beyond the number of calories consumed – it actually impairs your memory and makes it difficult to determine when you are full.

Sugar Makes You Store More Fat, And Crave More Sugar

There is already conclusive evidence that a diet high in sugar and refined carbs has an effect on metabolism and hunger.  The result is you crave more sweet food, tend to overeat, and your body stores more fat (particularly deep belly fat) rather than burning it.

This metabolic effect stems from the fact that fructose (the chemical that makes sugar sweet) is metabolized in the liver and converted to deep belly fat.

A Bad Diet Also Changes Your Brain

Now there is new evidence that your diet can also change parts of your brain, making you crave more unhealthy food.

A study from The University of Cambridge revealed cognitive impairment in humans that had been demonstrated previously in rodents an American University study.  The brains of rats who were fed a bad diet underwent changes that impaired their ability to tell when they were full.

A 2015 study in the Journal of Pediatrics found obese children performed more poorly on memory tasks that test that same brain region  compared with kids who weren’t overweight.

The average

So Stop Counting Calories and Chasing Them With Exercise

The average American diet gets 30% of its calories from added sugar and alcohol.  It’s the composition of this diet that leads you into a vicious cycle of hunger and fat storage.

Now scientists are also discovering that a bad diet has longer term effects on your brain that worsen these cravings not just in the short term, but changes your brain for a long-term effect, and turns off your “i’m full” signals.

3 Steps to Change Right Now

  1. Replace your morning donut or sugary boxed cereal with whole grain oats & berries.
  2. Eat a palm-sized portion of protein and a fist-sized portion of veggies with every meal.
  3. Store healthy snacks like almonds and berries in clear baggies or bowls at eye-level.  Move cookies and chips to opaque containers in the way-back.


A Brief History of Humankind’s Desperate Attempts to Stay Fit

Having trouble sticking to your exercise routine? Don’t feel bad. Just look at our long drawn-out relationship with exercise gear—from discus to Thighmaster to jBells.

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As the author states, “Machines are nothing, motivation is everything”.  But willpower is not a superpower.  Willpower is for people who haven’t made up their minds.  If you’ve already committed to getting fit. then it’s just a matter of sticking to the choices you’ve already made in advance.

In his blog post about mental toughness, Tim Ferriss quotes former Navy Seal Trainer Jocko Willink:

“If you want to be tougher mentally, it is simple: Be tougher. Don’t meditate on it.”

He says it’s ok to start small.  If skipping that second martini and dessert is the plan then don’t think about it, just do it.  Even going to bed an hour earlier may take a significant amount of discipline.  So just make the plan & stick to it.

But why is it that so many people abandon their New Year’s resolution to get fit even before Valentine’s Day?

The answer is the monotony, the drudgery , the soul-crushing boredom and lame-ass results.  Gyms and fitness machines have constrained our movements into mechanized, repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range peripheral isolation moves that quickly cause you to lose motivation and just don’t give you the results you want to see in the mirror.

The author states what most of us are feeling:

“I’m looking for motivation that can beat the instant gratification of a peanut-butter cup. I want something that provides results before I throw in the towel.”

So the simple solution is to push slightly beyond your own limitations every day and the results you will experience will serve as a positive feedback motivation loop that will keep you motivated.  Get off the treadmill and instead of exercising like a machine start moving like  the human body was designed to move.

Repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range isolation moves will never give you results you want to see in the mirror.  The reason is clear: standard exercise deconstructs natural human movement into “linear, closed chains” resulting in athletes with specifically strengthened tissues sitting next to underdeveloped tissues.  According to Laird Hamilton, “When you sit down on an exercise machine, with your back against a chair, you tend to shut down the rest of your body.”

There are no ‘leg days’, ‘back days’, ‘arm days’, or recovery days, there are only whole-body days. You’ve got a whole body, right? so why not use it? Instead of mechanistically bulking up the same tiny bundle of mid-range isolated muscle fibers every day, why not stimulate the maximum number of fibers over the entire range of temporal-spatial dimensions available to you?  Why not let everything get more defined, stronger and more agile in balance with everything else?

Reject the limits that other people and the ‘exercise’ establishment have placed on you.  Stop exercising and start learning how to move.


The 4 Elements of Physical Energy and How to Master Them

“Manage your energy, not your time” says the famous quote from Tony Schwartz. Here’s how to do that, beginning with physical energy.

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One Simple Yet Powerful Change

The most simple and powerful change you can make with respect to fitness has nothing to do with food or exercise.

Go to sleep an hour earlier.

Seriously, that’s it.  Here’s Why:


  1. Sleep is calorie-free energy,
  2. Adequate sleep regulates hunger
  3. Sleep deprivation slows your metabolism and increases stress hormones, causing you to store more fat


A number of studies have demonstrated that sleep regulates leptin, ghrelin, and endocannabinoids, all of which modulate hunger signals.  There is also solid evidence that adequate deep sleep improves athletic performance.  Check out this infographic for a summary of these findings.

Hunger Management

The other powerful change you can make in managing your physical energy has to do with blood glucose levels.  Many articles and books make this sound much more complicated than it needs to be so here’s a simple, practical approach.

Carb Confusion

Carbohydrates are of 3 basic types:

  1. Sweets (anything that tastes sweet)
  2. Starches and refined carbs (bread, pasta, boxed cereal)
  3. Whole grains (oats, quinoa, brown rice)


The first 2 cause your blood glucose and insulin levels to spike, which depletes your energy and makes you hungry sooner.  This cycle leads to overeating every day.  Whole grains, on the other hand, tend to keep your glucose and insulin levels more stable, which controls your hunger better.


Food labels can be confusing, so here is a simple test to determine if a food is whole grain – if the carbohydrate-to-fiber ratio is less than 10-to-1.  Don’t worry about the serving size, just divide the grams of carbs in a serving by the grams of fiber – if it’s less than 10, you’re good.

Mouth Feel and Belly Feel

I’ve become so used to the hearty texture of whole grains that refined grains have begun to feel insubstantial.  Try this experiment.  Prepare, side-by-side, a bowl of packaged instant oatmeal and a bowl of steel-cut oats.  Notice as you prepare them how the refined oats are light powdery flakes and the whole grain consists of firm gritty nuggets.

Now taste a spoonful of each.  Pay particular attention to how they each feel in your mouth and in your belly.  If you’re like me, the refined packaged oats will feel like mush in your mouth and pretty insubstantial in your belly.  The Whole grain oats have a gritty nugget-y mouth feel and they give you that feeling of fullness in your belly much sooner than the refined oatmeal.

That firm, gritty texture might feel different at first, but you will soon notice that it keeps your hunger in check all day.  And it’s the best way to start managing your hunger, and begin losing fat for good.


The Case Against Sugar Review – an Unsweetened Attack on Diet Myths

Gary Taubes’s latest assault on the ruinous effect of sugar on our lives and the promotion of fat-free diets is detailed and compelling

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Sugar is Not Just Empty Calories

Even more important are its effects on hunger and metabolism.  Sugar causes your insulin levels to spike, which results in a   later sugar “crash” in which the hunger causes you to overeat.   This cycle continues as you satisfy that hunger with more sugar, causing another insulin spike.  Over time, these insulin spikes desensitize your body to insulin, which is a major cause of obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Change The Way Your Body Stores Fat

The other important effect of sugar is on your metabolism and fat storage.  It’s not just that the calories in sugar are stored as fat, but rather that a diet high in sugar changes the way your body stores fat overall.  The net effect is that a greater proportion of ALL the calories you eat are stored as fat.

Heart Health

There is also an effect on the type and location of fat that is detrimental to your heart health.  Fructose, which is the chemical that makes sugar taste sweet, is metabolized in the liver, and this process results in the accumulation of visceral, or deep belly fat.  This type of fat is not only unsightly but it also raises your level of LDL, the bad cholesterol, and is a major risk factor for heart disease.

So Gary Taubes continues to fight the good fight, against the food industry who wants you to believe that all calories are equal.  They’re not.  Sugar is what’s making you fat.


One Simple Yet Powerful Change

Try this simple experiment on yourself for one week: replace your sweet cereal with whole grains like steel-cut oats with berries and coconut milk.  For a week make fruit the sweetest thing you eat all day.  You will notice 2 things right away.  Your cravings for sweets will disappear and body fat will start melting away effortlessly.


14 Modern Fitness Myths Busted

Fact-checking trusted training maxims.

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If you only correct 2 misconceptions about your fitness this year, these 2 will give you the biggest impact by far:


  • Fat doesn’t make you fat
  • Visualize your workouts


It’s the sugar in your diet that’s making you fat.  Did you know that the average American could reduce calorie intake by 30 percent merely by eliminating the nutritionally empty calories of added sugar and alcohol.

These calories are not only nutritionally empty, they also don’t satisfy, so they make you hungry sooner and lead to binge eating.  Even worse, they’re metabolized in the liver and converted to deep belly fat.  Guess what does suppress hunger?  You got it – it’s fat.  Not the kind in chips and bagged snacks that makes you eat more, but the healthy kind, in almonds, avocados, olives, and coconut.

This doesn’t mean you can’t eat anything sweet, just try limiting your sweets to fruits, and add some nuts and coconut to the mix.  If you’re used to donuts and candy bars there will be an adjustment period but your sweet taste receptors will adapt and you will soon gain the same satisfaction from fruits.  Berries are the best because they have the lowest concentration of fructose and the highest levels of protein, fiber, and phytonutrients.

So try it for a week – make fruit the sweetest thing you eat all day.  A clever psychological hack to increase your chances of success is to position a clear bowl of fresh fruit at eye level in your fridge so it’s the first thing you see when you open the door.

The other busted fitness myth that you can put to work for you today is that visualization improves performance for all levels of athletes.  If there is something you want to achieve, like a handstand, take a minute to visualize yourself floating up into a perfect handstand every day.  As you pursue your goal the visualization technique will help you simply because you are seeing the result as possible.  The biggest obstacle to achieving any fitness goals is just getting started, and visualization is a way of tricking your subconscious into thinking you’re already on the way before you even start.  Your subconscious wants to believe what you tell it, so tell it you’re an athlete and guess what?  You are.


7 Simple Rules for Getting Lean in 2017

Seven easy rules for keeping your fitness New Year’s resolution in 2017.

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If I were to choose one of these rules for the new year it would be #5 – earning your carbs – but I would add that the preparation and timing of those carbs is absolutely critical to reaching your goal – torching body fat and building lean muscle.

The first thing I do every morning is eat a bowl of steel cut oats made with coconut milk and topped with toasted coconut and frozen berries.  This is delicious and along with a strong cup of coffee gives me incentive to jump out of bed every morning.  It also gives me an energy burst that fuels one of my high-intensity interval workout of jump yoga which I’ve pre-programmed using an app called Seconds.

The difference between a breakfast like this and cereal in a box is huge, and it takes only about a minute more of prep-time.  Making this a habit, even for 17 days, will make a noticeable difference in your energy level and appetite all day.  In his awesome post about how to become a morning person, John Zeratsky’s 3 crucial elements are light, coffee, and something to do.  So make that something to do the preparation of a delicious cup of coffee and your whole grain breakfast with berries and coconut.

What’s the difference between cereal in a box and a whole grain breakfast of steel cut oats with berries and coconut?

  • Whole grains still have the germ, the endosperm and the bran which is stripped out of most refined grains – this is where all the phytonutrients and fiber are.  Fiber slows digestion so you fill up faster and stay satisfied longer.
  • The fact that fiber fills you up and that berries have the lowest fructose content and highest protein and fiber content of any fruit, means that you start re-sensitizing your tastebuds to sugar, which is something you lose without realizing it when you eat sugary cereals.
  • Sugar in boxed cereals makes you hungry sooner and it is converted to deep belly fat in the liver.  When you eat whole grains you stay satisfied longer.

So you reduce hunger and sugar cravings for the rest of the day while giving yourself a sustained feeling of satiety that will manage hunger and prevent overeating and impulse eating.

Sleep and alcohol are probably a close tie for second place for the biggest impact you can make right away.  If you’re not getting enough sleep, following a pre-bedtime ritual of disconnecting from electronic devices (listen to an audiobook or read a paper book), dimming the lights. making your bedroom cool and dark, even turning down the bed will help promote the production of melatonin – a sleep hormone.  Many studies focus on the restorative deep slow wave sleep as recovery for the body and REM sleep for the brain.  But adequate sleep also regulates ghrelin, leptin, and endocannabinoids, all of which modulate appetite and lead to overeating in the sleep deprived.

There are also studies linking improved quality of sleep to enhanced athletic performance.

Finally, just stop drinking alcohol.  Here are 5 great reasons why:

  • It increases deep belly fat
  • it has no nutritional value
  • it makes you eat stupid
  • it slows fat metabolism
  • it inhibits deep sleep

So you really only need 3 simple tweaks to start getting lean in 2017:

  • Get to sleep earlier
  • Start the morning with whole grains & berries
  • Cut down on alcohol or, even better, eliminate it completely.


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