Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Masterpost: All detoxes are a scam.

I decided a "master post" is where I dump EVERY link I can find addressing a particular source of nonsense, quackery, pseudoscience or scammery. In this case, "detoxing".

Here it comes, hold on to your hats.

First though, you may well ask "if all these things are scams, how do they get away with selling them?" well you may be sorry that you asked. Here's a great video that explains it.

You want more links explaining why "detox" is junk science? You got it.

A few updates, as if we didn't know these products were bad enough already:

And another video for good measure.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gabrielle Maston: Orthorexia Is Real

Gabrielle Maston: Orthorexia Is Real:
This topic has been a long time coming - orthorexia.  Haven’t heard of it before?
 

Well I will inform you, it’s a form of an eating disorder where someone has an extreme or excessive preoccupation with avoiding what is perceived as unhealthy “bad” foods. 

Click the link to read the full article.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ugh this whole raw milk fiasco. Wow.

In the center of the drinks fridge,
but not to be drunk?
No pun intended, but this is hard for me to process. Possibly due to my background in the security industry, my brain likes to just write people off as bad, scumbags, or whatever, because that's the simplest explanation for unconscionable behaviour. Some of the things I dealt with in the past... trying to make sense of it will drive you around the twist, it's better to just say "because he's a shitbag" and move on and not let it upset you too much.

So, thinking about it now, that's probably why I'm less than diplomatic with certain of these self appointed health experts, who I'll just call straight out as scumbags who've just made up some load of bullshit, potentially harmful, and are making a fortune selling it at an inflated price to vulnerable people after scaring them off conventional, safe things.

Now these people with the raw milk though...

Here's some of what we know.
  • We know that before pasteurisation, people often got sick and / or died as a result of drinking tainted milk.
  • We know that it is illegal to sell non-pasteurised milk for human consumption.
  • We know that 4 children became seriously ill and one died after drinking "raw" unpasteurised milk.
To be fair that is all we know right now. It is yet to be established that the milk was actually responsible for this. It seems likely, sure... but let's be fair and not draw our own conclusion and treat it like an established fact when it isn't.

The supplier though. This is where I have mixed feelings.

Judging from their comments in the news article and from some posts (some now removed) they've made on social media, they clearly do think it is ok and in fact preferable to drink unpasteurised milk. There is an arm of the anti-vac, anti-flouride, "everything as close to natural as possible" type movement that is anti pasteurisation and pro raw milk too... it's not just these particular people.

So, I'm not sure if these guys are anti-all that other stuff as well but it does appear that they are advocates of drinking raw milk and the "bath milk not for consumption" sticker is just a nudge nudge wink wink way to circumvent the laws against selling raw milk for human consumption. Laws that are in place for our safety.

So for that and keeping in mind what I said earlier, my first inclination is just to write 'em off as more scumbags pushing dangerous and overpriced goods, pretending that they're healthier products than you'd get from a conventional source. I looked at their FB page though and it is all pictures of happy, well cared for cows and other animals. No one who loves animals that much can really be a bad person, in my mind anyway.

What I am experiencing at this point is called "cognitive dissonance". Two conflicting conclusions on observation of the same situation.

What you can probably take from it is that is possible for even the best people to be misguided. And when you think about it, the food standards laws that we do have do such a good job of preventing the illnesses and diseases they are designed to protect us from, that it's probably easy to get complacent like "oh that's a lot of fuss over nothing, it's all perfectly fine". It kind of reminds me of the Y2K bug... once a problem is solved, people forget what a problem it was. And and some point after that, people start to think there was never a problem in the first place and the solution to that problem is unnecessary or a scam.

That's probably understandable and excusable. Not to say it is excuses trying to circumvent the law of the land, but it is understandable that people might be complacent to the dangers of improperly handled food, untreated milk and so on. Which is all the more reason for the importance to be driven home in the process of businesses or individuals attaining a certification in safe food handling.

As a responsible adult you then have the obligation to take these matters seriously, as you DO know better, you've been presented with all the information, and it is indefensible to simply choose to dismiss it. This is the same argument I have with people in my industry who promote unnecessary, restrictive approaches to dieting. You have been taught better, and just chosen to ignore what you've been taught and do something irresponsible with the potential to do harm to others who come to you in good faith.

The big picture.

You can do a google search on "raw milk healthier" and what you'll find is a lot of the claims about treated milk being "stripped of it's nutrients", too high in carbs, causing disease and so on. Also claims that raw milk cures all manner of diseases. Also a bunch of conspiracy theories similar to the anti-vax, anti-flouride, and other "big pharma / big agriculture" type of nonsense as we touched on earlier.

All of that is completely made up, imaginary, and with literally zero basis in reality. What is a concerning trend these days though, is for people to just choose their own version of reality, their own facts, and insist upon their version being correct and everything else being a lie, regardless of a complete lack of supporting evidence and overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In this case, it's all this talk about raw milk being a "healthier, more nutritious" choice.

It just isn't.

This phenomenon is explained to an extent by what is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, which describes how people with limited knowledge on a subject will assume a position of authority or expertise on that subject, because in actuality they do not even know enough about it to realise how much they do not know about it!

Now not to be a hypocrite, I'm writing here about the dangers of raw milk when I'm not an authority on the subject. I'm a trainer, not a microbiologist. That though, is why I'm happy to defer to the authority of the people who research these matters professionally. Which is not to say that we should blindly kowtow to authority figures as if they could never be wrong or mistaken... but if you have the choice between the scientific community as a collective, and the people who specialise in a specific field in particular vs someone who just has a strong opinion but no credentials, someone who has just decided "this is how I reckon it is"... who would you reasonably expect to be more likely to be correct?

So this isn't so much an essay on the dangers of raw milk so much as it is about the dangers of the Dunning-Kruger effect run rampant, and the trend towards the dismissal of real science in favour of "feelpinions". Especially it is an essay about the dangers of being complacent in regards to other people's health and wellbeing, and the moral obligation as adults to act responsibly.

In the case of treated vs raw milk though. As I said elsewhere last night, you have got one option that's safe and healthy, and you've got another option that comes with a risk and is also illegal. What possible reason is there to choose the latter option?

Whichever side of the debate you are on, I invite you to come and discuss this matter on facebook.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Holiday Dieter's Survival Guide

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mainstream news needs to stop publicising crap like "bulletproof coffee"

Shoutouts to Mike Howard for
this more honest version of
the book cover.

And by "crap" what I mean is "blatant, pro-eating disorder scams based on nonsense".

So... yesterday one of the mainstream news websites posted an article on "bulletproof coffee", and in the ensuing facebook discussion I had a woman explain to me how she uses it as part of an "intermittent fasting" plan for weightloss, and it's great because it means she can last until 2pm without eating. Also it "keeps you in fat burning mode while you are fasting".

No.

There are so many problems with this.

#1 is the idea she's picked up somewhere (and has decided to spread to others) that not eating until 2pm is an in some way admirable or beneficial habit to develop. It isn't. You've got shit to do and your body requires fuel to do it with.

#2 since you're actually getting approx 400 - 600 calories out of that ridiculous butter & mct oil infused concoction you've been duped into believing is good for you... you're not actually fasting anyway. You're getting a similar amount of total energy. You're just not getting from a "meal" in the conventional sense.

#3 intermittent fasting has been shown to not be inherently beneficial anyway, other than that it may offer some individuals a strategic advantage in setting a schedule that allows them to meet but not exceed their energy requirements.
As we discussed in a post last week, what is strategically advantageous for one person might not be so convenient for another.

So... since the best case scenario for ANY diet or other "system" is that it works as a method to achieve suitable total intake without overeating... why wouldn't you just do that by scheduling regular meals and snacks of foods you enjoy, to an amount that meets but does not exceed your total energy requirements? What seems so outlandish and unlikely about that?

Whenever these sort of approaches are discussed, the common element in the conversation is the suggestion that it is a good way to manage avoiding a meal for a longer portion of the day. Or that it is a healthier option than conventional, officially recommended dietary habits involving... you know... actual meals of actual foods. This is very problematic.

We live in an information age, and the age of social media at that. Information that is actually correct, that has been scientifically tested and verified as correct to the best of our collective understanding, is often drowned out or lost in the mix of unqualified opinion, urban myth, or just blatant lies and misinformation. We unfortunately have not yet reached a stage where the public as a community recognise their responsibility to not further the spread of bad information that is not only scientifically false, but that may be to the detriment of anyone who acts upon it.

The sort of people I described above aren't to blame, even though they are spreading bad information to the effect of "to lose weight, avoid eating meals" which is highly problematic.  They aren't to blame, and if anything they are the victims. The blame lies primarily with the blatant scam artists like Dave Asprey and Vani Hari, and disingenuous charlatans like Pete Evans and Christine Cronau who make a living writing these books and going on speaking tours promoting a disordered view on food, health and nutrition through fear mongering, peer pressure and pseudo-science.

However just as bad are the mainstream news agencies; the TV, print and internet media who run stories on these frauds that actually loan them the appearance of credibility, rather than exposing them as the snake oil merchants that they are.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Are you really lacking in discipline, or just enthusiasm?

Here's a little fitsporation for you. I made it as narcissistic and obnoxious as possible.

"Discipline", right? Ooh I'm so disciplined. I turn up every day to do something I really enjoy, in order to achieve something that I'm going to be happy about. If only everyone else was as disciplined as me!

What a load of shit.

Discipline is turning up on time to a job that you don't really like and resisting the urge to murder any of the annoying ass motherfuckers who show up apparently just to make things as difficult as possible for you. THAT takes strength of character.

Doing something you want to do anyway, because you enjoy it and are getting something out if it and giving yourself an interest in life? I don't see how it takes discipline. And I don't see how that's helpful to the people who are still trying to develop their passion for training, either.

ENTHUSIASM would be a much better quality to encourage and associate with training. Not to take anything away from highly disciplined, elite level athletes who do deserve our admiration. It does take discipline to dial in such a tight nutrition plan and grueling training schedule, and to adhere to both with such consistency. That level of discipline however, is borne out of enthusiasm and self belief, and those are the two far more empowering ideas that are more appropriate for the rest of us to be concerned with.

Perhaps not to "elite" levels, but you will certainly see GREAT results from enthusiastic participation in an effective training program, with a flexible and moderate approach to nutrition. It does not take so much discipline, as it takes enthusiasm, motivation and momentum. With an effective training program, you will see results and build momentum, and will not lose enthusiasm.

The people who have not been successful in pursuit of their fitness and body condition goals in the past? I doubt they are lacking in discipline. Perhaps they have run out of enthusiasm, or lack some belief or optimism in their own potential. In my observation, this is usually through little fault of their own, and more due to simply never having been given a training strategy that would actually be effective and appropriate to their individual circumstances.

The idea that people need to "just be more disciplined" is egotistical and self serving when you are judging them as "undisciplined" for not doing what requires no discipline at all of yourself, as it is something you are enthusiastic about and which suits you as an individual. I see this attitude a lot from certain types of trainers and coaches pushing a "one size fits all" set of restrictions on food choices, for example.

For the people out there looking to get started: what you need is an effective training system,that is designed for results, for people who actually want to get stuck into it.
For the people already putting in the effort but without satisfactory results: you probably just need a more strategic approach, and more optimal (probably increased) energy intake.

My Flexible Fueling Program is all about being enthusiastic about training effectively without restrictive low calorie dieting. You can get more information right here, or click that link for VIP Access next season.

Monday, November 24, 2014

1200 Calories. Zero Results

No.
Alright let's cut to it.

Last week I promised I'd write an article for all the people who are dieting on 1200 calories a day, minus however many they burn off doing "cardio" exercise... but STILL aren't seeing any progress.

Why not? What gives? And why was "cardio" in quotation marks like that?

Well, I will tell you.

First of all, if you're on 1200 calories a day and only eating healthy foods, but still not seeing results... your lack of progress isn't because of the odd isolated day when you inevitably end up going over your 1200 calorie limit, and it isn't because of that one day last week when you ate something not on the "clean eating" list you got from some fkn idiot's facebook or pinterest page. Some clueless fkn idiot barely capable of a thought who has woke up one morning and decided "hey I'm a health and wellness and nutrition expert now all of a sudden". No. No you fucking well are not.

There's cardio, and then there's “cardio”.

It might be helpful to draw a distinction between different ideas about cardio (or more correctly “cardiovascular exercise”) before we continue. Let's break it down roughly into three categories.

  1. Training with a specific aim of increasing cardiovascular health and fitness. I'll throw lung capacity in as well for good measure. These are good and sensible things.
  2. Training to improve fitness and performance to compete or participate in a particular event. For example to run a half marathon.
  3. What most people seem to be doing.

We'll come back to this in due course.

Actually, trying to work out exactly how to tackle this topic is tricky because there's just SO MUCH WRONG with a 1200 calorie recommendation that is is difficult to know where to start. To begin with, it is just a blanket, one size fits all recommendation that doesn't take individual characteristics into account. I had in mind that I would compare to the average recommended intake, which is about 2000 calories for an adult. That's problematic as again, it is an average amount which might not be suitable to you currently reading this entry. Taller people require more than shorter people, males typically more than females, and so on. So depending on your physical characteristics, 2000 might be too much for you, or it might not be enough.

1200 though? 1200 is not enough for anyone. Ever.

I did some work on a new plan for a new client this morning. The client is a younger female adult of average height and already within a historically normal weight range, who is looking for better results from more strategic training. Using the established mathematical equations I determine that her Basal Metabolic Rate is 1400 calories per day.

Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy you will burn through in a day, just in the process of being alive. Without taking any level of activity into account. Without so much as rolling over in bed all day, that's the amount of energy required just to maintain body temperature, run your organs, grow your fingernails and so forth. Yours is quite likely to be higher than the 1400 I'm taking about here, which in case you didn't notice, is already higher than 1200 calories as well.

Now let's back up. Those first two categories I broke “cardio” down into... you're either training for the health benefits, or to participate in sport or an event, or both. For some reason, you've been lead to believe that you should be able to do this and expect excellent results, on LESS fuel than a person who's not training for a specific goal would require just to go about their day? Forget that though, because on 1200 calories we're literally talking about expecting results from training while limiting to less energy intake than would be required to not even get out of bed all day.

How on Earth can this appear to make any sense?

Now... we're talking about people limiting to 1200 calories a day, doing “cardio” in inverted commas and being frustrated with a lack of results for all of their deprivation, discipline and physical effort. Above we talked about people training for a specific result or to be able to participate in a particular event, but I also pointed out that this isn't “what most people seem to be doing”.

What most people are doing when they talk about “cardio” isn't really cardio at all, in the true sense of having the goal of improving cardiovascular health and fitness. Usually these days, people are encouraged to participate in activity simply with the aim of “burning calories”.

This is problematic. We're not training to change our body composition, to reap the benefits of physical exercise, or to participate in sport. It is merely “to burn calories”, because we've been conditioned to associate “calories” with “getting fat”. We've been conditioned to associate “eating food” with “getting fat”, and so we are encouraged to “burn off” whatever energy we do take in, to make up for having eaten. “Burn off the guilt” is an even more problematic marketing angle I see a lot of, too.

It is horrendous.

Inactivity and consistently excessive intake will make you fat. This does not mean that getting fat is something we need to be afraid of at all times, and need to avoid with strict discipline in adhering to low calorie, low carb, or other restrictive forms of dieting. It will not, and simply can not happen to an active person who is not in the habit of consistent and dramatic over consumption.

For best results, you need both a balanced training program and a balanced diet. The training program should be suited to your goal, whether that is a body condition goal or a sports participation goal. Best performance and results from training and at sport simply cannot occur via deprivation of energy and other nutritional resources on low calorie diets.

There is zero potential for getting fat while training effectively and fuelling appropriately for performance and results. It is simply physiologically impossible.

Ignore the fear mongers and the shame peddlers. You require energy to survive and to thrive. Even a less active person would require a certain amount of energy. As an active person training strategically towards your specific goal, you require MORE, not less.

Register for VIP Access To My Flexible Fueling Program, and say goodbye to restrictive low calorie dieting and hello to tremendous results from training.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

If your flour comes from a windmill is it still an unhealthy processed food?

How cool are windmills though?

Apparently the history of windmills goes all the way back to sometime around AD 650 or so. They use 'em to mill grain, if you didn't know. Grind grain up between massive stones to make flour, which you could then make bread out of.

I've been noticing so much vilification of "processed grains" and their presence in the healthy eating guidelines. Since apparently being "processed" means all the nutritional value is removed.

Before modern times, we had been processing grains in windmills and waterwheels for hundreds of years, and grinding them by hand for thousands before that. In fact, there is a strong argument to be made that it was the development of grain agriculture that enabled civilisation as we know it. For that matter... if you've ever played the computer game "Civilisation" you'll know that building a granary was one of the first crucial achievements you needed to make, for the survival of your people.

Of course... something being in a computer game doesn't make it a fact, by any stretch of the imagination. Let's see what wikipedia says on the subject though:

Because grains are small, hard and dry, they can be stored, measured, and transported more readily than can other kinds of food crops such as fresh fruits, roots and tubers. The development of grain agriculture allowed excess food to be produced and stored easily which could have led to the creation of the first permanent settlements and the division of society into classes.
That's good enough for me.

Suddenly though, grains and processed grains in particular are supposed to be horrendously unhealthy for us. The claims that "historically" our ancestors would not have had a carbohydrate rich diet that included grains have long been debunked... depending on your ancestry of course. People do like to remind me of the Inuit people, for example.

So, I can only deduce that it must be something to do with modern, electric powered machinery in the process of turning grain into flour that must make it unhealthy. Since it was fine when the processing was wind or river powered.

It doesn't really make any sense though, does it? hmm.

Friday, November 14, 2014

When fkn idiots tell you "there is no reason to consume carbohydrates"...

Let me tell you something else.

This "low carb high fat" nonsense is all over the news down here again. People who should know better, talking complete bollocks about there being "no requirement" or "no need" to consume carbohydrates, or that they are "not essential" or whatever.

This is such a half truth.


Your body requires things such as vitamins, minerals & fiber, which all tend to come packaged with carbohydrates in the form of fruit and vegetables, or grains, for example.

As to carbohydrates themselves as an energy source... it is technically correct that you do not "require" that source of energy. Technically correct in that so long as you provide sufficient other energy sources (protein or dietary fats) your body can adapt and use those instead. AKA "ketosis". If you fail to provide those alternative energy sources, your body will tear down muscle tissue, convert that to glycogen and use that instead. It's not what you want obviously, but your body is built for survival and will do what it has to do to survive under whatever conditions it is subjected to.

So your body CAN adapt and survive without its preferred energy source of carbohydrates.

The fact that it is POSSIBLE for this to happen in no way suggests, infers or implies that this is a beneficial or desirable condition. When talking about weight management or body conditioning, the suggestion that this adaptation is required and is the only effective strategy in either losing weight, much less the only way to avoid ending up obese, is such nonsense.

You would have to be starting off with the horrendously mistaken assumption that the human body does not require energy and has no use for it, that massive fat gain is an almost unavoidable outcome even for active people, and that the only way to not gain fat is by forcing the body to shed it via extreme restriction of energy and as a necessary adaptation to survive in unfavourable conditions. The suggestion is that to simply "not be fat" we need to force the body to move into survival mode. We need to withhold the energy resources it is used to, and force it to find some other way to continue functioning, and only then will fat stores be sacrificed.

Bullshit.

This is dangerously close to pro-ana talk, as far as I am concerned. Think about it.

The reality is, and I have proven this more times than I can count with clients who have come to me unfortunately subjecting themselves to such restrictions on the advice of some scientifically illiterate hack, and who have gone on to vastly superior results without the restriction of energy sources or on the food choices those energy sources come from. Not to mention without the emotional stress of trying to adhere to such approaches.

The reality is that your body is designed or has evolved to function primarily on carbohydrates, and optimally on a suitable balance of all three macronutrients. That is, carbohydrates, dietary fats, and protein. This is not a "one or the other" proposition. Your body is designed to function best when given the appropriate physical stimulus (aka a good training program) and fueled appropriately with ALL of the nutritional resources.

Allow it to function as it is supposed to, and it will thrive. How can you expect better results by trying to force it into some sort of "fall back" emergency survival mechanism, and by withholding valuable energy resources? The very notion is entirely illogical.

Register now for unmatched results from effective training and optimal fueling. Right here, or on the new Flexible Fueling webportal.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gabrielle Maston: I Quit Sugar – Book Review

Gabrielle Maston: I Quit Sugar – Book Review:

One fine sun shining morning a few weeks ago a client of mine, who works in the publishing business  handed
me over the new book by Sarah Wilson titled ‘I quit sugar’. My initial
reaction was: ‘what right does a popular journalist/editor have to write
about nutrition and diets? Clearly under qualified and trying to make
money out of pushing another ridiculous fad diet!’
Recommended review of this infamous book you may have heard of.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cereal vs confectionary? Really?

Click for the readable (larger) version.
Suffice to say they elected not to approve my comment.
I'm going to show you a comment I posted on an article last night, talking about breakfast cereals.

Now, we're not talking the sort of cereals you might be thinking about here, either. The sort for kids, with cartoon animals on the box or whatever. The ones you tend to assume are a bit too high in sugar and not terribly nutritious. We're talking about the "adult" type cereals, marketed as healthy choices.

This particular article had the usual stuff about gluten, although gluten fearmongering is old hat by now. That fad is on the way out already. People are already laughing about it, like "oh, yeah... gluten free. What was that all about? How'd we get sucked into that one, eh?"

It was like mass hysteria. Just an unexplainable phenomenon that everyone got swept up in, in sheer defiance of all logic and common sense. Like when everyone stopped listening to hair metal and got into grunge instead back in the early 1990s. Bizarre.

The gluten thing has been done to death, and responding that nonsense has been done to death as well. Most of the people making their living from scaremongering and shaming people over their food choices have moved on from gluten bashing to sugar bashing. And this article I'm referring to gets on the act there too, in a manner I find most... distasteful.

Let's get something straight here. Your body does have a use for the energy that it gets from food. Even more so than merely "having a use" for a certain amount of energy, you actually require that energy to thrive. To get through your day at work, at study, training, chasing around after your kids or pets... all of that requires energy, and falling significantly short on energy intake with an active lifestyle is too your detriment. Even if you're entirely inactive, you still do have energy requirements  although obviously they will be greatly reduced from those of a more active person.

Here's the problem. The way many supposed "health" bloggers and authors talk about energy, it's as if it's a bad thing that we need to avoid. Whether they're singling out sugar, or just fructose, or all carbohydrates, or just "calories" in general... there's an inference that what we do want is the other nutritional resources such as vitamins and minerals from foods, but not the energy content.

This is an entirely incorrect and disordered notion. Certainly there is a limit to how much energy we require, and it is in our best interests not to be in the habit of exceeding that amount significantly. However this is not to suggest for a moment that energy intake is something that needs to be restricted or minimised. Ideally, we want to meet our total energy requirement while also providing sufficient amounts of all of the other nutritional resources that we require for good health.

That is; total energy, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Getting back to what was wrong in this article I'm talking about and I'm sure you'll understand why I don't want to actually link to the article in question.

Have a look at the image on the right though. There were several like this comparing different brands of cereals with the suggestion that it is literally "no better" than eating a serve of confectionary for breakfast, due to the comparable sugar content.

That is some utter pro-orthorexic rubbish talk, right there.

The reason confectionary and similar items aren't what you'd call a "healthy choice" is because they really JUST deliver that serve of energy, without any of the other nutritional resources. That is not to say that we have no use for the energy, or that it would treated differently by the body than energy sourced from a healthier choice. It does mean that you would be closer to reaching your total energy intake requirement, without being any closer to meeting your requirements for other nutritional resources. By no means though does it make it impossible or even implausible to arrive at a suitable and appropriate total intake of all nutritional resources, or what we might reasonably call an "overall healthy diet".

The suggestion I have seen in this article and elsewhere over the past couple of days is that even if a cereal does provide a high fiber content as well as vitamins and minerals, the benefits are rendered null by any sugar content. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the opposite is what is actually true.

Within a suitable total energy content, fiber is a valuable resource and we should aim for as high an intake as is reasonably possible. Vitamins and minerals as well, it should almost go without saying. We can attain these resources from grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and various other sources.

Within that suitable total energy range and while ensuring adequate supply of those other important nutritional resources, there is absolutely no reason to fear, avoid or shame others over the sugar or carbohydrate content of any individual food choice. Why would there be, so long as you are still within a suitable total energy intake? That's what the phrase "suitable total" means.

Friday, October 24, 2014

If It Fits Your Maths

Friday, October 17, 2014

Spinach. Is it even all that healthy, really?

Forgive the blatant clickbait headline. Of course it is fucking healthy, don't be ridiculous. Got your attention though, didn't I? Probably came in here all expecting to read something that would piss you off, right?

Well, read on it could still happen.

Everyone else? Stay with me because I'm going somewhere here. Somewhere I think is important right now with a lot of the talk we see about diet, nutrition, health and food choices these days.

Spinach, obviously, is good for you. It's a leafy green vegetable, full of vitamins and minerals, provides fiber or roughage if you prefer, and the energy content is so negligible you'd really be hard pressed to eat "too much" of it.

It's about as healthy as it gets. If you're sitting there thinking "well not really, I can think of plenty of more nutritious choices of vegetable" and about to scroll down to the comments box to let me know about it... then good, you're a part of the problem I'm trying to address here. So sit there, shut up, and pay attention.

The other great thing about spinach is that it is quite a non-challenging choice of vegetable, for those who might struggle a little to get enthusiastic about meeting their recommended number of servings. Make something else, serve it on a bed of baby spinach. Boom you just added +1 to your serves of vegetables quota. Easy.

Spinach is good for you. Popeye was correct.

Since spinach is healthy, if you eat spinach does that mean you have a healthy diet? A diet that is suitable to fuel your lifestyle and to produce your goal physical condition as an adaption to training?

Well... not necessarily. Adding 100g of spinach to whatever your usual diet is right now will make it healthier by ensuring you exceed your Vitamin A requirements, and by providing a good amount of Iron and Magnesium amongst other valuable nutritional resources. If you were short on those particular resources before, your diet is now somewhat healthier.

Does the addition of spinach necessarily mean that you have a "healthy and appropriate" diet meeting your total energy and protein requirements though? Absolutely not. As described, it will certainly go a long way towards meeting your micronutritional requirements, but it doesn't automatically ensure that you have met all of those requirements, either. Other than Vitamin A which it knocks out of the park.

So spinach is an excellent, sensible, not terribly challenging and healthy choice that is advantageous in meeting your requirements for a healthy diet. A healthy diet would be one that is neither excessive nor insufficient in total energy intake, providing adequate protein, adequate fiber, and your required intake of vitamins and minerals via your "5 + 2" recommended serves of vegetables and fruit, respectively.

I hope I'm making my point clearly enough. Spinach (or any other vegetable) is an excellent choice that may make up a part of a healthy diet. But just because you eat your spinach like a good chap, it doesn't necessarily mean you have "a healthy and appropriate diet".

Similarly, just because spinach is healthy... you probably wouldn't insist that this means anyone not eating it regularly doesn't have a healthy diet. That'd be illogical, wouldn't it?

If you were wondering if I have a point, well yes I do and here it comes.

What about a less healthy choice though?

Including one isolated healthy choice does not necessarily mean your diet is healthy and appropriate. I mean... it probably does. It probably means you're likely to be in the habit of making sensible and healthy choices, but just adding spinach to an otherwise excessive and unhealthy diet doesn't suddenly mean you have "a healthy diet".

The exact same thing is true in reverse.

So often on the internet, everyone wants to give their opinion on what other people should or should not be eating. It might be bread, or breakfast cereal. At the most infuriating it might even be fruit of all things, that "isn't healthy enough" for some people on the grounds that you can get more vitamins from a vegetable instead. As if... I mean really, do I even have to explain why that is so ridiculous as to actually be offensive to anyone with an ounce of sense? I am going to start slapping people in real life for that sort of talk.

Let's consider something like a can of artificially sweetened soft drink, providing absolutely zero nutritional value. Or the regular kind, providing only "empty calories". People shouldn't drink them, right? Because that would mean their diet is unhealthy, and therefore they'll be unhealthy, right?

Of course not.

Just as including one healthy choice doesn't automatically make a diet healthy and appropriate, including an entirely frivolous choice doesn't necessarily make for an unhealthy diet. Your diet on the whole, your total daily intake is either of appropriate energy, macronutrient and micronutrient intake suitable to good health and results from training, or it is not.

There is no reason to believe, imply or infer that an appropriate total intake cannot be achieved without total avoidance of... well, whatever it is. Bread, cereal, processed foods, more than two pieces of fruit a day, ice cream... whatever. People who are training towards a performance or body condition goal have relatively high energy requirements, and with a little mindfulness they can probably fit some of whatever they fancy into a plan to meet but not exceed those requirements.

Singling out individual food choices outside of the context of your total intake and how that relates to your actual requirements is pointless. Criticising someone else's individual food choices, especially with no reason to assume you know what their requirements are or how that choice fits into their total intake... that just makes you a jerk who needs to shut up.

Ready to learn how to meet your nutritional requirements with your choice of foods, rather than restricting your choices? Drop your email in the box for a free education program.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Precision Style Side Lateral Raises

OK these videos aren't all that great because I just decided to film them on the spur of the moment by leaning my phone against a nearby object and hoping for the best.

Disregard the 40kg dumbbell press, we're going to talk about the side lateral raises that come after.



In my program, side lateral raises are what I consider a PRECISION movement. Of course the program is based on compound exercises for example heavy ass deadlifts, squats, various heavy ass pushing and pulling movements for upper body. These I refer to as POWER movements as it's just about developing that brute strength and encouraging our body to promote and preserve muscle and bone mass at the expense of body fat.

Obvious, right?

With these PRECISION or isolation exercises though, the strategy is a little different. We're not just trying to recruit as much muscle as possible over multiple joints to produce the most powerful contraction and move as much weight as possible as per the POWER section of the program. As the category name would imply, this is more about a precise movement targeting a specific muscle or muscle group. In this example, the lateral deltoid.

So, you'll notice I am sitting down. This means I can't rob myself of the effectiveness of the exercise by bobbing up and down from the knees or however else you might see people generate some momentum to swing some heavier weights up into the air on this exercise. That's not the point. It isn't what we're trying to do. Go lighter if necessary, and perform the movement with precision.

You may notice that I'm trying to perform a strict shoulder abduction movement, without the rotation that a lot of people utilise when performing this exercise. Through experimentation I found that this was the best way to activate and isolate my lateral deltoid as per the aim of this exercise. I would be open to other opinions on this point, but this is how I like to perform and instruct the exercise.

Here's the main point of this post. Watching this back I'm surprised how fast I'm actually performing each rep. What I am trying to do here is raise the dumbbells to shoulder height via shoulder abduction, pause at the top, and then lower slowly.

Note that I do not lower all the way back to the starting position. I want to maintain that muscle activation at all times while performing the exercise. In theory, I pause at the top... and then, I used to say "gradually release the muscle contraction to slowly lower back to the starting position". Really it is more like maintaining that muscle contraction to a level that is just short of what would be required to hold that position at the top of the movement. Then BOOM snap that contraction back on at 100% to raise back up again.

Even with a relatively light weight, targeting a relatively small muscle, this is very demanding and you'll have earned your minute and a half rest after 12 to 18 reps.

Here's a better video from a couple of weeks ago demonstrating the same principle on front raises, targeting the anterior deltoid.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Let me tell you something. Sometimes I get frustrated.

I am not here to tell people whatever lies that they want to hear and charge a fee for it. I'm not even here to tell people the bad news they expect to hear. To confirm their fears or whatever.

A lot of people want that, subconsciously I guess. That sort of "oh, that's what I was afraid of... I can't do that because I'm not good enough" sort of thing. And they'll pay out anyway like as a penance for not being good enough. That's how so many of those nonsense gadgets on the tv get sold all the time. You know, those "fits right under the bed" type of things. Great, I'll put it under the bed and never use it, but at least I paid my 195.95 plus postage and handling to make up for feeling guilty about not being in better shape like I feel like I'm supposed to be.

I am here to do the only thing I know how to do and that is to tell the truth as best as I understand it, as simply and eloquently as I'm able to. The truth about diet and training and exercise isn't even bad news, anyway. Sure, you have to put in some effort, but you don't have to suffer and starve and restrict. In fact, all of those things are counter productive. You need to train effectively, and fuel appropriately.

Pay a little attention and plan in advance to meet appropriate intake targets to support your lifestyle and provide sufficient energy, protein and other nutritional resources to enable the desired outcome. That is, a transition or transformation to a stronger, leaner, more sculpted body condition within a suitable weight range.

There is nothing difficult about this. If you are enthusiastic about pursuing such a goal, it is very easy to get your nutrition right and it will not seem like a chore. If you are less enthusiastic... well, I'm not here to bust your balls about doing anything you're not interested in doing. If it's something you want, do what it takes. If not then don't.

The nutrition side is easy so long as you are training effectively with a suitable program that is appropriate to your goal. For my clients and for myself, I have put together the best program I know how. The most methodical, utilitarian, strategic and efficacious system I could devise, and then I made it as adaptable as I could to suit different people's needs.

You cannot come to me and say "well, I just wanna do this" and expect me to tell you that's just as good. You cannot come to me and ask "well why can't I just do it this way instead?". I don't get to decide what is going to work and produce the result. You have to do what it actually takes to facilitate that physical transition in body condition. My job is to tell you what that is.

I'm not going to tell people "yeah that's just as good, we can do that" for the sake of getting them to sign up and pay their fees and then not get any results because they're doing what they wanted to do rather than what would actually produce that result. There's a million other people who will do that if you want to go looking for one, but not me. Sometimes, I don't even know why not.

Bottom line you are not doing MY program unless you're doing MY program. If you want the sort of results my clients get, you need to follow my system.

There's a whole heap of information right here. Everything you need to know to make an informed and educated decision about signing up, or not. Read it. Do your homework. If you think this might be for you, subscribe to the "pre-program" email series which will deprogram whatever crap other idiots out there are polluting the world with to scare you into buying their stupid bro-science and starvation programs. Once you've unlearned all of that, you will really understand just why you will be successful on my system, just like everyone else has been so far.

Do what it takes to produce the result that you actually want.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Do you usually make a habit of taking advice from idiots?

A show of hands, please. How many people reading this are in the habit of taking advice from idiots?

Random idiots who don't know a thing about you, telling you their opinion on something that is none of their concern. Or known idiots, for that matter. The sort who've got to put their 2 cents in on everything because they know it all... when if it was up to you, you wouldn't even keep them around for the sake of having someone to swear at when you felt like it, because they'd find a way to mess that up too.

Which is not to suggest that everyone out there is completely clueless and hopeless. Certain people you might be able to count on, you might seek their advice on a certain topic that they have knowledge and experience in. In general though, unless they're one of those people and it is one of those topics... you usually don't appreciate random idiots wandering into your life to tell you what you're not doing right. You'd tell 'em to go stick their worthless opinion somewhere uncomfortable, am I right?

Except, for some reason... when it comes to diet and exercise. Everyone thinks they're a nutritionist, all of a sudden.

Vegetarian? Oh you're not getting enough protein.
Trying to lose weight? Oh that's too many carbs.
Already active and in quite good shape? Oh, are you sure you should be eating that? I thought you were the healthy type?

And for some reason we take all these unfounded, uneducated, unwanted opinions to heart. Like maybe they're right, and I really shouldn't have had that one snack because I was hungry. Or like I really should feel guilty because I had a slice of birthday cake along with everyone else, which was fine for them, but not for me for some reason. Or like even though I am an active adult with a busy schedule apparently I don't require energy to do all that and I should be cutting carbs like it's still the 90s or something stupid like that.

NAH UH. What is on your plate is no one else's business. They don't know your requirements. They don't know jack about nutrition other than some nonsense they picked up from some other know nothing know it all on the internet or where ever. Even if they did, how are they going to know how that one choice they're judging you on fits into your total intake and how that compares to your total energy requirements?

Any living organism requires energy and nutrients to be alive. As an active human being, especially one with an interest in producing results from a training program... jesus christ... how... HOW the hell can you possibly expect to achieve anything without proving those nutritional resources? Protein, energy, vitamins and minerals... all are crucial and required. Up to a certain amount, everything you put it WILL be utilised, and that amount is probably a lot higher than you think.

Where you pull those energy and other resources from is irrelevant. Food that is enjoyable still provides energy and other resources that you REQUIRE to be alive and to enable results from training.

Stop listening to random idiots. You wouldn't let them walk into your workplace and start telling you how to do your job there. You wouldn't let random nobodies tell you what TV shows to watch, or what radio station to listen to. But you're going to listen to people trying to tell you what foods to eat? Trying to make you feel like a bad person for eating foods that you like, or just eating at all?

That's ridiculous. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Why a lot of you are wasting your time and energy with exercise.

Favourite gym selfie from a while back.

It'd probably be real easy to post up a photo of one of my clients... or... no, not even one of my clients. It'd probably be real easy to post up a photo of some pro fitness model I never met before, and tell people "one session a week and this could be you" like a lot of jerk offs do on their facebooks. Or those stupid ads on the TV with some super fit athlete telling you "3 and 3/4 minutes a day on this ab machine that stores right under your bed, get the body of your dreams".

Unfortunately all of that is a load of old bollocks.

You aint going to achieve jack shit doing a few minutes a day, or one PT session every Monday night, or every couple of weeks, or whatever.

Don't shoot the messenger for telling you the truth, though. Cos if I don't do there's not many others out there who will.

If you have a weight loss goal, you need to be more active on a daily basis. Ideally you would adopt a more efficient strategy though rather than simply "increased activity". If you want to end up STRONG AND SCULPTED whether you need to lose weight or not, you need to train productively on a regular basis.

This doesn't mean you never sit still all day, install a treadmill or a spin bike in the office and attach the computer to it or whatever else. I call that "exercise bulimia", if anything. It means SCHEDULING an hour or so, most days, to follow a strategic program to build, sculpt and maintain your goal figure.

Being prepared to actually show up and put in the effort is crucial. I tend to work with people who have been prepared to work harder than just about anyone, but without seeing the results they deserve, because unfortunately like most people they have been following strategies that are DESTRUCTIVE, rather than CONSTRUCTIVE.

Running yourself into the ground through exhaustion in an effort to "burn more calories" is not how it works. That's what you hear almost everywhere else, but it is NOT how it works. Train with the mindset of creating something new of yourself, rather than of destroying what you are now. Train in a manner that creates your goal condition by encouraging your body to become healthier and stronger, rather than to try to force it to find some way to survive being over worked, under fueled and stressed out, as if the logical way to build a healthy and strong body is through subjecting it to the most unhealthy possible circumstances in an attempt to "shock" it into utilising fat stores for energy.

Isn't that exactly what is suggested, almost everywhere else? It is madness. Completely illogical and inefficient.

To create a leaner, stronger, more sculpted body condition, you must train strategically and diligently towards that goal. Perhaps not literally every day, since recovery is also important, but you would train most days, as best as circumstances allow. You would train constructively and productively to prioritise the creation and maintenance of lean muscle and bone tissue at the expense of adipose tissue.

Training regularly is 50% of the equation. If your dietary habits are not appropriate, you will not see consistent progress. If your total energy intake is excessive, you will not see a reduction in adipose (fat) tissue. However, if your total energy intake is insufficient, your body will not have adequate resources available to create and maintain lean mass. This is of crucial importance and cannot be overlooked. You must provide adequate but not excessive nutritional resources, suitable to fuel your lifestyle and to recover and adapt favourably to training.

For this reason, diets that are restrictive in terms of either choice of foods or provision of energy are counter productive.

If you are already putting in the effort to exercise regularly, and are paying some attention to your diet, you deserve to see the results you are working for. If you apply that same, or perhaps not even as much effort but with a more sensible and strategic strategy that is conducive to your goal, success will be inevitable.

Subscribe to my email series to unlearn all of the common myths and misconceptions that are robbing you of the results you so richly deserve.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

You cannot expect a specific result from doing random shit.

Serious talk here.

Adopting certain habits because they're "healthier" is great. Excellent idea. So long as they actually are "healthier" and you don't start to stress out over any unrealistic levels of adherence, I'm all for it. However... 

Body type & condition does not necessarily indicate health.

We have all learned this already, haven't we? Someone could be appear to be lean and athletic, but actually be running themselves into the ground and miserable. Someone else might not look so athletic, be carrying a little "extra" weight or whatever, but be in perfectly good health, fit and strong.

The reverse is also true. There is no sense in being frustrated that you are not seeing progress towards your goal body condition on the basis that you have adopted some healthier habits. Which is not to say that there is no point in adopting those habits, but the point is that they are healthier, not that they are necessarily conducive to your training and body condition goals. Those are related, but still separate issues.

Adopt those healthier habits within the context of an approach that is actually appropriate with your goal though? Then you are set for good health and good times.

Your TOTAL ENERGY INTAKE must be in a range that is appropriate to your lifestyle and your goal, most of the time. This does not have to be accurate to an obsessive level of adherence at a precise target, but it does have to be "in an appropriate range most of the time". Under eating is not going to do it. Even if all you eat are the healthiest choices of foods, under eating is not going to do it. You might be providing all the best nutritional resources through those choices of foods, but if you are not providing enough of them your body cannot reap the rewards of training. Rather you are just running yourself into the ground physically and emotionally.

Your APPROACH TO TRAINING must be constructive. Do not be sucked into the idea of fatigue chasing workouts to burn energy. Train constructively to put those nutritional resources to good use in building your goal body condition by getting stronger and healthier.

For people who think they have tried "everything" to lose weight or get into more athletic shape already.

A lot of people feel this way and I can empathise with you if you are one of them. People have tried all sorts of unpleasant, restrictive diets and so on... different exercise programs, maybe they've tried the healthy stuff too as discussed above. If you've tried the healthy way, and you've tried the horrible way and neither of them worked for you... it might be easy to feel that you've tried it all and nothing works.

I put it you however, there is one thing most people haven't tried. Something so obvious it may sound ridiculous at first, but if you really, REALLY think about it... how could it not work out?

Have you tried eating about the right amount to support a suitable healthy weight range, fuel your lifestyle and produce changes in body condition from an effective training program?

Now people might be thinking "of course I bloody have tried that. I barely ate anything at all when I was on that stupid such n such diet"... right? That's not what I asked though. That's not "about the right amount" as described.

If you've been prepared to try difficult, unpleasant and restrictive approaches several times in the past for no results, why wouldn't you at least try something relatively easy, not at all unpleasant or restrictive, that just makes sense and has worked for so many other people?

I am launching my new "Flexible Fueling pre-program" this week. It is free, and it is designed to deprogram any and every disordered and incorrect idea that most people have about their body and their relationship with food and exercise.

You can register at the top right of this page, or click here to learn a little more about the pre-program first.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blog redesign and new FREE pre-program launch

The redesign is almost complete, and if I do say so myself I am pretty chuffed with it.

It was kind of a mess before, and there's actually a hell of a lot of great content (again, if I do say so myself) here so I kind of felt it deserved better.

It is interesting because this is usually more of a spontaneous blog than the blog on my official business site. Sometimes I just get an idea, log in here and bash it out, and often it turns out pretty good. Or it's something a bit abstract, or something I've already written about recently on the main blog so there's no point repeating myself there. As a result... there's probably more frequent updates here compared to the main site where I tend to be too much of a perfectionist and end up taking a lot longer to get things done.

Which is... probably not ideal really when you think about it.

Anyway. I'm pleased that this blog is now starting to look and feel more like a "real" website and I'll be using it in the weeks ahead to launch my new "Flexible Fueling Pre-Program" which you can read about and register for via the tabs at the top of the page.

As I explain on the registration page, what's happening is that my Flexible Fueling Online Coaching program is pretty awesome, and the people who do it get tremendous results where before they weren't getting any, and they find it a hell of a lot easier. It is really what I'd call a "great results from training, within a healthy goal weight range, without dietary restriction" program.

That's what I would call it, if that rolled off the tongue a bit better. But let's break that down a phrase at a time;

Great results from training: because I give you an effective training program, called Power, Precision & Pump.
Within a healthy goal weight range: means we're not hung up on a specific goal weight, as much as we are interested in getting into great condition, looking and feeling good. If you're significantly over weight then it's also a weight loss program, but if you're not, then it isn't.
Without dietary restriction: is the most important part. We can only expect to see results from training if we are appropriately fueled. Contrary to what most people believe, it is not the failure to adhere to some restrictive dieting protocol that prevents us from seeing results from training. It is attempting to adhere to such a protocol in the first place.

That's the summary of what the Flexible Fueling program is all about. As this is a system that comes with custom guidelines for each individual client, there is a limit to how many new people I can work with at a time. For this reason, I'll be encouraging people to register in advance, and then they'll have VIP, priority access when I launch the next season of the program. And in the meantime, they get the free pre-program which will get them ready for action and ready for success.

I know, right? As if I don't already give too much away for free.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Comfort foods, emotional eating, guilty pleasures... let's straighten this out once and for all.

What is your number one "guilty pleasure" as far as foods goes? That one indulgence you struggle to resist once in a while, a little too often in fact, that is holding you back from achieving your goals in terms of weight loss or body conditioning?

How would you like to overcome that problem, RIGHT NOW?

That's not a rhetorical question. Before you read any further DECIDE and say to yourself "yes, as a matter of fact I would like very much to overcome that problem right now".

Good then.

Those are all trick questions by the way.

#1 eating whatever the hell you like isn't hurting anyone else. So why should you feel "guilty" about it? Unless your idea of "pleasure" is pulling the wings off butterflies or something horrible like that, it aint nothing to feel guilty about. We're here for a good time not a long time god dammit.

#2 still, guilty or not if there's a thorn in your side preventing you from achieving the goals you have set for yourself, that's a problem to be addressed. IS IT, though? Is that one meal or snack in isolation enough to bring your otherwise flawless efforts undone?

Nope.

If you're training effectively, and especially if you also have an active and busy lifestyle outside of the gym, you require a certain amount of energy. I say "require" as it is not really optional. You require a certain amount, and if you're in the habit of failing to consume that amount, you're really just running yourself into the ground. Now THAT is an unhealthy choice we need to stop making!

Even if your goal is to lose a significant amount of weight, this still applies to you. You need to meet that minimum requirement of energy and other resources from foods. Now, we can run some maths and apply what we know about sports nutrition to determine with pretty good accuracy what that requirement might be. Given that it is a minimum requirement though, and we're interested in producing tremendous results in changing body composition and condition through training (rather than destructively trying to starve weight off, which we all know doesn't work), your optimal requirement is likely to be considerably higher.

Now, if we're in the habit of consuming somewhere within those minimum and optimum intake targets, what do we know? We know that literally all of that energy and all of those other valuable resources are being taken up and put to good use. Regardless of the source of those resources, they are being utilised in producing your goal body condition. Whether they are from the most responsible, healthy and nutritious source, or whether they are from the most frivolous and indulgent choice, all of it is fuel and resources that your body REQUIRES.

I cannot  stress that enough. Your body requires energy, just as it requires protein, vitamins, minerals, water, oxygen, and so on.

Which is not to say just eat as much as you want of whatever you like with reckless abandon. We still need to arrive within our target range for total intake, with adequate protein, and enough fresh fruit and veg to meet our vitamin, mineral, and fibre requirements. Too many frivolous choices will make that goal less likely to attain. Some indulgent treats here and there, fit nicely into a plan that meets both your physical requirements as well as your psychological ones? Absolutely fine, and in fact more than fine. Beneficial. Required. Non optional.
 
Success in achieving your goal weight range and body condition isn't down to willpower, discipline, restraint or any other "moral" personality traits. It is down to providing a suitable energy balance to enable your body to perform at training, and to recover and adapt with the creation and maintenance of more lean muscle and bone tissue at the expense of adipose (aka fat) tissue.

For those of you who don't know, I have a nice system called "Flexible Fueling" which has helped a lot of people overcome problems with emotional eating, disordered eating and just plain old "trying really hard but not seeing satisfactory results from training and dieting" as well.

If you'd like to find out more about how you can eat without restriction whilst still losing weight click the link below and get started with the FREE pre-program, and you'll have priority access when I launch the next season of Online Coaching.  There's a great testimonial on that page as well, go see what my clients are saying.

Sign Up For VIP Access.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Being in shape and a food snob does not make you better than other people.

Below, you can see a screen shot I took of the findings of a meta-analysis released last week, that looked at studies of all “named” diets. I highlighted the part that is most significant to the point I want to make in this entry.


Everywhere you look, people are telling you “this diet I sell is the only one that works, for these reasons. Everyone else has got it all wrong for all these reasons”. Well, the researchers wanted to find out which diet really was the best one, and if there was really all that much difference between one diet and another.

The result? As you see above. One diet is as good as another. People can be successful with any diet so long as total intake is not inappropriate. We knew that anyway, but now it has been verified and documented.

I am a bit disappointed that this study hasn’t caused much of a stir in the industry as far as I've been made aware. It is the best possible news for the people out there who have struggled with their weight, or with their relationship with food. Quite literally, this study has shown that everyone can be successful, by using whatever approach and whatever choice of foods best suits them… and this is the recommended approach, rather than trying to force everyone to “eat it, it’s good for you”.

This really takes all the usual talk about “discipline”, “will power” and so forth out of the equation. For reasons we can speculate on, this doesn’t sit so well with certain people. People who… I suppose they feel that their own results from training are proof that they’re a better and more virtuous person than everyone else. 

Bollocks.

At an advanced level of contest preparation, sure. People are going to need to stick to some tight and precise nutritional targets, and there will be days when it does come down to discipline in not giving in to a craving or the temptation of an indulgent food choice that is not a part of the plan. For people who's goal is simply to not be obese anymore, though? Come on.

Not everyone has such elite level goals, and why should they? For most people, it would be enough to be healthier and feel more confident in their appearance. Even at what might seem a quite advanced level of lean and athletic body composition, hitting somewhere within an appropriate range of total intake (with suitable macronutrient ratios) with reasonable consistency is all that's required.

It comes down more to organisation than anything else. Getting organised with a plan to meet your nutritional needs with the choices of foods that best suits you, on the schedule that best suits you. Willpower and discipline might be required if you needed to go hungry, to abstain from the foods you enjoy, or to force yourself to eat foods that you dislike. As we've established, none of that is actually required or helpful.

For the industry people and self appointed experts on the internet:

Have a look at this shit will ya?
#dickheads is more like it.
If your primary objective is really to help people, you’ll embrace these findings and work to enable people to achieve their goals via whatever choices best suit them. Otherwise, I put it to you that your real primary objective is in convincing everyone that they should be emulating your choices, your lifestyle, and validating your ego.

Honestly I feel like some of these “coaches” and other supposed authorities should just come clean and admit that they hate fat people and resent the notion that people can get results and achieve the goals they set for themselves, without proving that they “deserve” it by adopting some entirely irrational and bizarre level of food snobbery.
  
I suppose that when people think that being in athletic shape and "eating clean" makes them better than everyone else, it's hard to accept that it is actually meaningless. People are successful because they find an approach that works for them; that meets their energy requirements and suits them as an individual. If that means "eating clean", great... do what works for you and what makes you happy. It doesn't mean that it's the only way though, or that people don't deserve to be successful through other means. That's just ridiculous.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why it is important to challenge sources of misinformation

Serious talk here.

This is something that I can imagine is easy for people to misunderstand and misjudge people's motives on. There's so much vitriolic argument and debate over different approaches to health via training and nutrition.

Really, there are any number of healthy and positive approaches one could adopt or recommend for losing weight or otherwise getting into shape. We could debate that one is more suitable than another for achieving an elite level performance or condition goal, but then again... your goal might not be such an elite level, and therefore another approach might be more suitable to your needs and circumstances. Really, so long as it is healthy and positive and it suits you and makes you happy, there's not much to argue about.

Do what's right for you, and let others do what's right for them.

Misinformation is different though.

The reason to call people out for spreading misinformation isn't because you're likely to "win" the debate and have them change their opinion. It's not just because someone is "wrong on the internet" as annoying as that is, let's face it.

You're never going to get through to these people and change their mind. Some of them are using that misinformation to push some "health" product or program, and... well, sometimes it is pretty obvious, and other times we only speculate as to whether they actually know they're a scumbag and a scam artist, or if they've convinced themselves that the ends justifies the means and even if the information is not accurate, if it scares some people into a healthier lifestyle then the ends justifies the means. Either way, I'm convinced that in the vast majority of cases, if there is a product involved the "root sources" of misinformation are entirely aware that what they're saying is not true.

That's the top level of scumbags, the root source of deliberate misinformation or I should actually say disinformation related to health and nutrition. Your Dave Aspreys, your Food Babe Vani Haris and so on. Absolute charlatans making a fortune from lies.

Perhaps a level down from those are the people who've simply been duped. They've read an article or watched a video, found it interesting and plausible, and bought into it. Then they feel obliged to share this information. There's a bit of ego involved here but who knows, maybe you can reach these people. There's no shame in simply being mistaken, in believing some information that seems plausible but turns out to be incorrect under closer scrutiny. The same can't be said for indignantly insisting on a "fact" in defiance of all evidence to the contrary.

You do have your "self appointed expert" types as well. Basically you're talking about people who've maybe pondered a topic for two and a half minutes, speculated on an answer of how it all works, and then decided "yep, that's it. I've figured it out. Gosh I'm awfully smart". I'm sure I'll never understand how anyone could be quite so egotistical and arrogant to really believe that "me thinking about it for a few minutes" out ranks "the collective opinion of experienced professionals who've devoted their lives to researching and furthering our understanding of this field". There's no shortage of people who seem to think like that though, for some reason. You're never going to get through to them, either.

So why bother?

Speaking of dreadful advice that isn't healthy
and doesn't even work....
The reason it has to be done is to protect other people from practices that may be detrimental to their wellbeing. Since many sources of misinformation manage to reach a broad audience through fear mongering and sensationalism, there's the potential for widespread harm, particularly in the areas of health and nutrition.

Now whether the harm is that people simply are unable to make progress in losing weight due to following shit advice, or that advice is so irresponsible that it is tantamount to the active promotion of an eating disorder such as orthorexia nervosa, it is unacceptable and needs to be addressed.

There's a lot of money being made by unscrupulous people via promotion of orthorexia.

Unfortunately. And make no mistake, that's what all of these diet programs are. The idea that there are certain foods you shouldn't eat, because they cause illness, weight gain, premature aging, or whatever... and that there's a list of foods that don't have those effects which you'll have to pay for... nonsense.


Monday, August 18, 2014

True Or False: Anything Short Of Perfection Is Failure

Serious training + half arsed
dietary consistency = results I'm
not entirely unsatisfied with.
Perfect adherence. Perfect discipline. Perfect ripped, shredded, lean and muscular physique. Anything less just aint good enough, right?

False.

A couple of things have got me thinking. You know that's always a recipe for trouble, me + thinking.

There's a movement on one of the industry groups in my facebook feed, and for once it's actually a good thing. It is PTs posting HONEST photos of themselves... like, no myspace angles, no convenient lighting. The real picture.

And it's like... body acceptance, right? And satisfactory results through sensible and moderate approaches; nothing restrictive or extreme. I'm all on board with that. But... at the same time it could be taken the wrong way. I'm for body acceptance in terms of "sure I could still go a little further but actually I'm quite happy where I am for now", rather than "this is as far as I can go and I am learning to accept that", as if people are REALLY at the limit of their potential and anything further is an unreasonable expectation akin to the promotion of unhealthy approaches.

They aint. The difference between where one person is at and where another is at comes down to how tight their targets are, how consistently they adhere to those targets, how consistently they hit the gym, and how long they've been at it. Oh and a better training strategy always makes a big difference too. Genetic potential though? Very few of us are anywhere near the limit of our genetic potential. That's something that only comes into it at advanced, competitive levels.

So the other thing is my feed is frequently full of idiots talking about for example "any sugar intake will spike your insulin levels, which puts you into fat storage mode for the day!" that's a cut n paste from some dumb idiot answering a question about which fruits not to eat.

The problem is... sometimes these orthorexic broscientist types are actually in killer, advanced level shape. So there's a tendency for the uneducated observer to assume the super ripped person obviously knows better about this stuff. It does seem to make sense, the person in killer shape saying "this is what it takes" would know, right? More so than the person in just "quite good" shape.

Not necessarily though. Just because what you're doing is working, doesn't necessarily mean it is working for the reasons you think it is. On the nutrition side, it is working because at the end of the day what you DO eat brings you to a suitable total intake... not because the stuff you DON'T eat would spell instant doom. When people start splitting hairs about which fruits and which vegetables are the "good" ones and which ones you need limit... jesus christ man, it is getting beyond a joke. That sort of nonsense is clearly not in anyone's best interests, least of all the general public who already think that success in weight loss is an unlikely goal requiring an unreasonable level of effort.

My own physique is down to a fairly half arsed adherence to hitting suitable targets with a mix of processed and fresh foods subject to my tastes. There are times I feel like maybe I should step it up, hit my optimal targets accurately and consistently and really prove how far you can go with flexible dieting without having to develop a paranoia about processed foods, grains, the "wrong" fruits and so on.

A couple of things about that though. Number One; do I really care enough about what fkn idiots think, to push myself beyond what I'm enthusiastic about just to prove that I'm right? And more importantly, Number Two; is that the message that I want to send to my clients and followers? That it's "not good enough" until your haters reluctantly concede that it is good enough? Number Three... actually I'll come back to Number Three a little later.

Screw that. I am about providing that balance, between LEGITIMATELY achieving great results through an effective training program, while still enjoying life outside of the gym and not have to stress out about your food choices. You do need to be a little bit mindful and organised in order to hit reasonably close to your targets, but that's not a lot to ask of yourself.

I believe people are only limited by their level of enthusiasm. Do the very bare minimum of turning up to training regularly and hitting reasonably close to your targets with the foods you were going to eat anyway, plus a little more of the good fresh stuff (fruit and veg) and you will be amazed with the results. If you then become enthusiastic enough to do a little more, provided you fuel up appropriately you'll see even better, next level results.

There's a massive difference though, in doing what you're enthusiastic about versus reluctantly doing what you feel obligated or pressured to do.

Oh I almost forgot! Number Three is that plenty of guys and girls do take this "flexible dieting" approach all the way to competitive level of body building and figure modeling. At the end of the day, it's about total intake and optimal macro ratios. Some choices of foods will fit easier into those targets than others, but nothing needs to be excluded outright because there's something "bad" about it that instantly means you won't be successful.