Monday, June 30, 2014

All this talk about "calories aren't created equal" just sounds like a dick measuring contest to me.

Man... didn't this just blow up all over again despite being settled a billion times already.

Sometimes it is just morons with literally no idea about anything, but sometimes it is people who actually know their stuff, but they turn the issue into some kind of dick measuring contest where they want to score points like "oh but I guess you just don't know about bioavailablity and the thermal effect of food"

cue exhausted look on my face.

This is all stuff that makes at best, a fraction of a difference.

Let's take me and my imaginary identical triplet brothers. Let's say we all follow the same training program and we're all in the same lack of shape to start with.
  • Triplet #1 has no calorie targets but focuses on all the "other" supposedly more important stuff. Clean eating and what not.
  • Triplet #2 has appropriate calorie and macro targets and hits them with all the best choices of foods taking all that other stuff into account.
  • Then there's me on exactly the same targets but completely abusing the concept like the lazy, belligerent cunt that I am with convenience foods, processed stuff and bumping up the macros with whey protein shakes.
What difference in results would you REALISTICALLY expect?

  • Triplet 1... impossible to guestimate. He could still be consuming excess calories, OR (more common in my professional experience) could actually be falling way short of sufficient fueling to see results from training.
  • Triplet 2... if trying to stick to such a rigid, strict regime doesn't send him batshit mental or make him rage quit, you'd expect very good results indeed.
  • Triplet 3 (that'd be me) on exactly the same macro breakdown as triplet 2 but not from as "clean" sources... are you REALLY saying you'd expect significantly less visible results or reduced performance at training? Like SIGNIFICANTLY less? 
The way I often see it written up on facebook and elsewhere, it's not even just "significantly less results". It's as if they actually think "complete and utter failure to make any progress whatsoever" unless you've fine tuned all this extra stuff in at 100% accuracy.

A calorie = a calorie. It is a unit of measurement.

If you're going to say "calories aren't equal" you might as well also say "inches aren't equal". Although come to think of it... if you're that concerned with trying to show off some entirely unhelpful piece of information for the sake of being more "technically correct" than the next guy like it's all a dick measuring contest to you... well.. yeah, you probably don't think an inch is an inch either.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Healthy Weight Loss For Those In Recovery

Before we get into it, I actually feel a little uneasy about writing this because... well, it's a bit dodgy isn't it? Targeting people in recovery with a fitness and weight loss program? I've called a few scumbags out for the same sort of thing in the past myself and now here I am writing this entry.

Now... I happen to have a program that has helped quite a few people with their recovery, while also helping them actually see the physical results that eluded them while they were persisting with unhealthy approaches. Doesn't it make sense that the best way to help people to recover is to actually give them the body that they want, by removing the disordered beliefs that are actually holding them back?

The feedback I've been getting is that there really isn't very much good information for people in these situations, and what there is is hard to find. So... perhaps this will help.

The problem with most weight loss programs is that really, they're based on all the same ideas that people with eating disorders struggle against. The people are given a bunch of rules and told "that's what it takes to lose weight, if you want it bad enough you'll be prepared to suffer for it"... well let me make something very clear to you all right now; that's total fucking bullshit put out by complete morons who don't understand how the human body works OR how people work emotionally and psychologically.

So... all of those disordered ideas about what it takes to lose weight and have the body that you want, I want to suggest to you that those ideas are not intrinsic. That is, they don't come from within as a product of your personality. They're bad ideas that you've been exposed to, picked up from other people, and you've heard them enough times that they started to take hold. Understand here, not only are these ideas not even correct as far as nutrition, biology and exercise science goes... they're not even your ideas.

Right now we have two goals, which are actually the same goal. We want to further your recovery by actually making better, easier and more consistent progress towards your goal of (I assume) a lean and athletic physique. We will achieve your goal of maintaining a lean and athletic physique, by recovering from disordered ideas about eating and exercise.

Read that twice. I bet up until now, you thought you had to choose one or the other. Am I right?

A bunch of stuff you probably don't believe right now, but I assure you this is the truth.

Your body works the same way as anyone else's. Genetics only really separates people at the most advanced, elite levels. While we do have different body types, we can all make progress towards our goal body condition through appropriate training and appropriate fueling.

Appropriate Training

If our goal is a lean,healthy and athletic physique, we have to train towards that goal. This does not mean "exercise to burn calories". There is absolutely no point in attempting recovery by ceasing the restriction of intake and consuming a normal amount, but then depriving your body of that energy anyway by burning it off through activity that serves no other purpose.

Specialists would describe this as "exercise bulimia"... and if you think of the advertising and marketing of literally every exercise program or piece of equipment you can remember seeing, isn't it all about "burning more calories" than whatever other product they're competing again? It's bullshit.

So, reject this idea and instead train to actually build your goal body. What we are really doing is training our body to take up all of the resources that we are now giving it, and put them to good use in getting healthier and stronger.

Through more strategic strength training, we're training our bodies to prioritise the creation and maintenance of lean mass (that's muscle and bone tissue). Including some cardio training will make for a comprehensive program, but again, the purpose of cardiovascular training is to build a healthy heart and increase lung capacity. It is not simply to expend energy that your body might otherwise utilise whether to adapt and recover from training or just to function on.

Appropriate fueling.

This is crucial. Contrary to what we're constantly told, when we increase energy expenditure while restricting intake and depriving our bodies of the resources they need... this does not encourage the body to burn fat. Rather, your body has to prioritise the conservation and storage of energy within fat cells, because it realises it isn't getting enough and is likely to run out. To "run out" of course would literally mean death through starvation, and evolution has provided us with various mechanisms (hormonal responses for one) to try to prevent this from happening.

So in short... attempting to starve and burn the weight off just doesn't work. You've already learned this the hard way, I can only assume. Even if that was the way to do things, how much would it suck? The good news is that the best way to see the results that you want is also the least suckiest. Rather than trying to force, or trick, or shock your body into burning fat like they keep telling you in those stupid advertisements, simply allow it to thrive as nature intended. Train for health and strength, and provide adequate nutritional resources to enable this to happen.

Calorie Counting.

It may seem counter productive to utilise calorie counting in a recovery program, but think of it this way: restricting intake is something people with a disorder would do. Having calorie and macronutrient targets to ensure adequate resources are provided to get results from training is what athletes, coaches and sports nutritionists would do. The devil is in the detail. We're not going to be restricting like people "on a diet", we're going to be determining a minimum adequate requirement and making sure we meet or preferably exceed it.

I'll reiterate this crucial point. It is actually quite unlikely for an active person following a strategic training program to eat "too much". If you're already active and not seeing results... in my experience almost without exception the problem is with inadequate fueling. Or in simpler terms "you aint eating enough".

Food Choices:

Doesn't it seem obvious that you need to "eat clean" to be successful, and unhealthy, indulgent choices will spoil your progress?

Well thank god for this... it actually doesn't matter. Excess calories get stored as fat. Only excess calories, that your body can't find a use for. Regardless of the source, whether they're on a list of "good" foods or whether they're refined, processed, or whatever else. Excess calories.

However, we're working to targets for "adequate calories" and we're training very productively and very strategically to put all of those resources to good use. Carbohydrates get broken down to glucose and put to use as fuel and in the muscles and the liver. Proteins get broken down to amino acids and are used to repair muscle tissue. Dietary fats get put to use in various ways as well, not the least of which is brain function.

Forget absolutely anything you read about needing to "eat clean" or "paleo" or whatever other complete garbage total idiots are polluting the internet and bookstores with to make money selling some stupid diet plan. What they are actually promoting with these lies and fabrications is called "orthorexia nervosa", and since we're all about recovery... well, it's just one more bad and untrue idea we will reject.

Obviously we do want to include lots of healthy choices to provide vitamins, minerals and fiber... but everything we put in is going to be put to use. Including some choices for convenience or for enjoyment is not going to change that. Even going over your targets once in a while isn't going to make a difference.

If you are in the habit of fueling appropriately, and training strategically, you will make consistent progress and you will achieve your goal. This is indisputable.

Doesn't it almost sound too easy?

Well, you do have to make the effort to train, and you need to develop the habit of eating "about the right amount" as often as circumstances will allow. Practice it for a while and before too long you'll be able to do this intuitively.

I'll tell you something else.

This has nothing to do with what sort of a person you are. I get tired of seeing people made to feel like they're somehow "not deserving" if they need a day off, or choose a more indulgent meal when there is a less enjoyable one available... as if this was a moral issue and we prove our worth by abstaining from life's other pleasures. Isn't that such a bizarre idea that we're exposed to so frequently?

It is a simple matter of biology and physiology. Your body will respond to training and fueling, every other idea is a distraction, a hindrance and an obstacle to be avoided.

My program.

If you'd like a free look at what's in my Flexible Fueling program, minus the customised parts that I'll tailor specifically to each individual client... now is your chance. Just click that link.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Just for the record though, on paleo and clean eating and so forth

Different things will work for different people. On a psychological level. Something like a paleo diet for example, if it results in a total calorie intake more suited to maintain your goal body condition and fuel your activity level, you'll be successful. Of course, that's not guaranteed... and if your progress does stall you're going to have to figure out whether you're still at an excessive intake or whether you are in fact at an insufficient intake to allow continued progress.

The issue with these diets though, is that they're rarely promoted in terms of "here's a healthy diet based on sensible choices that should result in a suitable intake without the need to track calories". They're promoted in terms of fear mongering about the foods that are excluded from the diet, and there's also an implication of moral or intellectual superiority over those who still indulge in more... well, more indulgent choices that aren't considered "clean" or whatever.

So. Some people are good at following a strict diet and will do just fine with this approach. But they are not "better" than other people who require a more flexible approach. Results come simply from appropriate intake relative to the type and amount of activity you participate in, not from some karmic system where you're rewarded with a "good body" for being a good person who eats good food, while all the shit people eating shit food get nothing. Right?

It should be enough to say "I like doing it this way, and it works for me", without needing to feel that it is also the ONLY way to do things, or the moral judgement as if anyone who does it another way is cheating the system somehow and doesn't really deserve whatever success they've managed to claw out for themselves.

The other issue here is that while it is possible and perhaps you could argue it is quite likely to achieve a suitable total intake on these more strict diets without tracking calories, it is far from a guaranteed outcome. This can be very problematic. As an example, an insufficient total intake will prevent further progress just as an excessive total intake will. A person who has stopped seeing results from training due to an insufficient total intake, but is lead to believe that their lack of progress is due to failing to adhere to the strict requirements of their dieting protocol 100% of the time, because they're "not a good enough person with willpower and dedication" is... well... you guys know I do a lot of work with eating disorder recovery, right? This is where a lot of the trouble starts.

So the issue is with the idea that nothing else will work, and 100% adherence is required. The issue is with the idea that achieving a suitable energy balance is not important, and the (entirely imaginary) moral quality of your food choices is. The issue is that some people have more trouble than others in sticking to a strict plan, and some people have issues with food and simply cannot eat the way they are told to. Those people then are effectively... no, they're quite literally told that there is no hope for them and they don't deserve good health or happiness.

BTW the 100% adherence idea is "orthorexia" and pushing it upon other, vulnerable people who just want to be healthy and happy and confident in their appearance makes you a shit human being. The people I described with limited food choices may or may not be effected by "Avoidant / Restrictive Food Intake Disorder". Consider this before your next ignorant "why can't they just grow up and eat clean real food" rant on facebook, dickheads.

I can not emphasise this point enough. The very simple truth is that your weight is determined by total calorie intake. For those who deny this, how do you explain why there are so many successful IIFYMers and Flexible Dieters out there? Certainly many people have also failed to achieve or maintain results via calorie counting, but this is due to either having inappropriate targets or simply by losing motivation. Even with an Avoidant / Restrictive Intake problem, you can certainly try to make the best choices that are acceptable to you, and include those in a plan to meet your total energy requirements.

Everyone has the same potential to succeed providing they follow the approach that is best suited to them as an individual. If a more strict approach choosing unprocessed, clean, paleo, whole foods works for you then by all means go for it. But it doesn't make you better than anyone else.

Not being a cunt, and being happy to see other people succeed even if they do so with a different approach to your own is what will make you a better person.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Art Of War On Weight Problems

In his famous book of strategy, Sun Tzu said:
  • If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
  • If you know yourself but not your enemy, for every victory gained you will also know defeat.
  • If you know neither the enemy or yourself, you will sucumb to every battle.
We can apply this lesson to our weight loss and body conditioning goals, as follows:

If you know yourself and know your enemy.

In this case you could consider "your enemy" to refer either to your current body condition that you wish to change, or to the course of action required to achieve this result.

First, you must know yourself. What is your current condition, for example your starting weight? Now what is a suitable goal weight, that is neither unrealistic, unhealthy, and not too pessimistic either. A suitable weight one might expect an active, healthy person of your height, age and gender to be.

Now, what is the most suitable course of action for you to achieve this result? This would include a suitable activity, exercise or training plan, and suitable nutritional requirements. Simply put; how many calories to support this goal weight & enable adequate results from training?

If you know all of this, you'll find that what's required is quite simple and easy to adhere to. Even for more advanced or more ambitious goals, I believe that the effort to reward ratio is always proportionate. That is to say, so long as this is actually what you want, it is never more effort than it is worth. When your heart is not it in, it may be a different story.

If you know yourself but not your enemy.

OK, so you know where you are at, and where you'd like to get to. That's a start, but if you don't know how to get there... your chances are hit and miss at best. If you're not making progress, you can only guess at why and your guess is likely to be wrong.

Particularly in terms of intake levels, my observation is that people guess wrong consistently. Following misguided advice, they are likely to stress themselves out attempting to stick to restrictions that aren't even helpful or necessary, while oblivious to the much simpler actions that would ensure success.

If you know neither your self nor your enemy.

You don't really know where you're at, or where you want to be. You have not identified your goal, nor do you know what is required to get there. In this situation people are just doing some random activity, hoping that it will produce some result, and hoping that this result will make them happier.

To my mind, and example of this would be joining the gym just do do an hour on the Cross Trainer machine a few nights a week. Since you don't really know what you want, this seems as good an option as any, and hopefully it'll make some difference that you'll be satisfied with. Unfortunately, this won't happen.

Let's finish on a positive note though.

Back to the first point. If you know your goal, know that you have a suitable training program to achieve that goal, and know the nutritional guidelines required to enable that result, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

You are absolutely assured of success.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Let's talk about training effectively.

My clients follow different versions of the same movement based program. There are certain movements that we want to cover, but the choice of exercise can vary depending on what equipment is available, or the client's confidence & ability level.

The way I've designed the program and the way I have set it up to be so versatile and customisable is a bit unique. But at the same time, it is just one example of how a competent and knowledgeable training might design an effective program.

There are probably unlimited options for designing an effective resistance training program, but for the most part they'll all have certain movements in common. Specifically we're talking about heavy ass compound lifts, and a suitable balance to recruit and exhaust all of the major muscle groups.

In addition to those, I like to include what I describe as "precision" movements that might target a more specific, smaller muscle, or which might be like an extra coat of polish after we've done the more utilitarian type stuff like grunting neanderthals.

Sometimes there are other movements that we might incorporate for very specific reason, for example to recruit and activate a very specific supporting muscle that doesn't seem to be doing it's job effectively while performing those major compound movements. These exercises aren't really going to make much of a difference to your body composition, but a trainer with a good eye and a good understanding of movement and anatomy will utilise them for the purpose of better preparing you for safe & effective execution of the important stuff that really does make a difference.

Now... click through pinterest for a while and have a look at some of these "cellulite banishing butt and thigh workouts" posted up, for example. What you'll find is a lot of very elegant and dignified looking calisthenic type exercises, precise movements that may target a specific muscle. You'll feel a burn while performing them, possibly some Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness the next day... but does this mean it is an effective training program consisting of suitable exercises to delivered the desired result? 


You'll feel a burn because you're recruiting a small muscle in isolation, in a way that it is not used to being activated. This is something that a good trainer might proscribe to address an imbalance they perceive in your movement patterns, for example. Addressing that imbalance will allow you to perform the compound movements that will really change the shape of your body more safely and more effectively... but only performing these exercises while omitting the "big" stuff that really makes a difference will be mostly inconsequential.

If you want to change the shape of your body, you need to target the muscles that make up the greater part of it. Not just the smaller ones that are actually hidden deep within your anatomy.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Two new weight loss articles published

A couple of articles you may have missed, posted on medium.

The first one is Dispelling The Weight Loss Myths, and it's just like the name suggests. There are no "fat burning" foods, there are no "foods you must never eat", you don't have to eat the way we might imagine primitive humanoid species might have at the dawn of time, or any of that nonsense.

That sort of talk sure does sell a lot of diet books, and gets you a lot of likes on facebook... but it's a lot like the saying goes, "the bigger the lie, the more people will believe it".

The truth is... you need to eat an amount that's appropriate. There are different diets you can try, but if they work it still comes down to having gained weight due to eating an excessive amount, and now losing weight by eating a less or non excessive amount. For continued results though, you really need to be consuming "the appropriate" amount, most of the time.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no point in hoping to fluke this by limiting your choices of foods, and especially if that means forcing yourself to eat stuff you don't particularly care for.

The new article posted this evening is called Why You Get Fat And What You Should Do About It. There's a book of a similar name, which is actually a load of garbage based on a flawed and misrepresented understanding of the science. What it really comes down to is appropriate intake, versus inappropriate intake.

As I describe in the article, if you are of a particular inactive lifestyle... you're almost certain to be eating in excess of your requirements. If you're in the habit of snacking on high calorie treats without really thinking about what you're doing, you're likely to be massively in excess. A more active person will have greater calorific requirements, and more room in the plan for some indulgence.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rant du jour

I posted a rant on facebook earlier, due to being suitably offended after a text from some random offering to "mentor me to success" in my business.

Now, I happen to be around some of the best people in the business in real life as you know, not to mention networking (as a peer, I might add... not some hanger on) with some of the world's most highly regarded experts via social media. So, I have mentors both official and unofficial, and I'm still trying to learn a thing or two where I can and apply it to what I do. Both for my own financial wellbeing and for the good of mankind.

So, I was curious as just what this "business opportunity" might be and who had had the audacity to feel they could waltz into my life uninvited and start telling me how to do things. Perhaps not terribly surprisingly, it turned out to be a herbalife rep. My understanding of the business model is "start doing group fitness for free, and make your money selling meal replacement shakes" and so on.

Does that really sound like something I would do? Come on.

Anyway I was asked why I had such a problem with MLM and this was my reply. Stuff disappears into the void before long on facebook and I thought this was too good to waste.

I have a problem with about 95% of any aspect of this business. The public come to us because we're supposedly trained, educated experts on the subject... but for the most part all we do is latch on to what ever urban myths are circulating in an attempt to "give the people what they want". Detoxs, elimination diets, low carb, no sugar... all sorts of stuff that is based on misinterpretation of science at best, and deliberate deception at worst. And people in the business only further spread this misinformation rather than address and correct it as per their education and in accordance with their scope of practice.

That's bad enough but then you get the herbalife and other reps who with no formal qualification are told they're now a "wellness coach" and can give people nutrition, exercise and general health advice. It is SO irresponsible to enable such activity in non qualfied,non educated, non experienced people who've only recently taken an interest in the subject and now believe they are experts.

So you have people with no real understanding, recklessly giving nutritional advice that borders on the pro-orthorexic,while also selling shakes that are about 50% added sugar. How does that make sense when you're pushing a "no junk food challenge" for example as I see in the herbalife tags on facebook right now? It doesn't.

Bad nutrition and weight loss advice FUCKS people up, and while I've managed to carve out a career cleaning up the mess made by people who have no justification to be advising anyone on anything, I'd much prefer not to have to in the first place.

Plus, it's a pyramid scheme and as described in the article I linked below, they're exploiting their own people with these promises of huge amounts of money falling into their lap with no effort required, when the reality is more like the opposite.