What Your Not Being Told About Your Food

If you want to be strong, healthy and live long, it’s a must to include fruits and vegetables in your diet every single day. Right? What if I told you that right now, today, eating carrots were almost useless and potatoes were nearly pure starches? Sound too off to be true? Read on to understand and to learn the Dark Secret.

While that’s not exactly the case, were not too far off. What do I mean? Decade after decade, agriculture has become its own tech sector, so to speak. Before GMO’s it was cross-breeding, etc. Now we’re not just splicing branches were also splicing Gene’s. Big Ag. Has taken a “bigger, faster, stronger” stance on growing.

It doesn’t seem too bad. Growing population, it’s a good thing we are all eating more greens and fruits. Except while they are modifying them to be more disease-resistant or to grow faster or produce more, that is all they are doing, creating nonviable foods while neglecting to enhance the ability to uptake nutrients from the soil. To that end, the soil itself has become all but barren. With crops designed to withstand climates and pests, all fertilization is done solely for the plant to get bigger much faster but lacks scope for what we should be getting from it. If you do any backyard gardening you know that you don’t feed the plant, you feed the soil.

Why doesn’t direct fertilization work for what we need from the food? It lacks time. It is equivalent to force-feeding livestock. Yes, you get bigger animals for the market, but they are inferior to those raised in open areas, left to forage more closely to what is natural. Yes, it does give it nutrients to grow but only the bare minimum. To top it off most fruit is picked for shelf life not when it’s ripeness when it contains more bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and minerals. That critical error on our part takes away from the whole health spectrum. If they picked it when it was ripe, it would spoil as it got to the stores and would be rejected. As someone who had worked hands-on with commercial produce for nearly 15 years, I can attest to the decline in quality as well as the bland nature of store-bought products. I can also tell you that the average American doesn’t know how to properly pick produce. Most of us have been trained to operate by sight, only going for what is visually “appealing” as opposed to what is superior or what is in season.

Based on a poll, appearance ranks #1 while nutritional value comes in at #6.

In addition to these, there are several other factors and one really dark one. Firstly, Lack of crop rotation and not letting the land rest. By not rotating crops and continuing to grow season after season it strips the ground. Now we’re relying on external factors to grow a crop rather than the best and most beneficial. Secondly, the use of pesticides, poisoning our foods, water, and land. Fun fact, it takes, after one spraying, 4-5 years for microbes to break down pesticides. Multiply that by decades. It would take in the hundreds of years for it to be worked out of our soils if we stopped using them today.

The Dark Secret: The U.S. currently uses pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides that most other countries outlaw. We also use them for other things besides repelling pests. Wheat growers for example, when the crop is mature would normally have to cut the crop and let it dry before further processing, but did you know that instead, they spray it with glyphosate-based weed killer like roundup to speed up the process? That “whole wheat” cereal is drenched in it. Most commercial manufacturers to meet the demand of the market use these and other methods. They have you believe that it’s safe when the World Health Organization has listed it as a known carcinogen.

Going down the rabbit hole a bit further, aside from the depletion of minerals from foods, there is also an excessive amount of food being overproduced. Most turned into ingredients like corn syrup along with other by-products used to fatten and sweeten up foods and drinks to make them more addictive. This has lead to an obesity epidemic. Now instead of eating for survival and health, we are eating Big Ag’s depleted foods only to come up empty and then have to rely on Big Pharma to fill in the gaps. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. Aside from eating too many overly processed foods which are cheaper to manufacture since they are mostly artificial and real foods are void of the materials our bodies need to heal and be happy, many end up on medications to combat conditions that are either caused by these things or could have been prevented simply by having access to and eating whole foods instead of garbage. I have several other articles about this subject so we won’t bog this one down with all the details.

Claims like these are becoming more common

Food is your best medicine. Truth is, loose oversights, lack of morals, and profit-driven businesses have started us down a road that will leave us has empty and frail as the food we are talking about. It’s no wonder that in 2018 alone, the vitamin and supplement industry took home 31 billion, with it set to do nearly 1 billion more in 2019. If you’re still getting your nutrition in a bottle, it’s time for a change.

A few modest steps to take to make that change a reality:

● Grow your own food. It sounds simple and seems complex. It’s actually very basic. With so many forums and videos, it’s pert near impossible to mess up. TIP: Start by growing the vegetable you and/or your family eats the most then expand.

● Grow Organic, Buy Organic. While there are regulations in the pipeline that are seeking to change the industry, especially with some of the biggest pesticide consuming companies buying up organic labels, organic regulations limit the use of chemicals, synthetic or otherwise, so they have to treat the soil and plants more naturally, giving them a nutritional edge. TIP: when buying plants and seeds, look for Organic, Non-GMO seeds and plants. Organic without the Non-GMO isn’t great. Organic garbage is still garbage.

● Ugly food is good food. When buying your produce, don’t just go for the “freshest” or best looking. The ugly ones tend to be riper and riper foods have more nutritional value to them as opposed to their nicer looking counterparts. A great example is bananas: a ripe banana, one that has spots, is better than one that still has green in it. A ripe banana not only has more of the potassium you need (great for the heart, muscles and nutrient distribution) but is also has Anti-Cancer and Anti-Tumor properties. More people opt out of ripe bananas because their “texture people” or “it has too much sugar” but the fiber negates most of the sugars and the unripened version is mostly starches.

● Eat seasonally. By eating what is in season you have a better chance of getting healthier foods. When you eat what’s not in season, either frozen or produces elsewhere, your likely dealing with a hybrid variety and a lot of additives. Plus, if your interested in reducing your carbon footprint, eating what’s in season reduces storage and energy usage from manufacturing processes since seasonal item goes from farm to store.

● If you can’t buy everything organic, aim for root vegetables. They absorb more chemicals than the surface-dwelling veggies. Also, check out EWG’s shopper’s guide for a more in-depth look into how to shop clean.

Aside from those, using organic activated charcoal, spirulina, and chlorella regularly to absorb and mitigate the effects of toxins can help. In the near future, I will talk about detoxing from chemicals and heavy metals, who’s it for and if you should even be doing it. In this day and age avoiding processed and contaminated foods is nearly impossible. Do your best, make it a point and don’t stress too much about it. It would seem pretty fruitless to overstress about your foods killing you all the while the stress is hurting you more.

Thanks for reading. Comments and suggestions are welcomed. Anything you would like to see, please leave it in the comments.

7 Ways To Lose Money On Your Health & Fitness?

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

Colin Powell

You’ve finally decided. You’re going to take your health and fitness seriously, or maybe you’re already on that road. Good for you. Except along the way you’ll see that there are money pits and cleverly disguised scams to take you for every cent you have with nicely packaged slogans. After years of experience, I’m here to steer you right and help you avoid sinking your hard-earned dollars in unnecessary ways and who they are really right for. Let’s jump right in.

1) Protein Powders. Let’s start with the obvious. Everyone sells them and the prices range from 5lb (2.27 kg)’s for $10 all the way up to $85 for 22lb (9.98 kg)’s. Is it worth it? The short of it is, absolutely not. Just from a useful aspect, there are several reasons why you don’t and one superb reason why you do. The first reason you don’t, there is no need for an overly elevated amount of protein to build muscle. Even a slightly increased amount over the norm will do. Secondly, they market the “window of opportunity” for maximum muscle synthesis. That’s all wrong as well. The muscle-building signal lasts for up to 24 hours after a workout and to that point, studies show that fasting after a heavy workout does not cost you gains.
Who’s it for? If you tragically under eat protein and try as you might you just can’t seem to fix it; if you are vegan and your diet plan is not dialed in like crazy or you find yourself in a situation where you can’t hit your numbers then that is where this supplement comes in real handy. It’s not the devil, just not the be all end all the hype makes it out to be.

2) BCAA’s. Not to keep harping on supplements but since we’re here. Branch chain amino acids are found naturally in many foods. Why not just take the supplements though for ease and convenience? Looking at the natural source for BCAA’s:

— Eggs

— Dairy

— Lentils

— Chickpeas

— Almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts.

So when you eat these natural BCAA rich sources, you also get healthy fats, proteins, Macro, and micronutrients. Instead of isolating one thing, you get so much more.

3) Gym membership. You are either in or you are out. Every year thousands of people buy a gym membership and never use it enough to validate its cost or use it at all. It might not seem like a lot but that extra money could be put to better use. On the upside, you don’t need a gym membership to get in shape at all. Doing home workouts is on the rise and just as effective. Your only real need for a gym is the personal training if you are a greenhorn. Then the money is well worth it, but only if you use it.

4) Bad or Wrong programs. Worse than a wasted gym membership is buying into an overhyped, overpriced program. If you’re new, regardless of your goals, keep it simple. Tabata, HIIT, “infernos” and other such programs have their place, but it’s best to start with strength training. Calisthenics costs zero. Do your body weight and work up to weights. Cardio is great too, but start with longer walks then work into a higher intensity. Without the right base, you’ll set yourself up for injury and a non-sustainable program.

5) “Diet Foods.” A big money maker and also a total waste is over-processed “diet foods.” I don’t want to dump on the whole industry, but the so-called “healthy” and “low calorie” is a sham. In my article “Why Health Is Killing America” I get further into this. While there are a few clean prepared foods, if you can just eat whole foods (which you should) then stick to that. Convenience is a real issue for some. Sacrifices must be made.

6) Pills, elixirs, and other Get-thin-quick schemes. Hard work and time is what’s going to get things done, not fat burners, carb absorbers (yes, that’s a real thing) or “natural testosterone boosters.” Most of these come manufactured with synthetic ingredients and those that don’t show promise of working. Want to boost testosterone, balance hormones? Reduce stress.

7) Your Time. I know this isn’t a product but time is money. Every minute you spend unnecessarily following an arbitrary trend or program you can’t get back. For example, studies have shown that anything over roughly an hour in the gym doesn’t generate any more benefits than 45 minutes to an hour. So situate your programs to equal an hour per workout and you won’t burn time. You have a life after all and a life spent just working out is contradictory to what you should be doing. Your workouts should be complementary to your life, not the other way around.

No matter what methods you use, nothing short of hard work, dedication and a healthy relationship with your body will get the job done. Everything else is just a tool.

8 Things Instagram Taught Us About Health & Fitness

“Your body can withstand almost anything. It’s your mind you have to convince”

– Someone smart

Ah, Instagram. To have invested in that venture at startup. A simple way to share one’s art, interests, memes about art and interests. The whose who and the what’s what is on there and there is a wealth of information within the confines of sharing images and short clips. Cooking, cars, politics; all offering a brief glance into lives. That’s all it is though, right? So, what does that mean to someone who has hundreds of thousands or millions of followers?

The internet celebrity

If you believe what is said, that Facebook is for the older generation and that Instagram is for the younger than what I’m about to say should and shouldn’t surprise you. In the age of Instagram Memes have become the new satirical cartoons. Telling a whole story in one image. What happens when people harness that for-profit?

There is a blurry line on fame these days. One is a physical being, maybe an actor or actress, a writer or singer. The other is a blogger, YouTuber or…and influencer. These are individuals you won’t see walking the red carpets, have paparazzi stalking there every move or see on your local news promoting an event while serving soup to a homeless person. Yet companies pay big bucks to have their endorsement and both kids and adults sway to their every post.

This can lead into many areas but for now, let’s discuss one. What Instagram teach us about health, fitness, and wellness?

● The negative impacts they have. They create unrealistic imagery, expectations and results. While not all, most of these people don’t live the lives we imagine based on what they present. Giving us, especially the younger generation all but impossible goals while deepening the already high percentage of issues like body dysmorphia.

This certainly isn’t to say it is all bad. If you need motivation to hit that 5 am workout, need help tweaking your deadlift to reduce low back pain, or learn how protein synthesis works over hours, then it’s great. But if your looking to it for how life should be, your setting yourself up for failure.

● Life in 1080 x 1080. It’s easy to forget and hard to understand that what a person posts is but a snapshot of their life and does not necessarily represent their true selves. Yet we can so easily associate one image with a person’s entire personality. Ask any insta-famous person and they’ll tell you that after a while exhausting because they have to maintain a specific persona. So when we see how talented they are or strong or healthy, that may be all fluff. As fans and consumers, it doesn’t take much for us to become dogmatic about it. This person’s methods are the best. This person’s information is the truest. Honestly, if it lines up even a fraction with what we think, we’ll take it all day long.

● What you see is not what you get. Fitness models are either juiced on gear or are the genetic exception. Avoid comparing your gains to theirs.

It’s the only true means of measuring

● Take advice at face value and do your own research. Fads can dictate a lot in the online realm. When Paleo first came mainstream you were practically ostracized if you weren’t on board. What works great for one might not jive well with you. Take time to research and experiment. I personally don’t so exceptionally well on a high-fat diet but cannot over-consume on carbs either. I have to balance both.

● Remember influencers need to make money too. Support if you like but just because they take a supplement doesn’t make it an end-all deal.

● Remember why you are doing what you do. If you are trying to get healthy, fit or just share wisdom, be cautious of adopting a particular model or modality because it worked for someone else. Your not them. Brand yourself.

● If you base your progress on a picture of another your doomed. Sometimes that’s not even where they are currently but have to maintain status. I’m not condemning influencers, but the rise of insta-famous people has hindered the progress of what true health looks like. Society basses their model of health on, well, models. This is not only unrealistic but dangerous.

● It’s best to compare to your own progression photos. Those show your real effort and validate the sacrifice and discipline. You are your biggest critic and your biggest competitor, best to keep your mind in the game.

Find joy in the process, make your own mark and forget the rest. Self discipline if key to success.

What’s Slowing Your Metabolism – Nine things to consider

“Food is an important part of a balanced diet.” 

Fran Lebowitz

What’s slowing your metabolism? What causes it to speed up? Listed below are several reasons your fuel burning ship had run aground and what you can do reverse the damage.

● Not eating enough. Whhhaaatttt? Seems contrary. Eat more to burn more. It’s true. By eating more whole foods, you’ll light the fire. Your body wants to produce and by supplying the right fuel in the right quantity, you’ll get it going.

● Eating too much junk. Yup. I just told you to eat more now I’m telling you not to. Well, kinda. The artificial flavors, colorings and other additives in heavily processed foods can add excessive fat to your cells. Full of fats, oils, and sugars, eaten with high carbs is a recipe for a stalled engine.

Artificial colors and flavors to reel you in and keep you

● Not eating enough protein. It’s actually pretty common if your not a regular training enthusiast and even if you are, to under eat your muscle building fuel. Studies are dispelling the myths of protein consumption. Turns out you don’t need 1 to 2 grams per pound. Based on you activity, even a slightly elevated amount will yield great results.

● Doing too much cardio. Seems weird, but go with me for a moment. These are arbitrary numbers for the sake of explanation. So your trying to get to a goal weight, you need to shed 15lbs or 20lbs. So you cut you calories by 1,000 from 2,500 to 1,500 and start to run, cycle or zumba you way to greatness. After a while you hit a plateau. So you cut calories by 500 more to get things moving and up the cardio. Now your original 1,000 cut which dropped your total intake to 2,500 is now your maintenance and 2,000 calories is cut level. Eventually you continue down this path until you no longer eat but photosynthesize for food and your up to 1.5 hours of cardio. What do you think happens if you don’t maintain this? What’s worse is that if you gain it back, studies show your body adds additional fat cells for survival purposes so now you gain back more weight and have a harder time taking it back off. So what’s a person to do? See below.

● Do more resistance training. Aside from breaking up the monotony of treadmill life, building muscle will kick your muscle-less metabolism into gear. Let’s look at the body like an economy. Building soft fat costs very little. It’s cheap, easily sourced materials and abundant. Strong muscle, on the other hand, is expensive. Materials and time can get pricey. Your body, if fed properly and not in a starvation mode, will pump into the muscle economy, dumping fat storage in lieu of this newfound resource. The trick is, you have to train heavy and often enough to send the muscle-building signal. Muscles at rest burn aprrox. 50 calories/day per pound of muscle, while fat cells only require about 3 calories per day per pound of fat. No gorging for gains either. Keep it clean and you’ll also keep it lean

● Not sleeping enough. Workouts don’t build a thing, only break stuff down. Gains are made in your sleep. Even if you are active, by not getting adequate sleep, you could be sabotaging your metabolism. Your body likes a schedule too. Try to get 7 to 8 hours a night and aim for the same times daily.

● Dehydration. Fun fact, if you want a serious pump in the gym before you go drink a boat ton of water. Not having enough water in a system made mostly of it causes your body to reallocate its efforts. Keep it hydrated to keep it focused.

● Avoid get-thin quick scams. Fat burners, diet fads, and bogus cheap supplements only slow your progress. There is no “body in a bottle.” It comes from discipline, wisdom and time. If you are taking a fat burner and still eating bagels and donuts daily, odds are you are not hitting your goals. I know it won’t get you runway ready in 2 weeks, but the effort will be worth it. The true goal is to fall in love with the process and make the change permanent, not just seasonal.

● Highly processed grains. The U.S. is one of the largest grain consuming nations. Commercially sold bread, pasta, cereals, crackers, muffins, desserts, flours, chips, and granola bars. To help combat obesity, the USDA now highly recommends limiting consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars, and sodium. Not just a metabolism killer, eating mostly carb-based diets can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Best to choose natural fiber-rich foods as opposed to refined grains.

If you feel like you are the victim of a slowed metabolism, there are steps you can take to get it going. Above all know two things. One, it took a while to get it that way and two, it’s going to take some work to get it back. As someone who has done it, I can honestly say it is a lot of work but it is completely worth the effort.

Why Health Is Killing America

Every year in America tens of thousands of people make the decision to get fit, get in shape or get healthier. Every year gyms are primed to sell you memberships and great deals on personal trainers. While this is all well and good, there is a darker more dubious monster lurking within the confines of the bigger, stronger, faster you market.

We live in a privileged time. Our movies and shows are on-demand. Our coffee comes custom made through a window, foods prepackaged and ready to eat. Never before has it been easier to be…picky. The same goes for the Health Industry in this country. From catchy, clever marketing to overhyped flavors and benefits. Walk into any store and you’ll no doubt see entire sections no smaller than 4 feet all the way to 15+ feet dedicated to making you a healthier you. Right?

Why, in our advanced time, are obesity rates so high? The prevalence of obesity was 35.7% among young adults aged 20 to 39 years, 42.8% among middle-aged adults aged 40 to 59 years, and 41.0% among older adults aged 60 and older. – CDC

Truth is, the health industry is just that, an industry. With profit margins and quarterly projections. Is that necessarily bad though? No. What is bad however is that the products their selling you are just as overly processed as the cereals and packaged foods one more aisle over that your not supposed to eat.

Obviously not all products produced under this category are this way but when you get packaged goods, your buying long shelf life, enhanced flavors and colors, thickening agents and “natural flavors.”

Things to look for to avoid:

•Sugar and/or High fructose corn syrup. Aside from adding extra unnecessary calories, they also affect blood sugars and creates cravings.

•Artificial sweeteners. While they might seem like a slam dunk for a lower calorie option, studies are starting to link artificial sweeteners to obesity and diabetes.

•Soy. I know your thinking, soy isn’t that bad. The majority of soy used in processed products is highly genetically modified and contains large amounts of pesticides. Not to mention it’s an allergy for a growing number of people.

•Casein and/or Whey. Just because it’s not soy-based doesn’t make it good. Low-quality over-processed dairy can be just as bad.

•Chemical and artificial additives to enhance flavors, textures and shelf life. Your liver is trying to process these and your body is absorbing them.

Fun fact: clean label project did a piece on the levels of heavy metals in protein powders. Most plant-based products, including organics ones, tested high in heavy metals, BPA’s and other chemical additives. Higher than normal.

The same goes for food bars. A quick trip into any “health food” section has the big names: Luna bar, thinkthin, Larabar, cliff bar and more. Most of these are packed with preservatives and the ones that don’t, scarcely have the nutritional properties to warrant the money for them. I use these brands as examples but they alone don’t shoulder the weight. These are items designed and marketed to health aficionados, but what about the everyday person whose life doesn’t revolve around BCAA’s, Casein vs Whey and pre-workouts?

The term “natural” is so abused that it’s made its way into the category of words so generic that I abhor hearing them. Words like “value” “wholesome” “nourishing” and the like. Truth is it’s just catchy marketing. Let’s take granola bars for example. Most of the time the level of sugar is nearly half your RDA if you follow those. If your smart you know your RDA of sugar does not include highly processed ultra-refined sugars. Cereals, preflavored oatmeal, watered down sugar rich yogurts. All this designed to make you feel like you eating right, but your not. It’s the Whole Foods version of McDonald’s.

The average consumer is being sold synthetic garbage at premium prices with flashy labels with slogans like “protein-packed” “high in vitamin C” or “fat-free.” Truth is, chemicals, artificial coloring, and flavors take a toll on your body. Studies show a connection between artificial sweeteners and obesity/diabetes. For the sake of keeping this article from being epically long, I’ll say this: all these are designed to stimulate your dopamine receptors.

Supplements then? Honestly, most supplements also fall into this category. BCAA’s, Proteins, vitamins. It’s meant to supplement when you can’t rightly get what you need, no to replace. Which is my Segway into what you should be doing and my challenge for you.

Source ALL your body’s needs from food. Why food? This is 2019 after all. Shouldn’t we be more advanced? The short of it is, fake foods are often so highly processed or downright synthetic that your body scarcely recognizes it. From heavy metals that flow to your brain to food coloring that is a known carcinogen, real is always better. The enemy of eating truly natural is a lack of variety. We can be so dogmatic that we eat the same foods week after week. This is why I advocate for seasonal eating. Your body was designed to operate certain ways during certain times of the year. Feed it what it needs based on your genetics and the season.

Not to mention that the average health impacted individuals, whether, from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes or any other ailments from poor diet and lack of exercise more often than not choose a pill over effort. The health industry, which includes Big Pharma, seeks to make it “easier” when in fact they make it unhealthier. Eat your proteins, eat your eggs. Eat your vegetables and greens and non-GMO grains. Spend one week making every meal and see the difference.

I know this seems simple but it often beard repeating. So as an added bonus I’m going to present you with a challenge

Post your results. How did you do?

Tell me how it goes and what you think. Thanks for reading

My Experience With Intermittent Fasting

Maybe you’ve heard or read something about intermittent fasting (I.F.) but figured eh, that’s for religious people and stuff. Isn’t it? This is my journey with I.F. why I started it, what the benefits are, how it affected me, the ups, the downs and how sustainable it is and what it is really useful for.

Ever been in a hurry to get somewhere like work and not have time to eat? This happens to me a lot actually. Well back in the day if I didn’t eat before work, I would very quickly get this feeling of absolute bodily distress. First the energy dip, then the slight nausea sets in, after that the shakes and feeling of weakness. Finally, you feel like you want to just take a nap, but with an extreme case of brain fog. This was my blood sugar bottoming out and my body not knowing what to do because it didn’t have the glycogen to run it. I would remedy it by eating a bagel or donut and about 15 minutes I would be back to life. At least until it started all over again.

I talked to others who pretty much did the same thing as me (not eating) and they didn’t have the same experience. So…what was my malfunction? I did some research, and by research I mean I spent weeks looking into every possible reason. Hormones, diseases, allergies. The problem with the internet is that every symptom lines up with every ailment. Got a cough? It could be allergies…or tuberculosis. Slight rash? Could be a reaction to a new detergent…or the onset of leprosy. It’s too broad and honestly, you can find anything to support what you think it is as opposed to what it actually is. Fortunately for me, I didn’t just get my info based on that one scenario. Here was how I got my definitive answer.

Years ago when I was hip-deep into my running I noticed that I was bonking out even on short runs.

I wasn’t quite sure why. I would literally run out of energy and afterward would have to stuff my face to feel normal. Everything I read was to “eat before you workout. Carb up before your run.” Problem is, I’m an early riser. Because of…life, I do all my workouts and just about any other activities almost directly after waking up, so I don’t have time to eat before a workout and wait two hours. I do all workouts, running or weight training fasted.

What made it worse was that even after I ate what I thought was healthy foods for breakfast, an hour later I would start breaking down. So initially I looked into specific foods when I came across a message board that had a question just like mine. It had one response. Insulin resistance. After hours of reading, I felt I had an answer. So I started playing around. I did all the things to spark it and it worked. So, what fixed it then?

Most articles tell you nothing. It doesn’t have a cure but interestingly says it could last months or years. So it just goes away? No, it does not. The one thing I read was that you wanted to get away from carbs and be more fat adapted. Thus my fling with Keto would begin, but this isn’t about that. To get my body fat-adapted, I looked into the ancient practice of fasting.

This is where it began. Looking into how we lived in the past, how we went from season to season. It was common knowledge but seemed so revolutionary. So I was going to do it. A 24 hour fast. Except I didn’t because, as I would describe at the time, I almost died. Or so it felt. Turns out, it’s not something you just jump right into. Discouraged but not defeated I came across Intermittent Fasting. Typically 16 to 18 hours. How you do it is, right when you stop eating the previous day the clock starts. You do 12 hours from that time then you want to push 5 to 6 hours after that to reap the benefits. Truth is, your only going to get s good 4 hours of legitimate fasting time. This will take you from say 7 pm until 12 pm the next day. While 4 hours doesn’t sound all that impressive, the effects it has on you is absolutely amazing.

Primary benefits of Intermittent Fasting:

• Boosts energy.

• Weight loss

• Increases energy.

• Promotes cellular repair and autophagy (when your body consumes defective tissue in order to produce new parts)

• Reduces insulin resistance and protects against type 2 diabetes. BINGO!

• Lowers bad cholesterol.

• Promotes longevity.

I definitely centered around insulin resistance and autophagy.

Science of Autophagy

There are tons of reasons to fast. It increases longevity, fights diseases. It also increases one’s grit. If you can tolerate going days without eating, mentally you become more disciplined. It was very tough when I started so I did some research and found something to help get me going. A little known supplement called Konjac Glucomannan.

Glucomannan works in the stomach and intestines by absorbing water to form a bulky fiber that treats constipation. It may also slow the absorption of sugar and cholesterol from the gut, helping to control sugar levels in diabetes, and reducing cholesterol levels. –WebMd

What does this mean for you if you are doing intermittent fasting? For staters, it helps control hunger by absorbing massive amounts of fluids and giving you s full feeling without actually eating. Secondly, it helps control blood sugar. Now technically speaking your not fasting while taking this, but if you have insulin resistance this is a huge help to get there. Remember, if you have any sort of insulin issues and you dive headfirst into a fast, it could be disastrous.

After a few months of using this, my ability to sustain without eating was getting better. I decided it was time. I did my first 16 hour fast. It was rough. I had zero energy, but I didn’t feel like I was crashing and that got me pumped. I would us I.F. along with Keto for quite some time. Made my running much easier.

Since then, I stopped keto, but I would continue to I.F. for almost a year. It would always help when I would get sick or if my diet was slipping or if I just need a reset to help get me back on track. As a result of fasting periodically for years, I can now eat a regular healthy diet and not experience blood sugar issues. Since I used nothing else aside from I.F. to combat these issues, I largely contribute my success to it

Intermittent fasting is a tool. It’s not meant to be the only way to live. There are people who fast constantly. Your body likes things in cycles. Feast and famine as it were. This helps keeps your body sensitive to carbs, proteins, and sugars. I find that endurance athletes benefit the most from this, in combination with a low carb diet, help create a fat adaptation that uses fat as fuel long, steady energy as opposed to quick burning, high yield glycogen.

To this day I still practice intermittent fasting. I primarily use it as a reboot tool now. When I’m changing eating habits, either seasonally or just willfully, I’ll usually use I.F. to help clean the slate. Typically it’s recommended that you do it minimum for times a year, so about every three months. It can last on the low end one week (16 to 18-hour fasts) up to 4 weeks. After this time you will want to transition back for a period. But why, if I.F. is so beneficial?

The short is, your body is an adaptation machine. If you do I.F. often, it’ll put you in a caloric deficit, over time (not as long as you would think) it will slow your metabolism down, making your body a fat-storing, muscle wasting beast. After all, fat price is cheap and muscle cost is steep. Ever heard of skinny fat? The benefit of having a higher percentage of muscle to fat ratio is a whole different article. Suffice to say, however, that a slower metabolism makes it harder to burn fat should you gain any weight or if you haven’t lost as much as you wanted and you plateau. This is why we were designed to cycle, otherwise, we break the machine. You can do it. It gets easier and it will make you healthier, happier and stronger. Even for weight training, fasting does NOT burn muscle first. Studies will show that you can use I.F. while doing resistance training.

I hope this has helped shed some light on the matter. This was my personal experience over 2 years’ time. If you would like to share yours or if you have any questions, please feel free to comment and I will answer.

5 Week Diet Clean Up

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.

Mark Twain

Why 5 weeks? Why not 30 days or 7 days? Studies on how long to break or make habits vary anywhere from 18 days to 254 days! So we went for five weeks. It will be five individual steps to change, changing one thing per week.
A large percentage of failures don’t come from it being impossible, but from doing too much too fast. All I’m asking for is one thing, one significant thing each week. For one week change one habit or add one new habit and leave everything else as is. By the end of the five weeks, you should undergo significant enough change to lead to lasting health and wellness change. Do this journey together. Blog about each week as I do them; experiences, thoughts, outcomes, etc.

So let’s get started! I’ll list them week by week and give some examples and experiences I’ve had so you’ll know what to expect.

– Week 1: Add REAL fruits and vegetables to every meal
Bet you thought I was going to start all crazy at first like “give up your firstborn.” No. Why this? Why not something more dramatic? It starts simply enough to give you the best odds of making it stick. Truth is, most of us lack the basics. We eat plenty of starches and proteins (all the good stuff) but not the veggies and fruits. So for the first week, every meal and I literally mean Every Meal, you should include fruits and/or vegetables. Preferably both. This will start pumping in those much-needed nutrients and will also show you that change is possible.

Eating Real Foods

– Week 2: No more fast food. We all have our favorites and we also probably make that choice more often than we should. The first week was simple, eat a salad with your Big Mac. Now I’m asking you to ditch it altogether. This might seem hard, but it becomes easier as the week progresses, especially if you’re a busy body. Where it gets hard is in one of two places. 1) Going out with friends or family or being a busy professional (this includes parents, that is the oldest full-time job) and needing something quick. This is where it becomes real. I’ve made it pretty far on this one only to be cut down by the dreaded blade of convenience. Some solutions I have are Meal prep the heck out of it. This is especially easy if your doing it just for you but is also completely possible with a busy life + busy family. My other solution is Crock Pot! Love me some crockpot meals. A cursory glance into Pinterest and you’ll find more crockpot recipes than you can shake a digital stick at. These are just a few examples, it’s completely achievable. The will is strong within you.

– Week 3: This one is going to be a tad bit harder. Hopefully, by this point, you’re accustomed to changing. Week by week making more sense now? This week we’re going to let go of Processed Bread and Grains. I think I heard the clicking of the exit. It makes sense though. Don’t take my word for it, Medical News Today says “The highly-processed flour and additives in white, packaged bread can make it unhealthy. Consuming too much white bread can contribute to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Buying bread with the word “whole” as the first ingredient still does not guarantee a healthful product.” Bread is a tough one but it can be done! This is especially useful if you have gluten allergies or just want to lose weight. Note: this also includes cereals. Give Ezekiel bread a try or any other sprouted bread. There are many alternatives out there but know that in the day and age we live, just because it says “natural” or is an alternative doesn’t mean it isn’t highly processed. Do your own research before indulging.

– Week 4: Substitute fruits and vegetables for snack foods.

“Every 10 percent dietary increase in packaged snacks, fizzy drinks, sugary cereals, and other highly processed foods boosts the risk for cancer by 12 percent, new research suggests. Breast cancer, in particular, was associated with greater consumption of mass-produced, ultra-processed foods, according to the study.” – WebMD. We all know they taste good but that comes with a price. Fact is these over-processed easy consumables take a toll on your body. The artificial flavors and colors are hard for your liver to process. Additional chemicals for flavor and shelf life are also hard-hitting. If you are a once in a while-er, probably means nothing, but if you are eating these on the daily, it’s time to cut the cord. One of the biggest reasons to make this sacrifice this week, the enhanced flavors (usually chemically enhanced at that) actually stimulate your dopamine receptors giving you that “ah yeah” feeling. Overstimulation means you have to feed it more to get that feeling. It also means physical withdrawals when not present! Not to mention, the explosive flavor meant to satisfy you makes real foods like fruit taste bland and “boring.” A reset in this area will do you some good.

There are foods not highly processed that will stimulate the dopamine receptors:

  • Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
  • Unprocessed meats such as beef, chicken, and turkey.
  • Omega-3 rich fish such as salmon and mackerel.
  • Eggs.
  • Fruit and vegetables, in particular bananas.
  • Nuts such as almonds and walnuts.
  • Dark chocolate. This is different from regular chocolate as it contains more of the real cocoa and less of a sugary mixture.

– Week 5: Let’s Go! Homestretch. If you made it this far, congratulations. The best and for some, the hardest is yet to come. Week 5 is one thing but has haunted people for decades. Although by now you’ve cut out and replaced so much, now it’s time to cut deep. Time to let go of Soda and other sugary/sweet-tasting drinks.

When you drink sugar is a liquid form, without any fiber to slow the absorption, it’s a straight shot to your liver, nearly instantly spiking blood sugar. If you are diabetic or have insulin resistance, this is a bad idea. If you think going diet is a good idea, think again. One article in U.S. News cited a study showing a link between artificial sweeteners and obesity and diabetes. There are alternatives like Zevia that use Stevia, a plant-based sweetener that doesn’t have an effect on blood sugar, but you would be just drawing it out. Best to try and cut them out. Honestly, the number of calories in soda alone will put most people in a deficit, leading to weight loss.

There you have it. It’s obviously not an exhaustive guide. The more in-depth look would start to explore making your body more alkaline, adding in supplements to help speed up the repair process and bring back a healthier gut. By and large, though, this is a great first step to repairing leaky gut, boosting your immune system, dispersing brain fog, bringing back natural energy. Can we talk about that? Wouldn’t you like to wake up and not have to mainline caffeine to get motivated. The Standard American Diet (SAD for short) has you in a funk. It’s time to take back control of your body. Please leave comments if you’re going to try this, have done it and what your experience was.

Thanks for reading.

Finding Your Program

“The best teachers are the ones that tell you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.” — Alexandra K. Trenfor

So you want to make a change. Change your diet, change your body, change…well, you. You found your decision and you’re ready to find your time…but now you need to find your program.
In this article, I’m going to briefly go over specific types of fitness programs on how they affect your body and how it can help you achieve your goal. Spoiler alert, nearly every goal can be achieved through one specific type of training. More on that as we go further.

Programming is crucial. Why? With proper programming, you do complementary movements instead of opposing movements. Say for example Push-Pull program that packs a pushing and pulling movement into one workout. By doing one of each you cover more ground and don’t exhaust either movement so your form won’t degrade leading to either injury or over training. Moreover, by using proper programming you also make it easier to track your progress. That’s what we’re here for, after all, progress. If you did whatever you felt like, you would eventually lose track of how much or how heavy. So, what’s the right program?
For some time I did primarily in endurance training. Running specifically. I spent the better part of a year doing nothing but mastering my running form. The infamous forward lean, run with your butt, perfect cadence form. With the advice of some seasoned runners, my Hal Higdon progression program, and my Strava, I wouldn’t have known if I was getting better. The same goes for resistance training.
I’m not going to split hairs here, I’m just going to give you my opinion, you can run with it as you see fit. What I do know from experience, what fitness professionals will mostly tell you, if you are NEW to weight training, DO NOT DO A BRO SPLIT.
What is a bro split? It’s training one body part one time a week, usually adding up to six days of training. This method was made popular by Professional Bodybuilders who were juiced up on steroids and truly only needed to do just that. For the average, none genetically gifted such as myself, a Full Body 3 day per week program will do wonders. If you stay faithful and align your diet, 1 hour a day, 3 days a week will blow…your…mind. Resistance training combined with a clean diet shows most potential for long term success as well as plethora of health benefits:

• Increased bone density

• Better blood sugar regulation

• Better digestion

• Better fat metabolism

• Lower cholesterol

• Balanced hormones

• Better or repaired cognitive function

I’ve done them all: hypertrophy, PPL, PHUL, GVT, Strong Lifts, Madcow, even Sheiko (that was crazy) and the one thing that made the difference for me was hitting Compound Movements, Heavy with minimal accessory work. If I had to start someone off anywhere, I would say either Strong Lifts 5×5 or Starting Strength as it will lay a firm foundation, ignite your metabolism and replace fat with lean muscle. Once you go from rookie to novice to advanced novice to advanced novice you can get increasingly more complex splits as your body’s adaptation has begun to make it harder and harder to make gains. The same goes for running or cycling. You’ll want to start with shorter distances, focusing on form and cadence before you worry about logging long miles. Time laying groundwork will make the building way more stable. Regardless of your preferences, be aware, you want to focus on learning movements before worrying about progression. Just doing the work will add muscle and burn calories.

How to boost your metabolism along with the training? Let’s talk about food! Paleo, vegan, keto, vegetarian, carnivore. Which should you do to better assist you on your way? The studies are clear, everything listed had both positive and negative effects on your body.

For example; if you are on a standard American diet and suddenly went vegan, you would feel amazing. The nutrition you were missing with a highly-processed diet would fill in. The downside, studies show that long term vegan diets can lead to deficiencies as there are some nutrients that only come from meat sources. Does this mean veganism is bad? No. It’s just not long term sustainable. The same goes for carnivore diets. In fact, the closest long term sustainable diet is Paleo as it doesn’t exclude vegetables, nor proteins. However, it is very restrictive, can be overly dogmatic and since becoming a fad has itself become overly processed. Bummer, right?

So what to do. There is a simple solution to what seems like an overly complicated problem. Eat what’s in season.
Your body had a rhythm. Seasons have a rhythm. The foods grown in specific seasons are better suited for your body at that time. Just the breaking up the old chicken and rice constantly will be nice, the change in nutrients will be refreshing to your body. A better explanation is this: drink caffeine in excess and you lose your sensitivity. Stop for a while and you get it back. Same goes for protein, carbs, fats, etc. Even meats have seasons!

So let’s wrap it up.

• Strength train

• Train the movements first

• Balance in cardio.

• Eat seasonally not dogmatically.

Above all, keep it super simple. If it’s really hard to do, track or plan, move along. Keeping it simple makes it obtainable and more easily fits into your life. Change one thing at a time, make it a habit, then change another. Don’t overthink it. Use tools to help you along the way like My Fitness Pal or Fat secret to track your food. Strava for Map my Run for running/cycling or Personal Training Coach for weight lifting.

Remember change happens over time not overnight. Constantly be reinventing or remember you why and be flexible. Routines get interrupted but that doesn’t mean they get abandoned. Health & Wellness is a Lifestyle, not a fad.

That’s all for now. Please leave a comment and follow for more.

Finding Your Time

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” — Charles Buxton

Every day we make decisions that take up time. Time for family, time for work, time for this and time for that. In my previous post, I talked about making your decision. After you decide “I will be better, I will live better” you have to figure out, how does one place this new element in a life that is pretty dang well full? Interestingly it’s not too difficult. What is difficult is purging the time-consuming parts. So, what has to go, so we can get to getting? I guess that all depends on your goals.
Initially, a good place to start is with the foundation of all health. This requires some adjustments. The foundation, in this case, is your diet. This is where it starts and for many, where it ends.

Why is it so important? Why has it derailed and obliterated so many from achieving their simple desire of being healthier, fitter individuals? The short of it is, whether it’s fat loss, muscle gain, lower cholesterol, clearer skin; without a stable and clean diet, you will only get so far. Yes, it is a numbers game for the extreme; if you wanted to lose 10lbs and not care if after you gained it and then some back, just burn more than you eat. If you want to make lasting change, this is where you start. Begin with eating breakfast if you never do or doing intermittent fasting a few days a week to get the benefits of autophagy. There are too many methods and styles of eating to start in on. That is a whole article to itself. I will touch briefly on it in my next article in this series “Finding Your Program.”

Let’s say for the sake of argument you did this, you are on track with cleaning up your diet and want to add-in fitness, but you have 2 kids, a spouse and work full time. Well, the answer is super simple and might be slightly defeating at the same time. Please refer to the quote at the beginning of the article. “You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” The above scenario is me. Kids, work, etc. I get up at 5 am in the summer or 5:30 am in the fall/winter to do my training 3 to 4 times per week. Doing this I dedicate all my time after work to my family. I simply decided that getting up a little earlier than what I would otherwise do to achieve the best results I can and I find it works perfectly.

This obviously might not suit you and it’s obvious that it’s not a new revelation. Consider it a challenge. A call to arms, or abs, or whatever. The length of time differs based on what study you read but the average is 21 days. 21 days to make fitness a habit and by habit, I mean normal to you. What 21 days won’t do is get you up to shave off seconds from your 5k time or add 10lbs to your high bar squat. That’s the beast within you that you need to unleash, feed and keep kindled. You want it. Just like the bad habits you have now, it takes work. You have to in some cases reinvent yourself but it’s completely worth it. Your health will benefit, your relationships will benefit. Even the discipline that you use to get up daily to work out and meal prep spills into your personal and professional lives, leaving a positive mark on those around you.

If you want it, earn it. Take it. Most of all fall in love with the process.

The next article will discuss various programs to get you started!

Please leave a comment and follow for more content.

Finding Your Decision

Keeping Ideas Simple

We’ve all had that moment. That moment when we tell ourselves “it’s time to get healthy” and for most of us, that’s as far as it gets. The lure of the everyday routine we’ve built is too great, the disruption too much to deal with. What if though, you are a step passed that. Not all in but not ready to back out. Now it’s time to find your decision.

For some, it’s a more complicated decision than most. The time, money and commitment. It can seem daunting. I have work, kids, a husband or wife, school, hobbies, friends, etc. I don’t have time to fit this in. Yet we instinctively know it’s importance. Why? Your body is talking and for a long time you’ve been ignoring it, but now your paying attention. You might feel sluggish, constantly tired, overweight, overstressed, weak or just lacking.

My biggest hurdle when I started was the feeling of self-consciousness. Not that I was out of shape, which I was, but how I felt when I did a workout. It felt awkward and almost unnatural. I felt vain like it made my body look disproportionate. All these things were telling me to stop….so I did. Why do we tell ourselves this? In a way, we’ve made the fitness realm just that, it’s own side niche where only “those people” belong. It’s not a bad hobby to have but it’s not “normal” either.

Truth is, we were made to move. Made to lift, bend, stoop, carry, throw, jump and climb. The advent of better and better technology has crushed that natural tendency to the point that we have to seek out physical activity instead of it being a part of our day-to-day lives.

   Finding my decision happened when I had my first son. I knew right then that I wanted to be around as long as possible and be able to play with him as much as possible. So I started. First with running which then was a Segway into lifting. It was awkward but I found my reason to make the decision.

   If you are still on the fence, it’s time to do some soul-searching. If you are reading this, you are ready.
The anxiety of joining a gym, of telling the people your with of your decision or the amount of effort it will take on your part to fit it in and make it work does not compare to the feeling of accomplishment and sense of self-worth you will gain when you decide to quit waiting and get to work.

Wrapping it up: there are many reasons to start living a healthier Lifestyle. More than reasons not to. When you take yourself seriously people will take you and your decisions seriously. Once you begin you’ll see how amazing it is and how much better you feel about yourself right away. It doesn’t have to consume your life or completely derail your existence. It simply has to begin…and it begins with a decision, one that you have to find for yourself.

In my next two articles, I’m going to discuss finding your time: how to fit it all in and the motivation to do so as well as finding your program; what’s right for your goals as a beginner or someone with decent ability but isn’t quite sure where to start. We’ll keep it simple and as effective as possible.

Please feel free to contact me, leave a comment below and follow me for more content.