Friday, December 27, 2013

How to get into shape at home on a budget, part one.

A few people have asked me for an "at home" training program, because they don't want to go to the gym or just aren't able to for some other reason. A good gym routine is always my preferred option but there's no reason you can't get great results through any number off different approaches.

In or out of the gym, you do still need to be training effectively and if your nutrition is appropriate you'll see great results.

Resistance tubes like you can see in my video below are one of... perhaps the best option on a tight budget to use at home. Even for those who do have some weights or a home gym, I often suggest resistance tubes as a nice and inexpensive way to add more options and variety to your training routine. We can replicate a lot of free weight, cable and leverage machine exercises with these... it's not quite the same thing, but for the price it is pretty good.

I'm also using my TRX here which if you shop around you can get at an affordable price too.



This video is just the highlight real, you can see the full thing with extra commentary over on my wordpress site filed under At Home Training Program Video.

I wanted to show you as many different options as I could think of, so here's what I came up with.

  • Warm Up: TRX Reverse Fly & Vertical Front Raise
  • TRX Hanging Row
  • TRX Face Pulls
  • Resistance Band One Arm Reverse Fly
  • Resistance Band Upright Row
  • Pull Ups
  • Resistance Band Reverse Fly (again)
  • Resistance Band Bicep Curls
This makes for one day in an effective home training split routine. We'll also need a pushing routine, and of course we need to train our legs as well.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fitness Anarchist Clothing Brand

Well, I'm excited because I got my first Fitness Anarchist training tank tops in the mail yesterday. These are just the prototypes to see how I like 'em before I go in to mass production.

Here are some terrible quality selfies on my crappy phone camera. I'll fix the placement of the graphic a little higher when I get the first production run printed up.










Pretty cool eh? You can order your own Fitness Anarchist gear from Cafepress, or wait a couple of months and get them directly from me.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Weight Loss Before and After Videos

I thought I'd do a little before and after... well, really more like an "a while back and more recently" comparison of my own weight loss journey. I won't bullshit you like everyone else with some sob story about how I got too busy and started to neglect my own health or whatever nonsense people usually come out with. I was trying to gain weight, because my long term goal is to be bigger than I am now.

So in winter... well, you mostly want to just gain muscle but I often get to a point where I just think "I'm not gaining fast enough" and don't care too much if I put on a heap of fat so long as there's a bit of muscle in there somewhere.

Here's a video of me from March... I happened to look at it the other day and I thought "bloody hell, I was big!" March actually being quite early in the season, so I definitely would have been bigger (and fatter) by the end of winter.



Actually here's another video from a few months later, a few months bigger.



Now here's a video from this week. 6 or 7kg down from my highest weight in the winter, and stronger than I was in the first video. I had to get a couple new sets of holes in my belt, and it's getting a little loose again already.



So how did I do it?

Some new dieting protocol, or supplement, or a new training system?

Nope. I just stopped overeating and dialled in a plan I expected to maintain... actually I dropped a couple of kilos more than I expected. Within that plan I'm still smashing a huge pizza once a week, still including oven fry potato wedges at dinner if I feel like, still eating a heap of fruits, some bread, cereals... basically all the stuff I like, to an amount suitable to maintain a lean goal weight.

Simple innit?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nothing special.

This was a little rant I posted on Facebook yesterday, a little similar to my post here about modern weight problems:
so apparently a colleague is shopping around around for a publisher for his book, and the feedback he got from one publishing house was that his work was “sane, levelheaded, with proven advice” and as such they weren't interested as they didn't think it was saleable.

Meanwhile I just found out that "paleo water" is a thing. You can buy some sort of filtration device that makes your tap water more closely resemble water our primal ancestors would have drunk. I dunno man maybe they get a guy 200 metres up stream to take a shit in it or something. Sounds WONDERFUL.

All these stupid fkn gimmicks people make a buck with. The next one (I swear to god I am not making this up) is going to be this DNA test where now thanks to the miracle of science your trainer can get a report back from the lab that let's them build an exercise program that will work.

It blows my mind. All this stuff works on the principle that you can only be in shape and healthy under very specific circumstances. You need this very specific diet, very specific exercise program, if you get the wrong one... it might work for someone else but not for you depending on your DNA. 

It is actually ridiculous. Being OUT of shape is what requires a special and unusual set of circumstances. People have been in shape and healthy for aeons without doing anything special about it. The more complicated you make something, the more can go wrong. Why would we even need a complicated approach to produce a result that is our default condition anyway?

Nothing special or complicated is required. So many of my people will tell you how much better results they got, and how it "felt like it just happened by accident" when they stopped trying to follow all of these complicated and restrictive approaches.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Stonehenge, Eastern Mysticism, and Modern Weight Problems

Every once in a while I suddenly have some sort of a philosophical epiphany that relates to training or dieting, but once I start organising my thoughts so that I can type it up, I realise it's actually something I've written about extensively in the past.

Whatever though.

Last night I was watching a documentary about Stonehenge, and then after that there was one about The Beatles and I didn't see all of it but the part that I caught was focussing on their spiritual leanings under the guidance of the Maharishi. Seemingly unrelated topics.

Now in the Stonehenge documentary they were discussing how it might have been built, and they had this new theory about how the giant stones might have been moved across the country. As it turned out, they tried this idea out and it worked nicely. It would have been quite possible for ancient peoples to have used this method... however, they decided it probably wasn't how they had done it, as it was quite complicated and probably unnecessary so. The quote that stuck out to me was "the more complex you make something, the more there is that can go wrong". And so they figured a simpler method had probably been used.

This struck me as similar to a lot of what I talk about related to weight loss in particular. People are often impressed by complicated approaches that have a lot of rules about what foods you can eat, what foods you can eat at the same time as other foods, what times of the day and so on. Especially when there is an explanation for why all of this is important with some scientific sounding words thrown in, you get the impression that "wow, this guy (or girl) really knows what s/he's talking about!"

Really though... having such a complicated approach just means it is a lot harder to get right and stick to consistently. If there is a simpler approach available that will be just as effective, and a lot easier to put into action... why wouldn't you take it?

Now... the next show. I feel like I don't want to accidental misquote anyone here but there was a lot of talk about the positive effects of meditation and the Maharishi's teachings on people, and a few references to the Tao Te Ching which is something I often refer to as well... and the part that stuck out to me was something to the effect of "I haven't done anything special to you at all, this is what you are like naturally".

Again this is a lot like how I feel about weight loss programs. I always feel my greatest successes as a Weight Loss Coach are when my clients say things like "I feel like I have just lost the weight by accident" as they have stopped trying to force the weight off with difficult, restrictive programs. Doing "nothing special" is what seems to produce consistent, easy results. Why would anything special be required? Our goal is nothing out of the ordinary.

Naturally, people are not obese. Whether for marketing reasons, through a lack of understanding, or perhaps through trying to be kind, we often act like it is actually being "in shape" which is the unlikely, out of the ordinary condition that is only attainable to a select few people either through sheer good fortune or strict and obsessive adherence to some difficult and unpleasant diet and exercise regime. In the industry, you'll often see diet and exercise programs marketed on this basis; that the program creates the unique set of circumstances that can result in being in healthy shape at a normal size and body weight.

In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth and this is the opposite of how things really work. People can be normal sized and healthy following a variety of diets, or not following a particular diet at all. They can be normal sized and healthy following a variety of exercise programs, not following a particular program at all. It is NOT being normal sized and healthy that requires a specific set of circumstances.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Best Strategy To Prevent Emotional Binge Eating, part two

Hopefully you've read yesterday's entry first, which is the set up for this post all about Preventing Emotional Binge Eating. Click the link if you need to back and read that first.

Now, we continue.

At the risk of over simplifying things, I'm going to come out with two causes of binge eating. The first is as a result of over restriction of calories and / or food choices. After a while, your body is literally starving, and starts sending messages to your conscious mind along the lines of "eat all the foods". That is a survival mechanism and in my opinion, it is an almost inevitable consequence of any restrictive, low calorie diet. Having a plan based on appropriate fuelling to meet your requirements as we talked about above will take care of this problem easily enough for the most part. However, we're still left with the other cause which is more to do with emotional triggers. "Had a bad day? Fuck it, eat all the foods". That sort of thing.

Now... as far as your progress in weight loss or training for body composition goes... what would it mean if you were to give in to this urge? Well, actually very little when you look at the long term, big picture - as we've talked about at length already. The only issue then is what people have decided (or been taught) it would mean about them as a person, if they were give in to temptation.

Think of the terms we associate with the idea of sticking with a plan and achieving results. Discipline, self control, will power... the list goes on. All positive, virtuous attributes we would admire in other people. It seems to me that on a bad day, we're more likely to want to cheer ourselves up with more indulgent food choices; but the idea makes us feel like we're the opposite of all those positive virtues we just listed off. It would mean we are undisciplined, lack self control, have no will power, don't want it (results from training) bad enough and aren't good enough.

If any of what I just said cuts a little close to the bone for you, I have good news because it is all fucking bullshit. We already established that in terms of your results, it makes no difference. Now self control and all those other virtues are very good things when it is in terms of me having enough self control not to he-bitch-man-slap the living piss out of some of the irresponsible scumbags out there that are responsible for putting these ideas into your head in the first place... but in terms of you having to be self controlled and stick to some impossible standard of "clean eating" or whatever you want to call it... no. Screw that.

As my coach taught me; "what you resist, persists". Most people can probably relate this is in terms of emotional eating. Had a bad day, feel like eating some comfort food. But no, gotta resist and be disciplined and stick to my diet like a good person. The urge only gets stronger, and eventually you do give into it, eat even more of the "bad" stuff than you would have in the first place, and then you have all those negative feelings of guilt, failure, lack of control and so on.

(Here comes the subtle genius part)

Why wouldn't you just go and get pizza instead?

Think about it. Resisting the urge to stray from your plan, ending up straying from it anyway, feeling like you're out of control, not even enjoying what you're eating anyway because you feel like you're letting yourself down... all bad things. But making a conscious decision to get up, drive to the pizza place, order a medium size and enjoy every mouthful, with the knowledge that you're doing absolutely no harm to your progress at training in mind all the while... now THAT's going to cheer you up.

Obviously you need a balance. I'm not saying you can't bring yourself undone as you take this advice to mean you can do this four nights a week every week any time you can find an excuse. But once in a while when you really need it... listen to the signals your body is giving you, and make an empowered decision.

Your priority in life is to make yourself happy. Getting into amazing shape and being proud of your efforts will go a long way towards that goal... it would be most ironic to adopt such an extreme, restrictive and destructive approach to that end that would leave you never feeling like you were doing good enough.

Do your best, but relax a bit and enjoy life. Remember this is about you, and do it on your own terms. Not anyone else's.

If you liked this post you should definitely check out this one about Flexible Dieting For Weight Loss And Recovery over on my official business site.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Best Strategy To Prevent Emotional Binge Eating, part one.

You know... sometimes I suspect my subtle style of genius is a bit toooo subtle for people and goes unnoticed. Also my modest humility, perhaps.

I think most things are pretty simple, but we have a tendency to over complicate them. We have a tendency to place too much importance on things that really don't matter all that much. Things that might fall into the "probably a good idea" or "probably not helpful" categories we treat as if they are "make or break, all or nothing". I think in the biz there's a bit of wanting to impress each other with advanced technical knowledge of nutrition, biochemistry and so on... and for the general public (as well as industry people), there's a definite, almost universal proclivity to insist "it can be done this way, therefore it can't be done any other way" and if one thing is good, anything else is bad and must never be done, ever.

Maybe it is human nature. I don't get it but that's my observation.

What does this have to do with emotional eating and binge eating? Cool your jets, hot shot. I'm getting to that.

So my thing is that every now and then there's an oh so serious discussion going on, and I'll throw in some little one liner... almost as if I'm being flippant. It goes over most people's heads, but the ones who know me and know my style usually will realise there is some subtle fkn genius at work here.

For example... oh I don't know. How about "my client has a problem cutting out the chocolate. She's making great progress at training and the rest of her diet is not too bad but how do I convince her to give up the chocolate?". 20 odd people weigh in (no pun) with some sports psychology, motivational life coach type stuff... and me? "That's fine, chocolate is good for you".

"[whatever] is good for you" is one of my favourite catch phrases.

Here's how I look at it. Whether you have a significant amount of weight to lose, just a little bit of weight to lose, or your weight is already about right but you don't feel you're in the best shape you could be... whatever. At the risk of repeating literally every other post I ever wrote, again, here's what you need.

  • A strategic training program. This means your body has a reason to actually use the fuel you put into it, to get healthier and stronger. 
  • An appropriate daily calorie target, suitable to maintaining your goal weight range. It will be above BMR, but below the amount required to maintain current weight.
  • A suitable balance of macro nutrients.
  • A little flexibility to include the foods you enjoy, that keep you happy.
So assuming you have that plan in place, and you're sticking to it with reasonable consistency... most of what everyone else is arguing about doesn't really make that much of a difference. Sure, you're going to want to base your plan on the most sensible, wholesome choices of foods that you enjoy, but if you can find room in the plan for that aforementioned chocolate, or ice cream, or whatever else... where's the harm? Especially in a weight loss plan, you're still only consuming a total amount suitable to maintaining a lower body weight. In other words, it is ALL energy that is going to be utilised. If squeezing that little treat in is the difference between finding it easy to stick to the plan, and being stressed out trying to force yourself to be strict and disciplined... then yes; chocolate [or whatever it is] is good for you.

Now, right now I'm kicking off a 12 Week Flexible Dieting Challenge and there's not much to it other than me putting together a plan like the one described above, and people have to stick reasonably close to it more often than not for 12 weeks. Now, what I'm really trying to promote here is that if you're "reasonably close more often than not" for 12 weeks, you're going to get results. Given that all we're asking of ourselves is "more often than not", let's add one more point to our plan.
  •  The freedom to blow the whole plan off once in a while and eat as much as you want as whatever the hell you feel like.
Pretty much the opposite of any other diet or similar challenge where you're supposed to have willpower, discipline, and whatever else it takes to strictly adhere to the rules. Right? Really though, even if you do have a day here and there where you go way, WAY off the plan... on the whole over the course of 12 weeks you're still going to be getting it about right.

That's the set up done! Check tomorrow's entry for our Strategy To Prevent Emotional Binge Eating. That's the link!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Better alternatives to Flexible Dieting


Any plan you adopt or put together for someone else, needs to be appropriate to their goals and to their circumstances. If we assume that a Flexible Dieting plan covers the following bases...
  • Appropriate total calorie targets; not too little and not too much.
  • Appropriate ratio of macronutrients.
  • Suitable intake of vitamins and minerals from more nutrient dense foods.
  • More of the foods you enjoy eating.
  • None of the foods you really dislike.
  • Ability to find a little room in the plan for some indulgence.
In my way of thinking you can also add in...
  • in the context of a long term plan, the understanding that is fine to completely disregard your targets from time to time when you need to.
You'd be surprised how many people in the business are against this concept, on the basis that "you're telling people it's ok to eat bad things". You also get the people who don't like calorie targets, for some reason.

So if what I just described is a bad strategy... logically we can only include that the opposite must be better. Let's run through our new plan.
  • Unknown / random total intake, and unknown total requirements.
  • This list of foods I've decided are good for you.
  • Whether you like them or not. Eat it, it's good for you.
  • No cheating.
  • Ever.
I left out the part about micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) since the implication is usually that "eating clean" to ensure maximum micro intake is ALL that is required. Or at least, if you focus on that everything else takes care of itself, I guess? Does that mean we should be able to expect the creators of such plans to be able to tell us exactly what levels of different vitamins and minerals their diet would provide? I'd say it should. More likely though we're just assuming it is "pretty good" or "about right" due to the inclusion of plenty of nutrient dense foods. 

Our new plan doesn't sound like it would be very effective, or very enjoyable, to me.

That's all I'm saying.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The perfect plan for weight loss and body sculpting.

As you all know by now I am a promoter of Flexible Dieting also known as IIFYM. I've started using the term "flexible dieting" as it implies "meet all of your nutritional needs with your choice of foods". IIFYM means exactly the same thing, but since the acronym stands for "If It Fits Your Macros" it leads to having reducto ad absurdum type arguments with morons who think it means "hit your carbohydrate targets with refined sugar straight from the bag, and hit your protein requirements with WPI straight from the bag too"... seriously I've lost count of the amount of utter cretins who've attempted that line of argument with me.

The point is, you need to meet your nutritional requirements for good health, results from training, and to maintain your goal weight. The most important aspect of this is in consuming an appropriate range of total calories, with an appropriate ratio of carbohydrates to fats to protein. For some people these ratios will need to be quite precise, for others (the majority in my experience) anything you could describe as "reasonably balanced" seems to be close enough. Obviously we also need to be getting a decent spread of vitamins and minerals as well as fibre, and we ensure this by including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in our daily intake. Now providing we've also made wise choices in terms of what foods are going to keep us feeling full and satisfied, we have a strategy that is very simple to understand, very simple to implement, very simple to adhere to, and in almost every case ensures certain success in due time.

What food choices you hit those targets with are irrelevant, as long as you hit your targets at the end of the day, most days. Apparently it does NOT go without saying that you don't have to eat "unclean" if you don't want to, and you shouldn't eat anything that you know isn't going to agree with you. The point though is that you are free to enjoy all of your favourite foods. Even more to the point, you're not training yourself to have negative associations with eating for enjoyment, or eating in general. You understand what your requirements are, and you know that everything you put in is going to be utilised in making you healthy and strong.

Especially for people who have been unsuccessful at "dieting" in the past (and especially those who have a limited diet for some reason), this is a perfect system. The reason it is perfect, is because you don't have to be. Your execution of and adherence to the plan does not have to be perfect, which is what makes success possible.

I'm going to pull some numbers out of the air to demonstrate this.

Let's say you are 20kg overweight. Current weight is... let's say 90kg, and the "historically normal" (that's the politically correct term I invented) weight for your height and age maxes out at about 70kg. Let's say that if you were in EXCEPTIONAL shape, ready to take the stage doing fitness or bikini modelling, you'd probably be around 60kg.

Actually that last one is probably not terribly accurate as I'd suspect people in that kind of shape may be deceptively heavy as they'd still have a lot of lean mass, and just a lower percentage of body fat. Lean mass of course taking up less space while weighing the same amount. For this reason once people are somewhere around "historically normal" weight, I stop caring about the scales as long as we're happy with what we see and how we feel. But that is another article for another day. For the purposes of this example, historically normal weight is as high as 70kg, and our ultimate goal weight with your dream body is 60kg.

Now. To get from 70kg in normal shape to 60kg in exceptional shape... that may require some precise planning and strict adherence. But to get started, to get from 90kg where we are now to 70kg, would we need such a perfect plan with perfect consistency? Of course not.

Forget the 60kg plan. Let's dial in a plan for 70kg, but let's assume you don't quite hit your macro targets, and you go a bit beyond your maximum total calorie targets for few days there because you were stressed out about something else. What would that mean? Would absolutely nothing happen, because you failed to perfectly execute the plan with perfect consistency? Or would it still be good enough to make some progress, if not quite all way to the 70kg goal you planned for? Absolutely it would.

This is something I hear from a new client or someone following my free program, quite often. "I didn't think I was doing very well... but I actually lost [various amounts] of weight anyway". Now, having successfully lost let's say 5 or even 10kg while not adhering to the plan anywhere near perfectly... armed with that new confidence and belief that this success would bring, how much harder would it be to tighten up on the plan just that little bit more to keep progressing even closer towards your goal?

My point here is simple. We don't need to perfectly adhere to a perfect plan to take us from where we are now, to where we dream about being. We need an easy plan that will take us the first few steps. From there, we need an easy plan that will take us the next few steps, and so on. Only at the very final stages are any really precise fine tuning or strict, disciplined adherence necessary.

The first step is as simple as knowing what the appropriate nutritional targets are. Knowing that you don't need to stress out, worry or obsess over them is the next step. Act on this knowledge and it will take you closer to your goal than you could even imagine right now.


Monday, November 18, 2013

12 week starve yourself thin challenge?

So one of the boys from gym had a good story today about doing some security work at a gala dinner for participants in a "12 week challenge" run by one of the chain gyms.

Sounds like this'll be a nice positive post, right? Wrong.

He apparently asked one of the more successful participants how they did it, and the response was "1100 calories one day, 400 the next".

What?

400 calories isn't even enough for my breakfast, and that's all you get for an entire day every other day?

Well then... what amazing results did this produce? 8kg of weight lost, in 12 weeks... by starving.

Now compare that to what I do, where I'll take the same amount or even more weight off a client with targets of 1600, 1800. even 2100 calories depending on what I think is most appropriate. AKA they aint fkn starving it off.

What are these idiot trainers really doing with these extreme, starvation approaches though?

  1. They're training the client's brain to think "if I eat like a normal person, i'll stay fat. I have to suffer for this or I don't want it badly enough".
  2. They're training the client's body to run on less fuel, to slow down and conserve fuel. This is why even though they're starving, they only drop a relatively small percentage of the excess weight they are carrying. And then what? 
There are probably unlimited approaches you could take towards healthy weight loss, but starving yourself thin is never one of them. The unfortunate clients don't know any better, because they're constantly bombarded with new diets on tv every day, new meal replacement product advertisements, all this crap telling them "less calories = more weight loss". It doesn't. The trainers SHOULD know better, but apparently don't know or don't care.

This pisses me off.

Screw 'em. I'm going to do my own 12 Week Flexible Dieting Challenge!

Friday, November 15, 2013

From Emotional Eating To EMPOWERED Eating

Some delicious pancakes I made the other day.
Pancakes are good for you.
I posted this elsewhere and didn't feel it was getting enough love, so here's a little cut n paste job.

Eating is wonderful. I think people should be emotional about eating. It is a joyous occasion.

The problem is that we start to associate feelings of guilt or shame with eating "bad foods" and a negative cycle begins. We start to believe that we can't get in control of our eating habits and can't stop eating bad foods. There is perhaps no worse emotion than that feeling of not being in control, of being powerless.

How we can address this situation is by changing the way we think about food. Food is fuel. We're supposed to eat it and we're supposed to enjoy it. These facts are indisputable and universal. Now we do have a modern problem of lifestyles that are too sedentary, which mean that our fuel requirements drop quite dramatically. Of course, this is easily fixed with a productive training program. Again though, think less about "exercising to burn calories" and think more about "training to get healthy and strong". We train to put those calories (aka fuel) to good use. There is nothing special about this either... all we are doing is putting back in what modern lifestyles have taken out.

Now with a more active lifestyle and an effective training strategy our fuel requirements go UP. Of course there is a limit to how much fuel we can utilise but up to that limit it is ALL FUEL that our body will put to use. Even the ice cream. ESPECIALLY the ice cream!

Of course we do encourage each other to consume more nutrient dense foods regularly... but if you decide that you want to indulge a little to make up for a rough day (or for no reason at all) you can make an empowered decision to do so, knowing there is nothing to feel bad about.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nutrition Myth Busting: It's not HOW much you eat, but WHAT you eat.

I wrote a nice post over on my Lose Weight No Bullshit site the other day about "what if the conspiracy theory was the actual conspiracy?" which I guess in other words you could translate to "you're being lied to about being lied to". It's all in reference to these tin foil hat wearing nut jobs claiming the food pyramid and all other guidelines put out by actual real nutritionists is all a conspiracy to prop up "big agriculture" and whatever else they dreamed up.

It's very much the same whenever I read "myth busting" type posts on people's blogs or facebook or where ever else. So often, they're busting one myth by creating a new one. Usually this is a marketing ploy some scumbag is using to deliberately confuse you into thinking you need to buy their product or e-book or whatever it is, and they actually know it's a load of hogwash. Sometimes though they actually do mean well and have good intentions, but the information they're pushing is still wrong. And as far as diet advice goes, in a world of confusion it's not good enough to just have good intentions... putting wrong information out only creates more confusion and therefore is harmful to individuals and collectively.

So I've been thinking about this and not to be deliberately horrible about it but the issue is that you've got people who aren't actually as smart as they think they are, who've read something, or done something for themselves, and decided everything else is a lie and that's the only way you can do it. Usually the main element in this is that "calories don't count" or in other words "it's not how much you eat, it's what you eat". Good foods vs bad foods.

What's going is that people's logic is backwards. I did it this way, therefore that way doesn't work, for example. There's a complete absence of logic in that sort of statement. Here's a bunch of crap I just read on facebook, and then the logical interpretation.

Exercise doesn't help people lose weight. There are LOTS of people in the gym every night who never lose weight, because they're not eating the right foods.

Half true. Those people are in the gym with the intention to "burn calories". They're consuming an inappropriate (usually excessive) amount of calories, and then trying to make up for that on the treadmill or cross trainer. Whether they realise it or not, they working with a strategy to merely reduce the amount of weight they gain, or at best stay exactly where they are. In no way, shape or form does any of this imply that an effective training program matched with appropriate calorie intake and macronutrient balance will not produce results.

Before, I was suffering from [insert medical conditions] and was overweight, now I'm in great shape. This proves that it's not about calories, it's about food choices.

For YOU, maybe.

I saw this one today and the implication seemed to be something like "I require a specialised diet to manage my (actually quite uncommon) medical condition, therefore if you don't follow the same diet you'll have all the same issues that I did". That might seem logical but it's a bit like telling a kid who doesn't have asthma to take ventolin so he doesn't start getting it. The absence of treating a medical condition is not the cause of the medical condition, you follow? What's happened in this example is that you've done what's necessary in terms of a specialised diet to manage your condition, and now you're getting the same results anyone else would expect from the training strategy you are following.

Total calories isn't the issue. These here bad foods with sugar don't trigger your body's satiety signals, so you end up over eating.

Uhhh... that may be correct but by use of the term "over eating" you're verifying that the issue is total calories. There are certain foods that I know if I even get a sniff of them I'll end up eating until they're all gone and then start looking for more... but let's say there's only ONE available and I eat it without blowing my daily targets... is it going to main fat gain? Of course not.

Insulin drives fat storage, not calories. We need to manage insulin. 

I saw this moron in a video this morning explaining how "if you eat sugars and grains there's only so much you can use and the rest results in raised insulin levels to store the excess as fat" and i thought... yeah, so make sure you don't HAVE any excess by following a realistic total calorie and macro plan. What's so hard about that to understand? They even say it themselves, these carbphobic cretins, but fail to grasp the meaning of the words coming out of their own mouths. Insulin is the method the body uses to move excess energy to fat stores... but the issue is with having excess energy to begin with. There's an insulin response to eating any food as the body moves the energy and nutrients to where it needs them, but there is only fat storage if there is excess energy (calories) that the body doesn't have a use for. Again, it comes back to total calories.

You get fat from eating carbs, because of the insulin response.

See above. Also, there's a virtually identical response to eating protein but no one seems to see that as a problem.

You can't get fat from eating fats, because there is no insulin response.

A notion so ridiculous I can't believe anyone takes it seriously. If it you end up with more fuel than you have a use for (carbs, protein OR fats) it will end up stored as body fat. What else could possibly happen? And conversely, why would your body store anything as fat if it could be otherwise utilised?

So here I've covered some stuff that is just "false science" based on either a poor understanding of how the body works and how it deals with different fuel sources, or based on having read and believed certain texts on the subject that are (quite deliberately I might add) full of glaring inaccuracies and misinformation. The rest could be described as "the tail wagging the dog" or reverse logic as described earlier.

It is amusing (although also frustrating) to me that people with a low carb or similar agenda will point out that some people are not seeing results from hitting the gym, as if that proves that effective exercise and overall activity levels is of no consequence in weight management. They'll point out that some people may have a medical condition or an unfavourable response to certain foods which means the usual rules go out the window a bit, as if that means that the usual rules are incorrect and don't work for anyone.

And yet apparently no one notices all the people out there who "eat really healthy but still aren't seeing results". Why might that be? It's because they're still not eating THE RIGHT AMOUNT, even though their food choices may be impeccable.

Friday, October 11, 2013

More reps, or more weight? Which is better?

The answer to all such questions is usually "it depends".

Today however, I thought I'd have a crack at this bench press challenge which is a part of a training system or "gym sport" that is becoming popular in the UK. The creator of this is a bloke I know from my professional network.

Now... the idea is a bit different to conventional weight training in that it is all against the clock, and the idea is to get as many reps out within the time limit as possible. And of course you would make progress by increasing the amount of reps you can do at the same weight within the same time limit.

So here's a video of me having a crack at the bench press portion, recorded at Doherty's Gym where I operate as a Personal Trainer, in Brunswick. That's 50kg for 3 minutes, as many reps as possible.



I will say this; it was harder than I expected. I mean... I knew I could pump out 40 reps at 50kg as a nice warm up, but I really expected I'd be able to pump out another 40 after a short 15 - 30 second rest. I figured I'd get 100 reps or at least 90... and I pulled up a little short of that.

So a bit short of what I hoped for, but still a respectable total especially first time out. I wanted to test a theory that when you train heavy with conventional rep ranges, you'll be able to match it with most people doing ultra high reps with less resistance. That is, you'll be able to match the people who only train that way, even though it's not the way you normally train. Am I making sense here? Good.

Here's what I think. The point of training is to produce an adaptation, and therefore you should always choose the training strategy most suited to producing that desired adaptation or outcome. When we choose resistance training, it is usually with the desired outcome of becoming stronger and improving body composition. That is; adding muscle at the expense of body fat stores.

In my opinion, the best way to do so is by progressively increasing the amount of weight we can move through traditional rep ranges. Now, when we train with the same amount of weight but with a focus on pumping out more reps within a time limit... there is still an adaptation but it is not about increasing strength or muscle mass. Simply put, you're training to get better at training. I'd also argue that technique is compromised in these circumstances as can be seen in my video above... if you've ever seen one of my other bench press videos with a heavier load for say 10 or 12 reps, my technique and tempo is pretty good if I do say so myself.

SO, what's better? Well it always depends on your goal. But decide upon your goal first, and then choose the approach that is most conducive to reaching it.

With all that being said, this was a hell of a nice warm up before getting down to the serious business of going as heavy as possible for 10 - 12 reps.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Winning the battle against modern technolgy

This isn't really an educational or motivational entry as much as it's just a normal sort of "about my day" type of entry.

I will tell you this though, I am planning on stepping things the hell up in the months ahead and into the new year. Business stuff, I mean. It's been a good year with a pretty stable number of clients on the local roster, plus... I have actually lost count of the amount of online people. I want to step both up and get to capacity levels.

So to that end I've been trying to study up a little on marketing stuff like a real business person which is a story in itself because... gawd... so much of stuff you're supposed to do "if you really want to be successful" will actually get you banned from facebook if they catch you out, I mean assuming it didn't make your skin crawl a little on ethical / respect for people's privacy type of grounds in the first place.

Anyway. Getting an ad approved on facebook without breaking the rules is surprisingly difficult but I eventually figured out that having the word "bullshit" in your page title is kind of a deal breaker. So battle #1 was putting in a request to have my page name changed. Hopefully that works out quickly and I'll run my ad all next week or as soon as I can get it done.

There's a lot of great content on my facebook but this is the particular post I'm going to use as an ad.



So that's one down. Hopefully.

The other one I got sorted today which was soooo complicated was getting my youtube and my google plus business page connected. For some reason they were on different email accounts and you'd think it would be easy enough to fix that but I can tell you it bloody well was not. Eventually managed to sort it though and now all is well. Next job is to put together a channel trailer video for youtube.


Monday, October 7, 2013

October Promo For Personal Training And Online Coaching

Brand new promo video for October and the rest of Spring 2013.



Obviously this is all about Personal Training In Brunswick but for people around the world there's also my Online Coaching service which typically means the DHPT Via Email product featuring my Progressive Power, Precision & Pump training program.

Lately though, I've had a lot of success providing Custom Flexible Dieting Guidelines to people who have their own routine consisting of a wide variety of activities and exercise choices. Typically I've been getting people to drastically increase their total intake, with some attention to the ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fats. To be honest, even I am a little amazed and just how tremendous the results have been, with a lot of VERY happy people checking in on my facebook.

Go check ALL of that out!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A summary of what you might have missed if you're not following me on facebook

First off, over on wordpress I did a little review of The New Atkins Diet products, and in particular a price comparison between the New Atkins weight loss shakes and your choice of any Whey Protein Isolate you might buy from a decent gym or supplement store.

Now as the name implies, a WPI is just protein. Usually something like 98% protein with a couple of calories per serve coming from the flavouring, which depending on the brand can be quite delicious. The Atkins products... sorry, it's "the NEW Atkins" because I guess they've conceded that the "old" Atkins diet everyone was on back when I still worked in I.T backfired horrendously and now 10 or 15 years later even more people are even more obese than they were ever before. But I digress... the Atkins brand shakes are actually around 50% fat, and more than twice as expensive as a real protein shake.

Now in saying that... it's not to say "fat is bad" or "fat makes you fat". However, they're marketing these things on the basis that they're low carb, and therefore if you buy it you'll lose weight. Absolute nonsense. As I've said elsewhere, the use of a protein shake is to boost your total calories or to help better balance your macronutrient ratios to amounts more suitable for achieving and maintaining your healthy goal weight. Clearly this does not work so well when the shake is as much fat as protein, and it's certainly not helpful if the idea is to have the shake instead of eating a normal meal so that you can restrict to a misguided calorie target that falls far short of what you require for good health and great results from training.

For some reason this is what the diet industry and elements of the fitness industry promotes... this idea of restricting to "very low calorie diets. That used to mean 1200 calories... but that stopped working and now there's a few new ones at 800 calories, 600 calories, and so on. It is MADNESS. In fact if you interviewed someone killing themselves via an eating disorder you'd probably hear all the same ideas about weight loss as these products support. AKA, if you want to lose weight, eat as little as possible. If that doesn't work, eat even less. If you eat actual meals like a normal person, you'll get fat. You need to starve to get thin.

It is outrageous. Most of all it is not true, either. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As I explained in a post on my main business site for Personal Training In Brunswick,  if you want to get into great shape you need to train for the shape you want to be in. You also need to fuel accordingly to maintain your goal body type at goal weight. You simply cannot expect to be happy, healthy or see optimal results from training by starving on some ridiculous diet.

Now back to facebook, you can see the proof of what I'm talking about here in a post where a heap of us all talk about how you can Lose Weight By Eating More, Not Less. You should check that out and hear it from actual clients, real people out in the real world. Not just marketers.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Eat More To Lose Weight

If you aint following me, DaveHPT on Facebook you're missing out big time.

Last week I posted a photo a happy client snapped while out at a cafe for breakfast, with a bit of commentary from me explaining that if you want to be healthy and happy AND see great results from training, you need to be fuelled right. If you just want to be "about normal size", you need eat an "about normal" amount. Now, to get to about normal size and be in extra great shape, we need a strategic training program to encourage the body to take all of that fuel and put it to good use.

In order to lose weight we do need to be in a calorific deficit. That is, we need to be consuming less than we would require to maintain our current weight. However, we still need to be adequately fuelled in order to facilitate great results from training. This is where many people go wrong, as their calorie goal may be based on creating a deficit below what would be expected to maintain weight with an inactive lifestyle... either that, or even worse, the plan is simply to eat as little as possible.

Well... you can go read the facebook post in question and what you'll see underneath is just some of the people who've taken my advice and increased their daily intake to an amount more suitable to fuel, recover and adapt favourably to their exercise routine. What people soon realise is that with a more suitable target range of calories, there is much more room for more of the foods they like to eat, and this includes some purely for indulgence.

Now, what happens when people are eating hundreds of calories more per day, from the foods that they like to eat instead of following some restrictive list of what's "good" and what's "bad", including ice cream, pizza or whatever else they feel like... and they actually get BETTER results than they did before? Better performance at training or in sport, and in the changes in body composition they've been trying to create?

I'll tell you what happens; they get happy. Very, very happy.

So if you want to be as happy as all the people talking on my facebook page, head over here to watch a little video about my Custom Flexible Dieting Guidelines, and hit the "buy now" button.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Training Video: Pushing Routine

Better late than never, here's the selected high lights of my pushing routine from yesterday.



It's always interesting to watch these back and note little things in the tempo or technique of the exercise, things I'd notice if it was a Personal Training client or training partner. For example on this video, pec dec and the incline press machine are way too fast. Decline barbell press in particular is pretty good though... really resisting on the way down and exploding back up. I apparently failed to film the dumbbell side lateral raises and tricep push down, for some reason.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Training Video: Deadlifts and Pull Day

Well... here's how I ended the week, with a new PR on deadlifts.

This one has been a long time coming, so I'm quite pleased. Looking back that video, my form is perhaps not as tight as usual, but still effective. If I can tighten it up a little more again, 185kg should not be too far away.



This is also a good example of how we use Pyramid Sets such as are featured in my Progressive Power, Precision & Pump program which is a part of my Online Personal Training system. As you can see, I start out with a decent weight for about 8 or 10 reps, then go heavier for about 6 reps, then heavier still for 4 reps, and so on. Deadlift is really the only lift where I'm bothered about testing my 1 rep max, but we can use the same sort of programming towards a 6 rep max on squats, 4 rep max on bench press, or any other amount of reps on any of what I would classify as a "power" exercise.

You can't just walk in and pick up 180kg off the ground when that is the current limit of your ability, you need to work up to it gradually in sensible increments. Of course, once you can lift something once... it is only a matter of time before you can lift it twice, which probably means you can set a new personal best at your one rep max as well.

Also in the video a bunch of extra stuff for traps, real delts and biceps which I'm trying to develop a bit more at the moment.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Training Video: Full Body Push Day

Today's routine was my full body push day, which usually means some chest, some quads, and some shoulders.



Not shown in the video is some machine lateral raises, and triceps push down.

I dunno why my calves look SO skinny. I need to address this situation!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Back and Biceps Training Video

More correctly in the context of my program, this is Upper Body, Pulling Routine. Which is mostly back, rear delts and some broceps to finish off. I'm really trying to bring my traps and biceps up this season so... on the other pull day there'll be some shrugs and maybe upright rows as well.

 

This was a pretty fun session today at Doherty's Gym in Brunswick. If you're looking for Personal Training In Brunswick give me a yell and we'll get started.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Legs Day Training Video

I decided to make some new training videos again, just some selected highlights of the day. So today, here's my legs routine.

 

Highlights include 100kg squat and 300kg leg press. I didn't bother filming my standing calf raises but you can see a little of everything else I got up to today. You'll notice there's no weight on the sled I'm pushing around at the end there... usually people load these up with a whole heap of weight, but usually people aren't trying to push it across a non slip rubber floor. It's tough going, but I'm getting better at it.

Of course all of this was filmed at my location for Personal Training in Brunswick, Doherty's Gym.

Tomorrow I'll film my Upper Body Pulling routine so stay tuned for that.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Business and personal plans for the next few months.

Just typing this one up to get my ideas and plans straight in my own head really, as well as perhaps a little leverage to make sure everything happens in due course.

Business stuff, mostly. I'm at a stage now where the online coaching business is taking off to a point where I want to make it about 50% of my business, which will allow me to work more closely with a smaller number of clients in real life as a Personal Trainer in Brunswick at Doherty's Gym. I'm thinking 6 - 8 local clients is PLENTY with the way I operate.

Now what I need is to get a more consistent rate of new clients starting the online coaching program. At the moment it is a little more sporadic than I'd like. So I need to market it a bit more actively and aggressively I suppose. My only hesitation at this stage is that I have a fantastic product, fantastic program that I believe in that has produced amazing results for everyone who's done it so far... but I have kind of a crappy, antiquated delivery system and I'm not sure how much I trust it if things really take off to the level that I want them to. So... I need to work something out there. Improve the format and delivery, add more video as well as the text and so on. That's shit I need to get together.

I really want to do an app as well that can give people their correct target calorie recommendations for their goal and training style. In theory that's not so hard to find someone to put the equations into an app but I need to find some way to simulate the human interpretation of the numbers which is something that comes down to human intuition and experience. I'll have to brainwork this idea for a bit and see if I can do it.

What else is good is my brand new clothing line that I'll be launching in the next month. Possibly I'd like to do the app mentioned above under the same brand name as distinct from my DaveHPT brand. We'll see on that one. The clothing line is going to be fucking awesome though and I'm optimistic it will take off.

Uhhh that's about all on the business side I guess. For my own training goals I'm well into spring aka trimming up for summer, have added some conditioning and will be working on bringing up some particular body parts that I want to emphasise. Mostly traps and biceps.

That's all!

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Lose 5kg In Time For Summer Plan

I'm not really a "real" body builder like some of the boys & girls I know who take it very seriously and do whatever it takes to get into elite level shape, ready to take the stage and hopefully come home with a trophy. That sort of thing... well I've never done it and it's not what I coach people to do, but I can only imagine it takes some quite specific nutrition planning, hard and constructive training, and a lot of dedication and will power.

My own goals are a lot more modest. I want to gain some size every year, still be relatively lean in the summer, and I guess it's important to look the part as a trainer - especially at the gym in Brunswick where I work, with so many top level elite athletes present. Also though, I want to eat a fucktonne of pizza.

I think for all of us, our approach should be a nice balance between the result that we want, and what we're prepared to do to get it. For most of us who's goal falls somewhere short of "elite level competition shape"... well as I've said many times; you can get into better shape than 95% of the population with a flexible approach to dieting, so long as you are also training strategically.

What I do... I'd like to use a fancy term like "periodisation" but really what I do is more like your traditional, old style "bulk and cut". Gain in the winter, trim up again in the spring. Here's how I do it.

Winter / Bulking Period:

Always starts out with a plan to gain slowly without much chance of fat gain. So, dial in calories & macros for an expected increase of 3 - 5kg. Then get frustrated that it's taking too long to see any gains, so increase calories again to an amount expected to gain 10kg.

Now for me... it always takes a LOT more calories than expected to gain any weight, and then it's HARD to actually consume that amount of calories anyway. So I have to start looking for ways to add more calories, like adding some coconut to my protein shakes, and maybe grabbing a handful of nuts every time I walk into the kitchen for some reason. That stuff adds up.

When that still doesn't see me gain much weight though, replace the nuts with "a packet of crumpets" and no matter what I have for dinner, it needs to be served on a bed of potato wedges. With cheese.

So what starts out as a calculated and balanced plan to slowly gain muscle without gaining fat ends up more like eating as much as possible as often as possible, with total disregard for macro ratios. And the result goes through a few stages as follows:

  1. Starting to gain a little bit of weight, but still quite lean. Good.
  2. Have put on a little around the waist, but it's all good that's to be expected.
  3. Starting to get a bit fat, but no problem it is all strategic.
  4. Actually quite fat now, lol that's funny.
  5. OK this isn't funny anymore.
Aaaaand one I hit stage 5 that's time to trim up again. Usually this is about the end of Winter anyway and right on schedule. This year total weight gain was 8kg.

Training in this winter period is all strength / resistance training with a near perfect balance of movements... as follows:
  • Balance between upper and lower body exercises.
  • Balance between pushing and pulling exercises.
  • Balance between horizontal and vertical movements.
  • Balance between incline and decline movements.
  • Balance between compound and isolation exercises too.

Spring Cutting / Trim Up In Time For Summer Period:

My idea of a cutting or "trim up in time for summer" plan involves drawing up a meal plan with perfectly balanced macros at a total intake expected to maintain 5kg below my highest weight during the winter. And then exercising the slightest amount of restraint in not completely abandoning the plan as soon as I get the urge to sneak in something different and/or extra due to boredom or whatever other reason. 

If that wasn't clear what I'm saying is the plan is near perfect but the adherence is not so strict. It still works beautifully but by Thursday literally every 3rd thought that enters my head is about pizza... which I don't actually eat until official pizza night aka Saturday.

I was thinking though, if that's what happens to me after 4 days of not very strict adherence to a flexible plan at a slight deficit, imagine what it's like to be on a strict, ultra low calorie diet with a limited choice of bland and boring "clean" foods that you're NEVER allowed to cheat on. 

Screw that. It's no wonder the trainers who think such extreme and drastic measures are necessary all tend to go bat shit insane. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Clean Eating" Personal Trainers Promote Orthorexia

This about sums up my feelings on the matter,
and it's nice when someone agrees for a change!
You'd be surprised how many people
 in the business would argue this point.
This was supposed to be a more amusing type of post that was going to be titled "recent arguments with industry cretins", but it turned out... well, as you see.

What's amusing to me is the amount of "what we do is best, nothing else works and if you think it does you need to get with the times" type of people in this industry, and how they can't actually back up their position when challenged. And quite ironically, they usually end up getting shitty and telling you "you think your way is the only way!"... which is ironic because that's actually what they were saying and all you really asked was "well how come all these other people have been successful without doing all that stuff that you think is make or break?"

I wrote an article yesterday where I said there are some things that just don't work, but there are also all sorts of many and varied approaches that can produce a result, depending on how specific your goal is. Obviously stuff that just doesn't work is a bad idea, but some of the stuff that will work might not be the best idea either if it is excessively restrictive and promotes a disordered way of thinking and an unhealthy relationship with food.

Now as far as excessively restrictive "very low calorie" diets go, we all know these don't work. Unfortunately lots of people are still trying to starve themselves thin with this approach but within the industry it has lead to a rejection of the "Calories In / Calories Out" model amongst certain groups. Depending on who you're talking to... the issue is either that carbs make people fat, or just "bad carbs" (there's a difference apparently), or it is processed food that is doing the damage and people need to "eat clean" or eat "paleo" in the style of stone age ancestors. Total calories is certainly not the issue though, according to some.

The end result of all of this is that as well as having more and more super-mega-hyper-obese people out there (in my opinion) as a direct result of yo-yoing on and off these extreme low calorie or zero carb diets, we've also got a huge increase in instances of eating disorders such as orthorexia and binge eating disorder. One goes hand in hand with the other. The proponents of so called "clean eating" demonise various food choices, and in particular anything that one might eat purely for enjoyment and not strictly because it is the best possible choice from a micronutritional standpoint.

Now... obviously yes, in an ideal world everyone would develop a passion for cooking delicious and nutritious meals from scratch, they'd be eating more fresh vegetables and so on. But to suggest that a new weight loss client needs to completely change their eating habits like this overnight shows a total lack of any empathy. It is an entirely unrealistic expectation. More to the point, it is unnecessary as well.

Rather than this, the more moderate and more empathic recommendation would be to use "Flexible Dieting" principles. In short, this means we determine an appropriate range of calories that we would expect to be suitable to maintain a healthy goal weight, and we also set target ranges for the ratio of fats to protein to carbohydrates. We encourage the inclusion of fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables to ensure adequate intake of important vitamins and minerals... and we are set. Within these guidelines it is quite easy for any client to meet their nutritional requirements with their choice of foods, including some purely for enjoyment or indulgence. Nothing is off limits.

This is important and beneficial for a variety of reasons. Since the client is able to make their own choices of foods, we have greater consistency of adherence. Since nothing is off limits, the client can honestly report their daily intake without omitting anything that the trainer has demonised as a "bad" food that they shouldn't be eating. They are not developing a disordered relationship with food due to feelings of guilt or failure associated with eating for enjoyment, as nothing is off limits. Through all of this, the client becomes empowered and develops a stronger belief in their ability to meet their nutritional requirements in order to achieve their goal weight and body type.

It is as close to a perfect strategy as you are ever likely to get. However, that still aint good enough for some of the "clean eating" people, who honestly seem to believe that including any amount of processed / high carb / low nutrient density / so called "junk" food rules out any chance of losing weight and ensures poor health. In any amount.

As far as I am concerned, that line of thinking IS orthorexia and it is about the last thing anyone (especially professionals in this industry) should be promoting. It is just as... perhaps even more harmful than the "eat less and less and less" approaches of the past.

Now here's the thing. You don't actually need to argue the science with these people. There's a lot of people who can explain how a certain food contains a certain property that has a certain effect upon a certain organ which produces a certain hormonal response and this is of crucial importance and if you think it's just about calories you need to get better educated. But you don't need to argue on those terms, on a logical level all you need to do is point out that countless people have in fact lost weight and gotten into great shape despite not having taken any of that into account. They've simply consumed "about the right amount" and been active enough to utilise the fuel that they've put in, and they've even enjoyed some delicious icecream when they felt like it.

Now I've seen a lot of comments to the effect of "ice cream! how can you justify eating ice cream of all things!" in response to various articles and blog posts on the subject... but really, are you actually suggesting that no one who was ever in shape has ever eaten an ice cream? Are you really suggesting that everyone who ever got into shape had a strict and restrictive diet plan that consisted of only very top level of most nutrient dense foods creating a perfect balance of vitamins and minerals that they stuck to obsessively and never cheated on? Do you actually believe that such an approach is not only required, but is indicative of good mental health?

Fortunately there IS a growing "anti-orthorexia" movement starting to happen amongst fitness enthusiasts, and the general public are becoming better educated in such matters. I have noticed at least a handful of industry people who I had considered the biggest promoters of orthorexia style half truths moving to a more moderate position, perhaps out of necessity to reflect a change in the market. I like to think that I have played my part in this change, if not spearheaded it directly.

Here's an update about the Latest Trends In Nutrition For Weight Loss over on my wordpress you might like to read next.

"Clean Eating" Personal Trainers Promote Orthorexia

This about sums up my feelings on the matter,
and it's nice when someone agrees for a change!
You'd be surprised how many people
 in the business would argue this point.
This was supposed to be a more amusing type of post that was going to be titled "recent arguments with industry cretins", but it turned out... well, as you see.

What's amusing to me is the amount of "what we do is best, nothing else works and if you think it does you need to get with the times" type of people in this industry, and how they can't actually back up their position when challenged. And quite ironically, they usually end up getting shitty and telling you "you think your way is the only way!"... which is ironic because that's actually what they were saying and all you really asked was "well how come all these other people have been successful without doing all that stuff that you think is make or break?"

I wrote an article yesterday where I said there are some things that just don't work, but there are also all sorts of many and varied approaches that can produce a result, depending on how specific your goal is. Obviously stuff that just doesn't work is a bad idea, but some of the stuff that will work might not be the best idea either if it is excessively restrictive and promotes a disordered way of thinking and an unhealthy relationship with food.

Now as far as excessively restrictive "very low calorie" diets go, we all know these don't work. Unfortunately lots of people are still trying to starve themselves thin with this approach but within the industry it has lead to a rejection of the "Calories In / Calories Out" model amongst certain groups. Depending on who you're talking to... the issue is either that carbs make people fat, or just "bad carbs" (there's a difference apparently), or it is processed food that is doing the damage and people need to "eat clean" or eat "paleo" in the style of stone age ancestors. Total calories is certainly not the issue though, according to some.

The end result of all of this is that as well as having more and more super-mega-hyper-obese people out there (in my opinion) as a direct result of yo-yoing on and off these extreme low calorie or zero carb diets, we've also got a huge increase in instances of eating disorders such as orthorexia and binge eating disorder. One goes hand in hand with the other. The proponents of so called "clean eating" demonise various food choices, and in particular anything that one might eat purely for enjoyment and not strictly because it is the best possible choice from a micronutritional standpoint.

Now... obviously yes, in an ideal world everyone would develop a passion for cooking delicious and nutritious meals from scratch, they'd be eating more fresh vegetables and so on. But to suggest that a new weight loss client needs to completely change their eating habits like this overnight shows a total lack of any empathy. It is an entirely unrealistic expectation. More to the point, it is unnecessary as well.

Rather than this, the more moderate and more empathic recommendation would be to use "Flexible Dieting" principles. In short, this means we determine an appropriate range of calories that we would expect to be suitable to maintain a healthy goal weight, and we also set target ranges for the ratio of fats to protein to carbohydrates. We encourage the inclusion of fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables to ensure adequate intake of important vitamins and minerals... and we are set. Within these guidelines it is quite easy for any client to meet their nutritional requirements with their choice of foods, including some purely for enjoyment or indulgence. Nothing is off limits.

This is important and beneficial for a variety of reasons. Since the client is able to make their own choices of foods, we have greater consistency of adherence. Since nothing is off limits, the client can honestly report their daily intake without omitting anything that the trainer has demonised as a "bad" food that they shouldn't be eating. They are not developing a disordered relationship with food due to feelings of guilt or failure associated with eating for enjoyment, as nothing is off limits. Through all of this, the client becomes empowered and develops a stronger belief in their ability to meet their nutritional requirements in order to achieve their goal weight and body type.

It is as close to a perfect strategy as you are ever likely to get. However, that still aint good enough for some of the "clean eating" people, who honestly seem to believe that including any amount of processed / high carb / low nutrient density / so called "junk" food rules out any chance of losing weight and ensures poor health. In any amount.

As far as I am concerned, that line of thinking IS orthorexia and it is about the last thing anyone (especially professionals in this industry) should be promoting. It is just as... perhaps even more harmful than the "eat less and less and less" approaches of the past.

Now here's the thing. You don't actually need to argue the science with these people. There's a lot of people who can explain how a certain food contains a certain property that has a certain effect upon a certain organ which produces a certain hormonal response and this is of crucial importance and if you think it's just about calories you need to get better educated. But you don't need to argue on those terms, on a logical level all you need to do is point out that countless people have in fact lost weight and gotten into great shape despite not having taken any of that into account. They've simply consumed "about the right amount" and been active enough to utilise the fuel that they've put in, and they've even enjoyed some delicious icecream when they felt like it.

Now I've seen a lot of comments to the effect of "ice cream! how can you justify eating ice cream of all things!" in response to various articles and blog posts on the subject... but really, are you actually suggesting that no one who was ever in shape has ever eaten an ice cream? Are you really suggesting that everyone who ever got into shape had a strict and restrictive diet plan that consisted of only very top level of most nutrient dense foods creating a perfect balance of vitamins and minerals that they stuck to obsessively and never cheated on? Do you actually believe that such an approach is not only required, but is indicative of good mental health?

Fortunately there IS a growing "anti-orthorexia" movement starting to happen amongst fitness enthusiasts, and the general public are becoming better educated in such matters. I have noticed at least a handful of industry people who I had considered the biggest promoters of orthorexia style half truths moving to a more moderate position, perhaps out of necessity to reflect a change in the market. I like to think that I have played my part in this change, if not spearheaded it directly.



Monday, August 26, 2013

Official Acknowledgement: My Way Is Not The Only Way To Get Into Shape

I've said that dozens of times I'm sure. I happen to believe that more resistance training and a little cardio on the side is the best way... but depending on your goal, your circumstances, your preferences... hey, knock yourself out. I've said a lot that if you have a specific goal you need a specific course of action, but other than that as long as it is safe and enjoyable go do whatever you want to do.

Now having said all that... there are certain things that just don't work, or are a bad idea for other reasons. Those stupid VLCD meal replacement products, for example. I've talked a lot about what a bad idea they are and how they're likely to backfire in a number of ways. Exercising with no more strategic purpose than "to burn calories" is another pointless and futile waste of time and effort as well, as previously discussed.

It does sell a lot of equipment though. Home treadmills, stationary bikes, cross trainers, those gadgets that count how many calories you've supposedly burned during exercise... lawd. Whether it's at home or in a gym, the people who just walk on the treadmills for an hour or more per day... do they ever seem to change shape?

So... there's some stuff that doesn't work and isn't a good idea and unfortunately that happens to be the stuff that the industry promotes because there is money in it. It's also stuff that seems reasonable to more people, I guess. Walking on a treadmill, I can do that. Right?

Regardless of how much stuff doesn't work, there's still plenty that does. My program for example. I've put it together strategically with a few different things in mind to keep it evolving, keep it varied and interesting, and most of all to produce tremendous results in body sculpting through strength training. It does the job very well, but could you expect similar results with some other similar resistance based program? Absolutely. Of course there are elements to my program that I think are quite unique and beneficial, but you can take your pick of any strength training program and as long as there is a good balance of movements and you keep trying to do a little more than you did the week before, you'll make progress and get results.

Push / Pull splits, Push / Pull / Legs.... I've kind of gone off the 5 day splits I used to use but whatever... there's plenty of options and any of them could be good. Or, you might not want to do a weight training program at all. Plenty of other options out there too.

What's a little amusing though and very ironic is the people out there who DO think their way is the only way, and nothing else works. For a lot of people out there, it's not enough just to say "this is how I do it, and it works very nicely indeed", or even "this is what I do and I think it's best way and you'll be hard pressed to find something better". Nope, their way is the only way that works for all of these reasons they'll spell out to you, and if you don't have all of that stuff covered you can't expect any results.

It's entirely normal for us human beings to want to be "right". It seems to me though, in terms of what's the best approach in training and nutrition... there's not much point arguing about things. If you think your way is the best, go out there and get better results than anyone else. I'd suggest if you're really happy with the results you are getting, you'd be secure enough in your self esteem not to feel the need to tell everyone else that they're wrong. You'd already know that what you're doing is great.

The only reason this stuff is worth arguing about is when the information being put out to the public is not just incorrect or misleading, but potentially harmful and damaging to vulnerable people. This is especially true in areas of nutrition and dieting that directly effect people's physical and mental health.

Now you've got different reasons for this from different people. Some of them are just flat out scam artists, some are real trainers but they've been getting lessons from marketers that turn them into borderline scam artists themselves, and others are people who have got some issues of their own especially related to eating disorders, which influences their ability to objectively process information and form an opinion based on logical reasoning. These are all dangerous people to have in the industry, spreading potentially damaging misinformation.

The ironic part is when you call these people out on their bullshit and they can't explain their position, and they get shitty and tell you "you think your way is the only way!" When they were actually the one saying "none of that works you have to do it like I do it", and all you were saying is "but plenty of people have done it other ways".

Morons.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Conversations with clean eating / industry morons

I'll go on record as saying that I utterly fucking despise about 90% of this stinking industry, the people in it and all that they stand for.

That is... not so much the local trainers taking people to the park or the gym or whatever for a work out. I mightn't think someone's approach to training is the best and most efficient but if they're well intentioned, getting people into some healthy activity, making it enjoyable and keeping it safe all power to them. Personally... I got my own way of doing things that I believe in, but I'd never say it's the ONLY thing that will work or that anyone else is obliged to do the same.

I'm talking about the self branded "diet and exercise" guru types all over the internet. I hate that the majority of the exercise business is more about "what'll people sign up for?" than "what do people actually need to do to meet their goals?" as well... which is why there's a new dance based fitness craze every couple of years that makes some people a fuck tonne of money but delivers nothing in terms of physical results to clients. It explains why gym chains in the US ban any serious types of lifts and market on the basis that they're NOT for people serious about health, fitness or training for any sort of result or goal.

I fucken hate all of that shit but most of all I hate the aforementioned gurus on the internet and their disciples in the business spreading their disordered, damaging, unfounded bullshit fkn ideas to the unsuspecting public at large. What I believe happens is that new people with good intentions go out and get a certification and set up business as a trainer. Usually, they come out of the certification process still bewildered about how to help people, which is a whole other issue I should write a post about soon as well. So, with the best of intentions they join some networking group to learn from people who are already in the business and BOOM that's when it happens, they're easy pickings for jerkoffs marketing some special dieting system or other based on a bunch of half truths, bro-science or flat out eating disorder based "logic".

You can go through the testimonials on my various websites, the comments on my facebook and so on... and you'll see that in almost every case I have coached my clients to success based on INCREASING their calorific intake and DITCHING any restrictive notions they had about "good" or "bad" foods. You can see messages I've got from people who have finally achieved their goal figure, stopped feeling guilty or ashamed about eating, and stopped hating themselves for failing to meet some impossible standard of "clean eating" that was never necessary in the first place. You don't see so many of the messages from people who tell me that reading my free program has helped them beat the binge eating disorder they developed by trying to follow ridiculous "clean eating" protocols created either by scam artists or by orthorexic trainers trying to normalise their own disordered way of thinking by spreading it to other people. I keep that shit private.

And yet despite all of that, cretins in the industry want to argue with me that you can't be successful in weight loss and body composition goals with a flexible approach to dieting (IIFYM). I've proven it a dozen times over as have the other 10% or so of knowledgeable, ethical & empathic trainers who use a similar approach.




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's time for ME to get back into shape for Spring and Summer

Did I mention I've started my own fat loss campaign last week after (strategically) gaining 8kg over the course of the year so far? My long term goal is to be a bit bigger than I am now, but also lean. So, in trying to build up over the winter you accept that you're likely to gain some fat in the process, which you trim off again in the spring with the goal of being as lean as last summer, but 4 or 5kg heavier.

This year I was coasting along not too worried about how much fat I put on because "hey, have a look at the ladies I coach and judge me on that... not on what I look like while in a bulking phase", right? Well... that's all well and good up to a point, but as of the week before last I decided it was time to dial in some tighter nutrition targets and exercise a little self control in the kitchen until I look a bit more like a trainer again.

This is quite standard practice for males and some females with the goal of increasing size. Now, some people at a highly advanced level will have it down to such a fine art (or should I say science?) that they can gain a significant amount of muscle without gaining a significant amount of fat... but for the most of us, well... the fat and bloat comes off quite quickly and easily as soon as the time comes to dial in a nutrition plan and perhaps make some necessary adjustments to training. For the record I haven't changed my training routine yet but I may do so in the future if I'm not satisfied with my progress back towards an appropriate physique for pool season.

This isn't really a post about my own progress and goals though. It's a little eye opener into some deceptive marketing tactics other trainers may use, and why you should be sceptical of trainers posting their own before and after "transformation" photos.

You've no double seem them before, along with the "I got so busy helping other people, I forgot to look after myself and suddenly realised I'd gotten quite badly out of shape" and maybe also "after trying different strategies for years I finally found the one method for amazing results in half the time"... some top secret thing only known to them and their fitness guru who learned it from the ghost of Bruce Lee while astral travelling or some shit no doubt. And then there's the photos of them starting out looking like your average out of shape office worker, and ending up looking like a pro athlete 6 weeks later.

And you're supposed to think "wow, I could look like that in 6 weeks too then!", right? What a load of bollocks.

That muscular physique they're showing in the "after" picture was already there, just hidden a little under some excess fat, some bloat and fluid retention. Maybe the lighting in the first picture was less flattering as well, and they're standing with slouched posture too. This stuff makes a big difference!

Now, the position I'm in right now and these other guys would be in is that you've been training a long time, and are able to perform at a level far above the capabilities of the average client, especially a new one. Having trained hard and eating at a surplus all year so far, the body is trained to build as much muscle as possible and use all of this to fuel, recover and adapt to training. What little it can't find a use for ends up stored as fat... but the point is, it wants to build muscle. Now, come spring time we reduce calories to an amount suitable to drop whatever weight we have added in fat stores... the body still wants to build muscle, still wants to use everything we give it to fuel, recover and adapt to training... BOOM, that little bit of fat is going to come off relatively quickly, not to mention any food bloat and fluid retention will drop off within the first week or two in my experience.

So... that's what's going on in most of those photos you may see from trainers marketing online. It is quite deceptive to imply that there is anything "special" going on because of how magical their program is, and very deceptive to imply that the average deconditioned new client will achieve the same sort of transformation in a similar amount of time.

You guys know by now that I don't go in for any of that sort of chicanery, so in other words; no new photos until I'm back in shape.